Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bane Comic vs Movie Info

There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises villain.  Some think he's an idiotic 'roid head, while others think he's some absurdly muscular creature that could grapple with the Hulk.  I'm here to set the record straight on all things Bane.  Consider this your go-to guide before walking into the third (and final) Batman movie by Christopher Nolan on July 20.


Comic Origin vs Movie Origin

Bane and Bruce Wayne were born into this world under completely different circumstances.  Little baby Bruce was brought into an environment of luxury and wealth.  Meanwhile, south of the United States, Bane was born into the dark and violent setting of an island prison.  But why was Bane born into a prison?  What could possibly be the reason to force an innocent child into such a life?  Well, Bane's father was a revolutionary and was able to elude Santa Prisca's authorities.  They weren't too fond of that, so the flawed government decided that his son would be sentenced for his father's crimes.  The Batman villain had a life sentence before even learning to walk.  

It was adapt or die for Bane.  Surrounded by death and brutality, it wasn't long before that cruel world came crashing down on him.  While wee Wayne was enjoying a play, Bane was hiding a knife in a teddy bear he named 'Osoito.'  A man by the name of Trogg saved the young Bane from an attacker, but in the process Bane was hit off a ledge and knocked out.  While unconscious, he had a vision of his future-self and the grown up version delivered a powerful message.  He said the world was his to conquer, but only one thing stands in his way: fear.  Abolish that emotion and he will be second to none.  Bane woke abruptly and took the message to heart.  He equipped his knife and paid a visit to the man who tried to attack him.  He slaughtered the man and as a result was thrown into the hole, an isolation well that would flood every night and was infested with rats.  This experience made him tough as nails, and when he was finally released about ten years later, the inmates viewed him as a living legend. 

Bane then carried on the path his future-self spoke of.  Not a moment of any day was wasted for Bane.  He read every book he could to sharpen his mind.  He learned multiple languages and soaked in every bit of information that he could.  His mind wasn't the only part of his body getting a workout either.  Bane did a ridiculous workout routine daily which consisted of a thousand push ups, a thousand sit ups, and a thousand pull ups. 

Inmates often spoke of Gotham City, and since he had never seen anything beyond the island first-hand, the city fascinated him.  What especially interested him was hearing about the man who rules the city: Batman.  Bane was determined to destroy this man, and in turn, rule the city.  In the meantime, he regularly killed any challengers, but one day authorities had to take him down when the body count reached over thirty.  It turns out they were experimenting on the inmates with a drug called venom.  Bane was the first subject in the prison to survive the injection of strength enhancing fluids to the brain, but he knew there was only one way off the island... and that was death.  The man was able to will his vitals down to the point where machines declared him dead and they tossed his body out into the sea.  Bane killed a shark or two (take that, Jaws) and then was able to break his friends out of the prison (Trogg, Zombie, Bird).  From there, he heads to Gotham and aims to "break that bat."

Not much has been revealed yet about the villain's origin in the movie so far, but we have heard a few tidbits of information.  Recently a TV spot was released and it appears Alfred knows a bit about Bane.  During the 30 second spot, Alfred remarks that Bane was "born and raised in Hell on Earth."  While it might not be an island prison, it definitely sounds like Tom Hardy's take on the character has faced a life of misfortune that has crafted him into smart and tough Bat-baddie - one which seems to pay respect to the comic counter-part's origin.


Comic Venom vs Movie Venom

In the primary DC universe, Bane was used as a test subject for the drug venom.  When the fluid pumps into his brain, it essentially works as a superhuman steroid.  His muscle mass increases, thus making him stronger (he can lift a maximum of 2 tons or so), slightly more durable due to the muscles growing in size, and he claimed it would also kill his pain.  Despite what many think, using venom doesn't turn Bane into a rampaging mad man.  He's lost his cool while using venom a few times, but those were totally different circumstances (his first case of withdrawal from the drug turned him into an emotional wreck, and another time it brought him back from death's door and he was pissed over how he was being treated).  Long story short, it just makes him stronger than any human, but not nearly strong enough where he's going to be throwing down with some of the more popular powerhouses, like Superman and Doomsday.

Director Christopher Nolan's movieverse is dark and grounded in realism.  Having a superhuman strong guy throwing down with Bruce feels just a bit out of place, doesn't it?  So, it looks like movie Bane is on a drug (they haven't said whether it's being called venom) that does take one attribute from the comic counter-part: it numbs his pain.  Nolan's Bane suffered a critical injury at a younger age, and apparently it was so severe that he requires a constant dose of the anesthetic so he can cope with the physical trauma.  So as far as I know so far, the drug does nothing to boost his strength. 


