How do you make a movie that brings together seven superheroes established in previous films, appease a notoriously unforgiving fanbase, and make good on the hype and buzz of Hollywood? Ask Joss Whedon. He’ll tell you.
The writer, director, and comic scribe has lived up to every ounce of hype surrounding one of the most ambitious film endeavors of our generation. Spectacular action, heartstring-tugging drama, and laugh-out-loud humor makes Marvel’s The Avengers the pinnacle of comic-to-screen adaptations that can be enjoyed by comic book geeks and casual moviegoers alike. Comic fans will cheer at the faithful portrayal of Marvel’s premier super-team, average Joes will connect with the human beings under the masks and armor, and Whedon fans will get a healthy dose of the quick-witted dialogue and charm that Joss Whedon has come to be known for. If you thought Tony Stark was snarky before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Loki, brother of Thor, returns to Earth with an alien army in tow, and it’s up to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take him down. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It never is. S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, once again portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, puts the Avenger Initiative into action, recruiting the six heroes we’ve seen in Marvel Studios’ five previous films, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Naturally, the teammates butt heads as personalities clash and secrets are exposed, but when they are hit hardest, The Avengers come together as the team they were meant to be.
The talented cast, led prominently by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson, are pure gold on screen, in any combination. Whether it be a brilliant exchange between Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Ruffalo), a tender moment shared by Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), or hard-hitting action courtesy of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk, Whedon gives each character their equal share of time on the screen, never shortchanging or overselling anyone. However, once again stealing the show (just as he did in Thor) is Tom Hiddleston in the role of Loki. His menacing portrayal of the Asgardian antagonist leaves you wanting more from this villain that you love to hate.
Fans and non-fans alike will say that this has been building since 2008 with the release of Iron Man, the first film from Marvel Studios. I, however, would like to think that it’s been in the works since 2000 when Bryan Singer’s X-Men graced the screen and paved the road for every Marvel superhero film that has come out since. There were high-flying successes (Spider-Man) and unbearable flops (Elektra), eventually leading to Marvel’s decision to establish their own production studio and seize control of the properties not yet under the Fox or Sony banner. With the indescribable success of Iron Man, a character who, until then, had been seen by many as a B-grade hero, Marvel made the ambitious decision to move forward and establish multiple film franchises that would culminate in the masterwork now playing in theaters. When you think about it, that first post-credits scene between Tony Stark and Nick Fury was a huge gamble on Marvel’s part. Thankfully, it has paid off…with interest.
The Avengers is truly the comic book movie we’ve all been waiting for. Be on the lookout for Warner Bros./DC Comics to try and play catchup with a Justice League of America movie. They’ll be hard-pressed to match what Mr. Whedon has accomplished.
Charge your repulsors, sling your shield, grab your hammer, and ASSEMBLE! Marvel’s The Avengers is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Marvel Studios may have finally brought these characters to the big screen, but it was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who first assembled them on the comic book page in 1963. When you buy your ticket to see The Avengers (if you haven’t already), please consider matching your ticket price with a donation to The Hero Initiative, the comics industry not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping comics creators in need of financial aid. Please visit www.heroinitiative.org for more information.