Avengers Assemble

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Since Iron Man in 2008, the Avengers have been slowly gathering, and now in 2012 we have the pay-off. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble was well worth the wait. Joss Whedon expertly handles the ensemble cast, the epic scope of the story, and the visuals to create a fantastic start to the Summer blockbuster film season.

The plot is that Loki wishes to enslave humanity to relieve us of the burden and the lie that is freedom (in his mind, anyway). This begins with the Tesseract (the cosmic blue cube from Captain America and Thor) activating in the SHIELD head quarters and bringing Loki to Earth. Loki brainwashes Hawkmen and Dr. Selvig and escapes with them to work on opening a portal to bring his army to Earth (all this happens before the title appears on screen). Nicky Fury then recruits the Marvel heroes to thwart the evil Loki.

The characters are great and true to the films they came from.

Iron Man is every bit as brash as he was in the two previous films. Thor is still as over-the-top, and Captain America is still the clean cut poster-boy.

Hulk is the stand-out in this film for me though. When Black Widow recruits Bruce Banner, we see a character who is helping people in poor villages. He is more like the version we’ve seen in the TV series, and even his Hulk alter-ego is shown in a much more heroic light later in the film, with one of the funniest moments being a scene with the Hulk and Loki (“puny god”).

Every character gets a fair share of screen time, with no-one hero more in the spot light than the other.

The special effects are amazing. Loki’s army (the Chitauri) don’t really start attacking Manhattan until 20 minutes from the end, but the visuals for this are incredible and easily out-shine previous city destructions seen in Transformers 3. The effects for the Hulk were also the best seen on the big screen yet. Loki’s alien army were also well realised, with the armoured serpents looking incredible.

There is a lot of humour in the film too. The previous Hulk moment I mentioned was for me the stand-out, but there were also funny lines from Iron Man and Thor (“Shakespeare in the park” and “doth your mother knoweth you wear her drapes”). There is a good bit with Hulk and Thor with a well-timed punch. Even Agent Coulson manages a funny moment between himself and Captain America over some near-mint trading cards, and then later (spoiler alert) a classic last line with “that’s what it does”.

Black Widow gets to show off her shrewd interrogation tactics twice in the film, and Jeremy Renner delivers as Hawkeye. It is great to see the character moments between them, and to learn of their strong bond. It is also good to see Nick Fury do more than just show up briefly. He gets he opening action sequence, some great character manipulation (with the Captain America trading cards in particular) and gets to shoot down a fighter jet with a bazooka.

It is also worth staying around for the post-credit moment, which in this film isn’t at the very end of the credits but just after the main cast’s names have been listed. A good hint of things to come with a long red-faced alien. Although unfortunately we didn’t get an early look at The Dark Knight Rises’ new trailer which is attached to this film on its American release.

This is a great start to the Summer film season, and a fantastic comic-book hero film. The Amazing Spider-Man, Dredd, and The Dark Knight Rises are still to come, but if they are as good as Avengers Assemble, then we’re really in for a treat this year. I’m already looking forward to seeing it again.