God, I hate that name change. They did it in the UK, so the Brits wouldn’t get confused with the 60s TV show “The Avengers”, but everyone I know has been calling it The Avengers, and after all the adverts if someone was going in expecting John Peel, frankly they deserve to be disappointed since they’re obviously a fucking moron. Fortunately the crappy name change is pretty much the only bad thing about this film.
If you don’t know about the film, and if you don’t I’d really see someone about that brain damage if I were you, it brings together all the Marvel superheroes from their most recent films. This means Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and Captain America, but no sign of the X-Men or Spiderman (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Avengers 2 featured Andrew Garfield). Each movie has featured a link into this one, such as Samuel L. Jackson appearing to each hero to recruit them, or Robert Downey Jr’s surprise cameo at the end of the otherwise rubbish Incredible Hulk.
So, they come together to sort out an alien invasion that’s being organised by Loki, the bad guy from Thor, using the Tesseract (the McGuffin from Captain America: The First Avenger) as a portal. As well as the four title heroes, Scarlett Johansson is back as the Black Widow (who featured in Iron Man 2), and Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye (after briefly appearing in Thor). Samuel L. Jackson finally has a substantial appearance as Nick Fury and is as bad-ass as you would expect, Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Tony Stark’s ridiculously named bit of stuff Pepper Potts, Stellan Skarsgard (Alexander’s dad) reprises his role from Thor, and Clark Gregg is back as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. Plus, Cobie Smulders (Robin off of How I Met Your Mother) is Nick Fury’s right hand woman Maria Hill.
Considering there are so many characters to take care of, you’d think that character development would be just forgotten about, but each hero gets their own little storyline. Iron Man/Tony Stark starts to learn how to be a hero rather than a cocky shit, Captain America begins to fit into the new world after being frozen for 70 years (which actually wasn’t properly explained just HE CRASHED IN ICE AND FROZE), the Black Widow is treated like a proper protagonist after her rather shady appearance in Iron Man, and Hawkeye, well he’s a bit dull but he gets a bit of a romance going with the Black Widow, so that’s nice for him. To be fair, Thor gets sidelined a little, especially surprising since it’s his brother who’s the bad guy, but he stars in all the best fight sequences to make up for it.
But it’s the Hulk who really gets to shine. Every other Hulk film has been a complete failure, mainly due to Bruce Banner being made into a whiny little shit-cake who just moans for the entire film, whilst the Hulk himself has zero personality. Here, Bruce has a quiet, sad acceptance of his situation with a streak of self-loathing, which is all very endearing, whilst the Hulk is frankly a comedy genius. Pretty much all the funniest moments come from him.
And it is actually a very funny film, considering the genre. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon, who is most famous for Buffy, and you can completely tell. The same sarcastic, ironic handling of ridiculous situations is present here, meaning that Tony Stark isn’t the only one with witty one liners ready for every occasion.
Tom Hiddleston is amazing as Loki, actually properly bringing about chaos as he’s supposed to, and sort of didn’t in Thor. The alien bad guys are slightly too generic but it seems like they might make a reappearance so fingers crossed they make more of an impact next time. They really don’t need to when Loki’s around though.
The thing about this film is how strikingly different it is to the other big superhero franchise at the moment, Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Whilst the Bat is very serious (ridiculously so, actually), this film is silly and fun, but isn’t even vaguely ashamed of it. It proves you don’t have to be “dark” and “brooding” to make an entertaining film, or a realistic superhero adaptation. Whilst the Dark Knight trilogy has always seemed like it was more inspired by comics than an adaptation, the Avengers is a comic book come to life.
The fact of the matter is, this is the best film I’ve seen in ages. It really feels like a huge EVENT of a film, filled with amazing, fanboy-pleasing moments. If you haven’t seen any of the other Marvel films, don’t worry about it. You might not know any of the characters properly or fully understand their backstories, but you don’t need to. The genius of this film is that it works entirely as a continuation of four different characters stories, and as a stand alone amazing piece of entertainment. I LOVE THIS FILM.
And now, as a little extra, a list of things I random bits I loved:
- The Thor v Hulk fight, and to a lesser extent, the Thor v Iron Man fight
- Loki starting his invasion in Germany against an elderly survivor of the war
- Agent Coulson’s man crush on Captain America
- Chris Hemsworth’s arms
- Chris Evans’ arse
- The Hulk’s sense of comic timing
- Robin from How I Met Your Mother being bad ass
- The Black Widow’s interrogation techniques
- The Helicarrier. It’s awesome.
- The slo-mo shot (that’s in the trailer actually) of Hulk smashing through a corridor after Black Widow
- One continuous shot during the fight sequence in New York, which follows each hero being awesome in turn. It doesn’t sound like much but I loved it.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury himself being less clean cut than originally shown. I like.
- The Loki v Hulk fight. The best fight sequence in the history of film.