Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last four years, you’re aware that Marvel’s The Avengers is getting its cinematic debut. The core characters have been established through five excellent movies; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. The success of these movies have driven expectations for the ensemble film to a sickening high and the pressure rests squarely on Joss Whedon’s shoulders to deliver the goods (I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes).
The story is simple enough; a team of heroes assembles for the first time to stop the mischievous Loki from turning the people of earth into slaves. While it may sound like an uncomplicated premise, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity) managed to give this movie a sense of depth making this more than your basic popcorn, superhero mash-up. This is a great movie, period.
Whedon has proven any naysayers wrong through his masterful direction of the powerhouse cast. He allows the ensemble to share the screen time equally, giving the misfit characters added dimension. His incredibly balanced script is filled with hilarious wit, but also has a solemn tone to it.
Speaking of balance, you’ll find no better balance than the expertly chosen cast of this film. All returning actors, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and Tom Hiddleston retain their high caliber work that we’ve seen in their previous films. Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner/The Angry Green Giant excellently and validates the decision to be rid of his inferior predecessor, Edward Norton.
The thundering action is constant but never overbearing, improving on the special effects of the previous films. The Hulk in particular is a real scene stealer, but for more reasons than the detailed CGI. Just watch it… you’ll see!
The post-production 3D treatment is actually decent when the scenes are bright. Unfortunately, the first half of the movie features a lot of dark scenes, which is difficult to see with 3D’s light-stealing limitation. A 2D presentation is better suited to serve your eyes and this phenomenal movie.
Bottom Line: This is the best superhero movie to date! Yes, even better than The Dark Knight.
Runtime: 142 minutes
IMAX: Yes, but only for one week