Joss Whedon Does a SUPER Job on Marvel’s The Avengers

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Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

For the past four years we’ve gotten to know Marvel’s heroes in their own solo movies. But on May 3, with the help of director and writer Joss Whedon, the Avengers have assembled. The hype surrounding this movie grew and grew since Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor came out, when the after-the-credits extras hinted at an Avengers movie. Thankfully, Whedon’s interpretation went above and beyond expectations.

Even if you haven’t seen all (or any) of the team’s solo movies, The Avengers should be fairly understandable. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s younger brother, makes a deal with Chituari (an enemy planet of Asgard) in order to conquer Earth: he’ll receive an army of angry Chituarians in exchange for the Tesseract (a cube of limitless energy; aka the power device from Captain America). Loki arrives on the scene of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, steals the Tesseract, and turns several agents (including Dr. Selvig and Avenger’s hero Hawkeye) into brainwashed slaves. Facing a threat to Earth as a whole, Commander Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is forced to assemble the Avengers superheroes: Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

The film as a whole was very Whedon-esque, and any Marvel fan worth his or her salt can tell you that he did a fantastic job in terms of continuity and sticking true to the characters. The real gems were in the character interactions: it’s hard to have conflicting personalities like that of white knight Captain America and snarky anti-hero Iron Man mesh well on screen. In The Avengers, watching all of the characters interact was probably the best part. It’s hard not to feel a sense of affection tinged with nostalgia as each character was reintroduced, most of the time exactly where their solo movie had left off. Iron Man and the Hulk’s bonding over science, Thor and Captain America’s naivete over modern ideas and culture, and Black Widow and Hawkeye’s intense brothers-in-arms relationship were all a treat to watch. Whedon also got to play around with each character’s individual quirks. Although these heroes assembled to form a team, they are a group of individuals. Whedon references each hero’s previous storyline and relationships; and even manages to build a backstory for Hawkeye and Black Widow, despite how neglected they are by Marvel.

Whedon also did an amazing job focusing on each character, and did not pick favorites. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk all got about equal screen time and character development. It was refreshing seeing none of the above as the main character, but instead teammates. Unfortunately, Hawkeye and Black Widow got about half of the attention that the other heroes did. Although Hawkeye and Black Widow do not have their own movies (and are deemed “less interesting” by some fans), Renner and Johansson did a wonderful job with them, and both heroes kicked their fair share of butt, respectively.

All of the cast portrayed their characters magnificently, but Hiddleston took it above and beyond in his portrayal of Loki as the somehow sympathetic, yet totally insane villain that he is. You can practically feel Loki’s God Complex in his “You were made to be ruled” speech, and in his confrontation with Black Widow, you can definitely see a bit of Hannibal Lector being channeled (Quid pro quo, Agent Romanoff?).

In summation, this was the ideal Superhero movie: amazing acting, plot, characters, and humor. The Avengers had the potential to be really, really bad, but Whedon’s influence (as well as the cast’s great character interpretations) pulled through and in the end created a fantastic production.

Overall rating: A-