10 May 2012

Review: Joss Whedon's The Avengers [Excuse me while I geek out]

The moment has arrived for fans from Earth. The excito-meter isn't going to come down until fans say so. The movie has SMASHED the box office record, I usually don't give a damn about box office and I still don't. But this is a huge victory for Joss Whedon. We are unanimous on Joss' achievement -- The Avengers is close to perfection. Rarely a movie is so awesome I need and want to watch it again straight away. Last time I watched a movie twice in a week was Inception. Great flick but because I didn't understand it the first time, I had to watch it again.
"[Inception] was probably just about the most ambitious film I've ever seen… wait a goddamn second… Marvel Studios is going to take all their top superheroes and put them all in The Avengers? That's the most ambitious movie I've ever seen." -- Robert Downey Jr, Comic Con 2010
2 years ago at Comic Con
It feels like yesterday when the cast of The Avengers was gathered and introduced to fans at San Diego Comic Con. (PS: That was the year when a fan was stabbed by a pencil. I thought I just throw it out there.) It's a plan five years in the making. The studios has been working around the clock to make Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers. Marvel certainly knows how to get fans excited, they don't let us wait, they don't forget us. Marvel knows how important it is to make a great superhero movie for fans.

2 years later at the red carpet Premier of The Avengers
I've mentioned previously that Marvel has done this right. Something like the Avengers movies initiative have never been done before by any studios and I doubt anyone would take that leap after what Marvel has achieved. While individual films such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America were successful, there was no guarantee that The Avengers would deliver. We are not just talking about fans who are devoted to one hero, we are talking about all of them. The pressure was on, and there is no turning back the moment Marvel announced the official go-ahead. If the Academy of Old people could only cast one vote for one superhero movie for the Best Picture and Director and Screenplay in their life time, The Avengers is the winner.

O Captain! My Captain!
Most superhero characters have been done to death, every few years we have a Batman, Superman and Spiderman movie, other superhero films were 'just another superhero movie'. Someone has to raise their hands and say "are we not capable of doing something new?" Iron Man, Captain America and Thor were a little less known to movie-goers unless you're comic book buffs. But finally we have some new superheroes to watch on the big screen! Could this be the decade of Marvel Studios? Could Marvel be the Apple to PC in the film industry? Is it just me or The Avengers is the iPhone fans have been waiting to line-up for?
I am not a comic book fan, but I happen to know a few. They know their heroes and they know every story in every timeline and crossover there is. They grew up with this stuff!  On on hand, diehard fans are the one the studios need to please, but on the other hand there are people who aren't comic book fans such as myself. I knew little about Captain America, so I had to rely on Wikipedia to know every fibre of the story. Marvel has put me under influence and I confess -- I Google'd Howard Stark. Don't judge me! I like fondue too.

Marvel Studios truly flexes their muscles! The recruitment of crew and cast were flawless. Despite having multiple directors and writers to drive individual movies, everyone involved share the same vision. The connection was never lost. Finding Easter eggs and the bonus scenes in Iron Man, Thor and Captain America were one of the key things I looked forward the most. 

The quest of finding the right writer and director was important, should they have chosen a more seasoned director/ writer -- let's say James Cameron or Tim Burton or JJ Abrams -- the outcome might have been different…not necessarily bad, but just different from what Joss Whedon has achieved with The Avengers. Joss totally brought his A game. This is his win and this is the moment for him to shine and flick Fox the finger!

Joss Whedon is no stranger to fans, his cult status is God-like. The most important thing about Joss is that, he is a fan, he made stuff he'd want to watch. For those who are not familiar with Joss' previous works may not have realise it but The Avengers has his style written all over it. Only writers like Joss can find a place for each character to shine through the snappy dialogues, the awesome one-liners. the humor, the characterisation. The humor, action and dialogues were just perfectly integrated.

"He is my brother!" [He killed 80 people.] "He is adopted."
I think equity itself plays a big part in this movie, Joss was able to give each hero a good amount of quality screen time and it's well integrated into the story. Team dynamic plays a huge role in The Avengers. While each superhero is awesome, they don't necessary play well together as a team. Joss wrote a great story, each character's story was told beautifully. I didn't feel any character was stealing thunders or anything, they all had their moment to shine one way or another. Every character is capable to shine regardless of who they are; every character is capable of standing up and be a hero; every character is capable of having a sense of humor; everyone is capable of having that kick ass moment.
When Iron Man the movie first came out, I didn't care so much. I thought it was just another superhero movie. But it has grown on me. Robert Downey Jr was born to play the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. He totally owns this role. I love the Iron Man armour in The Avengers. The man has style.. like GQ style! SHOWMANSHIP is what RDJ/ Tony Stark/ Iron Man is all about! I totally geeked out when Tony Stark revealed he was a big fan of Bruce Banner. PS: I've been a fan of RDJ since Chaplin.

Just when I thought Tony Stark/Iron Man was taking the lead, Captain America finished strong as a leader and calling points. I love Captain America/ Steve Rogers. [OK time out!! my friends know that Jensen Ackles will always be my Captain America.] But Chris Evens has done a brilliant job, I almost have a girl crush! I can't cheat on Jensen, I did say "almost" didn't I? Chris Evens is growing on me! I watched a few of his movies, but never really paid attention. Being Captain America is the best thing he'd ever done as an actor and I am so glad he didn't turn down the role afterall. I like the Cap, I love the backstory, I love how old fashion he is. I love the fact that the world's first hero was a tiny person, a human with a good heart. And he gets the monkey joke! What's not to love about the man in tights? PS I like his suit in Captain America: The First Avengers better. I hear some girls said "I like him without it."

