May 2 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
AVENGERS Assemble is the long awaited big screen team-up of Marvel superheroes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
Our heroes are brought together by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) when the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alien army threaten to bring about the end of the entire human race.
OK, must... try... to... remain... calm. Sod it, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE is finally here!!
For every fan of comic books and their movie brethren (count me in, on both counts) this is a monumental moment.
Since the first Iron Man movie in 2008 this is what Marvel Studios have been building towards and I’m delighted to report that this film has been more than worth the wait.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer director Joss Whedon is the brave man to take on this colossal project and the creative visionary strikes a perfect balance between action, storytelling and tugging at various emotions.
And don’t worry about one or two of our heroes dominating proceedings, there’s meaty screen time for all.
Downey Jr. is hilarious but also shows his heart when the going gets tough, Evans’ Captain impressively takes charge of the team, third big screen Hulk Ruffalo is the best yet, and the charismatic Hemsworth picks up where he left off in Thor.
Johansson is as good as she’s been in a long while and Hiddleston’s villain is deliciously chilling, particularly in a verbal assault of Black Widow.
If anyone feels slightly sidelined it’s Renner but he gets his moments in the latter stages.
Whedon’s action sequences are first rate. It’s hard to pick out a highlight as there are so many; Loki’s early attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. The assault on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. The nearly half-hour long Manhattan set finale. Hulk v Thor!!
Nice extra touches include classical music playing over Loki’s strike on a high society ball in Stuttgart and Whedon’s swooping camera during the climactic battle showcasing every Avenger in action, one after the other.
The film is quite action-heavy, and the climax a bit Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but we’ve had the build-up in previous individual character movies.
If you haven’t seen those films then you might struggle to follow certain story elements but, let’s face it, why wouldn't you have treated yourself to watching them? (sorry, that may just be my comic book head being all presumptuous).
Whedon also wrote the story in collaboration with Zak Penn and fantastical it may be, but they never lose sight of the threat posed (lots of use of the word “war”).
And the film is funny. Very, very funny (“I watched you when you were sleeping”, “Shakespeare in the park!”).
Oh, and stick around during the end credits for an extra titbit.
Is Avengers Assemble the best comic book film ever? That’s a tough call but it’s certainly the most exciting, and a true epic moment in cinematic history.
The comic book movie has definitely reached dizzying new heights and nothing can possibly... wait, hang on, The Dark Knight Rises is out on July 20.
Bring it on!
Rating – 9 out of 10.