Movie Review: Avengers Assemble / Cert: 12A / Director: Joss Whedon / Screenplay: Joss Whedon / Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders / Release Date: April 26th
This is it, the big one… perhaps one of the biggest, most promise filled films we will ever see in our lifetime. Marvel Studios has been building towards this for the last four years ever since Samuel L. Jackson appeared as Nick Fury in the post credits sting of Iron Man. The good news is, this doesn’t disappoint, and in fact it will likely exceed your expectations. It’s become cliché to say this with every new film they release, but this really is the best film Marvel Studios have produced so far. There is a very clear reason for this, allow us to explain…
The film takes place some time after the events of the five Marvel Studios films that preceded this one. What is surprising is that the ‘Avenger Initiative’ project begun by Nick Fury has been abandoned due to the egos and destructive power involved. Thor’s vengeful and bitter brother Loki, uses the cosmic cube (or Tesseract) thought lost in Captain America, to come through to our world. Once here he sets about enslaving mankind with some mind control technology he has been loaned by a race of aliens backing him up. Nick Fury declares a state of war and revives the Avengers Initiative as a mysterious phase 2 to the project isn’t quite ready. Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner are all rounded up by Natasha Romanov of S.H.I.E.L.D. and taken to the hugely impressive Helicarrier seen in the comics. Thor comes to Earth due to the ruckus his brother is causing having learned new compassion for the humans. Naturally these being Earth’s mightiest heroes, they don’t all see eye to eye but they have to learn to work together if they are going to save the world.
We all know that this was in good hands; Joss Whedon has written for Marvel comics as well as created some of the most iconic characters in genre films from the last thirty years. What may surprise you is how this film demonstrates just how clever and talented the man is. Every single character introduced over the last four years and gets some kind of arc here. Even the lesser characters used as background in previous films get a back story and yet there is not an ounce of fat on this thing; it’s tight as a drum and flies by over its two hours and something running time. Apart from Tony Stark, it can be said that over the last four years or so, the characters introduced in the Marvel movieverse have lacked something that made them feel real and alive. As good as Captain America and The Incredible Hulk were, they lacked a certain spark and humour. Thor had it but sadly was let down by a pretty by the numbers screenplay. Whedon brings his trademark witty dialogue and gift for a visual gag to the movie but never at the detriment of the plot. As a result all of these characters feel wonderfully alive and interact with each other in constantly surprising ways. This reviewer’s inner geek is still coming to terms with just how good the scenes between Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans were as their characters ideologies clash. The scenes between Thor and Hulk also have to be seen to be believed. Fans of the Jade Giant need not worry, Mark Ruffalo does a brilliant job of portraying Banner and the effects work with the character is even better than the last time we saw him on screen.
For those of you who were worried that the film may have been scaled back to mostly dialogue instead of action to keep the budget down, relax. The film has a plethora of massive action scenes to keep blocks being busted. The key thing with the action here is that you can actually see it, there isn’t any shaky cam nonsense that plagues the modern blockbuster, and instead everything is presented in wide angles in glorious detail. Whedon hasn’t ever attempted anything quite on this scale before but he pulls it off like he’s been doing it his whole life. The final thirty minutes or so are breathtaking and demand to be seen on the big screen.
Between this and The Cabin in the Woods, Whedon is going to become the most sought after talent in the industry and the rest of the world is going to clock on to what we have always known. Avengers Assemble is nothing short of miraculous and is the perfect summer blockbuster; it feels like the Lord of the Rings of the superhero genre. Spider-Man and Batman have a hell of a lot to live up to. MARVELous!!
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10