Marvel’s “The Avengers” (2012) Movie Review
Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is the guiding force behind Marvel’s “The Avengers.” One of the most memorable aspects of “Buffy” was its remarkable usage of team spirit. Together, the gang of Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles defeat demons.
So it makes perfect sense for Whedon to apply his team-building knowledge to write and direct “The Avengers,” a film that puts together a group of Marvel superheroes. The result is an exhilarating journey about powers and great responsibilities.
Based on the popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson), the director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., is desperate to build a team in order to save the world from the brink of disaster.
The Tesseract, an energy source of unknown potential, has opened a portal through space. Soon, the exiled Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston), previously seen in last year’s “Thor,” steps through and decides to steal the Tesseract.
“We are at war,” Fury says, so he gathers the superhero team of a lifetime to thwart Loki’s plans. There’s Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
Whedon understands the myths surrounding each superhero and continues the narrative arcs introduced for each character in their respective films. Iron Man/Tony Stark has a fruitful romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) while Thor is still having sibling rivalry with his adoptive brother Loki and continues to wonder about Jane (Natalie Portman).
Captain America/Steve Rogers is still trying to fit in the present world while The Hulk/Bruce Banner is seeking a low-key life outside America. Each character was cunningly developed from previous films so “The Avengers” is a huge payoff for loyal fans who stayed after closing credits of previous Marvel movies to catch a glimpse of what’s to come.
Each of our heroes is also given ample time to shine. Wait until you see Iron Man’s midair costume change, or Black Widow’s aeronautical somersaults. But my favorite is The Incredible Hulk. “The Avengers” singlehandedly restored my faith in our favorite green giant. It helps that his grunts are voiced by the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.
Much like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or the recent “Cabin in the Woods,” the film finds funny moments in tense-filled scenes. Whedon is famous for his ironic, sometimes sardonic, writing and it serves him well in “The Avengers.”
The movie is not the best superhero film to date, “The Dark Knight” still holds that title. But while Christopher Nolan was busy examining the true meaning of being a superhero, Whedon just wants us to have a great time and embrace our inner extraordinary qualities.
Marvel and its current distributing partner, Walt Disney Pictures, will have a harder time trying to exceed or even meet expectations for future movies featuring standalone characters. Everything will pale in comparison after this film.
But for now, enjoy “The Avengers,” a perfect popcorn movie that will make you laugh and clap at the same time. And yes, stay after closing credits for a secret scene that sets up future installments.
RATING: “THE AVENGERS” GETS 3 ½ KISSES
Country: United States