ACTION; 2hr 22min
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Costume ball: Hemsworth (left) and Evans
“Burdened with glorious purpose” and clearly seething with bitterness, deposed Asgard tyrant Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his snarly metallic forces unleash intergalactic hell on Earth in the Herculean eye-candy clash that is The Avengers. At issue are stolen, ray-spitting ice-blue cube, the Tesseract, a “key to unlimited sustainable energy” and potential global suppression, Loki-style.
With his customary, charge-taking cool, S.H.I.E.L.D. — the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division — director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) promptly declares war, assembling a ring-ding response team and state-of-the-art hardware in which to do battle with the unspeakable and snazzily equipped foe. Step right up, wisecracking Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey); his polar opposite, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans); foxy — yet purposeful! — Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Johansson); Thor (Hemsworth), who, as Loki’s brother, is taking this personally; and Dr Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Ruffalo), who takes everything that way.
Getting the big picture? Marvel Comics-philes already have. But even if it’s all Asgardian to you, this many mouthy, combative supes on the same playing field has to be the most happening game in fantasy town, especially with Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) co-writing and directing. The almighty showdown is hip, quick, styled-up and savvy — and that’s before it kicks into top gear.