The Avengers

WRITTEN BY: Joss Whedon
DIRECTED BY: Joss Whedon
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston
RATING: 5 stars

I was a little hesitant about getting enthusiastic for The Avengers. I wanted so desperately for it to be a great film and I thought it certainly had the potential. However, with recent comic book adaptations falling flat (for example, Green Lantern is best forgotten) I thought I might be hoping for something impossible. I'm so very happy to say I was wrong. I'm not the kind of reviewer who gives five stars very often, so trust me when I say that if you're a fan of action and comic book films, you should see The Avengers. With an all-star cast, good use of 3D, a great script and a surprisingly cohesive plot, this well-directed film is nearly two and a half hours of excitement.

Before seeing The Avengers, I recommend you watch Thor and Captain American: The First Avenger for some back story. However, it's not necessarily a prerequisite to have seen the Hulk or Iron Man films. Director/writer, Joss Whedon, has accomplished what I thought was going to be an impossible task of presenting seven heroic characters with complex backgrounds, who would usually carry a film on their own, working perfectly together. All the characters are well developed, each hero has their moment to shine and comic book geeks around the world (myself included) will have such an amazing geekasm watching the chemistry, rivalry and team effort of the protagonists throughout the film.

Based on the Marvel comics, The Avengers introduces audiences to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who is the director of SHIELD, an international peace-keeping agency. He forms a team called The Avengers made up of demi-god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), billionaire genius Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), scientist Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and the world's first superhero Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) to work with his team including Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to save the world from Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor's demi-god brother who is trying to take over the world. But first, the egotistical heroes must learn to get along with each other.

The casting in the film was perfect. The film doesn't focus on much male-female romance, but instead provides a fantastic bromance between Iron Man and Banner. Downey Jr and Ruffalo are outstanding actors and they work perfectly together in these scenes, almost stealing the show at times. Downey Jr is so good at playing the cocky, funny and lovable larrikin, while Ruffalo plays the tortured Banner convincingly. Hemsworth continues his great work as Thor and has some very good one-liners, while Evans portrays the quintessential American hero very well. The four protagonists are well supported by Johansson and Renner who have some great fight scenes, and Jackson who has some memorable speeches, which we've come to expect from him in these types of film roles. Hiddleston is also very good as the slimy bad guy, while Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Clark Gregg and Gwyneth Paltrow are also worth noting in their smaller roles.

Not since X-Men: First Class have I been so impressed by a comic book adaptation to film. As soon as I finished watching The Avengers, I wanted to watch it again. Make sure you stay for the end of the credits – there's a nice set up for a sequel.