The Avengers Movie

Ok, this will be the last post from my backlog of things to discuss here on the new blog. I know it was released almost two months ago, but since it was the first blockbuster of the year how can I not talk about Marvel’s The Avengers on my pop culture blog?

There have been plenty of Marvel super hero movies over the last decade. Some good, some not so good, some cool and touching, and some completely inane (how this one has a positive rating is beyond me). On top of my own mixed thoughts on the various Marvel movies, I don’t really care for super hero team-ups. I’m more forgiving of The Avengers than I am the Justice League, but the enemies that super hero teams must face in order for them to have an actual challenge need to be so tremendous that they turn these amazing super heroes into underdogs (especially hard to do for characters like Superman). I don’t mind the occasional crossover, but I normally choose to read the separate adventures of my favorite super heroes.

That being said, I became really excited to see Marvel’s The Avengers when I learned Joss Whedon was writing and directing the movie. I don’t think that many of my friends don’t know who Joss Whedon is, but, to those who don’t, he is the creator of Buffy the Vampire SlayerFirefly/Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and has been involved in various TV showscomics and movies. Knowing that Joss Whedon was so heavily involved in The Avengers was really all I needed to hear.

I could say a lot about the movie that others have already said. It’s great, it’s fantastic, it’s fun, it’s witty, and so on for the rest of the post, but instead I’d like to write about two things that I found particularly striking about The Avengers. 

First, Joss Whedon shows a tremendous amount of respect and knowledge for all of the characters. Of course, the depictions of the big four—Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor—are spot on in both terms of staying true to the comics and the movies leading up to The Avengers. After watching The Avengers twice in one day, a friend and I noted the fact that all the characters get their fair share of screen time and character development. Black Widow and Hawkeye are the least notable members of The Avengers team, but viewers are still given good indications as to who they are and what motivates them. Even a character who at first appears to be totally minor, Agent Phil Coulson, receives good characterization in the movie for being a tremendous Captain America fanboy who is having relationship problems with a cellist that moved to Seattle or Portland (I forget which, somewhere in the Northwest). Loki too gets some nice treatment even if his allies, the Chitauri, seem more like a plot device that gives The Avengers an enemy large enough for a super hero team-up to fight. But perhaps the best example of Whedon’s tremendous respect for the characters is when Captain America jumps out of a plane to chase down Iron Man and Thor telling Black Widow, “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” Playing off the fact Captain America came from an era much more religiously inclined than our own, Whedon turns the Cap’s personal beliefs into an incredibly insightful (and humorous) line of dialogue that gives viewers a better understanding of the character and his emotions.

That respect for the characters in the movie is already enough to make it great, but Joss still manages to make it his movie. One of Joss’s best talents is writing snappy, fun dialogue that can give even the most serious scene a humorous air. Probably the best example is the back and forth between Thor and Black Widow on the bridge of the SHIELD carrier. I can’t remember it exactly, but it goes something like, “[Loki] is an Asgardian, and my brother,” with Black Widow responding, “He killed eight-eight people in two days,” to which Thor can only say, “…He’s adopted.” Situations that may demand extreme gravity from the characters themselves don’t bog down the viewer through Whedon’s use of wit and humor.

Yes, it has been out for almost two months now, but unless you dislike super heroes for some reason (how uncivilized!), I think Marvel’s The Avengers is a great movie anyone can enjoy. There are more movies coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including another Avengers movie. Hopefully, the next batch of sequels don’t take a Transformers or Spider-Man turn and get progressively worse though I must admit Iron Man 2 is not an encouraging example. But if they continue to do well then maybe Joss Whedon will sign up to do the next Avengers movie and once again give me reason to be excited about The Avengers.

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  1. The avengers movie made me live Captain America. I am not sure that I was sold on him before seeing this. They did a great job writing his character.

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