Sitting in the theater during The Avengers (2012) was unlike many previous theater experiences I’ve had. I sat with a grin squeezing my wife’s hand in joy. Pardon the cliché, but I felt like a kid in a candy store. If you read Cultural Transmogrifier‘s Staff Discussion earlier this week, you know the expectations I and the staff had. They were quite high to say the least. I was more than pleased with the results and my expectations were more than met.
Joss Whedon felt like an inspired choice for director when it was announced a few years ago, and I stand by that. Whedon and Zak Penn’s story, and Whedon’s screenplay, translates to an Avengers comic come to life. Simply put, The Avengers is one of the best comic book adaptations ever made.
Building off the success of the previous character films, Whedon was able to jump right into things with this story. I will only briefly and vaguely touch base on the specifics because I don’t want to spoil anything. If you haven’t seen the previous character films you won’t be totally lost, but there are a few things that will just gloss right over you. The basic story revolves around the tesseract—an extraterrestrial source of unlimited power. It’s under the control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they’re running tests on it under the guidance of Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård). Learning that the tesseract is a portal device, we witness the reentrance of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to Earth.
Loki is working with an extraterrestrial race hellbent on bringing Earth to its knees. It’s hinted that Loki is not merely the powerful messenger, but the leader of this new army. The only ones who stand in his way are the Avengers, who are brought together through various circumstances and thrust together in the final act by one significant character . . . moment. (Anyone familiar with Whedon will understand this.)
Every question I had about what our characters were doing between their own films and this one were answered in one way or another. The cast continues to be excellent. Most will give the nod to Robert Downey Jr., but I think a special spotlight should shine on Chris Evans. His portrayal of Captain America is ideal. He is still the super solider of the early 1940s, and despite being out of time and out of place, the leader within is clearly there.
The struggle to establish the team mentality of The Avengers is a joy to watch. Each character is perfectly written, self-aware, and aware of each other’s flaws—which they are quick to point out. FINALLY, I think the Hulk/ Bruce Banner have been written correctly and expertly. Watching Hulk smash is just so awesome! The Avengers is filled with just the right amount of exposition, action, story, and best yet, humor. Just when you need a breather, Whedon offers it up and tosses in a wonderfully written joke delivered by almost every single character in the film.
Without detailing anything else, just know that when this movie ends, it doesn’t really end. Most people know that Marvel likes to add a “stinger” at the end of the credits, an extra scene to tease about a future film. This is no different. In fact, The Avengers offers two such scenes. (The first one—I called it! See our Staff Discussion for proof). Make sure you stay in your seats until the theater lights go fully up and the screen turns off. Any sooner and you’ll miss out. 30% of the audience left before the first tease, 95% were gone before the final one. Don’t be that person! Trust me, after a somewhat exhausting 2 hours and 22 minutes, that final scene is just what the Captain ordered.