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MovieMike's Movie Reviews (83)

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Avengers, The (2012) 
Great Comic Book Hero Fun
3/4 stars

While quite pleased with the ‘Iron Man’ series, I was less taken with the recent ‘Thor’ movie (Sorry Chris, please don’t bean me with that mighty hammer), and was among the many who suffered through the latest Hulk reboot. Not being all that much of a comic book fan, I have to admit I totally passed on the ‘Captain America’ flick. Now comes a movie with not just a couple of these characters, but six! Ok, technically seven, including Nick Fury – but he doesn’t quite get his hands as dirty as the others in this true summer blockbuster.

Based on the above, I figured I would end up liking this about 20%. I was wrong. This was truly a great piece of entertainment. Yes, this is a film based on comic book heroes, but their portrayal on the big screen truly was larger-than-life and very well executed. Joss Whedon (writer AND director on this) provides a great story line and wisely mixes in a number of one liners and funny visuals all along the way. It’s the same sort of stuff that made the ‘Iron Man’ movies so great. To be sure, this isn’t all-Tony-all-the-time – there are enough great lines and comic images to go around all along the way. In one awesome sight gag, the Hulk is trying to pick up Thor’s hammer. While it looks tiny under his huge hand, he simply cannot budge it.

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Iron Man (aka Tony Stark); Chris Hemsworth is back as Thor; and Chris Evans again suits up as Captain America. New to the mix is Mark Ruffalo as the brooding Dr. Banner and his alter ego, the Hulk. Scarlett Johansson appears as Natasha Romanoff/The Black Widow and Jeremy Renner is along as Hawkeye. Samuel L. Jackson also returns as Nick Fury, who tries desperately to get these characters to all work together. We also get a couple surprise cameos from Harry Dean Stanton and Stan Lee.

Central to the plot is Thor’s evil brother, Loki (once again played by Tom Hiddleston) who seeks to unleash an alien army against Earth so he can become the planet’s ultimate ruler. A good chunk of the story is dedicated to the interaction of the super heroes as they cut up on each other and prove who is really superior. This film is also slathered in special effects with everything from a aircraft carrier that flies and can also cloak itself, to massive amounts of destruction rained down on New York City.

I know this movie isn’t for everyone, but it was easy to see why ‘The Avengers’ broke box office records this past weekend. The film is pure escapism, but executed very well with a good mix of action and laughs. If you are any sort of a fan of anyone in this, you will not be disappointed. Once again, be sure to stay until the credits stop… Shawarma anyone? [5/8/2012]


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