A movie that has been five years in the works, after a series of build-up movies with some of the greatest superheroes of our time, is bound to be good, even great; but those words do not aptly describe “Marvel’s The Avengers.” Perhaps awesome would be appropriate, even masterpiece, as director and screenwriter Josh Whedon has managed to do one of the best jobs imaginable with a movie filled with conflicting egos and some would say, too many characters.the movie has already surpassed the $1 billion mark, joining the elite club with the likes of “Harry Potter” and “Avatar.” The monday following the opening reported the domestic box office for the movie was a massive $207 million, making it the number one opening weekend in history, easily beating out “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” box office of $169 million.
The build up for this movie has been massive and ingenious in its ambition. Marvel Studios started it off with 2008s “Iron Man” followed by “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and finally “Captain America” which led directly into “The Avengers” by getting all of the team in the same time and space. Then, they left it in the hands of Josh Whedon, who some may remember from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” and the more recent “Cabin in the Woods.” Whedon wrote and directed the film, and managed to stuff all these characters into the same movie with ease.
“The Avengers” picks up after “Captain America” with S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland, Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) overseen by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, protecting and investigating the Tesseract, a powerful cube that could offer energy alternatives to the world.
Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, then succeeds in yanking the Tesseract out from under Fury after his journeys through the universe after the events in “Thor,” thus setting in motion the Avengers Initiative, hinted at in “Iron Man.”
The Avengers are then assembled, consisting of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, the latter two being the only non super-humans of the group.
When the group of posturing superheroes is finally assembled, they must learn the one great lesson: Teamwork. To do this, it takes a realization of how splintered they are and a casualty of a fan favorite character.
The massive battle scene, introducing us to Loki’s army of Chitauri, a race kin to the Skrulls, and the true power of the Tesseract, is one of the best in recent history. It is easy to follow the events within the scenes, and while it looks likes it may belong in a Michael Bay film, it serves the plot perfectly.
The overall movie is excellent and well written, serving as a comedy as well as an action movie. Some of the best lines go to Tony Stark, but each character gets their fair share of wise cracks and Hulk gets plenty of opportunities to smash. Under the masterful hands of Whedon, the movie progresses easily, with a non-convoluted plot that even people who haven’t seen the set-up movies can follow.
All the actors bring their best, making their characters stand their own in the ensemble of the larger-than-life beings. The effects are beautifully done, especially the Helicarrier, one of the staples in the “Avengers” comic universe. After two previous attempts at the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo seems to have hit it on the head of what Dr. Banner and the Hulk are all about. He signed a six-movie deal to portray the Hulk for Marvel in later movies. Tom Hiddleston, still a relative unknown despite roles in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Spielburg’s “War Horse,” reprises his role as Loki and brings to life one of the most well rounded villains in recent years.
The set up for the next round of “Avengers” related films, revealed in a mid-credit scene, has fan boys in a fervor and promises another great adventure for the Earths Mightiest Heroes.
Sequels to the stand-alone movies are already in the works, “Iron Man 3,” “Thor 2” and “Captain America 2” have already been announced for Marvel Studios.