THE AVENGERS

 

THE AVENGERS

 

By Gary Murray

 

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johanssen, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Helmsworth

 

Written by Josh Whedon and Zak Penn

 

Directed by Josh Whedon

 

Running time 142 min

 

MPAA Rating PG-13

 

Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE

 

Even though I possess a slight resemblance to Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, I am not the biggest comic book guy on the planet.  While I was younger, I enjoyed reading the adventures of The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman.  As I grew older, the comic books were something that just went to the wayside.  I have seen a great portion of the major releases culled from comic books. Some of these were very good and some were weak.

 

Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed the resurgence of the Marvel characters.  I loved Captain America, the Iron Man series and the Ed Norton’s Incredible Hulk.  The Thor film was not as successful and the weakest of the batch.  I wasn’t sure about what to expect when the four characters would be combined in The Avengers.  It could be great but it could also be like The Fantastic Four, a very disappointing comic book series.

 

When I found that the film was to be directed by Josh Whedon, my fears were abated.  Josh is the creative juggernaut behind such TV shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly.  He is the sci-fi guru, the go-to guy for all things geek chic.  The Avengers was in the best of hands.

The film is about Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth).   A team of scientists open a portal to the other side of the universe which gives the ‘demigod’ a chance to escape.  He wants to rule the earth and help rule the universe.  There are more sinister forces that are behind Loki.  He sees mankind as inferior beings that are destined to be mastered and he is just the being to do it.

 

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) runs a super secret agency (with the coolest aircraft carrier ever) that has been making plans for something like this.  He has a plan called The Avengers Initiative.   The idea is to take Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) into a superior force.  The plan also includes capturing that Id monster The Hulk that lurks inside of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).

 

Every one knows that having Banner turn into the big green monster is a dangerous proposition so they have a trap to keep the beast contained.  It is in that trap where they put Loki.  But to say plans to not go as planned would be an understatement.  Loki also wants to harness the power of the Hulk and his Gamma radiation.  The film is basically a ‘rally the troops’ flick with a ton of CGI explosions and effects.

 

No matter what I say, this film will make a billion dollars.  I am not exaggerating on that number.  I can see this movie overtake Titanic and score more money than any other single film ever made.   It is the main tent pole of tent pole films, the go-to cinematic destination everyone wants to be a part of.

 

While I usually detest 3D in non-animated features, it works in spades here.   The film is just amazing to look at, with effects that bring about the awe without overpowering the spectacle.  It is a testament to the leaps and bounds that the industry has made to the technology over the years.  This is a state of the art film experience, an apex to the cross between storytelling and machinery.

 

Even though it helps to have seen all the other adventures of the characters in the Marvel Universe, The Avengers holds up as its own film.  One doesn’t have to have seen the other films to enjoy this combination feature.

 

Robert Downey Jr. is in his element with his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man.  Of the four male leads, he towers about his fellow actors with the best and most flippant lines.  The big surprise is Scarlett Johanssen as the Black Widow.  She kicks butt on more than one occasion, using hand guns and fists with equal aplomb.  Her character deserves its own movie.

 

Mark Ruffalo is the third to take on the cinematic duty of Bruce Banner/Hulk and tries to make it his own.  His Banner is just as subdued as his Hulk is the extrovert.  When the Hulk goes into full Id mode, it is a powerful spectacle and, in more than one instance, jaw-breaking funny.

For the uber-geeks, The Avengers is the biggest film of the decade–manna from Heaven, ambrosia from the gods.  For the uninitiated, the movie is one heck of an action spectacle.  This is a film that should be seen on the big screen, well worth the admission.

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