The Avengers (a.k.a. Avengers Assemble), 2012.
Written and Directed by Joss Whedon.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany.
When an alien being arrives and threatens the planet, a plan must be put in action to bring the Earth’s most exceptional people together to save it.
Let me start by saying that apart from Thor, which I loved and rank very highly, the rest of the Marvel films I have enjoyed but not found to be particularly brilliant. That being said, I still went into Avengers Assemble excited, hyped and looking forward to getting to see all these great characters on screen together.
The film certainly lived up to expectation and exceeded them quite frankly. There’s some heart, great action pieces and honestly, it made me laugh more than most of my favourite comedies. There are some problems with the film - whilst Tom Hiddleston gives a great performance as Loki, the nuances of his facial expressions portraying a man filled with hate and evil, I never really felt like his character was really a threat, or that the world was actually in any real danger. It isn’t even until the third act where we really see an attack on Earth, our interactions with the people the Avengers are trying to save is minimal and as a result there never feels like there’s a sense of danger. The inevitable fight between the team before they come together feels forced rather than an inevitable reaction of their differences and has no real weight to it. But that’s not to take anything away from the film - it is fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable.
Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance as Tony Stark in my opinion, almost stealing the show. I say almost as the limelight falls squarely on Mark Ruffalo as Dr Bruce Banner / The Hulk. From the moment we first see him he is on edge, his body language showing his reluctance to engage with people. His interactions with Stark provide some of the heart and thought in the film - that Banner should accept who he is, that he has a gift. It’s a fantastic performance, and when his rage finally gets the better of him The Hulk provides not only the greatest moments for us to geek out over, but also the best of the comedy. I honestly cannot say enough about how great Hulk is in this film. The decision to use motion capture pays off greatly as he is now an actual character rather than a CGI caricature and that leads to a connection between him and the audience.
All of the others actors put in great performances too, and everyone nails it. I wasn’t a great fan of Captain America’s solo outing - it’s a good film, but I didn’t really connect with the character - however I loved Cap in Avengers Assemble and really rooted for him. It’s a shame that there was a large portion of Cap centric material cut, as I think it would have really added something to the film and I am eager to see if we get a Director's Cut at some point.
There is a lot of hype for this film and justifiably so as it’s got so many great moments that you will be talking about for a long time. I still would have to place it second in terms of the Marvel films, as I think Thor is outstanding and provides a little more depth. However you will not be disappointed and most will rank this as the best of the lot, but I’m sure we’ll all be discussing that even longer.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★ ★