Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon (Story by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon)
(Based on a comic book created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
I thought this was pretty good, not great, but perfectly good and entertaining. I think one of the bigger hurdles though that it has is this just whiff of cheapness. I am sure this movie cost A LOT of money to make but I just think about how Nolan’s Batman films or Michael Bay’s Transformers (story and characters aside) look. They just look epic and huge. Despite what you think of them all the money that is put into them is up there on the screen. Now I don’t know if it was the budget of The Avengers or if it is the fact that Whedon is more comfortable directing TV but the whole thing just seems small to me and for something like this that has been building for years now and is the culmination of 5 huge movies it should feel HUGE. I think the character writing is definitely the strongest part of the movie but the directing felt really slack to me and without any tea definition.
I think the Marvel films thus far rate from really good (Iron Man) to mediocre and forgettable (Thor and Iron Man II). I really do enjoy that they went balls out “Comic Book” with them. This isn’t Nolan trying to make everything joyless and miserable, although I do like that for the Batman films, they are really embracing the colors and the over the top ridiculousness of these characters. They have survived so far in that format on the page so why reinvent what people have loved for 50 years for the big screen.
The movie starts off kind of disjointed but then really gets going in the middle. Clearly the best stuff in the movie is Downey’s Stark and Ruffalo’s Banner (the best version of the character we have seen thus far in films) bouncing off each other. It is the writing of these characters, and really all of them, that Whedon really nailed.
For a big Summer action movie most of it is saved for the final battle. Every gets a moment to shine, which is nice, but save for a few neat moments, the battle is the team fighting pretty generic faceless bug looking aliens. The main villain is Loki, and most of the drama comes from his relationship with Thor, but that was already the story of Thor so it just feels like a lot of been there done that. The villain’s plot really doesn’t make the same impression that something like Joker’s in The Dark Knight did.
For a major blockbuster series it is a pretty big achievement that they successfully created this on screen universe and I hope it continues to work out. The movies by no means are reinventing the wheel but they do offer a really good and fun alternative to the dark and brooding Batman series that is about to wind up. And based on the internet rumors and mid credit tease the cinematic Marvel Universe can only get bigger. Looking forward to it!