First Impressions / Movies

First Impressions: Marvel’s The Avengers

– By Ben L.

First Impressions is where we sieve out the strongest, or weakest, points of a movie or game. It is NOT a full review, but one written by a lazy reviewer as we like to call it.

Marvel’s The Avengers is the summer movie that comic book fans have been waiting for, but a cast featuring five superheroes is always a recipe for a potentially disastrous movie. How does one ensure that there is equal screen time for the actors, and the spotlight does not just fall on one iconic character (in this case, the popular Tony Stark/Iron Man)?

Fortunately, Joss Whedon does an amazing job at, forgive the term, assembling a team of actors who bounce off one another through humorous banter and heated debates. Character introductions are kept brief, as audiences are assumed to have watched all the previous Marvel films – it is not necessary to have done so, but it certainly amplifies the experience. Having watched Thor (2011) would provide a better understanding of Thor’s uneasy relationship with his half-brother Loki, the antagonist in The Avengers. The weakest link among Earth’s mightiest heroes unfortunately is Agent Barton/Hawkeye, whose story could have been further developed as he stars in his first feature film following his cameo in Thor. Still it is good to see Jeremy Renner holding his own among a group of superheroes who have already established themselves in previous films.

Mark Ruffalo, the third actor to be cast as Bruce Banner/Hulk, is a pleasant surprise. Following doubts over the casting decision to replace Edward Norton for the green monster, Ruffalo delivers in what could be the best Hulk performance so far as he brings a more light-hearted side to the bad-tempered goliath while trying to prevent the dangerous transformation from happening. Against his fellow scientist Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., who is known for his complacency and ego, Banner contrasts excellently with humility and polish.

If Batman Begins was the definition of how a superhero should be portrayed on the big screen, The Avengers has set the standard for a team of superheroes. Cheery dialogue and exciting action sequences make this the best start to the summer blockbuster season. Make no mistake, The Avengers is a very well-made superhero film, but not the best, and it will be interesting to see how Spiderman and Batman will deliver when they sneak into theatres in June and July respectively.

Stay tuned for our roundtable discussion on The Avengers with the blog’s contributors.

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