By Carlos Serrano
Social Media Coordinator
It’s here. Four years and four movies since the first post-credits tease in “Iron Man” and we finally have the Avengers movie we were promised. Does it live up to the hype? In a word: yes. In two words: hell yes.
The film wastes no time getting to the meat of the story. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), finds his way to Earth after falling into the void of space in the 2011 film “Thor.” In one swift maneuver, he steals the Cosmic Cu — I mean, the Tesseract, and leaves the facility that housed it in ruins. These early scenes set the tone for Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki, an improvement upon his performance in “Thor.”
In that film, Hiddleston seemed to overact at times and didn’t seem very comfortable in his role. But in “The Avengers,” it’s an entirely different story. He acts exactly like the mischievous, borderline cruel trickster god that he is supposed to be.
His propensity for awkward and sometimes unsettling smiles, “creeper smiles” some might call them, adds a mania to his performance that was sorely missing in his earlier portrayal of Loki. When the god runs off with the Tesseract, it feels like a genuine catastrophe in the making.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., realizes the threat that the world faces should Loki possess an energy source with unknown potential. He activates the Avengers Initiative (hold for celebratory yelling in the theater). And here is where the movie really defies expectations.
As the different superheroes that make up the Avengers are gathered, the star power in this film becomes increasingly apparent. Alongside Hiddleston and Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson return as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Black Widow, respectively. That is a lot of bang for your buck.
Yet, director Joss Whedon has the superhuman power to allow all of these actors to share an almost equal amount of screen time. Not only that, but they all shine in scenes together.
Midway through the movie, the characters are at their lowest point. Manipulated by Loki into being distrustful of each other, everyone is on edge. In a small laboratory, the heroes begin to squabble and argue with each other, and everyone gets some good hits in. More than the times when they are getting along perfectly, this scene illustrates the chemistry between all of the characters.
They know how to work their often overpowering personalities to become a cohesive unit. Mirroring, in a way, the characters they portray.
The newcomer of the group, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, steals the show in the end. Ruffalo brings a human nature to the character of Banner that goes beyond the previous portrayals of the character.
Ruffalo plays Banner as an almost charmingly nervous and shy genius. In a way, his attempts to draw attention away from himself and get people to leave him alone make him easier to connect to. In a room full of superhumans, he stands out as a relatively scruffy guy — a near everyman.
And then the Hulk comes out to play.
More than Banner’s characterization, the idea behind the Hulk seems to have finally been understood in “The Avengers.” The way to get people to respond to Banner’s shift to Hulk in a positive way is to first get them to care about Banner himself.
Banner has to be the audience’s ego/superego in order to appreciate the freedom of Hulk as the id. And as Banner transforms in the final battle and begins to do what he does best (spoiler alert: he smashes things), the rush is enough to make people cheer.
Enough gushing. There are still problems in the movie that need to be addressed. Let’s talk Hawkeye.
Jeremy Renner actually gives a commendable performance as the bow-wielding hero. The problem is that the script gave him the short end of the stick. He gets cool scenes, especially in the climactic final battle, but he spends the entire first and second act distanced from the audience.
Not being a part of the main cast of characters from the beginning, even though it makes sense for plot reasons, makes it harder to connect with the character. What’s left is a few cool scenes and lines, but a sense of wasted potential. Ah well, there’s always the sequel.
What faults the movie has never ruined the experience however. It’s safe to say that Avengers fans (and everyone else) should assemble and see it.Contact Carlos Serrano.