Not since The Dark Knight has a film lodged itself so thoroughly in my brain as Joss Whedon’s super-heroic magnum opus. If it’s not clear from my glowing review, I adore the thing, and since the midnight premiere I’ve probably spent at least eight hours just talking about it. Or shouting, rather, because movies this good inspire that level of enthusiasm.
Really, I thought it would be great. I expected to like it a hell of a lot. But it surpassed all my expectations. The trailers suggest it will at least be good; they barely hint at the level of awesome spectacle the actual product achieves. I was sure Avengers would be my third favorite film of the summer, with TDKR and Prometheus vying for the top spot, but now it’s anyone’s game.
I’ve been calling it the greatest superhero movie ever, and so far I stand by that statement. The Dark Knight is ridiculously different to the point that it barely makes sense to compare them, but at the end of the day there’s more I’d change about Nolan’s sequel. True, it has a considerably greater thematic weight, and Heath Ledger’s Joker is still an unparalleled performance, but for what The Avengers is going for, that kind of purely satisfying, grin-inducing thrill ride, it couldn’t be better.
As such, it’s so damn fun to see it working its magic on audiences (can you say biggest opening weekend ever?) and confirming that no, I’m not the only one losing my mind over this thing. Marvel Studios really won the day here, and if they continue treating their movie universe with the level of respect and general competence they have so far, then in some ways The Avengers isn’t the end, but the beginning.
Bring on Iron Man 3 and a Ruffalo Hulk movie, and let’s hope that when it inevitably happens, Avengers 2 retains the brilliance (i.e. involvement of Joss Whedon, who will never be fucked with again) as the first.