The event Marvel Studios has been working towards for many years is here: the studio has released The Avengers, in which the various stars of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk unite in the sort of super-team movie that once would have existed only as a fan pipe dream. Well, most of the various stars of those films, as Mark Ruffalo steps in as Bruce Banner and the Hulk, but otherwise we’ve got the roster that Marvel has been building over the past few summers: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, and relative newcomers Jeremy Renner and Cobie Smulders.
Joss Whedon got the job rewriting and directing the film and, I think, managed a neat balance of character and action. Every member of the team gets their due, and the conflict that brews between the rougly-formed team of Avengers and Asgardian trickster Loki culminates in a giant battle sequence that occupies most of the film’s final act. But Whedon & Co. keep the action lively and the staging uncluttered enough that we can see what these heroes are doing as they repel an alien force.
So now that you’ve had a chance to see The Avengers, what did you think? Chime in through the comment section below where, as always for these pieces, spoilers are totally acceptable.
I’m sure part of what people will want to talk about is the fate of Clark Gregg’s character. Personally, that was a high point of the movie for me. Not because I don’t like the character, but because I do, and that scene proved that something was on the line. So often, films based on long-running characters feel too static, because there’s no sense that anything is really at risk. The Avengers gets a little life from that death.
I’m also impressed by the way Whedon handled the action, especially in that massive final battle. I’ve described it to some as the last act of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, only… good. I’m often the first one to mentally and emotionally check out when film fights become a big splash of pixels, but I was caught up in The Avengers from beginning to end. The Hulk, the character who gets the best, biggest laughs, sure didn’t hurt.
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