Movie Review: ‘The Avengers’


‘The Avengers’

Davalyn Stepzinski

Action and superhero movies have not been my forte or my first choice at theaters, but with the addition of “The Avengers,” that may be changing.

These types of films typically have an emphasis on guns, gadgets, cars, explosions, muscle and a sense of camaraderie. The characters are people that have lots of skills in combat of some nature but have shortcomings with words or expressing themselves to their loved ones, which tend to be part of the storyline that gets resolved at the end. Not to mention everyone is usually attractive.

The part that is lost on me begins with my lack of interest in guns, gadgets and cars. From there it only continues to spiral downwards. What I enjoyed about this one is that it had most of the above things but it combined them with a clever development of characters that moved parallel to rapid plotline without dumbing down the heroes; it took care to use each character for their strengths and only expose their weaknesses when it was necessary for the advancement of the film, so that no one was considered worthless or stereotypical.

As the predecessors to “The Avengers” have established, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of the international protective organization S.H.I.E.L.D., has assembled a group of extraordinary heroes to help protect the world. With that in mind, the film centers around the appearance of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the Asgardian god of mischief and the like causing general chaos with the goal of ruling over Earth. Using the resources of S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), fight as The Avengers to save Earth from Loki and his companions the Chitauri, the alien-race known, I am told, to Marvel fans as the Skrull.

After spending a dizzying amount of time on the Marvel website, the company that started it all, it is easily apparent that the film is not entirely faithful to the epic series. The most obvious difference is in the original founding members of The Avengers, of which only three are accurate, them being Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor. The forgotten two, Ant-Man and Wasp, who actually coined the name for the group, are not included. Oddly enough, Captain America is to join the team sometime after their defeat over Loki, whom is something of their first challenge as the Avengers. However, much time passes before Black Widow and Hawkeye become members, and even then, the line-up is not exactly as it is in the film. Why these heroes were chosen over the others I have no idea; I can only reason that it is possible the creative team thought Ant-Man and Wasp would not sell. Regardless, they made it work extremely well and each chosen character is adapted to the screen beautifully.

The film also does accurately incorporate a version of the trick Loki plays on Thor in the comics, in that he tries to lure Thor to fight the Hulk. It also nicely depicts the constant arguing amongst the heroes without making them tiresome to watch. Therefore, from what I have read and what I have been told from fans, this film seems to wonderfully capture the essence of the series, which is what matters the most.

The character development in this movie is my favorite, because it efficiently sets up the skills and personality of each hero so that anyone unfamiliar with the comic books, like me, would be able to recognize and understand them. Of course, there will be a few places that require inferring, and I’m sure there were some references to the comic books that I completely missed, but I am only commenting at this point on its superb job of balancing these characters and making the audience not only follow them clearly but want to do so.

Hiddleston, lovely as the powerful Loki, has striking looks that can show a range of emotions that visualize his questionable demeanor; he is a great villain operating in a certain level of delusion, which makes him intimidating. The acting of Downey Jr., Evans, Hemsworth, Renner and Johansson hits the right notes, nothing being over-kill. It also looks like the Hulk has finally been found in the form of Ruffalo after two previous actors. While I was a fan of Edward Norton’s interpretation, I think Ruffalo pulls it off better, having a more rugged and tired approach that makes him a little more believable as someone battling a violent alter-ago.

As usual the effects, the technology, and the score all fit together with the film very nicely and very convincingly, with even a retro video game quip that seamlessly fits in due to the humorous dialogue and contrasts wildly with the advanced monitor it is playing on. Downey Jr. obviously gets the honor of the most zings and jabs at the others being the smart-mouthed Stark, which is what makes his character so entertaining. The others get their chance to hand it right back to him though.

In any case, I immensely enjoyed this film, whether or not it took everything directly from its comic book inspiration. As I have said, I think a film can be on the same level as the novel (in this case, comic book) when it evokes the same spirit. While I have only read a few comic books, I think this movie effectively combines the fast moving pace of a comic book with the excellent abilities of film to create a well-rounded action movie that practically anyone will enjoy, even those usually in protest of them, such as myself.

For that reason, you should go see it. And maybe even again after that.

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