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The Avengers (2012)

Year: 2012
Director: Joss Whedon 
Region of Origin: U.S.
Rating: PG-13
Time: 143 mins.

The accumulation of the Marvel comic hero films for the past years with Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor has come down to this moment and film, The Avengers. Joss Whedon who got his start in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a self-proclaimed mega comic nerd so it is only natural that he direct one of the biggest movie franchise that we may ever see. Unlike the other Marvel films, what Joss has done with the Avengers is remarkably refreshing and honestly, surprising. Hollywood has had many trial and errors and finally learned that with good storytelling, acting, and in this case, superb special effect, the viewers and critics will come.

When Loki (Thor’s bro, Tom Hiddleston) arrives through a wormhole and steals the Tesseract—a cosmic cube can potentially save or destroy our planet and threatens the global safety and security of Earth, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of the International peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D finds himself in need of a team to save the world.

Joss Whedon who directed and wrote The Avengers does two things that propels the Action-hero genre to whole other level.  For one, he brings unexpected realism into the mixing pot. Pop cultural references and superheroes ego and flaws are dished out on crystal plate with dazzling comic timing that you will catch yourself laughing at something that resembles much like a joke from Superbad. It’s so true that you can’t help but laugh at its hilariously frank and surprising joke. No joke, there were roars of laugher spitting from every row, I thought I was at a rodeo. And two, he equally presents each of the character and their own demons from the beginning and manages to intertwine the stories with the other heroes with such precision that will make you wonder if he mapped it with a knife. In Thor, I perceive Loki as a threat but rather an insecure, power-hungry, black sheep of the family. But in The Avengers, he is so sly and devious it will make you reestimate his powers and strength.

The movie started out like any other Blockbuster that left me mindlessly gazing at the screen but half way through the movie (after the initial bitch fight each superhero have with each other) when Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is chasing Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), my mind woke up, I leaned forward, and my eyes gleamed with excitement. While watching Captain American fight some bad guys that it came to my attention that yeah, you don’t need superpowers to make a decent action film (ahem, Safe).  It’s all action choreography that shows the variety of fighting with guns, their fists, and maybe a fancy leg move. Which brings me to Scarlett Johannson. I was starting to doubt Hollywood in their ability to show a superwoman who can truly kick ass on screen and not just be a sex eye-candy. Johansson said that the most questions she was asked while being interviewed about The Avengers was “What was Scarlett wearing under her catsuit? What kind of underpants were you wearing?” Does that really matter asshole? Considering Black Widow is a spy instead of a “soldier,” all her battles were done through mental manipulation, gunfights, and ninja-like ass kicking. Whedon has tried to launch a Wonder Woman movie for several years now but Studios continue to tell him that a woman cannot headline an action movie. Due to the popularity of The Hunger Games, it might just change all that. Well I hope so, cause a Black Widow movie sounds pretty great right about now.

It was surprising to find out that the Iron Man franchise and Thor director are none other than actors themselves, Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branagh, respectively. I honestly didn’t know it was THAT Jon Favreau but Favreau nonetheless. There has been a trend going on lately to potentially create more hype or just more money like usual by releasing Blockbuster films in foreign countries first before the U.S. The movie business hasn’t been popping lately and it’s known that internationally studios can make more money because foreigners are willing to shell out big bucks for 3D Blockbusters. That’s one reason and another is because U.S. audiences are the biggest fans of these comics so they wanted to create more anticipation and hype surrounding the film and potentially rack in more mula. It is an interesting business plan, reverse psychology or whatnot. We always want what we don’t have. The usual.

In unorthodox fashion, The Avengers was able to achieve what not many Action hero film was able to achieve: candid honesty, individual character and team development, and most important of all, KICK-ASS action sequences. A-

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