—by Nathan on May 7, 2012—
I just saw The Avengers yesterday. Jaw-dropping sweet. The Dark Knight Rises (which is my most anticipated movie of the year) suddenly has major competition (not that I'm saying I ever doubted the Avengers; it just happened to be a better movie than I expected). For you non-comic book geeks out there, a little explaining. Back in the early 1960s, Marvel was doing well. Comic book creator and writer Stan Lee had made numerous superheroes. Spider-Man. The Hulk. Thor. Iron Man. But what if some of these guys met? There's an idea. Yes, superheroes did meet. Due to plotting by Thor's evil brother Loki (who is also the villain in the movie), Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Ant Man, and The Wasp were pulled together to defeat Loki and form the heroic team of Earth's Mightiest Heroes ("I pity the guy who tries to beat us," The Hulk mutters at the end of the first issue). Though the roster has had numerous incarnations over the years, most fans would say that guys like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are pretty much the core of The Avengers. For the film, Ant Man and Wasp get switched out with Hawkeye and Black Widow...cause a guy and a girl who can shrink their body size probably wouldn't fare as well against an alien invasion. The Avengers was a pretty awesome movie. I'll go over a couple of things, such as plot and characters. Here we go.
PLOT: In a remote S.H.I.E.L.D. base, the agency is studying the Tesseract (also known as the Cosmic Cube), a cube of amazing power. Suddenly, the Cube creates a portal, from which comes none other than Loki, the Norse god of Mischief, seemingly killed in Thor. Stealing the cube and mind-controlling Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and scientist Eric Selvic, Loki destroys the base and flees. Nick Fury gathers together three men to defeat Loki: Iron Man, Captain America, and Bruce Banner (aka, "The Hulk," but we'll get to him later). Surprisingly, they capture Loki fairly easy, despite interference from Thor, the Norse god of Thunder and Loki's half-brother. At S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying fortress, The Hellicarrier, Loki is imprisoned while a search begins for the Tesseract. An attack happens from Loki's agents, and he is freed. Now, the heroes must band together to form a team capable of stopping not only Loki, but the alien invasion he uses to try and take over the whole world.
CHARACTERS: There's not one hero in this movie. There's not two. There's six, not counting Fury (he's a main Marvel character, but he doesn't have any powers, so he really doesn't count). Let me go over some of the main characters of the film and show just how powerful this Avengers team really is.
IRON MAN: Tony Stark (R0bert Downey Jr.) is a billionaire, playboy, genius philanthropist. At least, that's how he describes himself. To top it off, he's Iron Man, a hero with a suit of armor that makes him strong, allows him to fly, and lets him shoot repulsor beams from his hands. Super smart, he's happy to know that at least Bruce Banner understands all the technical, scientific gobbilygook he's spewing. As rich and smart as he is, he also has a bit of a carefree attitude, which makes guys like Captain America just a little upset. But when Iron Man is needed, he'll jump into the fray, helped by his onboard computer system Jarvis, and blast anyone that deserves it.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Frozen for decades, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) finds himself in an updated world, totally different than that of the 1940s. Still, even if he misses all the modern-day references, he's capable of understanding that someone needs to take charge. As said before, Tony's lack of seriousness can make him a little angry, but when threats arise, he'll take charge. I thought the movie didn't paint him as a team leader as much as it could've, but he did take charge during the final battle. He understands war; he's a soldier. He's someone to listen to and, with his Super Soldier formula-enhanced agility, fighting prowess, and shield, he's not someone to mess with.
THOR: The God of Thunder shalt smite all his foes, verily! I'd hate to get a text message from this guy. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), wielding his mighty hammer Mjolner, must be very upset. His half-brother, who he thought dead, is alive...and is still an antagonist. Thor realizes that Loki will want revenge on him, but that won't stop him from trying to convince his brother that he can change. However, he isn't like that with everyone. When Loki is captured, Thor has a misunderstanding with fellow heroes Iron and Cap. His short fuse ignites and burns down. The guy has a temper issue, making him hit first and ask questions later. Able to blast lightning and fly, Thor also has super strength, like nearly everyone else on the team.
THE HULK: In one part of the movie, Banner (Mark Ruffalo) calls the whole team "a timebomb." The Hulk is a timebomb in himself. When severely angered, mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner transforms into the monstrous Hulk. He's a monster, an enraged beast who doesn't say a word of dialogue in the film. He roars and bellows...and smashes. That's what he does best. Whether it be hero or villain, The Hulk will crush everything and anything that he views as a threat. Probably the most dangerous Avenger, to be both his enemies and allies, The Hulk is the strongest there is, using brute force instead of tactics to make sure nothing stands in his way.
THE BLACK WIDOW: Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is the assassin/secret agent known as The Black Widow. Endowed with incredible fighting skills, The Widow's main goal is to get Hawkeye, her good friend, out from under Loki's influence. Though she is a great fighter, she doesn't seem like the type of character who could hold her own against an full-scale alien invasion. Nevertheless, she does pretty well, shooting, punching, and kicking her way through monster after monster, Hawkeye by her side.
HAWKEYE: Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), the marksman Hawkeye, is turned into Loki's slave at the beginning of the movie. Having this guy be a bad guy is a dangerous thing. Not only is he an incredible shot, he's also a good fighter. Plus, he has trick arrows, everything from explosives to one that even hacks into the Hellicarrier (why would S.H.I.E.L.D. be stupid enough to give him one of those? "Hey, you think this is a good idea? What if a recently-overthrown Norse god comes through an interdimensional portal and takes his brain over, forcing him to use that thing against us and potentially kill us?" They never think this stuff through!). Luckily (bit of a spoiler), he doesn't remain like that forever, being freed by a blow to the head. Then, he uses his arrows against Loki and his alien minions, giving a little payback to the God of Mischief.
NICK FURY: He's got his eye on you...cause he only has one. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of S.H.I.E.L.D., is the man who calls together the Avengers. When Loki steals the Tesseract and destroys his base, he knows what time it is. He calls together Earth's Mightiest Heroes to fight the battles mankind never could (notice the plural "battles." That means he expects to have to use the Avengers more than once, which means sequels!). Watching from his Hellicarrier, Fury is a commanding figure, convincing the Avengers to continue on even after one particularly brutal defeat. He doesn't take part in much action, but he plays his part. He's a fun character, even though he isn't a superhero.
LOKI: The main villain of the movie, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants nothing more than to become the uncontested ruler of Earth. Thor thought he was dead, but he wasn't. Now he has the Tesseract, and he plans on opening a portal and letting in a bunch of aliens, just not the little green kind. Though he looks thin, Loki is actually pretty powerful. He carries a powerful rod, which lets him fire energy blasts. He also has super strength, and he does well against his enemies. Even imprisoned, Loki is dangerous, being a master of tongues. His staff also allows him to mind-control people. Given the comic history, it makes sense to have him be the first villain The Avengers face...but he could also very well be their last.
In the early days of Marvel, it was regular to put an adjective in front of heroes' names for the titles of their comics. The INVINCIBLE Iron Man. The INCREDIBLE Hulk. The MIGHTY Thor. All those adjectives could be used for The Avengers. A very well-done movie, but which Marvel film isn't (not counting the second Fantastic Four one)? It was action-packed, funny, clever, and explosive. With an ending that hints at a sequel, The Avengers may very well be the blockbuster of the summer. But we still have to wait for Batman to determine that fully.