Marvel have invested a significant amount of time in a project of weaving a theme through a number of super hero movies that would culminate in an ambitious super-hero team-up. Far more ambitious than any movie project of its kind. Now that the pieces had been put in place, would the final cumulative effort in Avengers Assemble prove to be worth the investment, or would it just be another super hero disappointment?
Be in no doubt, what Avengers Assemble was looking to achieve was rather huge. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) all had movies previously and to slap them altogether as well as establishing two other heroes in Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and making the threat against them credible enough to hold interest whilst giving each sufficient time to shine is an unenviable task for any writer and director. What helps when putting these things together, however, is the wealth of stories already available in Marvel’s vast catalogue.
Although keen fans of the comics are not seeing blow by blow re-enactments of certain stories, there are bits and pieces that fans would find familiar in this season. Of greater importance, however, is how the the story itself brings the the threads from the previous individual movies, but is still an outstanding stand-alone movie. The story tells of a scramble over a powerful substance initiated by the arrival of Thor’s step-brother Loki who is able to take the source from S.H.I.E.L.D and it’s director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the process compromising some of the key insiders.
To reclaim the power source and discover why it was taken, Fury enacts the Avengers Initiative, a plan that had previously been shelved but under the current dire circumstances, something he sees the need for as a matter of urgency. An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D known as the Black Widow is sent to get the services of Dr. Bruce Banner, while another key agent called Coulson is sent to gain the services of Tony Stark and his metallic alter-ego. Already on board with the project is the recently de-iced hero of the 1940’s Steve Rogers also known as Captain America. Soon the God of Thunder is involved considering it is a threat against his beloved earth and his brother is involved.
The narrative takes us through how these heroes interact and shows them for their flaws and failings as well as their strengths as their efforts to combat Loki don’t go as they plan. It has drama and certain scenes that pull on the emotions strongly, but people paid their money to see action and this film is packed with it. Whereas some other super hero movies come across like computer games when it comes to the action, this movie does not suffer from that problem. The film is marvellously paced throughout and there is no downtime to lose interest in what’s going on as even in the dialogues there is movement. There is humour all over this movie and it’s of the best kind suiting a movie like this, whether it’s quips of visual comedy, it’s not just there to lighten the mood, it gives more dimension to the characters and enhances the film’s enjoyment.
Director Joss Whedon does a fantastic job on the movie, it is a delight from start to finish. There were some concerns over the casting of Ruffalo as Banner, but the casting works a treat and there is rightful excitement at the thought of him having his own run with the green Goliath in a solo movie. Hawkeye and the Black Widow are not side attractions at all because of the script and excellent performances by the actors involved. There is a fair mix of all the key parts and it is amazing that such big actors in big franchises of their own manage to put their egos aside and work so well together. Credit for that goes to the actors themselves, and evidently to the director himself who was able to blend these roles so superbly.
There was a lot of hype behind this film and in the same way that The Dark Knight actually surpassed all the hype around it, Avengers surpasses the hype that surrounds it. The appeal of the film will not just be for comic geeks, it will appeal to those who love action, those who love a heroic story that has issues of trust, freedom and identity in it. It will appeal to anyone who appreciates a good story. this is the kind of film that you would watch more than once at the cinema and then rush to get it on DVD at the soonest availability to put it in pride of place in your collection. This is a film I would strongly recommend to anyone.