Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Action Film Is a Blast

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Action Film Is a Blast

Article excerpt

Critics are not supposed to be dispassionate

we are, after all, in the business of offering opinions -- but there is an expectation of a certain level of restraint, of being the impartial observer as opposed to the slobbering fanboy. So I regret to inform you of my failing, a moment during "The Avengers" when my fist pumped the air jubilantly and I bellowed, "Oh, YEAH!!!"

Even worse: I do not regret my outburst.

The long-awaited superhero supergroup is finally assembled, and their film does not disappoint. It's a smashmouth extravaganza of outsized proportions, six heroes reluctantly brought together to battle a deliciously hateful villain who's got an army of hideous alien boogums in tow.

The fight scenes are frequent, frenetic and tremendously well- done. For once, the action is not sliced and diced into an incomprehensible flurry of edited morsels -- cinematic death by a thousand cuts. How wonderful it is to watch someone capable of doing things that are otherworldly, and yet it remains perfectly comprehensible.

In addition to battling the bad guys, the supes often tangle with each other. It's a delicious carryover from the Marvel Comics universe, whose creators knew entire generations of kids grew up arguing over how a throw-down between Iron Man and Thor would play out.

Now we know. And it's a helluva a lot of fun finding out.

Writer/director Joss Whedon does a yeoman's job of balancing a sprawling cast of heroes, giving each of them enough scenes and character moments to make them register as more than CGI-assisted brawlers.

He's helped by the fact that four of the six were previously featured in their own solo films. (Though the Hulk only partially counts, since two previous iterations of the green behemoth in the past decade -- each starring a different actor than this movie -- have been quasi-disowned.)

In case you weren't up to speed already, here's the roll call:

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is billionaire Tony Stark wrapped in a metal super-suit that allows him to fly and blow things up. A boozy rebel, Stark has a hard time playing well with others.

The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is a brilliant scientist in self-imposed exile, because when angered he turns into a raging green beast of destruction. …

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