The Avengers Review

The Action Movie to Beat This Year

May 2, 2012 by

The summer movie season officially launched today with one of our most anticipated movies of 2012, and damn, was it a freaking blast! The culmination of five prior Marvel films, The Avengers is the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow of various popular superheroes, wholeheartedly embodying the comic-book studio’s name (i.e., you WILL marvel at what you’ll see). Even though I had some more-than-satisfying action just last week in Safe, Jason Statham’s bad-ass rampage through Manhattan was like a salad appetizer compared to what The Avengers serves you.

It’s a very appropriate title, for The Avengers overall makes up for mediocre efforts from last year and this year’s crappy Ghost Rider sequel. I liked Thor‘s Shakespearean drama but found it a bit unsatisfying beyond that (especially the action). And after rewatching that and Captain America yesterday, the first avenger still remains my least favorite. However, The Avengers is a multi-headed monster that surpasses both of those movies… COMBINED. It’s as if all the action that was missing in Captain America: The First Avenger had been saved for the extravaganza that is The Avengers.

Every one of them gets a chance to shine in the spotlight, too. Sharing’s not a problem, even for Tony Stark, who’s played terrifically (as usual) by multiple Academy Award nominee Robert Downey, Jr., in his career-resuscitating role. As Iron Man, he’s primarily matched against Steve Rogers / Captain America, who’s again played well by Chris Evans. The other Chris (Hemsworth) also returns as the thunder from down under. Thor is essential viewing if you haven’t seen it yet because not only does it provide crucial insight into the background of the godly extraterrestrial, it also introduces you to Loki, the villain of The Avengers, and Hawkeye, played by multiple Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner.

Back from Iron Man 2 is the hottest Avenger, Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, whose curves are barely contained by her tight jumpsuit. Mmmm-mmmm. The only Avenger who isn’t a reprisal is Dr. Bruce Banner; as the third actor in the last decade to assume the role, Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo does a great job with the non-Hulk parts.

Finally, you’ve also got Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson returning as Nick Fury and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow returning as Pepper Potts, but she’s just kinda there to be there, trying to look good or cute. Trying. I don’t want to come off as shallow, but if anybody should’ve been replaced…

The intrasquad conflicts and the epic battles that arise from them comprise the highlights of The Avengers until the movie busts out of its relatively tame first hour of assembling the team. That’s when viewers are treated to what they’ve been waiting a year for: a no-holds-barred finale that would wow even Michael Bay. Arguably better than the final act of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the last hour of The Avengers makes it THE action film to beat this year. Yeah, I’d put it ahead of The Raid: Redemption because the next time I movie hop, I’ll be sure to catch the second half of The Avengers again.

What’s even more impressive is that just as I had thought while watching Wrath of the Titans, the post-converted 3D was so good that I figured “for sure this was shot in 3D.” The Avengers is exactly what you’d expect and want from a summer blockbuster: crowdpleasing, exhilarating, and intentionally funny (even hilarious at times). It’ll hold you over until The Dark Knight Rises on July 20 and Thor 2 next year.

Most of the preceding Avenger films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America) rewarded audiences with stingers, including our choice for Best Stinger of 2011, so you know The Avengers HAS to have one, too. Check out the extra scenes during and after the credits, the latter of which is an exclusive to the US. We had to wait longer to see The Avengers, and we got a little bonus for it! In the time between international and domestic releases, the stinger has already become our top user-rated stinger, more than doubling the previous champ. So go assemble your fanboy friends and check it out! The Avengers gets 4.5 out of 5 stars or A- or Excellent.

Our Rating4.5


by / Staff

User Rating 4.6
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based on 38 votes cast

Our Rating4.5


by / Staff

User Rating4.6
Please wait...


based on 38 votes cast

  • Xen11

    Fun.   It feels like one big action sequence that never really gets boring because they keep the characters, their personalities, and interactions front and center.  Great continuation of all the films.

    It not as deep as I thought it would be; as in I was expecting a more dramatic character piece with less action  more talk.   But I’m expecting that stuff for the sequel.   

