Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I thought I didn’t qualify. Apparently I’m…what was it? Volatile, self-obsessed, and don’t play well with others,” says Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) who’s at Stark Tower to convince Iron Man to join other superheroes in a fight to protect Earth from an invasion in the highly anticipated film, The Avengers.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of S.H.I.E.L.D (a secret government peacekeeping agency), has sent Agent Coulson along with super spy/assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) out to find and bring back both Mr. Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) who turns into the huge, mighty, raging, green Hulk when he becomes angry; to team up with Steve Rogers – Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow, super assassin Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and, hopefully, the mighty demigod Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to form The Avengers. The reason behind the need to assemble a super fighting team: Thor’s adopted brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has stolen a power cube called the Tesseract and intends to use it to open a portal to allow a fierce alien army to wage war on Earth and enslave all humans to obey Loki. But before the new team of superheroes can have any real chance of finding a way to stop Loki, they MUST put their egos and personality clashes aside and find a way to work together if Earth is going to have any hope of surviving.
Thrilling and fun, The Avengers is a fast-paced, action-packed event movie which will have the audience cheering and applauding in their seats. It has a strong cast with some stand-out performances led by Robert Downey Jr., reprising his role as Tony Stark, whose very presence on screen elevates the film to a whole new level and energizes the rest of the cast. Mark Ruffalo is hands-down the best to portray Bruce Banner since Bill Bixby played the role on the small screen in the 1970s. Both Downey Jr. and Ruffalo have solid chemistry in the scenes where Stark and Banner begin to become friends and Tony encourages Bruce not to fear his alter green ego but embrace him instead.
Scarlett Johansson is perfect as Black Widow, the cold, tough master spy who’s not all ice around the edges but actually cares deeply for her teammates – and at times even shows a little chink in her armor. The scene where she tries to persuade Banner to come in from the cold is both tense, humorous and surprising.
The film also has breathtaking action sequences, great CGI, and the best superhero fight in a downtown city since Superman (Christopher Reeve) fought General Zod (Terence Stamp) and his comrades in the film Superman 2.
The only problem with the film is a few scenes that drag on a little too long and really do slam on the brakes of what is one of the best action films to come along in years.
Exhilarating and surprising, The Avengers is a star-powered, full-throttle action blockbuster that’s sure to surpass moviegoers’ expectations.
The Avengers hits theaters on May 4, 2012 and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.