The Avengers could have done better

The Avengers is a bold and unique concept by Marvel, bringing together classic comic superheroes in one big-budget, ambitious project. One of the most anticipated movies the year, and the first superhero movie too, the movie incorporates plenty of action, witty dialogue and destruction. But it could have done better.

It has a pretty straightforward storyline – decidedly wooden Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D decides to assemble the earth’s mightiest heroes in order to save the world from an otherworldly attack, led by the Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who, using a piece of alien tech called the Tesseract, aims to bring in his army and wreak general havoc on planet Earth.

This band of superheroes, including Captain America ( Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr ) , is forced to cooperate with each other despite their unusual and unprecedented grouping in order to recapture the Tesseract and restore order.

Pic courtesy: Marvel

The movie starts out with a deliberate purpose – to give the audience a sense of who these characters are, what they do and why they do it, which would have made sense if all the characters were not in completely disparate environments and achieving unrelated aims.

This assembly itself takes up the first half of the movie and hardly has any kind of flow. It is amusing, however, to observe the minor ego-battles and verbal jousting that ensues when some of the characters meet – the best one might have been the clash between Captain America’s old school morals and notions of duty versus Tony Stark’s "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" self-assessment.

The second half is all about defending New York and its hapless citizens against the forces of Loki, the trickster god (who does nothing but get captured, sneer evilly and bully a lot of innocent New Yorkers into kneeling before him). There is a lot of mindless violence combined with precision, massacre and assassination, and a lot of destruction that could have been avoided had the characters stopped to think logically. The heroes valiantly take down the intergalactic army that comes from the wormhole opened by the power of the Tesseract, and everything is okay and the world is saved. Hooray.

One thing that’s pretty clear after watching the movie – it’s the characters that pull the story forward, and not the storyline (which barely exists). Credit also goes to the amazing graphics, especially that of the giant flying centipede-things. However, the score fails to make an impact. The characters’ one-liners are funny and sometimes scathing, and the Hulk’s random rage is hilarious – but that’s not all that The Hulk is.

Director Joss Whedon brings out a previously unseen element of Bruce Banner’s character – that of a guy who’s done a lot of bad stuff earlier, and wants to try and make it better. Hawkeye and Black Widow, despite their lack of attention from moviemakers previously, still come out central to the action. But with the kind of backstory they hinted at, it sure looks like they will get their own movie soon. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is impressive and regal and everything a god should be.

Everyone has their moment in the sun, in such a way that everyone’s moment is equally important. Whedon, you got that part right.

To those who came in hoping to see your favourite action heroes come alive on screen and nothing else, you will be well satisfied. But some, like me, will come back from the movie feeling that a few things were still lacking.

Rating: 3 on 5

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