‘Avengers’ is Thor-oughly Enjoyable

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Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans fight to protect New York City in “The Avengers”.

Eric Bourse, El Vaquero Staff Writer

Ever since the release of “Iron Man” (2008), “The Avengers” (2012) has had an enormous amount of hype on its shoulders. Four years later, the Avengers has finally assembled in spectacular and immensely entertaining fashion.

The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon (“Serenity,” 2005) and features an ensemble cast with Oscar-nominated actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Ruffalo in his debut as Bruce Banner. Also reprising their roles are Scarlett Johansson as super-spy, Black Widow, and Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder, Thor.

The film kicks off with Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, and his plan to rule over Earth using an army of alien warriors as well as harnessing the power of the Tesseract, a cube with unlimited energy first seen in “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011).

Nick Fury (Jackson), director of top-secret spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D., contacts the planet’s mightiest heroes to fight the global threat.

Unfortunately for the good guys, the god of mischief, Loki, has an ace up his sleeve: the heroes themselves. Before the Avengers learn to work together, they butt heads any chance they can get, especially Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

These scenes showcase Whedon’s signature dialogue that’s full of engaging witty banter with just the right amount of pop culture references as well as the chemistry between the cast.

Mark Ruffalo does a commendable job replacing Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and has made the character even more likeable than before. Although he doesn’t share as many scenes as the rest of the Avengers, his performance as the calm scientist who can turn into the unstoppable Hulk if he stubs his toe hard enough, stands out in the film.

The biggest knock on the film is that because of its huge story and amount of superheroes, the emotional struggles of the Avengers are mostly talked about vaguely instead of shown (aside from Bruce Banner). Captain America’s struggle with adjusting to the modern world and the relationship between Black Widow and Hawkeye are shown subtly or not enough.

However, the most unforgettable facet in the film is its action.

The action set pieces are large, exciting and never get repetitive. Whether it’s Iron Man fighting Thor or the Avengers taking on a huge army of alien invaders, the excitement coming off the screen is laudably filmed.

Unlike other action films with massive city battles like “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” the battle royals aren’t filmed with unnecessary angles or over use of the shaky cam technique.

Although “The Avengers” is only the second film he has directed, Whedon’s superhero epic is one of the best comic book films ever. Despite the two and a half hour length, the film never lags as the pace is just right and thoroughly engaging from start to finish.

“The Avengers” is 142 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.

5 out of 5 stars