However, in The New 52 (basically one big semi-reboot to DC Comics) Bane's venom makes him stronger than before (to an unknown degree), faster than Batman, and he claims the drug even makes him smarter now.

Story Similarities

As shown with the trailers and the viral marketing map of Gotham, Bane has rather destructive plans for Gotham City.  He claims to be "Gotham's reckoning" and has an elaborate plan set-up across the city.  From apparently creating a hostage situation at their equivalent of Wall Street to blowing up bridges and other locations, Bane's goal of using chaos to rule the city is quite similar to "Knightfall."  In that '90s event, Bane released a flood of villains to wear down Batman physically and mentally.  When Wayne's body and mind was drained, Bane broke his back and tossed the hero into the street for all to see what he had accomplished.  We've already seen a break-out in Arkham Asylum (Batman Begins), but we do know Bane releases the inmates from some kind of incarceration facility.  Whether or not it's Arkham Asylum has yet to be revealed.

There's a lot of rumors circulating around actress Marion Cotillard's character.  She's credited on IMDB as playing Miranda Tate, but it seems more and more likely that the character is really Talia al Ghul.  Liam Neeson is confirmed as making a return as her father, Ra's al Ghul, but we don't know how significant his role is.  It might just be a flashback.  However, if that's the case, this appears heavily inspired by the short series Bane of the Demon.  Bane teamed up with the legendary Batman villain and had a rather awkward relationship with his daughter.  It's possible this flashback will connect Bane to the villain from Batman Begins and he'll strike Gotham with Miranda Tate's character at his side.


At the moment there's limited information on Tom Hardy's Bane, but from what we do know, it's clear he's going to make the comic counter-part proud.  Regardless of your feelings surrounding the costume changes, he looks like he'll have the might to put a beating on Batman (seeing him drop that cowl gives me goosebumps) and the raw intellect to bring Gotham to its knees. And hey, 
even if you don't like the costume, we can at least agree it beats the hell out of his appearance in Batman & Robin.


Related links to feed your fanboy fix: 



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bane's Must Read Stories

The Dark Knight Rises is almost here and I feel obligated to help prepare others for his appearance in director Christopher Nolan's final Batman film.  There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding the character (he's just a muscle head or he's insanely strong), so I'm here to set all of the facts straight and point you in the right direction before The Dark Knight Rises comes out on July 20.  

Today, I have a look at Bane's must read stories.  I'll tell you what they're about and how you can get your hands on a copy to read.  These are barely scratching the surface of Bane's history in the DC Universe, too. In my opinion these are his critical stories, but if you're interested in reading more with Bane, leave a comment and I'll gladly list all of his other appearances that are worth reading (and there are plenty).

Tomorrow (5/24) I'll have another feature detailing all of the misconceptions about the villain and all of the basic information you'll need to know.  You'll walk into The Dark Knight Rises feeling like a comic guru.

Batman versus Bane (trade paperback)
This new release collects Batman: Vengeance of Bane and the four issue run Bane of the Demon.  If you want to learn about the character, this is an absolute must buy.  Batman: Vengeance of Bane is Bane's first appearance and the entire issue is dedicated to his origin story.  Written by Chuck Dixon and with art by Graham Nolan, we get to see the villain's dark beginning as he's born in an island prison in the fictional South American nation of Santa Prisca.  You'll learn about the man's motives, how he started taking the drug venom, and there's plenty of action.

Bane of the Demon follows Bane's history with the villain Ra's al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in the films) and his rocky relationship with Ra's daughter, Talia al Ghul (allegedly also in the upcoming film).  For the fans that'll want to read all of these events in proper order, it's important to note that this story takes place after Batman: Vengeance of Bane II - Redemption.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Versus-Bane-Comics-Paperback/dp/1401233775
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=1168292
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22640925

Knightfall (Part One and Two)
"Knightfall" is the massive story that helped put Bane on the map and define the character for the general audience. Free from his life in prison, Bane has but one goal set in his sights: to destroy Batman.  Kicking-off  the story by creating a massive breakout at Arkham Asylum, the masked villain sits back and watches as the onslaught of villains create chaos across the city, forcing the Dark Knight to his physical and mental limits.  The story definitely feels a little dated at times, but it's fun and mandatory reading if you want to know more about the character before The Dark Knight Rises.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon:
(Pt 1)http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Knightfall-Part-One-Broken/dp/1563891425
(Pt 2)http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Knightfall-Part-Rules-Night/dp/B005KFIKGQ/ref=pd_sim_b_7
Midtown Comics:
(Pt 1) http://ww.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Knightfall+Part+1+_8233
(Pt 2) http://webmail.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Knightfall+Part+2+_8234
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=309091