    This was a wonderful initial get together that focuses more on fun and fan service (not saying that as a negative). For example, I think almost every possible combination of each Avenger facing off against each other happens, except for I think Hulk vs. Captain America cause they don’t have a beef with each other.  

    I’m thinking this will be one big trilogy in the sense that we get each character having an introduction movie and then an introduction get-together,  then we’ll get a second movie for each (we already have with Iron Man 2 and Incredible Hulk {I count 2003’s Hulk as the first}) with a second Avengers that really raises the stakes (I hope they have the balls to kill off at least one of the main characters for real in this particular universe.)      And then a final wrap up film for each surviving character and a final big Avengers film.  It should end sometime, hopefully they don’t consider it being redundant and forever like comics do.  And actors, as well as audiences, gets old and dies.   
    They’ll of course reboot it over and over for new generations as we all fall down.

    As for this film, it felt like a real proper comic book come to life.  Truly.   

    It’s fitting as a culmination of where we have come exactly 10 years later after the first record breaking comic book film, Spider-Man, in 2002 that changed everything.  

    It’s also a big “FUCK YEA” for fans of these directors, Sam Raimi and Joss Whedon, who were gods with their Evil Dead films and Buffy/Firefly series, respectively.  These films put them, not only in what is considered “the mainstream” but at the very top of it all because money talks.     

  • Just picked up on IMAX 3D tickets, had to settle from some bad seats since there’s only one AMC with fake IMAX playing it in the area. Even the damn IMAX at Universal Studios is only Titanic… FAIL!

    • Xen11

      I went to a sold out midnight showing in IMAX 3D, but I went in after everyone took their seats, so I had to sit in the very front, the seats right behind the very very front row of seats.        My body was kinda shaking for the climax of the film, I imagine similar to a woman having an orgasm.   It wasn’t the movie doing that to me though, it was how I had to position myself for those 2 hours just to see the screen (had to pretty much lie down in the seat with my knees against the back seat of the front row).  It was a real strain on the body, but so worth it.   

      Will see it again though at a later date in a more comfortable seat.

      And Titanic in IMAX 3D is freaking amazing.   I saw it for the second time ever after seeing it first in 1997.   I had forgotten how great it was.  I fell hard for this movie and saw it another time in IMAX 3D.    The Avengers is fancy free cotton candy fun, but Titanic is true cinema gold (in the emotional transportive sense) especially in IMAX 3D.     

    •  Haha based on all your other posts I wouldn’t have thought of you as a fan of Titanic Xen.

    • Xen11

      Why not?     Cause I curse a lot?    I’m a very passionate man and Titanic is a very passionate film.   The media mocked and overexposed that movie so much over the years that every time you hear that damn song it’s eyerollingly annoying.   But I decided to see it in IMAX 3D for the hell of it and I was really taken by surprise.   

      My point from before is that I can see why Universal Studios kept it in IMAX instead of moving it over for The Avengers.   Even I have the urge to see it over and over again because its so engrossing.  The 3D is probably the best conversion I’ve ever seen.  It’s truly a film that needs to be experienced in that kind of format.

      But back to the topic, The Avengers.  Great movie, getting a little too much hype, but it is well deserved, not for just the film, but for the fact that it successfully conjured a movie universe with all these icons that all have amazing origin films that culminate in this great ensemble film which flows naturally.  

      It’s also the ultimate film for this website, because the Marvel Movie Universe have made stingers a signature feature for their films and have raised the stinger to monumental heights.  

      I’m very thankful for this website because its really awkward sitting in the theater during the credits wondering if there’s something after.   The irritating ushers just stare at you like you’re an idiot no matter if there is or isn’t a stinger.  If there is no stinger, the usher holds an even bigger stare over you with victory in his eyes, as if to say, “You are a creep, get out of my theater, weirdo.”       That’s just not the ending to every film that I want.

    •  @Xen11:disqus Yeah, Titanic is a good movie, but the song and re-release in 3D… ugh, to me it’s just annoying and even if the 3D is amazing and the film is still good, I’ll pass on sitting through that story again for another 3 hours just to watch a random topless scene and the stupid boat sink. Much rather catch The Avengers a couple more times if I had to spend the money.

