I have been looking forward to this film for quite some time. Appealing to my inner nerd and outer writer I loved the idea of characters for numerous films coming together in one film to fight the forces of evil. It sounded like an opportunity for a collection of great actors to be part of complex and epic story of what it is to be a hero. I saw The Avengers last week at the cinema and man was I disappointed.
Let me start by saying that I was pretty well prepared for this film having seen the four films that were it’s direct predecessors, Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor and Captain America. I know some would argue that the 2 Hulk films also fall into this category but considering that neither Eric Bana or Edward Norton were in The Avengers and we had to put up with Mark Ruffalo, I decided to stage a protest. One I might cave in to very shortly and watch the 2nd Edward Norton film ‘The Incredible Hulk’, since I hear it is far better than The Avengers.
This film had so much in it’s favor, not only did it have a massive budget and a great cast, it also had Joss Whedon. The writer of Buffy, Angel and Firefly, with one of the biggest cult followings in the world and one one of my favorite writers, he was great choice. And he is no stranger to comic book adaptation writing the far superior ‘X Men’ in 2000.
So what was wrong with this incredibly successful blockbuster you might ask? Well first off it had no heart. Where it’s four predecessors had journeys of character discovery, how Thor over came his ego and Captain America his weakness and Iron Man his playboy ways, all this film had to offer us was a lot of dudes with big muscles bickering. While the wit of Tony Stark embodied by the wonderful Robery Downey Jr is still a highlight, these characters inner journey is very shallow. What do they all overcome to become a team, other than their own self love? Not much.
So with very little inner journey to speak of for any of the characters, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow proved to be the best and even it was pretty thin, at least the plot is stellar. No it’s not, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is no Heath Ledger’s ‘The Joker’ from ‘The Dark Knight’ by any stretch of the imagination in fact he couldn’t be less intimating or cool if he tried. With a ridiculous outfit and weak persona, I wanted to hit the fast forward button every time he came on screen. And as for the wave of demons and space monsters he released through an intergalactic portal, well shouldn’t there be more to beating the enemy that simply trying to hurt it. I like my hero’s to use their brain as well as their brawn. On top of that the science behind the portal was far too complicated and over blown and took far too long to explain. In fact the film was too long in general.
And where was the romance? While all the other films had a romance central to the story like Jane Foster and Thor or Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. This film was decidedly devoid of romance. I mean surely they could have teamed Scarlett Johansson’s character up with someone, I think they were hinting at something like that with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, but I mean give me a bit of sexiness. You needed something lighter to break up the action other than just lots of banal banter. A reason for this might be that there is an Iron Man 3 film coming out next year as well as a Thor 2 and Captain America 2 so maybe they didn’t want to waste the individual character story lines. But really why do this at the expense of having nothing interesting happen to characters personally in this film.
Having said all of the above I would like to state that I am still a believer in the marvel franchise and will probably still go and see all the up coming films. But I think they missed an opportunity here, they had everything they needed to make a great film and they wasted it.