First Reviews of THE AVENGERS Hit; Reactions Enthusiastically Positive

     April 20, 2012

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Though we still have a couple of weeks to go before the highly anticipated release of The Avengers, the film has already screened for a number of audiences.  Given the fact that Marvel has to corral a number of busy schedules for its actors to appear at the film’s premieres across the globe, they got a head start a few weeks ago with the U.S. premiere in Los Angeles.  The cast is now making its way across the globe for the films various premieres, and we’re now starting to see the first full reviews of the film (we previously brought you Twitter reactions to the U.S. premiere).

So what’s the verdict?  Well, early reaction is extremely positive.  Though we only have a handful of reviews to sift through at the moment, the top trades like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have very nice things to say about Joss Whedon’s all-star superhero movie, with many outlets calling it the best Marvel movie yet and one of the best superhero movies ever.  Hit the jump for a roundup of some quotes.

the-avengers-thor-chris-hemsworth-imageThe Playlist’s Oliver Lyttleton cites the particularly weak opening scene as an anomaly in relation to the rest of the film as he gushes about how well the pic succeeds in its over 140 minute runtime:

“It’s not just the best Marvel movie to date (although it is that), and it’s not just in the very top tier of superhero movies (although it is), but it’s one of the most all-around satisfying summer blockbusters since God-knows-when.”

Lyttleton goes on to state that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is a standout in the film (“almost revelatory”) and that each actor gets his or her chance to shine.  We had heard raves of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in the previous Twitter roundup, but Lyttleton confirms his status as the film’s M.V.P.

avengers-movie-image-chris-evans-robert-downey-jrVariety’s Justin Chang cites writer/director Whedon for much of the film’s success:

“As written and directed by the ever genre-savvy Whedon, it’s a clean-burning, six-cylinder entertainment that exudes discipline in every particular, from the script’s balance of sincerity and self-effacing humor to the well-integrated visual effects to the keen sense of proportion that governs the ensemble. Whenever the possibility of boredom or excess rears its head, Whedon finds an elegant solution.”

THR’s Todd McCarthy points out that fans and non-fans alike should be sufficiently pleased:

“As creatively variable and predictably formulaic as the Marvel films have been, this one will not only make the core geek audience feel like it’s died and gone to Asgard but has so much going for it that many non-fans will be disarmed and charmed. This is effects-driven, mass appeal summer fare par excellence, that sought-after rare bird that hits all the quadrants, as marketing mavens like to say.”

the-avengers-captain-america-chris-evans-imageIGN’s Eric Goldman echoes many other peoples’ complaints about Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye being underdeveloped, but has great things to say about how Whedon handles Tony Stark and Steve Rogers:

“Iron Man and Captain America probably get the most screen time (or at least the most focus). And while Whedon and the funny and clever Tony Stark seem made for each other, I was very impressed how he handled Captain America, who is a far more straightforward and unwaveringly noble fellow than Whedon – who prefers his characters to be a bit more ambiguous and flawed — is known for, but one he handles very well, as Cap takes on the leadership role he was destined for.”

As for the visual effects spectacle, The Daily Mail’s Leigh Paatsch praises Whedon’s use of the film’s budget:

“It is not often you can say this, but The Avengers is one $200 million-plus event flick where not a single cent has been wasted.  The special-effects work is spectacular, especially during two truly awesome set-piece battle sequences.”

the-avengers-loki-tom-hiddleston-imageAs far as complaints go, we’ve already mentioned the lack of development for Hawkeye, but Lyttleton of The Playlist cites some problems with Loki, the film’s villain:

“It’s not that [Tom] Hiddleston is bad — far from it, in fact. But the film relies on you having seen “Thor” to be able to read into his motivations, and even then, both what he’s doing and why he’s doing it remain a little opaque.”

Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston, on the other hand, has some issues with the film’s action-heavy bent:

“But in the end, its a film about people fighting and blowing shit up. Much of Joss Whedon’s previous work is, at its heart, generally about far more than what you see on the surface. The purpose here rarely elevates above playing with toys. It’s closer to, say Batman: Killing Joke than Civil War in that respect.

Despite a few issues, these first few reviews have all been overwhelmingly positive.  We should have a better idea of the overall consensus closer to the film’s release, but the Whedon-helmed culmination of four years of Marvel planning is off to a very promising start.

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