      And yeah, nothing worse than sitting in a theater after everyone else has left and having the usher who just wants to hurry up and do his job make you feel awful for wanting to make sure you don’t miss anything. Back when I used to moviehop to see 3-4 movies in one day for the site, I would be the last person sitting around movie after movie with some of the same ushers haha talk about awkward… I can’t believe none of them ever asked to see a ticket.

    • Xen11

      “moviehop to see 3-4 movies in one day for the site, I would be the last person sitting around movie after movie with some of the same ushers haha talk about awkward”
      I know exactly what you mean.    

    • I just got back from rewatching parts of The Avengers and watching Titanic 3D (first time since seeing it as a kid in theaters a long time ago) before it leaves my local theater tomorrow. Xen11, are you as passionate as the guy who was sitting behind me today? lol Titanic is definitely a good movie, but I couldn’t help but try to muffle my own snickering as this guy was crying throughout the end of the movie and still sniffling through the credits. I swear he cried the loudest when… (SPOILER ALERT???)

      … she threw the gigantic diamond into the ocean… nooooooooooo!!! hahah. I later overheard that it was his first time seeing it (he was about 20 years old).

      •  LOL That guy needs to book a trip on the new Titanic and throw himself off like the diamond.

      • Xen11

        No, I never cry in a movie theater.   I always think about the times I came very close to though.   Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Where The Wild Things Are got me really close to shedding a tear, but I have strong will.
        For Toy Story 3, I had to kind of detach myself from the ending because I knew I’d really have to cry if I didn’t.  (“It’s just a movie about toys, they’re just toys, they’re not real…. though it does represent youth and childhood, growing old , FUCK…… look at the dumb kid, think of how they are trying to force you to cry… OK, I’m good….no wait… yea, I’m good.”)Now at home, I’ll cry easily.  Though I’ve never seen Titanic at home, so I can’t say.   

        • I’m not ashamed to cry in a theater. Well, I’ve never sobbed or anything close to that, but tearing up in a theater is fine. It’s happened plenty of times, even recently. The last time i full out cried in one though was tears of laughter: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas. Also, I dreamt last night that I had a shawarma in New York.

  • I agree with everything said in the review. I really enjoyed it, maybe even a little more than you did Vinnie. I thought the build up during the first half was still pretty action-packed and done perfectly to get everyone ready for the massive final battle. And speaking the final epic battle, like you said, very similar to Transformers 3, but where Transformers seemed to drag on a little too long, this had me engaged from beginning to end. Props to Marvel for having the vision to see this through by bringing all these heroes together and even more props to Whedon for not letting it turn into a clusterfuck of superheroes *cough* Spider-Man 3 *cough* Iron Man 2 *cough* with their own side stories.

    I think the movie’s biggest strength wasn’t the special effects or action (which were both amazing, especially in IMAX 3D), but the chemistry amongst all the stars and how each character somehow had enough screen time to add to the film in their own unique way. Seems like now Marvel can keep making movies about any one of The Avengers and people will be dying to see it because of all the back-story shared amongst characters in the Marvel universe.

  • Xen11

    I saw it a second time today and its so fucking great.   

    When people would ask, “Is it really THAT great? ” due to the hype, I would respond that its damn fun and worth seeing but not exactly THAT great (as in one of the all time greats).    

    But now, I got to really study and see its execution and its workings; seeing the big picture after getting the initial viewing where you are just discovering everything.

    It really is THAT great.  From a writing and execution standpoint, its very impressive.  Of course it has the benefit of multiple films that give tons of backstory/depth/character that they can work with in this film.  But even with that, they go above and beyond with the characters.

    It really is deep as I wanted it to be, I just didn’t fully see that in the hysteria that was the midnight premiere.   I really hope they maintain and go beyond the quality of this piece.  Like I already said, I hope there are major permanent deaths of these icons and them really taking opposing sides, etc in the sequels.   I want it to make me fight tears back.   This movie is a perfect prologue or first act to something that can be something like what I imagine The Dark Knight Rises to be.