Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Avengers 3D Review

If you see the first thirty minutes of The Avengers without seeing the movies Thor and Captain America, (2011) it's likely you are going to be lost. Frankly , I've seen those two movies and I found the first thirty minutes to be confusing. Plus I did not appreciate the unrelenting action in the first reel that was designed to lure the ADHD moviegoer to pay attention.

But one needs to just go with it. Yeah, there's barely enough exposition to tell you that villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to earth to steal the Tesseract, a power source. You see what he wants with it is to open a portal through space to bring the Chitauri, an alien army, to earth. Goal? Conquer the planet. Hiddleston obviously revels in playing such a bad guy and chews up the scenery.

After Loki gets the Tesseract, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D. , a kind of CIA agency starts the Avengers initiative. The purpose which is to collect the world's greatest superheroes to fight threats to the earth.

This is where the film actually takes off. And it has nothing to do with the action. If this movie were just slam bang action and explosions, it would be a turkey like Transformers: Dark of the Moon. (2011) The superheroes that are to be collected all have weaknesses. And all the actors playing them convey those traits admirably. Of course, that also requires good writing. Director Joss Whedon and Zak Penn have crafted a script that explores those human failings and the intereaction between such diverse characters.

Captain America (Chris Evans) is a man out his time. He survived World War II but was frozen until the present day. His world is gone. And Evans is superb in showing his pain. Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is arrogant and possibly narscissistic. It's a role that Downey seems born to play. The assassins Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) have a sadness that stems from their lives as killers. Thor (Chirs Hemsworth) probalby is least developed character because let's face it. He's a demigod. He does show a determination that is noble. Protect earth and bring Loki to justice. The best performance of the bunch belongs to Mark Ruffalo who plays Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, an uncontrollable rage monster. As Banner, he's subtle and is mild mannered. But he really shows the darkness underneath with the slightest movements of his eyes and the way he delivers his lines. He's got something underneath that exterior and it's an angry force.

Of course, this movie is not a character study. There's plenty of great action. And it all makes sense. There's Iron Man repairing a flying aircraft carrier. Captain America saves an old man from being killed by Loki and fights him. Then there is the final battle on the streets of New York. Epic. I'm reminded of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. (2003) The Avengers fight the Chitauri with type of heroism that makes you root for them.

As for the 3D version of the film, save your money and see it in 2D. This movie was converted to 3D post- production. And it seems that Director Whedon was not thinking 3D when he filmed it. That's a problem. Films shown in 3D are too dark. When you don't take that into consideration then dark scenes such as night scenes are even worse as far as brightness. The Avengers suffers in that the movie at times looks muddy. Without 3D cameras, live action shots do not pop. Another problem is that Whedon likes hand-held camera and fast cutting to give the movie energy. Not good for 3D. That gives the audience motion sickness. When you don't think 3D, the medium is not maximized. The only thing that works here in 3D are the CGI effects.

The Avengers is the first big blast of cinematic fun this summer. It's everything a superhero movie should be. It has plenty of heart. Epic action. And of course, it's heroic. The grade is A.

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