The idea of making a strong super hero “team” film like The Avengers seemed just about impossible. By the very nature of a comic book team like the Avengers, it is a rather daunting task to fit all the characters into ANY medium without making it seem cluttered or just like it has too much going on. Films like the much-maligned Spiderman 3 are criticized for having too many villains (at a whopping three), and Avengers is suppose to have seven heroes (if you count leader Nick Fury)? Even in the television version of Justice League, DC Comics’ super hero all-star team equivalent, the storylines tend to have two or three primary heroes and spotlight someone else the next time out. It is just a more logical way to get good storytelling and character development.
Somehow, Joss Whedon managed to give every single character on the team a very fair amount of screen time. You would probably have a hard time finding any Marvel fan who felt that their favorite character was slighted. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man may have gotten slightly more than anyone else, but it wasn’t a dramatic difference, and it made perfect sense considering the success of the Iron Man films and his general star power. Whedon at this point has essentially put his name in the running for the most important nerd writer for his era. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is arguably the best urban fantasy series ever. Firefly is a cult classic and held by many in high esteem among all science fiction shows. Serenity, the film version of Firefly, is often placed very high on lists of the greatest science fiction films of all time, and Whedon’s comic book runs on Astonishing X-Men and the continuation of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have been absolutely thrilling critics since they began. Now he has managed to write and direct what is arguably the best superhero movie of all time— the only real competition for it being Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
Saying anything bad at all about the film seems like grasping at straws. Some have criticized that it appeals too much to comic book fans and doesn’t have a lot for non-comic book readers, but the general fan reaction has pretty much put the kibosh on that. Maybe there should have been some memory refreshing in terms of the Tesseract and how it came into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s possession, but eh. Is it really that important? There was some worry about the casting change of Mark Ruffalo taking over for Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, but Ruffalo is actually superior to Norton in the role. Loki didn’t sound like he would the most excellent villain for the film, but he was sinister and pretty brilliant. Does anyone have anything bad to say about The Avengers?