Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)


Title: The Avengers
Release Date: 4 May 2012
Director: Joss Whedon
Production Co: Marvel Studios / Paramount Pictures
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Action | Adventure | Science Fiction | Superhero
Rating: ***

On a sultry summer night my family and I escaped to a cool pub for supper.  The Avengers was on the tv with the sound off and my wife soon found herself relating the dialogue to the children and explaining what was going on. The next day, my son – who often proclaims that he does not like to watch movies – asked to watch the whole movie with the sound on.  So we watched and were introduced into the Marvel Universe.  As someone who knows little to nothing about comic book superheroes I felt that I got a basic sense of the characters, although I’m sure people who’ve watched all the movies get a lot of references.  All the actors are strong in their roles and are entertaining, funny, and suitably conflicted.  The theme of a team of rivals needing to find a way to work together is well-done without being hit over the head too much as well. On the whole, it’s entertaining, brainless fun.

One unexpected thing is just how militaristic the SHIELD/Avengers world is.  It’s a bit unsettling considering the unrestrained military spending in the real United States to think that in a fictional world there would be need for another whole level of secret military forces.  I also felt that the superheroes are immortal makes the non-stop fighting among themselves and against Loki rather lacking in drama.  The only thing at stake is the amount of collateral damage suffered in human lives, buildings, and vehicles.

A couple of nice touches at the end of the film address this.  First, the Avengers are physically and mentally exhausted after the battle (leading to the famous post-credit shawarma scene).  Second, is the montage of news reports showing some people celebrating the Avengers as heroes, but others questioning whether their responsibility in bringing such devastation to the Earth.  It’s good to have the film’s premise questioned onscreen even if it’s a small bit.

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