Watched Apr 27, 2012
Tony Black’s review:
Up until now, I never truly understood all the fuss about Joss Whedon. I never related to Buffy, never got into Firefly or Dollhouse, and while I enjoyed Serenity I didn't worship it like some. But at long last, Whedon has delivered a piece of work that blew me away, one I truly believe will swiftly enter the pantheon of classic action-adventure movies. The Avengers is not only far and away the best of Marvel's (mostly impressive) movie staple, it's a candidate for the best comic book movie ever made.
High praise indeed, but to my mind utterly deserved. Whedon has done the near impossible here - bring to life the greatest superhero team in fiction while delivering excellent character work and a surfeit of stunning action that ranks among some of the best committed to film. The skill is that he gives everyone a substantial role (with the possible exception of Hawkeye, but there's time for that) and not only advances the greater Marvel narrative, but tells a strong story on its own. The script sparkles too - littered with brilliant one liners, character beats, memorable moments you'll be talking about for many years and some truly hilarious interactions (one involving the Hulk raised the roof). That was the beauty of this - the entire audience were hooked, cheering as Captain America leapt into action or shouting in worry when Iron Man was in peril. Filled with punch-the-air moments of true glee, it's a treat for the senses and the eyes, producing a thrilling story with only the tiniest of niggles - Thor perhaps is sidelined too often and Loki's plan seems at times flimsy and scattershot, but neither detract from the enjoyment throughout it's lengthy 2 hour+ running time. It helps that the cast are on stellar form - Robert Downey Jr has never been better as Tony Stark, while Mark Ruffalo impresses in his debut as Bruce Banner (if ever this film was an audition to do another Hulk film, he passes with flying colours).
The Avengers, then, is everything you hoped for and indeed a whole lot more. I'm almost ashamed that, for a while, I feared this might end up a titanic mess. Whedon has in fact proven to everyone just what he can do, and if this doesn't make a billion at the box office, there truly is no justice. A cinematic masterpiece of fun, heroic action adventure.