Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the villainous traitor of Asgaard has come to Earth to wreak havoc. His goal is world domination. Having been removed from his seat of power in his native land, Loki seeks to enslave all of humanity. His logical first step is to seize the Tesseract, a power source capable of opening doorways into other worlds. The key to harnessing the Tesseract's power is to utilize an unending power source. There happens to be such a source on Earth invented by Iron Man himself, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.).
S.H.I.E.L.D. led by agents Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), is determined to protect the human race from extraterrestrial threats and from terrorist groups domestically. Their above ground, flying fortress serves as a detection grid and central hideaway all-in-one. Agent Fury seeks to make project avenger a reality by co-opting the world's most extraordinary heroes. His targets of interest are Asgaard's Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Sorry fans, neither Erik Bana nor Edward Norton will continue as the legendary green monster. If it matters, Ruffalo is sensational as Bruce Banner.
The threat posed by Loki's theft of the Tesseract and his ability to bring unlimited alien firepower through the alien gateway forces S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hand. All four avengers are brought together to begin working as a deterrent to humanity's subjugation or eradication. First however, they have to learn how to get along with each other. Half of the film consists of the avengers fueled by gobs of testosterone and egotism trying to dismember one another. Their divisiveness is made worse by Loki's smooth suggestions and schemes.
The team finally coalesces when Agent Coulson is killed and aliens pour through the portal and begin indiscriminately killing civilians and razing New York City to the ground. Thor, the demigod he is, dashes and smashes but it always weakened by his everlasting quest to bring Loki back into the fold of heroes. Every time he tries he suffers for it but that is his heroic nature. Iron Man is too busy fighting off hundreds of aliens and his power reserves wane the whole time. Captain America is heroic and brave and dashing but he is still a mere mortal and he can be brought down. The Hulk is always angry and he is invincible, but not indefatigable. Pitted against hundreds of aliens concentrating their fire, he is in a heap of trouble. Hawkeye are one point is brainwashed by Loki but when he recovers he channels his inner elf and looses away bomb tipped arrows at the enemy. Black Widow is smart but let's face it, she is some serious eye candy. Director Josh Whedon misses few opportunities panning the camera on her derrier extraordinaire. Shame on you for abandoning a fine woman like Scarlett Jo Ryan Reynolds!
The Avengers is the best movie of the year to date and there are few contenders. The film's continuity is unheard of. There are a dozen bellowing laughs to be enjoyed and enough action to satisfy super hero/comic book diehards. Look for The Avengers to break records and to set the bar even higher for super hero based pictures. Two huge Thor's hammers up folks!
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