‘The Avengers’ has chinks in its armor, but holds up

By Jacob Pierce |@JacobPierce1_DE |Daily Egyptian

With its sequel coming out on May 1, this seemed the perfect time to look back at “The Avengers” (Rated PG-13; 143 min) directed by Joss Whedon, a film that for the most part stands the test of time and the recent superhero craze.

This being, hyperbolically, the 18 million time I have watched this movie, various mistakes are blatant. The opening is tedious and the secondary villains are generic. At the same time, the movie does not lose its luster. Visually the movie still captures imaginations and the story has character development that is still underestimated.

For those living under a rock the past 15 years, the film era we find ourselves in is the dawn of the superheroes.  What started as a whimper in 2000 with “X-Men,” now has become slightly overbearing with the majority of summer blockbusters being filled with capes.

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A film like “The Avengers” was once ground-breaking. It was the first time a group of characters from separate movies came together for an epic crossover, and was a victory for a geek entertainment culture. But does something like this movie still wow those who watch it today?

The answer comes close to a resounding yes. Now if you compare this movie to something like “Batman v Superman” or even “Captain America: Civil War,” the original film may seem small and quaint in comparison.

But even in film, one must look to the past to understand the present. Without “The Avengers,” there is no Marvel Cinematic Universe. There probably would not even be a DC Cinematic Universe.

This movie established virtually every character in the film. While Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, and Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, were all introduced in different films before this, “The Avengers” is where each character became unique and was portrayed in a memorable way.

Half of this is because of the actors playing them, the other half is from Whedon’s fantastic writing.

All of the actors, excluding Ruffalo who debuted as Hulk in this movie, returned for this film. Yet, it almost seems like they are playing them for the first time. Whedon’s directing let each actor inhabit their roles. The way they walk, talk, interact; it is finally like they walk right off the comic page.

A major way to build any character is through small developmental moments rather than huge dynamic changing scenes. The way to show off who someone is and to build arches is through interaction between characters. Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, befriending Tony Stark over science, or Thor and Loki talking about their childhood is just as important as a battle scene.

One of the awe-inspiring moments of the film visually is the New York battle scene. While “The Avengers” is riddled with fights and battles great enough to satisfy any nerd’s appetite, this ending action set-piece not only looks amazing, but also tells a story.

Because the film has several main characters, several narratives are told. Each hero has his or her own development, a personal story going in this fight. All of these elements come together to make this film great.

The major mistake of “The Avengers” comes from its choice in secondary villains. While Loki is one of the best comic book villains ever in this film, his army of aliens called the Chitauri fail to bring the same devious deliciousness.

They serve as the most generic of generic villains. Aliens who instantly fall down once their portal goes away, making it very convenient for the team to stop fighting. They are faceless and lack personality, making them hard to connect to.

In a film full of colorful, dynamic characters, they may as well been nameless robots; only there for the heroes to punch.

Stars: 4.5 out 5

 

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