The hype has built up over nearly 50 years of comics and 5 feature films. Finally, Marvel’s The Avengers make their début on the big screen. Could it possibly live up these enormously high expectations? You’re damn right it can!
If anyone could do justice to the legacy of The Avengers, it would be Joss Whedon. The man who brought us Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and, most recently, The Cabin In The Woods has been a champion for geeky cinema and TV for years. Who better to bring some of Marvel’s most iconic together in a single movie?
Whedon’s influence is clear throughout the dialogue, fans of his work will definitely appreciate his trademark pop culture references and very quotable lines, but never takes the attention away from the matter at hand: The Avengers themselves. This could have easily turned in to a Joss Whedon film featuring The Avengers (or vice versa for that matter) but, fortunately, the perfect balance between the two is struck. Joss has quite the history with Marvel comics, he had a run on Astonishing X-Men, one of the most acclaimed X-Men series’ of all time, and his knowledge of the source material is impressive. There are plenty of hints and moments during the 2 hours and 22 minutes that comic book fans will absolutely love. Another potential pitfall would be the film relying on these comic fans acquaintance with the characters and at the same time leaving newcomers and fans of the films behind. Yet another perfect balance is struck. The hardcore fans will still get the most out of it but people who have only seen the recent Marvel Studios films will also get their money’s worth.
Avengers Assemble could have tripped up with it’s cast. After decent performances in Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, many thought that Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans were looking to be up staged by the undeniably charismatic Robert Downey Jr. Fortunately, each member of the main cast delivers on every level. Thor is appropriately otherworldly, Tony Stark is brilliantly charming and narcissistic, Steve Rogers is perfectly prideful and straight forward, Black Widow is wonderfully strong and seductive, Hawkeye is full of brash confidence and Nick Fury is as commanding as ever. The two that truly exceeded my initially sceptical expectations were Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. I can say, without a doubt, that Mark Ruffalo is the best Bruce Banner we’ve ever seen on the silver screen. The Hulk is perfectly portrayed (he is motion-captured by Ruffalo himself and it really shows) and has some of the best moments in the entire movie. At first, I didn’t feel that Loki would be able to carry the role of the single supervillain. Hiddleston’s slyly charming portrayal of the mischievous Asgardian is brilliantly on display and he holds his own against the superhero supergroup.
Amazingly, each hero manages to get the screen time they deserve. Everyone gets their own character development, funny lines of dialogue and fair share of kicking ass. Even the not-so-super heroes Black Widow and Hawkeye are play prominent roles. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow really gets her big break and demonstrates that a strong woman can hold her own against demi-gods and super-soldiers (another trademark of Mr Whedon).
Pretty much the only negative I can draw on is that during action-heavy sections, things can get pretty muddled and hard to follow. However, it’s the only way a movie featuring The Avengers could be under 3 hours long and every one of the 142 minutes is glorious.
Overall, Avengers Assemble is everything you could possibly want from a action packed superhero movie. It’s so much more than a sum of it’s parts in every way. It does justice to half a century of source material, is undoubtedly the best Marvel Studios film ever made and it just might be the best film of 2012.