With so many major characters, Whedon has to pack a lot into The Avengers, and he does so without giving short shrift to any of the major characters. So, what’s lacking? Romance, for one thing. A whispered come-on to Stark by Pepper Potts, (Gwyneth Paltrow) followed by Stark’s reaction, is as steamy as things get, but the film is so busy trying to give equal time to its multiple characters that a love absence is easy to overlook. Whedon instead concentrates on the characters and on delivering thrills, orchestrating a few spectacular scenes of rampaging alien forces.

Although the initial thrill of these sequences wears off as the editing grows more chaotic and the film draws toward its conclusion, Marvel fans who have been eagerly anticipating The Avengers won’t care. This is the long-awaited payoff, and Whedon makes it count. And yet, as the destruction and mayhem extend to the two-and-a-quarter-hour mark, many viewers who weren’t already among the most devoted Avengers fans will be ready for this Marvel chapter to wrap up. (We know, of course, that the end credits will include some sort of teaser for yet another entry in the Marvel franchise, and on that score, The Avengers doesn’t disappoint.)

Could the film have stood a little trimming in the editing room? Sure. But the length isn’t a big impediment to enjoyment of The Avengers. When Fury, sizing up the Avengers’ challenge from Loki and his armies, says, “I still believe in heroes,” you’ll be reminded of another line from the film: “People just might need a little old-fashioned.” Count The Avengers as a reminder that summer movies—even overstuffed, overlong ones—can still provide a heavy dose of good old-fashioned fun.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: “Hell”; “da-n”; “oh my G-d”; “buck-a-s nude”; “son of a bi-ch”; “bas-ards.”
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Champagne is poured; reference to a “bag of weed”; Stark offers Loki a drink.
  • Sex/Nudity: Pepper whispers in Stark’s ear, and he has a shocked expression; Banner is shown nude, but his nether region is blocked.
  • Violence/Crime: A deadly scepter; gunshot to the head; car crash; helicopter crash; gunfire; superpowers wielded in a destructive manner; a facial disfigurement; Banner says he put a bullet in his mouth, “but the other guy spit it out”; explosions; a man is stabbed in the back; Hulk smashes objects and people.
  • Marriage/Religion: Loki commands people to bow down to him; Captain America says, “There’s only one God”; a reference to the story of Jonah.
     

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.