Shortly after settling into “The Avengers,” my initial thought was, “This is going to make a gazillion dollars.” I did not also have the corresponding thought, “Wow, this is a great movie.” First things first.
Still, the film is good enough to keep all the Marvel Comics crazed audiences out there deliriously happy while keeping the rest of us earthbound types in moderate thralldom.
There’s a surplus of superheroes. If you don’t care for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) or Captain America (Chris Evans) or the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), there’s always Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Or, if your tastes run to the dark side, there’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston), whose possession of the all-powerful tesseract cube is the main reason all the Marvels and Marvelettes are herewith assembled. Samuel L. Jackson’s black-eye-patched S.H.I.E.L.D. master is supposed to be a good guy, but, since this is Samuel L. Jackson, he plays him like a bad guy.
Director-screenwriter Joss Whedon makes excellent use of 3-D, and, despite the overload of special effects and kabooms, he doesn’t turn the movie into a head-rattling endurance test à la Michael Bay’s “Transformers” series. It all goes on too long, though: Shapeliness is an alien life-form in these superhero movies. It’s also set up for the guaranteed sequel, this on top of the already impending individually gift- wrapped sequels for the likes of Thor and Iron Man and Captain America. Not to mention no-show Marvel fave Spider-Man, who is also getting his own sequel.
It’s only a question of time before every movie will be required to contain at least one Marvel superhero. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.)