The Avengers 2012 Movie Review: Joss Whedon vs. Michael Bay

the-avengers-movie-review-2012-joss-whedon Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.

Okay, so I’m super late on reviewing The Avengers– both because the movie has been out for weeks and also because I actually saw the movie weeks ago. However, I couldn’t not write about it. After all, it was one of the best movies I have seen. Period. So why am I so ecstatic about this movie? Mostly because it could have been “Michael Bay’d” like Transformers but it wasn’t. Instead it was turned into so much more.

Josh Whedon vs. Michael Bay

On the surface, The Avengers seems like a fairly straight-forward super hero movie, but upon closer examination you will notice that there is much more going on. Unlike a Michael Bay movie, which transplants any semblance of a story with non-stop explosions, Joss Whedon’s works tend to bring much more to the table. For one, The Avengers was a very dialogue-driven movie. Any regular reader of my movie reviews knows how much I like finely crafted dialogue and The Avengers surprised me with witty and hilarious dialogue throughout the movie. This dialogue often served to reconcile the ridiculous with reality and makes the characters much more believable (despite being crazy powerful superheroes, of course).

Michael Bay movies, by contrast, are littered with comedy as well, but unfortunately they are of a grade 4 level and extraordinarily low-brow. The Avengers on the other hand offers non-stop hilarity, combined with the necessary special FX and surprisingly deep characters. This, of course, is all thanks to Joss Whedon. A recent article in Wired, “With The Avengers, Joss Whedon Masters the Marvel Universe”, tells the tale of Joss Whedon like I never could. I highly recommend a read through the rather lengthy article because it truly gives you a new perspective on his works and The Avengers as a whole. The short version: he is brilliant and brings both depth and entertainment to anything he directs.

Okay, so you get it, Joss Whedon is superior to Michael Bay as a director but what about the movie? I mentioned the witty, hilarious, and believable dialogue previously but the movie also did a great job tying in a series of separate superhero movies in such a way that I thought was impossible. From the very beginning when Fury is attempting to assemble The Avengers, each scenario is believable and the characters get along just as you would expect them too (initially hating each other’s guts and then eventually coming around).

Apart from that, the animation was great and not just constant explosions. The cutting was not overdone (very common in action movies when they don’t want you to see much of what is actually happening) and I felt that the story moved along in such a way that I didn’t even realize that the movie was almost 2.5 hours.

The only thing that prevented the movie from being perfect was the inclusion of two characters that suck as superheroes. I’m talking about Black Widow and Hawkeye, of course. I can’t blame that on Whedon though since he was sticking true to the original cast of characters but they sure do feel out of place from the rest. I can’t complain much about Black Widow though, since Scarlett Johansson is always a welcome addition.

If you haven’t yet seen The Avengers, watch it. And if you have, watch it again. 5 stars all the way.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Don’t even get me started about how cool Iron Man is. Throw together a witty and hilarious genius with a super suit that can fly and shoot lasers and you’ve got yourself a character. Best. Superhero. Ever. (Batman is a very close second). They’re particularly awesome because they are not overly farfetched (they stretch reality but they reside within it unlike other superheroes – ahem, Superman).


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