Written and directed by Joss Whedon (of Buffy The Vampire Slayers fame), The Avengers is the culmination of Marvel Studios' long-held desire to bring their super-group comic to the screen, a project that was first set in motion when Iron Man became a smash hit.
Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has long had issues with power. He makes a deal with the Chitauri, a notably evil alien race, to steal a very powerful energy source called the Tesseract from Earth, in exchange for the Chitauri to help him invade and conquer the planet.
The Tesseract has been well hidden and protected by the S.H.I.E.L.D organization, headed by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson). However, Loki arrives at the premises, and after a big scuffle with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), he steals the Tesseract and escapes.
Fury enlists the help of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, (Scarlett Johansson) to help retrieve the Tesseract and defeat Loki. Along the way, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki's brother, also joins the team.
When it comes to performances, every character – whether leading or supporting – was superb. The chemistry between the characters is almost palpable. Witty banter and a clever script brought out the best in all the actors, making each character stand out and have equal screen time. There were some funny moments (as well as some expected cheesy roll-your-eyes one-liners) and standout performances by Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo.
In terms of action, the film lacks none. The sequences are engaging, thrilling and exciting. The CGI work is impeccable, particularly during the big action scenes, all the while interweaving the superheroes strengths to complement each other where and when needed. All that, and more, makes this a truly successful superhero movie.
You don't need to have seen the Captain America, Iron Man, and Hulk movies before you go see The Avengers, although it certainly does help. The director sneaks in some clips of the above mentioned movies to remind viewers where the superheroes came from and why they behave the way they do.
My only criticism is that the film was about 10-15 minutes too long. The final action sequence was dragged out far too much and would have benefited from being shorter.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Perfect for an action movie buff (or the average blockbuster movie lover in general)!
PS. There's no need to see this in 3D.
– Alya Al-Othman