WARNING: The following review contains some plot details.
The Avengers is any superhero fan’s dream. It’s the team-up of legendary comic book heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. It’s a nonstop flurry of action, suspense, and humor. It’s breaking box office records both domestically and worldwide, and for good reason.
Thor’s stepbrother Loki wants to be the ruler of earth. To do so, he has to create a portal that links the skies of Manhattan to the far side of the universe where his extraterrestrial allies, the Chitauri, can unleash havoc on the city for the last 45 minutes of the movie. After Loki steals the Tesseract that will open the portal, Nick Fury decides to re-initiate the Avengers Initiative, scouring the globe to bring the members of the Avengers together for the first time. But none of that matters. All we really care about is how cool it all looks.
Before they can take on Loki as a team, first the Avengers must work out their personality differences. What results is a superhero fan’s dream. One scene features Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America. Another scene pits the Hulk against Thor. And when the final battle commences, there are plenty of epic heroics and eye-dazzling explosions.
One of the primary strengths of the movie is that it never takes itself too seriously. With so much acting talent filling the screen featuring characters that each have their unique ego, the characters are always trying to outdo each other, and it’s outrageously funny.
Though Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye are the lesser known members of the Avengers, writer/director Joss Whedon (Serenity) makes every character integral to the movie and awards an adequate of amount of screen time. For a movie that includes the ever-popular Iron Man, the Hulk, and Captain America, I was impressed that no one was overlooked. In truth, Tony Stark steals the show, which is appropriate given Robert Downey Jr.’s genius portrayal and the enormous success of the Iron Man movies. But everyone gets their due.
And as with the previous Marvel movies focusing on the origins of the Avengers characters, once the credits start rolling, you’re going to want to stick around for both sets of credits. There’s not one but two bonus scenes.
Although Mark Ruffalo is brilliant as Bruce Banner, one of the few flaws of the movie was the apparent inconsistency with the anger problems of the Hulk. For the first half of the movie, there is the dread that Bruce Banner could become Hulk at any moment. When it happens involuntarily, he is beyond reason, and nearly kills certain members of the Avengers. But when the final epic battle scene arrives and the bad guys are coming into Manhattan with guns blazing, one character says to Bruce Banner, “Now would be a good time to get angry.” Bruce Banner answers, “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.”
He then seems to voluntarily become Hulk, and even takes orders from various members of the Avengers, saving a couple members of the team at various times. Hulk punches one Avenger with apparent playfulness. Bruce Banner seems in complete control of Hulk, which is fine… Except there was no reason to think that Bruce Banner had learned to control himself in between the first half and the second half of the movie. Maybe someone could explain it to me, but I guess it’s all in the spirit of, “This is just a fun superhero movie, you’re not supposed to think.”
The Avengers is ridiculously violent, but it never forgets that the audience for its source material is primarily made up of kids. The movie contains only a handful of mild profanities and no sexual references. I commend Whedon for crafting a clean superhero movie that emphasizes self-sacrifice, humility, and teamwork.
And judging by the haul it’s bringing in, (an $80 million Friday, an estimated record $200 million weekend, and over $500 million worldwide), there will be plenty more Avengers movies. At this pace, The Avengers has an excellent chance to cross the $500 million mark domestically and cash in at around $1.5 billion worldwide on a fairly average $225 million budget.