When we went to see THE AVENGERS Saturday afternoon my expectations were modest. In spite of breaking the all time first weekend earnings record, this is a super-hero flick based on comic book characters. And yet, Joss Whedon’s script and direction made it hold together and work on many levels beyond Thor’s impressive physique, and that’s why people flocked to it.
Like most super-hero stories, the villain, Thor’s adopted demi-god brother Loki, is clearly the bad guy through and through. He wants to enslave and rule the Earth with the help of some truly hideous aliens—information we get before the initial titles.
The good guys, called up by the head of a pseudo-government agency, don’t hit it off which is one of the more clever humanizing aspects of the story and what sets it apart from other extreme action films like TRANSFORMERS. In their first encounter Ironman and Thor fight over capturing Loki and in the process level a lot of terrain. As the threat to Earth intensifies, the superheroes begin to bond—well, at least cooperate—and the action ramps up. And the special effects are marvelous!
If you haven’t seen the original films of IRONMAN, THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA, you’ll miss a lot of the more amusing references and conflicts. The younger characters—Thor, Captain America and Natasha—are all good, but it’s Robert Downey Jr.’s irreverent, egotistical, brilliant Tony Stark aka Ironman who makes this movie work. Besides being a wonderful actor, RDJ has the screen presence to give the team depth and maturity as well as drive. Without him, the two handsome Chrises—Hemsworth and Evans—wouldn’t have risen above the comic book characters as effectively as they did. Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo rounded out the super-team with their usual skill and everyone pitched in the big battle.
This movie is what a blockbuster is supposed to be. So rent the prequels if you haven’t seen them, then treat yourself to a very entertaining 143 minutes of action. Check out the trailer:
Have you seen THE AVENGERS? What did you think? Have you seen any other good films lately?