Assemble! Get your 3D glasses on and come save the world with the Avengers. It’s a film project I didn’t think would come off but the genius of Joss Whedon has directed a mega blockbuster for the Marvel franchise. The question of whether an ensemble cast would work in a Superhero movie was often overshadowed by the question of storyline. How could you thread seven key characters together not to mention the ‘sidekicks’ and the evil doers. Rest assured the story is well written, paced and delivered. You are going to love this movie like a 7 year old on too much raspberry cordial.
So how do you create a situation that demands the best superheroes to drop their personal ego off at the door and come together as one unit. It takes a little celestial help from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a race of beings aimed at Earth’s destruction to force the team to focus. The tension very quickly rises when the global security organisation known as SHIELD loses its extra-terrestrial power source, a device they had hoped would be Earth’s security blanket against alien attack. Clint Barton as Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is already on the scene as security to the project but he loses the opening battle and a global catastrophe is in the making. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) convinces the ‘committee’ that his team of self-obsessed misfits is the answer to the problem and so the call to assemble is issued.
The threads of the superhero backstories are brought together superbly in the opening half hour to capture the character and position in time that brings our cast together. From Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) rising star in his own mind to Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) self-imposed exile to hide the green monster from the public, the tapestry very quickly takes shape. My favourite of the opening storylines goes to Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) finds her ‘at work’ in Russia and has to convince her that the time is now to come in. One of the only plot holes occurs when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) re-enters the fray to deal with half-brother Loki. We’re not sure how they sorted the whole Bifröst bridge thing that allowed him back to earth but hey, small issue.
This movie is a total ride from beginning to end of the 142 minutes and keeps the story humming the whole time. What brought me the greatest pleasure though was to hear the breakouts of laughter in the audience who were continually stunned and shocked by the barrage of one-liners from the superheroes in character with their approach to life. While we expect Iron Man’s Tony Stark to drop in an inappropriate comment it’s the subtle pieces from other cast members as well as some great visual humour that brought the comedy home. I can say be careful when you eat your popcorn because I had a few close choke calls.
Special effects go without saying in a superhero ‘grab your tights’ and hang on for the ride style feature but the real kudos goes to the cast on this one. Sure its visually impressive but compared to a few 3D CGI filled movies I’ve seen lately this one is about the people on screen holding your attention to their story in time. There is one ‘over the top’ scene that believe it or not seemed like it was in the wrong summer block buster, but aside from that this is in your face as a real ‘how do we save the world and live’ scenario as it gets.
Different parts of the story see the Avengers team having to work through personal prejudices and learn that even superheroes need to take one for the team. I enjoyed how the unassuming Steve Rogers as Captain America (Chris Evans) comes out of a very long retirement and steps up as a leader and coordinated the tactics in the midst of the fight. Classic line amongst many goes to new entrant Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk when he picks up where the green guy left off and says “Want to know my secret? I’m always angry”.
The provision of themed 3D glasses based on your favourite Avenger was a nice touch. When push comes to shove, who is your favourite Avenger? I picked up a pair of ‘Thor’ glasses and I must confess the ‘Hulk’ versions seemed a little too Elton John for me. I’m looking forward to where they can take this franchise. There should be some very happy Marvel fans coming out of theatres who can’t wait for Thor 2 or Iron Man 3.
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford
Releases Wednesday 25th April, 2012.