I enjoyed going to see Green Lantern at the cinema. The film itself was fun, but not brilliant, but what sent my excitement and enjoyment through the roof was my incredulity at watching a Green Lantern film. The same thing happened with the Thor film (although in this case I thought the film was brilliant). If you had told me a few years ago that that I would, in the near future, be watching blockbuster films about Green Lantern, Thor and now The Avengers I wouldn’t have believed you. Sure there were Batman, Spiderman, Superman and X-Men films out, but theses are the poster heroes of comics that most non comic fans could name. The likelihood that studios would risk making films about less well known heroes, to me, seemed slim.
But here we are. 49 years after first appearing on the pages of a comic book we finally have an Avengers film. And my God was it worth the wait. I can say, without a single hint of hyperbole, that it is the greatest film I’ve ever seen (but I do realise that this is due, in no small part, to me being a huge comic nerd). I was grinning from ear to ear (okay, maybe a bit of hyperbole) throughout the entire film, not only was I watching an Avengers film, but it was an amazing Avengers film.
All Hail Whedon
I was worried it would be a train wreck, it certainly had the potential, but Joss Whedon did an amazing job. He nailed the characters and their interactions, no small feat considering that most of them had been previously established in other films by other directors. I was pleasantly surprised by the playing up of Banner and Stark’s science prowess. These men are not just superheroes, they’re also leading experts in their respective fields. This could have easy been overlooked but luckily Whedon knew what he was doing and gave them chances to show off this side of their characters. I was also pleased with the power levels of the Hulk and Thor, I was worried they’d have to tone them back so as not to make everyone else look weak or useless but they are both accurately displayed as nigh-unstoppable powerhouses, going through walls as if they made of tissue paper. And even though they made sure they were powerful, they managed to balance it so they didn’t dominate the combat or seem too deus ex-y.
Speaking of combat, the action scenes were some of the best I’ve ever seen. The fast paced, large combat scenes were very easy to follow, despite the amount that was going on at any one time , and the smaller ones were equally as impressive, focusing on the combat styles of each character. I’m struggling to think of any general action scenes that are as good, let alone superhero action scenes. I’ve seen brilliant set pieces in comics or animation, but the stuff in this film is on a different level altogether.
One of the only criticisms I’ve heard from people is that the plot is a little simple, however I think this was the right way to go with the first film. It’s obvious that a lot of the film will revolve around the formation of the team, so keeping the overall plot simple gives you enough time to do this properly without making things cluttered or rushed. Now that the characters are established as a team it opens up the possibility of more complex plots in future films .
The Fans Make the Film
So far I’ve seen the film one other time since opening night, and it was a very different viewing experience. My second viewing was at 1:00pm on a Saturday, and the majority of the audience seemed to be parents with their children (of which quite a few, I thought, were too young). Of course seeing a film with that many children is bound to be a different viewing experience, there was crying from some of the very young ones and the occasional whispering, but the main difference was the overall reaction of the audience. There were the obvious places in the film that got a reaction (anyone who’s seen it will probably guess which bits I’m on about), but a lot seemed to just fall dead. It wasn’t like the first viewing. The people that were there on opening night were the big fans, the people who were willing to face the queues after a long day at work just to see the film as soon as it was possible. I am so glad I saw the film with those people. Almost every off hand comment, every little tip of the hat to the comic nerds, every subtle joke was met with audible appreciation from the audience, and it wasn’t until I saw the film with all that taken away that I appreciated how much it enhanced my viewing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to imply the film can’t stand on its own, or that you need to be a big comic book fan to enjoy it, it was still an amazing film second time round. I just feel that the experience was enhanced further by the crowd I got to see it with, something I’d never really considered before (probably because I don’t usually go and see films multiple times).
Michael Bay could learn a thing or too from this, his action scenes in the Transformers films are some of the most confusing things I’ve ever watched.↩
I think Civil War could work very well as a future film or films, and The Kree-Skrull War would play into the establishment of SPOILERSThanos and the Chitauri.↩