Avengers Assemble (12A)
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel Jackson
Geeks rejoice! It’s finally time for Comic Book Guy to step proudly into the light of day, and boldly declare “I told you so”!
When Kevin Feige, the head honcho of Marvel Studios, declared his intention to create four separate superhero franchises, and then combine them into one giant action team epic, many scoffed. Such a grand vision, with such relatively unknown characters from the Marvel archives (when compared with the X-Men or Spiderman), seemed to be nothing more than an optimistic pipe-dream.
But, by the hammer of Thor, he’s done it. Enlisting the directorial skills of one Joss Whedon (creator of the Buffy series), they have accomplished something quite special, a film that is not only ludicrously entertaining, but manages to give each of the larger-than-life characters their time in the sun.
Samuel Jackson, essentially a background puppet master for previous outings, now takes centre stage, assembling the ultimate team of super heroes to defend the world from the impending threat of invasion, in the form of Thor’s brother Loki. Inevitably with so many super egos and super biceps attempting to fill one space, there are numerous entertaining clashes between the would-be team, as well as with their foes.
It is this interplay that makes the film fizzle. The set pieces are fantastic, combining everything you would want to see from these characters using their various abilities together, but the real victory is the precision scripting and character beats, giving the film its heart. No dumb blockbuster this.
And it’s funny. Like, really funny! Unlike so many would be “comedies” which rely heavily on genital jokes and inane drug use, the humour here is fun, easy and, well, comic.
Joss Whedon just gets it. He understands what it is that makes these characters so interesting, knows how to construct unique action pieces, and, crucially, he appreciates the vastness of the Marvel universe, not simply allowing this to be a self-contained flick, but pointing towards grander themes and even more exciting possibilities to come.
Funny, action packed and with a heap of heart, very few films will have such a re-watch value. And, perhaps most importantly of all, we finally find answers to who would win in a fight, Captain America or Iron Man, Thor or Hulk…
Words by Ali Bianchi. Catch Ali and Adam's regular Film Clash podcast here.
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