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Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson
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Points: 1610 (Level 3)
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The Avengers is exactly the big action movie blockbuster that everyone’s been waiting for, which explains why it has been breaking all kinds of records. What’s nice though is that aside from all the action, it has a brain. The story is very well put together, even using a good amount of scientific jargon that most people won’t understand in some scenes. But who cares? As long as it makes sense and entertains us at the same time, you can’t really ask for more.
The movie manages to intertwine the stories of 4 popular characters that have all had separate movies based on them in the past. So it’s almost like watching 4 movies mashed up into 1. But it’s successful in making one cohesive film involving all of them. These characters are Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), and the Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo). Throw in Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who made smaller appearances in a couple of the previous Marvel films and you’ve got a complete team of superheroes. Of course, there’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who brings them altogether as well. Not only do you have a great set of characters, you’ve also got a fine cast of actors playing them.
The plot revolves around Loki, the adopted brother of Thor, attempting to wreak havoc on Earth and turn humans into slaves. Naturally, Nick Fury believes the only way to stop Loki and his army is to gather all of the aforementioned heroes as one team known as the Avengers in order to stop him. The only problem is trying to get them all to get along at first. Part of the fun of the movie is watching each hero trying to outdo one another and prove who the more superior figure is. Eventually of course they learn to work with each other which makes them unstoppable.
Each character brings a unique element to the story. Thor obviously has a personal history with the villain; Iron Man / Tony Stark has his flashy yet effective style which always ruffles some feathers; Captain America, while maybe not the most interesting character, brings an old-fashioned sense of heroism and also leads the heroes when they find each other at odds with one another; Hawkeye is a master archer and Black Widow is a trained spy with supreme martial arts skills who has worked with him in the past; and we all know about the Hulk – get him mad and he becomes an uncontrollable force to be reckoned with. Not only does Mark Ruffalo fit into the role of the Hulk better than the two previous actors who played him, but the filmmakers nail the physical transformation as well. They’ve made him just the right size for stomping around and causing havoc without looking too much like a ridiculous giant this time.
The final battle scene is longer than most but worth it, and rivals those of any other action movie before it. The special effects are pretty great and it’s nice to see so many stars in one movie willing to give up screen time to one another. It’s teamwork, both on and off camera, that makes this film work. The summer movie season has officially started with a bang.
Recommendations: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Se7en , 25th Hour
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