"The Avengers" spectacularly succeeds

Movie review
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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After all the hype and individual movies leading up to it, Marvel is finally ready to unleash the superhero team-up film they?ve been promising for a half decade, ?The Avengers.? Nothing like this has ever been attempted before and there was always a chance it would implode under the weight of its own hubris. However, Marvel entrusted the film to Joss Whedon, creator of cult TV shows such as ?Buffy the Vampire Slayer? and ?Firefly.? Whedon understands that dialogue, humor, and wit are of the utmost importance when telling this type of story. The result is not only the best Marvel movie to date but also one of the most entertaining and wholly satisfying blockbusters to come along in quite a while. The film is not without flaws and the story gets off to a bit of a shaky start. The movie really gets cooking once the team assembles for the first time and their collective egos get the sparks flying. The film is more than two hours long but never stops to catch its breath. Each character gets a chance to shine and the impeccable cast brings the appropriate amount of weight to their respective roles in the time allotted. The standout is newcomer Mark Ruffalo, taking over the role of Bruce Banner from Edward Norton. It?s the very best iteration of the character yet and his Hulk steals every scene he?s in. For comic book fans, ?The Avengers? pushes all of the right geek buttons and fully embraces the grandiose and sometimes absurd aspects of the source material. It?s a film that is proud of its roots and it?s like watching a comic book unfold on the silver screen. It had every opportunity to fail but succeeds in spectacular fashion. ?The Avengers? is the ultimate comic book movie and raises the bar for everything that will follow in its formidable footsteps. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer. ---------- ?The Avengers? Directed by Joss Whedon Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo Rating: Five out of five stars