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Avengers Assemble

May 19, 2012
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The summer blockbuster season arrived with a bang in the form of Marvel The Avengers or Avengers Assemble or Marvel’s The Avengers Some Assembly Required…I don’t know what it’s called.

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I’m sure thousands of other people have reviewed this film already and I doubt there’s much more left for me to add. But it’s important to write these things down. Otherwise anonymous strangers a hundred years from now won’t know what I thought about X, Y and Z.

I’ll get to the point. I loved Avengers Asseble. From start to finish, it was a highly entertaining rollercoaster of an adventure. With so many films laying the groundwork for this film, it had a lot of promises to keep and it kept every one.

The plot couldn’t get really get more unoriginal if it tried. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) plans to use the power of the tesseract, the McGuffin du jour in this film, to bring an army of intergalactic aliens to Earth to conquer it. Standing in his way is not one, but six superheroes – providing they can learn to work together first. So yawn! But as I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with a plot that been used (a lot) before so long as it’s told in an engaging, entertaining way. That is where Avengers Assemble scores.

But already there’s a problem. These superheroes are used to starring in their own separate films. How can one film do them all justice while still maintaining pace and a bearable running time? At 143 minutes, Avengers Assemble was cutting it close. However, with so many plates spinning, the film never feels rushed. The Avengers assemble at a modest pace that feels right.

What really elevates this film is the chemistry and dialogue between the characters. Even within the Avengers, there are allies and antagonists – until they all decide to pull together, of course. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is still the smart-mouted wise-ass he’s always been, which plays off well against the patriotic American-as-pie Captain America (Chris Evans). Loki also had the opportunity to strut about more in this film than he did in Thor, which was just fabulous. However, I was most impressed by Mark Ruffalo’s performance as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. As Banner, he came across as an incredibly nuanced character; kind, smart, shy by turn.

And my God, he made the Hulk watchable!

The interplay between the characters which cemented this film is also due in part to Joss Whedon’s script-writing. He also directed the entire film. Between this and Cabin in the Woods we’ve been blessed by a jammy Joss Whedon sandwich. I’ve come around to him recently – providing he can keeps his hands off shaky-cam and quasi-meaningful dialogue, he’s alright. He was also the perfect person to directAvengers Assemble – a wet dream for fanboys – since he is the fanboy’s fanboy.

The only part of the movie that I feel let things down was, ironically, the climactic battle to save the Earth (Or at least New York City). Don’t get me wrong. It was an exciting and explosive fight with everyone beating each other up but it was just so pedestrian compared to the rest of the film. That’s not to say it wasn’t without it’s moments (Two of my personal favorite moments happened in the last half hour). I just feel it had lost some of its wit. The aliens (whose name escapes me) didn’t really seem to pose a massive threat. Apart from their number and technology, they didn’t really have any strategy, organisation or identity.

However, that didn’t stop Avengers Assemble being one of the most awesome films I’ve seen this year. It’s one of those rare movies that I would pay to see a second time, possibly even a third. From the opening seconds, I knew a sequel was already being agreed on. In short, good film, go see.

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