Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Avengers (2012)

My hands are trembling as I type this. That should be sufficient indication of what I felt about The Avengers. The greatest build up in movie history, I waited patiently for four long years for it to come to fruition. First, there was Iron Man, then Iron Man 2, Thor and finally Captain America: The First Avenger. Each distinct, each entertaining. Finally, the wait is over and in the end, the payoff could not have been any better. In terms of spectacle and scale, it makes its predecessors look like small budget productions. At the same time, it is emotionally rich and very gratifying. The credit for that goes to one man, and one man only: Joss Whedon. The Avengers is testimony to what is possible when you give a creative genius nearly unlimited resources. This is Whedon at his absolute finest. The Avengers works, and works so fucking well.

I remember the last time I experienced such child like glee. It was when Woody and Buzz Lightyear zoomed across the road on a rocket to land safely in Andy's carton of toys. I was eight years old. I experienced a similar feeling when watching The Avengers. I laughed out loud, jumped for joy and jubilantly pumped my fist up in the air more than once.

The film's plot is simple. When the Tassaract (introduced in Captain America) is taken by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), he uses it to unleash his army and take over the Earth. To stop him and save the world, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) launches the Avengers Initiative. He brings together Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to take on Loki and his evil army. But first, they must learn to work together as a team if the world is to have any shot at survival.

Sure, the plot lacks nuance. Of course, there are holes in the story. But in many ways, its simplicity and single mindedness are its greatest assets; for Whedon uses the opportunity to focus on the characters, toy with them, flesh them out and establish them firmly in the collective pop culture conscience of a whole new generation. There will be plenty of time for clever plotting in Avengers 2, which is an inevitability at this point. He uses his signature skill of deftly balancing humour and high octane action and drama to deliver gripping, thoroughly satisfying popcorn entertainment, with plenty of heart.

The film has some impeccable dialogues. Few writers do attitude as well as Joss Whedon and The Avengers is bursting at its seams with attitude. Not just Tony Stark, each character in the film has their moments of unqualified glory; even Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). Therein lies Whedon's greatest triumph. The masterful puppeteer that he is (testified by his TV resume), he balances these heavyweight, larger than life characters beautifully. No one character is allowed to dominate, as much as Stark (and his fans) would have liked. They are established as equals, as a team, not just on paper but also on the screen. That is a tough task; but Whedon makes it look so fucking easy.

In terms of action, the film boils down to two mammoth battle scenes, one in the air and the other in New York City. A lot of imagination goes into conjuring up these sequences and unarguably, the mammoth budget is extremely well spent. Although he takes his time to come to it, when the action does come, Whedon delivers plenty of mind-blowing moments. At the same time, he is assisted by a brilliant cast that looks absolutely stunning and works well as a team. Unlike Thor, Tom Hiddleston really gets to shine as Loki here. Scarlett Johanssen not only is a classy actor but is also undoubtedly the most beautiful woman in the world. What more can you ask for?

Ultimately, The Avengers is not only a stunning conclusion to a series, it is a refreshing start of a new one. With Whedon at the helm, the possibilities are endless. As a superhero movie, it is closer to Superman than The Dark Knight, and better for it.  It is a very American work of art, one that pays due homage to its rich cultural base and yet, reinterprets it creatively for a much wider audience. Movies like this give blockbusters a good name and remind us why we love watching them. So buckle up people. Hearts will race. Adrenaline will rush. You are about to witness an epic movie.

Rating: 5/5

P.S.: Don't leave when the end credits start to roll. You may regret it.

1 comment:

  1. never seen u using profanity for ur reviews. but anyways i'v seen it twice already..the movie has probably one of the grandest climatic sequences and our hulk was a total surprise!! mark ruffalo is brilliant