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After gathering up over $200 million in the box office this weekend, I had the opportunity to catch the most highly-anticipated super hero movie ever in The Avengers. Ever since Samuel L. Jackson took on the role of Nick Fury and made his first appearance in the post-credits scene of Iron Man, we’ve all been looking forward to “The Avengers initiative”.
Starring Mr. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and directed by Joss Whedon of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame, not only is The Avengers a hugely star-studded affair, but it’s perhaps one of the best super hero movies ever released.
In The Avengers, Loki is preparing to declare war against Earth to reclaim an artifact known as the Tesseract, an item of limitless energy. Loki uses the Tesseract to arrive on Earth and prepare the planet for the arrival of his massive army of Chitauri. In response, Nick Fury begins to rally together the collection of superheroes to complete the Avengers initiative.
The movie, like many superhero stories, is full of action. Avengers, however, takes it a step further. Running a solid two and a half hours, there is barely a moments rest in the film as you follow the formation of the group and their many battles against Loki and his minions.
Even if you’re going into this movie having not seen any or many of the related films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk), you will still be able to pick up on the plot and understand the characters pretty quickly. However, seeing those other films will do you a whole lot of good and give you a bit more appreciation for what’s taking place.
Sam Jackson takes on the role of the noble yet elusive Nick Fury very well, despite being one of the few starring “non-heroes” of the story. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark with the same wit and comedic timing that made his performance in the first two movies so terriffic. As Captain America, Chris Evans is exciting but there isn’t much time to see much of Cap’s “character” come into play, so he comes off as just a bit stale but still exciting to watch in action.
Mark Ruffalo delivers on his Bruce Banner, taking over for the previous player Edward Norton. While The Hulk itself is a CGI masterwork, Ruffalo still manages to play the role of Bruce Banner with the undercurrent of anger and feeling of helplessness that is key to the role. Jeremy Renner is a bit understated in his role as Hawkeye, but the focus shifts so frequently in this movie that it’s hard to understand much of Renner’s character, but he plays the part of the super-archer very well.
Two personal standouts, in my opinion, were Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Johansson’s performance, combined with the writing of her character, goes a long way in removing the typical “emotional woman” stereotype that seems to permeate Hollywood action movies. Her character is clever, brilliant and plays a key role throughout the film and only seems to be “helpless” when face to face with a rampaging Hulk, but so was everyone else.
Hiddleston’s performance as Loki was just as impressive as it was in Thor and the character’s delivery of his powerful lines, the menacing facial features, as well as the few comedic moments here and there (including what is perhaps my favorite scene between Loki and The Hulk), he truly stands out as the villain star of the film.
When it comes down to it, The Avengers is a superhero movie like few before it. Trumped perhaps only by The Dark Knight, The Avengers is full of action and excitement, witty dialogue, stellar acting and a great story. I can’t recommend it enough.
OVERALL RATING: 5 out of 5
And before I go, the most important thing is to remember, like all of the other Avenger-related films, be sure to stay after the credits for two terrific scenes that both wrap the movie up and hint at the sequel. Want a spoiler? Click on the link below and I’ll tell you (SPOILER ALERT!)