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WGUC Reviews

The Avengers

The Avengers
Marvel Studios
Rated PG-13
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas

It would have been hard not to notice the arrival of Marvel’s The Avengers last weekend. From the pre-opening hype, the all-star super hero cast, and finally, the biggest movie weekend in history, you may have been wondering, “Is there really anything worth all this excitement.” For once, the answer is “yes.” Marvel’s The Avengers is escapist movie making at the top of its game, and a lot of the credit goes to writer-director Joss Whedon. Other than Serenity, a film version of his short-lived cult TV series Firefly, The Avengers is Whedon’s only other feature film. So far. Indications are he will have job security in this business for decades to come.

Best known for the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon has adapted the Marvel comic book…or graphic novel, if you prefer…with style, humor, and action, but not to the exclusion of character development. And there are plenty of characters to go around: Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America. Robert Downey Jr. is back as Tony Stark, Iron Man; Chris Hemsworth is Thor; Scarlet Johansson plays Black Widow; Chris Evans returns as Captain America; newcomer Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye; and in a stroke of casting genius, Whedon hired the very talented Mark Ruffalo to essay Professor Bruce Banner, before he turns into, as he says, “the other guy,” The Hulk. And the cherry on top of this action cake is the villain Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston, as an evil, egotistical, sometimes sniveling wannabe god from another planet. He’s a scene stealer par excellence. Add in Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, and you have a top-notch cast playing against all the action that makes it virtually impossible to take your eyes off the screen.

The only real minus I found is that the 3-D was nothing special, and therefore no reason to shell out the extra bucks to wear the glasses. You can see this in 2-D and enjoy it just as much.

The script makes good use of both snappy dialogue and sight gags, a couple of which may remind you of a Looney Tunes cartoon. The music is by the accomplished Alan Silvestri, who composed one of my all-time favorite movie scores for Sam Raimi’s The Quick and the Dead. And the stunts and special effects are all spectacular. Usually when there’s this much action and this many characters crammed into one movie, it tends to become confusing and/or tiresome. Not with Marvel’s The Avengers. For a film that’s just a few minutes shy of two-and-a-half hours there’s not a wasted moment, nor do you ever feel the need to look at your watch.

If you are wondering about how your kids might fare with the PG-13 rating, the expletives are kept to a few mild ones. There is no gore, gushing blood, or dismembering, and the alien beings who invade earth are not overtly frightening or repulsive looking.

Marvel’s The Avengers is the epitome of the phrase the “summer popcorn movie,” and after a fairly ho-hum spring in movie land, its more than welcome. It’s all wrapped up neatly at the end with obvious plans, which were announced last week after the opening that yes, there will be an Avengers 2. And that will be worth waiting for.

The PG-13 rated Marvel’s The Avengers is now playing everywhere in both 2-D, 3-D, and in a couple of locations in IMAX 3-D.


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