Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Movie review: ‘Avengers’ offers a super adventure
Review » A movie full of heroes also brings wit and excitement.
First Published May 03 2012 03:35 pm • Last Updated Aug 28 2012 11:32 pm

When superspy Nick Fury first gathers four disparate superheroes — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Incredible Hulk — to do battle against a cosmic cataclysm in "The Avengers," he is justifiably worried that their supersized egos will keep them from joining forces.

The same worry probably gripped movie fans when it was announced that a movie would be made of Marvel Comics’ mega-combo franchise, which has spawned five movies with the heroes separately.

At a glance

HHHH

‘The Avengers’

‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ join forces in the megasuperhero movie of the summer.

Where » Theaters everywhere.

When » Opens Friday, May 4.

Rating » PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.

Running time » 142 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Fear not, true believers! This supermerger comes together into a thrilling action movie with heart and brains, masterfully melded by the superhero you can’t see on the screen, director/screenwriter Joss Whedon. The summer movie season couldn’t start on a stronger note.

Whedon knows his way around a fanboy cult phenomenon, having created a couple with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly"/"Serenity," so he’s careful not to mess with what works.

Whedon (who shares a story credit with Zak Penn) spends the movie’s first hour reintroducing our heroes, neatly emulating the movies in which we met them: The scenes with industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) have the cagey humor of Jon Favreau’s "Iron Man" movies; Mark Ruffalo’s debut as Dr. Bruce Banner carries the melancholy of Louis Leterrier’s "The Incredible Hulk"; Chris Hemsworth’s late entrance as Thor has the same grandeur as Kenneth Branagh’s movie; and Chris Evans carries over the true-blue earnestness of Capt. Steve Rogers in Joe Johnston’s rousing "Captain America: The First Avenger."

In this first hour, we also meet the other two main heroes — combat-tough Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), nicknamed Black Widow; and master archer Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, both agents of the super-spy unit S.H.I.E.L.D., commanded by Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his right-hand agent, Maria Hill ("How I Met Your Mother’s" Cobie Smulders). (If you’re new to the Marvel universe, don’t worry — everything is explained economically so you can jump right in.)

But it’s not all exposition, as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s HQ is infiltrated by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s vengeful stepbrother. Loki is after the Tesseract, a mysterious energy source on which Fury and his science team —led by Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård, introduced in "Thor") — are experimenting. Loki has made a deal with some nasty aliens, the Chitauri, and wants the Tesseract to open a portal to the Chitauri’s dimension to begin the invasion.

As Fury brings together the Avengers, they don’t start off in harmony. Stark is too self-absorbed, Rogers is feeling lost, Thor’s arrogant (hey, he’s a god) and Banner is just trying to keep "the other guy" (as he calls his big green alter ego) under control. Loki is quite adept at playing on those weaknesses in his pursuit of the Tesseract.

Whedon pulls the best out of all his main players — Evans’ aw-shucks modesty, Ruffalo’s brooding intensity, Hemsworth’s studly grandiosity, Johansson’s sultry seriousness, Renner’s coiled energy, Jackson’s coolest-guy-in-the-room confidence and especially Downey’s laserlike sarcasm.

In one of his neatest tricks, Whedon throws a nod to the geeks by turning S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (the great Clark Gregg) into a nerdy fanboy who has all of Captain America’s trading cards — but, because this is Whedon’s universe, even the geek gets to be a hero.


story continues below
story continues below

The action is smartly paced, with Whedon pairing up his heroes fighting against and alongside each other. (Thor and Hulk are a good duo, as are Cap and Iron Man.) And there are some bravura touches, like the great circling shot of all six heroes facing the giant menace attacking Manhattan — followed by an indescribably cool tracking shot that bounces from one hero to the next in midbattle.

Whedon shows there’s nothing like $200 million and a lot of intelligence to entertain the holy heck out of an audience. "The Avengers’ " fun and inventiveness kicks off what’s likely to be a great moviegoing summer, no matter what else is released.

movies@sltrib.com

Twitter: @moviecricket

www.facebook.com/themoviecricket; www.facebook.com/NowSaltLake



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.