Perth-based film, literature and script writing student.
The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, is a culmination of previous Marvel comic adaptations Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America: the First Avenger (2011). Riding on the success of these prequels, The Avengers is sharp, humorous, action-packed and fast-paced. But is it enough?
Beginning with the introduction of some other-worldly creatures that announce their determination to take over Earth and burn all humans, the film then moves back to our world to focus on the mysterious organisation SHIELD (introduced in the Iron Man films) and their leader Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). An unstable energy source is stolen from SHIELD, which is also a doorway into another world (because why not?), and so Fury sets about building up a team to get it back before Earth is you know, destroyed. This team includes The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the brother of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who coincidentally is the person, or god if you prefer, that wants to do all of the over-the-world-taking. Adding a touch of female ass-kickery is spy the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who serves as a sort of right-hand-man to Fury.
With so many characters it can be hard to become invested in their situation, but it is endlessly entertaining watching the heroes try to interact with each other, when they are so completely different. Watching Iron Man in particular try to get along with any of the others is amusing, as we are used to seeing Tony Stark as a one-man-show. In fact, Iron Man seems to get a little more screen time than the other characters, perhaps because he is one of the most interesting in terms of personality (whereas Captain America is so morally incorruptible he is on the point of boring), or perhaps because Downey, Jr.'s character has had the most success in Hollywood thus far.
It terms of plot, Avengers is a little on the thin side, but one could argue that in a movie like this, plot means little. As long as there are innocent people for heroes to save and a villain to fight, the audience doesn't mind the leaps of logic. Although it would be interesting to see how The Avengers might handle an enemy a little closer to home, instead of a convenient alien race that can be fought without guilt or consequence. It does provide popcorn-scoffing action sequences and a fairly impressive destruction of New York City.
The film ends posing the question - now that The Avengers have saved the world, how will the world deal with the Avengers? It is an interesting question to consider and certainly leads to the possibility of a sequel; however, it is a question that is basically expected when it comes to any vigilante hero story.
On the whole, The Avengers had everything a good action flick should, engaging characters, fast one-liners and a creepy enemy (Hiddleston does a good job of toeing the line between insanity, genius, and tyranny, even showing hints of vulnerability). It keeps you sucked in until the very end, and leaves you feeling satisfied. Not disturbed, or awed, or moved, but satisfied. With so many central characters it was difficult to become totally immersed in their plight, (one gets the feeling there may be an entire film dedicated to The Black Widow sometime in the future) and so we watch from the outskirts, not fully invested but comfortable as mere observers in the adventure. We are along for the ride but instead of being behind the wheel, we are sitting in the back seat. 4 stars.