AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

There are two things that I’ve always wanted to shout out at the top of my lungs. The first is “BEERFEST!” The other is “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!”  I have now fulfilled both of those dreams.

It wasn’t until I took my seat in a theatre full of strangers who also clearly had nothing better to do on a Friday night that I began to panic.  I realized that I had been waiting exactly four years for Marvel’s The Avengers to come out, ever since the after-credits revelation in 2008’s Iron Man.

Just before the lights went down, I stopped being an optimistic fan-boy and regressed to my normal state of worrisome cynic.

I wondered if the movie would properly portray the characters I loved so dear, if it would be reduced to an action-first explosion-fest (like Transformers…or every Michael Bay film) or if it would just simply collapse on itself from the weight of too many characters and too much story.

I wondered, “What if it sucks?”

It doesn’t. It’s freaking amazing. Go see it.

I don’t care who you are. Whether you’re a die-hard comic fan or not, chances are you’re going to enjoy the heck out of this movie.

All my fears were squashed. I was so worried it would be overly complicated or under-developed. Yes, The Avengers is primarily an action movie. There are lots of things that go boom, which is all well and good, but the movie really succeeds because it’s the exact thesis paper that we were all hoping for.

Joss Whedon takes all the character development and story from five previous films and streamlines them into one direction.

There’s never too much focus on one character. Each character helps support the primary story, but we’re never allowed to forget who they are individually, where they come from and the unique role on the team. Everyone has their own time to shine, but it’s their interaction with the other characters that’s so great.

It’s only now you get the sense that these characters all live in the same universe and that all the movies leading up to The Avengers were all slices of the same pie. Sure, there have been tons of cameos and tie-ins, but each previous film focused far too heavily on itself to be too concerned with a larger picture. We see now that these aren’t just crossovers, it’s an entire universe.

This movie tickles so many individual nerd pleasure-centers.  Not only are we introduced to a larger picture of the Marvel Universe and given a story worthy of that universe, but the characters also stay true to themselves within it. Every line Chris Evans delivers as Steve Rodgers is bang-on Cap, it feels ridiculously authentic.

Chris Hemsworth makes a great Thor and Robert Downey Jr. brings consistency to his ever-lovable portrayal of Tony Stark, but it’s Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner who really surprises and shines through.

I know it’s been said before, but this truly is the best use of The Hulk in any movie ever. I’ve always felt that The Hulk was more interesting as part of the entire Marvel Universe than just on his own and The Avengers is proof of that.

There are so many moments that will just make you so happy.  Casual observers will get their kicks from these same moments, but it’s the comic readers who truly profit.

Look at it this way (this is the only spoiler I’ll give away): at some point, the thought “Holy crap, Thor and The Hulk are going to fight” crosses your mind.

And then they do.

I do have a few small and somewhat unwarranted complaints.  First, The Avengers is not the intellectual property of the year. There’s not much to dissect or discuss beyond, “How cool was that?” Granted, I don’t think anyone was expecting anything more than a superbly fun action film, but it does make you give an additional nod to The Dark Knight, which manages to both intellectual and fun.

But my biggest complaint is that I just didn’t get enough. I want more. It was the same feeling I got after Inglorious Basterds.  I just wanted to follow these characters even longer and see even more of their lives. I want more of The Avengers and it’s depressing that I don’t have it.  Granted, that’s a complete success on the film’s part not a failure, but I can’t help how I feel. I’m almost angry about it (and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry).

The Avengers is the perfect storm. It’s sharp, honed, and packs a punch. Marvel has been building a spear for the last four years and this is the tip. It’s truly an accomplishment that it manages to be everything you expected, everything you wanted, and so beautifully polished and complete. Whedon almost makes it look easy. This movie just works and it’s a total win.

Why you’re still reading this is beyond me. Go see it already, true believers!

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