Batman: Vengeance of Bane II - The Redemption (issue)
Bane is back in prison after the events of "Knightfall" and he has a whole new agenda.  Once again he's hunting for venom, but this time around he's not seeking to use it, he wants to destroy the steroid.  This issue proves that Bane can become one of Batman's ultimate threats even without the aid of the muscle boosting drug.  Witness Bane's recovery from chubby and defeated villain to a physical and intellectual beast that many will come to fear.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Vengeance-Bane-II-Special/dp/B0017KEJOU
Midtown Comics: http://smtp.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Vengeance+of+Bane+_107134
Mycomicshop:  http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=202501

Detective Comics #701 (issue)
Now working with Ra's al Ghul (read Bane of the Demon for details!), Bane heads to Gotham City and encounters Batman.  Prepare for many punches and kicks.  If you're looking for an epic Batman and Bane fight, then this is your go-to issue.  That really should be enough to make you want to read this one, right?

How do you get a copy?
Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Detective-Comics-No-701/dp/B000ELCDO6
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Detective+Comics+%23701_196619
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=100871&pgi=701

Batman: Bane (issue)
Beaten down by Batman and drifting into the sea, Bane bumps into a ship and hops on.  Except this isn't your every day vessel... it has nuclear supplies.  Bane commandeers the ship like a boss and plans to use the weapons on Gotham City.  Naturally, Batman and Nightwing (the original Robin all grown up and awesome) won't stand for it and face off against Bane once again.  Guess who wins? Bane, and he nukes Gotham City, too!  Okay, maybe not, but the story's by one of the men who created the character (Chuck Dixon) and definitely worth owning.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Bane-Chuck-Dixon/dp/B000TRW5SE
Midtown Comcis: n/a
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=99081

Azrael #36-40 (issues)
Jean-Paul Valley beat Bane into a coma awhile ago, so you can bet Bane has been waiting for a chance to pummel JPV's face with his over-sized fists.  Some years later, we finally get the rematch we've been waiting for.  But it's not just one match, it's a handful and they're all well worth the wait.  Bane doesn't want Azrael dead, he wants him to suffer.  And to do so, he tries to make the hero addicted to venom.  Brutal battles ensue.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon: (then search manually for other issues)http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=azrael+36&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Aazrael+36&ajr=2
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/search.asp?q=Azrael++%28comics%29&pg=2&reld=1/1/1900&reld2=1/1/1900&furl=pl=16@@q=Azrael++%28comics%29
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=98321

Batman: No Man's Land Volume 4 (trade paperback)
A powerful earthquake strikes Gotham City and the government declares the location uninhabitable.  Citizens are forced to leave while the villains rise and begin to battle one another for control over turf.  For video game fans, it's pretty much Arkham City but spread across the entire territory.  Superman villain Lex Luthor wants to conquer and re-build the large city and he sends in Bane to do some dirty work.  This trade paperback is packed with tons of familiar faces and is sporting a solid Bane and Batman fight which is illustrated by the excellent Mike Deodato Jr.  Oh, and did I mention Bane also lugs around a minigun?  Few things are scarier than seeing this huge character casually walking around with the massive firearm.

How do I get a copy?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-No-Mans-Land-Vol/dp/1563896982
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+No+Mans+Land+Vol+4_8217
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=Eagle%20%20Vol.%204%20%2041&qloc=N&TID=515401

Batman: Gotham Knights #33-36 & #46-49 (issues)
Bane has wanted to demolish Batman for quite a long time now, but will that all change when Bane finds out they could actually be... brothers?! Bane teams up with the Cape Crusader to find the truth behind who his father really is.

