This famous superhero group battles the evil Norse god Loki in Marvel’s The Avengers – a greatly satisfying film filled with many satisfying moments.
Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk) provide the primary hero roles.
Downey Jr. prominently figures his alter ego, inventor/tycoon Tony Stark, into the plot quite well as Gwyneth Paltrow’s continuing role as Pepper Potts develops further as their relationship comfortably evolves to balance the Stark Corporation’s ambitions that now include sustainable energy for an entire building. Paul Bettany also returns as Stark’s computer voice Jarvis while Stan Lee gets his now standard cameo near the end.
Stark’s quick dialogue gets even sharper as he eventually interacts with the superhero group that now includes the unofficial leader Captain America, played again by Chris Evans. Filmmakers save many “adjustment to modern times” instances for the next Captain America sequel though references and his view on gods provide great moments.
Dr. Bruce Banner impresses with intellect, but the Hulk scenes create an overwhelming awe as audiences watch man’s power go beyond the boundaries. Hulk’s one word order from Captain America and the following action is worth the admission price alone.
The mighty Thor’s continues his progression out of arrogance as his brother Loki’s threat to his promise to protect Earth becomes his main concern. Stellan Skarsgard returns as the scientist Selvig while Thor’s love interest Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, also factors into the story.
Each of the four main superheroes sling their respective words with their storylines as quick reminders (e.g. Hulk talks gamma rays, Captain America mentions hydra, etc.) as filmmakers concentrate on the action that begins with a savage, unpredictable sequence featuring Nick Fury, played again by Samuel L. Jackson, at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Phil Coulson, well played by Clark Gregg, and Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders are on the side an international peace keeping agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate and was previously named Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, and Clint Barton/Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner (who had a cameo in Thor) provide nice synopsis moments as key players without superpowers, but extraordinary abilities and implied experience. My skepticism of the 360 camera shot in the preview showing Black Widow loading her pistol was quickly quelled as she more than holds her own, especially with Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston who has a surprisingly even performance as the main antagonist.
Director/producer/co-story writer Joss Whedon forges the well integrated special effects, entertaining humor/references, and amazing action sequences into one big wallop. Elements from the separate superhero films blend as well as the special effects, so audience never get the sense that the franchise is stagnate or assemble only to boost their popularity.
Marvel’s The Avengers was filmed in locations including Cleveland, Ohio; New York and New Mexico. Watch the ending credits for two special sequences. Will Spider-Man and Wolverine eventually join the group?…hopefully so. This highly recommended film (***1/2) delivers and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, non-stop action, and a mild drug reference.