Directed by Joss Whedon. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Samule L. Jackson. 142 mins.
In cinemas now
AFTER YEARS OF SUPERHERO FILM FOREPLAY, THE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE FOR A BRILLIANT CLIMAX
The Avengers, comic books, Glee – what do they all have in common? Misfits, geeks, villains, one-liners – and Joss Whedon. The Cult King of the Cool Uncool, the writer and director of Avengers Assemble combines his talent for oddball characters, razor-sharp wit and fantastical action to a superhero film that is more fun than it has any right to be.
Basically, believe the hype.
Brilliantly collecting all the loose threads from the foreplay films of the past five years, Avengers Assemble sees the Avengers join up with military law enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D to stop Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) brother Loki from destroying the planet.
As superhero films go, it’s got everything. Each character is given their chance to shine, and though Robert Downey Jr. shoots out his usual stream of great one-liners, Thor’s bombastic, faux-Elizabethan delusions of grandeur and Hulk’s Neanderthal mentality are also uproariously funny, and often left me literally applauding with glee.
But underneath the humour, real care and attention is given to the complex relationship between these characters. Though Clark Gregg’s fan-boy bureaucrat Phil Coulson tries to unite the Avengers (becoming the heart and soul of the film in the process), there are egotistic sparring matches, comparisons of power and deep levels of distrust – mainly levered against Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, whose transformations into the unstoppable rage monster Hulk are viewed as one of the team’s biggest threats. Ruffalo is mesmerizing in the role, bringing a vulnerability to a man driven to desperation because of his lack of control over both his body and mind.
Likewise, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a maniacal combination of genius, megalomania and fraternal jealousy, with a nod to the fiercely intelligent villainy of Hannibal Lector.
All these combine to give real emotional weight to the brilliantly choreographed fights and epic grand finale, which are exhilarating demonstrations of brilliant effects and committed actors giving it their all.
My verdict? Avengers SMASH.