The Avengers, It’s What We Call Ourselves

May 2, 2012 1:59 pm

Marvel Avengers Assemble has been a long time in the making, a film with huge ambition. Marvel Studios began to lay the threads of what would eventually be an Avenger movie, with their reboots of four founding members of the Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk (though Captain America is technically not a founder). Although those reboots were tedious, and in many respects quite average, the importance of creating that tone and moulding that unique universe is evident in the tying together of those threads that has eventually led us to Marvel Avengers Assemble.

The film picks up at a secret base on earth and before long the main premise is laid out. An alien race, the Chitauri, want access to a device known as the Tesseract with which they could gain unlimited energy and of course, destroy earth in the process. They wish to invade earth and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), brother of Thor and God of Mischief is to act as their harbinger. However, the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D., has other ideas entirely and Nick Fury, (Samuel L. Jackson) hopes to re-establish the Avengers Initiative in an effort to counter the plans of Loki and his alien friends.

Playing a character created by Marvel Studios, specifically for him, this film marks a leading role for Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, who has until now only featured as a cameo in the films leading up to Marvel Avengers Assemble.  He is charged with being the man that brings the heroes together and being the person that “still believes in heroes” but his performance is flat and he spends a lot of his time barking orders at his S.H.I.E.L.D. subordinates, or trying to convince the secret human council that the heroes can be trusted. Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor, and does a reasonably good job, evidence to the fact that he was not necessarily the reason his own feature length film was so average. Chris Evans does a brilliant job as Captain America, his character and personality, clashing well with the other main characters. Chris Evans, accurately captures Captain America’s pure hearted nobility and also manages to show real strength in Captain America despite being amongst the least powerful of the four main heroes. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as Iron Man. He is the source of much of the humour in the film, and he takes on this task with a flair and confidence much like the character he portrays. He also is allowed a chance to express his character in a deeper way, something that has been missed since the first Iron Man film. Perhaps the most difficult task in the film was for Mark Ruffalo to take on The Hulk who had been played by two actors before him and make it his own, but he manages to pull this off with remarkable aplomb and is the outstanding member of the cast. He is the first actor to actually play the Hulk and so much of Hulk’s mannerisms and expressions can be appreciated in a new way, but he is not only the best Hulk to appear in cinema thus far, but the best Bruce Banner. Ruffalo, delivers a quietly powerful Bruce Banner, one that is in control (for the most part) of the monster inside himself and sure of himself as both a scientist and a person. The audience doesn’t get a Bruce Banner that is easily flustered or bullied, like in previous depictions. The other two heroes are Agent Clint Barton, or Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Agent Natasha Ramanoff or, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). They both add to the film, Scarlett Johansson in particular does a good job of portraying the Hulk as a true monster, though this is somewhat ruined by rather lighter moments towards the end, and while Jeremy Renner doesn’t get much to do, he executes well all the same with small moments throughout the film to show what his character can do.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki, begins the film as a seemingly cunning and intelligent villain, but unfortunately ultimately ends the film in a rather spineless and pathetic way, the film missing out on really giving his character any extra depth other than being a lackey for the latest threat.

The first two thirds of the film bubble at a steady pace as the characters are re-introduced, smoothly enough, and the stage is slowly built for the ending, which is what the film really ends up being: A wait for the climax. However, the writing really does shine where the main characters interact with each other. The chemistry is evident, the laughs flow and despite one or two forced moments, a lot of the dialogue between them all is brilliant, particularly the scenes involving Robert Downey Jr. The character interaction all helps to push the film along in preparation for the ending, but it doesn’t take away from the fact the story is basic, the plot is a stall for the end and before long the question that arises is whether the climax will be worth the wait.

It is. The final segment of the film has some of the best super hero action scenes ever seen on screen to date, with high-end special effects and razor sharp animated choreography. The heroes truly fight as a team in a way that is fitting of their abilities, working smoothly and effortlessly. The team-work element of the action sequences make the action sequences seen in the X-Men films look mediocre, in fact the super powered action sequences in general are more or less unrivalled by any other superhero movie to date. The Hulk comes into his own here, literally smashing everything to bits, at times in the most hilarious of ways, it is in stark contrast to his first darker appearance, but that much can be forgiven as it really is fun to watch. The other heroes also pull their weight, with each hero getting an equal share of screen time in the battle to display their ability and each ability being true to the original source; but Chris Pines’ Captain America really stands out as the thread that pulls them all together. By the end of the final battle scene, all thoughts of a rather arid story and roundabout plot up to that point are forgotten and the film ends leaving the audience with genuine satisfaction.

Marvel Avengers Assemble is a great film that makes up for an uninspiring plot and boring story with excellent writing, solid acting and dazzling action. Marvel Studios has seen their hard work come to fruition in a big way, the universe they created wonderfully brought to life under the direction of Joss Whedon. With lots of humour this is a film for all the family to enjoy as well as the comic book faithful.


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