“The Avengers” – Some Assembly Required

This movie was terribLY AWESOME! (You have to read that sentence as if you’re watching your favorite team score a touchdown, you’ll get it). Seriously though, with the exception of the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises”, I dare someone to make a better superhero collaboration. At least until “The Avengers 2” comes out.

Ensemble films have always been my favorite types of films because it’s a bunch of great actors trying to outdo one another, whether out of douchebaggery or for the fun of it. The case with “The Avengers” however, is that it’s bunch of characters taking part in the competition of who’s the best. In fact that’s pretty much the premise of the movie. The trailers made it appear that this team has already been assembled and is now being called on to save the world, as if they’re being paid for this. But the actual plot is that Earth is threatened and the heroes must be gathered to become a part of the team. It goes without saying that everyone has a huge ego and is refusing to work with one another for various reasons, but are eventually forced to swallow their pride and take on the problem as one. The actors pull this off EXTREMELY well. I’d like to think that they wanted to be a part of something bigger and for the fans, rather than thinking they were doing this for a paycheck. I have no idea if I’m right but for the sake of argument let’s just say I am.

Joss Whedon was the man for the job when they were looking for a director. He’s been a comic book fanboy his whole life, and probably has some of the first editions of these guys locked away in a safe. It’s sad that Edward Norton wouldn’t reprise his role as the Hulk but sometimes Hollywood’s funny like that. Mark Ruffalo fills the rather large shoes, shirt, and pants and completely killed my skepticism. His story is even a continuation of Norton’s character, trying to repress “the other guy” from coming out by remaining calm and lots of yoga. Downey Jr. picks up right where “Iron Man 2” left off, still trying to get his name in the stars but with somewhat of a humanitarian view now, so I’m interested to see where this will go in “Iron Man 3”. His humor is just as on-point as ever, and he once again solidifies the fact that nobody else could have been Tony Stark. Chris Evans has shown his amazing range of talent with all of his roles, but his impersonation of Captain Steve Rogers is just perfect. Since he’s dealing with waking up 60 years after being a human popsicle he doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. That, and he still has to wear tights and his only weapon is a shield. Sounds like a lose-lose situation there but Evans really gets into the persona and makes the best of it. The movie “Thor” was good but definitely not my favorite of the Marvel heroes, so I was hoping for a bit more from Thor as a character, and Chris Hemsworth delivers. Seeing how the villain hits a little close to home for him he was given a much larger part this time around. He starts off wanting nothing to do with the Avenger Initiative because he wants to deal with the villain himself, but even demi-Gods need to realize that they need help every once in awhile. Rounding out the team are Black Widow and Hawkeye, played by Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner respectively. These two play assassins who have no super powers, they’re just really, really good at killing people. The movie hints at a past between the two but it doesn’t go into it, and sadly I don’t think we’ll be seeing any spin-offs about these two, but we may see them drifting into cameos for the future films. Going back to what I said about outdoing one another, I don’t feel that any of these great actors (and actress) did this at all. They all knew their boundaries as their characters and stayed with what was on the page. It’s really cool to watch Captain America tell Hulk to “Smash”, or Iron Man asking for backup. Just brings a real sense of the “team” to the big screen.

The only problem, and I do mean ONLY, that I had with the film was the lack of background for each character. I don’t know that this is something I can really fault anyone for, because the movie is already a whopping two and a half hours long, so trying to crush individual backstory into anyone’s screen time is just too difficult. Granted they probably ran off the assumption that if you’re seeing this you’ve probably seen all of the other films so you should know the backstory already, but I was hoping for just a little joke, or line here or there to make it that much more personal to each of the Avengers. No worries though, sequels to almost all of the heroes’ films have been greenlit and “The Avengers 2” is already being talked about by the studio heads. I say, keep ’em comin’.

DIRECTOR’S CUT: The movie currently holds the record for highest grossing opening weekend of all time. I kind of feel like that should be one of those “nuff said” moments.

FLICKCHART RATING: 31/1891 (Yeah, you read that right.)

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