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A super start to summer film season

OK, for all of you who who have been waiting in anticipation for my next review (all eight of you), you probably know I love comics. So when "The Avengers" was opening, I just had to do this review. Now, excuse me if I gush enthusiasm throughout this review, but it was so very good I can't help myself.

Director Joss Whedon of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The Cabin in the Woods" and "Dollhouse" fame (not to mention his fantastic run of astonishing "X-Men" films) (and the gushing begins), has made something very special.

Picture this: It's '08, I'm 12 years old and I go to see "Iron Man." Being a comics fan, I ask myself at the end of the movie: Did they really do that? In "Iron Man" they brought one of my favorite characters to life like I would have never expected while at the same time being true to the character.

In the case of "The Avengers," imagine that same feeling throughout the whole movie. The characters are all here, and they are great. Robert Downey Jr. plays the cocky multibillionaire Tony Stark aka Iron Man to great effect; Chris Evans plays the man out of time Captain America; Chris Hemsworth plays the mighty Thor; Mark Ruffalo plays the timid man with anger issues Bruce Banner aka Hulk (I was expecting Ruffalo to do poorly since Edward Norton did such a great job in the last movie, but to my surprise he pulled it off very nicely); Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

The story is pretty typical superhero fare. Loki comes back to Earth and has the Cosmic Cube wanting to start a war. Thus "The Avengers" are called to protect Earth (and that's all you get for the plot -- thank me later). But it's got a lot of heart and deals with the relationships of the team. Would a cocky billionaire who flies around in a $2 billion piece of armor get along with a guy who is misplaced in time from the '40s and wears stars and stripes as a costume get along? Would a Norse god and a giant green monster be good friends? Would three world-class spies trust each other? The answers to all these questions is no, and that's what makes the movie great; seeing the way all these vastly different people cooperate with each other in an environment where none of them has much experience being a team. There are moments in this film where I just couldn't believe I was watching this.

All in all Whedon creates something that is revolutionary in film (told you there would be gushing). It is a great summer blockbuster but also a great character piece that lets you get into the head of all the characters. I have no doubt that this movie has made Stan Lee and Jack "the King" Kirby very happy. It's just simply, as Stan used to say in the old Marvel comics, "Excelsior." (I hope at least two of the eight of you know what that means.)

Max Fisher is a junior at Leonardo DaVinci High School.



"The Avengers"

Review: 4 stars (Out of 4)