Overview: We finally get to see Samuel L. Jackson rock an eye patch for the entire duration of a movie. An A-Team of Marvel superheroes unite to battle Thor’s brother and a horde of aliens; 2012; Rated PG-13; 142 minutes

Whedonites Rejoice: Superheroes and Whedon…does it really get any better?  Joss Whedon has a distinct style of writing, full of witty banter, excessive dialogue, and pop culture references.  His proven skill in weaving multiple main characters together to allow each one to shine without letting any scene seem too crowded is well suited for this juggernaut of a movie. Whedon also manages to maintain the integrity of characters established in their own feature film(s). It’s assumed that viewers who go see The Avengers have seen every individual movie, but not required to follow the story.

HULK FINALLY COOL!

HULK FINALLY COOL! 

“We Have A Hulk”: The world has finally been given the Hulk it deserves, and it’s arrived in the form of Mark Ruffalo.  Every solo Hulk film released boasts an actor who either succeeds as Bruce Banner, or Hulk, or in Edward Norton’s case, neither…but never both.  Ruffalo gives viewers a balance between Banner and “the other guy” by maintaining bits of his personality when he changes. This Bruce Banner is a bit jaded at this point in the game, but he’s also a smartass, which translates equally when the other guy takes over.  By the end of the movie the Hulk fights the good fight, but he still reminds us he’s always angry by sucker punching Thor after they team up to kick some alien ass.

Too Much Hot Air?: These Marvel superheroes all embody different manifestations of stereotypical alpha males.  We have the golden boy, the charismatic cocky one, the mysterious brain, and the brawn.  This is not a deep movie folks.  It’s intended to be a fun ride, and Whedon plays on this intention by poking these stereotypes while the gang learns to work together. All of this testosterone is balanced by a breath of fresh air named Scarlett Johansson. Black Widow has been teased throughout the movies leading up to The Avengers, and she’s finally given her chance to shine. She’s tough, clever, and just feminine enough to keep the guys on their toes.  Oh yeah, and she wears skin tight black leather.

Recap:  The Avengers is a superhero action film with comedic relief, and it’s damn proud of itself.  This movie doesn’t pretend to be anything else, which is in part due to the fact that Whedon always dives in headfirst and relishes his characters for exactly what they are.  The real surprise stars in this movie are the Hulk and Black Widow, who stole most of their respective scenes with each of their own mix of bold personality and subtlety. 

Grade: A

Signed, Beth Reynolds, self-proclaimed Whedonite