Image © Marvel Studios, Inc.
First off, I enjoyed it! There were times when the enormous amount of visual and auditory information being thrown at me were somewhat overwhelming in the action scenes, but that’s been true for many of the super-hero films I’ve seen in the last decade. There were also lots of fine character moments, witty dialogue, surprise plot twists that made me laugh with delight, and very few if any slow parts, the sign of a good film. The development itself is quite slow, but the ride through it is entertaining, even if somewhat predictable in parts (everyone has to test everyone else, for instance).
Perhaps the biggest difference in the approach is how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page. This is not really much of a team. But that’s true in the comics these days as well, I’ve made the same point in reviews of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE. There are many nice touches, nothing that struck me as really “wrong,” which in a movie of this length, nearly 2.5 hours, is impressive. As said above, the amount of detail is staggering, as the end credits attest: there must be several hundred digital and other artists listed from about a dozen special effects companies. I can see where young people who really want to absorb a lot of that detail (the kind they’re used to in video games for instance) will want to see it more than once.
What would Kirby have thought, I wonder? He also loved putting in lots of detail, in things like machinery or fight scenes or his famous collage pieces. One difference is, there you can take your time and study the art if you like. Hard to do that with a film. Perhaps Kirby would be too old school to get today’s action films, but if you imagine Kirby as a young man today I bet he’d love it (leaving aside the entire credit and compensation question, which is another discussion).
Of the Marvel films working up to this, I missed “Thor,” and I’m kind of sorry now, I liked what I saw of Chris Hemsworth, the actor playing him here. Everyone was quite good in their roles, really. Robert Downey Jr. probably has the best possible role imaginable for a man of his size and build in an action film. And most of the action scenes are all the suit with face shots cut in here and there. The others must envy that somewhat. Though Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk also can take a break when his character hulks up. The main set pieces were all quite well done, from S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to Tony Stark’s Manhattan skyscraper, and they were all used (and misused) thoroughly, as was midtown Manhattan.
Would I see it again? Not sure, but I’d like to see a sequel, which seems quite certain to happen. I loved the possible upcoming villain for the sequel teased in the clip during the credits. (The other tease at the very end was okay, but not really worth the wait I thought.)
I loved this film. And Ruffalo owned the part better than Bana and Norton.
The two things I found underwhelming (nitpicking, I know) were the non descript photography, and the occasionally standard scenography.
While Captain America had this great touches of blue and red through the film; while Thor had great looking blacks, blues and whites adding to the environment, the look on this film was too… normal, too everyday.
And the inside of the Helicarrier looked just like I thought it would look; it didn’t wow me.
I missed Hank Pym, though
I don’t think Ruffalo had an easier time after Hulking out as he did MoCap for much of the Hulk, although I don’t think he did much of the bigger leaps . . . but how much of their own stunts did the stars onset do themselves?