THE ROAD TO ‘INFINITY WAR’ – ‘The Avengers’ (2012)

A true masterpiece of the superhero genre!

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon
WRITER: Joss Whedon
MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

If you don’t like “The Avengers”, then I feel sorry for you because you just don’t like fun apparently! In 2012, what would become known as Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to a close with the first real superhero team-up movie. After our heroes were established in their own solo films, writer and director Joss Whedon was allowed to finally assemble the Avengers.

When we pick up the story, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been studying the Tesseract for its possibility of providing clean energy to the world. Unfortunately, it is also able to open a door to another location in the Universe and Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) eventually comes through with the threat of bringing an army from space in order to conquer the planet.

In order to combat this new threat to Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to form a new team. Considering that the threat is Loki, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) also joins the fight to save planet Earth.

The great thing about this movie is that it feels earned. We were properly introduced to our heroes in other films and it’s just the right time to finally bring them together. If you need an example of how not to do it right, then I refer you to the recently released “Justice League” that had to introduce three new characters that should have had their own films first.

Another high point of the movie is that everyone works extremely well with one another. There is a great amount of chemistry between the actors that makes the team work. This is a particularly strong thing from Whedon as he had proven before that he knows how to write for an ensemble with his own projects such as “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

The performances are strong throughout which again is no surprise, but I want to point particular praise to Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. He had to step in after negotiations with Edward Norton fell through after the release of “The Incredible Hulk”. Not only did Ruffalo confidently take over the role, he made it to where I have a hard time seeing anyone else play the role and I’m glad that he has stayed with the part ever since.

Almost everything about Whedon’s script is on point. There is witty banter, fantastic action sequences, and even a few great dramatic sequences. On top of Whedon’s solid script, there is also the film’s score.

Alan Silvestri, a noted composer of other classic films such as “Back to the Future”, stepped up to score the movie. From the opening theme all the way to the credits, Silvestri provides a score that firmly establishes the movie’s epic scale. I was glad to learn that he is returning for “Avengers: Infinity War” and the score is yet another element that I’m looking forward to when the film hits the big screen.

Thankfully, the MCU has moved on and has continued to thrive in a big way since the release of “The Avengers”. Even so, this is still one of the best examples of a pure superhero film and even today it holds up as an exciting and appropriately epic masterpiece!


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