“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero
Each Marvel Comic used to contain an introductory dialogue box at the top of each first page that succinctly and dramatically introduced the characters you were about to read the adventures of. The above quote is from the introduction to each issue of The Avengers. It also happens to work beautifully as an introduction to The Avengers film. However, a more appropriate tagline might be to paraphrase it as “and there came a film, a film unlike any other…” for that is exactly what Marvel Studios has given us.
You will probably be told that Marvel has pulled off an amazing feat with their cinematic universe of films and they really have. Over the course of five previous films they have subtly built a cohesive, singular world all leading to this one, huge film. With the exception of one casting change, they’ve managed to shepherd the same actors to a point where they can all team up together for a singular purpose. And who better to manage such a large ensemble cast than Joss Whedon?
Although this is only the second feature film that Whedon has directed, he has written many, many scripts containing large casts of characters and here his talents shine brighter than ever. A film like this could have easily descended into madness, but Whedon not only tells a terrific story, he also manages to give every character a moment to shine along with his trademark witty dialogue all wrapped up in stunning visuals. Outstanding action and small character moments dance a perfect waltz throughout and Whedon deftly accomplishes it all in a taught two-hour running time.
As for the story, it begins with S.H.I.E.L.D. experimenting on the cosmic looking cube glimpsed in the bonus scene at the end of Thor. It seems it has the potential to be a source of unlimited power. However, another, space-faring party has the idea to use it to invade Earth and they send the trickster god himself, Loki, to pave the way. Nick Fury activates the “Avengers Initiative” and sets about recruiting those heroes he and his organization have been encountering and monitoring for the past four years. Can these disparate, powerful beings all learn to play well together and save the human race? What do you think?
Thankfully, you don’t have to have watched the previous five films (Iron Man, The incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger) in order to enjoy and understand this film. Whedon does an amazing job of introducing each character and giving the viewer enough information to follow along. You won’t be lost nor will you be weighed down by heavy exposition. Casual action movie fans will have plenty to love and those that like a great character narrative are in for a treat.
Now, for those of you that have been playing along since 2008’s Iron Man, you are in for a stunning treat. Watching ten hours of previous, tangentially connected story all fall into place for one big, grand adventure is pretty awesome. There will be moments where you will watch in giddy disbelief at what is unfolding on screen. This group of actors and characters has a undeniable chemistry and are so good together that I want Avengers 2 right now. However, we have a few sequels to go before then and that’s quite all right.
The Avengers is the culmination of a four year plan that is executed perfectly and sets the next stage for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is an end credits tease that will make long-time comic book readers go insane and I really hope that it is where we are headed for the next team-up of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The Avengers is in theaters now and you should now go see it! Excelsior!