Retro Review: ‘The Avengers’ Whedon Strikes Out When It Counts

Do you remember this small film from 2012?

This article was published on May 4, 2012.
This will go down as one of the most hated movie reviews in comic book geek-land (I thought a lot of myself in 2012), but Joss Whedon’s Avengers was a beautiful film in the same way that James Cameron’s Avatar was an amazing film. Both The Avengers and Avatar had great visuals but no substance.

Marvel films to date have just been too campy. Not every comic book movie needs to be Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but a comic book film works well when there is a balance of dark and light moments. Maybe I wanted too much from this movie, but I was not inspired to join the Avengers. At no moment in this film do I feel like the Avengers will lose. Do you remember Toy Story 3, we all thought Woody and Buzz were going to die! No suspense in a film that had a $250 million budget means that they forgot to pay the writers, instead they focused on how to blow-up Ohio. Which is a waste because the film is well casted and the actors bring their A-game.

The Avengers will make a billion dollars ($1.5 billion according to Box Office Mojo) and kids will love it, but is it wrong to ask for more than just a popcorn flick? How the Avengers are brought together is done well, and the movie doesn’t feel like two plus hours but when the going gets tough, and the Avengers need to rise up and save the day, the moment was hollow. This happens because Nick Fury cons them into the moment instead of Captain America kicking some ass. How hard is it to write a Captain America inspirational speech? Have we all forgotten Braveheart?

The Avengers does nothing to progress Steve Rogers as a character. When the film ends, you learn nothing new about Rogers that you didn’t know already from the Captain America: The First Avenger. Rogers is the heart and soul of the Avengers, and whether it was the director, the writers, or the actor’s fault, there was no inspiration. During the major battle in the film, Captain America gets shot with a laser and Thor is tiring out from fighting the hoard of aliens, this could have been the instant when the Avengers pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and create that inspirational moment, but Whedon doesn’t swing the bat. Whedon continues to direct the film very light and stays in a very safe film-making zone. The problem is there are at least five times in the movie when Whedon could have stepped in and said, ”Hey guys, this is our Oscar moment, so let make it happen!” The trailer makes the Avengers look inspiring, but that is just the best two minutes of the film.

The Avengers is a fantastic popcorn flick, but they had many chances to hit a grand slam, and instead they struck out looking at the plate.

The best part of this film is it will make and an insane amount of money and a sequel will come out in 2015.

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.

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