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Roundhouse Review: The Avengers

May 4th marked the official start of the Summer 2012 Movie Season with Marvel’s “The Avengers”. We can all agree that it’s simply awesome to see Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America all together on the big screen. But we also decided that having one of us review it just simply wasn’t enough.

So we’ve called on the heroes of the Everything Actioncast to assemble and give us their personal take on the blockbuster. Consensus? Overwhelmingly positive.

What a way to kick off the summer with, The Avengers, which takes the bar and has the Hulk throw it into orbit.  We’ve been waiting for this movie since the post credits scene of the original Iron Man and it lives up to everything you expected and wanted.

If Joss Whedon has one talent, it’s balancing an ensemble and giving everyone at least one moment to shine and there are at least a dozen “hero moments” for every character whether it’s the Hulk being fully unleashed on the Chitauri invasion, Iron Man flying in with AC/DC blasting to help Cap defeat Loki or Thor blasting the alien invasion with lightning.  Even smaller characters like Agent Coulson (RIP 🙁 ) get tons of great moments.  The best moments though are when the Avengers are teaming up and that scene where they are all circled back to back gives even more goosebumps in context than it did in the trailer.  It’s also amazing to see things like the Helicarrier on the big screen and all the threads from the various Marvel movies come together perfectly with Loki’s plan incorporating elements from all of them.

The tone of all the characters is perfectly captured as well.  Tony Stark is at his absolute snarkiest and pretty much every one liner and quip is genius (Favorite is probably him calling Loki “Reindeer Games”), Cap is at his most earnest and heroic, Thor at his most honorable and Hulk at his angriest, but finally in control.  Hawkeye has an especially interesting arc through the movie as he is brainwashed early on by Loki and is a villain for about 2/3 of the movie.  The only character I’m not really sure about is Maria Hill, who they are clearly setting up to replace Coulson but doesn’t really have much to do other than take orders from Nick Fury.

There are a few minor nitpicks, the number one one being they don’t really explain how Thor returns to Earth after the cliffhanger of the Bifrost Bridge being destroyed at the end of Thor.  They basically just say Odin managed to transport him back but I would have liked to have seen a quick scene in Asgard where Thor discovers a way back or Dr. Banner and Tony figure out a way to open a portal to Asgard.  The Chitauri are also not very developed and are basically just generic cannon fodder.

If the rest of the summer is even half as awesome as The Avengers, this is going to be one of the greatest summers in history.  This is an event that has to be experienced and the way the characters and plots finally come together is pretty much perfect.  Huge laughs, huge action and all your favorite superheroes, what more could you possibly want? (5/5)

There is a moment part way through “The Avengers” where Agent Coulson talks to Steve “Captain America” Rogers about how his suit has been revamped. “Aren’t the Stars and Stripes a little old-fashioned?” Rogers queries. “With everything that’s happening, things about to come to light,” Coulson responds, “people might need a little old-fashioned.”

While at face value it seems like Coulson is just referring to the Captain America suit and it’s old patriotic ways, he could also be referring to the Avengers themselves. Outcasts, misfits, volatile, but heroes nonetheless. Most of Whedon’s film drives this point home. They know that as people/beings they themselves as different in their personalities as they are in their powers. Stark’s ego rules all, Rogers’ is at first glance outdated, Thor is out of this world (literally) and Banner can’t control his anger and what comes after it. And these are who we trust the fate of the world?

Yes. And in the best Marvel movie yet, they come together in grand fashion to take on Loki and the invading Chitauri. Joss Whedon, who has long been at the altar of nerd worship, simply delivers yet again here with the succinct blend of heart, comedy (a surprisingly large amount) and unbelievable action. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of each character, and having read the comics and/or seen the movies, we do too. It’s not only intriguing to see them fight against each other, it’s also a blast to see them on the same team.

It hasn’t been this good or this easy. Anybody who has seen the dreadful Superman sequels of the ’80’s and the putrid “Batman and Robin” can attest. But since “Iron Man” and “Batman Begins”, studios are seeing the light. Put the smart nerds in charge, the ones who know how to pique the interest of the general public, and they will succeed. “The Avengers” is a near-perfect action-adventure movie and the 100%-perfect start to this stacked summer movie season.  (5/5)

Marvel’s long awaited super movie “The Avengers” has been released and yes, you can believe the hype on this one. As a movie that is trying to appease to kids and non-Marvel fans, this is a fantastic entry.  But don’t just take it from a Marvel nerd like myself (I think I can earn a Master’s degree in Marvelology), “The Avengers” is a great summary of all that related movie’s that lead to this gathering of heroess.

