The Avengers

As good as advertised.

The AvengersThough I probably was one of the last movie fans in this country who found his way into The Avengers, I must say that I found it to be an absurd treat. I truly feared that Robert Downey, Jr.’s Ironman would be overly conceited and bossy as shown in the previews, but he ended up becoming one of the strengths of the film as expected.

Mark Ruffalo was a hit as The Hulk, bringing us a deformed monster with a nasty sense of humor. While Chris Hemsworth was equally good as the alien Thor, the real surprises were the performances of Chris Evans as Captain America and Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow.

As I said in an earlier review, Captain America was quite fun on all levels, and Evans was again able to breathe life into a foolish role. As for Ms. Johansson, I became a redeemed fan after watching her in We Bought a Zoo, a movie where she proved that her principal strength was appearing without makeup. Yes, as the Black Widow she is again sultry and hot, but at least our stars keep her at a tolerable distance.

But what makes The Avengers work was the performance of Tom Hiddleston as the villain Loki. He was deviant and amoral to the core, and he was a guy that you loved to hate.

Not to be overlooked were the contributions of both Stellin Skarsgard as the confused Selvig and Samuel L. Jackson in the role of Nick Fury, the earthly leader of our Band of Brothers. Who can ever doubt Mr. Jackson after seeing his wildly engaging performance in the idiotic hit Snakes on a Plane (2006).

Also, Jeremy Renner gives us a meaningful performance as Hawkeye, a good guy/bad guy/good guy who should have known from the beginning the value of Scarlet Johansson. This is a guy with genuine talent, and I am one of those who has great anticipation for the upcoming The Bourne Legacy.

One of the great ironies of The Avengers is that it was clearly better in nearly every respect than all of the action films that it incorporated and mimicked. Sure, the special effects were grand, but the value of our super stars was the fact that they were all flawed yet caring. Ignore this or not, but the film simply has to be classified as one of those that you shouldn’t miss.