Avengers Assemble (15)
At its most fundamental Avengers Assemble amounts to a succession of intricately choreographed rucks between various superheroes and villains, and sometimes with each other.
Iron Man takes on Thor. Thor then battles the Hulk. Black Widow takes on Hawkeye. The latter two characters aren’t superheroes at all, just humans with extraordinary skills in combat, martial arts and archery.
Yet all these individuals aren’t thrust together for the heck of it. Oh no. Instead Nick Fury, the one-eyed yet all-seeing agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs them to prevent global – nay, interstellar – catastrophe as Earth is targeted by a race of aliens and the fallen god, Loki. Together they seek the ultimate energy source to rule the universe.
All of that detail comes a poor second in this loud, shiny and colourful comic book extravaganza where the setting up of the mission and its primary characters takes precedence. It boils down to basics: Avengers assemble. Avengers are defeated. Avengers fight back.
It’s a frenetic, thunderous, fast-moving tableau that looks terrific. Special effects were made for this kind of film and the multitudinous cast slots in perfectly.
Said cast includes Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson as the nominal leader, support from Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders and Stellan Skarsgård, and cameos from Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenny Agutter, Harry Dean Stanton and Powers Boothe.
There are quips and one-liners a-plenty in a script (by Joss Whedon) designed to appeal to the comic/geek denominator. But Avengers Assemble goes beyond such limitations, proving that superhero movies can be more than the sum of their parts. This one is a belter.
There are moments in the noise and chaos when some stars shine brighter than others. But Whedon manages to distribute (almost) equal time and space to his ensemble; only Renner seems to miss out slightly.
This is a gigantic teaser for the future films still to come. It’s also massively enjoyable in an eye-poppingly teenage sort of way. Bring on the guilty pleasures.