The Avengers (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)

In one of the most highly-anticipated action films (or movies of ANY genre, to be honest) in years, Marvel Sudios, in conjunction with Paramount Pictures, has produced another superhero winner, and making the total worth more than the sum of its parts.

Simply put, The Avengers (Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League), comprised of heavyweights Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America and Hawkeye (original graphic novel characters Wasp and Ant-Man were omitted in this scene version), is actually better than most of the films which featured the individual members of the team. “Hulk,” which starred Eric Bana, flopped in 2003, but was revived somewhat with Edward Norton in the role in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.” “Thor,” released last year, was a decent picture, but “Captain America: The First Avenger” faltered because of a weak second half (and the fact he needed so much assistance to battle Red Skull). Only “Iron Man” surpasses it.

Here, as recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate), a global peacekeeping organization, the disparate group of heroes is brought together after Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston, “War Horse“) escapes from Asgard and is bent on ruling the earth.

Loki arrives via the Tesseract, a small cube capable of either providing all the energy the planet will ever need, or destroying life as we know it. Armed with his spear (which can literally change men’s hearts), he captures S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol“) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“), and forces them to set up the energy source so it will open a portal between worlds and allow an army of destructive alien allies who support his world conquest dreams in.

Hold on, though. While certainly powerful and god-like, Loki has incurred not only the wrath of his adopted brother (Chris Hemsworth, “The Cabin in the Woods“), but the smarmy Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., “Sherlock Holmes“), as well.

Movie review of The Avengers (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Loki enjoying himself.

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World“) and Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, Academy Award nominated for “The Kids Are All Right”) soon join the fight. All of these characters have some kind of machine-based, godly or genetically-mutated super power. Hawkeye and Natasha Romanoff/The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, “We Bought a Zoo“) are just athletically-gifted spies/assassins.

The latter two had no feature film to give them a backstory — none is really needed either — they’re fighters and their fight choreography is captivating; as is Hawkeye’s incredible skill with the bow and arrow (puts Katniss Everdeen to shame). Black Widow’s introductory sequence showing her escape from interrogators is just as terrific.

And while Loki is captured and imprisoned in a huge, floating aircraft carrier, his plan to divide and conquer begins to take effect as each member of the squad not only has a super power, but a super ego, to boot. Inter-team conflicts break out all over as Captain American battles Iron Man who battles Thor who battles the Hulk who battles Black Widow who battles Hawkeye, etc., etc., etc. The Avengers takes a bit of a pause for exposition here, but (thankfully) it gets it over rather quickly and gets down to concluding the conflict that features scaly, lizard aliens and large, snakelike robots which wreak havoc and destruction upon New York City (just think of what the Deceptacons did to Chicago in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon“). The CGI and other special effects in these scenes (and throughout most of the film) are seamless and close to amazing.

In his feature film directorial debut, Joss Whedon (who wrote “Cabin In the Woods”), uses a deft hand and just the right touch in combining fast-paced, spirited action with the sharp one-liners and snappy rejoinders we’ve come to expect from movies like this. The best lines are naturally gotten off by Stark, but Banner (and even his alter ego) fire off a few great shots, as well. This, of course, is in no small thanks to writers Whedon and Zak Penn (who has written his fair share of superhero flicks).

So even though summer “blockbuster” pictures move further away from the actual season, The Avengers is nevertheless a great way to kick off the advent of what Hollywood hopes (and prays, no doubt) will be a record-setting four months at the box office. It’s loud, funny, thrilling and leaves no doubt as to the inclusion of a part two (look for a nice little surprise midway through the credits).

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
5 Star Rating: Fantastic


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)' have 27 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 2, 2012 @ 9:01 pm Pursey Percy

    Hells yeah!

    Can’t wait!


    Woo Hoo!

