Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom, Hiddlestone, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Lou Ferrigno
Synopsis: Really? I need to give a synopsis for one of the two most anticipated comic book films of the year?? What rock could people be living under? Okay, okay, I’ll be serious. When a major super-powered being and his army threaten Earth, no one hero alone can face it. So Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., assembles a team of super powered good guys, along with some highly skilled assassins, to defend Earth. In short, he assembles THE AVENGERS!
In a film that features the products of government experiments, both successful and less-than-successful, millionaires with high-tech weaponry, and a couple of demi-gods, causing havoc, another fact has once again been validated. That in assembling all these disparate elements, Joss Whedon is once again proven as a god of film. Take that, Thor!!
There was so much that could have gone wrong with this film. It is true that each of the four main heroes had established back stories, so that is not a problem Whedon had to contend with. Rather, he had to deal with seven main characters, none of which could have been short-changed. For one thing, fans would never forgive him. He has done this successfully before, in adapting his own small screen saga to make the gem of a film that is Serenity, but in that case the characters had existing relationships and bonds. The Avengers was a much more difficult task. Four different directors have had their stab at Hulk (Louis Leterrier, whose version supersedes Ang Lee’s), Iron Man (Jon Favreau), Thor (Kenneth Branagh) and Captain America (Joe Johnston), and Whedon had to be true to all of these sources while making a coherent film. Not only does he do this but he adds elements that are pure Whedon, especially in adding a level of comedy that adds rather than detracts from the overall entertainment value.. If you were not fans of the previous films, but you love Whedon, you can still get a lot from this film.
The balance between character, story, and action, is perfect. Every character has moments to shine, just as each has a chance to face a character weakness that creates true drama and heart. Evans, Hemsworth, and Downey Jr. all slide quite comfortably back into their old roles, and Whedon gets a little something more out of each of them. This is especially true of Downey Jr.’s Stark, who provides the same level of entertainment as he did in the first Iron Man, an element that was lacking somewhat in Iron Man 2. Ruffalo makes a great Banner, and that says a lot when I was one of those bitterly disappointed fans who bemoaned the lack of a returning Ed Norton, It would be fantastic to see Ruffalo continue in the role, and I hope that the character can be a little more coherent in future as a result. Both Renner and Johansson also deserve mention. Though they are Avengers with no preceding film to themselves, they both prove not only worthy allies in a story sense, but also worthy performers, managing to create their own iconic moments in the film. Renner continues to show brilliance, which does bode well for the future of the Bourne saga, but Johannson took me by surprise. She has not shown this much promise as a performer since her break out role in Lost in Translation.
This is a long film, but the entertainment value is so high such that I was still craving more as the end credits were rolling. Good thing that there was a mid-credits hint that there is definitely more yet to come!!
5 stars out of 5