Bursting, or rather smashing, onto screen, the long awaited Avengers film brought together the best of the Marvel superhero universe to save the world from certain peril once again. Staying true to the comic book lineup, beloved heroes Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow band together against Loki and his intergalactic army in a battle to protect the Earth. Or in the case of a lesser outcome—avenge it.

The star-studded cast of Marvel superheroes returned to their previous roles in the new film, with the exception of Mark Ruffalo, newly starring as the green giant, The Hulk. The film brought new life to each of the characters, many of whom were in their own recent blockbusters with their own separate storylines. Director Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, managed to fit in tons of quirky one-liners and laughs into the action-packed film that often threatened the destruction of mankind. Surprisingly enough, most of those one-liners came from Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, The Hulk, and rarely did those lines include the words “Hulk” or “smash.”

The Avengers follows each of its six superhero members from where their respective movies left off, and their visits from either Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, encouraging them to join the Avengers Initiative to retrieve the Tesseract, a small, yet infinitely powerful, blue cube. Once all together, the heroes don’t necessarily get along, if at all, and choose to battle each other instead of the looming threat of Thor’s evil, albeit adopted, brother Loki. Bruce Banner also has his own demons to keep contained, as he was brought on as a scientist, not a killing machine.

A member of the Avengers is also taken mentally hostage by Loki, which gave the team a deadly disadvantage and one more thing to worry about. As if having The Hulk, the ticking, green time bomb, aboard their airborne aircraft carrier and several Leviathans from space attacking Earth wasn’t enough. The Avengers finally learn that working together is the only way to save their planet and they work as a team to fight back against what appears to be an intergalactic army-infested New York City.

The film is filled with tear-jerking moments for fans that’ve been following the heroes since their origins and nail-biters due to the suspense of whether or not the bad guy will win this time, which they never do—they apparently lack conviction. Stan Lee also makes one of his infamous cameos toward the end as a civilian on the news.

Also, typical of any Marvel superhero flick, audience members probably shouldn’t leave the theater until mid-way through the credits. Or until the credits have finished rolling completely; they’re definitely going to regret missing the hidden scenes.

All in all, this action-comedy teaches us to stand up against even the toughest villains and to always believe that there are heroes out there to protect us. It’s the embodiment of the comic book we grew up with as kids; it’s that heroic group in tights and armor that never stops making us want to watch.

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