The stars of Marvel Studios' various movie franchises come together for “Marvel's The Avengers,” which kicks off the summer movie season.
A powerful energy source is stolen from the superspy organization SHIELD, led by director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is behind the theft, in concert with a group of aliens with eyes on Earth.
The potential danger leads Fury to restart his Avengers Initiative; that plan called for extraordinary individuals to act as a last line of defense for the earth.
Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. The billionaire playboy has created his Stark Tower, an innovative building powered by his clean arc reactor technology. He's brought back into the Initiative by SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), a mainstay of previous Marvel movies, including “Thor” and both “Iron Man” films.
Eventually Fury rounds up his team, who he intends to have hunt down Loki and the power source, called the tesseract.
Captain America (Chris Evans) joins up, as does the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who recruits Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The team wants him for his scientific mind, though Tony Stark isn't sure they couldn't also use his other half — a green monster of rage known as the Hulk, which Banner turns into when angered.
They aren't the only ones on the hunt for Loki — Loki's brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) also seeks the tesseract and his malevolent brother.
Director Joss Whedon puts multiple elements and characters into play, and still manages to coalesce everything into a satisfying whole. Fans that have seen previous Marvel movies or read the Marvel comics will probably get up to speed sooner, but Whedon and co-writer Zak Penn have put everything necessary to understand the story on the screen.
It's got enough humor to make the danger that much more thrilling; it has enough humanity amid the CGI carnage to keep all but the most jaded viewer engaged. It's a great way to kick off this summer of superheroes, and bodes well for Marvel's heroes going forward.
— Matthew Price
‘Marvel's The Avengers'
PG-132:22 3½ stars
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson (Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference)
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