CB'S POV: A+ ("Marvel's The Avengers")

The folks at Marvel have had a better run with their moves than their counterparts at DC. With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and possibly
DC’s efforts have been middling (RED) to underwhelming (Green Lantern). Marvel’s streak continues with
Marvel’s The Avengers
(so named, I guess, to distinguish it from
Mr.Steed and Mrs. Peel’sThe Avengers).

The biggest hero here is the story and screenplay because it manages to largely avoid the pitfalls of an origin story movie by eliminating the origin story. They don’t explain (except in passing) how Tony Stark became Iron Man or how Bruce Banner became the Hulk; we know nothing about S.H.I.E.L.D except that they apparently have a
big budget. Thor is from Asgard: N’uff said. The script also contains enough inside references to please fanboys and -girls: when Tony Stark tells an unwanted visitor that he’s actually talking to a Life Model Decoy, the guy sitting next to me actually started giggling with delight. (If you don’t know what that is, you don’t need to in order to enjoy the show.)

The movie starts out briskly, in the middle of a crisis, and it picks up from there. Since we’ve had six movies to get used to these characters, we just walk in on them doing whatever they happen to be doing at the time, the events of the movie are just another assignment. And the ultimate battle (“We have to stop an alien invasion…
again.”) is pretty much the anticlimax. The genius of the script, as is the pattern for all the Marvel movies, is that the biggest obstacle the hero has to overcome is… himself. (Thor has to learn humility and humanity, Spider-Man has to accept the great responsibility that comes with great power, etc.) This allows something that usually doesn’t happen very often in
movie any more—the protagonist experiences
personal growth by the end of the movie—they’re a different person, a
better person,
than when they started.

There is one potential negative in this movie (although no one is the audience I was with seemed to mind): there is
a lot
of talking.
True, very little of it is wasted on catch-up exposition and there’s no time given to clever quips
a la
Classic James Bond-isms but sometimes, the dialogue gets lost in the action sequences or the quiet moments are
quiet. And one point that I did have a quibble with was: you’ve got this mystical magical stick that can brainwash a person completely, but all you have to do to reverse it is to (literally) slap some sent into them?

But if that’s the only thing I can complain about after (a very fast) two hours and twenty minutes, I consider that time well-spent. I think you will, too.

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