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Review: The Avengers

You've probably noticed that there's been a plethora of movies featuring comic book superheroes that have been released over the past few years. There's been quite a few from the Marvel Comics brand in particular and that's because the people at Disney wanted to make a film involving multiple heroes coming together in one big summer blockbuster. Well, that blockbuster is here and it's called The Avengers.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), leader of the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. finds it necessary to recruit several people that he feels are the only ones that can save the world. Those people feature the likes of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chirs Hemsworth) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). This super group unites with Fury to take down a menacing force known as Loki (Tom Hiddleston), an extraterrestrial dead set on ruling Earth and everything in it.

After the film's opening scenes, I was kind of disappointed with what I saw. They proceeded to take this particular time span in the movie to reintroduce the audience to the superheroes and get us back into their stories. While I understand that and had no problem with them doing it, I didn't think that they had to make this portion of The Avengers so long and boring. It was filled with small talk, terrible jokes and not much else. This caused the movie to drag on and it took away from some of the positives in the grand scheme of things.

One of the other criticisms that I have of The Avengers is that they didn't let the superheroes do as many of the superhero types of things that I would expect to see. You'd think that with all of the heroes in this movie, they'd be able to come up with things to do right? Not in this case, and that also had to do with what I was talking about in the paragraph above. I came out thinking that the heroes in this movie were severely underutilized. There's something wrong when you have a superhero movie that lasts for about two and a half hours and you somehow can't or choose not to play to the strengths of the characters properly or even give them enough screen time doing what they supposedly do best.

I don't mind pauses in action and it happens in almost every action/adventure movie that's out there. It's a little different in The Avengers since there's just way too much small talk that leads to nowhere. There didn't even need to be any added violence or action per se. Having them fight more, having them hunt down the bad guys or at least searching for them in some way would have been better in the early going. The bottom line is they should have reduced the number of unnecessary scenes that are presented at the start and focus on the heroes being more active in other ways.

When they finally got passed the stuff in the movie that bored me to death, they actually put some good things on the screen. Everything that I thought I was going to see is here and it's actually pretty entertaining. Whenever they started up the action, they kept it going for a while and that is certainly a positive in this case. These scenes (especially the final one) are fast and all over the place. They're all over the place, because there's supposed to be so much going on and there are a lot of people to pay attention to. I'll at least give director Joss Whedon some credit for handling those scenes well.

To go along with the long action scenes, I also think the characters themselves were solid. I didn't have any issues with any of the characters or the actors that played them, but it would have been nice if most of them would have been allowed to do more. I say most of them because there are two guys that got a ton of screen time and were able to flex their acting muscles more than the others did. Samuel L. Jackson is one of them and he received way more time than I thought he would. I was thinking that he was going to be hovering in the background for a large portion of the film, but he probably got to be on-screen more than just about anyone.

The other actor that I'm talking about is Tom Hiddleston. I remember watching Thor and saying that the main villain that he portrayed (Loki) was a little boring and lacked something. So knowing that he was going to be the main villain in The Avengers didn't sound like a good decision at first, but he's much better here than he was in Thor. He's the same character at the core, but he has more personality and charisma this time around. His performance here is one of the best and most memorable things about this entire movie. In actuality, he had to be good since he's literally the only bad guy worth noticing and is basically asked to carry much of the film. Although he and Jackson don't get top billing, I would say that they are the actual stars of The Avengers.

In order to score The Avengers, I have to look at the film in its entirety. The earlier parts are sub par to say the least, but the later scenes when superheroes actually begin to do superhero stuff are quite good. If you can sit through all of the scenes from early on with the bad jokes and the excessive and meaningless small talk, you should be able to get into this movie. A sub par first half and a fun, but familiar second half makes The Avengers what it is.... an average movie.

I also want to point out one last thing to potential viewers. Anyone with any sense could figure out beforehand that there would be a sequel right? So technically I'm not spoiling anything when I say what I'm about to say. As a matter of fact, I'm helping you guys out. You need to stay until after the end credits start rolling. They're going to show you a couple of things that you need to know for the sequel. It's what they did in the Marvel films that led up to The Avengers, so you shouldn't be surprised that I'm telling you to stay and watch after the credits begin.

Score: 2.5/5

Rating: PG-13

Director: Joss Whedon

Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Evans
Chris Hemsworth
Samuel L. Jackson
Tom Hiddleston
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner
Mark Ruffalo
Gwyneth Paltrow

Film Length: 143 minutes

Release Date: May 4, 2012

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

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