Review: The Avengers
PLOT: In order to save the world from complete destruction, Nick Fury of S.H.l.E.L.D. gathers together his team of AVENGERS including Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Thor and Hawkeye. Together they must stop Thor’s brother Loki and the army he has assembled from causing total devastation. That is of course if they don’t destroy each other in the process. AVENGERS Assembled? Yes they are in a smile inducing, insanely entertaining summer blockbuster!
There was a single moment as THE AVENGERS began when it seemed that this colossal experience would fail. In fact, it was in the very first minute of the film that the doubt started to creep in. While the trailers were good, they weren’t necessarily as mind-blowing as I felt they could have been. Yet stepping into the theater and watching as that short time passed, it soon became clear that Joss Whedon had succeeded in making the most satisfying Marvel movie to date. The action is thrilling and more importantly, the connection between these superheroes was near perfect. This is an adventure filled with humor, heart and one of the best damn final acts you could hope for.
It begins with a plot to destroy earth and everything upon it. After all, it would take something pretty big to gather Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together to battle some really intense “Big Bads” led by Thor’s vengeful brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). You may be concerned to see Loki as the villain a second time, but be not afraid as he is surprisingly capable of once again being a formidable foe - with a little help from an army. It also helps that Hiddleston is simply fantastic in the role.
Loki arrives on Earth and steals the Tesseract – an all too powerful energy cube last seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. This has Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) taking charge of the situation by gathering together an elite group of heroes, even if it is against the will of his colleagues in S.H.E.I.L.D. – the super-secret law enforcement agency in the Marvel universe. Once THE AVENGERS are formed, they are as much at odds with each other as they are their shared enemy. Yet Loki is a mischievous baddie who – when captured by Fury – is able to spark a fire from the inside pitting friend against friend. One minor issue I had is while they spend so much time addressing the characters, certain questions do arise specifically with The Hulk and his ability to be a team player. However neither that nor the minimal answer as to how Thor arrives took away from the sheer adrenaline rush brought on by this audacious adventure.
Joss Whedon has created a world where these larger than life characters exist without sacrificing one for the other. Some of the most exciting elements come from the battle between the assembled AVENGERS team as each superhero must restrain their own egos and eccentricities. Much of the fun in the first half comes from the incredible wordplay and the tension brewing within the inner circle. However it is hard not to single out The Hulk as one of the most exciting characters in the Marvel Universe. One of three actors to play him, Ruffalo is especially fantastic as the conflicted Banner. While he is brought on board strictly for his scientific knowledge, he soon becomes their secret weapon. Of course it is an absolute joy watching HULK go SMASH!
Oftentimes the Marvel movies fizzle out when it comes to the final confrontation. Thankfully, THE AVENGERS does just the opposite. Sure it sometimes is visually reminiscent of TRANSFORMERS – a whole lot is as of late. Yet with crashing buildings and mammoth size flying monsters, it is hard not to be delighted by the exceptional sequence of events. It is easy to get swept away in what may very well be the most engaging and exhilarating summer blockbuster this year.