THE AVENGERS (Joss Whedon, 2012)
Basically it's a movie created for the fanbase. I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd anticipated, or at least as much as I enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's onscreen adaptation of THOR (my favorite of the recent Marvel movies). The story doesn't really get my interest until the second half, and to my surprise the seemingly quiet character manages to provide the most fun. The HULK deserves an award for best comedic and show-stopping performance.
THE AVENGERS is a movie propelled by star power, but I have to admit that Joss Whedon does a good job of piecing together the stories of the superheroes, and uniting them against a common enemy. Robert Downey, Jr. is always charming to watch as Tony Stark; so are Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America. Meanwhile, Mark Ruffalo competently and most appropriately portrays the mild-mannered Bruce Banner, whereas Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson give fierceness to their characters Hawkeye and Black Widow, respectively. Even Samuel L. Jackson as the team leader. Nick Fury is credible. The story gets real interesting because of the ego clash among the characters, where no one wants to bow down, especially not Tony Stark. But where they have differences in opinion, they share a common aim to thwart evil. In this case, it's Thor's half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
But what will make THE AVENGERS memorable? I cannot help comparing it to the separate films involving each of the characters. IRON MAN 1 and 2 succeeded because of Stark's realization of the impact his arms business has on the global scale, and his continuing battle with his ego. THOR has a great Shakespearean sibling rivalry catharsis. CAPTAIN AMERICA has a stirring back story. I don't want to play favorites with the two HULK movies. In short, THE AVENGERS in my opinion pales in comparison to these separate films about its characters. It is a neatly-written film featuring a side lesson in teamwork and some extravagant fireworks, but there really is nothing new, and this coming from someone who hasn't followed all those comic books. I haven't read the source materials, but judging by the film alone the story could have used a plot twist or two, just to elevate it from the status of several superheroes simply coming together for a common goal.