Thursday, May 03, 2012

The AVENGERS (2012)

by Reymundo Salao

When we talk about superhero movies, the finest ones that come to mind are the ones that have been taking the superhero concept seriously; the ones that have been open-minded enough to takes such concepts and use serious cinematic styles upon them. Movies like Spider-man 2, and the first two X-men movies have taken superheroes as real people, that is why they have been really great superhero adaptations. But I think cinema in general has already gone past the maturity and open-mindedness to take superheroes seriously. It is time to do way much better than just merely making superheroes realistic. Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight has always been the best superhero movie. It succeeds not only in the sense of being a superhero movie, but succeeds in being one of the finest movies ever made in Hollywood cinema. The degree of Dark Knight is very much off the scales, that I cannot imagine if any movie can even stand equal to it. Not until The Avengers.

THE AVENGERS is the kind of movie that you want to watch again immediately after the end. It’s not just hype, it’s not just the trend intensity; it’s clear and obvious that this movie is beyond spectacular, it’s euphoric.

Bringing together Marvel’s tentpole superheroes together in one movie; that’s not an easy task. You don’t need an ordinary director; you need one who really knows the comics AND has the dynamic talent to make a movie about an ensemble cast of characters work. Whedon is indeed the perfect choice to direct this movie. His work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, Angel, and Firefly has proven that he is the master of multi-character epics. Not only were those TV shows phenomenally successful and really well-made, but they are also sagas with rich, layered, character development. That aesthetic of Whedon’s style has been efficiently applied in this movie.

Whedon fleshes out all the movie’s characters. Everybody thought it was an Herculean task for him to direct a movie which features all four of the Marvel movies’ superstars; Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk. He accomplished that with flying colors… AND managed to give all the (seemingly) secondary characters an almost similar, fully fleshed out character development spotlight as well.

With dialogues that seemed to be one witty retort after the other, and one poetic burst of emotion after the other. Every second of the movie is precious. The film’s pace is appropriately hyperactive; there’s never a dull moment. There is always something interesting going on, there’s always something amazing happening, and there’s some witty line being delivered.

In a very subtle, indiscreet manner, many of the film’s visual shots look exactly like comic book panels, without looking like an intentional style reference. The reactions, the action, the angles, everything. It was fantastic.

And the action? Oh there is tons of action in this movie! You see an Iron Man vs. Thor vs. Captain America triple fight, you see Incredible Hulk vs. everybody, Hawkeye vs. everybody, Hawkeye vs. Black Widow, Loki vs. everybody, and the Avengers vs. an alien horde! The degree of action in this movie is just pure heart-pounding.

Often, when you watch movies like this, you would probably think to yourself “oh this character should do this or that” The way Whedon does it in this movie is that he is one step ahead of what the audience thinks. He gets ahead of anticipations and does what you wish for before even thinking about it. There is an unforgettable scene with the Hulk and Loki which is something that has been probably on all the minds of movie geeks, but no other director might have dared to do. Whedon does it in this movie. That includes all the other scenes in this movie; all are character-driven and cinematically explosive. The movie is indeed cleverly directed. There are a couple of sequences that make you think that it was going to be predictable, until it reveals a sharp detour, and just blows you away with the surprise. You can tell that the sequences were intricately thought of, to create an overall movie that is an instant unforgettable spectacle.

But at the core of this spectacle is a purely solid storyline and magnificent character build-up; this was a very meaty, healthy movie. It has multiple layers of script and character details, packed in a film that is easily chewable and consumable. Even if you have not see the previous Marvel movies, you will still be in awe and be marvel led.

THE AVENGERS is now probably considered the most spectacular superhero movie ever made. It is a sure-fire fun ride, a crowd-pleaser that does not sell out into going out of context. In fact, it uses all the spectacular aspects of the comics to good use and become this powerful movie that leaves everyone with a big wide smile. It’s not possible and plausible for anybody to be unhappy or discontented with this movie. It’s literally a marvel masterpiece.

Is that geek emotion talking? No it’s not. The AVENGERS is indeed immortally grandiose. I have no more words to praise this movie. THE AVENGERS IS BETTER THAN SEX.

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