"I kick Green Arrow's ass!"
Just when I thought Agent Coulson was a minor supporting character, he became a hero. Coulson has appeared in all previous movies except Captain America: The First Avenger. I love characters like Coulson. If there is an Avengers convention, I am so going to pay to hug him. I LOVE the fact that he went all fanboy on Captain America. I just totally LOVE those moments! Oh Coulson, you are so cute! Coulson is us! What about Nick Fury? Can Samuel L Jackson get any cooler than this? He is so cool, I need a jacket whenever I see him on screen. I've loved his acting since Pulp Fiction.

I like Hawkeye/ Clint Barton. Too bad we didn't really get to see a lot of him, but I think he could totally kick Green Arrow's ass. I am interested in knowing his backstory and the story between him and Black Widow. Hawkeye has one of the hottest shots in the movie, when he threw himself off the building, he turned around and shot the arrow to the wall of the building and smashed through the window. HOT! I like Jeremy Renner, I think he is very down to earth and he is a good actor. I've named his biceps -- Jeremy 1 and Jeremy 2. Creative, I know! I name everything.

"I totally see how this is a party.."
Scarlett Johansson said in a recent interview that Joss is gender blind. Aren't we all sick of the whole "why do you write these strong female characters?" thing? "Why don't you ask the other 100 guys who don't?" [Joss Whedon, Equality Now's award acceptance speech.] Only two female characters were featured in the movie, I like them a lot! Black Widow was awesome, I really like Scarlett in this role, while Black Widow may not be as iconic as Catwoman or Wonder Woman, I'll pick Black Widow anyway! She has flaws and a past that haunted her, a past she wanted to wipe clean. To me, she is like Sarah Walker from Chuck, the kind of strong female character who has a dark past but now she is kicking ass and saving people. I dig that. Scarlett has been in many movies, but I see why she is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, she really tried to do different roles and she is more than just a pretty face. Girl crush!

Black Widow as a Nanny.. I knew it! I knew she was a spy!
My trip to Lexington Candy, NY.
I just can't help it every time I see Scarlett and Chris Evens in same scene together in The Avengers. It's funny to me, because they were in The Nanny Diaries (2007) together, ScarJo was Annie the Nanny, and Chris was Harvard Hottie. Rarely I like a chick flick, but I like The Nanny Diaries for some really strange reasons, may be I just love every movie filmed in New York? I even went to Lexington Candy in Upper East Side to eat pancakes when I went to NY last year. Yummy!

The other guy wants to come out and play..
If I really really really like really have to single out one or two characters that I really dig, I would pick the Hulk and Loki. Because they were a surprise hit for me. I never like the Hulk, I never understand him. To me, it's always like "Banner gets angry...he looses his shit...he goes green and incredibly big...he smashes things...he loses his pants...the end." What's missing in the previous Hulk films is the hero aspect of the green man, and this hero aspect really shined through in The Avengers. He didn't just smash, he was a team player and he was a hero. Kudos to Joss's take on the character and Mark Ruffalo's awesome performance.

I think the Hulk/ Bruce Banner has a LOT of Joss in him. I like the fact that Bruce Banner is not glamorous like Tony Stark, he doesn't want to get involved, he distances himself from the limelight, he doesn't think being hero is his thing. The whole gamma rays experience had put Banner in a very dark place for a very long time. Stark had this conversation with Banner about whether he realised that 'the there guy' actually saved his life. 'The other guy' had a purpose in Banner's life and he could use this for greater good. Once he realised this, he embraced it and be the hero he was born to be. I think this is ultimately the point of the Hulk/ Bruce Banner. And the Hulk is what Joss Whedon is all about. Joss is an atheist and made a point when the Hulk smashed Loki and I think he'd rather believe in humanity and heroes before he believes god.

"I am a god...." SMASH SMASH SMASH... SMASH
I love Loki because of the actor who played him. Tom Hiddleston totally shined in The Avengers, and he certainly improved a lot since Thor. Not that he was not good or anything, he was really good, but Tom was awesome in The Avengers! His good performance stole one or two scenes! I love his acting, his accent and his craft. From what I can see, Tom is one of the most fun actors around. And Loki could be funny. Joss humanised every character, even the villain is entitled to at least one or two funny moments. And that was totally unexpected.

Speaking of Thor, I knew I forgot someone. I totally think he should call Natalie Portman! It's always great to have an Aussie around. I really like Chris Hemsworth, I know every now and then, there is an Aussie in friggin everything. But I like him, and he should stick around more.. afterall, he is a God of Thunder. Can't wait to watch Thor II.

"The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more." They sure did.
To 3D or not to 3D -- that's the question. For the first time in a long time, I am glad I watched the movie in 3D! You know how fuzzy I am when it comes to 3D movies. But The Avengers has done it right!!! The shots were well designed, and those shots were not lazy. Not only I felt like I was standing on the alien turtle, some of the fight scenes were actually very comic-y. I can't wait to watch the special feature on the DVD, not to mention the extra 30 mins footage and the bonus bonus scene Australia didn't get to see!!! SNAP!

"Does this taco taste funny to you?"
The other thing is the music. When I found out Alan Silvestri was doing the scores for the movie, I was excited. Silvestri is one of my favorite movie score composers. Why? Four words -- Back to the Future! Silvestri also composed Captain America: The First Avenger.

"I watched you sleep."
Coulson *fell asleep* believing in superheroes, and I still believe in Joss Whedon. Marvel Studios had announced The Avengers II is already in the works. For pie sake, I hope they get Joss back to write and direct. The world won't be the same without him. In Joss we trust.

1 comment:

  1. I want to think that Coulson faked his death. I was waiting in the last scene that he would just show up and be like 'Glad they believed I was dead'


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