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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Avengers | Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans | Review

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Marvel's The Avengers


Comic book fanboys and girls from around the world are elated now that the highly anticipated big screen spectacle, Marvel's The Avengers is finally in release.  Question is, does the movie, directed Joss Whedon (“The Cabin in the Woods”) who cowrote the script with Zak Penn, meet audiences' expectations. That depends on the expectations.

From my perspective, I was underwhelmed. Sure, there are lots of eye dazzling visuals, computer graphic special effects, and plenty of action. But, I expected more, like originality and an imaginative script, which it clearly lacks.  We've seen this storyline and formula replayed over and over in countless sci fi fantasy flicks.  It is the familiar scenario where an evil being, not of this world, enters our realm declaring war on the earth with the desire to seize power, resulting in lots of mayhem and destruction, before a superhero or heroes saves the day.

The biggest draw for comic book aficionados is that they get to see six superheroes, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow unite in one film, the first of yet another film franchise.

The plot goes like this. An unlimited power source in the form of a cube known as Tesseract suddenly creates a portal in space-time, allowing the villainous Asgardian demi-god, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), to enter with evil intentions. Hungry for power, and driven by jealously and vengeance towards his brother Thor, Loki declares war on the earth. He steals the Tessaract, that has the potential of causing global catastrophe, and puts Agent Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and scientist, Dr. Erik Solveig (Stellan Skargard) under his spell and control.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the eye patch wearing, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., realizes he needs to assemble a team of the Earth's mightiest superheros to save the world from the brink of disaster.   And so, the "Avengers Initiative," is reactivated with the recruitment of wisecracking, genius, billionaire industrialist, Tony "Iron Man" Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), the brooding, tormented Bruce "The Hulk" Banner (Mark Ruffalo replacing Edward Norton, who replaced Eric Bana), former 1940's army pilot, Steve "Captain America" Rogers (Chris Evans), Russian spy, Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and, hammer wielding Norse god, Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

Standouts are Mark Ruffalo as the troubled Dr. Banner, who is taken from India where he wanted to stay calm helping people so his angry, huge green alter ego, the Hulk wouldn't take over, and Scarlett Johanson as the fearless, tough as nails, kick ass chick in skin tight leather jumpsuit and boots. Most of the superheros are given equal screen time, except for superb marksman and archer Hawkeye (Renner) who disappears for most of the film and when returning is mostly relegated to aiming his bow and arrow at his targets.


But wait a minute. Before battling Loki and his alien army that are soon to be dispatched, the remaining superheroes, each suffering with some personal issues, must fight amongst themselves.  Clearly they need to make peace with each other and get along and in order to have a tight knit unit that will get the  job done. For some stupid reason, Thor and Iron Man fight it out, Stark and Rogers engage in some verbal sparring, and the Black Widow and The Hulk go at it (why he attacks her isn't known).

When the team encounter Loki and his minions, no matter what powerful weapon is thrown at them, each of the superheroes appear to be indestructible, invincible, whatever. I guess that is par for the course in the comic book world and Hollywood movies.

Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Ms.Potts, Starks loyal assistant/ love interest but her role amounts to nothing more than a cameo. Speaking of cameos, as in every Marvel comic film adaptation, once again character creator Stan Lee shows up in a don't wink or you will miss him scene.

It comes down to this.  The filmmakers know their target audience and I guess the The Avengers delivers on what it was intended to be,  two hours and twenty minutes of tongue and cheek dialogue, action and special affects, none of which are groundbreaking.

However, I didn't hate the film. I enjoyed the inclusion of humor and clever one liners.  The most hilarious scene involves The Hunk and his encounter with Loki. When given orders to “smash”  the Hulk delivers to the nth degree by swinging Loki around like a ragdoll that had everyone in the audience laughing out loud.

As I see it, The Avengers is another run of the mill comic book adventure offering up mediocre entertainment and nothing special.

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