Plot Summary: Both a sequel and a standalone film, The Avengers follows established cinematic superheroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk, plus featured superheroes Black Widow and Hawkeye, as they come together to fight Thor’s evil brother Loki, the god of mischief, and his plans to conquer Earth. Nick Fury, leader of the international espionage and law-enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D., must moderate the larger-than-life egos and personalities of the group and bring them together to work as a team.
Critical Evaluation: The Avengers brings together a diverse group of personalities that have to learn to work together for the good of mankind. While most teens do not find themselves charged with that kind of mission, this sends a strong message. We see “Earth’s mightiest heroes” bicker among themselves as their personalities clash; a demigod has doubts about confronting his brother; a scorned little brother take his anger out on an entire planet, and one organization, under one man, attempt to work all of this out to keep the planet safe. These are cartoon-esque situations, to be sure, but on closer examination, they are exaggerated versions of real-life scenarios that teens will be familiar with. Writer-director Joss Whedon’s penchant for dialogue is present here, along with visuals and fast-paced action that will keep adults and kids alike interested.
Reviews:USA Today: “Audiences have been eagerly anticipating this first all-hero extravaganza for years. The wait was worth it.”
IGN.com: “It took nearly a half-century to make it happen onscreen, but The Avengers was worth the wait, pairing together the perfect cast and perfect writer/director.”
Awards: Just released, no awards yet.
Reader’s Annotation: Thor’s evil brother, Loki, is trying to take over the Earth. Can a group of superheroes – with superegos – come together to stop him?
Director Information: Director Joss Whedon is well-known for his science fiction and fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. He has written or co-written several films, most recently, Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers. He is well-known for his strong female characters and dialogue. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including a 1995 Academy Award Best Writing/Original Screenplay nomination for Toy Story and a 2003 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form nomination for episodes of Firefly and Angel. He has also won numerous awards for his work, including a 2005 Nebula Best Script Award for the movie Serenity and 2009 Hugo, Emmy, and Streamy Awards for his work on Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. His website offers a wealth of multimedia options including site skins, wallpapers and icons, episode guides and fanlistings that spotlights those fans who sign up to become members of his site.
Genre: Fantasy. Subgenre: Superheroes, comic books.
Movietalking Ideas: Have you ever had to work as part of a team when you weren’t crazy about the other team members? How did you get over it to work together?
Interest Age: All ages.
Challenge issues/Defense: Violence, drinking alcohol, subjugation of will. Defense: This is a comic-book movie and there is a cartoon level of violence. One character, Tony Stark, is a billionaire playboy who seemingly always has a drink in his hand – it is all about exaggerated personalities and situations.
Why did you include this movie in the titles you selected?
I have been a comic book and superhero fan since I was a little girl. This is one movie I have been waiting for. I also have two boys and a husband that were dying to see it; we enjoyed the superhero movies leading up to The Avengers and knew it would be a good one.