(Comic book heroes galore)
The official name of this overdone, yet boring extravaganza is "Marvel's The Avengers,” paying homage to the comic book giant we grew up reading.
Six of those characters are brought together to save the world from Loki (Tom Hiddleston), a god who is the advance man for his invading army.
For nearly two hours of the 2½-hour marathon we are subjected to a talky, boring assembling of the six super heroes. The only interesting one of the bunch is Iron Man, thanks to Robert Downey Jr.'s glib sense of irony and humor. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are bores. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is a whiny nerd until he changes to the enormous green monster. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are merely background characters.
The movie plods along as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles this uncooperative crew, whose egos keep getting in the way of forming a united team of super heroes to combat Loki.
There is too much gobbledygook about scientific theories that make no sense, plus dragged out petty arguments to hold action fans' attention until the final half hour when the Avengers finally come together as a team to "save" New York City. The battle involves an overwhelming number of weird creatures who attack NYC, with our super heroes miraculously holding them off. Most of the city buildings are destroyed, but you never see a civilian, cop or super hero hurt or killed. The battle, like the first two hours, goes on much too long.
There are some highlights. Once Ruffalo's character turns into the Hulk, he becomes a one-man fighting machine. He's fun to watch, and has one moment that caused the only out-loud laughter from the audience.
Downey is as good as he was in the Iron Man movies, living up the dull plot whenever he's on screen. He has a fun moment with Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays his assistant, Pepper Potts.
The uneven plot will probably be enjoyed more by those who follow all of the characters, but they have to hang in through the long set-up. For most of us, it will be too much to ask.
Rated PG-13 because of the comic book violence. But don't worry, no civilians were hurt.