What happens when you take a bunch of Marvel superheroes, throw in a famous villain and get man-of-the-moment director Joss Whedon to mix them together? The answer is 142 minutes of gripping adventure, hilarious banter and pure entertainment, of the kind that doesn’t come around very often.
Marvel Avengers Assemble is the kind of film that fans of the comic books will rejoice at seeing. If you watch it in 2D, you will be transported into the famous comic-book world. However if you watch it in 3D, that world will come right out and slap you about in your cinema seat. With amazing effects and spectacular action sequences, it is the type of film that 3D was made for.
Director Joss Whedon has an impressive CV. His is the mind that created vampire series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and recent horror flick The Cabin in the Woods, a film that reportedly as turned the genre inside out. While some critics were worried that Avengers Assemble would be a disastrous battle of egos vying for screen-time, Whedon has completely quashed these doubts and brought to us instead, a fantastic feat of cinematic engineering.
From Iron Man’s cutting wit to Thor’s perfect sense of integrity, it is all there. Instead of being negatively cluttered by too many personalities, Avengers Assemble gives just the right amount of attention to each one and ends up well balanced.
The long-haired god of thunder is played by Chris Hemsworth, who as we saw in the 2011 film Thor, is a perfect choice to play the handsome, hammer-wielding hero. He is matched in moral soundness by Captain America, played by Chris Evans. It would have been nice to see a little more time devoted to his getting used to the modern world, after being frozen in ice for 70 years. However this film is less about the heroes’ pasts and more about how they work together in the present-day.
Mark Ruffalo is a perfect Dr. Bruce Banner, a gentle soul who wouldn’t hurt a fly but is constantly battling against unusual personal issues. Unfortunately for him, and those around him, these issues are slightly larger than everyone else’s: when he gets mad, well, Hulk comes out to play.
Scarlett Johansson squeezes into a tight little number to play Russian spy Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. Most of her action-time occurs towards the start of the film (when she is wearing even less), however she still proves her worth throughout and even manages to nail a few words in Russian. Jeremy Renner, set to star in The Bourne Legacy this August, is the man behind archer Hawkeye and while he may not be the best-known superhero, his arrow-shooting skills are well worth remembering.
Robert Downey Jr. is on form, as always, both when in his Iron Man suit and dressed as his dapper billionaire self. He brings a substantial serving of breezy aloofness and surprising heroics to the avenging table and is arguably the superhero that shines the brightest in this film.
An interesting phrase is brought into play in the form of the well-known “suit up”. However, this time it does not mean to don your dinner jacket and tie (a meaning coined by Barney in How I Met Your Mother). Here it means something even more awesome – “put your superhero costume on and let’s fight bad guys”.
Their opposition is Thor’s brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, whom the god of thunder himself makes it clear is adopted in a particularly funny scene. The interesting thing about him is that he is not the conventional bad guy. Yes, he has the scenes when he threatens humans and superheroes with mortal peril, but he also has some comedic moments that add another aspect to his character. When Tony Stark offers him a drink and he declines, he later on admits that he would like one now, presumably due to the stress of fighting and being mean. After this, we no longer see him as a one-dimensional baddie who should be eliminated from the story, and instead as a timeless character from Marvel Comics (and Norse myths) who, like any of them, will never really be destroyed.
Samuel L. Jackson presides over the Avengers as Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as always, he gives a strong performance. Whether it’s his eye-patch or the fact that he’s not afraid to grab a gun and go after the villain himself, Nick Fury is the anchor character who is at the centre of the Avengers Initiative and who brings the whole storyline together.
Overall, Marvel Avengers Assemble is a fantastically entertaining film that will have you altering between edge-of-your-seat tension and an inability to contain laughter. One piece of advice, if you want to get the most out of the experience, is to watch all of the superhero films which have been created as a precursor to this one – Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk. A strong case could be made for Avengers Assemble being the best superhero film ever and it is definitely a must-see. Following on from this next year will be Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, and they will not be the end of the Avengers films.
Marvel Avengers Assemble is out in the UK now.