The Avengers

There ARE good movie makers out there and their names are Joss Wheden ("Firefly"), Zak Penn ("X-Men"), Jon Favreau ("Iron Man") and Stan Lee (Marvel Comics), among a legion of creative artists who made this happen. This actioner has great heroes, great pacing, great humor and LOTS (and lots and lots and lots...sigh...) of Computer Generated Imaging and blowie uppie stuff. The whole thing feels like an in-crowd joke because we know all of the characters so well their lines don't have to be hammered home, just a hint and we all get it. The main issue is that not one of these guys plays well with others.

Let's review these familiar faces:
  • Samuel L. Jackson ("Iron Man") is Nick Fury, the guy who is the through-line in these things. He isn't above a sly card trick or two...
  • Robert Downey Jr. ("Sherlock Holmes") is Tony Stark/Iron Man, no matter what Downey charges, he is worth the price. He is spectacularly good: his character is smart, funny and (fairly) decent.
  • Chris Evans ("What's Your Number?") is Steve Rogers/Captain America, this walking talking anachronism doesn't get any refer- ences newer than WWII (but he understands "Flying Monkeys" because Wizard of Oz came out in 1939). He is military through and through, a take-charge guy when the chips are down.
  • Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids are All Right") is Bruce Banner/The Hulk, the scientist in hiding from anything that might agitate him into transforming again.
  • Chris Hemsworth ("Star Trek") is Thor, come to Earth to retrieve his evil half-brother Loki, and save our planet.
  • Jeremy Renner ("Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol") is Clint Barton/Hawkeye, the archer who may or may not have a history with the Black Widow (in Bulgaria).
  • Clark Gregg ("(500) Days of Summer") is Agent Coulson, the glue that has held this group together through many of these Marvel movies.
  • Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") is Selvig, the scientist who understands the Tesseract and the power it represents.
  • Tom Hiddleston ("War Horse") is Loki, the villain we love to hate. Just wait until The Hulk gets his hands on him!
  • Scarlett Johansson ("We Bought a Zoo") is Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow, she has a lot of red in her ledger she is trying to erase.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow ("Contagion") is Pepper Potts. Iron Man's right- hand (wo)man.
All of the CGI action finally began to wear on me; sometimes too much is just too much! Our Friday matinee crowd was savvy: every one of us stayed put all the way through the credits to pick up the next little snip- pet we have come to expect from Marvel movies. By the way, I saw this in a multiplex with no IMAX and no 3D and it was terrific, so don't $pend too much for those extras.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Here is a link to a preview:
* * * * * * * * * * * *