Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Marvel Madness - The Avengers Review

I was browsing IMDb's top 250 the other day, as I do quite frequently when I'm bored, when I stumbled across what must have been a grave system malfunction...The Avengers is number 34?! Is this a joke that the movie geeks are playing on us? Thank goodness that it has moved down over recent days, I've been tracking its position, seeing as it was ranked higher than Sunset Boulevard, Memento and Forrest Gump a few days ago, but it's still apparently better than a whole array of classic films. Now, I'm not saying that the film was bad but the rave reviews that it has been garnering are, quite frankly, undeserved.

When I first saw the trailer a while ago, I thought that this action-filled, star-crammed blockbuster looked awful. A few positive reviews came in, so I decided to see the film with a more open mind. For such a big action movie, I felt it was very slow getting going, with not much happening in the first 30-45 minutes except some painstakingly long fight between Iron Man and Thor. I rarely get bored in cinemas, but if this film didn't get going, I was tempted to leave. Thankfully, the ending of the film was much better, with the speed picking up and the final action scene not being too long - thank goodness, because those eel/snake/monster things that kept crawling from the sky were starting to really irritate me. Admittedly, it was funny, with some jokes being really laugh-out-loud moments, and the concluding scenes made me see the film in a better light. However, a great film? As a 21st Century audience, do we really believe that special effects, fighting scenes, a bit of humour and some good actors make a film really special?

Let's compare this with The Dark Knight, proof that a blockbuster can be a genuinely great film. The fact that it was directed by Christopher Nolan already gives the film the upper hand, but I'll try to ignore that. The Dark Knight is filled with fantastic characters, portrayed by fantastic actors - I'm not saying the actors in Avengers aren't good, but none of them pull out a great performance. Each character in The Dark Knight is fascinating, has his/her own story but is developed enough that you don't get what you have in The Avengers. I admit I haven't seen the other Marvel films - and if this is the best one I don't think I want to - so perhaps the characters may seem better after knowing their back stories. However, this film should stand on its own two feet and quite frankly, there are just too many protagonists. A film should have a central character, a character whose fate the audience are really concerned about, but here you just have a handful of characters battling to have centre stage. I love Jeremy Renner but please tell me the point of his and Scarlett Johansson's characters.

The Dark Knight has the Joker. The Avengers has some corny exaggerated villain in Loki. There is no argument there.

Finally, The Dark Knight is full of surprises and shock moments. The love interest dies, the white knight's get half his face burnt, we think Gordon has died, we're on edge with what havoc the Joker will pull next. Most importantly, we don't know how the film is going to end. Were The Avengers ever not going to win? Were they ever not going to survive? The only slightly sentimental and unforeseen moment occurred when Coulson died, but he didn't have a strong enough personality or presence for that death to make a big impact.

I'm not saying that this film is trying to be better than The Dark Knight but the latter proves what a great superhero film entails. The Avengers is simply not that. Many people probably went to see it with their minds already made up that a superhero film with 6 superheroes must be better than with one, and therefore fail to see the slightly-better-than-average quality of this blockbuster.

In conclusion, wake up IMDb voters and get this film out of the Top 250.

Rant over.

Rating: 6/10

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