Because I refuse to call it Marvel Avengers Assemble.
Well, it finally arrived. After 4 set up films, and a couple of Hulks, it finally hits our screens, and happily it doesn’t crumble under the weight of expectation.
It’s pretty fantastic.
It brings together everything from the movies that preceded it and turns it into a true ensemble piece. No one character hogs the spotlight and everyone (and I mean everyone) gets at least one moment to shine, but a certain green hued character walks away with the entire movie.
After a quick glimpse of what will be our villains, and the return of the magnificent bastard Loki, we get to see each of the Avengers separately. The assembling of the team takes up most of the first third of the film, but doesn’t once get boring. Just seeing all these characters again, in the same movie, is a thrill. If you’ve seen all of the preceding films you’ll know what to expect from the characters but just in case, here goes; Tony Stark gets recruited as a consultant, Cap gets recruited as a service to his country, Thor doesn’t so much gets recruited but comes to bring Asgardian justice to his little brother, and Bruce Banner is there for his smarts (and also, off the record, to turn into the Hulk later on). However, just because the team is assembled doesn’t mean they get on. A lot of scenes are just talking (or arguing), yet it never becomes dull or uninteresting. Just watching these different personalities bounce of each other is a joy to behold; Cap sparring with Tony Stark, Stark and Banner’s banter, Thor and the Hulk. In fact, this film more so than any of its setup films, is much much funnier. There are literally a dozen laugh out loud lines and scenes, a lot of them coming from not just Tony Stark but Bruce/the Hulk. However, Thor had my favourite line of the film.
Thor: He’s my brother
Black Widow: He’s killed 80 people in 2 days
Thor: He’s adopted.
But as I said earlier Mark Ruffalo just about walks off with the movie as the Hulk. He’s a softer, gentler Banner than Edward Norton, but he nails the tragic nature of the character perfectly; one early scene dealing with how he tried to kill himself, but ‘the other guy’ spat the bullet out. Even his big hero moment is tinged with sadness (“That’s the thing, Captain. I’m always angry.”), but he’s also the wittiest interpretation of the character we’ve seen so far. And the most smash happy. Honestly, in the final battle he kicks so much alien ass, and gets the most memorable move when dispatching puny god, Loki.
Ah yes, the action. Well, it’s superb. It feels epic in nature, which is a word I’m loathe to use, but there’s no other word for it. Taking place all over Manhattan it’s warfare on a massive scale, yet it never loses sight of what makes it so thrilling. Because we’ve had such a long time to get to know these characters, and have watched them begrudgingly become a team, we care about the stakes. Sharing battlefield banter makes them seem more real, despite being a god, or a super soldier.
Interestingly, there’s not much in the way of fan service. No winks or nods to the audience which is surprising considering you could have had every character spin off their own particular catch phrase just for the sake of whoops from the audience. The only concession to that is an utterance of HULK SMASH! and it’s not even the Hulk who says it.
Anyway, overall I thought it was brilliant despite a slightly saggy middle section, but once the battle starts you’ll not care. Also, the event that causes this merry band of heroes to finally become a team is actually quite moving and unexpected.
As for a score, 5 stars.