“Marvel’s The Avengers” (PG-13)
Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers” – the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
What the Critics Are Saying:
Agent Phil Coulson will love “The Avengers.”
You surely will, too, if you recognize his name. Officious but loveable S.H.I.E.L.D. sleuth Phil is one of many Marvel Comics minions Joss Whedon summons to his energizing superhero adventure, making this first blockbuster of summer 2012 something of a geek drill.
It helps if you go to the film having already seen the two “Iron Man” movies, plus “Thor,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” all released between 2008-11 and leading up to this ensemble nerdgasm.
But you don’t have to sport a propeller beanie to enjoy “The Avengers,” and this may be the highest possible praise for what director Whedon and his co-writer Zak Penn have wrought.
They’ve cannily crafted a saga guaranteed to pass muster with the Comic-Con cognoscenti, without forsaking regular popcorn munchers who just hope to see the planet get saved with maximum firepower and a few laughs.
– Peter Howell, Toronto Star
What happens when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) goes weapon-to-weapon with a guy who’s pissed him off — namely Captain America (Chris Evans)? In one of the many rousingly intense confrontations that make up Joss Whedon’s heavy-duty Marvel action psychodrama “The Avengers,” the hammer (literally) meets the shield, and — clang! — the shield wins. At least Thor can console himself that he’s stronger than the other guy who’s busting his chops: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). When it comes to putdowns, however, even Iron Man’s snarkmeister alter ego, Tony Stark, has Thor beat. He refers to the billowy Viking megahulk as ”Point Break” and ”Shakespeare in the Park.”
The best thing about “The Avengers,” a multi-tentpole blockbuster that gathers half a dozen Marvel superheroes and unfurls them on a baddie from another planet, is that it also unleashes them on each other. Simply put:These freaks of goodness may be a team, but they don’t like one another very much. The six have been assembled by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of the peacekeeping alliance S.H.I.E.L.D., to defeat Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s megalomaniac adoptive brother, who arrives through a wormhole and steals the Tesseract — a cosmic cube that throws off ice-blue electromagnetic vapors like the best special effect of 1986. Loki, with stringy long hair, black eyeballs, and a ghostly pallor (he looks like Marilyn Manson playing Richard III), plans to destroy the world through ultimate war.
– Owen Gielberman, Entertainment Weekly
At long last and with trumpets blaring, the Marvel Comics universe comes together in a big-screen fighting force replete with WWII- and Cold War–era icons, all of them united in the common purpose of defeating evil alien snake monsters. In humanspeak, that means you’ve got a bunch of superheroes in a single movie. (Why not call it what it really is—the economy value pack?) The Avengers has burned, like the sweatiest geek’s fantasy, for years now. If you have to ask why it was so crucially important to get all of this spandex on camera at the same time, you probably don’t belong here and should immediately find a safe location in a bunker somewhere. Clearly, you haven’t been waiting breathlessly through the credits of Iron Man or Thor, desperate for a glimpse of an eye-patched Samuel L. Jackson, the almost-mystical Nick Fury, and his team to come.
Honestly, I haven’t been one of the anticipators either. Still, a certain cape-wearing savior—director Joss Whedon—should be thanked for making a summer tentpole that remembers to be fun, flip and broadly entertaining. Whedon, the pop savant responsible for TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, straddles the line between sarcastic gab and pulp solemnity like Eli Manning on a fourth-down, go-it-alone jag. Entrusted with his most expensive project to date, he’s made irreverent room for jokes about collectible playing cards, flying monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” the embarrassing behavior of Asgardian siblings and belated requests for stiff drinks, blissfully ignorant that millions of why-so-serious fans are depending on him. It’s a ballsy move you can’t help but love.
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Tops at the Box Office
A look at the box office receipts from last week:
1. “Think Like A Man” – $17.6 million
2. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” – $11.1 million
3. “The Hunger Games” – $10.8 million
4. “The Lucky One” – $10.8 million
5. “The Five-Year Engagement” – $10.6 million
6. “Safe” – $7.9 million
7. “The Raven” – $7.3 million
8. “Chimpanzee” – $5.2 million
9. “The Three Stooges” – $5.2 million
10. “The Cabin In the Woods” – $4.6 million