Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smolders, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more.
Directed by: Josh Whedon Screenplay by: Josh Whedon Story by: Zac Penn and Josh Whedon Based on the comic books created by: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee Cinematography by: Seamus McGarvey Original Music by: Alan Silvestri
Premise: Loki has made a deal with an unknown alien force and so he's returned to Earth to recover the Tesseract, a recently uncovered energy source. He wants to use it to open a gate to Earth to let in his borrowed army, and then subjugate humanity so they may worship him. Nick Fury and SHIELD gather together a set of unusual but powerful allies in the hopes of recovering the Tesseract before it is too late.
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Half the fun of the movie was watching all these great actors interact. I was ecstatic when I spotted Gwyneth Paltrow as her interplay with Robert Downey Jr. is always such fun to watch. Clark Gregg broadened his role as Agent Phil Coulson and proved that even agents can have a little bit of a geek inside them. Scarlett Johansson and her character were so much more than just the 'token female' of the film. She not only outfought most men, but she showed a devious, cold interior that will always get the job done. Cobie Smolders also showed the strength and competency of women as Nick Fury's second right hand. Mark Ruffalo conveyed tremendous amounts of feelings with just a look. Tom Hiddleston also gave a great performance as the aggrieved god Loki.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Where superheroes are involved, you need super special effects - and the team that worked on them for the Avengers film were more than superb. From energy gates, to imploding secret bases, to alien invasion, explosions, and destruction, everything was very detailed, flawless, and best of all, believable.
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've been following the works of Joss Whedon for a while now and he has yet to disappoint. He always knows how to play the audience and give it what it wants. Unlike other works where a combination of superheroes come together but get overshadowed by one or two key figures, Mr. Whedon and Mr. Penn managed to give equal weight to all those concerned, even Bruce Banner's alter ego, the Hulk.
The pace was brisk; all the details furthering the story. The only time it felt bogged down was during some bickering and then not for very long. Some viewers will not realize the staff has a lot to do with the escalation of frayed tempers, so the fact this wasn't mentioned by any of them later might hurt the story in their opinions but the later part of the film more than makes up for it.
Using the Hulk as comic relief during the combat sequences was genius! It gave depth to a character who normally has little to say and showed that he is more than the monster he appears to be. Captain America's instructions to the Hulk during the battle a master stroke of leadership.
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: While some of the action is CGI, not all of it is. The actors and stunts people worked hard for their wages and it shows. In turn, this gave the audience an awesome and unforgettable set of action scenes. Good job everyone!
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: With a wide range of filming spots from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, to California as well as those created through virtual reality, they were strung together to create a viable world of great locations for our heroes to protect. The Stark building was amazing. The cinematography of the streets of New York swamped by invaders and the collapse of the research base will play in your mind for some time.
6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The heroes' costumes closely resembled the look of their comic book originals. Hawkeye was the only one who's uniform did not match in any way, totally missing his telltale mask, but I have to say that the detail paid to his bow and how he could program it to send signals to his quiver so arm his special arrows was fantastic. Thor's hair looked stringy and dirty for the full film, which seemed odd, but could have been a stylist choice. The wounds and bruises received and later maintained on all the characters were very well done. And when our heroes were finished, they looked tired and worn as they should have. Great job.
Conclusion: A fantastic, fun filled film. Definitely worth seeing in IMAX 3D and more than once if you can get away with it. (Sit through ALL the credits! There are TWO extra scenes!)
Rating: 4.75 pout of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again!)