All I can say is WELCOME BACK HULK. One of my favourite comic characters is resurrected and I'm transported back to a time when the Hulk was my hero and he was fun to read about ... but more about the Hulk in a minute.
I began to get excited about The Avengers film when I first heard that Joss Whedon was going to direct. Then, I learned that he was also writing the script and that was it, I couldn't wait. Why? Because Joss Whedon wrote and directed Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a television show that still owns my heart ten years after it finished.
I'm happy to say that all the reasons I love Buffy are present and accounted for in The Avengers. There's a story I can relate to, a Super Villain who gets the best dialogue and the assemblage of an eclectic collection of Superheroes who come together as a family. Whether we like it or not Whedon makes us love them as he artfully defines their qualities; Captain America's honour and patriotism; Bruce Banner's smarts and aloofness; Stark's gadgets and sarcasm; Thor's humility; Black Widow's Buffy qualities and sassiness and Hawkeye's miraculous bow skills.
There's Agent Hill, Nick Fury and, of course, Agent Coulson and his quest for the ultimate prize, an autograph from his personal hero Captain America.
The characters are assembled one by one as they are introduced, embodied and developed. There is a scene with Loki and Black Widow where he thinks he has won and it is a perfect Whedon moment showing a powerful female character who can overcome name calling to get what she wants. A poignant moment and one of many.
The characters are developed to such a level that I have since gone back and watched the recent films Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) after ignoring both films due to lack of interest.
But most of all this film is FUN, with a capital F puny human! There are some truly great CGI effects and some large scale fight scenes but the fun kept me laughing. Black Widow's opening scene where she's being interrogated by some Russians who intend to torture her was a laugh a minute. As was the very buffy-esque fight scene that ensued.
I've always had a soft spot for The Hulk, he was different in the comics, he had a soft side and the recent movies all missed that, I think. But, his character is great in The Avengers. I love that he looks like Mark Ruffalo when he transforms, I love that he progresses after nearly killing Black Widow to being able to fight along side his family. I love that he side punches Thor and throws Loki around like a doll. I still laugh when I think about it (erm, you had to be there).
A lot of people say that's a flaw in the script that one minute he's nearly killing a team member and the next he's fighting alongside them. Well, there's this little cameo scene from Harry Dean Stanton where he gives Bruce Banner a pair of pants because he is naked from his hulk transformation. The two talk about life, family and friendship and Bruce Banner has found someone who just accepts him for what he is.
Joss Whedon says about that cameo "But the idea was to put [Banner] in a slightly surreal situation with somebody who clearly had no problem with [The Hulk], just to make that little transition without milking it too much."
Right now, today 24th June 2012, the Avengers is sitting in 3rd place on the World Wide All Time Box Office Grosses chart. It has earned $1.4 billion in just a month or so in theatres. It has broken numerous box office records. It must have something going for it.