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The Avengers (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
4½ Out of 5 Stars
May 4, 2012
“Your ledger is dripping, it's gushing red, and you think saving a man no less virtuous than yourself will change anything? This is the basest sentimentality. This is a child at prayer - pathetic. You lie and kill in the service of liars and killers. You pretend to be separate, to have your own code, something that makes up for the horrors; but they are a part of you, and they will never go away.” 
How desperate are us humans to call upon such lost creatures, one of which this quote refers to, to defend us?

We have become very … desperate.  

We are hopelessly … outgunned.  

WAR … HAS STARTED!

Enter the world of director Joss Whedon’s The Avengers; a group of superheroes brought together in desperate measures of humanity, to save it! 

The team is comprised of 4 major superheroes:  Dr. Bruce Banner/“The Incredible Hulk” (Mark Ruffalo), weapons manufacturer chairman and genius prodigy Tony Stark/“Iron Man” (Robert Downey Jr.), the ultimate super soldier and true definition of the word “hero” Steve Rogers/“Captain America” (Chris Evans), and the Norse God of thunder from the planet Asgard “Thor” (Chris Hemsworth); as well as 2 minor heroes:  Natasha Ramanoff/”Black Widow” (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/”Hawkeye” (Jeremy Renner), in a project known as “The Avengers Initiative” ran by S.H.I.E.L.D., an internal peace keeping agency headed by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Thor’s brother from Asgard, Loki, always resented the fact that he was adopted and never really found solace in “family”.  He developed a narcissistic personality as he felt his brother received all the attention due to being of real blood.  This led to bitterness, hatred, and acts of resentment to this life Loki was given.  So he decides to steal an energy source discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. that in the wrong hands could mean chaos to the entire planet, to force everyone to worship Loki as ruler of the world, giving him the power he craves from the lack of attention he feels from his family.  This puts the fate of humanity at its highest level of severity.  Desperate measures must be called on against the will of the nation’s hierarchy, and The Avengers Initiative is officially put into play. 

Can this team work together?  Can S.H.I.E.L.D. even assemble the team to begin to work together?  Are they capable of putting aside their extreme differences to figure out Loki’s real and true intentions of Earth’s invasion?  Is there more to this mystery than just the incarceration of Loki?  If yes, what then after you take him down?  Time is running out, the world is at stake; the fate of humanity is in the hands ... of The Avengers!

BRAVO!  A job well done by Disney, Marvel, and their Avenger-like team that was assembled for such quality entertainment!  Director Joss Whedon really put everything into this project and it pays off in all aspects of the filmmaking process. 

It starts with the tricky writing that Whedon and Zak Penn assembled to make sure this world of superheroes was properly constructed.  The major issue at hand and the major concern of your average person that simply glances at the poster is, “is the weight evenly distributed within the story amongst ALL these principal characters?”  With a story and a world as big as such, that’s your main focus, once that’s taken care of, everything else is a piece of cake because the hard part is done.  So to answer the question, YES!  Whedon & Penn cleverly distributed the weight of each hero, tying in the character background and the world of each to fit into this Avenger world to make one complete and satisfying world comprised of many.  Tricky task to take!  Successfully succeeded!  BRAVO!

As successful as this task was completed, I still would’ve liked to have seen maybe just a little more from some areas.  Black Widow & Hawkeye had a little history and to see that tie into an overall plot point that The Avengers needed to decipher to stop Loki would’ve made me 100% and not just 99%.  I liked how it was clear that the two were maybe in over their heads as they’re not soldiers but assassins hired for a particular job.  So this was something “they were never trained for”, which raised the stakes and kept my interest/attention. 

I still would’ve like to have seen more cool and neat fighting tricks from Captain America and his shield; to see him recall the feelings of the girl and the life he lost over 70 years ago to now have to deal with this new world just UNLEASHED on the evil at hand would have given me a feeling of complete satisfaction.  But still it was nice to see the Captain taking charge and leading the team in the only way he does; the militaristic way he only attacks plans of action with! 

Which led to him giving The Hulk a command that’s classic for any superhero fan or anyone who knows anything about The Hulk, I felt like I was 7 years old again!  But I only got partial satisfaction there; I kept thinking he was going to say more like he does from time to time.  Whedon made sure that The Hulk did speak, but not too much because that would seem too unrealistic.  However, I felt a little more was needed to REALLY sell us, especially when the Captain basically tells him to start speaking.  But I loved how Dr. Banner’s character really tied into Loki’s plan of action.  Mark Ruffalo did an incredible job of erasing mine and a lot of others' preferred expectation of Edward Norton portraying the character.  When it was time for The Hulk to go to work, that’s exactly what happened!  The inner child in me came out when The Hulk did! 

To see Thor finally reconnect with his Earthly love, his true love, that in addition to his brother, he's heartbroken over the circumstances, would've satisfied any skeptical viewer going into this film.  This was hinted at but not really covered in full satisfaction, as in Thor's story, it was made VERY CLEAR that the two NEEDED to be with each other; so the instant Thor can return to Earth, this would be a major question on anyone's mind who knows his story.  

Nonetheless, minor flaws that barely scrape the surface of perfection.  You can't please everyone and satisfy EVERY storyline.  So just stick to the basics, Avengers are here, together, and have to save the earth.  

This is not just a movie for your die-hard comic book superhero fan, your stereotypical action buff, for little boys, or just another guy flick; this is a film for the ENTIRE family.  There’s the romance from Iron Man’s world as he learns from Captain America what it means to truly be heroic for the mature female viewers.  There’s a heartfelt, and saddening battle between two brothers, two loving yet extremely hurt family members fighting for what they feel is necessary and ends justifiably for the person that can appreciate a quality movie.  Then of course, as expected, for the person that this movie is geared primarily for, there’s a lot of butt kicking action sequences that, in addition to, will thrill and amaze everyone! 

There really is something for everyone with this extremely entertaining experience!  Feel like a kid again and remember why we go to the movies in the first place. 

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The Avengers
Action & Adventure, 142 Minutes, PG-13
Story by: Joss Whedon and Zak Penn
Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, & Samuel L. Jackson

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