A Marvel comics afficianado might spend an hour or more dissecting just how true The Avengers is to its classic source material, but that won’t be me. I don’t have anything close to the near-encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel that my kids do; at most, I am only generally aware of who’s who and am merely a casual fan of the movies.
But The Avengers may have just changed all that.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers is surprisingly funny (my audience laughed so loud and so often that we sometimes missed subsequent dialogue) and incredibly entertaining. I found myself laughing, clapping, cheering, and totally pumped for the many action scenes. This movie is just so much fun to watch. I think it definitely has the power to move a casual fan like me into a superhero movie enthusiast.
The Avengers brings together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye to join S.H.I.E.L.D in saving the earth from an alien army led by Thor’s brother Loki. They have to work through individual differences to become a true team, and along the way end up sparring not only with words, but fists (or hammer, as it goes).
While I felt there were a few weak points to the “aliens take over earth” plot, the dialogue was clever and tight, something not altogether unexpected from Whedon (disclosure: I’m a big fan). I also thought the actors worked well together, which was a concern I had after seeing each of the films individually. In fact, I’m surprised to say that I liked Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki even more in The Avengers than I did in their own feature. Robert Downey Jr was his usual wickedly charming self, and Chris Evans remained the virtuous soldier of few words. It was nice to see Scarlett Johansson grow Black Widow beyond her small part in Iron Man 2, and Jeremy Renner – blink and you might have missed him in Thor – develops into the focused, tortured Hawkeye. I loved the chemistry each character and actor had with each other, and since this movie is so dependent on them ultimately becoming a team, that’s a very good thing.
It was my son’s 11th birthday the night of the screening, and I think The Avengers was completely appropriate for him (especially since he’s seen the other Marvel movies). In fact, there was actually much less in terms of sexual content or language as compared to, say, the Iron Man movies. There is, of course, a great deal of action and violence, but nothing I would consider too gory. I think kids 10 and older would be fine to watch The Avengers.
Note: The Avengers is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Another note: you’ll definitely want to wait until after the credits for a snippet of what’s to come!
Final note: because I respect her opinion, here is another review of The Avengers that questions the appropriateness of this movie for kids, and looks at a line of dialogue that I found concerning as well.
*Disclosure: I was provided screening tickets in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.