So, yes, The Avengers. It’s out over here, a week or so before North America for some reason, so we have it and I saw it. And what did I think? Well…
Opinions follow that may be mildly spoilery…
But basically, a really good movie. I’ve been… unimpressed by Joss Whedon’s output in the last decade or so, but this was definitely Whedon on form. Yes, it includes common Whedon tropes. Essentially the same joke Whedon always uses. Another that… well, I’ll say no more. But the script zinged in the right places, mostly, just occasionally tipping from tasty cheese into flat cliche, but included a couple of outright belly laughs and some slick action. So, for those who thought that Whedon had been handed the crown jewels and there was no way he would be able to screw up, congratulations, you get most of a cookie.
Impressively, considering, the movie did actually manage to make good use of all its characters. Loki fans are unlikely to be disappointed, (in fact, some of the movie’s best moments belong to him). Steve Rogers and Tony Stark fans can rest easy. Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanova aficionados will be well pleased. Hawkeye fans will… well, they might not be quite so overjoyed at the character’s lack of real defining moments, but, hey, it’s a big team to juggle. And while the movie contained some of the usual handing of the stupid ball (“Hey, the bad guy’s right there! Let’s… fight each other!”), it was dumb enough to be feet-up-muching-popcorn entertaining without being really dumb and twisting characters into all sorts of odd shapes to plot serve.
So, plenty of character moments for all, including some quieter times. And when the movie does get going, it uses its set pieces to best effect. This doesn’t feel on the same level as Michael Bay wanton destruction, with characters drowned out in the midst of buildings exploding - even when shit is going down, personalities shine through.
The only question remains - did they try to do too much? Well… yes and no. The giant crossover movie might sit quite naturally after Iron Man II, where Stark had time to develop beyond his origin movie. less so for Thor and Steve, who get sucked into the movie when there’s a lot more of their personal stories left to tell. Maybe this movie would have sat better after second outings for all of the central characters. But it’s not the distraction it could have been, thanks to the script giving all of those characters a quiet moment or two before the chaos.
So, in short - well scripted, excellently performed, nicely action packed, surprisingly character heavy. Definitely worth a watch.
Oh, and be sure to sick around for the mid-credits sequence, which will give comic readers fangasms.