Director & Writer: Joss Whedon; based on a whole bunch of Marvel comic books
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Cobie Smulders as Agent Hill, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Stellan Skarsgard as Dr. Selvig
Running time: 2 hours 22 minutes
IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/
Plot: Thor’s brother, Loki, steals an artifact that could power the world – and destroy it. In response, Nick Fury assembles a team of squabbling superheroes to prevent Armageddon.
Yes, we’re supposed to call it Marvel’s The Avengers, presumably so no one expects Uma Thurman to show up in a catsuit. That job is for Scarlett Johansson and Cobie Smulders, who strut around in skintight outfits while the hunky men show off their muscles.
That’s not the only eye candy, either. The 3-D on this thing is stunning – clear and properly lit, with realistic depth. On a massive IMAX screen, it’s even more impressive. I don’t usually recommend paying extra for those perks, but it’s completely worth it with here.
So, how is the rest of it? It’s as much fun as you would expect from a movie featuring several of Marvel’s greatest characters, written and directed by The High King of Geekdom, Joss Whedon. In other words, it’s spectacular.
Not perfect – with this many lead characters, some are bound to get short shrift, although Whedon juggles the ensemble as well as anyone could. Hawkeye and Black Widow don’t get as much attention as their more famous counterparts, and The Hulk is used a little too sparingly. But they’re all still on the same side (mostly), and that philosophy ensures that even the non-superheroes make important contributions to the fight.
The idea that isolated, oddball characters can find purpose as part of a team is essential to all of Whedon’s work, and it gives Avengers a little more weight than one might expect from an action-packed blockbuster. And, damn, is it action-packed. If you’ve ever had a Celebrity Deathmatch argument about Thor and Iron Man, you’ll get your answer here. You’ll also get some choice wisecracks and plot twists, two other things Whedon is a master of.
I’m not a comics aficionado, so I’m sure there were references I didn’t get, and I had to have a couple of things explained to me (there’s a “stinger” scene during the end credits that apparently sets up the next movie in the franchise, but I had no idea what was going on). Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you can’t tell Captain America from Captain Crunch. You are guaranteed the kind of good time that only a roaring, epic blockbuster with lots of talent behind it can provide.
This might remind you of: All those monster mash-ups that Toho Studios used to put out. Think of Cap and Iron Man as Godzilla and Ghidorah, and you have the general idea. But with much more convincing special effects.
Watch the lead-up movies as well: That’s the two Iron Man films, plus Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor & the Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo took over the role for Avengers). That is, of course, if you haven’t seen all of them several times.
- Loey Lockerby