9. The Avengers (PG-13)
Runtime: 142 minutes
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Joss Whedon
I was feeling a bit skeptical when the marketing push for this movie began last summer (hell, some would argue it started all the way back in 2008 with Iron Man). The trailers and clips that I saw didn't instill a lot of confidence that this movie could deliver. And although I respect Joss Whedon, I've never really got into any of his creations with the notable exception of Dollhouse (which now that I think about it, I wasn't too found of). But, nevertheless, I was still stoked enough to see how the culmination of half a decade's worth of work and 5 films was going to play out. I mean, there's a reason it was number 9 on my list. And to say the movie went above and beyond my expectations is an understatement - this is by far one of the most thrilling and fun superhero movies to be put on celluloid.
Granted - you have to invest a lot of time in this movie. And I'm not talking about the runtime for this film. I don't think someone who has never seen the previous Marvel films could follow the film and be immensely satisfied. Which is fine - it's still a good movie that stands on its own, but it's bolstered by the five other films that preceded it. I have no doubt that Marvel has a plan already mapped out for the next two installments (of course there's going to be a second and third Avengers - it's inevitable) because of how they stringed together all these movies. Obviously if you stay at the end there's an exciting storyline developing for the comic book fans.
People talk about the action in this movie, but I really want to delve into the best part about this movie - the set up for the Avengers. Part of the big appeal to this movie is how the team is assembled. It's just fun to see these characters you've come to know in one or two movies collude and fight and eventually team up to fight against an alien invasion. When they're all on the helicarrier (yes, it's a helicopter/air carrier that can go literally invisible. Only in America) and discussing how the hell to find the Tesseract (the all important cube of energy that surfaced in Captain America's movie.) that was stolen by Loki, Thor's evil and cunning brother. It's within these scenes that you can see all these big egos clash. It's nice to see that amidst all the explosions and action, the film's heart lies within these scenes.
Not to gloss over the action. In fact, the action never let up. Sometimes action movies can go too far - when the explosions and fighting just seems to repeat itself (Transformers and Michael Bay are notorious for this). But here it seems to be purposeful, there's never a dull moment and just when you think you've gotten bored by a couple of Avengers fighting on the ground, the movie will take you flying around the buildings during a chase scene). I've seen the movie twice and I was still thrilled to see the last forty minutes of the movie again even though I knew how it all went down. It's just so god damn fun to watch.
I'm sure everyone has already rushed out to see the movie (it's already hit the $700 million mark worldwide just within the first 15 days of it's debut. To think I modestly suggested that $500 million would be a good estimate!), but I'll tell you what, this movie is worth a repeat viewing! There's a lot to take in and the movie is just as funny as it is dramatic. There's a lot of humor flying around and it's not all coming from Tony Stark. But if you didn't stay until after the final credits roll, do yourself a favor and go and watch it again - the last scene is a short one, but a goodie.
Rating: See It!