Five years after the words “Avenger Initiative” were uttered by Nick Fury in the after credits scene of Iron Man, Marvel’s “The Avengers” is finally in theaters and worry not Marvel fans because this movie has been well worth the wait. Never before has anything as ambitious as what Marvel is trying to pull off been attempted. Four characters (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk) that have had their own respective movies are now joining forces with the help of two master assassins. (Hawkeye and Black Widow) Questions such as who is the army that Loki has joined forces with? How did Loki get to earth? How does Tony Stark keep his goatee so sharp? Are finally answered and for the most part everything is done very well.
From the moment the movie starts and I saw Nick Fury and Hawkeye on screen together, a huge smile was stuck onto my face as if it was Christmas morning. That smile stayed there for the duration of the film. Thor vs. Iron Man, Thor vs. Cap vs. Iron Man, Hulk vs. Thor all happens and man oh man is it a dream come true. The film moves at a break neck pace and rarely slows down but still manages to keep the viewer invested in each one of our heroes. When the film does slow down some great character moments occur. Exchanges between Loki and Thor, Loki and Black Widow, and Cap and Iron Man are highlights. All credit has to go to director/co-writer Joss Whedon. The dialogue fits each character perfectly. It’s obvious that Whedon knows these characters inside and out.
Tony Stark is the rock star and Robert Downey Jr. steals nearly each scene that he is in.
Steve Rogers/Captain America is the old-fashion soldier out of his element as the man out of time. Chris Evans is great as Cap; he’s the straight edge choir boy who does not question orders even if S.H.I.E.L.D’s motives are questionable to say the least.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is the most compassionate “Avenger “to Loki’s plight. “Loki is beyond reason but he is still of Asgard”. Thor just wants his brother to stop with his plan and come home.
Speaking of Loki, Tom Hiddleston absolutely steals this movie as the evil God of mischief. As the main antagonist Loki exudes evil charm. Even as we know Loki is the villain and he has to lose in the end, there was still a small part of me that wanted to see Loki find his humanity or even worse, succeed with his plan.
The most surprising character for me was that of the Black Widow, played by the lovely Scarlett Johansson. I say surprising because out of all of the Avengers, she gets about as much screen time as Tony Stark, which is to say, that’s a lot of Black Widow. Johansson is awesome as the shield assassin. Viewers finally get to see a bit of what makes this character tick with a few mentions of who Natasha Romanoff was before she joined shield. As much as she is on screen I still want to know and see more. Of all the rumored spin off movies possibly in the works, a Black Widow movie is the one I want to see more than any others.
The most volatile member of The Hulk is most definitely The Hulk. Mark Ruffalo is the third actor to portray Bruce Banner on the big screen. Ruffalo’s Banner is different from Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk) and Eric Bana (The Hulk) in that this Banner is at peace with his “curse” and is now made his mission in life to help others. But the biggest difference is that for the first time, the same actor portrays Bruce Banner and The Hulk or “the other guy” as he’s referred to on screen. Ruffalo brings sweetness to the role that has not been seen on big screen before.
The character that gets the short end of the stick for screen time has to be Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. We see him in the opening five minutes and then he just sort of fades into the background. While this was inevitable that at least one character lose screen time I would have liked to see a character like Hawkeye who has only scene briefly in Thor have a lot more screen time. While he has some really cool moments especially during the action packed third act he still felt under developed. Hopefully if there is going to be a Black Widow solo movie we will get to see a lot more of agent Barton.
When all of these big personalities are brought together, they need overseers and that comes in the form of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury is the one who put the big egos together and has to almost force them to work together. Samuel L. Jackson gets to do more than spout one liners in this one. He actually gets to kick some tail and he does it admirably. Clark Gregg again returns as Fury’s “one good eye” Agent Coulson. Stellan Skarsgard is back as Dr. Selvig and Cobie Smulders rounds out the cast as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s second in command Maria Hill.
Each and every character gets his or hers moment to shine and the third act is worth the price of admission alone. Hulk smashing, Thor lighting up the sky, Cap leading the way, serpents and aliens, in a word it is simply breathtaking. By the time “The Avengers” is over, my biggest problem is that we now have to wait for “The Avengers” 2. Ughh