The Avengers smashes its Marvel predecessors

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The Avengers prepare to fight Loki and his army of Chitauri aliens. An emphasis on character development makes The Avengers the must-see movie of the summer.

Victor Dos Santos, Staff Writer

In the Marvel spectacle The Avengers, director and screenwriter Joss Whedon strives to make a visually appealing and character-driven summer blockbuster. Whedon attempts to give each Avenger his or her own story arc and chance to shine.

The opening of the film introduces us to the film’s antagonist, Loki (brother of Thor), who is seen making a deal with an alien race known as the Chitauri. The deal they make is simple; in exchange for the Tessaract, a force that acts as both an incredibly powerful weapon and portal into any world, the Chitauri will give Loki an army with which he can take over Earth. When Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a recurring agency throughout the Marvel films), hears of this, he decides to stop Loki by assembling a team of heroes.

Following this opening, Whedon chooses to re-introduce the superheroes we have become familiar with over the past 5 years: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk. Given that each hero had their own individual films, character development has been put aside in favor of scenes that help give the audience a gist of the types of characters these people are.

Iron Man/Tony Stark is a self-centered and egotistical billionaire philanthropist. Captain America/Steve Rogers is still struggling to cope with being a super-soldier from the ‘40s who now lives in modern America. Thor, the God of Thunder, has an ego that tends to get the better of him. The Hulk/Bruce Banner struggles with the acceptance of being an angry green mutant monster. Whedon also attempts to introduce two characters that aren’t so familiar: The Black Widow and Hawkeye, assassins who work for S.H.I.E.L.D. These two characters are developed throughout the movie.

One of the conflicts in The Avengers involves the process of bringing these heroes together for the Avengers initiative. Whedon brings them together in a flawless manner that kicks off with a scene in which Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America battle in a forest. The Avengers themselves, of course, don’t get along too well at first. This is where the majority of the emotional involvement originates. We get a sense of what types of characters these people are as well as what makes them tick, giving us a greater sense of why it might be difficult for these guys to work together.

Once these heroes finally realize that they have to put their differences aside and work together for the sake of the greater good, Whedon works hard to spotlight each character doing something amazing for at least 10 minutes in their final attempt to defeat Loki and save the world.

The beautifully shot climax of The Avengers alone is worthy of praise. All of the action is comprehensible and shot in a way that shows how each hero is working with the others to help save, or “avenge,” the Earth. This filming style helps the audience realize that this theme is what The Avengers is about. It’s about seeing how these characters work with one another to prevent evil from entering the world they are willing to die for.

That being said, The Avengers does have its problems. Whedon also wrote the script, and in doing so he decided to keep with the consistency of previous Marvel films by making sure that the majority of the characters speak in puns. It is almost a detriment to the films, making it difficult for the audience to connect with the characters on an emotional level. At their very best, the puns garner a good chuckle every now and then. Another minor flaw is Loki; he is a good character, but a weak villain. Given that he himself, without his army of aliens, is so weak, as evidenced by an encounter between him and Hulk, most of the threat is gone allowing for a less tense climax.

Simply put, The Avengers is an awesome superhero movie. Since each hero had their own individual film to further develop their personalities, more time was spent in displaying the camaraderie between the heroes and the way in which they work with one another. Through beautiful cinematography, writing, and direction, Whedon helps make The Avengers the movie that you don’t want to miss this summer, or ever.