I saw "The Avengers" twice over the weekend. I have two sons, one in college and one at home. I went with one son on Friday and one son on Sunday.
At the showing on Sunday, we sat in front of a boy about 9 years old. As the movie played out, this young fan of Marvel comics kept saying "Holy cow!" over and over again. That best describes how I feel about this movie.
Is this perfect? No, it has some issues. But director Joss Whedon gives Marvel fans something we have awaited for decades: Marvel Studios characters together in one movie.
The story here builds from the "Thor" movie. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has an evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who had been banished from their home world and makes a pact with an alien overlord to conquer the earth.
The aliens want a cosmic cube that will give them unlimited power. At the beginning, SHIELD – the protector organization for the earth – has the cube.
When Loki appears at the facility that is attempting to harness the cube, he sets in motion a war with the aliens.
After Loki steals the cube, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has to call upon a group of super humans to fight on behalf of the human race.
First, he calls in Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), a super spy from Russia. Her task is to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), a genius in the area of gamma radiation.
But Banner has a dark self, the Hulk, that can appear when he is angry. The Hulk is a force that no one can control, and if he appears, damage and destruction will follow.
Fury also recruits Captain America (Chris Evans), a hero of World War II thought to be dead. Yet he is found in the Arctic, frozen and alive.
He is a man out of time, and the movie shows him not following much of what is current around him. Captain America is more than a hero. He is a symbol of what is right and good.
Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is called upon because of his power as the armor-wearing knight – and because of his genius.
Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is placed under some spell by Loki and is at first an opponent to what the group needs to do to recapture the cube. He has to be turned back around to the good.
Also along is Thor, who comes when he discovers that his brother is back doing evil.
"The Avengers" shows how people that do not like or trust each other overcome their differences, become a team and do a job.
This movie is funny. There is some hilarious dialogue. I laughed out loud throughout.
Being a fan of Marvel comics since I was a child, I knew these characters intimately.
Whedon does not take much license with what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created in that first issue. Whedon's loyalty to the Marvel canon makes the movie even more appealing.
These people fight among themselves, but they come together at the right moment to fight evil. It is like family: I can beat up my brother, but you better not touch him. That idea is a key to this story.
Some moments don't quite ring true, but they are few and far between. The satisfaction it delivers far outweighs any problems it may have.
A final word: This is a Marvel Studios movie, so stay until the end credits finish. There is always a scene there to preview the next movie. So wait until the very end and watch it.
And if you don't understand what you see, ask someone nearby, because what Marvel has planned next is just as huge.
MikeParnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon (based on the comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Cast: Chris Evans: Steve Rogers/Captain America; Samuel L. Jackson: Nick Fury; Tom Hiddleston: Loki; Mark Ruffalo: Bruce Banner; Robert Downey Jr.: Tony Stark/Iron Man; Scarlett Johansson: Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; Jeremy Renner: Clint Barton/Hawkeye; Chris Hemsworth: Thor.