Movie ReviewsRating: 5 of 5 yaps

The Avengers

A 2-hour-and-20-minute-long hunk of fanboy giddy, “The Avengers” is everything a superhero movie strives to be and more.

Not since “The Dark Knight” (and before that, never) has a movie gotten so much of the genre right. In fact, “The Avengers” is the carefree, in-the-light yin to “The Dark Knight’s” dead-serious, pitch-black yang; it’s hard to even to choose which of the two films is better because each does its job so well in different ways.

The characters? Pitch perfect. The major actors — from Robert Downey Jr. down to Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson — all reprise their roles well and manage to not come off as gimmicky or a sideshow.

And Mark Ruffalo, taking up the role of the Hulk’s alter ego Bruce Banner? Best Banner Ever. Well, at least since Bill Bixby. He brings to Banner an uneasy control over his condition; he is calm even under pressure (a notion with which Downey’s Stark has a little fun), but he clearly fears “the other guy” who can emerge at any moment. He’s still surprisingly funny, and he and Downey have a great chemistry together. It’s the first time I ever remember seeing the Banner character and not instantly longing for him to change.

Narratively,Whedon achieves as close to a perfect balance as a film of this type can reach. There is no main character; it’s a true ensemble piece, and each of the characters feels as important as another, even Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), aka The Heroes Who Didn’t Have Their Own Movies. Their contributions are hardly secondary, and they each have a few key moments.

Of course, today’s heroes must have egos, and they feel threatened by each other. Captain America tires of Stark’s arrogance and snark (recall a similar relationship with Stark’s dad); Stark quickly grows to dislike Cap’s naivete and blind earnestness; Thor is angered at the insolence of these humans refusing to hand over his brother; Banner distrusts them all.

The plot revolves around the Tesseract, the blue cosmic cube from “Captain America: The First Avenger.” The secret spy group S.H.I.E.L.D. is in possession of the cube until the villainous Loki (Tom Hiddleston, who, after something of an underwhelming presence in “Thor,” is the spine of the film) comes after it at the behest of an alien race called the Chitauri, which aims to use the Tesseract’s power to take over the galaxy. In exchange for the Tesseract, they will give Loki control over Earth, which he covets because Thor is so fond of it.

The film slow-burns into a bombastic frenzy, with interhero battles aplenty: Hulk faces off with Black Widow and Thor; Widow tangles with Hawkeye; Cap, Thor, and Iron Man have a three-way smackdown. And that’s just the warmup.

The centerpiece of “The Avengers” comprises the majority of the third act, a jaw-droppingly stellar all-out throwdown between the Avengers and the Chitauri. Director Joss Whedon matches the technical quality and intensity of the last hour of last year’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” but adds, you know, some logic and narrative structure to the mix. It is an all-out assault on the senses, played similarly to the “Star Wars” films on multiple fronts and executed as well as anything George Lucas has done.

“The Avengers” is the best summer picture I have seen for some time. It brings to the table all of the best parts of the superhero genre without getting bogged down by origin stories and silly romances, it has action that feels fluid and is fun to watch, and, for fluffy popcorn fare, feels very personal and made with a great deal of care.

Summer just got here, and “The Avengers” already own it.

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28 Responses to “The Avengers”

  1. […] “The Avengers” is every comic-book nerd’s fantasy — a film in which Captain America orders Hulk to smash. It feeds upon our familiarity with these characters etched in our collective consciousness. […]

  2. Kerrington says:

    I think this movie had a great plot and story line this was an amzing movie with all the butt- kicking and of course GIRL- POWER. I THINK THIS MOVIE WAS AMAZING AND AVENGERY!!!!!!!!

  3. Tracy C. says:

    Great movie! I’m not even a comic book fan. I did however see the other movies with the individual heros. A little long, but worth the wait in the end! Lots of eye candy for the ladies.

  4. Kelly says:

    I saw the avengers….loved it!!!!!! Special effects 10/10, good looking men 10/10!!! Good story, good comedy along with the action. Amazing

  5. Robyn says:

    I agree…This movie took a comic book series and set it to motion. A true crowd pleaser for all ages! Funny & entertaining. For those unfamiliar with the comics, the filmmakers did an excellent job of introducing each character and providing a glimpse of their backgrounds without distracting from the plot. Collectively, the cast really added a dynamic that seemed to be missing from the previous films. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the sequel!

  6. lisa hundley says:

    i can’t wait to see this! the actors/actesses in the movie are enough, but the trailers showed a lot of actions sequences too. the people who have seen this told me there are a lot of funny moments too, and i like it when a movie is not completely serious all the way thru. i love superhero movies! yay summer!

  7. Andrew Doehrman says:

    I really enjoyed this film. It was an entertaining escape, and one of the rare instances where 3D was utilized effectively in a major motion picture.

  8. The Advengers was a great movie action packed and it was a good movie. It brought back memories of the characters when I was young. The 3-D version really made every come alive, I would recommend this movie highly!

  9. Suzette says:

    This is a great movie for all ages. Took my kids to see it this past weekend and we all loved it. The makers of the movie were very careful to include items in the movie to appeal to all the generations.

