We are still two weeks away from the U.S. theatrical release of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, but the hotly anticipated film had its overseas premiere earlier this evening and early reviews are already pouring in. It’s not surprising that the buzz is positive, considering most of the reviews are from fan sites and blogs that tend to be favorable to Joss Whedon and superhero movies, but it is surprising that the reviews coming in are this positive. The phrase “best superhero movie of all-time” has been tossed about by some writers and many have given The Avengers the highest rating that their respective sites give.
Oliver Lyttleton of The Playlist calls the film “one of the most all-around satisfying summer blockbusters since God-knows-when.” Lyttleton gives most of the credit for the film’s success to its director Joss Whedon:
And this all adds to perhaps the most surprising thing about “The Avengers.” Like fellow TV legend J.J. Abrams on “Mission: Impossible III,” Whedon’s big-screen debut, “Serenity” had its moments, but felt more like television than a movie. But like Abrams did on “Star Trek,” Whedon has stepped up his game in a major way: the action is clear and coherent, the pacing is tight (it’s 140 minutes long, but flies by) and the technical contributions are top-notch across the board.
Simon Miraudo of Quickflix writes from the perspective of a critic, and not a fanboy. Even without understanding of the specific geek references, he still loved the movie and gives it 4.5/5. He explains that the flaws were inevitable:
What few issues there are with The Avengers are issues inherent to its genre. Like many superhero vehicles before it, proceedings kick off with an impenetrable diatribe about geek minutiae that will likely fly over the head of most audience members (this one included). And, as seen in countless team-building movies, many a moment is devoted to bringing the band back together, and having the same exposition about the same glowing cube relayed over and over again.
James White of Empire picks the movie apart more than the other critics, but he still gives it a 4 out of 5 star rating. He says that the villain in the film matches up with the big personality of the heroes:
With Earth’s Mightiest Heroes™ gathered, they needed a good villain to fight, and Loki certainly fills that void. He’s even more devious and devilish than his introduction in Thor and Hiddleston thoroughly owns the role, imbuing it with pure, malicious delight. Not only does he get one or two distinctly Whedonesque lines, he also provides one of the film’s biggest comic moments during an unfortunate run in with The Hulk.
Simon Gallagher of WhatCulture! calls The Avengers the “purest comic book adaptation of all time.” He says that the performances are spot on and some come across better in an ensemble than they did on their own:
Overall, the characterisations are mostly spot on: the four most familiar characters (those of their own movie projects) all feel perfectly on brand, and in some cases – for Iron Man and Hulk chiefly – they are actually drawn better than in their previous films. Robert Downey Junior appears to be having a lot more fun with this even snarkier, even more outrageous version of Stark, and Mark Ruffalo isn’t shackled by the poe-faced gravitas that both Ed Norton and Eric Bana brought to their Banners with refreshing results.
Luke Owen of Flickering Myth gives the film a perfect 5-star rating and sums up his review with a paragraph that will no doubt raise expectations for the many Americans eagerly awaiting the film:
Marvel’s Avengers Assemble has everything. It has great characters, a wonderful story, awe-inspiring action sequences, superb acting and great dialogue. Not one minute of the runtime is wasted and every frame feels designed for a reason. If you’ve invested time into the previous Marvel movies, you owe it to yourself to see this film. And if you haven’t, you will still enjoy the hell out of it. This is the ‘summer blockbuster’ movie of the year without a shadow of a doubt.
The Avengers will be released in the U.S. on May 4th, 2012.