When news broke that an Avengers movie was in the works, every fanboy and girls’ mind immediately started racing with questions. Who all would be in it? Which villains would they use? How would the Hulk look? That’s all important stuff, sure. But what many failed to ask was exactly how these supersized personalities were going to mesh on one screen. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) have all proven they can handle the solo spotlight, but putting them in front of the same camera? Let’s not even mention the IMAX-sized screen needed for Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
Truthfully, things are shaky early on. Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists are seen doing some tests with Tessaract, the unlimited energy cube you’ll recall from Captain America. Something goes awry in the lab and a portal from another world opens, letting in Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s painfully insecure brother, who has sinister thoughts of world quest. With the Tessaract at his disposal, chances seem good. Before you can doze off from Loki’s hokey, Fury calls in the superhero cavalry to save the day…and get the movie going. When Tony Stark, Capt. and Thor get in the same room, there’s equal parts tension and inadvertent comedy. Captain America wants to follow Fury’s game plan. Tony wants to one-liner you to death. Bruce Banner just wants to get home before his alter ego makes a mess.
Speaking of the angry green guy, you’ll love how director Joss Whedon (Thor) teases up to his fulfilling first transformation. The last time Hulk rears his head is for an unforgettable finale in downtown Manhattan. It’ll rival any action scene you’ve ever seen in a comic book-based movie. A camera slides from Hulk smashing to Hawkeye shooting his arrows to Captain America slinging his shield in one mesmerizing take. It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s almost everything fanboys could have ever dreamed. (B)