  10. Dustin says:

    5 yaps is right! Now this is how you make a summer blockbuster super hero movie. I wouldn’t consider myself a cannot, but I’ve seen all the Marvel movies leading up to this one and wasn’t blown away with any of them. Then the Avengers comes along and changes super hero movies forever. Outstanding!

  11. Tanaia moore says:

    This was the best movie of the year!!! The graphics kept me on the edge of my seat…left the theater on a complete high!

  12. Zachary says:

    Seen this movie three times! It’s worth it every time. Agree mark is the best banned, and you can’t compare tdk and this two different movies.

  13. Pat says:

    I have seen this mutiply times because of my grand children plus I’m sort of a fanboy myself. I really did enjoy this movie, I loved the way Hulk threw Loky around like a rag doll. Mark Ruffalo did a great job as the Hulk, I’m so wanting a new Hulk movie now.

  14. rapidash says:

    LOVED IT!! Saw it 2x already. Especially the SECOND tag at the very very end of the actors sitting in their costumes and eating and looking bored (it was a joke) that had me LMAO. I saw it in 3D and regular and the 3D was cool but I caught more when it was 2D because my poor eyes could focus on more of the screen.

  15. Rory osborne says:

    If you are a Marvel fan, then The Avengers will feel like Christmas. Thanks to the merry doings of the director, Joss Whedon, all your favorite characters are here, as shiny and as tempting as presents under the tree.

  16. Larry Milius says:

    I really enjoyed this movie. I really did not think that I would. I am a big comic book fan, but never really did like the Avengers all that much, but this movie really did a great job involving all the characters.

    I did think that they didn’t spend enough time developing Hawkeye and the Black Widow, but I’m not sure how they could have done that without making it 3 hours long.

    The movie had great pacing and never drags. I did not see it in 3D or Imax, but I am thinking of going back to see it in 3D Imax.

  17. Becky Meredith says:

    What a fun, loud, entertaining movie. All of my grandkids over 6 have seen this and all agree, it is the best! Even my teen age girls! We are all looking forward to the next one in this adventure.

    Only negative, People, if you have little ones, babies and kids who shouldn’t be seeing these movies, PLEASE find a sitter for them! Someone brought in a baby who screamed the whole show running it because even though it was loud (which caused the baby to scream) the baby drowned out some of the lines! Please be considerate of others in the theater. We paid for our tickets, this wasn’t a preview we went to. Be considerate of others if you have babies and leave if they are fussy.

  18. Kellie says:

    This movie was awesome. Great review. I think the characters worked great together.

  19. Autumne says:

    I absolutely LOVE this movie. It is the perfect combination of humor and action along with well-developed characters. This was a great offering for a film that had been in the works for so many years.

  20. Autumne says:

    I absolutely LOVE this movie! The perfect combination of humor and action – every character is well-devleoped. Everything you could want out of the movie that had been in the works for so long.

  21. Rebecca Luebcke says:

    I’m excited! Totally a bandwagon fan just because of all the rave reviews, but a fan nonetheless. I’m a little nervous about the 2 hours and 20 minutes length. Also, that it will be so comic-booky that I won’t understand what is going on. But, from what everyone is saying I’m sure I will enjoy it!

  22. Daniel says:

    I went and saw Avengers this past week. I am not much of a comic person, so I did not know much of the back stories behind it. I know I am in a major monitory on this, but I was not a huge fan. I was a big fan of the ironman movies, and I felt he was under utilized. The story did not captivate me much, and was made worse since I had no clue who the villain was. If you asked me to go see either transformers 3 or avengers I would have to choose transformers. Maybe this had something to do with lofty expectations, but I’m not so sure.

  23. Carmen says:

    Smart scripting, to have the Avengers fight among themselves. Good twist to the movie.

  24. Chad Miller says:

    I am a complete mark for the mutant comic book movie genre, but even I feel that this is the best of the entire genre. It is not quite as tense a felling as The Dark Knight but it is a great balance of action, storyline, and a but of random humor.

    Also… a comic book fan, the teaser during the credits already has me excited.

  25. Steve B says:

    Some movies are just better on the big screen, and this is definitely one of them. I opted for the IMAX 3D version and loved it. While there wasn’t much 3D to it, big and load definitely helped an already enjoyable movie. And like a well-honed comedy act, scenes in the end were set up long before, making them even funnier when they are sprung upon you, or any random (demi)gods that happen to be nearby.

  26. I haven’t seen it yet (didn’t get passes -boo hoo), but all I have heard are good ratings and reviews. will have to spend my hard earned dollars and check it out. thanks filmyap

  27. Craig says:

    Couldn’t have loved this movie more. I mean, holy crap. Maybe not the single best movie I’ve ever seen, but it was by far the COOLEST. I’m getting all verklempt just thinking about it! I almost wish this one could have been released at the end of summer because now that it’s set the bar so high, everything else will seem to fail in comparison. Still have Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises though! It’s a good summer to be a fanboy!

  28. Karen Shields says:

    Well, I’m glad to read that you really, really, really liked it! And as much grief as I gave you about being a reviewer when we first met, I’m glad to read that the movie is just as good as I’d been hoping what with the subject matter and Whedon’s involvement. Thanks, Joe, for a great review.