Robert Downey Jr.
reviewed by Tom-Tom
This is the one. The one where all the story lines all came together like the finale of some brilliant Bach Fugue or final movement of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven or Dvorak. Aside from Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner (as opposed to Eric Bana or Edward Norton who both previously portrayed the humble alter ego to the Hulk) , each and every one of the characters is known to us. In May 2012, we the faithful, who watched Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and even the unsuccessful The Incredible Hulk, as well as various extra shorts on the home releases of all the above titles, were to be rewarded beyond our wildest dreams. Even those who hadn’t ever seen a single Marvel film were in for a treat all the same. To ramp this event up even more, the god of geeks everywhere, the hard-luck genius Joss Whedon was set to direct. Nothing could go wrong. This is usually the place where one would insert a “however” or “but” or even a “tragically” and yet none are necessary. Marvel’s The Avengers is a virtual masterpiece. This doesn’t mean it’s perfect cinema. It’s definitely a fun ride, though.
The film gives you everything you need to know about the characters in the various opening scenes whether in flashbacks or within the snappy dialogue they share with one another. This isn’t done perfunctorily but rather in Whedon’s trademark stylish way. Loki (played with such devilish delight by Tom Hiddleston), an Asgardian god, thought dead by Thor in Thor is alive and in the employ of aliens led by an unseen being in a chair. The mouthpiece for this being explains the power of the Tesseract, introduced in The First Avenger, a light blue glowing cube with seemingly infinite energy. Loki suddenly appears in the secret base of S.H.I.E.L.D. the intelligence organization which has been forming in the background of the previous films for the last four years. He’s armed with a spear jeweled with a blue jewel which glows similarly to the Tesseract. It controls the minds of those whose chest it touches and can blast the hell out of those farther away. He does all this within the span of a few moments controlling Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and killing all but Nick Fury but not for lack of trying.
The story moves on pulling all the characters together to stop Loki using their own respective talents. They’re a really mixed bag although the two geniuses Tony Stark and Bruce Banner hit it off immediately due to their matching techno speak. Cap and Tony, however, as in the comics, do not get along from the start.
Thor finds his way to the group via Loki and begins, what seems, after watching the second Avengers film, the mid film tradition of pitting various Avengers together in a grudge match determined to further qualify one another’s powers for the audience. Plus, we get to see what happens when Thor’s hammer hits Captain America’s Vibranium shield.
Sooner than later, we get to see the Hulk in action and boy, is he gorgeously rendered. Finally The Avengers achieves what two full length films couldn’t, making the Hulk an incredible character not only as the big green guy but when the very likeable Mark Ruffalo as the meek, laid back Bruce Banner. This is so beautifully achieved that many folks instantly became Hulk fans due to this very film. It’s like folks becoming Spiderman or Black Panther fans from the upcoming Captain America movie, awkward but welcome all the same.
The team is driven apart and finally drawn together again in one of the most satisfying 3rd Acts in cinematic history. Everyone gets to shine in their own respective ways which is still something the X-Men films never seem to get right. It bears comparison with Man of Steel in the way its characters care about civilian casualty prevention as opposed to the mass destruction due mostly to Superman in that film. The Avengers prove they work well as a team and apart which is still something the Fantastic Four and X-Men cinematically have yet to figure out. The Avengers is a joy to watch over and over again. I laugh, tear up, and swell with pride in all the same parts every time. What a film.