Every once in a blue moon comes a movie out that changes the landscape and all movies that follow. The last one was Avatar that simultaneously showed how awesome 3D could be while setting the stage for a studio push to release even the crappiest movie in substandard 3D as a way of jacking up prices by four dollars. Win some, lose some on that.
But now comes the Avengers which is, without a doubt, the best superhero movie ever made. It is pitch perfect, never dull and flies by with a two and half hour running time. The story is both simple and complex. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye team up to stop Loki and a Kree-like race from destroying the Earth. They fight, they love, they beat the crap out of the bad guys. It will almost certainly be my favorite movie of 2012.
The biggest surprise is how much people LOVE the Hulk in this movie, considering the last two films bombed box office wise, even though the second one was quite good. But writer/director Joss Whedon nails the Hulk to make him the best superhero in the entire movie. His scenes are a marvel, pun intended, to watch. His fight with Loki may be my favorite battle in any superhero movie ever. I have never laughed so hard at a non-comedy as I did during this film. This film is tense, funny and makes me wonder what executive at Disney should be getting a BIG raise for getting Whedon to direct. This is only his second film, behind the way underrated Serenity, which does you make you question the reason why every studio hasn't been trying to land this genius for the fifteen plus years he has been in the business. Imagine how much money you could made schmucks.
Scarlett Johannson is terrific as the damaged Black Widow, Robert Downer Jr plays Tony Stark to a T and Mark Ruffalo nails the Hulk in his first outing as the green skin titan. There are no bad performances in this film, not one minute that is dull or pointless, and has one of the best climatic fight scenes in recent history.
This film is Star Wars. This film is Raiders of the Lost Ark. And NYT reporter AO Scott hated it.
Samuel Jackson has called on his firing for the review and, while I would normally say movies are subjective, this isn't one of them. If you are a professional film reviewer, you should appreciate all types of cinema. Pissing on this one shows a total lack of understanding of even basic film principles and was one of the reasons his time of At The Movies was short lived. He was TERRIBLE at film reviews. He got his start as book reviewer and somehow moved to film. Someone move him back there because he doesn't what he is doing. If the NYT needs someone new, I am available.
Go see this film today. And tomorrow. And next week. It's that good.
five stars out of five. I wish I could give it more.