Movie Review: The Avengers

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Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot: Bringing together the team of Iron Man (Downey Jr), Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Johansson), Hawkeye (Renner), Captain America (Evans), and Nick Fury (Jackson), this Marvel movie is an action-packed superhero flick that sets the bar high for superhero movies.

The plot starts off with Loki (Hiddleston) in space talking to some nasty aliens. They want to go to Earth and steal back the cosmic cube from the Captain America movie, which they will use to conquer the planet. When they attack a SHIELD base, Director Nick Fury puts into motion a desperate plan to unite the worlds most powerful heroes into a single team called The Avengers.

However, things don’t always go as planned, and the members of the team don’t always get along. Additionally, Nick Fury has some secrets of his own that may jeopardize the safety of the group.

When all hell breaks loose, can this team of rag-tag heroes band together and save the Earth?

Epic in every sense of the word, The Avengers is not only a successful superhero movie – but a successful superhero cross-over movie. Filled with exciting action and plenty of awesomeness – and, surprisingly, a bit of comedy. It’s the most fun I’ve had in theaters since Hellboy 2, and damn – much more epic.

My only concern would be for people unfamiliar with the previous movies of the individual characters (Iron Man 1-2, Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) since there’s no real attempt to establish the characters in this flick – it just assumes you know who they are and runs with it. It works well for someone like me, who is intimately familiar with the movies and the comic characters. And it seemed to work well for everyone else in the theaters as well. But I could see someone who had skipped one or more of those movies being confused by parts.

The plot is simple: bad guy wants to acquire object of immense power to conquer the world. We’ve seen this before, but it works well here. There’s so much this movie has to balance already, throwing in additional plot twists would just throw the audience for a loop that was unnecessary.

Instead, the movie lets the characters and the action pieces drive the movie, and they do it well. The characters all get (mostly) equal moments to shine, and are all utilized in a very well balanced way. You can tell the writers love these characters as much as the audience (or more), and are very careful to make sure no one gets cheated out of any screen time.

The exception here is Hawkeye, who only appeared briefly in Thor. I think his role for the first 2/3 of this movie was a little unnecessary, but I’m sure it was done because of the already character-heavy cast they had to balance. He gets some great moments to shine, but gets the least amount of screen time and mostly acts as a tool to develop Black Widow further, herself only having appeared in Iron Man 2 for a bit.

However, the show is easily stolen by Ruffalo’s Hulk. Having the most difficult shoes to fill, since he’s stepping into a role that has had not one but two movies that were not box office successes (personally, I enjoyed the Ed Norton flick), and also having to be the third actor in as many movies. On the heels of the announcement that there will be no more Hulk movies (although, after Ruffalo’s performance they may change that – and he is signed to do 6 movies total), his was the role that could have easily been tossed aside or fallen flat on it’s face.

Fortunately, Ruffalo pulls off the most interesting Hulk to date. Balancing the techno-babble well and also the smashing. It helps that he has a stellar cast to use as a sounding board, since a solo-Hulk movie without him busting stuff up isn’t very interesting. In this movie, there’s plenty to keep you interested until Hulk comes out to “play,” and the smashing begins!

And when he comes out, oh…it’s awesome!

As with previous Marvel movies, there’s not one but two post-credit scenes – one of which may set up the next movie.

Overall, The Avengers is a cinematic achievement the likes of which movie goers haven’t seen yet. It’s an event movie. It’s big in every sense of the word. Entertaining throughout. And totally worth seeing in theaters.

I highly recommend you go see this movie!

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