First Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 24th April 2012.

It’s finally time for The Avengers fans to assemble. Starting with Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios, now a subsidiary of The Walk Disney Company, has slowly built towards this ultimate team-up movie. Brief scenes, often occurring after the credit have rolled, in The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and both Iron Man entries have pieced together the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D., a peacekeeping organisation led by Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. Can the silver screen contain all of these larger than life characters and satisfy casual and diehard fans of the Marvel franchise? The answer is yes, yes, yes.

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of The Avengers. All I had to do was hand my mobile phone over to a security guard, sign a confidentiality contract and be scanned by metal detectors before I entered the screening room. Disney is obviously very aware that a pirated copy of this film could cost them millions in revenue. Not that I minded. It meant that I got to enjoy a movie without interruptions from annoying flashing mobile screens.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers brings Earth’s mightiest heroes together in response to an attack on humanity by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s brother. Thor (Aussie Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, replacing Ed Norton) have little reason to trust or like each other and it’s this friction which allows Whedon to work magic with his trademark witty dialogue exchanges and put downs. There are many laugh out loud moments to enjoy.

Surprisingly, every major character gets their fair share of screen time. Even lesser known heroes Hawkeye and Black Widow, only briefly introduced in Thor and Iron Man 2 respectively, get time to shine. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is appropriately smarmy and a worthy opponent for the team. With the vast majority of characters well established in their own feature films, only Jackson’s Nick Fury seems a little thinly drawn.

I saw the 2D version and there were only a few noticeable 3D moments. I’m not a major proponent of cinema 3D (I much prefer the brighter home 3D) so you’re definitely not missing out on anything by avoiding the surcharge.

The action sequences are well captured and the CGI is convincing. Loki’s attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. flying helicarrier is breathtakingly good. The final showdown in New York City is a little reminiscent of a similar sequence in Transformers: Dark of the Moon but again Whedon’s humorous banter between the heroes saves the scene. The Hulk smashing things up also helps.

Forget The Dark Knight Rises or The Amazing Spider-Man, there is only one superhero film to see this year and The Avengers is it. Fans of Whedon’s Serenity will be pleased with a little nod to the cult favourite (think Wash). Make sure you stay after the credits for the now standard Marvel Universe credit cookie.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 12:54  Leave a Comment  
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