“The Avengers” is everything you’d expect from a big budget summer blockbuster.

A movie five films in the making, “The Avengers” finally brings together a plethora of popular comic book characters, pieced together with wit and style by writer/director Joss Whedon.

“The Avengers” begins with the Earth threatened by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth). This forces director of S.H.I.E.LD. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assemble the only team of crime fighters that can possibly stop Loki, a team that includes Thor, Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain America (Chris Evans).

The film begins with a bang and builds from there, a thrill ride peppered with Whedon’s trademark self-aware humor. It’s fun to watch all these egos clash, especially Downey, who just owns the Tony Stark role.

Evans has found his stride as well, and, in an added bonus, the script manages to milk some unexpected humor out of Hulk, which proves to be a pleasant surprise.

The humor and witty dialogue are key elements to “The Avengers,” with the action being the other major portion. It doesn’t disappoint, especially two extended set pieces. The first takes place on a hover craft and the second, a great sequence depicting the climactic battle in New York City.

Those moments really brought out the kid in me. Sure, it’s mindless popcorn fluff, but it’s also pretty darn cool. 

In a summer that also includes the latest installments of “Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight,” “The Avengers” has set the bar high. This is the best Marvel Comic film since the original “Iron Man.” 


DVD dandy of the week

It’s a really good week for sci-fi fans with “Avengers” in theaters and this week’s DVD dandy – the dark, but entertaining “Chronicle” (B).

Part superhero movie, part found-footage film, it is a confident and entertaining piece of work from first-time director Josh Trank.

Working on a script from Max Landis (son of John Landis), “Chronicle” follows three high school students who gain superpowers after finding a strange glowing substance deep inside a cave in the middle of the woods.

The boys at first use their newfound gifts for jokes and fun, but things take a turn for the worse when Andrew (Dane DeHaan) – the bullied loner of the group – starts to use his powers for much more sinister purposes.

This is where “Chronicle” separates itself from the rest of the superhero pack. This isn’t the nice and cuddly makings of a hero movie. “Chronicle” is more about the evolution of a villain – with Andrew’s back story, including an alcoholic and abusive father and lack of acceptance from most of the student body.

DeHaan is really good at capturing Andrew’s slow descent into the dark side, while Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan are also good as the other two members of the teenage superpower trio.

Trank keeps the film moving along at a brisk pace, with some clever ways of making the found footage more than just a one-camera perspective. And just when it looks like the film might start to lose a little steam, Trank introduces some pretty cool flying sequences that could have been cheesy, yet work really well.

It all builds to a rather bleak final battle, with an over-the-edge Andrew releasing his wrath on everyone.

This is a sci-fi film that fans of the genre will really appreciate.

“Chronicle” is rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking and will be available Tuesday on DVD.

— To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton’s up-to-the minute thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. You can also email him at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.