These Avengers will make you Marvel
A certain Dark Knight, whose blockbuster will rise in just a few months, may very well weigh in on the debate later this summer. But until then, Marvel Studios’ uber-anticipated “The Avengers” reigns supreme and holds the title of best superhero movie of the year—and maybe ever.
To a passionate fan base that kind of hyperbole may be heresy, but there’s no denying that writer-director Joss Whedon has brought together six superheroes in superlative fashion and has made a consistently funny, compellingly dramatic, and naturally, action-packed film that will thrill even causal movie enthusiasts.
So many things could have gone wrong that it seems a minor miracle Whedon and team could avoid disaster. How do you give each superhero, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye enough screen time without allowing one to dominate? Whedon’s script deftly establishes each individual personality early and then gives each character his (and her) own time to shine.
And considering the requisite egos involved in the project – no fewer than four Oscar veterans – how do you pull off what seems to be an exquisite team effort? Surely Whedon must have had buy in from the actors right from the get-go, and it shows onscreen.
Robert Downey Jr.’s wicked humor remains intact, but is rivaled by the talents of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, (reprising roles from previous films) and perhaps even more surprisingly, the comedic sensibilities of actors known more for serious work like Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner. And not to be outdone, Samuel Jackson returns, with a strong presence as eye-patch-donning S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury while the wonderfully low-key Clark Gregg (agent Phil Coulson) is the center of one of the film’s most powerful scenes.
“War isn’t won with sentiment, it is won with soldiers,” declares Fury, appealing to the forces in power in order to combat the extra-terrestrial army unleashed through a portal above New York City. The evil crew is led by Thor’s power-hungry brother (“He’s adopted”) demigod Loki (a dashingly wicked Tom Hiddleston of “War Horse”). And thus the confidently capable, but also somewhat dysfunctional ensemble is brought together. After some rather hilarious in-fighting, the members bond and begin the climatic battle sequences that would impress even Michael Bay fans. (Yes, he has fans.)
But like the plot, the action sequences alone aren’t what make “The Avengers” so downright fun. It’s that keen, wry sense of self-awareness that has fanboys (and fangirls) spontaneously roaring in the aisles. (There are at least 3 crowd cheering moments, usually involving scene-stealer “The Hulk”). But you don’t have to be a Comic-Con nerd to enjoy “The Avengers.” And that may be Whedon’s biggest triumph. In his hands, the superhero film is once again super entertainment.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action and a mild drug reference.