'Avengers' soars over silly story - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) join forces in "Marvel's The Avengers."


MOVIE REVIEW

'Avengers' soars over silly story
By Bob Fischbach
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


A smart-aleck sense of humor and some whiz-bang action sequences — especially a grand finale in which New York City takes a terrible beating — make “The Avengers” something more than a cinematic slam-dunk for comic book fans.

Not a lot more, mind you. Digital effects totally drive the movie, as expected of a fantasy based on Marvel Comics superheroes. The plot is a fight over who controls some kind of mysterious energy cube, the Tesseract, a blue glowing electrostatic thing that spews trouble now and then but never does get adequate explanation.

Quality: ★★★ (out of four)

Director: Joss Whedon

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences, sci-fi violence, a mild drug reference

Running time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

Theaters: Great Escape, 20 Grand, Midtown, Twin Creek, Village Pointe, Star, Oak View, Aksarben, Westroads

The script has some wincingly bad speechifying here and there, from villain and good guys alike.

“Freedom is life's great lie,” bad guy Loki (Tom Hiddleston) snarls at one point early on. Later, he forces a crowd of terrified onlookers to get down on their knees before him while delivering more vapid nonsense about human inferiority.

Whatever, dude. Let's see some more superpowers.

Loki, of course, is the adopted brother of Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who prevented Loki from becoming king. The fight over the Tesseract is payback, with a dose of megalomania thrown in.

Loki steals the cube early on, vowing to use it to enslave Earth. He mysteriously brings under his power an energy scientist (Stellen SkarsgŚrd) and one of the Avengers, marksman Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), to help him.

That causes Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of peacekeeping unit SHIELD, to summon Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), to defend Earth and reclaim the Tesseract.

This proves problematic, but quite entertaining, when it turns out the heroes can't stand each other. Director Joss Whedon uses his trademark in-your-face humor (remember “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”?) liberally as the powerful loners do their best to deflate each other's — and Loki's — egos.

Thor and Iron Man pepper a throwdown in the forest with clever insults, which do not immediately end when Captain America intervenes.

Black Widow and Hulk drily banter as she tries to talk him into leaving his remote, calm haven to help the cause by getting back in touch with his temper.

Even Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, looking good in tight cutoffs) gets in her digs when Iron Man resists being recruited from atop his Manhattan skyscraper.

Fans at a preview screening especially loved when Loki mouthed off to the Hulk, who grabbed him by the collar and slammed him to the pavement repeatedly, like a wet towel. Cue a pathetic groan from Loki.

The digital effects and art direction (love the heroes' airborne command center and Iron Man's penthouse) are first-rate, including the skyscraper-destroying finale that can't help but bring 9/11 to mind. Use of 3-D is less impressive, only occasionally scoring an eye-popping effect.

Whedon does a good job of giving all the heroes some character definition and time to shine, though it's a squeeze even at 2 hours and 22 minutes. The sex appeal of all those buff guys, plus curvaceous Johansson, in profile-enhancing costumes cannot be denied.

It's almost enough to make you forget what a silly story line is unfolding before your extra-wide eyes.

Vapid? Maybe. But fun? Definitely.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1269, bob.fischbach@owh.com

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

New restaurant open in One Pacific Place
New restaurant open in One Pacific Place

The Pig and Finch gastropub is open in One Pacific Place.


The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee
The increasingly popular art of hand-brew coffee

Design your own perfect cup with a few gadgets and a bit of patience.


Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center
Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center

Years ago, Alan Potash had a vision for a public art exhibition.


Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts
Nebraska's best cupcakes and tacos can be found in Omaha, say cupcake/taco experts

Another day, another mention of Omaha food on a food list. Two food lists, in fact.


Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer
Small-town Nebraska native becomes big-time comic book writer

Growing up in Lewellen –– a micropolis near the bottom of the Nebraska panhandle –– Van Jensen didn't have a lot of options for comic books.


Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'
Watch Alexander Payne's 1985 student film 'Carmen'

Here's a treat for Alexander Payne fans: some of the filmmaker's earliest work, a 1985 short silent film Payne made while he was at the UCLA Film School.


Primer: Hand-brewing coffee at home

To start hand-brewing coffee at home, you need some equipment.


Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host
Keke Palmer to become TV’s youngest talk show host

LOS ANGELES — Keke Palmer legally cannot buy beer. But she can host a daily talk show.


What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'
What to watch: Stan's personal life unravels on 'The Americans'

A botched mission impacts Philip and Elizabeth in different ways. Meanwhile, Stan’s personal life unravels.


Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings
Waxahatchee’s vague lyrics hide personal feelings

Waxahatchee rose out of Katie Crutchfield’s old bands, and a few bad breakups.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved