Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Release date: May 4th, 2012
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Running time: 142 minutes
Best part: The pithy comedic moments.
Worst part: The MacGuffin.
Marvel’s cinematic universe for the past four years has been building up to the superhero flick to end them all. With many characters getting their own blockbusters such as Iron man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America, their interweaving story-lines have finally woven into the ultimate team on a mission film. The Avengers defies extreme expectations and concerns to become one hell of an intense roller coaster ride.
As we saw in 2011’s superhero flick Thor, Loki(Tom Hiddleston)’s deceptive and disastrous ways have only just begun. With Earth the setting for his assault, the fabled Tesseract device is all that’s needed. His violent theft of the device has forced scarred SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to bring together an elite and superhuman group to stop Loki’s wrath upon mankind. Tempers flair, reputations are preceded and alliances are engineered from scratch as this team of vastly different superheroes must protect the Earth from anyone threatening its destruction.
Luckily for the average film-goer, the Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America films don’t need to be seen to enjoy this high octane sensual experience. Writer/director Joss Whedon has created a hilarious, action packed and emotionally gripping superhero adventure fitting for a climax to this series. His penchant for strong character development, clashing egos, arse kicking women and witty dialogue are all on show in The Avengers, not very surprising coming from the creator of mega-hit genre TV shows such as Buffy and Firefly. Much like his underrated sci-fi actioner Serenity, the characters come first as he gleefully toys with the concept at hand. Focusing for the first half on bringing these wildly differing and engaging characters together is The Avengers’s strongest power as every POW! and BAM! is met with a satirical one liner and unexpectedly hilarious moment of physical comedy. These characters serve as the building blocks for something extraordinary in the first half as fighting each other must be put aside to fight the forces of evil. The chemistry developed slowly and uneasily between this cast of famed superheroes from varying ages and galaxies creates a fascinating origin story of arguably the greatest team in superhero lore. Every character pulls their weight, and no one steals the show, as we see every character earning the right to be accepted into the Avengers Initiative.
“The Avengers. That’s what we call ourselves; we’re sort of like a team. “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” type thing.” (Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), The Avengers).
The witty Whedon-esque dialogue is of course met with brilliant performances from this A- list cast and the creation of burdened yet likeable characters. Powerfully making his presence known in both Iron Man films, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is a delight. His quick delivery of comedic lines and upbeat presence on screen lets everyone know why Iron Man is a fan favourite. While Captain America (Chris Evans) makes his presence known; placing his differing views, emotional torment, and leadership anxieties in full view. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye don’t disappoint when called upon to anchor the film’s emotional core. While credit goes to Mark Ruffalo as the big, green, mean machine turned pleasant scientist Bruce Banner. Given the unfortunate task of replacing Edward Norton from the previous film, Ruffalo delivers an enjoyable yet intensifying interpretation of Banner, constantly toying with the monster inside him. When these superheroes aren’t using their unique abilities and witty personalities on each other in several of the film’s most intense moments, they’re destroying New York while tussling with Loki and his army of alien minions. Despite several inventive and beautiful action set pieces throughout, including Captain America and Iron Man working together to save the Helicarrier, the final third kicks into overdrive. It’s here when we see this team working side by side in the line of duty. Its hilarious, stylish and breathtaking all at the same time as we see the powers of our favourite heroes in full effect. Whedon creates an immersive representation of the forces of good. Single shot set pieces zooming around the city depict each member of the team risking everything to come to the aid of one another, while impressively destroying hordes of evil doers.
One things for sure, this cracking foray into the origins of the ultimate crime fighting unit is a paradise for comic book aficionados, action fans and everyone in between. Whedon, the impeccable cast of comic book favourites and consistent level of laughs come together to create one of the best superhero films ever assembled.