|Johansson, Hemsworth, Evans, Renner, The Avengers, Walt Disney Pictures, 2012.|
Starting off with an intriguing bang, skidding to a middling halt at the half-way point, before devolving into mush at its much anticipated climax, Joss Whedon's much anticipated film version of the Marvel comic is a disappointment.
The promise of combining four recent superhero franchises into one quickly wears off, as the awesome special effects take center stage. Whatever character development there is gets lost amid one liners and epithets as our protags meet cute. Whedon and Zak Penn's script is promising but pointless.The last Iron Man and Hulk were both dismissible; last year, Captain America was sheer Summer delight while Thor was a stultifying dud. Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth all rehash their superhero faces; play off one another monotonously; and ultimately follow the precepts of a plot we've seen a million times, done a million times a million times better. Alan Silvestri's nostalgic adventure score is one of the film's purest pleasures.
Throwing in Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson, is interesting but to no avail; Whedon does not quite know what to do with it all; he assembles it well enough, only he's no Raimi or Nolan; he's not even a Joe Johnston. In the end, its ultimately all sound and fury, signifying nothing.