[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] T [/dropcap] he Avengers is the latest Stan Lee Marvel extravaganza….only this time they have enlisted the writer of Toy Story, Josh Whedon to co-write and direct (with an assist by Zak Penn of The Hulk and X-Men). That creative dialogue introduction combines with an all-star cast that is mostly pre-branded as the various super heroes. I this way, we start out loving and not having yet seen enough of these heroes and yet we get the bonus of watching them interact AND save the world from Loki.
First there’s Captain America played by Chris Evans. His debut was as Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 and in general this least “super” of the super heroes is set up as the leader of the band. Then there’s Iron Man played hilariously by Robert Downey Jr. He provides half of the film’s humor through sideways one-liners just as he did in the other Iron Man films. Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk, who surprisingly provides the other 50% of the humor (only a Toy Story guy cold make THAT work). Scarlett Johansson is the Russian Black Widow, who kicks ass almost as much as her ass kicks ass as the director gives us repeated walk-away shots to admire the Scarlett derrière. Cobie Smulders smoulders for those who need their fix of 2012 brunettes (it is a 2012 phenom). Meanwhile Chris Hemsworth as THOR and Jeremy Renner as tough-guy Hawkeye round out the cast.
Here’s the good news….you are getting a full-bore cast and story here that is easily the best all-around super hero movie I’ve ever seen….by a long shot. Here’s the bad news….despite the obvious sequel-inducing ending where we preview the next anti-Avenger, there is almost nothing left to make you think this can be improved on. Imagine putting all your alpha into your first trade…..I think that may be where Josh Whedon showed us his Pixar naïveté. Imagine a hedge fund manager leaving nothing for his next 2% + 20% event?