Review: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffallo, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård.

Rating:   Running Time: 142 mins.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers depending on where you are), starts with Nick Fury arriving at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s energy project research station, as evacuation procedures are underway due to the source of the project’s research, the cosmic cube (last seen in Captain America) – referred to as the Tesseract, giving off strange energy emissions including gamma radiation. Though Dr Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård, last seen in Thor) has been working on a way to harness these emissions, his research is far from ready when the Tesseract opens a portal to bring through a single being- Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. security force and overpowering the rest of the agents available, controlling Selvig and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), he escapes with the Tesseract before the site is destroyed by the portal’s unstable energy and begins plans to use it to open a stable portal to allow an army to come through. Fury orders that Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) bring in those on the list of potential team members of the now defunct Avengers initiative, which includes S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a. Black Widow), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Steve Rogers (Captain America) and scientist Bruce Banner, Banner specifically as an expert on gamma radiation, in order to track the Tesseract, rather than risk bringing out his alter ego, The Hulk. Along the way the group encounters another who joins them – Loki’s brother Thor, the god of Thunder.

There are so many elements required to make Avengers Assemble a reality on the screen that it was bound to fail, you have the multitude of main superhero characters – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye plus Nick Fury as well as villain Loki all to be integrated into one story. Thankfully, writer/director Joss Whedon is both a true fan of the original comic source material and a genius, managing to ensure not only that all of them are present and accounted for, but that each of them gets their fair share of development and time on-screen.

The huge cast including returning actors Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg and Tom Hiddleston, joined by new cast members Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo taking over as Bruce Banner/The Hulk (for the first time playing both parts), each give top notch and character perfect performances, each of them having their own agendas, back stories (some which we’ve seen in the stand alone movie, some which we haven’t), but each is given their fair share of the movie’s two hours and twenty-two minutes running time.

Among the cast, standing out in particular are Tom Hiddleston as the warped villain Loki who hungers for power and to rule, Robert Downey Jr. as Stark who though it could have just been Iron Man 2.5 instead, while giving a strong performance, is not the lead character in the movie, and in particular Mark Ruffalo who practically steals the show with his amazing performance in the dual role of Banner and The Hulk, especially so as he brings so much more emotion and struggle to the character than we’ve ever seen before, and is most certainly the best version of him we’ve seen on screen so far.

The movie is faithful to all the characters involved, and should easily be enoyed by an fan of any of the four stand alone characters without having to have seen the other movies. As well as doing a great job directing, Joss Whedon is also partly responsable for some great writing including humerous lines and moments which fit in perfectly with the tone of the movie (the audience were roused to laughter in particular at a couple of moments involving the Hulk – you’ll know when you see them).

Available in 2D and 3D and although it was not filmed in 3D, the effects are good but sparingly have much use throughout aside from a couple of shots where things are pointed at the screen, so there’s no real benefit to seeing it in 3D but if you do, there won’t be any moments where the 3D is distracting. Visually, the movie is a monument to how to bring a comic book to the screen, with visual effects being on screen the majority of the running time, but never taking centre stage over the more important aspects of the movie, the story and the characters. Thankfully, here (unlike last year’s big summer blockbusters) the effects, while important, serve the movie, instead of trying tobe the movie, there’s also another nice touch with the effects of The Hulk finally looking like the actor that plays the character, something that was always distracting in previous incarnations.

Die hard comic book fans will love this, anyone who has enjoyed the any of the stand alone movies should also find this of interest to them, as it will enter into those character’s arcs when they appear in their next stand alone movies (Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all have movies due out in 2013), and anyone who enjoys a kick-ass action movie, but has never been into the comics should consider giving this a go, it’s non-stop from the get-go, and extremely fun through to it’s conclusion.

Hardcore comic book fans, be sure to stay around until mid-way through the credits for a small sequence hinting at where an Avengers sequel will head, with the movie this good, a sequel is inevitable, and welcomed.

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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