The Avengers

   Director: Joss Whedon, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 143 mins

In the last few years many of Marvel’s comic book heroes have hit the big screen much to the delight of millions of fans who cannot get enough of seeing their superheroes in action, especially those appearing in subsequent sequels.
   Now the renowned sci-fi writer and director Joss Whedon (Serenity) has assembled for the first time the comic books’ most celebrated superheroes (plus a couple of non-super heroes) in one exhilarating epic movie.
The Avengers
   With the Earth facing one of its greatest dangers from an alien army that is instigated by Loki (Tom Hiddleston - War Horse), the ostracised half brother of Thor (Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth), Nick Fury (Iron Man’sSamuel Jackson), head of an international peace keeping agency (S.H.I.E.L.D) has no choice but to bring together all six heroes-including the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson- Iron Man 2), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner - Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), the Incredible Hulk (this time played by Mark Ruffalo - Shutter Island), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Thor-as a team to thwart Loki’s plans for world domination.
   Besides a great storyline which Whedon contributes to as a writer, each of the actors portraying their comic book characters are given the opportunity to display each of their special abilities and personality, with their performances complemented by some spectacular special effects, resulting in the awesome action scenes that come fast and furious especially those where the superheroes do battle with Loki’s gigantic monsters.
   There is no doubt that gauging from the capacity filled audience, Whedon has a huge hit with his blockbuster production but more importantly he has successfully transformed his great affection for his favourite comic book heroes onto the big screen, thus providing everyone with a thoroughly enjoyable experience and ensuring that his ‘Avengers’ will endure as the ultimate superhero movie.

VIC'S VERDICT:         4 ½ Rubber Stamps

The Five Year Engagement

   Director: Nicholas Stoller, United International Pictures, Rated MA, 124 mins

This charming romantic comedy from Get him to the Greek director Nicholas Stoller is an amusing story of a couple who get engaged but end up delaying their marriage due to the would be bride’s career move.
   The two people in question are Tom (Jason Segal - The Muppets) and Violet (Emily Blunt - Young Victoria) who meet at a New Year’s Eve’s party which culminates in a marriage proposal a year later.
The Five Year Engagement
   Following their engagement party, wedding plans are underway until Violet receives an offer from the University of Michigan, resulting in their wedding being postponed, Tom missing out on the head chef position at his restaurant which is given to his best friend Alex (Chris Pratt - Moneyball) and requiring both to move to the small town of Michigan to enable Violet to undertake her two year study program.
   In addition, the wedding postponement disappoints Violet’s mother Sylvia (Aussie actress Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom in a minor role) as well as the couple’s parents who are distressed that some grandparents of Tom and Violet may not be around when they do get married. The one salvation for Violet’s parents is Alex marrying Violet’s Sister Suzie (Alison Brie - Scream 4).
   Tom’s resentment continues to build having had to accept a less prestigious position at a deli which is heightened by his deteriorating relationship with Violet after learning that her university professor Winton Childs (Rhys Ifans - Anonymous) is after her, even offering a position at the university after completing her studies.
   This latter development is the final straw, leaving the audience to wonder if Tom and Violet will ever get married.
   Stoller’s take on a long engagement is an overlong movie that shows some of the amusing antics that can cause such a situation to occur but it is their chemistry (Blunt and Segal) that is hampered by Segal’s dorky performance.
   In spite of this it is Blunt who once again is the main attraction, shining in this romcom as she did in Wild Target and being the main cause for the extended engagement-until the surprise in the concluding scenes.

VIC'S VERDICT:         3 Rubber Stamps

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