Sunday, May 6, 2012


10 years ago SPIDER-MAN changed Hollywood forever. I cannot believe the comic book genre is still holding on strong in 2012! The new blockbuster genre has had three defining moments so far. First being SPIDER-MAN which became the blueprint for most super-hero movies that followed, just look at DAREDEVIL and GHOST RIDER. Then came along Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT the second installment in a new kind of comic book movie that made Batman set in a more realistic reality. This realistic gritty neo-noir approach made a ton of money and set an industry standard that comic book films from now on will be and are to be more dark. The two recent examples being this summers Spider Man reboot THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and next years Superman relaunch THE MAN OF STEEL.

The third defining moment is this years THE AVENGERS. While Nolan deconstructed the genre with BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT, THE AVENGERS director Joss Whedon reversed that and put “comic books” back into the comic book genre. There are going to be debates for years to come as to which movie is the best comic book movie THE DARK KNIGHT or THE AVENGERS? My answer is THE AVENGERS. I love what Nolan has done with the Batman films; however, I cannot wait for the next trilogy which because of THE AVENGERS success will have our favorite caped crusader back to his roots.

THE AVENGERS has been a cinematic event four years in the making ever since the release of IRON MAN. This was a bold move and had many comic book movie fans like myself worried. Team films like the X-Men franchise have proved successful but bringing together 4 franchises (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America) to form a team seemed risky and too good to be true especially in Hollywood.

On with the review. THE AVENGERS is the best comic book movie of the past 20 years (probably ever)! In a time of stale, over bloated comic book movies Whedon took a page from the Spielberg and Lucas playbook and breathed some new life into the comic book movie.

This synopsis is going to read as if you already know the story thus far from seeing all the movies leading up to THE AVENGERS. The story begins when Loki comes to Earth seeking revenge against Asgard and his brother Thor. He has the help of an alien race known as the Chitauri to aid him in taking over Earth. In return for a conquered Earth Loki will give his new alien friends a powerful energy source called the Tesseract. The Tesseract is the same energy source Red Skull tried to rule the world with in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER but failed. S.H.I.E.L.D with the help of Dr. Erik Selvig the physicist you may remember from THOR are running tests on the Tesseract. Loki appears causing some mischief stealing the Tesseract along with the good doctor and a few S.H.I.E.L.D agents. These turn of events brings the situation to something like a threat level 7 which is code for Nick Fury wants to bring in the Avengers. Once all the heroes are brought together they must learn how to work well as a team, return the Tesseract, and bring Loki to justice (Asgard style) all before time runs out or they kill each other, whichever happens first!

This is where the movie really begins to kick butt! The character dynamics are extraordinary and Joss gives every character time to shine. I won't spoil too much but I do wanna mention the scene where Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America all have have a go with each other went down as comic book cinema history in my opinion. And the talk around the water cooler is true, Hulk steals the show! It was too good to be true. That's what this movie is, it's just a bunch of I cannot believe this is happening this should not be happening moments. All my high expectations were met and even over exceeded! All the action is nice and shot where we can see what is going on instead of pesky close-ups with shaky cam action. Director Joss Whedon understands action unlike Micheal Bay who likes to fill up action scenes with so much CGI and explosions it makes his elaborate money shots completely uninteresting to say the least. Micheal Bay is that kid who would play with his Transformers by smashing and mashing them together and call it fighting. Where as Joss Whedon reminds me of how I liked to play with my toys, every thing was set up and staged out. Every G.I Joe or Transformer had a purpose and it's time to shine. Andy at the beginning of TOY STORY 3 is probably the best example I can give.

At a time when I was getting tired of comic book movies THE AVENGERS comes along and proves that the genre isn't finished yet and opened the door for countless opportunities especially considering the Marvel Universe. As for the DC Universe all I can say is that Warner Bros really should start taking notes as to what Marvel Studios is doing instead of THE DARK KNIGHT residuals. Just sayin.

My final thoughts on THE AVENGERS are that it's the best movie of the summer and go see it the first chance you get. If summer movies are your thing then I guarantee you'll be seeing this more than once.