“The Avengers” blew my mind. How can I ever settle for just one superhero in a movie again, now that I’ve seen what it’s like with six? If you’re a fan of comic book movies, of superheroes, of big-budget action flicks with a whole lot of story and heart, then you don’t need to read any more of my review. Go see “The Avengers.” Now. Go see it multiple times. Tell Hollywood that they need to keep putting director (and script writer and co-story writer) Joss Whedon in charge of movies.
If you’re not sure where you stand on superheroes, read on. The first thing you need to know before going to see “The Avengers” is that if you haven’t seen “Thor” or “Captain America” you might be a little lost. Allow me to fill you in on what you’ll need to know: Steve Rogers, a 90-pound asthmatic with a brave and noble heart, became a super solider in World War II as the result of a serum that was then lost.
He fought against a top-secret supernatural-studying Nazi division known as Hydra, led by The Red Skull, a monster that was once a man as the result of earlier testing of the serum. The Red Skull powered his futuristic weapons using the Tesseract, a cube of pure, otherworldly energy lost from Odin’s treasure halls. Rogers defeated the Red Skull, but in the process he crashed himself and the Tesseract into the ocean. Both were later retrieved and Rogers, frozen for 70 years, has now awakened to the 21st century.
Meanwhile, in “Thor,” a rivalry brews between Odin’s sons Thor and Loki. Thor’s arrogance causes him to lose access to the crown and he’s banished to Earth. Loki finds out that he’s a secretly adopted Frost Giant, a race that’s the ancestral enemy of Asgard. He has an existential crises and attempts to take over Asgard. He brings his jealously-laden fight with Thor both to Earth and to their home planet. Loki loses and falls into the cosmos.
Now that you’re up to speed, go to see “The Avengers.” It’s rated PG-13 so if you have young kids you might not want to bring them; however my showing was filled with small children and no one seemed afraid at any point. I don’t know that I’d bring small children to a movie nearly 2.5 hours long, but if your kids are huge super hero fans, consider it if you want.
I know I haven’t said much about the movie itself; that’s because I don’t want to spoil it. Let’s just say that Loki is back, and the extraterrestrial threat he brings is so great that it necessitates six superheroes to match it.
From a writer’s standpoint, I’m awed by this film: Whedon pulled off a movie about half a dozen larger-than-life heroes, and everyone received a good amount of screen time and development. The two Avengers members that don’t have super powers were written with enough complexity that it seemed natural they’d be worthy additions to a team containing a Hulk and a demigod.
Speaking of the Hulk, this is the first time we’ve seen him on the big screen in decades where he actually works. Maybe it’s because the entire movie isn’t about him, or maybe it’s because Whedon, from his television work, has a proven track record with tortured and/or unstable characters, but it’s perfect.
Everything about “The Avengers” is perfect. I know I’m biased, and if I looked hard enough I could find flaws. But I don’t want to. If you have any interest in comic book movies or superheroes at all, go see “The Avengers.” We’re truly in a golden age for comic book movies, and “The Avengers” is its pinnacle.