“Big man, in a suit of armor…take that away, what are you?”
“Uh…genius billionaire playboy philanthropist?”
-Captain America and Iron Man
I saw The Avengers on Friday. For those who don’t know, the Avengers is a team of superheroes: Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. It’s no coincidence that most of these characters have starred in their own movies recently. Marvel’s been gearing up for this thing for years.
Beloved comic book franchise, enormous ramp-up, $220 million budget, and fan favorite Joss Whedon directing. Expectations were about as high as they could be – but this movie easily could have flopped. In less skillful hands, a story that combines six wildly different heroes might have spiraled into a CG-fueled mess of meaningless action.
There’s plenty of CG and action, but I’m happy to report that Avengers is a well-orchestrated adventure, cohesive and fast-paced from start to finish despite its 2 hour, 22-minute run time. The film charts a course between the gritty realism of Dark Knight and the goofy bombast of Green Lantern, finding just the right mix of drama and fun. For a superhero movie, Avengers has a lot of jokes, and it nails them with perfect timing. Often I couldn’t hear a line of dialogue because people were still laughing from the last one. It’s a good problem to have.
But the real reason Avengers works is that the characters are actually people. They seem to spend more time out of their superhero costumes than in them, and the interplay among their distinctive personalities is very believable. Tony Stark – the guy in the Iron Man suit – is particularly fun to watch as he pushes the buttons of others who take themselves too seriously (read: Captain America and Thor). Bruce Banner, the man who becomes the Hulk, was also a surprise favorite of mine. His soft-spoken intelligence and self-deprecating humor are a striking contrast to the terrifying creature he becomes – a creature that terrifies no one more than Banner himself.
As always, I’m running out of time, so I’ll wrap it up. Go see Avengers. You don’t need to like comic books, you don’t need to have seen the other movies. You just need to like laughing and watching things go boom.
What movies have you seen recently?
P.S. The questions for Ask Brian Anything are still coming in. You have three days left to submit your own question on any topic under the sun!