Every good American summer is started by one element. It’s not grilled burgers or hot dogs. Not even the smell of chlorinated pool. And it’s certainly not melting popsicles. The mark of a good American summer is always an explosive blockbuster. The Avengers is this summer’s proof of existence.
The movie starts out with our friend Nick Fury going into a characteristically calm panic as the S.H.I.E.L.D. is being attacked by Loki, Thor’s brother and would-be heir apparent to the heavenly Asgard throne, and his army which is cherry-picked from Fury’s own troops and coerced into submission by the power of the cosmic cube. The cube is an almighty energy source which can be manipulated for good or evil to win the world and place it under submission. Fury has to quickly assemble a team that can stand against Loki and his army.
With Pepper Potts’ help, Agent Phil convinces Tony Stark/Iron Man to come into the office for a look at their benefits package. He doesn’t take much convincing, but he is concerned about why the S.H.I.E.L.D., who once told him he was too arrogant and self-centered to be a member, wants him now. What gives? He intends to find out.
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) is trying to find out information from a group of thugs in a warehouse somewhere near Russia. The thugs think they’re holding her captive and torturing her, but she’s really just enduring pain to get information from her talkative captives. Her plans are halted when Agent Phil calls her captive’s cell phone and requests to speak to her. After explaining that the S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised, Agent Phil waits on hold as the sultry Romanoff transforms into the fighting beast that is The Black Widow. She breaks her captives in half using the chair she’s tied to as her only weapon and walks away with only a scratched knee to prove that she’s even been in a scuffle.
Romanoff is sent to the Middle East to find a special friend of the S.H.I.E.L.D., Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Though Dr. Banner is resistant, like all super-humans, he can’t resist the pull of heroism.
Fury himself goes to retrieve American hero Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) to convince him to employ his super strength in order to save the world one more time. Rogers is still dealing with everything that he saw, did, and remembers from the first tour of duty. Fury leaves without him, but he’s confident that the man America calls Captain won’t let the world die on his watch.
Now that the team is assembled, they find Loki’s whereabouts and go gettum. Once they’ve captured him and put him on the air-ship, thunder sounds. Loki winces, and Stark asks him if he’s afraid of a little lightening. Loki replies, “I’m not particularly fond of what follows.” As he says it, a Thor sized hole is ripped into the roof. Thor grabs his half-brother, inciting Iron Man’s rage. As Iron Man’s arrogance leads him to follow Thor, Captain America commands, “We need to plan an attack.” Iron man replies, “I have a plan: ATTACK!”
Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America have a super-hero showdown in the middle of a forest. After leveling the wooded area, they give up on the pissing contest and take Loki in. Thor joins their ranks where the Avengers debrief him on just how crazy Loki is. Thor defends Loki: “I care what you call him. Loki is an Asgardian and my brother.” Romanoff reminds him, “He just killed 80 people” to which Thor replies, “He is adopted.” Little moments of comedy bring the film to a fun place in the midst of a war.
The film continues as a battle and eventual war between good and evil. We know how these things end, with victory for good and the hint at a sequel, but it wasn’t about the ending for The Avengers. The awesome-sauce of this film was peppered with the background stories of each of the Avengers and how their personalities and credos played into their fight. They each had a reason why they wouldn’t want to help. For the Black Widow, her ledger was already red. She wanted to wipe the blood off. Somehow it would seem that more killing wouldn’t help, but killing for the right cause fit into her beliefs and, therefore, into this fight. Iron Man’s need to figure everything out leads him to uncover a truth about S.H.I.E.L.D. which leads the team into an in-house battle. They must overcome their own hang-ups if America and the world ever has a fighting chance. In the end, the question isn’t whether or not good overcomes evil but can good overcome itself?
As the introductory summer blockbuster, The Avengers has set the bar as high as the Avengers air-convoy. And the box offices numbers show it. The film has projected to take in $500 million worldwide through Sunday, May 6, 2012. If you’re among those contributing to that number, prepare to feel like you finally got your money’s worth. Welcome to summer!
Until the next scene,