    Bet you can’t guess my excitement level! :D

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 2, 2012 @ 9:26 pm Amateur Bot

    I’ve never been the biggest fan of superhero flicks, but the reviewer gets it right by saying the movie has “the right combination of fast-paced, spirited action and sharp one-liners and snappy rejoinders.” I saw it earlier in the week and will see it again this weekend.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 2, 2012 @ 10:06 pm Roy

    For a first go, Joss Whedon did a fantastic job as did all the actors. A lot could have gone wrong with this production that thankfully didn’t.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 2, 2012 @ 10:29 pm Shaolin Ri

    I’m the minority (I’ve yet to read a damning review) but I thought the movie was slow going (anti-climatic climax) and emphasized an unnecessary comedy element instead of building a believable connection between the team members and the audience.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 2, 2012 @ 11:44 pm William

    Good review, Greg. My anticipation is at a fever pitch!

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 3:07 am Alfred

    Whats the over/under on box-office receipts for the weekend? $150,000,000? $200,000,000?

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:06 am Adam

    I don’t get excited to see movies very often, but The Avengers has me walking on needles. Awesome that it surpasses the hype.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:26 am Gino

    I caught a screening of this on Tuesday. The room stood and applauded when it ended. Marvel has done it again.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:37 am Steven Hill

    Aside from the late blunders with Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, and an early blunder with Hulk, Marvel has done a fantastic job bringing there properties to the big screen. Avengers continues the legacy of good storytelling supporting good adventure.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:47 am Quinn

    The expectation that Tony Stark was going to be a smart-ass was there, but I had heard that to much silly banter between the team made it into the final cut – Banner (or Hulk) isn’t exactly a smartass….

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 9:03 am Phil Scarto

    With so much riding on this release, I’m happy to hear it lives up to the hype.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 9:40 am Grover

    I’m so looking forward to this movie (I have preordered tickets for Friday morning.) “Avengers Assemble!”

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 12:55 pm Sydney


    I’ll take the under on $150,000,000. It’s a good movie but it’s no Harry Potter..

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 2:28 pm Bert

    I’ll agree with everyone The Avengers is a good movie, but it’s not the superhero movie to end all superhero movies. Not by a long shot.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 4:34 pm Transformative Dolphin

    Just saw it – good popcorn flick. Doesn’t deserve a perfect rating by this reviewer nor does it deserve an 8.8 on IMDb or a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:01 pm Greg Eichelberger

    To answer “Transformative Dolphin”: Thanks for the comment. I gave “The Avengers” the highest grade on this site not because I believe it is a perfect movie, but only because the next highest rating was a “Not Bad.” The movie, while having some flaws, did have a lot to offer to the audience it was made for, and was certainly better than a “Not Bad.”

    Perhaps, in the future, there could be a mark between the “See It” and the “Not Bad” (or even a higher grade than “See It), which would give critics more of an option.

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 10:14 pm Christian

    The climax could have been more intense but overall the Avengers is a good movie all around.

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 3, 2012 @ 10:39 pm Wedge

    Sydney – I can’t argue that the Avengers are on the same level as Harry Potter, but I’d argue the Avengers reaches a broader audience.

    Alfred – I’ll take the over bet.

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 4, 2012 @ 11:47 am mellolizrd

    Mark Ruffalo and Hulk steal the flick. Hiddleston is a perfect Loki and comes in a close second.

  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 5, 2012 @ 7:59 am allottatxt

    Marvel needs to make a Loki only movie. Tom Hiddleston is superbly menacing and by far the best part of the Avengers.

  21. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 5, 2012 @ 1:29 pm Buck

    I went expecting more action. Still it’s an entertinaing movie, it just runs too slow too often for it to be the ONE.

  22. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 5, 2012 @ 3:31 pm DM PUNK

    Scarlett Johansson and Cobie Smulders in form fitting clothing. Forget the superheroes, the girls are the draw!

  23. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 6, 2012 @ 5:07 pm Andy

    Biggest grossing film of all time – it broke the $200 million mark (Of course they’ll say they lost money on the picture though)!

  24. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 7, 2012 @ 6:23 am jdlyndon

    Saw it four times and loved each viewing.

  25. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 12, 2012 @ 9:39 am gavinbuh

    Fuckin’ great movie. Best of 2012, others need not apply.

  26. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 19, 2012 @ 1:40 pm tercüme bürosu

    I am looking forward to this movie.

  27. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 5, 2012 @ 4:28 am Filmjanne

    Joss Whedon’s directorial debut on a feature film was Serenity… not The Avengers. Both excellent!

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