"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
So, I decided last weekend to not be timid and take myself right to the head of the line to see "The Avengers," because if I read one more word about it I'd be surfeited and might never see this phenomenon of the box office with its historic $200 million-plus opening.
Fortunately, I went to see it at a Connecticut mall where there were no crowds and the only thing unusual were the avid young parents who had brought all their climbing, inattentive and noisemaking toddlers with them.
It didn't matter. Events on the screen blew away any noise these rioting kids might be making as the movie boasts its own super noise, crash, bam, wow factor. Juggling my own far-distance glasses, and the darkened 3-D ones over them, was also disconcerting. But in the end I just loved "The Avengers." I had never before seen the Black Widow, Captain America or Thor and I had only seen part of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. So I required a few updates from my younger companions. It was worth it! "The Avengers" is somewhat inexplicable, if you haven't been following Marvel Comics' many superheroes.
The plot revolves around an effort to control an energy source called Tesseract and the heroes of civilization are called together to battle the trickster villain Loki, amused at his own daring. He's a god of Norse mythology now opposed by all good men, including his brother god Thor. Thor himself is a sexy thing who is the only one strong enough to lift his own hammer and he speaks with an Australian accent. The rest of our heroes are mere mortals who have been made superhuman by one thing or another, usually a nuclear accident. My favorite among the gang was, of course, the one I knew best -- the incredible Hulk of TV, played to clothes-busting perfection by Mark Ruffalo.
Herding them all together as the boss of things is superhero Fury, played with understated rage by the great Samuel L. Jackson. And the Iron Man of Hollywood these days is Robert Downey Jr. who, even in a metal mask, exudes sex appeal, sarcasm and wit.
What else can I say? Scarlett Johansson and her stunt doubles just about dominate this movie and she is not only lip-licking sexy but she can't quell the very good actor underneath all that sizzle. Just great!
Captain America's 1940s hero is played with fine-honed perfection by Chris Evans who knows how to be stuffy and World War II out-of-date. The shape-shifting villain of all this, Loki, is played by Tom Hiddleston and he is up to all these super-humans as one wicked force.
The person I really welcomed is the all-too-human actor Clark Gregg who played the FBI agent in "Iron Man." In "The Avengers" he has the last, big laugh of the picture and you won't forget his immortal words.