Sneaking in under the radar next year is The Avengers, an ensemble piece featuring indie-film favorites Robert Downey Jr. (Two Girls And A Guy), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Samuel L. Jackson (Coach Carter), Scarlett Johansson (Match Point), Chris Hemsworth (A Perfect Getaway), Jeremy Renner (The Town), and Chris Evans (Puncture) teaming with cult television director Joss Whedon (several episodes of Dollhouse) for an intimate story about the fragile bonds forged between headstrong individualists under difficult circumstances. Asking the question, “What happens when we are so conditioned to be alone that we can no longer recognize a kindred spirit?” the film revolves around people who are so used to being ostracized, they’ve managed to turn it into an asset. In their world, being told to "assemble" means more than just getting together in one place, such as a super-secret military headquarters. It means picking up the scattered pieces of themselves.
In a way, The Avengers is the story of all of us here in the self-absorbed yet isolated 21st century—trapped in our individual orbits, convinced of our own importance, and occasionally colliding but never really connecting—and the way we all have to learn to work together if we’re to overcome our biggest challenges. In this case, that challenge is a powerful sorcerer-god named Loki, and the people learning to set aside their differences happen to be some of the most famous superheroes on the planet. But beneath the city-destroying explosions, mythic characters striking iconic poses, and thundering Nine Inch Nails soundtrack lies a tiny, indomitable human heart. Also, a kick-ass comic-book blockbuster juggernaut that’s going to make tons of money.