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Movie Review: The Avengers

May 4, 2012

The Avengers – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

http://avengers.marvel.com

Release Date: May 4th, 2012

Rated PG for violence and language

Running time: 142 minutes

Joss Whedon (dir.)

Joss Whedon (screenplay and story)

Zak Penn (story)

Alan Silvestri (music)

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson

Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill

Stellan Skarsgård as Selvig

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

©Walt Disney Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) in The Avengers.

Our reviews below:

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The Avengers Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

The summer movie season is just beginning, but The Avengers has already set the bar very high when it comes to delivering explosive entertainment.  Just like The Hunger Games earlier this year, this is a thrilling blockbuster that consistently does double duty as a piece of smart filmmaking, engaging the audience on multiple levels.  What director Joss Whedon does with The Avengers is unprecedented and nothing short of a triumph, weaving together numerous characters into one exhilarating package of perfect editing and sharp writing.  This is one of the best movies of the year.

Jealous of his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steals the glowing blue Tesseract cube from the US military, harnessing the sustainable energy of the element to stage an intergalactic takeover of our planet.  S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) put the Avengers initiative into action.  Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Thor make up the team that doesn’t always get along, but has to work together to save the world.

I saw The Avengers at a packed screening, and the audience cheered and clapped throughout much of the film.  This is a culmination of everything that Marvel fans have been waiting for, and it delivers on every imaginable level.  The special effects are stunning, all building up to a jaw dropping final battle between the Avengers and Loki’s alien army.  But the script shines just as brightly as the visuals, with numerous scenes that had the entire audience laughing out loud.  The performances are also excellent, with each of the six leads perfectly capturing the genuinely unique personalities of their characters.

Robert Downey Jr. was awesome as Iron Man in both standalone films, and here he seems to have a lot of fun playing off the other actors.  Chris Evans displays the same sort of old fashioned heroism as Captain America that he did in last summer’s standalone film, and Chris Hemsworth captures the same otherworldliness of Thor that he first brought to the screen about a year ago.  Jeremy Renner is explosive as Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo is the best Hulk yet, displaying a quiet humanity throughout all of his scenes and a dark desperation to the transformation sequences.  There is a brutal beauty to watching Black Widow in combat, and Scarlet Johansson is awesome in every scene including a breathtaking fight with a chair that happens early on in the film.

Joss Whedon knows just how much time to spend on reintroducing us to the characters, believably bringing them together and giving them all valid reasons for being part of the same movie.  The dialogue is sharp and filled with numerous quotes that are destined to make their way into pop culture, delivered by an excellent cast that fires on all cylinders.  The special effects are exhilarating and first rate, with every jaw dropping action sequence building up to the climax of the film.  To conclude, The Avengers is fully awesome and lives up to the hype.

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The Avengers Review by Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

After years of buildup, The Avengers is finally here.  The team is made up of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).  All of them have already either appeared in their own movie in the last few years (except for Ruffalo, who replaces Edward Norton as Banner), or in the case of Black Widow and Hawkeye, had appearances in Iron Man 2 and Thor respectively.

The story here follows all the films, but in particular, last year’s Thor.  That’s because the villain is again Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s jealous and power-obsessed younger brother.  He plans on joining with other ‘alien’ forces in order to enslave earth and finally have a kingdom to rule himself.  When he attacks to steal the Tesseract – an extremely powerful ‘glowing cube’ power source either seen or eluded to in other recent Marvel films – Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D calls the ‘Avengers’ initiative into action for the first time, and that’s where the movie really begins.

Here are now a group of very strong, and at times clashing, personalities who have to work together.  And that’s what is interesting and fun.  I must note off the top that Ruffalo, while the only newcomer to his role, is really good as Banner/Hulk.  He brings both the humanity to the role, while also allowing ‘the other guy’ to be surprisingly believable when he shines through.  The whole script is incredibly sharp, as is the acting with everyone great, although Robert Downey Jr.’s lines/delivery steal the screen every time.  There are a couple of really funny scenes with all of the characters though, and each end up fighting along side each of the others in various scenes before they all come together for the final battle.

Which brings us to the last forty minutes or so.  There is nothing to say but ‘wow,’ because this is an action spectacle that while filled with 3D special effects and explosions, keeps us grounded with each character, giving us a real human element to root for.  I won’t reveal too much, but I must say, it’s worth the price – even inflated for 3D – of admission.

