Movie review by Douglas Dial
The Avengers movie arrives in American movie theaters, Friday May 4th. Everyone MUST go see it. But, don’t buy one ticket. Buy at least two. I’ve been reading comic books since 1974. Owned a few comic book stores for over a decade. I’ve been waiting for this movie all my life.
In the 1990’s, Sony, Fox and Universal purchased the movie rights to Marvel comic book superheroes and made them world wide box office superstars. Names that were known only to comic fans were now known around the world. Blade, X-men, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Hulk.
Owning the rights to these properties, the studios were free to make any changes they wanted. As successful as the movies were, they could have made a lot more money if they hadn’t tried to fix what wasn’t broken. Galactus was changed from the greatest cosmic badass in the comics to a vague, nebulous, intergalactic dust cloud. Fox Studios saw the satisfactory box office returns as validation of that bizarre decision. Marvel Comics realized they could make more money by creating their own, better movies, with characters they still retained rights, without losing the magic that is uniquely Marvel. Thus, was born, Marvel Studios.
With the release of Iron Man, Marvel Studios showed that you make more money and earn greater critical acclaim if you stay true to the character. But, they started doing something unique and fun for the fans. They put a little teaser after the credits introducing a character known mainly to comic fans. Nick Fury.
Nick Fury was the first indication of Marvel’s ambitious plan. Nick Fury, in a section of the Marvel Universe known as the Ultimate Marvel universe, works with many Marvel heroes and was illustrated in the likeness of Samuel L. Jackson. A case of life imitating art of sorts with the real casting of Mr. Jackson. A team-up was in the works. An “Ultimate” team-up that would bring about world-wide butt clenching anticipatory excitement.
Nick Fury and his subordinate, Agent Phil Coulson, started appearing in other Marvel Studios films. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America were all tremendous successes. These are amazing characters with great stories to be told. They were all laying the seeds for what we’ve all been waiting for, The Avengers!
But, The Avengers needed a real world leader to make the movie as good as everyone hopes for and deserves. Enter, Joss Whedon. Nobody could make this movie better than Joss Whedon. There are Movie Stars playing legendary comic book superstars. They all make their scenes as good as if it were the sequel to each of their respective movies. Make no mistake, the real star is Joss Whedon.
As writer and director of the movie, he shows the depth of research and care to make each and every character play their part. It is a visual symphony of awesome! Joss Whedon’s previous successes have amassed a legion of fans that know his work so well and they’re ready to dine like a fat man at a chinese buffet. So, to all the die-hard Whedon fans, it comes down to this: this is the best episode of Buffy/Firefly, ever! Bring a Bingo card of Whedon-isms and be the first to call out “Bingo!”. You can check them all off, because they’re all there. And, of course, it all works.
*Soft Spoiler Warning*
The threat from Asgard in Thor’s brother Loki, the Cosmic Cube (called The Tesseract) from Capt. America, Stark’s latest egostroking achievement, Dr. Banner’s Gamma expertise, SHIELD’s super-secret plans and shadowed masters from the World Security Council an army of armed aliens. Everybody is BADASS!!!! All of those things woven together in Whedon’s patented recipe of amazing entertainment that makes you think, feel and hope.
***HARD CORE SPOILER WARNING***
Loki infiltrates the SHIELD base and steals the cube, Nick Fury tells Agent Coulsen we’re at war and gathers the team in a string of transitions that introduce the audience to the team. Cap, Iron Man Black Widow and Hawkeye (called Agent Barton throughout movie) meet up at SHIELD’s flying fortress, The Helicarrier, to hunt down Loki and the Cube, Dr. Banner is only there for his gamma expertise (right) stays on board while everyone else flies in a special jet to catch Loki in Germany, enroute to the Helicarrier, Thor steals Loki out of the craft to take him back to Asgard to answer for his crimes, Iron Man jumps out after him and insults both of them hilariously after finding them in battle on the ground, it’s Iron Man vs Thor, AWESOME!!! Cap parachutes down to stop them, Thor is pissed and hits Cap’s shield with his hammer! They agree to take Loki to the Helicarrier, Loki wanted to be taken there to destroy the team before it forms by causing Banner to Hulk out, Banner Hulks out, Loki does the one thing that ensures this amazing group of huge egos actually forms into a team called the Avengers, by giving them people to avenge. Hulk destroy most of the Helicarrier, Loki gets away, Nick Fury gives a speech, the team is set. Iron Man realizes where the attack is going to come from, the team gets there just in time, 30 minutes of non-stop balls-to-the-wall superhero action kickin’ alien butt, Loki tells the Hulk who Loki is and how things are going to be, Hulk does what Hulk does best, Iron Man’s selfless sacrifice and hilarious recovery, Thor returns Loki and the Cube to Asgard, lights come up in the movie house and everyone cheers with big smiles and immediately buys another ticket for the most awesome ride in town!!!!
Congratulations Joss Whedon! You’ve successfully taken James Cameron’s self-proclaimed, “King of the World!” status for you own! You deserve it! One request. Please, make sure Cap says, “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” in the sequel.
This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life. I feel like I can die a happy man. The Hold 322 crew gets a Bendis that lasts longer than four hours.