The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! A band of exceptional beings come together, in our time of greatest need, to fight the evil that no single hero could handle on their own. The movie event team-up, over seven years in the making, bringing six heroes together (seven if you count Hulk twice) to save the world. You should know most of the characters from the previous movies, that being the point, since they don’t have to waste screen time explaining character origins or motivations and can get straight to the main event.
Marvel’s Avengers (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble in the UK and Ireland) opens with the Tesseract (Cosmic Cube) an object of near limitless energy falling into the hands of Loki, the norse god of mischief and disgruntled exiled brother of Thor. Which forces Nick Fury to assemble the greatest team the Earth has ever known! I don’t really want to say too much more storywise, but that’s the set up. Joss Whedon directs and co-scripts this and it really shows. Lots of perfectly crafted banter, sometimes a bit too much for my tastes. Not everyone needs to be a reference making wise cracker. I don’t think Thor would really make a joke about adoption, but anyway that is just a tiny nitpick in a practically flawless performance.
The actors really brought their A-game to this one, with Chris Evans (Captain America) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) really standing out. Loki steals every scene he is in, Hiddleston’s delivery and screen presence is unequaled, balancing the man who wants to be king with the little boy who is angry for being stuck in his brother’s shadow. Every action he takes can be seen as a highly choreographed part of his master plan or that of a little child throwing a tantrum to get Thor’s attention.
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) could be considered the weakest performance, but I think that is just because she isn’t as physically imposing as the rest of the cast and looked a little self conscious in the costume (Editor’s Note: For the record I think Black Widow was amazing and stood her own ground in a team full of super macho supers!), unlike Cap or Loki who look perfectly comfortable in their spangly uniforms. The supporting characters are fully fleshed out and realised, from Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) pulling everyone’s strings with Cobie Smulders giving an outstanding performance as Maria Hill, to Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) being as awesome as ever.
The action sequences are amazingly well shot and choreographed, every character gets a chance to shine. No-one is relegated to the background all the time. Pretty much every combination of comic book combat is on display. You will see Cap and Thor throw down with each other and later see them fighting side by side. Whedon has really shown off that these guys are a team. He doesn’t fall into the trap of movies with large ensemble casts often do where they have one or two characters be at the foreground, leaving the rest as support. Every team member has at least one extended sequence where they are the main character, thus allowing them to show off their skills. During the amazing action sequence near the end of the movie we often see different team members pairing off and using their abilities to augments the others.
It’s not all action either, every character has an arc and development. They all have their own demons and problems to overcome to make them better heroes. Cap has to struggle to adjust to living in the modern world, Thor’s guilt over not preventing Loki from attacking Earth, Iron Man’s arrogance and ego that prevents him from playing well with others, Hulk’s fear of losing control and the interesting Widow and Hawkeye storyline.
You really should see this is the theatre, if my screening was anything to go by. The audience excitement was palpable, they were cheering and laughing as they got caught up in the action. At once point applause erupted as the Hulk gave someone a much needed beat down. And the credits were overshadowed by the roaring applause and cheers (So I think they liked it).
As a lifelong Marvel comics fan I went in with the highest of hopes, but also some apprehension. But when the credits rolled 135 minutes later, I applauded with everyone else, looked to the group I was with and exclaimed rather loudly, “They did it!” I recommend this to everyone, newcomers and die hard fans alike. Also be sure to stay for the end credits sequence!