Robert Downey, Jr.
Samuel L. Jackson
When the world is threatened by Loki and his army, NIck Fury must bring together the team of super humans known as The Avengers to save Earth.
The Avengers is exactly the type of movie we’ve been wanting for from Marvel. It is light, fun, and action-packed. This is probably the most fun you are going to have in the theaters all year, and the film has certainly raised the bar for Marvel movies; as well as any comic book film that isn’t Christopher Nolan’s Batman series.
We can absolutely thank writer/director Joss Whedon for giving us the Avengers film we’ve always wanted. His focus on every character in the film is vital to the story, and Whedon is so clearly familiar with each one to give us a satisfying and faithful adaptation of the team. Being that The Avengers is five years in the making, the audience has already been privy to each hero’s backstory, allowing Whedon to focus on the assembling of the team. I have to say that my favorite scenes in the film are the ones where the team is sitting around talking with each other. Having all of these big personalities in one room should have been the most difficult aspect of making the film, but Whedon somehow turns it to his advantage.
Every character is absolutely perfect in their role, as we have previously seen. The one difference, and also one of the biggest standouts, is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Being the third person to be in the role in the last decade, he is exactly the Banner we have been looking for, and I thought both Eric Bana and Ed Norton did a terrific job. Robert Downey, Jr. is as good as ever here, as is Hemsworth and Evans. All three of of those actors are absolutely perfect for their role, especially Evans.I always thought Chris Evans’ performance as Captain America was underrated, but his approach to the role is so pitch-perfect to the character, I hope these films give him a little more recognition. I cannot wait for another Cap film.
However, the real standout here is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. We caught a glimpse of how good HIddleston is in the role during Thor, but Whedon allows him to really chew the scenery in this flim. While I do have problems with the villainous threat in the film, it has nothing to do with Loki. He is the most interesting and subtly terrifying villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, not to mention just as fun to watch. Hiddleston plays the part perfectly, adding a bit of humor and gravitas to a role that could have easily been cliché. His subtle gestures and maniacal grins are terrific. He also gets away with a bit of Victorian Age slang in the film that, if uttered in more modern terms, might have given this film an R rating, especially in a Marvel film – but the audience I was with didn’t seem to notice.
Simply put, I loved this movie. It is everything a Marvel film should be. The performances are fantastic, the action is amazing, and the script is near-perfect. Joss Whedon understands how to entertain an audience without dumbing-down the material. While I found Loki’s army (the primary threat) pretty faceless and uninteresting, Whedon knows that the real obstacle the team has to overcome is being able to actually come together and work together. This is far-and-above the best superhero film in the actual “superhero universe” and not the more “grounded in reality” universe we get in Nolan’s Batman films. There are some true surprises in this film and there is more than enough humor, characterization, and jaw-dropping action to warrant multiple viewings. I highly recommend this film.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference
Runtime: 142 minutes