How do I get a copy?
Amazon: (then manually search for other issues) http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Gotham-Knights-BEATTY-DARWYN/dp/B001DL53U2
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/search.asp?q=Batman+Gotham+Knights++%28comics%29&pg=2&reld=1/1/1900&reld2=1/1/1900&furl=pl=16@@q=Batman+Gotham+Knights++%28comics%29
Mycomicshop:http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=246981

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another feature about Bane's misconceptions and information you'll need to know before the movie.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to enjoy some madness with Bane's Best Battles.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #1 Review

Holy sweet nostalgia, Batman!  This is the best $3.99 you're ever going to spend.  If you're a Turtles fan, there's literally no reason not to buy this.  Even if you own an original copy of the 1984 Mirage issue by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, this will give you the chance to keep that copy nice and clean and use this fresh one for reading.  And, if you've never had the chance to read the very first Turtles adventure (understandable seeing as the back issues are expensive and graphic novels are costly as well), then this is going to be quite a delight.

This is what started it all; this issue tells the origin story of the heroes in a half shell, Splinter and their most popular nemesis, Shredder.  Some might be surprised that this franchise wasn't for the kiddies at first.  Right in the opening sequence we see that the Turtles get full use of their deadly weapons, showing no mercy on thugs in the Big Apple.  From the battle on the first pages to the rooftop showdown with the Shredder, we're treated to some bloody and brutal encounters.  In spite of how dark the world is,  you can't help but have a smile on you're face as you read through this classic first issue.
I really have no serious complaints surrounding this issue.  Obviously, Eastman's style may not be for everyone, but I mostly love it and think the color brings so much more energy to these panels.  The proportions tend to fluctuate at times, and while most of the action is illustrated incredibly well, there are a few panels that don't do the motion and impact full justice... at one point it actually looks like Michelangelo attacks Shredder with a hug (a devastating attack indeed).  Overall, that's a very minor complaint, especially seeing as most of the art is fantastic.  The splash pages would make for awesome posters and the details on the war-torn Turtles definitely catch your eye.

If you even remotely consider yourself a Turtles fan, I highly recommend picking this up.

5/5

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Big Events: More "Night of the Owls," Less "AvX"


A big event should be something that the publisher is proud of and the fans should crave.  These are the pay-per-view events of the respective comic universes.  The stories should be inspiring and exceptional, the art detailed and fantastic, and most important of all, it should be something that loyal fans of the company will love as the event will further cements their support for the publisher. Unfortunately, it hasn't been that way for awhile.  I haven't enjoyed any of Marvel's big events since "Civil War," and it seems as though a fair chunk of fans agree.  In fact, many go a step further and loathed "Civil War." To make matters worse, the most recent event ("Avengers vs X-Men") is being bashed by a noticeable amount of comic fans I chat with, and I have to say I agree with their fading interest in the story.  However, over at DC, "Night of Owls" has been a huge success, generating lots of love and finding a fun way to mesh into other titles.  They're both big events, but what is it that makes "Avengers vs X-Men" so mediocre and "Night of the Owls"such a hit?

The Scale
I know this might be hard to swallow for Marvel, but not every big event needs to have massive scale or such drastic odds.  The Phoenix is coming (for the millionth time) and the world might be destroyed if Hope can't harness the power!  Do you really think the Earth will be destroyed this time around?  And, if Marvel's true objective is as simple as giving the fans some hero versus hero encounters, then why not just give us "Contest of Champions III?"  After all, that's the friggin' premise of the book and it does so without trying to come off as some grand event.  Sure, this event is appealing for longtime fans of Phoenix or people who have grown fond of Hope, but aside from that, we're four issues in and quite literally nothing has happened to make us give a damn.  To call that unfortunate would be a pretty big understatement.  On top of that, the primary titles alone don't suffice if you want a better grasp on the story.  The tie-ins are mandatory for extra details.  Otherwise, Cap doesn't seem like all that fantastic of a tactician if you're limited to his actions in AvX #1.  "Hey Wolverine, Phoenix is bad, right?  Alright, let's go steal that girl."

"Night of the Owls" has a very simple premise that allows it to seep into other books without feeling forced.  The Court of the Owls want to re-take Gotham, so they're sending out a flood of assassins to take out a host of targets.  Which will live?  Which will die?  How will Batman stop them?  This isn't shoving all of the characters into one big shindig while they're still off doing other matters in other titles.  Instead, it has managed to fit organically into every title it impacts (in this case: everyone in Gotham).  These tie-ins have a clear objective: prevent the Talon from killing his/her target.  While none have truly been great, so far each has been quite fun and it's enjoyable seeing how the assorted heroes would handle facing the regenerating assassins.  More importantly, they're not mandatory if you want to understand the majority of the main story.

