The Avengers (2012)
It is one of the best superhero movies ever made.
The Avengers begins after the climactic events of Thor (2011), where Loki fell into the dark abyss of space. In present time, Loki resides in space, preparing his Chitauri aliens for battle against the people of Earth. Meanwhile, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) arrives at SHIELD base and is made aware by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) that the Tesseract—a magical blue cube that can open portals in space and time—is “malfunctioning.” To understand why the Tesseract is behaving the way it is, Fury confers with Professor Erik Selvig—an astrophysicist with a working knowledge of alien technology. Suddenly, the Tesseract emits loud noises, creating concern in Fury and SHIELD operative Clint Barton/Hawkeye for what is about to happen. When the Tesseract stops making noises, Loki enters world through the power of the Tesseract and magically appears in the room. He kills many SHIELD operatives, hypnotizes Barton and Selvig, and takes the Tesseract with him. With the building falling apart, Fury races to catch Loki and retrieve the Tesseract, but to no success.
Desperate to protect the world from Loki, Fury commences the Avengers Initiative. He recruits superheroes Captain America, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner to retrieve the Tesseract and combat Loki wherever he may strike. Later, Thor appears and vows to bring his half-brother Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard—their home planet. Thor joins the other heroes to put an end to Loki’s actions.
But, as Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Bruce Banner come together for the first time, conflicts of ideologies and moral values among the group quickly arises, threatening the stability of the newly-formed team. Will they be able to put aside their conflicts and differences to save the world?
Written and directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers is one of the best superhero movies ever made. The film is the culmination of 5 years of planning. Marvel launched their franchise with the solo superhero film Iron Man (2008). Movies The Incredible Hulk (2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Thor (2011) came after Iron Man, giving viewers origin stories of the main heroes. Joss Whedon had the hard task of writing a screenplay that would successfully incorporate the heroes into this film, without details about personal relationships and friendships being truncated from the film. To that end, Whedon accomplishes this huge feat by tying up all narrative threads into a cohesive whole.
As mentioned, the script is well-written. Whedon manages to give each Avenger enough screen time for viewers to learn more about their fears, suspicions, and goals. However, despite the amount of screen time given to the characters, Tony Stark/Iron Man and Bruce Banner/Hulk outshine Captain America and Thor. At times, it feels Thor and Captain America are placed in the backseat, while Iron Man and Banner drive the movie forward. That said, Bruce Banner is the biggest surprise in the film. Originally portrayed by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo steps into the role and delivers one of the best iterations of the Hulk. As Banner, he is terrified of his “curse” and feels that he needs to be away from people to stop something bad from happening. Banner’s character arc is the most substantial one in the film, giving viewers the chance to sympathize with the Avenger. Other Avenger actors Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), and Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) bring humanity, humor, and charm to their roles, especially Robert Downey Jr. RDJ, who gained international acclaim for this role, once again embodies Tony Stark and successfully portrays the character’s narcissism, wit, and charm with swagger. RDJ is perfect for the role, and combined with Whedon’s witty dialogue, he and the other actors deliver funny banter in between the amazing action sequences. As a result, The Avengers is one of the most humorous superhero movies to date. Viewers will laugh and cheer at well-timed jokes as well as gut-busting moments featured in the film.
Visually-speaking, The Avengers showcases several great action set-pieces. Scenes showing the Avengers fighting each other are thrilling to watch. Additionally, well-crafted fight scenes in the third act display each Avenger’s skill and talent for combating the numerous Chitauris.
Many action sequences called for a lot of CGI to be added later, and for the most part, it is a success; however, some scenes are not as seamless as others, revealing noticeable uses of CGI. Still, the good outweighs the bad, and the Avengers delivers a delicious palette of palatable action set pieces to relish in.
The Avengers entertains viewers and die-hard comic book fans from beginning to end. With a combination of humor, great action sequences, engrossing character drama, The Avengers cements its status as one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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