Avengers Assemble – Cinema Review
Few films come with such a weight of expectation, the Avengers is not just a comic book movie, it has the potential to be THE definitive comic book movie to date. Never before have so many high profile characters (and indeed actors) been Assembled (natch) for a project as ambitious, and likely to fail, as this.
Bringing together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk was a risky, albeit inevitable move given the success their individual franchises have achieved… well, scrap The Hulk. Whilst welcomed by fandom you can sense that although one hand is outstretched in friendship, the other hides a knife ready to plunge it into the back of the director should he tarnish the graphic novel heritage. In this case however, as established in my last review of one of his films (The Cabin In The Woods), Joss Whedon, King amongst geeks, is the director tasked with the seemingly impossible.
Avengers Assemble is virtually flawless, faithful to the source; action packed and at times laugh out loud funny. Jeremy Renner continues to impress and his action hero credentials are certainly boosted with his portrayal of Hawkeye, this all bodes well for when he picks up the Bourne franchise. Scarlet Johanson adds an icy chill to Black Widow, her introduction alone is worth the ticket price. More astounding than all of that though, Mark Ruffalo cuts a convincing Bruce Banner and The Hulk is actually fantastic. Who’d have thought.
As with the birth of any new series there comes the inevitable exposition, add to this the need for a mini ‘catch-up’ on the back story for each of the main Avengers and the beginning could easily have dragged. This is a landmine that Whedon dodges, getting the balance between action and explanation pretty much spot on and allowing the plot to develop alongside ‘who they?’ reminders.
Baddie and brother of Thor (or half-brother as is amusingly pointed out) Loki returns to wreak havoc on earth but this time he has buddied up with some other worldly types. Throw in the ‘Tesseract’, a source of potentially infinite power and such is the threat, one superhero is just not enough. Up steps Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, head honcho of S.H.I.E.L.D and the brains behind the Avengers, to save the World.
As much fun can be had from the clash of egos as any of the spandex stretching set pieces, be it Thor squaring up to Iron Man or Captain America facing off against… er, Iron Man, there could be a theme here, the alliance is an uneasy one and the nuances of each member of the team is played out to perfection. To give away too much more about the plot is to ruin the ride and believe me, it is a thrill a minute.
With an ending that not so much hints at, but rather slaps you in the face with the prospect of the (already Green lit) Avengers 2 the appetite for the next chapter is most definitely whet. Not forgetting the confirmed Iron Man 3, Captain America 2 and Thor 2 follow ups and on the strength of this, The Hulk, Hawkeye and probably Black Widow spin offs too, DC have a long way to go to catch up with Marvel in the superhero stakes. The final Nolan Batman notwithstanding, DC must be donning an extra pair of underpants over their hero tights as they build up to their all-important Superman reboot next year.
Jules says… 5/5