The Avengers - Impressions (2012)
The Avengers - Group Shot
This will not be a review because we've been inundated with them -- rather, this will represent a series of impressions based on things I had read vs. things I actually saw.
(1) I had read that all the characters received about equal screen time. I didn't have a stopwatch on me, but my impression was that this statement was not true. Surprisingly, characters like The Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Sgt. Fury got more time than expected.
(2) The first fourth of the movie is actually rather slow and a bit tedious. Much of this time period is "set up," and that is to be expected, but I started to ask myself "where are The Avengers?"
(3) Thor's strength was vastly downplayed. Anyone who read Thor's own comic books or "The Avengers" (at least in the Silver Age), understood he was every bit a match for The Hulk -- or in terms of raw strength they were in a tie. In the original comic books, The Hulk was not eight feet tall and was a bit more communicative. Oddly too, Thor seems to have a hard time wrestling Loki -- something that would have been absurd in the comics. Even Iron Man and Captain America are able to stand up to the thunder god's might. As said, in the Silver age comics, Thor would have been able to squash them all as busy cockroaches.
Ant Man/Giant Man
(4) The original Avengers contained Ant Man/Giant Man and The Wasp. Of course, they are nowhere to be seen in the film -- and I don't know why because they were FAR more interesting characters than the Black Widow and Hawkeye.
(5) Agent Fury is portrayed as being duplicitous -- but this Fury is not the Sgt. who came up from the ranks, having served his time in WWII.
(6) Iron Man was not portrayed as a scientific genius in the original books, nor was he portrayed as obnoxiously obtuse. This is a modern add-on, which is sometimes humorous and sometimes just irritating.
(7) Somewhere I read that ("The Hulk steals the show.") I did not find this to be the case. The screen time for The Hulk (and Bruce Banner) seemed truncated. The Hulk does have a couple of scene stealing moments, however.
(8) The approach taken with Banner by Mark Ruffalo is definitely more on target than his predecessors. This Hulk is also by far the best rendition to date -- and so much more like the Silver Age character.
(9) The destruction of Manhattan in an epic battle is getting more than a bit stale. Future writers will have to think of more creative ways of showing the destructive abilities of the bad guys besides smashing up buildings and blowing up ever car on the road.
(10) Tom Hiddleston (as Loki) probably provides the best overall performance. Without his smirking presence and self-confidence, there would have been no real sense of danger.
(11) In Captain America's own movie as well as in "The Avengers," the writers seem to downplay his physical abilities as well as his commanding knowledge of combat. Initially, he seems as antogonistic as any other member, but in the heat of combat, he comes unto his own.
Captain America is not like Batman. Batman has to rely on devices to propel himself from one floor to another. Captain America is a super soldier, and has no such limitations. Somehow, from reading Cap's comics, I always got the sense of him being able to handle foes who were (in all probability his superior in one way or another) underestimating his experience, speed, and agility. The movie depicted him holding his own against the horde of monsters brought to Earth by Loki, but I felt a bit more care/time was needed to demonstrate the exquisite nature of his reflexes.