Newest Review: ... makes for an uneasy alliance at first. In time though, the team quickly learn that the only way to beat Loki is for them all to work togeth... more
A MARVELlous movie
Marvel Avengers Assemble (DVD)
Member Name: Dentolux
Marvel Avengers Assemble (DVD)
Advantages: Great visual effects during the action sequences, funny humour and snappy banter between the cast.
Disadvantages: The story is nothing special, hard to follow if you haven't seen the other Marvel Studio movies.
Loki is back. After being denied the conquest of Asgard by his do gooder brother, the god of thunder Thor, the conniving trickster sets his sights on taking over Midgard (aka Earth.) To do so he forms an alliance with an alien race known as the Chitauri. His invasion plans commence with a raid on a research lab were the deity, who has a thing for horned headgear, pilfers the Tesseract (a power source capable of producing unlimited energy) from the secret agency known as SHIELD. Loki intends to use the Tesseract to open a portal to Chitauri space. This will allow the army of his extra terrestrial allies to teleport over here with the aims of occupying our humble planet. SHIELD director Nick Fury is not amused and decides to counter Loki's scheme by recruiting a team of world's finest superheroes (unfortunately Spider-man had to decline the invite as he is currently contracted to Sony, so appearing in a Disney picture would cause his copyright sense to tingle.)
There's no denying that the group featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye all have the skills to save the day, but can they gel together as a cohesive unit? Many a rich football team will testify to how bringing together a roster of superstars doesn't always end in success. Before the all-star party can foil Loki they will have to put aside their petty agendas and stop bickering. With so many big names in one picture the concern is that not everyone will get their chance to shine, but thankfully director Joss Whedon does a terrific job of balancing things out. In hindsight hiring Whedon was a stroke of genius as he is known for handling ensemble casts, as viewers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will testify to. His vision for bringing comic book characters to life can also not be questioned as he is well familiar with the Marvel universe after penning numerous comics including Astonishing X-Men.
Robert Downey Jr returns to reprise his role as Iron Man(Tony Stark.) He is perfectly cast to play the billionaire scientific genius who heads into combat by donning state of the art power armour. Stark doesn't work well with others and prefers to tackle things solo. His arrogance, backed up by superior intellect, could make him unlike able, but he ultimately charms audiences with his snappy wit. The target of his abuse is normally Captain America (Steve Rogers) the super soldier from World War 2 who ended up in present day America after being frozen in a block of ice. A bulked up Chris Evans does an effective job bringing the red, white and blue clad hero to life. To be honest I find Captain America a little boring in the comics, but Evans' portrayal has won me over, especially how he delivered a number of badass lines. My only complaint with the character is that I felt they could have done more to show how he was struggling to adjust to life in the modern day era.
Like Captain America, Thor isn't one of my favourite comic book heroes as I found his Olde English prose a turn off. Former soap star Chris Hemsworth however manages to make the character fun as showcased in his 2011 movie. Thor's return to Earth, after being stranded on Asgard, could have been handled a little better. It's explained via a throwaway line which somewhat cheapens the emotional impact of his movie's ending. Thor seems to have matured since his last big screen outing and you can sense the hurt he feels as he unsuccessfully tries to sway his brother Loki from continuing on the path of self destruction. Alas Loki is well past the point of redemption. Speaking of Loki, it was great to see Tom Hiddleston get a second bite of the cherry acting as Thor's adopted sibling. With the Chitauri proving to be fodder for the Avengers to beat up he does well standing tall as the lead villain of the piece. It's fun seeing how he manipulates others to achieves his goals along with the odd flamboyant outburst which gives the actor the chance to chew up the scenery.
Out of all the characters it is The Hulk who ends up stealing the show. Scientist Bruce Banner is drafted into the Avengers, by SHIELD, due to his expertise with gamma radiation. It's only a matter of time though before the consultant turns into front line fighter as temperamental Bruce loses his rag transforming into his green skinned alter ego. The Hulk kicks major ass during the action scenes, but it's his comedic moments which will endear him to movie goers, mending the damage caused by Ang Lee's boring take on the character back in 2003. Out of the other heroes Black Widow gets fleshed out making her more interesting than the simple eye candy we got in Iron Man 2. Hawkeye, who was little more than a cameo in Thor, gets a bigger role which sees him initially fight against his team mates (thanks to some mystical hocus pocus from Loki.) Even though he is devoid of superpowers Hawkeye proves his worth to the team in the final battle. An archer taking on aliens may sound silly, but his prowess with the bow will convince you otherwise.
Since its release Avengers has been breaking box office records left, right and centre. Critical reception for the movie has been positive which was echoed by the crowd that saw the movie with me. It was one of those rare occasions were the end credits were greeted with applause and cheers. Overall I would say that the movie deserves all the plaudits it gets as it was a thoroughly entertaining blockbuster. I was however expecting a little more given the hype. After all is said and done it's not as deep as something like The Dark Knight and not even the best superhero movie I have seen this year (that honour goes to Chronicle.) As a stand alone movie I think it depends too much on the films which preceded it. If you want character development you'll have to check out each hero's individual movie as hardly anyone in the cast grows from the experience. Furthermore the story is rather flimsy. Bad guy wants to take over the world so a team is formed to beat him. That's pretty much it, although it's hard to follow if you haven't seen the other Marvel Hero movies first (then again I cannot imagine why anyone wanting to see Avengers wouldn't have seen most of the films leading up to it.)
All that said it's a fun ride which makes the two and a half hour running time fly by (like Iron Man taking flight to the nearest beer festival.) I'm probably being overly critical as I despite those flaws I loved the movie and am looking forward to seeing it again. I suspect I will enjoy it even more on a second viewing in the comfort of my own home. Most viewers only expect mindless action from a comic book movie and in that regard it delivers in spades. It was hard to contain my excitement seeing the likes of Thor and Iron Man duke it out in the same movie. The terrific ending battle will leave you well and truly satisfied. It goes on forever so there is no danger of feeling that things wrap up too quickly, as was the case in some of the other Marvel movies. In a way the lengthy invasion sequence reminded me of the finale of the last Transformers flick. It far exceeds Michael Bay's offering though as better filming made it easier to follow. Unlike Dark of the Moon the humour works because clever banter will always trump vulgar gags and racist stereotypes.
I'm certainly looking forward to a sequel which is hinted at the very end. The brief snippet in question will have aficionados of the Marvel Universe wetting themselves with glee, although it will probably go over the heads of anyone else. Given how well Hulk was handled I'm also interested in seeing another movie featuring the jolly green giant. I was saddened to learn that Ed Norton, one of my favourite actors, was axed from the project but in Mark Ruffalo they found a more than worthy successor for the part of Bruce Banner. It's an exciting time to be a comic book fan as this "Hulk Smash" hit cements in place Hollywood's continued love affair with all things superhero.
Summary: After years waiting the superhero teamup arrives and delivers.