The Avengers

By Anthony Geehan
Released: May 4, 2012
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Marvel Studios presents Marvel’s The Avengers-the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

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Film Review
For the last ten years, superhero movies have become one of the largest grossing genres in entertainment. Starting with the success of Sam Raimi's Spider Man franchise and culminating with the record breaking revenue of Christopher Nolan's Batman series, the comic book industry has become the new well of ideas that Hollywood seems to run to when looking for a hit. In 2008's Iron Man, Marvel Studios introduced the concept that their individual superhero movies would exist within the same universe much like their comic book counterparts and would climax with a mass team up with all the stars of the previous movies. Now, four years after that idea was spawned, The Avengers has come to the big screen.

The Avengers picks up mainly from the plots of 2011's Thor and Captain America. The American covert operations agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D is in possession of a power source known as the Tesseract, a powerful yet unpredictable device first used by the Nazi Special Forces unit known as H.Y.D.R.A. The Tesseract's power fluctuates one day and the energy releases the villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the brother and main antagonist of Thor. Using his power to influence the minds of others, Loki steals the Tesseract along with several S.H.I.E.L.D agents and prepares to make way for The Chitauri, a warrior race of aliens bent on earth's conquest. Nick Fury (Sam Jackson), the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, activates the debunked Avengers Initiative, a government sponsored plan to bring together several different heroes when the earth is in danger. The brilliant but ego-eccentric Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the ex-Russian spy turned U.S. agent The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson),  World War II super soldier Captain America (Chris Evans), the Asgardian Thunder God Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and the ever dangerous Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) make up the team that is charged with stopping Loki and preventing the coming invasion.

The Avengers holds an odd place as a movie in that it is partly its own entity and part sequel to five separate movies. While this could have been a large problem, The Avengers also had the advantage that the five prior movies were aware what they were leading up to and worked almost exclusively as prequels to the final product. In this way, The Avengers is able to mostly skip the introductions of the large cast and get right to the point, which is a laundry list of cool visuals and action scenes with some of Joss Weldon's patient flow breaking humor to add laughs. The characters are mostly two-dimensional but work well together as an ensemble and while the movie isn't amazingly poignant it is never boring, confusing, or overly fan serving. It's an extremely entertaining summer movie comparable to Serenity, X-men, or J.J. Abram's Star Trek.
Being such a large ensemble movie made up of characters that had at least two hours each of individual screen time beforehand, The Avengers ran a large risk of becoming a two hour mess of conflicting personalities with character's popularity being the determining factor for screen time. Fortunately, the dynamics between the cast is one of the most prominent and strong parts of the movie. This stems mainly from the characters being very simply defined but then having those base characteristics compared and contrasted to the others. Iron Man's showmanship and skepticism clash with Captain America's direct to business thought process, yet it attracts Bruce Banner (The Hulk) due to his mistrust of the government and his love of science and engineering. Meanwhile Thor's one track warrior mind works well with Captain America and clashes with Hulk and Iron Man's. This creates a great crisscrossed web of traits that allows for conflict and different points of view on the world to be shown in equally strong portions throughout the movie, yet leaves enough growing room that it does not compromise any of the characters' personalities when the team comes together for a greater good during the movie's climax.
Action Sequences
The Avengers is a movie that is structured around three main action scenes. The first of these is a somewhat disappointing introduction to the major character's power sets as Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America square off over different ideologies on how to deal with Loki. The fight is short though, and is more than made up for by the second major battle that takes place upon S.H.I.E.L.D's floating air base as well as a climatic battle in New York City. This scene is an especially well paced and extremely entertaining multi-perspective battle in which every major character gets their fair share of glory shots and the movie delivers the large fight scene that seems to be missing from other superhero movies.

Action-Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Release Date
May 4, 2012
MPAA Rating
PG 13
Running Time
Production Designer
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