The Avengers–Movie Review

3 Stars

The Avengers is the culmination of a series of movies based on Marvel Comics superheroes. (The official title seems to be “Marvel’s The Avengers” but I will only go so far to accommodate marketing lunacy.) The earlier movies were Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America.

If you have seen the earlier movies you can probably make a good guess about how much you will like this one. (I enjoyed the Iron Man movies and Captain America, didn’t think much of Thor and somehow missed out on the Hulk.) If you haven’t seen any of the movies this is probably not the place to start.

At the start of the movie Loki (Tom Hiddleston), otherwise known as “the smirking evil guy”, steals an unlimited power source called “the Tesseract.” He plans to trade it for a alien army that will make him the ruler of Earth.

I was planning to make some sort of joke about what a cheesy villain Loki is, but honestly, at a typical meeting of world leaders he would probably fit right in.

The responsibility for defeating Loki falls on the shoulders of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. His original plan had been to use the Tesseract to build a super-weapon, but so much for that…

His backup plan is to round up every superhero that he can get his hands on. It seems that high-tech bowman Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner) has been kidnapped by Loki and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is off on another planet somewhere. He does manage to recruit Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans), superspy Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and the mild-mannered Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Unfortunately all these superheroes are in various ways misfit loners who just don’t know how to play well together.

This is a talented cast and the movie is at its best when they are just allowed to have fun with their characters. For me the best part was the middle section of the movie where the heroes are not playing well together. The interaction between the carefree bad boy Tony Stark and the super straight-laced Steve Rogers was particularly amusing.

In the end though it all comes down to an extremely long CGI battle to save the world. I have reached the point where computer-generated special effects just don’t impress me anymore. After this had gone on for about 15 minutes all I could think of was “I’m soooooo glad I’m not watching this in 3-D!”

Ultimately there is a satisfactory conclusion, one definitive enough that the customary post-credits Easter Egg doesn’t even promise us a sequel.

I was a bit concerned by the large number of very young children that I saw at the screening. I don’t think this movie is nearly as disturbing as The Hunger Games, which is also rated PG-13. The Avengers is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. No adult will take it seriously. Probably most 10-year-olds won’t take it seriously. Younger viewers, on the other hand, take everything seriously.

There isn’t much blood and only a couple of characters die on camera, but if you’re paying attention it seems clear that hundreds if not thousands of innocent bystanders get killed just outside of camera range. Maybe the little kids won’t notice that–but in my experience they tend to notice more than you would expect.

2 thoughts on “The Avengers–Movie Review

  1. David A. Young

    Although I generally share your boredom with big CGI battles, I thought this one had enough “personality” to it to remain fairly engaging. And actually, I thought the end shot WAS sequel-fodder. The character shown is one of Marvel’s super-baddies — with the implication he would be the villian for the next movie.

  2. Jonathan Tappan Post author

    The “Easter Egg” I meant was the final sequence after all the credits.

    I know the baddie you’re referring to but he seemed to be saying that Earth is a primitive place with nasty dangerous inhabitants, thus not worth attacking. Maybe there’s a sequel there but it hardly seems guaranteed.

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