Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner
Strap on your 3D glasses and buckle your seatbelts. The mightiest of comic book movies is going to take you on one rollercoaster ride.
Norse God Loki and his army are set to attack and enslave Earth. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles our mightiest heroes to form the Avengers. With a roster that includes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor, they are our last hope against a deadly alien force.
When the news was originally announced that Geek God Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly) was handling the reigns for The Avengers you could hear the collective sigh of relief from fans from around the world. The nigh impossible task of juggling an array of already set up characters (plus all the actors’ egos), into one 2 and a half hour movie, was in safe hands.
As the above hilarious trailer attests to, there was a real worry The Avengers would frankly be Iron Man 3. But Whedon has obviously stuck to his guns and his character driven script. Away from the stunning action sequences, all the major players (even poor old powerless Hawkeye) get a chance to breath with decent arcs and subplots. Iron Man still gets some snappy quips, but Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk almost steals the show. Describing the role the ‘Hamlet’ of our time, Mark conveys his trouble containing the beast, while even getting a few laughs. Plus the CGI Hulk is the best yet with Mark’s features and nuances realistically realised.
And with the current blockbuster comic book series Avengers v X-Men on the shelves, geeks get serious wish fulfilment: Avenger v Avenger smackdown! With Thor v Iron Man, Cap v Thor, Hulk v Black Widow, Hulk v Thor, it’s all on. On top of that, The Avengers stays true to Marvel’s updated ‘Ultimates’ universe, there’s subtle Cap v Iron Man ‘Civil War’ references, and my inner geek went intergalactic post credits!
Marvel deserves praise too. After the X-Men and Spiderman franchises made a mint, then a surprise hit with Iron Man, and solid origin movies for Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, they truly have left rivals DC in the dust. And we can only expect more Hulk hands and Iron Man masks after Disney (who know how to flog a franchise) bought the house of ideas for $4 billion.
DC on the other hand have failed abysmally with Green Lantern last year. They only have the last Nolan Bat movie (which the marketing has been strangely quiet for) this year, and are hedging their bets on another Superman reboot next year. Quite frankly Marvel should thank DC too. DC’s parent company Warner Brothers ended up trashing Whedon’s take on the Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman. Instead making another TV series with Alley McBeal creator David Kelly, which duly got dumped this year after a rubbish pilot.
One of the great features of The Avengers is that you don’t get bogged down in training sequences and exposition. The lead up movies, and the Samuel L Jackson Nick Fury cameos, have all set up this universe brilliantly. And yet you can come in fresh to this film too, with short and sweet catch up scenes as Fury rounds up his heroes.
Just like the recent The Hunger Games, the 2 & ½ hr running time never lags either. Other action blockbusters (I’m pointing the finger at you Transformers and Pirate sequels) seem so bloated with long and mindless action showdowns. Whedon really shows his class here with neat moments between heroes mid battle, awesome team ups, and even the bruising Hulk getting some big laughs in the finale.
Marvel’s universe building has already been gaining fans with modern updates of their classic characters. But thanks to Whedon’s class touches and superb superhero assembling act, The Avengers will make true believers of the rest.
If you want to read some good Avengers storylines check out MTV’s shopping list:
Plus some info on the upcoming sequels:
And in an alternate universe (we’ve all tried to forget) here’s the Hoff as Nick Fury