The Avengers DIR. Joss Whedon
This by far one of my favorite films of 2012.
Before getting to the actual review let me talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe first. Marvel has done a kickass job of bringing all of it’s superhero’s together for one of the cinematic triumphs of the decade.
Starting with the first Iron Man, Marvel built up to this film through all of it’s superheros (and one of the superhero’s sequels), with all of the superhero’s in ‘The Avengers’ getting a trilogy of their own films.
Marvel built an entire universe around the idea that they would be able to bring together all of the plots in one film, with a great director that’s known for being original and handling plots well.
Marvel does another thing well with it’s characters; it brings them humanity. Pre Marvel Cinematic Universe the superheros in film didn’t have huge amounts of human problems. The main lure to me of Marvel’s films is that we see the human struggles of the superheros (its seen in DC too but ‘Green Lantern’ was awful, and the Batman trilogy is the only DC series I liked), for example in ‘Iron Man 2’ we see Tony Stark dissolve under the pressure of imminent death, watching as he gives everything up in a quest of trying to fill his life with happiness, when a void is spreading out beneath him and him not understanding that happiness is not excess. (Yes I have a bit of a crush on Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr,/ Tony Stark)
On to the review; there are many reasons I love this film, mainly all of those things have to do with my unrequited love of superheros in the Marvel-verse, however this film isn’t just a landmark for it’s ability to handle multiple complicated and very human characters, it’s also a landmark of clever cinematography, plot development, themes of humanity and special effects.
Cinematography: this film makes use of the same sets over and over again and constantly makes them feel like new locations. Joss Whedons screenplay has to be something that was insanely detailed in order to get such a large amount of feeling out of this film. With interesting angles from inside cars we get not only the view of the superheros trying to stop the threat of world domination but the humans terror filled view of chaos spreading out in front of them. As well as creating different feelings of power for each character throughout the film depending on what point the plot they were in; for example during almost all dealings with S.H.I.E.L.D. the superheros are being looked down on by the camera, creating a sense of lack of power. Tracking shots are also another thing to be admired ex. Natasha’s and Clint’s fight.
Plot Development/ Theme of humanity; As previously discussed this is one of my favorite things in the Marvel Universe. The theme of humanity is completely relavant in this film as well, it’s seen throughout the film and comes to a head with the death of Phil Coulson when everyone realizes the depths of their own self need and how they should have trusted each other all along. This is due to the fact that SHIELD withheld variables from characters during the initial start of the film. The characters all have individual issues (some withheld, for further development in future films), that affect them throughout the film and show that even superheros have difficulty getting by, and that having a suit of armor to protect means nothing if your loved one won’t pick up the phone.
The plot development in this film is something to take notes on. The entire film is essentially a build up to this thirty minute destructive battle, however the journey up to this point is filled with frequent failures and discoveries that lead up to this being one of the most interestingly crafted plots. With the main plot of stopping Loki being held throughout, while a bunch of minor battles appear throughout that lead to the final battle.
Special effects; this one is short I promise. The special effects department is something to be marveled at (heh), the budget and artists must have been extensive as the plot of the film itself. From the Hulk having Mark Ruffalo’s likeness in facial structure, to the suit looking like something believable, it’s a really impressive deal that they were able to create a film that won’t snap you out of paying attention due to something so completely ridiculous. While the film has it’s fair share of ridiculous things (read:large scaly mechanical flying snake things) , the special effects team and cinematography did a great job of working together to create a piece of art that one can view and see as semi-believable, or allows us to view the film without having to stop and question anything. It’s just that well made of a film, it allows us to suspend reality, and live in a world where we have superheros as a magnificent role model (not that people weren’t already holding them up as role models)