The Avengers: A Spoiler Free Review

The sheer scale of The Avengers goes beyond anything any film studio has ever tried. We’re not talking about just an “all star cast” which happens all too often and almost always with underwhelming results. This is a multi-franchise collage of heroism and grandeur that was years in the making. With the last decade we’ve seen a honing of the super hero movie. For the first time, perhaps in film history, we see a series of movies that stand on their own, all with very different heroes, act within the scope of the same universe. We’ve all waited after the credits of the last few Marvel films to catch the next glimpse of what S.H.I.E.L.D was up to, we’ve seen as these movies have gradually evolved from cheap thrills to well thought out stories, superbly acted and taken seriously by all involved. We have finally reached a milestone, the culmination of which is The Avengers.
Iron man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye have all (with the exception of the last two) been stand alone characters in, for the most part, very successful film franchises. There was never a question of “will this movie be made” it was “will it be any good?” I am very pleased to say, it was not only good, but one of the single best super hero movies I have ever seen. Joss Whedon was handed the realms to the biggest of the Marvel films yet, and he delivers. Whedon is well known in the comic book community, he’s been incredibly successful with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and has devout followings for his short lived shows Dollhouse and Firefly; among other things. While his mark was certainly brightest on TV, Joss Whedon proved, when given the tools, he could deliver a summer blockbuster.
And what tools he’s given! Joss is given a toy box full of superheroes to come up with a cohesive story following not only the six heroes (not including Nick Fury), but also the villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). This is what amazed me the most: the Pacing of the film. Each character has their own struggles, their own personality and their own story. Whedon weaves these stories into the fibers of this film with the expertise of a master craftsman. He was given everything he needed to make this movie succeed. But it takes more than money and great actors to make something of this scale work, it takes the mind of a storyteller, and the logistics of a great director. We see Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) Attempting to manage the beast within. While he is not originally recruited to the Avengers Initiative for his “condition” It certainly comes in handy, delivering the strongest screen performance this character has ever enjoyed. Robert Downey Jr. channels all the charm and ego that made the original Iron Man movie such a success. Captain America (Chris Evans) must deal with adjusting to a world that aged 70 years in what seemed to be a single day to him. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Earth with the sole purpose of stopping his brother from enslaving humanity. And then we have is Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) of whom little is known (at least in the universe that the films have depicted so far, certainly those that follow the comic books know much more about them than the average movie goer) aside from their expert skills at both hand to hand combat as well as marksmanship. This movie shouldn’t work! There are too many strong leads for it to have come together as seamlessly as it did. The story is so well constructed that we see something remarkable happen; we see a synergy capable of wrapping the iconic figures into a cohesive and awesome movie experience. This isn’t a movie where A list actors are all competing for top billing, this is a movie where the greatest heroes in cinema history battle for for the fate of Earth. All the while, the audience watches breathless to see which force will prevail.
Though The Avengers certainly is the culmination of years of planning, it is by no means the end. More than anything this film acts as a commission to the heroes that we’ve come to expect great things from. The Avengers are now aware of each other, (despite all stemming from separate movies) they know they aren’t alone in protecting Earth. They also are now well aware that the dangers they have faced up until this movie, pale in comparison to what could possibly be waiting for them, and should the need ever arise to reunite, they will all be ready.