Tuesday, May 1, 2012

'Avengers' review - assemble at once at your nearest theater

The Avengers finally are on their way to a theater near you - and worth the wait.
I had the good fortune to see an early preview of "The Avengers" on Monday. You know all of those outstanding preview clips that we've already seen?

Such great moments as:
Me? Trouble?

Loki: I have an army.
Tony Stark: We have a Hulk.

The movie is even better - much better.

Action? Of course.

Comedy? Some of it quite unexpected and laugh-out-loud funny. Even the Hulk gets a good line at Loki's expense.

And death. Yes, someone dies.

The plot is basic - Loki attacks, Earth's Mightiest Heroes defend.

Loki deserves special mention, though. Tom Hiddleston stands apart as the god of mischief and the centerpiece villain. He smirks and fights his way through the film in near perfection. When he rails against the illusions of freedom, a small part of you starts to believe him, to actually see the pettiness of humanity from his point of view.
It's still not a good idea to make him angry.

Another obstacle for our heroes - they must learn to work together. Actually, first they have to learn to get along.

As seen in another clip:

Tony Stark: No offense, but I don't play well with others.

Steve Rogers: Big man, in a suit of armor... take that away, what are you?

Tony Stark: Uh... genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist...

[Thor laughs]

Hammer time!
Yes, Robert Downey Jr. is at his flippant best as Tony Stark/Iron Man. We watch Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), the man out of time, struggle as he adjusts to his new life and new role. Chris Hemsworth - I haven't watched "Thor" in some time - brings more weight than I remember to the Asgardian god, showing open disdain for even the inferior humans who are his teammates. Mark Ruffalo gives us a new Bruce Banner, a slightly different take than the "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" legacy of the old television program. We learn more about Clint Barton/Hawkeye so that he's not just a guy with a bow and arrow. Scarlett Johansson displays her tough side as Black Widow, although shouldn't Natasha Romanoff have more of an accent (I know, it's Scarlett, who's noticing her accent?).

Tony Stark knows how to wear a suit.
Rounding out the good guys, Samuel L. Jackson is allowed to chew on the scenery as Nick Fury, Clark Gregg reprises his every-hero-movie-role of Agent Phil Coulson and Cobie Smulders makes for a welcome addition as Agent Maria Hill.

Unlike some ensemble movies, everyone gets a chance to shine without any of the scenes seeming forced just to give a character their screen (read: ego) time.

When do they start filming the sequel?


  1. I was careful not to give anything away - and I don't think that I did. All it says is "Bad Guys vs. Good Guys, done very well by all involved." If you have been watching the previously released official clips, you learned nothing from this post (with the noted exception of the reference to someone dying - but even that offers zero details). If you've been avoiding the clips, you should be avoiding the Internet in general, as well. If I wanted to spoil things, I could have said, "Wait until you see the Hulk ..." :-)