Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Avengers: From A Non-Comic-Fan's View

Heyya Peeps!

OK, its time for another movie review from moi. Me, Mr. Hubster & Deena managed to go see what's possibly the most hyped over movie this month:

::The Avengers::

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Now, before I start, let's be clear:

I am NOT a comic geek / fangirl / follower. Whatever knowledge I do know about comic characters are what I learned from childhood cartoons, movies, and the occasional gushes from my comic-freak sister and cousins. I couldn't give a hoot whether the superhero I'm watching is of Marvel lineage or DC. Heck, the only comic I ever followed in my life was Slamdunk, and even that was just a phase. So to you Marvel fanboys and girls, please excuse any misconception and inaccurate assessments in this review. I'm just calling it as I see it -- Another superhero movie.

So, based on the posters and trailers, it's pretty clear that this movie has a collection of Marvel superheros, from the ever-popular Iron Man to the obscure Hawkeye (who??). Rounded up by Colonel Fury, The Avengers are made up of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow & Hawkeye. From the get-go I was abit miffed that there was only one female superhero, but I guess it means less over-tight, not-enough-material costumes to objectify women to. :P

[SPOILER ALERT!!! Although I'm preddy sure almost half the Malaysian population has already seen this, those who haven't might not wanna read from this point onwards ;)]

The storyline goes something like this: Colonel Fury (Samuel L. Jackson of Star Wars) and his subordinates in S.H.I.E.L.D were experimenting on a power cube called the Tesseract that apparently Iron Man fished out of the sea with Captain America (I missed this movie) to manipulate the powerful electric-like blue current gamma energy this power cube emanates to create some weapon of mass destruction for the Government (isn't it always??), when the the cube suddenly opens a portal that allowed a human-looking alien called Loki to enter our world. Loki, coming from Asgard, turned out to be Thor's scorned half brother who has revenge and world-domination (basic alien mentality methinks) in mind. After turning Hawkeye, the scientist and several others rogue with the help of his magical staff (that has a similar Tersseract-like stone on it) and killing the rest, Loki took off with the power cube, leaving the S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters to crumble in his wake.

Amazingly, Colonel Fury, his assistant Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame) and Agent Phil Coulson (also present in the previous Iron Man movies) survived. To stop Loki from abusing the power cube's powers, Fury decided to call in the big guns: The Avengers. One by one the heroes come in, albeit reluctantly. Here's why they chose The Avengers:

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The Incredible Hulk: Purely for his brains. Besides, he's practically the poster boy for gamma energy accidents. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, squirms when the hulk in mentioned.

Iron Man: His superb state-of-the-art armour of course! Definitely NOT his ego or personality, although his sarcasm is his best suit IMHO.

Captain America: Because he's a soldier. Old fashioned idealism. Patriotism. Oh and his shield helps, of course.

Thor: Need we ask?? He's the evil villain's half brother for crying out loud. Know thy enemy and all that. His thunder-creating hammer does come in handy though...

Black Widow: The ultimate super spy. Deception and manipulation is her forte, mostly needed to wheedle out information from enemies and persuading peers to do her bidding. Oh and her killer bod doesn't hurt :P

Hawkeye: Apart from being an unbelievable good shot and a jedi-master with his bow and arrow, I have no idea why he's in the team. I guess that's why the directors had him turn rogue from the beginning... hehe.

Once The Avengers were rounded up, the lot of them took off on this cool fortress-like aircraft. The mission was to get the power cube and send Loki on his way before he destroys earth. They managed to track Loki down, and captured him while he was trying to get a bunch of museum visitors to bow down to his dictatorship. Smell the booby-trap, anyone??

So the whole gang and the villain were all packed in a battleship, mid-air. Wayyy too easy. Predictably, when you put too many supers with their bloated egos in one enclosure, all hell breaks loose, just as Loki was expecting. While the Avengers were busy arguing with each other, Loki's minions attacked the aircraft, crippling it in the process. The Avengers then clamber to keep themselves in the air, but it is no easy feat, especially with The Hulk on the loose. While the crippling aircraft was single-handedly being destroyed by The Avengers themselves, Loki escaped, killing Agent Coulson in the process.

Nothing like the death of good ol' Mr.Nice Guy to reset their perspectives. Now The Avengers were hell-bent on getting even with Loki and set aside their differences. With Hawkeye back in the game (apparently a good knock in the head did the trick), the gang was finally completed, just in time before Loki unleashed pure alien hell into New York by opening a portal that allowed his alien army to charge into earth. Awesome action sequence, mass destruction of the city, fantastical display of gadgetry commences. I was especially impressed by the alien army's carrier creatures that carried the smaller aliens in... they kinda looked like a cross between Sigourney Weaver's Alien & an oversized millipede. Iron Man's genius gadgets, The Hulk's pure brawn, Captain America & Thor's super weapons, Black Widow's exceptional shooting skills and Hawkeye's Legolas-like moves finally saves the day. Ok, ok.. so the then-rogue-now-cured scientist helped too. Happy ending all around, except for Loki that is.

The millipede-like alien vs Iron Man
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What I loved about this movie was the script. Loads of sarcastic jabs and witty comebacks between the supers. Some really laugh-out-loud moments too. There was also an equal balance of action, humour and melancholy. The storyline was no rocket science, but it would help if you actually followed all the past superhero movies ie. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor & The Hulk. The character development was also great, if not consistent with the prior movies.

The actors did an excellent job portraying the superheros. The mild mannered Bruce Banner was played perfectly by Mark Ruffalo. I've followed all the Hulk installments and even though Edward Norton's version was my favourite, I dare say Ruffalo's embodiment of Banner is abit more accurate to the comic/cartoon. I cannot imagine another man to play Tony Stark/Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr's tongue-in-cheek wit and dry humour played a huge part for the side-aching laughter bits. Chris Hemsworth is pretty good, although he can't seem to lose his Australian "brogue". And was it just me, or did Thor look like Tristan Ludlow's (Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall) long lost brother?? Hehe. What can I say about Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow? She has more depth in this movie coz there's more dialogue and character than her previous sidekick-ish character in Iron Man. Oh... and can I have a bod like her, pretty please???

The resemblance is uncanny, no?
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Chris Evans's Captain America is a tad boring though. Maybe its the character, but methinks Chris could've adopted more than just 1-2 facial expressions throughout the movie. And Nick Fury is... well, Nick Fury. Typical Samuel L. Jackson trademark acting. I mean, I think I could've told you it was him if I had watched the movie blindfolded. It was abit strange to watch Cobie Smulders take on a serious role after her kooky Robin character on How I Met Your Mother. Wish she had more screentime though. Same goes with Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts... I just love her to bits!

So all in all, I'd say The Avengers is a must-watch movie for this month. Joss Whedon did a fabulous job indeed. The characters were also well and evenly developed, and the action sequence was enough to leave some gaping mouths throughout the cinema. Even my Deena enjoyed it, and that's quite an accomplishment since she doesn't really like anything other than cartoons and The Walking Dead.. haha. She even has a favourite Avenger... guess which one?? *wink wink*

So till next entry, toodles!

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