Upcoming ‘Avengers’ movie looks like it will have ‘the right stuff’

Even though the release date is still about two months away, I have to admit I’m already really pumped about the upcoming “Avengers” movie. The trailers being released by Marvel Studios just keep getting better and better, and though of course it’s still too soon to call it, I’m guessing “The Avengers” is going to be one of this summer’s most epic action movies.

The film is directed by Joss Whedon and will feature an impressive cast of superheroes, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Specific plot details remain somewhat secret, but it looks like the crew of superheroes will have to band together to defeat a plot by Loki, Thor’s scheming brother. And if the trailers are any indication, the superheroes also will have to battle conflict within their own team as egos and ideals clash.

There’s no doubt “The Avengers” is an ambitious project — this is the first time this many superheroes from different comic book series have been thrown together on the big screen, and it will be a challenge to juggle so many different characters with different personalities and back stories. However, I think Joss Whedon can do it. He’s already proved, through his cult hits “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he knows how to handle science fiction and fantasy, and he also has a good team of actors to support him.

Most of the main superheroes have already appeared in successful solo films, such as “Iron Man” (2008) and “Iron Man 2” (2010); “Thor” (2011); and “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011). I think Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans were all perfect choices to play Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, respectively, and I’m excited to see them interact together. And while Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk in “The Avengers,” didn’t appear in the recent Hulk film, he seems like a good choice for the role, at least from the clips I’ve seen in the trailers.

Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow) and Clark Gregg (as Agent Phil Coulson) also have given nice performances in previous Avengers tie-in films. We only got to see a brief clip of Jeremy Renner as “Hawkeye” in last summer’s “Thor,” but I was really impressed with his work in the recent Mission Impossible film “Ghost Protocol,” and I think he’ll turn in a nice performance here.

Granted, this is a long list of main characters, and large ensemble casts are sometimes difficult to pull off on the big screen, though not impossible. Ensemble casts tend to work best on TV series, when there’s more time to flesh out a larger number of characters, but films like Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy prove it’s possible to successfully juggle a sizable cast of main characters. And part of the novelty of “The Avengers” will come from watching characters who are used to being their own bosses and working alone as they now have to cooperate with others who have powers as impressive as their own.

“The Avengers” is likely to have a big opening weekend when it hits theaters in early May, thanks to the box office success of last summer’s “Thor” and “Captain America” and the buzz the film already has been generating. “The Avengers” looks like it’s going to be a fun way to kick off the summer blockbuster season.

To watch a trailer for the film, click here.

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