The Avengers is a 2012 American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was scripted and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey, Jr.
The Avengers is why we go to the movies. The film will work fine on a big-screen TV, but it’s the kind of gigantic blockbuster fare that sends us back to every summer we went to the theater and were absolutely wowed. By crafting a winning combination of wonderful characters, brilliant comedy, and spectacular set pieces, Whedon hasn’t simply created the biggest superhero movie; he’s created one of the best.
As a lifelong comic book fan, I walked into The Avengers with the highest hopes and deepest fears. A little over two hours later, as the credits began to roll, I turned to the friend sitting next to me, smiled and exclaimed, “They actually did it!” What Whedon and Marvel have created here is not just extraordinary, but one of the most entertaining and satisfying comic book movies yet.
Edward Norton was originally set to reprise his role from The Incredible Hulk but negotiations between him and Marvel Studios broke down. Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo.
Lou Ferrigno voices the Hulk in this film. He has played the Hulk in almost every live-action version since 1978: he played the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk and its subsequent three TV specials, and he voiced the Hulk in the big-screen The Incredible Hulk (he was seen in Hulk but it was a cameo role as a security guard, which he repeated in The Incredible Hulk ). He also has voiced the Hulk in various animated productions.
But Loki isn’t called “the god of mischief” for nothing. Before Fury’s new super team can find its balance, Loki is in their heads sewing seeds of doubt, distrust, anger and conflict. Can earth’s mightiest heroes put their differences aside in time to protect the planet – or is their coming together an even bigger threat than Loki himself?
As a villain, Tom Hiddleston makes Loki even more compelling than he was in Thor, this time infusing him with psychotic rage hidden behind a veneer of charm, smooth words and dimpled smiles. Think Hannibal Lector with super villain aspirations.
The movie may stutter a bit in the middle, but when The Avengers swings into the third act, it becomes a blockbuster picture at its finest. Joss Whedon has absolutely realized the geek dream we’ve been waiting for since Nick Fury introduced himself to Tony Stark after the credits of Iron Man.
Because Whedon's dialogue is less glib than the Marvel norm, with lines written as if they meant something, not to mention often being genuinely funny, the total effect brings the film closer to the tone of the original 1960s books, which revolutionized the comic world by presenting superheroes who were deeply involving, troubled individuals.
Writer-director Joss Whedon does a wonderful job of taking the characters other people built, staying true to their personalities, and then adding his unmistakable spin. Captain America in The Avengers is essentially the same pure-hearted, unflappable do-gooder from Captain America: The First Avenger, but through Whedon, we get a character emotionally struggling to adjust to being ripped out of 1944 and awakening over sixty years later. At the same time, Whedon still has the good comic sense to let the character get giddy at recognizing a pop culture reference.
As far as characters go, Avengers is again the best rendering of Marvel superheroes on the big screen since RDJ let his charisma carry Iron Man to success. What’s surprising about the film is who ends up standing out the most: Black Widow and Hulk are the characters best served by Avengers, and audiences will almost certainly walk away with greater appreciation for both (Johansson even gets a few chances to mock her detractors).
Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D, an international peace keeping agency. The agency is a who's who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster.