The Score: "[The Avengers] Lives Up To Every Promise Marvel Studios Has Made"

Friday, May 4, 2012 10:15AM

Written by J. Bachelor

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  • The Avengers
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey, Jr.
  • May 4, 2012
Denver Post 3.5/4
CS Monitor 8/10
The Washington Post 3/4
UT-San Diego 3/4
Kansas City Star 3.5/4

Comic book fans: Superhero season has returned. Several of Marvel's mightiest heroes have finally joined forces on the big screen as The Avengers tears its way into theaters today.

The long awaited film adaptation of the popular comic and cartoon series features The Hulk, Ironman, Thor and a few other superheroes on a quest to save the world from the forces of evil.

Epic in scope and audacious in its execution, The Avengers is a product (make no mistake - it's more product than film) that lives up to every promise Marvel Studios has made since they launched their ambitious plan to bring their signature heroes together on the big screen when 2006's Iron Man debuted. Though the movie stumbles a bit out of the gate, director Joss Whedon rights this ship quickly, delivering a grand entertainment that will not only satisfy longtime devotees of the Marvel characters but the newly initiated as well. (Illinois Times)

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Iron Man, and leads his pack of supercharged crimefighters as the quick-witted billionaire Tony Starks.

The star is Robert Downey Jr. His Iron Man is certainly a team player, but Mr. Downey comes to the party with two insuperable superpowers: a character of established sophistication--the industrialist/inventor Tony Stark, a sharp-tongued man of the world--and his own quicksilver presence that finds its finest expression in self-irony. (He was much better in the first "Iron Man," but he's quite good here.) "The Avengers," which takes place in murky darkness for the first half-hour or so, begins to lighten up figuratively, if not literally, only when Iron Man appears and we see, on the lips of the man inside the red robotic rig, a faint smile that says "this is going to be fun." The fun in seeing his teammates lies mostly in watching them in action, although they quarrel comically among themselves at the outset like superdivas: "We're not a team," Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner says, "we're a time bomb."(WSJ Online)

The previous Marvel films have all led up to this: Heroes from different walks of life forced to put their differences aside for the good of humankind.

Yet The Avengers is better than any of the films that led up to it, and I for one had no problem embracing newcomers Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) or Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. The story, which Whedon conceived with Zak Penn, establishes territorial tension among these larger-than-life figures, presents them with a way to work out their problems, and unites them against a common enemy. As for the performances, it would seem that Downey set the bar high and inspired his colleagues to play at the same level. There's no weak link here.(IndieWire)

Hawkeye and Black Widow may be the only two heroes that have yet to have their own big screen film, but they still manage to get shine and plenty of screen time.

Our half-dozen heroes bicker and josh: There's Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), the dashing super-soldier thawed out from World War II; Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the egomaniacal, quip-spewing billionaire in a flying metal suit; Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the ass-kicking superspy in a cat suit; Bruce Banner, a.k.a. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), the genius who morphs into a pea-green colossus when properly chafed; Thor, a.k.a. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the brawny Norse god of thunder; and Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the sharp-shooting archer who shares a history with Natasha.(The San Fransisco Gate)

Overall, critics were pleased with The Avengers, noting that although the film is not perfect, it manages to provide plenty of action and screen time for its supersized cast of characters.

If, as "The Avengers" depressingly underlines, comic-book movies are the ultimate expression of today's Hollywood zeitgeist the way, say, "Gone With the Wind" or"Casablanca"epitomized an earlier time, it's good to at least have them done this well. If you have to watch "a handful of freaks, isolated and unbalanced" saving the planet for the umpteenth time, you could do a whole lot worse.(LA Times)
As a lifelong comic book fan, I walked into The Avengers with the highest hopes and deepest fears. A little over two hours later, as the credits began to roll, I turned to the friend sitting next to me, smiled and exclaimed, "They actually did it!" What Whedon and Marvel have created here is not just extraordinary, but one of the most entertaining and satisfying comic book movies yet.(Cinema Blend)

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