#23 – ‘The Avengers’ (2012)

"NEWS TEAM!......."

Cast:-

*Robert Downey Jr

*Chris Evans

*Mark Ruffalo

*Chris Hemsworth

*Scarlett Johansson

*Jeremy Renner

Tom Hiddlestone

*Samuel L Jackson

Director:- Joss Whedon

So this is it. Four years since first alluded to in 2008′s hit ‘Iron Man’ – The Avengers film has finally arrived. And boy, was it worth the wait.

My  main focus is to avoid spoilers, which is extremely difficult for a film such as this, but seeing as it hasn’t been released in the US at the time of this review – I can’t risk the majority of my traffic declaring war on my Limey self. So I won’t delve into the story specifically, rather what I found good and, of course, not so good about the movie.

So, for those who haven’t followed the Marvel Cinematic continuity.. The premise involves an international peace-keeping organization known as SHIELD. Headed by Director Nick Fury (Jackson) – A group who have kept tabs on protecting the world from the most extreme threats, but have also hatched a ‘backup’ plan of sorts if the battles they fought became too overwhelming. This plan was dubbed the ‘Avengers Initiative’. An idea to bring together a group of ‘remarkable people’ to defend the world. These include billionaire genius – Tony Stark (Downey Jr), WWII super soldier - Captain Steve Rogers (Evans), Gamma radiation whizz – Dr Bruce Banner (Ruffalo, previously portrayed by Edward Norton) and Asgardian thunder ‘God’ – Thor (Hemsworth). Rounded off with expert marksman Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton (Renner) and master assassin Natasha Romanof (Johansson).

So, the big question is – does Joss Whedon pull off the unthinkable? Has he achieved what many people have had much skepticism over during the last decade? A resounding ‘YES’ will be heard across the globe. The Avengers is, simply put, absolutely amazing for the duration – with a few minor hiccups. But still executed so well that it will whet the appetite of every fanboy and Marvel movie goer.

There’s an abundance of spectacle to behold here. From the face off between Iron Man and Thor, to the epic reintroduction of our Jolly Green Giant. It’s nothing short of some of the most entertaining and memorable action sequences in recent memory. But the standout throughout this piece, is the character interaction - every single character from Tony Stark to Maria Hill gets their chance to shine and it’s certainly where the strength of this film truly lies – no doubt a credit to Mr Whedon personally. Notably the scenes between Banner, Stark and Rogers play out for tension and teething problems during the team’s inception – but it’s a great payoff to see these outlandish and out of this world characters go against one another in witty ‘back and forths’ and sniping one-liner put-downs. Stark, of course being the usual purveyor of this.

Relieved I am to say, the billionaire playboy, as most have feared – does not dominate proceedings. As previously stated – everyone has their chance to shine and the playing field is even. As a whole, the humour is very abundant throughout the entirety of the film, but it’s extremely subtle and does not detract from any tension or build up – it’s very clean-cut, precise and excellently timed. The script is a very effective blend of aforementioned humour in addition to dramatics and emotion (pulled off brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo’s Banner in particular), married to conventional superhero film aesthetics. CGI effects are 5-Star, no doubt. It’s almost seemless and is vastly accentuated positively by some brilliant camera work.

The ensemble cast of superheroes have much to be proud of. With a very organic and smooth integration – each one has a discernible quality and personality to throw into the mix. Which allows the audience to come up for air and still have vested interest. Tom Hiddlestone’s Loki is an absolute beast here – if he was brimming with evil in 2011′s ‘Thor’, then here he is evil personified. His interaction with some of The Avengers makes for some unnerving and downright scary viewing. He relishes in his role and leaves with an unsettling thought of method acting preparation. It’s just that good.

So with the positives (non-spoiler ones) out-of-the-way.. What did this film fail on for me? Well, the biggest for me – was the Alien army. I found the inclusion of the unknown extraterrestrial threats extremely uninspired and pretty useless to the plot and the characters. I personally would have liked to see Loki conjuring up mischief to the extreme and taking on the Avengers on his own. Certainly would’ve garnered more of an edge of seat response. There’s also a few plot holes concerning certain characters that really should not have been there. Another prominent issue I found was the very drawn-out opening to the film. I was expecting a lot of fast paced action to kick-start The Avengers, but it’s disappointingly slow and does VERY VERY slightly discredit the overall effectiveness of the film.

These, in hindsight, are only a few small glitches that fail to seriously tarnish an otherwise spectacular Marvel epic from Joss Whedon. Long may this continue.

Believe the hype.

9/10

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About Scott

Film enthusiast, ranter & writer. Part-time blogger, Atheist, Ex-smoker and Real Human Being View all posts by Scott

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