Earth’s Mightiest Box Office…

To date, it’s been reported that the Joss Whedon helmed film, The Avengers, has taken in about $207 million dollars.

Whether people loved it, hated, it, or hadn’t even seen it yet, almost everyone has some opinions on the film.

After seeing the movie twice, here are a few of my observations….(possible spoilers ahead, so be warned)

I’ll start with The Good:

  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. A casting decision, I had assumed, was rushed to make the Comic Con reveal. Obviously, not. Ruffalo’s Banner was the best portrayal I’ve seen in any of the Hulk movies up to this point. The right combination of brilliant scientist, hero, and ‘guy just looking to keep it together’. As ‘anti-reboot/re-imagining’ of movies as I am,  I can honestly say that when they ‘re-boot’ the Hulk franchise (again), with Ruffalo as Banner, I’ll be looking forward to it.
  • Shared spotlight. At first, I figured it would be “Iron Man and The Avengers” with Downey Jr. hogging the spotlight and the plot being very Stark-centric. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I think this is where Whedon shines, giving everyone ‘something to do’ and making sure they each got a turn in the limelight.
  • The special effects. Everything from making sure the CGI Hulk looked like Ruffalo and not some random, green, roid monkey to the giant, flying, space slugs, it all seemed to flow. While it was an effects heavy film, I never once got lost in them.
  • The Plot. I had read where the plot might revolve around the “Civil War” series and I was glad to find that not to be the case. While it could have been interesting, I’m glad they started where all good movies should start….the beginning.
  • The Council. Yeah, I know it was sort of cheesy, but I sort of dig the ‘shadow government’ type thing. It has the potential for some interesting storylines as well as giving Fury some conflicts.
  • The Hulk. The member that I thought would be the weakest (yes, I know ‘Hulk strongest one there is!!), character-wise…not Banner, mind you, I’m talking about the big, walking, green mass of CGI…turned out to be one of the most entertaining. The bits with the ‘Thor sucker punch’ and ‘Loki beat down’, were awesome. I’m thinking the Hulk just doesn’t like Asgardians? 😉

And The Bad:

  • Nick Fury. Well, at least Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Jackson’s Fury….it’s just that he didn’t seem to have enough to do and no one seemed to care.  The original (616 Universe) Fury had a lot more background to him, having fought with Cap back in WW2, then getting a derivative of the Super Soldier Serum (the Infinity Formula) to help slow his aging. More “James Bond/Intelligence Spook” than Jackson’s “Pulp Fiction Jules With An Eyepatch”. Nick Fury should have been one of the most interesting characters in the whole movie. I’m guessing Jackson’s Fury is supposed to be ‘shadowy and mysterious’ but he was so mysterious as to be uninteresting…at least compared to the rest of the characters. Maybe he’ll get some better treatment in the sequel.
  • Maria Hill. I know a lot of the current Avengers fans were happy to see her and since I haven’t been reading comics much, lately, I wasn’t that familiar with the character. For my buck, they could have taken the minuscule amount of time spent on her to, maybe, put a bit of time into Fury’s background.
  • Captain America back story. I was so waiting for some scenes showing Cap trying to acclimate himself to the modern-day, the ‘fish out of water’ scenes, and all that…but nothing. I also wanted to see some banter between Stark and Cap regarding Howard Stark. While we did get a tiny bit of that, I think it should have been expanded. Granted, I realize they only had so much time to work with and this is more of a ‘nitpick’ than and actual dislike.  I have heard, though, that about 30 minutes of the film, left on the cutting room floor, focused on Cap getting acquainted with the 21st century. Maybe we’ll see that in the DVD extras?
  • Black Widow. Yes, my wife will kill me for saying this, but I thought she was fairly weak, character-wise. Again, I realize time constraints but a bit more background would have been nice. And…what…no Widow’s Bite?? Come on!
  • Hawkeye.  I couldn’t mention the lack of back story with BW and leave good ole’ Hawkeye out. He spent a good part of the film as a mental slave to Loki, so all we get to see of him is, basically, a zombie….and not the cool kind, either. His ‘remote controlled arrowhead’ quiver was pretty nifty, though.
  • Agent Coulson. I could have done without him, to be honest. Yes, I know he was there to tie it all together, but it seemed like he spent the entire film trying to stifle a smile and acting as comic relief. Again, didn’t hate his character but I felt he ate up screen time that could have been spent on others. I’d be willing to bet, though, that there’s a chance you could see him in the sequel. Life Model Decoy, anyone?

Obviously, most of the things I thought could be improved revolved around characterization and interactions and were, admittedly, more nit picky than anything else.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers. Mainly, because it pretty much surpassed almost every expectation I had going in…..

…and I like that.

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