The Avengers Review
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It’s been yet another long and agonizing spring for movie lovers. With the usual flood of lame comedies and mediocre action movies making their way to theaters from January through April, we’ve been left with just a handful of worthwhile movies—like The Hunger Games—to help us get through four months of monotony and mediocrity. But now all of that is behind us. Help has come in the form of director Joss Whedon and his brave band of superheroes in The Avengers.

Whedon’s larger-than-life all-star round-up wastes no time in getting right to the action. As the story begins, the Tesseract cube—a mysterious power source that also acts as a gateway to other worlds—begins acting strangely. As S.H.I.E.L.D.’s scientists try to fix the problem, the mischievous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) makes his way through the cube, wreaking havoc on the organization’s secret underground headquarters while stealing the Tesseract and brainwashing some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s finest in the process.

In order to fight back—and retrieve the Tesseract—Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles a team of superhuman warriors to save Earth from whatever Loki might be planning. But before they can fight Loki, they’ll have to stop fighting one another.

After months of ho-hum releases, The Avengers is a much-needed shock to the system. With its top-notch cast and its never-ending action, it’s a wide-eyed, slack-jawed, breathtaking kind of action movie—the perfect way to kick off another summer of budget-busting action and adventure.

Admittedly, Loki’s menacing plans don’t get a whole lot of development, but you’ll barely notice (or care, for that matter). Hiddleston’s slick and sinister performance alone will have you eagerly anticipating his inevitable demise. At the same time, you’ll find yourself caught up in the remarkable ensemble cast of heroes and their widely varied personalities. From Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, with his egotistical swagger, to the valiant selflessness of Chris Evans’s Captain America, the characters clash from their first meeting, adding all the more tension (and humor) to the story. Each one brings something strong and heroic to the table. And while you’re sure to have your favorites (personally, I just can’t get enough of Downey’s Iron Man), you’ll love watching this random collection of conflicting characters share the screen.

Of course, for those who’ve seen Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, none of these characters (or their strong personalities) will come as a big surprise. You already know what to expect (and you won’t be disappointed). The big surprise, then, comes from Mark Ruffalo, whose mild-mannered Bruce Banner repeatedly steals the show. Thanks to a couple of less-than-remarkable big-screen adaptations, The Hulk was the film’s wild card—but Ruffalo gives a pitch-perfect performance, and his angry green alter ego gets some of the film’s best moments.

Really, though, it’s hard to explain the eye-popping, heart-racing excitement of The Avengers in just a few hundred words or so. It’s massive. It’s dazzling. It’s often downright hilarious. And it’s filled with so much ass-kicking IMAX awesomeness that it’s sometimes hard to take it all in. So you might want to budget yourself for a pair of IMAX tickets—because after you first experience the film’s heart-stopping thrills, once just won’t be enough.

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