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May 12th, 2012

Movie Review - The Avengers

The Avengers

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smolders, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more.

Directed by: Josh Whedon Screenplay by: Josh Whedon Story by: Zac Penn and Josh Whedon Based on the comic books created by: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee Cinematography by: Seamus McGarvey Original Music by: Alan Silvestri

Premise: Loki has made a deal with an unknown alien force and so he's returned to Earth to recover the Tesseract, a recently uncovered energy source. He wants to use it to open a gate to Earth to let in his borrowed army, and then subjugate humanity so they may worship him. Nick Fury and SHIELD gather together a set of unusual but powerful allies in the hopes of recovering the Tesseract before it is too late. 

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Half the fun of the movie was watching all these great actors interact. I was ecstatic when I spotted Gwyneth Paltrow as her interplay with Robert Downey Jr. is always such fun to watch. Clark Gregg broadened his role as Agent Phil Coulson and proved that even agents can have a little bit of a geek inside them. Scarlett Johansson and her character were so much more than just the 'token female' of the film. She not only outfought most men, but she showed a devious, cold interior that will always get the job done. Cobie Smolders also showed the strength and competency of women as Nick Fury's second right hand. Mark Ruffalo conveyed tremendous amounts of feelings with just a look. Tom Hiddleston also gave a great performance as the aggrieved god Loki.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Where superheroes are involved, you need super special effects - and the team that worked on them for the Avengers film were more than superb. From energy gates, to imploding secret bases, to alien invasion, explosions, and destruction, everything was very detailed, flawless, and best of all, believable.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've been following the works of Joss Whedon for a while now and he has yet to disappoint. He always knows how to play the audience and give it what it wants. Unlike other works where a combination of superheroes come together but get overshadowed by one or two key figures, Mr. Whedon and Mr. Penn managed to give equal weight to all those concerned, even Bruce Banner's alter ego, the Hulk. 

The pace was brisk; all the details furthering the story. The only time it felt bogged down was during some bickering and then not for very long. Some viewers will not realize the staff has a lot to do with the escalation of frayed tempers, so the fact this wasn't mentioned by any of them later might hurt the story in their opinions but the later part of the film more than makes up for it.

Using the Hulk as comic relief during the combat sequences was genius! It gave depth to a character who normally has little to say and showed that he is more than the monster he appears to be. Captain America's instructions to the Hulk during the battle a master stroke of leadership. 

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: While some of the action is CGI, not all of it is. The actors and stunts people worked hard for their wages and it shows. In turn, this gave the audience an awesome and unforgettable set of action scenes. Good job everyone!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: With a wide range of filming spots from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, to California as well as those created through virtual reality, they were strung together to create a viable world of great locations for our heroes to protect. The Stark building was amazing. The cinematography of the streets of New York swamped by invaders and the collapse of the research base will play in your mind for some time. 

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The heroes' costumes closely resembled the look of their comic book originals. Hawkeye was the only one who's uniform did not match in any way, totally missing his telltale mask, but I have to say that the detail paid to his bow and how he could program it to send signals to his quiver so arm his special arrows was fantastic. Thor's hair looked stringy and dirty for the full film, which seemed odd, but could have been a stylist choice. The wounds and bruises received and later maintained on all the characters were very well done. And when our heroes were finished, they looked tired and worn as they should have. Great job.

Conclusion: A fantastic, fun filled film. Definitely worth seeing in IMAX 3D and more than once if you can get away with it.

Rating: 4.75 pout of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again!)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


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The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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