The Avengers is classic Whedon, characterized by snappy dialogue and epic action sequences that a writer steeped in comic books like Joss could spend his entire career waiting for. It’s the culmination of several years of work behind the scenes by a number giant sized corporations and the result is a giant-sized film populated by larger-than-life characters.
For those who have been following Marvel Studios’ progress, The Avengers finally delivers on the promise being hinted at to fanboys everywhere, assembling the newly christened Avengers to fend off an extra-planetary attack led by a familiar villainous face from a previous film, Loki. All the heroes are pretty much where they were when we left them in their lead-up films, except for Bruce Banner, but given the actor swap out of Mark Ruffalo for Edward Norton, we can allow for a little latitude. At the heart of the story is the quandary that has been asked by fans and studio execs alike: How can we get these characters to work together effectively? Well, Joss Whedon has a knack for tossing diverse characters together, as seen from his scripts for Toy Story and Alien 4, and his impressive resurrection of his brainchild in Serenity, and the result is a script replete with both insightful dialogue and witty repartee.
To go with the diverse array of characters, we have an equally diverse collection of scenes, including a moody abandoned warehouse interrogation, a forest battleground, the desolate streets of Calcutta, the void of outer space, and inevitably the streets of New York City. The film literally grabbed a little something from everywhere to properly acknowledge the breadth of The Avengers’ epic scope.
As for the technical aspects of the film, it’s clear that Disney spared no expense, although I really could have done without the 3D. Too much of the film happens in the dark, and coupled with the umbrage of stereoscopic photography, it was tricky to make out some of the action.
There were some out there who wondered about how Whedon, who made a name for himself working with strong female characters, would fare with just one woman in the mix opposite of some of the manliest men in fiction. Scarlett Johansson definitely turns in a strong performance, but the truth is that she is sidelined in favour of those with super powers, resulting in less cross-character flirting than we might be used to, but the abundance of super-human feats fills that gap admirably.
If I was left with any pressing question, it would be “where do they go from here?” Even though the post/mid-credit sequence offers up a juicy morsel of what could be around the corner, the story elements used for each of the many characters are so on the money, that it has me scratching my head for what they’re going to be able to do differently next time and still keep the same balance. Although, I guess the important nugget in there is that I’m already wondering about next time, because even though I could stand to watch this movie another 5-10 times, I’m definitely hungry for more.