Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Avengers

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has as big a problem as the screenplay writers in this muchly anticipated summer blockbuster: how to get these big egos to work together rather than trying to destroy each other. And the screenplay writers (director Joss Whedon among them) make a valiant attempt to get six superheroes equal screen time. I am happy to report that each succeeds.
Loki and his army have figured out a way to open a portal to Earth. Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. call together the Marvel heroes to make sure he doesn't succeed in taking over the Earth.
A couple of these "heroes" don't have any superpowers at all. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johnasson) seems to be very limber, and also seems capable of extracting information without torture. She and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) have some sort of past connection, but we don't find out much about that. Hawkeye has an unerring eye for an arrow to reach its target, but has no super power at all. And you might be able to add Captain America to that group as well; although "enhanced," he doesn't have any powers that come close to other members of the team, like the Hulk or Iron Man.
While Robert Downey, Jr.'s personality seems to overpower every scene he's in, he doesn't completely take over the story, thankfully. Each of these personalities is interesting in its own right, and I can't decide which one is more interesting over the other. I do, however, like Mark Ruffalo's meek but smilingly intense way of tackling Bruce Banner. When he says that his secret is that he's always angry, you know what the green guy is all about.
There are many fun and funny moments in the movie, moments that Whedon has built in. Just when you think our guys are getting along and working together, someone will pummel someone. I don't want to reveal any of these surprising moments, but they're quite funny, and the audience will erupt in spontaneous laughter. Because they know their Marvel characters very well, and even they doubt these guys will ever find a way of working together.
It was also fun seeing some character actors among the A-listers, like Cobie Smulders (from How I Met Your Mother), who plays Agent Hill, the quite capable commander in S.H.I.E.L.D. under Fury's direction. We also see Pepper Potts (Gwynyth Paltrow) briefly and wish it was more.
But that's true, at least for me, of every character. The movie is more than 2 hours, but it seems brief. I want to see more of each character. I guess I'll have to wait for the inevitable Avengers 2. With this casting and this writing, I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
Thumb's up.


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