*Please don't read this if you have not already seen the film*
An eclectic band of beloved superheroes, smoothly delivering clever scripting from the pen of Joss Whedon, strike out to sort their differences while saving the world from a mad god-being and his fierce alien-allies. This basically describes what you're going to experience if you wisely choose to see The Avengers, but it totally fails to prepare you for what is truly one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.
The build up for this film has been historical as much as it has been tremendously epic. Marvel Studios stepped up and delivered something magical with a commitment I believe to be completely necessary from such an entity. They had faith in what they were doing, they hired amazing talent to create and execute memorable silverscreen wonder, and they brought it all together to give 2012 a titanic, true to the four-coloured spirit of superheroes, comic book movie. Many thanks and congratulations to those clever folk.
I expected to see the film late Saturday night, but I was fortunate to receive a text message from a friend with a spare ticket for a 12:01am 3D showtime. Going in I knew that I would be viewing a film I have been waiting for, along with all of my fellow comic book geeks, since Iron Man and long before. Being a geek/nerd who has had the pleasure, and sometimes the displeasure, of seeing many comic book films I felt that I knew what to expect, especially since I spent the minutes before the start time thinking over bits from the previous Marvel films. What I witnessed over that 143 minutes was something stunning, unprecedented, and gloriously delivered. I saw a group of fantastical individuals bearing their super gifts and curses together, united against a brutal enemy. After the movie faded away and as the credits rolled one thought shouted through my mind, it worked!
The Avengers took the pieces laid out over the last few years and assembled (heh, heh) them into something that exceeded my expectations and surprised my guessing inner-fanboy. The characters felt complete, complimenting and contrasting in just the right ways to make me give a damn and respect them for what they do. Captain America was truly a man out of time, but they didn't beat that point to death by having him emo around, talking about how great things were back when. Iron Man was a cocksure genius with wonderfully human flaws in his shiny power armour. Thor was the powerful god he'd always been, a bit more humble and desperately seeking to make a connection with his damnably frustrating brother. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk was the nervous, geeky scientist-type one would expect except he went from a fear of his lack of control towards a purposeful use of his inner-monster. Hawkeye and Black Widow were wonderfully human non-supers trained to be the best soldier/spies they could be while carrying the burdens of their past transgressions upon their shoulders. Then there was Nick Fury and SHIELD. Fury was a man who had the weight of the world on his back and watching him you could feel that. SHIELD was as impressive as it always seems in the panelled world of the comics, revealing some gadgets which weren't completely surprising but still incredible to behold.
As great as it was to witness all of this play out, the film was not without new surprises and hints at the future of Marvel's film efforts. I would urge anyone who sees this film to stay until the end of the credits. The icing on the cake, so to speak, really lies there, if you know anything about the greater Marvel Universe.
Having stated all of this I feel that I must give The Avengers the rightful rating of five out of five. It's a film that was worth waiting for, and it is as amazing as any fan would have hoped it could be. Go see it as soon as you can!