"We have a Hulk..."
Now, with that said, I have to say that, though I feel The Avengers was a good, solid film, it wasn't the greatest comic film of all time as a lot of people are saying, but that's just me. Though good in its own right, I wasn't necessarily blown away by the film. I wasn't left with the feeling that I would return again and again, like I was hoping to feel by the end. And believe me, this could very well be attributed to the fact that the epic, CGI-laden films have taken their toll on me and the universe as a whole. I'm not quite sure. But there were a lot of good elements in this film, in my eyes, that contributed to the success of this film.
First off, as I mentioned earlier, there's Joss Whedon. His mark as a director and a writer were clearly seen and felt in this film. Though a serious movie, Whedon didn't deliver a film that was an over-the-top, dark, melodramatic mess. It was just the right blending of quirks, humor, and action, which is something that Michael Bay achieved but epic-failed to do with the Transformers franchise. There were some moments/segments that seemed a little slow, perhaps, a little too even for my taste, but it was never to the point of boredom. But you know, I attribute this to Joss Whedon doing some decent character development, and that's always good to have in a story. I went away with the sense that the director really took his time and care with this film, which is not a feeling I always go away with when watching comic films in general. It was pretty loaded movie, so I'm sure I didn't take hold to everything I was supposed to, but I feel this is a film that will get better and better as I keep looking at it and discovering new things about it. Overall, a very well made film.
Believe it or not, the biggest impression left upon me was not from the visuals or the action, but the characters. In a word, there was substance to this film. Like I said, Joss Whedon did a fantastic job in developing characters, exploring the conflicts within themselves as well as the conflicts they have with one another. There were three performances/characters that really brought the magic.
To start off, there's Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Hulk. Some have argued that this was the best interpretation of the character so far, and I have to say, I agree whole-heartedly. As always, there was this lingering anticipation to see the lean-mean-green-fighting machine...onscreen (that last rhyme was totally unintentional :D), but when The Hulk showed up, he did not disappoint. The Hulk was a phenomenal CG character, very convincing when placed against the other characters. And for once, it wasn't just something cool to look at. I felt a little uneasy about the Hulk as he was going crazy, like, "Oh, that's why Bruce doesn't want to let him out of the bag," like he wasn't exactly a hero by the traditional mold. It's to be expected, yes, but again, Joss Whedon did it up, and when you do something right, it works every time, maybe in a way you didn't even expect, which was the case with me and this film.
Next, there's Tom Hiddleston's Loki, one of the best onscreen villains I've seen in a while. Here, we have a villain who attacks both the body and the mind of his opponent, emphasis placed on the mental assault. In Thor, I felt there were times that Loki was a little over-the-top, but I feel that Hiddleston truly honed the character in this film. In watching him, you get the sense that he's up to no good, enjoying his mischief as almost a child would, but there's this air of true maliciousness and sinister overtones behind everything he says and does. I saw this film with my father, a fan of the old Marvel comics, and he said that the filmmakers really did the character justice, consistent with what he was used to. To me, watching Loki was much like watching The Joker. I loved him, but hated him at the same time. A truly formidable foe for The Avengers.
And finally, the crown goes to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man. My opinion is not just of Downey Jr.'s performance in this film, but of his performance of the character in general. And in praising the actor, I would be wrong not to mention, yet again, the director of this movie. I love what Joss Whedon did with the character. Without giving anything away, Joss Whedon did something with the Iron Man character that had yet to be done, and I didn't realize it until I saw this film. Let's just say that Iron Man was finally established, without compromising anything about Downey Jr.'s interpretation of the character. But in general, I have to say that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron man is one of the all-star onscreen comic book heroes. With the Iron Man films, The Avengers included, you go away with so many memorable moments and even individual lines, most of which includes Iron Man. I can't say that I'm a fan of the Iron Man character, as I have very limited knowledge of him and was never into Marvel Comics like that, but I am definitely a fan of him onscreen.
Joss Whedon's The Avengers was a solid feat of movie-making, very well-made. I feel this project has finally solidified Whedon as the phenomenal writer and director that he is. In the end, I feel this was a good start to the Avengers universe. I say congrats to Director Whedon and crew, and I look forward to seeing more in the future. They can only go up from here...well, they'll go down after The Dark Knight Rises is released, but after that, it's clear skies for The Avengers :D