By Sarah Choudhary
The summer of 2012 was dominated by two very different but highly entertaining superhero epics. Director Joss Whedon’s energetic “The Avengers” is now out on DVD, after grossing more than $1 billion worldwide.
Whedon had the difficult task of bringing together a half-dozen heroes, several of which had already starred in their own films, and could have easily weighed down this mega-sequel.
But writer-director Whedon managed to give each character his or her moment in the spotlight, while still delivering an action-packed blockbuster.
The plot is familiar enough after a decade of an endless stream of superhero flicks. The earth is in such grave danger that an entire team of superheroes must be assembled in order to save the day. Enter: Iron Man(Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the secret military agency S.H.I.E.L.D. headed by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
“The Avengers” is a satisfying, witty and surprisingly funny superhero film. Whedon’s ability to develop characters even in large ensembles was put on full display. Much of the fun of watching the film comes from seeing the cast of dysfunctional heroes bicker with each other, compromise and learn to work as a team.
The film’s strongest aspect was its humor, as every character was able to shine in well-written comedic bits. It would be easy to assume that Robert Downey Jr.’s overbearing and arrogant Tony Stark/Iron Man would hog the spotlight, but thankfully he is willing to let the rest of the cast also handle some of the witty and snarky one-liners.
Though “The Avengers” was a bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming summer for film, it did have its fair share of problems. The film’s main villain, Loki, the frustrated adopted brother of Norse god Thor, was not the most compelling rival for the team of uber-heroes.
While Loki’s quest for world domination was underdeveloped, the charming Tom Hiddleston made him an entertaining character on screen, though not quite menacing.
The extended action sequence in which the heroes zip around a heavily computer-generated New York City to battle bizarrely robotic aliens went on for far too long. The stakes were also ridiculously high. It will be difficult for the sequel to top a battle to save the entire planet. Though the film drags in certain spots, overall it was able to fight through the rough patches with sheer exuberance.
Though the film lacks the ambition and technical mastery of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, “The Avengers” is perfect popcorn entertainment. Filled with well-crafted special effects, and more wit and humor than audiences have come to expect from blockbusters movies, the film was a welcomed relief to audiences.
It is refreshing to see a comic book film filled with characters that are happy to be superheroes, to don extravagant costumes and to have a good time while saving the world.