Review: 2 out of 4 stars
“The Avengers” is the smorgasbord comic book movie we’ve been waiting for years to see. Many middling films were made (I’m looking at you “Thor”, “Hulk”, and “Captain America”) just in order to set up origins for this one and it fell to director Joss Whedon to make this all come together.
But he should have known better than to do so through nothing, but action sequences.
It starts with S.H.I.E.L.D trying to harness energy from some cube that E’ve already forgotten the name of, and accidentally unleashing the God Loki (Tom Hiddleston, still an unintimidating mix of Jared Leto and Kate Beckinsale as he was last year in “Thor”) who now wants to use the cube’s energy to make slaves out of every one on Earth.
Basically, the same plot as almost every other comic book film. It becomes the objective of Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assemble a team of super heroes in order to fight the battles regular humans cannot. You know the names. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo is the newest in this revolving door of Bruce Banners), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), and newcomers who never got their own movie, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
Whedon and co-screenwriter Zak Penn will occasionally allow humanity to seep through. Bruce Banner’s control issues and Captain America’s adaptation into modern times are touched upon briefly but by the time we’ve assembled all the characters and gotten all the science talk about the cube out of the way—the movie has already lost quite a bit of momentum and it doesn’t help that the almost non-existent plot is merely an excuse for characters to knock, smash, and throw each other around.
The Avengers seem less like action heroes and more like action figures, pounding each other, then Loki, then idk, The Transformers (?) in the epic second half battle sequence. They wise-crack (Downey of course does the best here) and kick-ass (Hulk CGI seems to do the best with this) but our impression of them is one of toys, not people, and detached when they should feel like a team.
And the combination of smashing and tinted 3-D is just headache-inducing.
“The Avengers” wants you to know that heroism still exists; hopefully this summer will offer better films to prove that.