The Creative Team
No, I'm not going to jump on the Bendis hate train.  While I'm not a fan of most of his recent work, there's no denying his time with Daredevil, the earlier work with New Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man was some  quality material.  So, credit where it's due.  Then we have some other big names in Marvel (Aaron, Brubaker, JRJR), but despite these being the "heavy hitters" of the company, this event (just like the handful before it), don't stand out as anything exceptional.  Like I said before, we're already 4 issues into AvX and not much has happened to push the story forward.  And, seeing as I'm on a budget, the $3.99 price tag per issue means it's growing costly to stick around only to be continually letdown.  John Romita Jr's art is something that has grown on me a lot over the years.  I wasn't a huge fan at first, but I've come to really appreciate his incredibly unique style in many titles.  However, there's a significant lack of detail here, especially when a handful of characters share a panel.  This is a big-freaking-event and it should look great and it should keep our interest.  It shouldn't appear rushed (when it comes to the visuals, that is) and move at a snail's pace.

It's widely agreed that Snyder and Capullo have been dominating with Batman.  Introducing the Owls was a tricky move and risked making WTF-worthy retcons to Gotham's history; however, they completely pulled it off.  Their existence is believable and continually fleshed out as we carry on in the event.  To make matters even more impressive, almost every issue we get an interesting set of facts about the history of Wayne's family or the city itself.

What To Do?
In my eyes, Marvel is suffering from a quantity versus quality issue.  They're pumping out a lot of events, but none will really go down as a must-read story, and as a long-time Marvel fan, that's a huge disappointment.  There's no quota for big events, so perhaps it would just be best if Marvel took a step back and began reducing the volume of these stories and treated each one as their next masterpiece.  Yes, sales are incredible for them (how could the majority not want to pick up a book with Wolverine and Cap fighting on the cover?), but at the same rate, pulling in more cash doesn't mean all of that green should blind them from a pretty loud outcry from their loyal fans.  A big event doesn't need to feel big, and "Night of the Owls" is proof of this.  Now, this isn't to say DC isn't guilty of the same mistake and Marvel has never succeeded with "smaller" big events (Spider Island, Messiah CompleX).

What do you think?  Do you agree that Marvel needs to cool down with the big events and focus on fewer and better stories?  Or, are you loving AvX and think I'm a fool for believing otherwise?  And, do you agree or disagree that "Night of the Owls" should be a standard for more events?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Avengers vs The Dark Knight Rises - Who Will Win The Box Office?


I'm pretty confident that Marvel's The Avengers will make more at the box office than The Dark Knight Rises.  Marvel Studios latest (and fantastic) effort reaches to a much wider audience, and honestly, it's easier to digest for the masses. It's not dark, it's not deep, and it's not complex.  This isn't calling it stupid or claiming it's a terribly basic film; it's simply fun from beginning to end and, based on other reviews/word of mouth, a vast majority seems to agree that it's an epic blockbuster worth checking out.  

Why is this?  The factors working in its favor cast out a wider net than The Dark Knight Rises does.  Director Joss Whedon's team-up is easily accessible by anyone and everyone.  Regardless of your publisher preference, we all want to see a group of super heroes we know team up on the big screen, and more importantly, see if it can be pulled off.  While this is a follow-up to all of the previous efforts by Marvel Studios, you don't really need to see them to appreciate this film.  It was more than clear during both my viewings that some of the crowd likely only saw Iron Man.  While leaving the cinema I overheard plenty of conversations including remarks such as "what's the Destroyer" and "was Iron Man that funny in his own movies?"  

The Dark Knight Rises is being promoted as the conclusion of the trilogy, and while already existing fans of the franchise are going to rush to see it opening night, I question its ability to pull in the much younger and/or older crowd that hasn't watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  That, and the vast amount of now familiar faces to the general audience (thanks to Marvel Studios tactic by kicking off their films with the excellent Iron Man in 2008) should assure Avengers' power to pull more cash.  It just flat-out has more star power when it comes to characters.  And then there's the most obvious reason: 3D.  That alone means it'll generate more cash per ticket. 

This isn't by any means saying that Marvel's The Avengers will be a superior movie to The Dark Knight Rises (even though it's more than transparent they'll be drastically different).  We'll just have to wait until July 20th for that conversation.  I'm sure TDKR will earn a monumental amount of money as well, and regardless of which film makes more cash, we should just be happy we're alive in a year that has not one, but two amazing comic book movies (yes, I think it's safe to assume TDKR will probably be great).  

Do you agree that Marvel's The Avengers will earn more, or do you think Christopher Nolan's final Batman film will knock out Marvel's best movie yet?


