With the anticipation building since 2008’s Iron Man premiere, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is the icing on the metaphoric cake that has been built with each subsequent Marvel film. The Avengers definitely won’t disappoint fans of the franchise.
Despite the headache of bringing so many complex characters and storylines together, there is no singular focus on any particular one of the Avengers, the group of superheroes compiled by Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. Each hero plays to their individual strengths and serves an important and individual role within the group; for example, Evans’ Captain America uses his military experience to strategize attacks and give orders. While some of the heroes initially clash in some pretty amusing and spectacular ways, the Avengers band together to save the world from an alien invasion. Sounds a little like a Transformers storyline, but it’s so much better than that.
While the script could have easily been just a basic story wherein some really cool superheroes save the world through awesome action sequences with snazzy punchlines, Whedon avoids that pitfall and manages to produce a film that highlights the action while simultaneously developing characters. It’s a directorial marvel (pun intended). Many nuances from each film, the Iron Man series, Thor, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk, end up being featured, but never in a way that impedes the overall story. It’s just a nerdy bonus prize for the fans that really paid attention to the details of the previous films.
My one complaint is the 3-D. While it was used tastefully and generally just added to the depth of field, there were a few occasions where something popped out, and I literally couldn’t focus on it long enough to compute what had just happened. Despite that issue, the special effects are gorgeous and blow away anything I’ve seen recently. People who are unfamiliar with the character’s origin stories will be able to follow along, and the people who have read and love the comics will greatly enjoy this live action adventure. Don’t forget to stay for the scene after the main credits; it’s ridiculously exciting if you know your Marvel. And maybe even if you don’t.