Special to South Florida Times
In Marvel’s The Avengers, Earth is under attack and in serious trouble thanks to Thor’s (played by Chris Hemsworth) celestial brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who is on a quest for power. Loki links up with an alien race that’s off the grid of the nine realms, and gains an army of what looks like armored lizards with energized spears.
Loki is captured by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team, but nevertheless sets his sights on the destruction on the island of Manhattan. The only beings who can stop Loki and his armored lizards are the Avengers. They consist of Thor, The Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t own a link to the outside world, you are well aware that Marvel’s The Avengers is opening this weekend and you have been inundated with Avengers overload, from action figures to well-placed marketing to the movies that have come out in the past few years in preparation for the ultimate superhero movie that is Avengers.
Marvel Entertainment and Paramount Pictures were smart enough to put a great director at the helm. Joss Whedon is the man behind such classic television as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and the web hit series Dr. Horrible’s
Sing-Along Blog. Fans know that if Whedon is at the helm to expect entertainment that’s character- and story-driven with a wink to comedy.
Thanks to Whedon and fellow screenwriter Zak Penn (with original comic book story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), Marvel’s The Avengers is worth all of the hype and more. They have humanized Iron Man and The Hulk — even giving The Hulk a sense of humor. They have showed that regular humans — Hawkeye and Black Widow — can be superheroes too, without being engineered in a lab (ahem, Captain America).
They also have shot something that is actually 3D. Yes, there is a film being released this year that is worth paying the extra $5 to $10 for those nerdy 3D glasses.
Just when it looked like superhero movies were dying out, Marvel and Paramount step in with Avengers, and not only invigorate the action genre, but make it more appealing. And it all started with the success of 2008’s Iron Man, a huge box office success as well as a great film.
At first, it seemed overkill for Paramount and Marvel to release films (Thor, Captain America and Iron Man 2) just for the purpose of giving Avengers and its planned sequels a back story. In anticipation of Avengers’ release, I actually watched all three, just to get acquainted. After seeing the finished product, I see now why the previously mentioned films are so integral. Marvel neophytes can get caught up on the Marvel universe.
To single out one superhero, Jackson’s Fury is and always will be the brains of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the glue that keeps the Avengers going. That said, all of the hard work of the actors, writers and Whedon pays off in a big way. It’s funny, has a lot of heart, promotes community and is a really good action film.
One can’t say enough good things about Marvel’s The Avengers and Joss Whedon without sounding like a groupie. But to leave two thoughts:
IS 3D BACK?
Avengers sets the bar really high for action, superheroes and 3D films. It seemed 3D was on its way out. Could Avengers be the catalyst to re-invigorate the 3D market?
More important: It’s nice to see Nick Fury (a black man) as the man in charge of a team of superheroes. But it would be nicer if someone else of color were included as an Avenger.
Just a little suggestion for Stan Lee, should he decide to invigorate the comic book series.
Photo: Photo COURTESY OF Allmoviephoto.com
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel’s The Avengers.