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The Avengers (2012) – Movie Review

Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury in The Avengers

Written by: Joss Whedon, based on a story by Zak Penn & Whedon, which was based in turn on characters appearing in Marvel Comics
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston

Where to begin? Let me predict just one simple thing: Starting May 4th, you will believe the hype. The Avengers is everything you would want from a blockbuster movie. It’s loud, fast, charming, funny and such a ride, you will want to see it on the biggest screen, in the best theater.

The story is pretty simple and uses a lot of the more subtle elements that were introduced in the “prequels” to this big superhero team-up: Loki (Hiddleston) is back in a big bad way, with the aid of an alien race, he is trying to conquer the world and to be worshiped as the god he is. In order to do so, he uses the energy cube we were introduced to in Captain America to arrive on earth. Since it has been analyzed by SHIELD, his arrival is neither unnoticed nor without consequence. Loki’s escape and theft of the energy cube is the introduction to the movie and gives you a good idea what’s about to come: a very fast and loud ride. Nick Fury activates the Avengers Initiative to fight Loki and protect the earth from whatever else might be coming.

[ad#longpost]The worst thing one could say about The Avengers is that the plot is not surprising at all. It would also be almost the only bad thing. Joss Whedon and the complete ensemble bring their A-Game (no pun intended). Whedon was probably the perfect man for this, since this movie is very close to the season finale of a TV show–and that he can write and direct those he has proven time and time again. If you know his work, you will find a lot of his handwriting all over the place. It’s almost as if he had been honing his storytelling skills over the years and now has been given a big arena to play in. Not to spoil anything but what you have been coming to expect from Whedon, he delivers–if you know how he got you to care about his stories before, just be warned, he does it again and it works.

The emphasis of this being a team-movie could not be more accurate. What could have easily become a one man show for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark titled “Iron Man and his Amazing Friends” works so well as a team movie, because not everybody falls in line behind one of the other heroes instantly. The dynamics, the struggle, the ego of Stark, the stubbornness of Thor–it’s all there. The internal conflicts make Loki the perfect villain to oppose a team–and may I say: Tom Hiddleston truly plays a villain. Loki is devious, self-centred, loud, operatic and he is enjoying every moment. You love to despise him and can’t wait to see him lose.

Rooting for the good guys has in turn rarely been this enjoyable. The fact that watching Downey Jr. as Stark is pure joy is no surprise. Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner with such subtlety: just the slightest hint of the danger is present so that he might actually scare you. The best thing though: everybody gets their moment, whether it’s a serious one or a truly funny one. Every character decision fits their…well, character and everybody gets to shine.

Besides not having enough time for its large cast, the other big danger hanging over this movie was the creation of plot holes. There is so much going on in the world of the movie, one might lose track of it all, especially since it is the focus point (and culmination) of Marvel‘s movie universe. Yet, the straightforward and simple plot manages to avoid major holes. Some things are explained by a simple line of dialogue and towards the end, there is a scene that will make you wonder–but not until after the movie. The fact is, The Avengers simply shuts your brain off by being so entertaining, fast and smartly told–you will not ask questions until the smoke clears. And even though you might have some questions after, at the end of the day I predict you will have a childish grin on your face and be happy–you’ll have seen a movie with a brawl between superheroes and a final battle that truly deserves the name.

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