Film director Joss Whedon was given a mammoth task in bringing half a dozen Marvel superheroes together in one film and create a coherent and entertaining experience. With “The Avengers” Whedon shows that he possesses his own superpowers by not only managing to pull it off brilliantly but by also making it look easy.
All the events that were being set up in previous Marvel films (Iron Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk, Captain America) converge as Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D., finally gets his Avengers initiative up and running. The catalyst is Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who steals the Tesseract, an energy source of unknown potential, from a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Loki has made a deal with the Chitauri, an alien race seeking to conquer the galaxy. In exchange for the Tesseract, the Chitauri agree to help Loki take over the Earth by giving him an army.
The world is in peril and thus enter Earth’s mightiest heroes: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) & Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). It is up to The Avengers to come together, put aside whatever differences they might have, stop Loki and save the Earth from subjugation.
With so many major characters it would be very easy for the script to be overloaded and/or uneven but Joss Whedon who also co-wrote the film with Zak Penn balances it out perfectly. He manages to bring together characters who were previously developed by several other filmmakers and makes them his own. The film feels like it is a continuation of several stories converged into one which is quite a feat. The script is also very funny with characters dropping many hilarious lines sure to be quoted by fans many times over.
The film also gets something else very right, the action. Many superhero films do not manage to partner a good script with great action but the set pieces in Avengers are high octane and exciting with proper build up and climax. This is exemplified mostly by a final-act citywide showdown which is what Transformers: Dark of the Moon tried to pull off but failed.
Joss Whedon is a fan of the material and his love and admiration for these characters shows. The film does not give too much emphasis on one character which was a very easy trap to fall into. When it is about the group, it is about the group. When it is about one character, it about that character. We get to see everyone’s motivation and every character gets their chance to shine.
Comic book fans and fans of superhero films have been waiting for The Avengers for decades. There was so much that could have gone wrong but Avengers delivers in every way and I’m sure not getting ahead of myself by calling it a genre classic.