The Avengers manages to do two things with its release today – and it does them both very, very well. First, it heralds the start of the summer movie season which will be packed to the hilt with superhero movies and sequels from every major Hollywood studio. Second – and more importantly – it is a damn fine piece of entertainment. This is one you definitely won’t want to miss.
The film is basically an excuse to bring together all of the most awesomest of awesome Marvel superheroes for a lesson in teamwork and cooperation. The purpose is not (I repeat, not) to simply throw them together for an endless series of CGI action sequences. In fact, that element is distinctly secondary in Joss Whedon’s tale of supermen (and woman) who battle for the Earth’s soul.
The story begins (like most superhero stories) with the planet under siege from the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston). An organization called SHIELD (which apparently stands for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and which is run by Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) summons The Avengers to basically kick some intergalactic booty. We have Iron Man (Robert Downey), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Natasha the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). I’m still not entirely convinced if karate-chopping Natasha is really a superhero(ine) or if she’s just there to appease the feminists, but for what it’s worth, the girl has some kick-ass aim.
The characters understand their mission – it’s the limits of their supersize powers and supersize egos that they don’t understand. Sensibilities are trampled upon and feelings are hurt, which leads in the end to a ooey-gooey lesson in teamwork and respecting others. It all feels a bit like an after school special, but then again, this is Marvel.
There’s much to be enjoyed here: the direction is slick, the story is logical (as superhero movies go), and the performances are pat perfect, especially Robert Downey who nails his part in each and every scene (which he also happens to steal). If The Avengers is any indication as to how the summer movie season will shape up, then I, for one, am excited.