May 4, 2012 The Avengers
Studio: Paramount Pictures Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Since the end credits of the first "Iron Man" movie, comic book fans have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of "The Avengers."
This is the movie that takes the stars of four different franchises and puts them all together in one massive adventure.
But...in order to need that many superheroes you must a have a threat worthy of them.
The role of the big bad guy is filled by Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The Asgardian god of mischief...and Thor's adopted brother, joins forced with an alien army. They plot to seize a source of ultimate power and take over the universe.
Following an initial assault, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of the secret organization S.H.I.E.L.D. puts out the call for Earth's Mightiest heroes to assemble.
However, things don't go smoothly.
Thor and Iron Man have a small disagreement. And when superheroes are involved that usually means there's a fight.
Eventually, The Avengers get on the same page and start working together instead of punching each other in the face. Loki visits Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.'s mid-town New York skyscraper. He and the billionaire genius inventor face off in a battle of wits as a prelude to the final confrontation.
Directed by Joss Whedon, "The Avengers" could have been a disaster. Juggling this many characters and making it entertaining is a very difficult task.
But don't worry, Whedon pulls it off brilliantly.
In addition to Downey's Iron Man, there is Chris Evans as Captain Ameria, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo who makes his debut as Bruce Banner....and the Incredible Hulk.
Two other heroes join the fray, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye.
Each character is showcased. Each character gets a unique moment that helps solidify the story.
One of the best things about "The Avengers" is it isn't just about the big action sequences. There's no checklist as the plot moves from one showdown to the next.
Instead, Whedon includes humor and emotion to draw you in. You care about these characters and you believe their reactions as the situation unfolds.
This isn't just a good superhero movie. This is a great film. It satisfies both hardcore fanboys and casual moviegoers.
That being said, don't think "The Avengers" skimps on the action. The last 40 minutes contain some incredible battle scenes, and I have to say that the Hulk steals the show. There are at least three moments when you'll want to stand up and cheer as the jade giant fills up the screen and does what he does.
"The Avengers" is great. You will enjoy it.
On my rating scale, "The Avengers" hits a HOME RUN.
And...the movie contains a couple of neat extras. There are two scenes during the credits. One is about midway through and one is at the end. Stay until the lights come up. You'll be glad you did. It's a great way to end the movie.
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