Okay, I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies. I’ve liked most of what I’ve seen, but never thought they were the greatest movies on their own. Too often it felt like appeasing fans that were already fans of these characters, instead of creating dynamic movies to make new fans. The first time I saw a superhero movie really break from the dull plot formula was “X2: X-Men United.” Then “The Dark Knight” really destroyed the mold with a movie that was fantastic on its own.
“The Avengers” is now the first Marvel movie to join that club. In a gutsy move by the studio, they’ve spent years making movies to set up characters and franchises to all come together for this epic collaboration. This could have messed up a trillion different ways, but Marvel put its faith in someone very smart: Joss Whedon.
Marvel has had plenty of good storytellers before like Jon Faverau and Kenneth Branaugh, but their movies (“Iron Man 2” and “Thor”) never completely gelled and had fill-in-the-blank plots that are too familiar with these movies. Whedon was given enough time to really work out the story and…wait for it…actually write a damn good screenplay.
“The Avengers” rocks with its creative and fan-filled moments of action awesomeness. Yet after having spent a few days thinking about it, that’s not at all what I’m thinking about. The reason people are so pumped for this movie is because of the characters. It’s not seeing what is going to destroy New York this time, but it’s seeing Iron Man and Thor and Captain America all in the same frame. It could have been a movie where they all take turns punching the villain, but instead Whedon really focuses on the dynamic of this illogical team.
The way the film pairs certain characters up and has them challenge each other is what makes this a great movie. Whedon knows these heroes so well that it is never just a costume. There are elements that make Captain America, Captain America and that’s why we like him. I didn’t mind his movie last year, but it felt like every other origin story. This was the first time that I really found myself liking and rooting for people like the Captain or Bruce Banner (The Hulk). It wasn’t just the actors and the action; it was a wonderful introspective of how they all function (or often not function).
Everything else just rocks. The movie is hilarious from beginning to end with so many wonderful one-liners and visual gags. The action is bold and exciting. Even during the movie chaotic moments, the story is so focused on making sure it’s an ensemble so every one of the core team is doing something vital at every moment.
This is what all superhero movies should be. It’s a celebration of the characters that have endured for so many years with a story worthy of all of their power. It’s still shocking…they really did it.