Avengers Assemble Review
If Somehow, You Haven’t Seen Avengers Assemble Then Cancel All Other Plans And Get Down To Your Local Cinema As Quickly As Possible
The interesting thing about reviews is that they largely exist to sway opinion. A guide for those not completely sold on a product to gage whether or not they should part with their hard earned cash. Which is why reviewing Marvel's Avengers Assemble is a bit pointless. You see anyone reading this website will have decided that they were going to see this movie the very second the first trailer landed. And judging by the box office numbers it's been pulling in, most of you have been to see it at least two or three times. It doesn't really matter what some guy with poor interpersonal skills and a chip on his shoulder about not being talented enough to make his own films thinks. You've already queued for the tickets, bought your popcorn, and grumbled while yet another car advert postpones the opening credits for just that little bit longer.
But despite the fact that every man, woman, duck billed platypus, and sexually indeterminate extra-terrestrial on the planet already has their own opinion about Marvel's opus, we're still doing a review of The Avengers. Why? Well there are two reasons. One, we're a site that caters to geeks, and we would be failing our readers if we didn't have at least one article dedicated to how Captain America's suit is "teh suck". Secondly, The Avenger's isn't just a movie. Nay dear friends, it's far more important than that. The Avengers is a beacon for all of us who hold out hope that one day – one glorious day - the rest of the world will realise just how awesome comic books are. And the astonishing thing is it could very easily never have happened.
Rewind only five years and Marvel Studios were a mess. A decision had been made eons ago that their major characters would be licensed out to other studios, and it had come back to bite them on their caped behinds. Without any control over their own property iconic characters such as The X-Men and The Fantastic Four were left in the hands of greedy idiots, determined to make as much cash as possible while abusing these licenses for all they were worth.Slop like X-Men: The Last Stand, made by people who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about staying true to the source material, became the Happy Meals of the silver screen. Financially successful but ultimately unsatisfying.
Thankfully these days Marvel have their ducks in the row, andseemingly take great care in protecting the masked crime fighters they do still have under contract. Iron Man has become a thousand times more popular thanks to Robert Downey Jnr’s charm and innate kookiness. Captain America has gone from old fashioned camp propaganda to modern day action hero. Even Thor, Marvel’s wackiest main franchise player, was given a suitably epic story in which to wave his hammer around. Even better, there was a plan in place. Highlight these heroes individually, and then bring them together in a balls-out, spectacular summer blockbuster.
It’s not as simple as it sounds however. In the case of the Avengers the pitfalls are a plenty. Combining so many leading actors and interweaving storylines would be difficult in anensemble drama, let alone a movie where the audience expects a fair amount of explosions and jaw dropping set pieces. Getting the right person to helm this potential train wreck is essential. In a move that stunned many Marvel plumped for every fanboy and girl’s favourite writer/director/producer/composer Joss Whedon. A cult hero from his time as the driving force behind Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, as well as celebrated for his work on the Astonishing X-Men, Whedon is certainly a risk. After all he has never been entrusted with a budget this large before, and while his recent projects were critically acclaimed it’s been a long time since he’s created anything close to a cash cow.
So the question is, does he pull it off? And can the world’s mightiest heroes become idols of the silver screen as well?
Plot wise, it’s simple enough. The evil demigod Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is trying to bring about an alien invasion of Earth so that he can rule over the planet with an iron fist. Head of SHIELD Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) thinks this would be a bit of a rum deal, and puts together a group of super heroes to put end to Loki’s wicked ways. They include Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Downey Jnr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Thrown together out of blind hope more than anything else, these costumed do-gooders must put their differences aside and work together to stand any hope of saving the day.
Now before we go any further, let’s get the negatives out of the way. Yes the film is a touch too long. And yes not every character gets a fair shake of the stick (Hawkeye in particular spends most of the film as a contrived plot device). And sure, we could have probably done without the same shot of cars getting flipped over every ten minutes or so.
But even with all that said, The Avengers is a triumph. Mostly because while they are any number of whizzes and bangs to exhilarate the audience, there are two things that make this movie stand out amongst comic book adaptations. Firstly, Whedon has penned a sparkling script. Not only do we get a blistering set of snappy one-liners but also some genuine human emotion and character development. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) has a hilarious and also rather touching scene with Captain America. Banner and Iron Man are portrayed not just as heroes, but scientists as well, constantly testing which ever environment they find themselves in. The Cap himself struggles to understand the world he now lives in. And Fury is shown to be, in certain respects, as ruthless as the villains he tries to take down. In an age where movies like Transformers are breaking box office records with CGI sequences devoid of any soul, it’s refreshing to find a film where what happens away from the frenetic action is just as – if not more – important.
Secondly the performances on display here are wonderful. Hiddleston chews scenery with the best of them, creating a venomous bad guy that will live long in the memory. Johansson brings a touch of humanity to the red hot sex appeal of Black Widow. Both Hemsworth and Evans show surprisingsubtlety as a God trying to mend his dysfunctional family and a poster boy displaced from his own time respectively. And Downey Jnr is once againsublime as Iron Man. But the real revelation is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. Having sat through two insipid movies featuring the big green monster, Ruffalo’s take on Banner as a shy and humble genius ready to explode in to a ball of unstoppable rage is a delight. And from his wry observation that he can’t get a job with Stark Industries because “Last time I was in New York I broke Harlem” to The Hulk’s quite frankly astonishing encounter with Loki, Ruffalo lights up the screen whether he’s in regular or pixelated form.
However, above all else Avengers Assemble is a wildly entertaining ride that can be enjoyed on several different levels. Whether it be the heartbreak of losing a key member of the team, the euphoria of the finale,the adrenaline fuelled action, or the pure bliss of watching The Hulk and Thor involved in a game of one-upmanship, Avengers Assemble raises the bar not just for comic book films but all other popcorn flicks. 2012 promises to be a bumper year for movies, with The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus, and The Dark Knight Rises all heading our way soon. If they manage to be half as good as Avengers Assemble then we’re going to be in for a treat.
In conclusion if, somehow, you haven’t seen Avengers Assemble then cancel all other plans and get down to your local cinema as quickly as possible. You will not be disappointed. And if you were familiar with The Avengers’ work before this then allow yourself a smile. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan.
Even if Captain America’s suit really does suck.
Two metres high and rising. - Chaos Hour Writer
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