2008’s “Iron Man” laid the foundation of what the tone of every new Marvel should be; witty, action packed, low in romances, and something to do with super-weapons. This formula is repeated for every movie. Yet, it shouldn’t stop you from watching them. In fact, if you watched the progressive movie build up towards “The Avengers”, you don’t have to wonder why all this stuff is happening (Unlike some people in the theater who were wondering when Superman was going to appear).

Every Marvel hero has enough screen time to fulfill their roles in this film; Captain America doesn’t understand modern technology, Black Window does a lot of gymnastics, Hawkeye is a poor man’s Legolas,  Bruce Banner/Hulk cannot be stopped, Thor reflects on his powers and Iron Man hogs most of the movie. Even Nick Fury gets to do some cool things besides appearing in rooms and smack talking.   Minor characters such as Maria Hill, Pepper Pots, Agent Coulson, all add to the charm of the cast, and fleshing out small details that really connect with Marvel nerds (or people who are really attentive).

While it is awesome to see all these hero’s in one movie, the first villain group the Avengers tackle is Loki and his army of Chitauri (Skrulls in the Ultimate Universe, I did say I am Marvel nerd), which isn’t much compared to what else they could be fighting. In the comic version, Loki isn’t as organized or has the presentation like Christoper Nolan’s Joker. In fact, Loki is one of the many of Marvel’s running joke of short sighted villains that usually has all their plans back fire on them. Not much is explained about these aliens that the Avenger’s fight. They like war. Are in Space. And really trust Loki in opening a space gate. However, when the show down of Chitauri vs. the Avengers begins, it is everything you can imagine if you threw your action figures to fight.

“The Avengers” is a great blend of visual effects and super hero action; this movie doesn’t heavy rely on the visuals to tell the story and the story isn’t too corny to follow. If you somehow avoided all five marvel movies that lead to this assemble of avengers, I’m pretty sure nothing we have to say has convinced you leave your house to see this movie.  (4.5/5)

The Avengers have assembled! You know, for all the hype that was going into this movie, I was expecting to be disappointed, even a teeny, tiny bit on some level. In a way, I wanted to be disappointed. I wanted all the haters and nerd-ragers out there in interwebs land saying, “an Avengers movie will just never work!” to be right. No, not because I am bitter over the lack of a JLA flick, nor because I hate the Avengers. Quite the contrary, in fact. I wanted it to fail, even on a nitpicky level, because I wanted some sort of justification for how damn long it took this movie to be made!

Indeed, The Avengers proved to me, as has happened precious few times in the past, that some things in life are worth the wait. The Avengers was certainly, unquestionably, undeniably worth every moment that we spent drooling over what if and wouldn’t it be cool scenarios with the rest of the hoard of loyal comic book fanboys/girls on message boards. We got the answers, at long last, to several questions that had been keeping me up at night. Take that however you want to.

First of all, how would Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Dr. Banner resonate with fans and Hulk loyalists (the few, the proud)? Would the transition from Bana to Norton to M-Ruff be as rough as it sounds on paper? The answer: HULK SMASH PUNY CRITICS! This was my favorite Banner up to this point, which is impressive, as I was a fan of Ed Norton’s efforts. Secondly, how would the team dynamic play out? Would Hawkeye get the short end of the screen time stick? The answer: the time devoted to each character, proportionally of course, was very well-managed. For an ensemble picture, and arguably the most important ensemble in the superhero-on-film realm, the time given to develop each character’s micro-arc was perfect.

Most significantly, The Avengers was a success on several levels. Obviously, it made hella money. In fact, I have a good mind to call Busta Rhymes and advise that he re-release “Arab Money” with a more appropriate title, “Avengers Money”. In addition to being the biggest opening in box office history (until The Dark Knight Rises, that is), it represents everything a comic book movie should be: grounded in the comics (to hell with reality), handled in a loving manner by competent folks (writers, directors, actors, etc.), and part of a larger universe. The Avengers has proven to fans and filmmakers alike that the Superhero ensemble movie, when developed properly over time and allowed to take form organically, doesn’t just work, but SMASHES records. Though some assembly is required, The Avengers is undoubtedly greater than the sum of its parts. (5/5)

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