‘Avengers’ lives up to the hype
Adapting a popular series into a movie is always a tough balancing act among what looks good on the big screen, what will draw the average movie-goer and what will appease die-hard fans. “The Avengers” has managed to strike the perfect balance.
Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon (“Cabin in the Woods,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) does an incredible job of balancing the screen time of his star-studded ensemble cast. Whedon also translates a complicated plot into an easily digestible story with only a few details left untouched – the mechanics and origin of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) staff remain murky throughout the film, for instance. Whedon’s trademark humor is especially fine-tuned and buffers the movie from being too serious or too campy. The simple one-liners help to highlight less obvious character details.
While the films plot is adapted from the original 1963 comic book, the heroes are certainly not the flawless role models of yesteryear. Every hero has character defects and personality differences that lead to verbal and spectacularly physical infighting. One of the most visually stunning scenes is an all-out brawl among Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr.).
The dialogue is another triumph for the film. Every character has an individual voice and a distinct speaking style. There are no awkward persona overlaps or stock characters in the primary or secondary cast.
Even with very little dialogue and the least screen time, the Hulk – not Bruce Banner – (Mark Ruffalo) still managed to steal the show. The folks behind the CGI used to animate the big green monster seem to have found the formula for creating a monster that isn’t too scary or too campy. It was also nice to finally see a Hulk that has advanced beyond the mindless beast phase, but is still willing to throw down with friend or foe if it suits him.
As mentioned earlier, the plot is an adaptation of the original comic book plot. Desiring revenge on his brother Thor (Hemsworth), Loki (Hiddleston) has struck a bargain with an alien race known as the Chitauri. The aliens will help Loki conquer Earth and in exchange, he will give them the tesseract – a cosmic device of unknown power. When the tesseract is stolen from the secret government agency S.H.I.E.L.D., director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) brings together a group of humans with extraordinary talents and abilities – the recently revived Captain America (Evans), technologically advanced Iron Man (Downey Jr.), super spy Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen), and irradiated genius Bruce Banner (Ruffalo). Along the way, demi-god Thor and master bowman Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner) join. The group learns the hard way exactly what it means to take on a trickster god; and pays a hard price for the lesson. The characters finally become a team when they overcome the personal demons Loki so artfully exploited. By then though, the Chitauri have arrived to begin the war.
Whedon has also raised the bar when it comes to post-credit scenes – “The Avengers” has two of them.
At the heart of “The Avengers” is the exploration of redemption; from heroes with a murky past who fight for it, to a war-torn planet that needs it, to a villain who refuses it every time it is offered. The CNM Chronicle gives “The Avengers” five out of five cosmic cubes.