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Marvel Avengers Assemble - Review

Marvel Avengers Assemble

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

ASSEMBLING such an impressive cast of superheroes in one movie can’t have been easy but Joss Whedon has pulled off the challenge with considerable finesse in Marvel Avengers Assemble.

A fun, knockabout yet surprisingly character-driven blockbuster, this is a crowd-pleaser par excellence that succeeds as rip-roaring entertainment in spite of its flaws.

And a lot of the credit must go to Whedon for creating something that delivers the required fan-boy spectacle while neatly side-stepping most of the potential pitfalls lying in its path.

The story makes good on the seeds sewn by several of Marvel’s recent movies (from Iron Man 2 to Thor via Captain America) by having mystery organisation S.H.I.E.L.D (led by Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury) round up a bunch of superheroes – Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) – to fight off a new threat posed to Earth by angry Asgard reject Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

In doing so, the Avengers must learn to overcome egos and work together as a team for the greater good of the world with a little extra support from fellow S.H.I.E.L.D operatives such as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

Whedon’s film has fun rounding up many of the characters we’ve already come to know and love before then placing them in the middle of several smack-downs.
But while there is certainly an over-familiarity with some of these scenarios, right down to the New York set finale that recalls the most recent Transformers conclusion, Whedon manages to keep things fresh, exciting and above all humour-laden.

He also makes sure to invest each character with a personality of their own and refuses to side-bench any of them, pulling off what many thought was impossible by giving each one a fair crack of the whip.

Hence, the likes of Hawkeye and Black Widow are just as well realised (and cool) as the likes of Iron Man and Thor without having to reign in either the showboating qualities of Downey Jr or the theatrical, self-deprecating nature of Hemsworth.

The Hulk, meanwhile, is arguably the film’s biggest asset with Ruffalo investing him with a wonderfully playful personality both as Dr Banner and the beast himself. Indeed, it’s safe to say that The Hulk roars off with two of the film’s greatest moments.

Praise, too, deserves to go to Tom Hiddleston’s Loki for building on the menace he first hinted at in Thor and presenting a villain worthy of so many adversaries. The actor displays an arrogance and an evil that rates among the best the genre has previously had to offer, which makes the style of his comeuppance all the more cheer-worthy.

On the action front, Whedon ensures there’s a nice mix of personal to potentially world-ending encounters that also help to build on character, laying waste to New York in jaw-dropping fashion during the big finale but also delivering several fan-boy pleasing mash-ups between key characters along the way.

On the down-side, some of the plot machinations concerning evil plans and technical chatter between characters feel a little superfluous to the smooth flow of proceedings, while the middle section of the film does occasionally sag, especially during an underwhelming battle to try and save the Avengers’ airship.

But each time the film threatens to lose momentum, Whedon drops in another surprise (including the demise of one character) or a comic scenario to give things an extra surge.

Hence, Marvel Avengers Assemble is a brilliantly realised superhero juggernaut that arguably exceeds even the most hopeful fan expectation as well as the type of film that can play to newcomers intrigued to see what the fuss is all about.

It’s by no means a perfect movie but it is a consistently fun and thrilling blockbuster experience that quite often genuinely delights.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 142mins
UK Release Date: April 26, 2012