A Bunch of Comic Heroes

Joss Whedon takes the word ‘comic’ literally in his work on ‘The Avengers.’ Here’s a review hurriedly written in my excitement and desperate need to meet a deadline 🙂 Perhaps, Whedon’s next gig should be Justice Friends (Michael Bay can have Justice League :P)


The best thing to lift anyone’s spirits this week is Joss Whedon’s THE AVENGERS. If you’re heading to the cinemas expecting some heady action fare plus more than a few laughs, it’s definitely the film to see. S.H.I.E.L.D recalls a conglomerate of heroes from different corners of the earth (and largely out of precarious situations, in the case of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow) to unite against Loki, the bastard from Asgard (Tom Hiddleston).

It all starts with Loki’s success at stealing the Tesseract after brainwashing Hawk-Eye (Jeremy Renner) and Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) into coming into his fold. They head off to an unknown location where Loki continues his plot for world-domination, which failed in the THOR movie. Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) have the task of re-recruiting a team of old hands. They call in Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff to bring back the Tesseract, the power source of Asgardian origin that can cause a lot of havoc if in the wrong hands. So we know where this is going when it ends up with Loki, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) joins the party. They’re not just a gathering of comic book heroes, but with comedic propensities as well.

But it’s not just a Loki vs. Avengers battle. On a ship with half a dozen super humans and villains with large egos, individuals are bound to clash. When Loki starts his sinister parade with a show-off at an opera house in Berlin, Stark discerns that Loki’s finale is planned for a certain high-rise in New York. He is not exactly pleased. When Thor picks Loki off the Avengers’ US-bound aircraft, Stark (again) is angry that Thor touches his ‘stuff’. Rogers and Stark, yet again end up in a trade of words over who qualifies to be called a hero. And to Loki’s delight, the entire Avengers squad ends up in a heated discussion, so heated that Bruce Banner is angry enough to unleash the big green guy. At the same time, the now-corrupted Hawk-Eye tracks down the Avengers, no thanks to Loki’s staff, which turns out to be some kind of tracking device. All hell breaks loose, the ship is half destroyed and Loki escapes in time for his show-off atop Stark Towers.

The Avengers find out the hard way that the hint at Loki’s army is not just a reference to Hawk-Eye and Professor Selvig. Much to their horror, an army of soulless monsters and metal whales from the outskirts of Asgard are on their way to overrun Manhattan. Add to this, the threat of a nuclear weapon that is fired on the instruction of the Senate and here’s where the real action starts.

But I didn’t enjoy this film just for the action. The complete lack of seriousness in the lines appeals to me to no end. This was the film. The side-comments, the situation comedy, the humorous comebacks and the endless dropping of puns are reminiscent of ‘Batman and Robin’ that starred George Clooney and Colin O’Donnell. When the real films have been made, this is what follows and I bet Zak Penn and Joss Whedon knew exactly what they were doing while writing this script: since most of the Avengers crew have had their individual full action-packed movies, what’s wrong with everyone just having a little fun this time round?

We know what we’re in for when Black Widow tells Agent Coulson (by the way, his first name is ‘Agent’) to hold, while she polishes off some inept Russian soldiers, and on her mission to find the Hulk in India. In one scene, Steve Rogers, whose real age makes him a very good object of covert remarks, asks Tony Stark out what is left if he loses the Iron Man body-suit. Stark’s quick retort? “Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist.”

Also in reaction to Rogers’ observation that they need a “plan of attack” to get Loki back from Thor, Stark replies, “I have a plan: attack.” He takes a jibe at Thor’s Victorian diction, asking him if he thinks what’s happening is “Shakespeare in the Park.” Loki is not without his own wise sayings. When Fury tells him, he has no reason to pick a quarrel with Planet Earth, Loki says, “An ant has no quarrel with a boot,” to which Fury reacts, “You mean you’re stepping on us?” D’uh!

You will enjoy The Avengers even more if you’ve seen Thor, Iron Man (1&2) Captain America and the Hulk movies. The 142 minutes of action (yes, despite the large dose of comedy, there’s still some swashbuckling, seat-clutching moments of action) is riddled with endless fun. The beauty of it all is that there is a sequel on the radar, with Marvel comic villain Thanos making an appearance. While eagerly awaiting the next instalment, I’ll be watching The Avengers again, just for laughs.


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