Let’s just get it out of the way and cut straight to the chase: The Avengers is the perfect summer movie. Its special effects and remarkable action will send a rush of blood to your head, and the witty, gut-busting dialogue will have you quoting these Marvel heroes long after you leave the theater. It’s the ultimate popcorn flick; and not just one of the best superhero movies, but one of the better action films in recent memory. And give all the credit to director/writer Joss Whedon.
Whedon has done what many deemed as impossible: being able to find a balance with four superheroes (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk) and four S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson). Oh, and then there’s also the villain, Thor’s jealous, vengeful brother Loki (a great performance by Tom Hiddleston). Each character will have its time in the spotlight, and Whedon gives them them so much personality and depth that it will be difficult to decide which one is your favorite. Robert Downey, Jr. shines (again) as the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” who “doesn’t play well with others;” Chris Hemsworth is as electric as ever as the God of Thunder (oh snap, did you see what I did there?!), who wields his mouth as much as his hammer with his banter; Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) may have not had their own feature films, but each makes a case for one with several impressive action sequences; Chris Evans delivers a solid performance as Captain America, a natural, pure born leader who struggles to gain the respect of his fellow Avengers; and finally there’s the all-powerful, raging Hulk. Talented actors Eric Bana and Edward Norton have tackled Bruce Banner in the past, but their efforts pale in comparison to Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the atomic physicist. Whedon finally does the green superhero justice, and gives fans what they’ve wanted to see from the character: which is less emotion and more smash. The Avengers‘ Hulk has more personality and charisma than any of the first two movies combined, which will have geeks demanding a sequel (which is currently not planned by producer Kevin Feige).
The plot is simple: Loki steals a power source in an attempt to open a portal and allow an alien race to enter and subjugate earth. The move forces Nick Fury to go forward with the Avengers initiative, but not without obstacles. With so much testosterone and egos in one room, the group of heroes are divided. They must set aside their differences in order to save the planet. It really is that straightforward, but it’s the writing in between that makes the film so great. The fresh dialogue breathes new life to these heroes, and resuscitates a Hulk franchise that sorely needed a film like this. Just when the action becomes too much, one of the heroes is there to lighten the mood with a simple gesture or remark. That’s the beauty of Whedon’s Avengers: it provides enough drama, but it never takes itself too seriously.
The Avengers truly is the comic book blockbuster event of the summer. I am aware The Dark Knight Rises is to be released in July, but that is a different kind of film. The Avengers is that perfect blend of fantasy, action and fun. To all writers and directors, please take notes because this is how it’s done (yes, I’m looking at you, Michael Bay). You do not have to know a lick of comic book lore to appreciate Whedon’s film. The Avengers is for fanboys and nonfanboys alike, and there’s only word to describe it: awesome. Well done, Mr. Whedon. You deserve a golf clap.