Avengers Assemble for The Ultimate Sequel!
There have been many reviews written about The Avengers, the latest Marvel Comics/Disney film for 2012's first summer blockbuster!
The film is really a sequel to several other films and though the film does a good job of catching up the audience, really seeing the other films first would really help - Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.
The film is part science fiction alien invasion, part team-making, part knock down drag out fights with Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk beating each other up, and the non-powered characters with issues of their own - Black Widow, who fakes being helpless to gather intel and Hawkeye, who has worked with B.W. on many occasions (this part of the film was a weakness - there was not enough expository reveal regarding their relationship - minor quibble).
The best part of the film really is the writing. I've always liked Josh Whedon's television programming from Buffy to Angel to Firefly to Dollhouse. The snappy writing and silly banter was real, not forced. The characters were real, too!
Captain America, a man out of time. I saw the first film and clearly Avengers was a sequel to Cap. What happened after the big freeze? What's his relationship with Nick Fury and SHIELD?
Thor - his film ended with a Jane Foster crush and a beat-down by a very large villain, as well as an apparent loss into space by Loki. Again, a sequel of sorts - Thor as I have imagined him, he is torn between a brother who kills indiscriminately (Thor: "Loki's my brother." Widow: "He's killed 80 people." Thor: "He's adopted!") and has the sly deceptive character that the actor brings out so well.
Philosophy: Yeah, always some of that. Loki prefers to think of Freedom as an aberration, that mankind was made to be ruled by strong rulers and gods. Great scene of an old man, no doubt a Holocaust survivor, at the Stuttgart, Germany orchestra scene, where the man stands up against Loki - and Cap makes an appearance, makes a speech alluding to the Nazis, before beating up on Loki.
Heroes and Villains: As with other Marvel characters, you have to have some heroes with something to hide, some inner agenda. SHIELD has secrets - no spoilers - and Cap and the rest smell something bad.
Hulk/Bruce Banner - We enter his life in a similar way to the second Hulk movie - hiding out in a foreign country, getting waylaid to help and ends up Hulking out! A lot of the second half is a Hulk/Thor fest that is really fun to watch.
Scripts: The writing is very much Marvel, you really get the feeling that Stan Lee wrote it! The Avengers are planning out their next move as the alien invasion is in progress - Captain America is calling the shots - he turns to Hulk and says "Hulk? Smash!" -- Hulk: Big grin, Rarrh! Great scene.
Bottom Line: I could go on and on about the great effects, great development and characterization, fast paced action. The film had a proper balance of effects, fan-style gimmees, and enough humor to entice a wider audience - much better than Thor, Ironman 1, 2, 3 or Hulk (2008) and Captain America: First Avenger for sure == and I loved those films.
Tip: There are TWO after-credit scenes - learn the true meaning of "Shawarma."
Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Evans Steve Rogers / Captain America
Mark Ruffalo Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth Thor
Scarlett Johansson Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston Loki