Rating 4.5 stars.

So, the movie has just come out, and I just home from seeing it. This movie was a big deal for me, for several reasons: (1) I am, or rather was, a comic nerd, who grew up with these characters and while “The Avengers” were never my primary focus, I was always aware of them, knew their stories and read their members comics individually. I read in a time just before “The Ultimate” line started, though I did follow that series, I read the “Heroes Reborn” storyline, following the whole “Onslaught” debacle, this was where I got much of my Avengers knowledge. (2) I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and it may be there, where this blog will focus on. I don’t want to give spoilers as everyone’s going to see it, and I wish I’d posted some “pre-movie” thoughts and expectations, but I want to discuss why this movie was a big deal to me.

I feel, as I’ve followed Whedon through, Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and Dollhouse, that this guy is my ‘bra’ so to speak. His storylines, in both plot and script speak to me, like Scott Lobdell’s dialogue used to in the X-men comics I followed, he writes characters who are tough, funny, and flow against convention and expectation. In watching “Battleship” the other night, and seeing what a truly mediocre Hollywood film looks like, I had something of a revelation: Hollywood plays on tired and worn archetypes – the hero who is unfocused, disobedient, but comes to fruition in the life threatening circumstance, as in the case of “Battleship”. We see similar archetypes in “The Avengers”, reluctant heroes, selfish, who shine when the world needs them, we see similar, and simple themes running through these movies – it’s what we go to see. Good face evil and fall down, but ultimately triumph, this is not a criticism, I like these simple, operatic themes. But in “The Avengers” we see how these simple, and worn themes can be played out to really engage the audience (as I’m sure we will see in “The Dark Knight Rises” as well). It’s not that we have seen it all before, it’s that some people do not respect their audiences (as in “Battleship”) don’t understand that the level of sophistication their audiences bringing to the table will see through boring, stereotypes, and themes smacked over our heads. It’s why “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” are blockbusters everyone goes to see, the quality of the filmmaking is obvious and apparent.

This brings us back to Whedon. Anyone who has watched his shows know him to create characters, who are archetypical, stereotypical, as a basis, but that he often comes to play with, or even, push those stereotypes to their full measure, to surprise us. That is the appeal of “The Avengers” we know what we’re going to see, we’ve all seen the previous films leading up to this, but in Whedon we know we’re going to get snappy dialogue, real heart and a climax that will pull on the heart-strings, and wow is in its awesomeness.

The strength of “The Avengers” was in the interplay between the characters, Whedon had a lot of movies (and comics) to tie up, and a lot of characters vying for the spotlight, and he fit them all in, with a not completely simple storyline, that felt fluid, and real. We care about these people, their conflicts, their inner monologue. But these are still very simple archetypes: character X has conflict with character Y, but sort it out in the end to fight the common enemy, we see this in “Battleship”, but when we don’t care about the characters, and when the director doesn’t either, we shrug it off, even laugh at it.

There was genuine passion put into “The Avengers”, humour, energy, verve, that we don’t see in so many Hollywood movies, I’m happy to have followed Whedon through his career, and to see him get the notoriety he desevres with this film. As it’s sure to shoot him to stardom.

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