Before the Camera:
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2)
Jeremy Renner (Thor)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Clark Gregg (Iron Man 2)
Cobie Smulders (TV's How I Met Your Mother)
Stellan Skarsgård (Thor)
Tina Benko (Photo Op)
Jeff Wolfe (Drive)
Arthur Darbinyan (X-Men: First Class)
Donald Li (Big Trouble in Little China)
Dieter Riesle (The Good Shepherd)
Kenneth Tigar (The Happy Hooker)
Samuel L. Jackson (Amos & Andrew)
Look fast for:
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Powers Boothe (Red Dawn)
Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London)
Jerzy Skolimowski (director - The Lightship)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Stan Lee (Avengers co-creator)
And listen up for the voices of:
Lou Ferrigno (70’s TV Hulk)
Paul Bettany (Iron Man)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Joss Whedon
Produced by Victoria Alonso, Avi Arad, Louis D'Esposito, Jon Favreau, Kevin Feige, Patricia Whitcher, Alan Fine, Jeremy Latcham and Stan Lee
Written by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon
The Avengers created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
First teased in a post credits tag scene in Iron Man in 2008, The Avengers Initiative was name checked in four more flicks – The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger usually by guest star Samuel L. Jackson – playing Marvel’s resident spymaster Nick Fury, and usually only showing up at the very end of each movie. Amazingly, all of those films were pretty darn good – with no misfires among them. Iron Man 2 was a bit of a sophomore slump – and the least of the five movies, but it was still pretty good. Now, all of those heroes - roll call: Iron Man (Downey), Captain America (Evans), Thor (Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Ruffalo) are brought together in The Avengers – and they are joined by quasi-superhero spies Hawkeye (Renner) and Black Widow (Johannson).
The story picks up the threads from each of the previous movies – some of which contributed more than others – with The Incredible Hulk being the least necessary to the story tapestry, due to Nick Fury being a no-show, and especially since that movie’s Bruce Banner – Edward Norton – has been replaced in this movie by Mark Ruffalo. The Cosmic Cube from the comics - here called the Tesseract, as Cosmic Cube is a little too 70’s comic book alliterative – serves as this movie’s McGuffin after appearing in Thor and Captain America. Thor’s adopted brother Loki pops up on Earth after his cosmic exile at the end of Thor – and he’s been driven more than slightly mad by his dimensional travels. He’s come to Earth to find the Tesseract and use it to open a dimensional portal that will allow his new allies – an army of aliens ready to conquer the Earth – passage through to this world. Nick Fury – the top dog of SHIELD – by the way, just to show off the geek feather in my cap - that used to stand for Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law enforcement Division (1965-1991); then it became Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate (1991-present) in the comics; and that has since been changed in the Marvel movies to Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division for no good reason I can discover – anyway, Nick Fury discovers that his SHIELD forces are not going to be enough to go up against Loki and his crew of aliens and super-hypnotized good guys – and he dusts off his mothballed Avengers Initiative. With our old pal Agent Coulson (Gregg) and new face Agent Hill (Smulders) assisting, Fury brings in Iron Man, the Black Widow, and Captain America – along with Bruce Banner as a scientific consultant – with no one thinking it a good idea due to the brutish green Other Fellow Banner brings with him in in times of stress. Unfortunately, Thor is off planet, and Hawkeye has been mesmerized into working for Loki, so the heroes are a little shorthanded. Eventually Thor does join in on the fun – wanting to put a stop to his brother’s machinations; and you just know someone is eventually going to tick Dr. Banner off – and when all of the heroes get past their personality conflicts – settled with some good old fashioned Marvel Comics’ style brawling – they assemble as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – the Avengers – but can even their combined skills and powers stop a madman with Asgardian might and magic – and an alien fighting force that may number to infinity?
|In all their glory - Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Hulk.|
I had been looking forward to this movie from the moment I saw Sam Jackson in the movie theater in 2008. Four years is a long time for a movie to get built up in your head – and with all those heroes to juggle – could even a self proclaimed comics fan like Joss Whedon make an Avengers movie that fired on all cylinders for this longtime fan?
I’m afraid I have to admit –
YES! YES HE DID!!!
The Avengers is a rollicking rollercoaster ride of a movie right from the get-go – with a terrific setpiece involving Loki’s arrival on Earth and first battle with the forces of SHIELD – right through each hero’s introduction – everybody gets some prime moments for their character – and on to the epic final battle in and above the streets of New York City. All of the actors are up to the game – no one is phoning it in because they’re part of an ensemble – and you get some fun cameos, including, I’m thrilled to report – Stan Lee himself. The storyline is a fine mix of simple and complex – complex because of bringing in all of the elements from the various movies that led to this one – and if you’ve watched none of the other movies you might find yourself a little lost in the early going – and simple because it’s really just a race to the McGuffin with an epic final battle – but there are lots of little character bits and funny lines throughout and every hero gets to save the day or someone’s bacon at least once. Downey leads the funny line count – which is to be expected – but there are several other humorous bits scattered around as well. Kudos must also go to Tom Hiddleston - who perfects his villainous act from Thor here with a great glint of madness in his every smirk and sneer. Everything to do with the visual side of the movie is spectacular – the sets, the costumes, the effects are superb – and surprisingly – this was mainly shot in New Mexico and Ohio, of all places. And after three attempts to do a CGI Hulk - this movie finally gets it right - with a Big Green who actually looks like the actor who he's based on, and just generally more "there" in the scenes than in either previous movie. Add in Marvel fanboy elements like getting to see the SHIELD flying base - the Helicarrier - and finally getting to see Nick Fury getting in on the action – plus a couple of interesting moments worth waiting through the end credits for - and you have a summer movie that is Marvelous (pun intended) in nearly every way.
In the end – I’m not going to call this the best of all time or the greatest ever made – I think movies need a little age on them before such labels can be applied – but it’s a heck of a movie and I give it my highest recommendation – check this one out!
Let's Get Out of Here ?
I couldn't pinpoint the time - but I'm pretty sure I heard it while the baddies where sweeping through one of the office buildings near the end of the movie. Further research is required.
Eye Candy ?
Yes and yes again!
|Cobie Smulders (in my heart)|
Welcome to the list, ladies!
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
|Buddha Man says: "The Avengers have definitely assembled - |
a kickass Summer movie for everyone to enjoy!"