As I left the theatre, parts of the film kept coming back to me and I realized just how much was tied together from what characters said to each other at the beginning to the end.  To be able to get a great character arc for this many main characters is no small feat, and I completely commend Joss Whedon for that here.  The Avengers is exactly what you want from a summer blockbuster film – it’s fun, exciting, and really really cool.

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The Avengers Review by Nicole

**** (out of 4)

For a few years now, several Marvel superhero films have led up to this final moment where the Avengers finally come together.  When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to Earth with his wicked band of alien cronies, S.H.I.E.L.D director Nicky Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) brings together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Loki’s brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth).  They must get hold of the Tesseract, a mysterious blue element that Loki intends to use to take over Earth.

The Avengers is nothing but pure fun.  The action is nonstop, and the visual effects are just amazing.  But what really carries the film is the interactions between superheroes.  Their personalities shine through, sometimes they get along, but often they clash.  This is where the comedy comes in.  Tony Stark/Iron Man is narcissist, bringing hilarious conflict with Thor in particular.  Bruce Banner/Hulk is still trying to keep cool, Steve Rogers/Captain America is adjusting well to modern life even though Tony Stark calls him “old man,” and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is coming to terms with her past by kicking butt.

The balance of character development, great acting, a great script and fun action is what gives The Avengers an “A” for awesome.

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The Avengers Review by Maureen

**** (out of 4)

What happens when you put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) all in the same movie?  You get The Avengers, an incredibly entertaining, funny and action packed character and special effects driven blockbuster of a movie.  This is one fun fight to save the world.

The story begins when demigod Thor’s adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to Earth to steal the Tesseract cube, an element that holds the key to unlimited sustainable energy for the world and an opportunity for him to become “king of the universe.”  S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has no choice but to call together the unlikely team of superheroes known as the Avengers to put aside their own differences and reservations and fight to stop Loki.

Most moviegoers will have seen the earlier films with the individual superheroes and will be familiar with their backstories and each of their unique personalities.  The personality and culture clashes between the members of the team provides some of the best moments in the film.  Tony Stark/Iron Man gets some of the best lines.  The performances by each of the actors reprising their roles are all excellent, and Mark Ruffalo does a great job taking over the role of Hulk’s alter-ego, Dr. Bruce Banner.

The action sequences and special effects in The Avengers are exciting and energetic.  The 3D really works for this movie, adding to the comic book fun.  The storyline makes sense in this Marvel comic book world and the witty dialogue respects the intelligence of the fans.

This is a flat-out fun and exciting adventure.  I’ve never been a comic book fan, but I would absolutely watch this movie again.  No matter which superhero is your personal favourite, there’s something about seeing them all together on the same screen that just works.  The Avengers are here to stay.

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The Avengers Review by Tony

**** (out of 4)

The Avengers brings several Marvel Comics heroes together to fight an alien invasion. Recent Marvel/Paramount (now Disney) features have included epilogues with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement & Logistic Division) recruiting the heroes for his team.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) from Iron Man, Dr. Bruce Banner (now played by Mark Ruffalo) from The Incredible Hulk (also Ruffalo by motion capture, voice still by Lou Ferrigno), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from Thor, and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) from Captain America are all pitted against Thor’s adopted half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The Tesseract (containing the power of the Norse gods) which S.H.I.E.L.D. has been using to develop weapons is stolen by Loki to set up a portal for the invading force. He cunningly plays on the rivalries between the heroes to weaken their collective resistance, and nearly succeeds.

The challenge of pulling everything together into a manageable story for The Avengers has been met by co-writer (with Zak Penn) and director Joss Whedon. The brilliant script allows each character to play to their strengths (and weaknesses), with a good supporting cast including S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Hill (Cobie Smulders), physicist (from Thor) Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and Stark’s Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and master computer Jarvis (Paul Bettany).

The special effects, including a flying stealth Helicarrier, are always impressive, avoiding the confusion of train wrecks like Transformers, and the 3D is a nice bonus for once for those who can afford it. Though 142 minutes long, The Avengers is perfectly paced, never letting up in entertainment value as it spins out a complicated plot with just enough back story for each character to satisfy both those familiar and unfamiliar with the prequels. There is a nice balance between action and dialogue, with welcome flashes of humour throughout, especially from Stark.

Finally, everything is accompanied by a fine score from Alan Silvestri. In summary, The Avengers is an excellent addition to the Marvel/Disney franchise, combining the best of what came before.

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Consensus: Filled with excellent performances, breathtaking action and a script that shines alongside the visuals, The Avengers is a thrilling and smartly made comic book movie that provides awesome entertainment of the highest order.  **** (Out of 4)

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