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The Avengers


Just put your brain in check, hold onto something and enjoy 2012's The Avengers, an expensive and eye-popping technical achievement that brings all of your favorite comic book movie heroes together and gives them a classic villain to contain while never letting us forget that most of them are human beings and flawed ones at that.

The story is so not the thing here, but if that sort of thing is important to you, it seems that Loki (Tom Hiddleston), brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), has some unresolved family issues that he has decided to take out on earth by completely enslaving it with the aid of a deadly steel-coated army. Loki is too much for his brother to handle on his own and we then see the genesis of an organization hinted at in Iron Man 2 where Thor gets an assist from Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)in bringing his brother down.

Needless to say, this film is a technical triumph for director and co-screenwriter Joss Whedon, but what I loved most about this movie is the very human faces the screenplay puts on these superheroes....we are never allowed to forget that, except for Thor, these are all human beings who bleed and feel pain and most importantly, are not always comfortable with being a superhero. I love that when speaking to each other, they always use their real names. We see this immediately with David Banner, who seems to be in denial about the Hulk. I love when he learns he has to go to New York and he sheepishly admits that the last time he was there he "broke Harlem." Ironically, the moment when Banner does finally morph into the Hulk (and Whedon makes us wait for it) is when this film really kicks into high gear.

Also loved the immediate antagonism between Iron Man and Captain America. I expected them to pull out rulers and start measuring...the snappy exchanges between these two provided some of the film's funniest moments. At moments, it seemed like this antagonism was going to be instrumental in the Avengers' downfall, but of course, the exact opposite effect is accomplished.

This film is a lot of fun, but it definitely has its share of "Aw, come on" moments...all of these characters spend a lot of time defying gravity, falling for miles and miles and somehow conveniently escaping even a scratch or a dent in their uniforms, though I have to admit the scene where Tony Stark is saved by Jarvis and his suit was awesome. Not exactly steeped in realism, but this is a comic book movie where anything can happen. Nods to the film editing and sound departments, but this film is mostly a triumph for Joss Whedon, who has given us an out of this world adventure populated by ordinary people in extraordinary situations and the possibility for endless sequels.