The Avengers is one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. The hype Marvel flooded consumers with was well worth the wait for the film’s release. Joss Whedon of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse fame writes and directs this superhero team up movie. The plot involves something called the Tesseract, a cosmic cube that has unknown potential energy. Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) decides to steal the cube and use it to open a portal with another world to start an invasion and war that very well may destroy Earth. Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury decides that after being bested by Loki when the Tesseract was stolen that it is time to initiate the Avengers initiative. This initiative involves bringing together Earth’s mightiest heroes to do battle with Loki and his army to save Earth. This means Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and two S.H.IE.L.D. agents Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansen) all need to work through their egos and play nice to preserve the greater good.
The main positive of this film is that if anyone enjoyed one of the previous Marvel films from the last four years, each hero gets his or her own moment in the spotlight. My favorite thing about this film is its visual style. The film very much resembled the look of those first Avengers posters with battles going on throughout parts of Midtown in New York. Another thing that struck me about the film is how funny it was. Yes, Robert Downey Jr. does have some great lines in the film but everyone gets a chance to crack a moderately funny one liner even the Hulk. It almost goes without saying that I love seeing all of these heroes on screen together fighting to save the Earth, but the thing I was most impressed by was the event that really forced them to put their egos aside and work together. The moment comes rather unexpectedly in the films run time and it is a moment that has a level of emotional resonance for anyone who has watched any of the previous four films.
The only problem I found with The Avengers is that the first act was very slow and did not build the anticipation for the team up. I found Loki’s entrance into the story boring until he tricked Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. The biggest surprise of the film has to be Mark Ruffalo’s performance as both Bruce Banner and The Hulk. The Avengers is the first film that has ever been able to successfully capture the emotional turmoil that Bruce Banner is constantly in due to not being able to live a normal life. The biggest strength Ruffalo gives this character is that you know Bruce Banner is constantly in a fragile state and that the years of running he has been doing have both exhausted him and left him emotionally raw. This may also explain why he clings to his love of science so much. Banner’s scenes with Tony Stark are a highlight of the film and it warms my heart to know that Banner was able to meet a kindred spirit in Tony Stark.
With a solid story and engaging characters The Avengers is a well assembled movie and well worth your money and time in the theater. Make sure to stay through all the credits for a hint at what may happen to the Avengers next.