Film Review: Joss Whedon’s The Avengers

So, after a basically last minute scramble to do no less than two mini-operas for the contest that Neil Gaiman posted on Facebook, I found myself tired yet at the same time also full of energies. I will talk about just what was involved in making the two mini-operas soon enough. But today was Victoria Day in Canada and my dad and I decided to go see The Avengers movie.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with my dad. I’ve been very preoccupied lately and I had to ignore the impulse not to go out anywhere today. Also, even though many of my friends liked this movie, I was still leery of it and the perfectionist side of me also hesitated: wanting to see all the individual movies of the superheroes involved in this film. Joss Whedon’s name as the Director also helped a lot in my decision and so I went to see what this was all about. So today, you’re going to get a little bit of a film review with very few–if any–spoilers for those of you who haven’t watched this yet.

Before I go on, I just have to add that I’d known the Avengers ever since I was a child. I collected three series of Marvel cards: including the holograms. I also read as many comics as I could get my hands on and any trivia as well. I really loved to read superhero and villain origin stories and information. While I know there were a few cartoons and such, I never gave much thought of an Avengers film on the big screen.

The movie started out in a somewhat confusing way, but was also pretty straightforward. I didn’t exactly recognize the main villain at first, but once introductions were underway his identity made a lot of since. Basically, the plot structure of this whole film was adding one potential catastrophe after another and seeing how the characters dealt with this “series of unfortunate events.” I guess you can say that about any action film, mind you, but then there is another element that was really interesting to see as well.

The best way to explain it is character conflict. Imagine a few super-powered or highly skilled people placed in a single place with differing viewpoints and agendas. This has been done before, and to death, of course but Whedon excelled in bringing this out and actually making it an integral part of the film. Chaos is a central force in Avengers–one which this particular villain is traditionally gifted at causing his foes–and watching it play out was just being able to look at pure, destructive genius. As you continue watching this film, you realize that in some ways, the heroes have just as much potential to be dangerous to the world in their state of disharmony as the villains that are actively and consciously trying to cause mayhem and destruction.

Of course, there is a lot of genius and epic courage in just how that chaos is–for the moment anyway–resolved. And even all of this would have just been slightly above the par of usual events that occur in an action or superhero movie if not for Whedon’s humour, witticisms and pop culture references–especially with regards to the Marvel heroes–that he is so known for in Buffy and all of his other works.

I actually really enjoyed this movie. It was a challenge. There have been many films where heroes and villains team up from different places and become generic cast-off or one-function characters. One character in this film perhaps functioned that way, but Whedon put a fair amount of psychological dialogue and character development in there to more than make up for it.

All and all, I would give this film a four out of five if not a five. Also, I had a few guesses as to whom the real power behind the chaos was and I was not disappointed: just awestruck. And I look forward to the near future when the Avengers assemble again.

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