Will I happy eat these words if I'm wrong? Absolutely.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers Review

Marvel's The Avengers Review

Marvel's The Avengers is a movie we've been anxiously waiting to see for years now.  If you're a comic book fan, the dream of watching this A-list team together on the big screen could be over a decade old.  What really hit home was when Nick Fury came out of nowhere and blew our minds with that post-credits scene in Iron Man back in 2008. It was the collective fanboy jaw-drop heard around the world.  The Avengers was a reality that was continually teased in the other Marvel Studios movies, and now, it's finally here.  Does it live up to the Galactus-sized hype or fail harder than the Red Skull's attempt at world domination?  I'm beyond thrilled to say it not only meets the expectations, but also completely smashes them.  Marvel Studios has managed to create a ridiculously fun superhero movie that'll make both fanboys and casual fans want to see it over and over again.

The story here is absolutely big enough to justify the gathering of the team and manages to keep you engaged the whole time as it takes elements from both the classic Avengers stories and the second volume of Mark Millar's The Ultimates.  The mischievous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is looking to conquer Earth, and to do so, he's aligned himself with an alien army (I won't spoil who they are).  With the tesseract (cosmic cube), Thor's "brother" is a cosmic force that would require a miracle to stop. Luckily for us humans, Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) has this little thing called The Avengers Initiative on file.  And yes, this movie positively lays out the groundwork for a follow-up.
A film like this is insanely difficult to pull off.  The chore of juggling so many characters isn't easy and we've seen it play a role in obliterating comic book movies before (you know what you did, X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3).  Thankfully, director Joss Whedon ( The Cabin in the Woods, Firefly) was the perfect man for the job. "In Whedon we trust" is a common phrase by Whedonites.  If you weren't  saying it before, I'm damn sure you will be after seeing this film.  The roster is packed and Whedon is able to give the varied characters the respect they deserve. Each hero (and villain) is given a good amount of screen time for depth and they definitely have their fair share of incredibly bad-ass moments.  I've always said that Whedon's greatest talent is his ability to craft top-notch banter, and Marvel's The Avengers is proof of this. These characters are all so drastically different when it comes to their personalities, so when they go at it verbally, the result is pure gold most of the time. There are countless laughs to enjoy in this one.

Regarding the rest of the talent, no one really falls short.  We've already seen most of these actors in their respective roles before and they do every bit as well, if not slightly better due to the sharp writing giving them more to work with.  Robert Downey Jr. continues to bring the laughs as the sarcastic Tony Stark, Chris Evans pulls off the confidence Captain America requires, Tom Hiddleston continues to make Loki the most interesting Marvel Studios villain to date, so on and so on.  If they're not exactly like their comic book counter-part, then they're certainly close enough to make you feel as though they've been stripped from the panels.
The action in this movie will make you feel like a kid again and leave you completely in awe.  We get just about every hero versus hero combination we've been dying to see and the final act is absolute perfection. War breaks out in New York and every Avenger is right in the middle of it.  This battle has a beautifully organic flow, moving from one character to the next as they continue to amaze us with what I can firmly call the best action sequence I've seen in a long time.  It has too many top-notch crowd-pleasing moments to count.

Hulk is without question the highlight of this movie.  He's the physical powerhouse he needs to be, and Mark Ruffalo does a fine job as Banner.  The CGI holds up the entire ride and it's amazing how this literally looks like a 'roided-out Ruffalo.  To go into detail would totally spoil his moments, but let's just say there's plenty of smashing and even more laughs to be had.  Hulk gets the amount of battles he deserves, and I can confidently say these will be the scenes you'll be talking about when you walk out of the theater.  It would be madness to not give this version of Hulk a solo movie, so they better make that happen in 2015.


Marvel's The Avengers will be heavily debated as the best comic book movie, but it's definitely not perfect (then again, what movie truly is?).  The first few acts are the low points as they go through the mandatory steps of establishing the overall plot and bringing the characters together.  It simply didn't feel as big or superb as the movie needs to be. The resolution also felt pretty standard and wrapped up a little too easily.  That said, these are minor criticisms and ultimately won't matter all that much because the rest will blow you away.

Marvel's The Avengers is sporting Hulk's strength and raised the bar for comic book movies.  So, unless you severely loathe the genre, there is no reason at all to not rush out and see it as soon as possible.  When the movie comes to end (sit through the credits for two extra scenes!), you'll want to go through the must-see experience all over again.  

A+