movie film review | chris tookey

Avengers/ Avengers Assemble

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  Avengers/ Avengers Assemble Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
6.70 /10
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson
Full Cast >

Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Joss Whedon, based on a story by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon, from the comic books by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Released: 2012
Origin: US
Length: 135

It’s a Marvel.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Avengers Assemble may be a 220 million dollar blockbuster, but it is not as revolutionary as Joss Whedon’s last feature, The Cabin in the Woods, made for a mere 30 million.

All the same, Whedon has delivered a highly commercial Hollywood product that’s funny and builds to a stirring climax. Not only fanboys will love it.

The biggest weakness is its premise, which is that the Norse God Loki (Tom Hiddlestone) is plotting the downfall of the human race. Why? I suppose Loki still resents being hammered by his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Kenneth Branagh’s film of the same name.

The fact remains that until the special effects finale Hiddlestone – even teamed with a couple of brainwashed sidekicks in Jeremy Renner (as Hawkeye) and Stellan Starsgard (as Professor Erik Selvig) – isn’t scary enough. He’s like the Norwegian football side Rosenborg taking on a Best of the World XI. The result is never in doubt.

Still, the Loki threat is enough to make top security boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) mobilise an impressive array of superheroes to defeat him. They are Loki’s sibling rival extraordinaire Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark alias Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Bruce Banner alias The Hulk – played by Mark Ruffalo far more sympathetically than he was in the two Hulk movies.

It’s the battling egos of the macho superheroes that bring about most of the comedy and lead to effective action scenes in which they act at cross purposes. “We’re not a team,” says a rueful Ruffalo. “We’re a time bomb.”

Evans’s Captain America, a stiff-upper-lip product of the 1940s, is every inch the professional soldier: “We have orders. We should follow them.”

Less reliable is Tony Stark, proud to be a loose cannon: “Apparently I’m – what is it? - volatile, self-obsessed and don’t play well with others”.

Captain America tries to pull Stark down a peg or two by telling him “Big man in a suit of armour. Take that away, and what are you?” Downey replies coolly “a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist”.

Unsurprisingly, Downey gets most of the biggest laugh-lines, such as when he denigrates the Hulk as having “breathtaking anger management issues”. But Ruffalo runs him close, cleverly capturing the disparity between Banner’s diffidence as a scientist and the Hulk as his preposterously out-of-control Id.

When Loki and his cronies trash Manhattan and the superheroes finally see sense and pool their talents, the movie comes together excitingly and irresistibly.

The first half of Avengers Assemble contains a little too much laboured exposition, and even the action-packed second half may not convert everyone who finds superhero movies superficial, bombastic and immature; but this is a superior example of its kind, with sequences that are on a par with the best Spiderman and Batman movies. And technically, it really is a marvel.

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