Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review: The Avengers (movie & comic)

I finally got a chance to see the Avengers movie, and I was wondering if I should review it here.  After all, there are soooo many other reviews of it around the Internet, why add one more?  But hey, why not?  My viewpoint is uniquely mine so why not write it up!
Avengers #1.  Note: they fought Loki!!

 Before I discuss the popular movie, I believe I should discuss the Avengers comic.  Over the years, the Avengers has been the Marvel comic I most consistently enjoy and read.  I have purchased the Essential Avengers reprints of all the stuff that was released in the time before I started reading comics regularly.  The Avengers was one of the comics that I kept a subscription to starting back in grade school and continuing through high school.  There’s almost always something good happening in the Avengers.  Usually when a good writer mixes up interesting characters that have their own hit solo books with interesting characters that just aren’t popular enough to keep a solo title going.  And before I continue I should note that the Avengers was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  Just the greatest comic team ever!!!

My favorite Avengers from the comics don’t appear in the Avengers movie.  However, my favorite Avenger is the Beast, and he appeared in a couple X-Men movies.  That’s because when I started reading the Avengers the Beast hadn’t been an X-Man for a while, and he didn’t become one again for a while.  My next favorite is Hank Pym, one of the founding Avengers from issue #1.  It’s too bad they couldn’t work him into the movie, but I have hopes for an Ant Man movie someday….
This was the first issue of the Avengers I ever read!

Concerning the Avengers chosen for the movie, I have to say I like the group.  Marvel has done an excellent job making good movies about their properties.  They aren’t perfect, and there’s usually something that bugs me about the lack of faithfulness of each interpretation, but they have been good movies.  Iron Man, in fact, is my favorite super hero movie and an excellent movie period.  I think they did a great job with Captain America, and I’d rate it as good as Iron Man 2.  And Thor wasn’t nearly as good as the other two, but it was still good.  In fact, I thought it was better than most of the comments and reviews I read about it before I saw it.  These three characters (Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America) are considered by comic book geeks as the “big 3” of the Avengers.  The Avengers aren’t the same without at least one of these guys around and they are necessary for a movie about the group.  The Hulk was more of an interesting call.  He was a founding member of the group, but quit in the second issue!  But he was handled practically perfectly in the movie, and he greatly enhanced the story!  Hawkeye and the Black Widow were both created as antagonists for Iron Man.  However, neither was really evil, and eventually they would both become Avengers.  Hawkeye is considered a “second tier” Avenger by many fans.  He’s one of the favorites beyond the “big 3”.  He’s also always been a bit of a cocky jerk and walked the line between being a great team player and challenging authority whenever possible. The Black Widow is a former Avengers leader and former love interest of Hawkeye.  I wish the movie would have taken their relationship a little further romantically.  (The Marvel movies have done very well with the romance so far.

 The movie did an excellent job giving every character something to do.  This is always hard with the Avengers because they are usually a mixture of people with great powers and people who are just a touch above a normal person.  And the movie didn’t just give them all something to do in battle, but gave them each some kind of personal challenge to overcome also.  I don’t think the movie has any glaring bad moments.  I enjoyed the entire movie, and I have to say it competes with Iron Man as that “best ever” super hero movie title!!  I’ll have to see how I feel after repeated viewings at home.
Avengers cover by George Perez, master of the crowd scene!

I also hope the success of the movie will get Marvel making some great Avengers comic book again.  You see, the sad code to this blog post is that I haven’t read a new issue of the Avengers in years.  Somewhere, they got away from the types of stories and teams that made the book great for decades.  They’ve attached too much crap to some of the older characters, and they have people like Wolverine and Spider-Man, who just don’t belong, on the roster.  But maybe I’ll try to check out some Avengers comics this summer.  Hopefully, there’s something out there.  I certainly recommend lots of the older books.  Anything associated with names like Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, David Micheline, Roger Stern, or Kurt Busiek I highly recommend!

Well, that was rather long!  But I’ll still be back here in a week or less with something else to write about!

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