Uniting the characters of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America this sees all of them coming together to fight a common enemy in The Avengers Assemble (in the UK and Ireland) and called The Avengers everywhere else. The cast all reprise their roles with the exception being Edward Norton who has been replaced by Mark Ruffalo, and several smaller characters like Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) from the various films appear. It is the events of Thor that really set up the events of this film with Loki returning as the film’s bad guy looking to fuck up the world.
The film has been in development for years but really only became a reality with the post credits scene of 2008’s Iron Man in which Nick Fury informed Tony Stark of the Avengers Initiative. Since then each Marvel film to feature one of the Avengers has been leading up to the Avengers Assemble. The hype surrounding the film has been huge, the question is: does the film live up to expectations?
To answer that question…join me and let’s take a look…
The Tesseract, last seen at the end of Thor and a major plot point of Captain America is in the hands of SHIELD who are trying to determine how it works in the hopes of creating a power supply for the Earth. Unfortunately, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) the fallen Asguardian also has his sights set on it. He returns to Earth, kills several SHIELD operatives, turns Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into his slave along with Dr Erik Slevig (Stellan Skarsgård), and escapes with the Tesseract. Nick Fury (Samual L Jackson) reinitiates the Avengers Initiative, a project that had been abandoned, and recruits Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) along with SHIELD agent Natasha Romanovff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to help him recover the Tesseract and stop Loki.
After apprehending Loki, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Earth and takes his brother from SHELD’s custody and tries to convince him to give up his plans and return to Asgard with him. Iron Man intervenes and a fight between the Thor and Iron Man erupts and Captain America is forced to end it. During the battle Loki does not try to flee and is taken to SHIELD Headquarters, however, his plans are only just beginning and a full scale war threatens the Earth with only the Avengers standing in the way.
So the question remains…does this film live up to the hype??
Simple answer: yes.
Robert Downey Jr. seems to be particularly at home within the role of Tony Stark and manages to snag most of the film’s best one liners. The cast all bounce off one another nicely, and wisely Avengers Assemble keeps its tongue well and truly in its cheek. There are numerous funny moments and one liners. But there is also a healthy dose of conflict between the characters. Banner and Stark are both geniuses and tend to get along. But there are other personality clashes mainly revolving around Tony Stark. The cast have a good chemistry and work well on screen together, and a fight between the Incredible Hulk and Thor is also thoroughly entertaining.
The chemistry between Downey Jr and Ruffalo is especially great in a scene in which they discuss the Hulk. Stark tells Banner that the arc reactor in his chest used to be a burden, but after a while it became a part of him and who he is. Banner had previously told everyone that he cannot die because after he put a gun in his mouth the Hulk simply spat that bullet out, he hates the Hulk and sees him as an infection to be cured. This does contradict the ending of The Incredible Hulk when Banner’s eyes turn green and he smiles implying he likes changing into the Hulk after the events of the film, but that aside, what I like about this scene is the fact that Stark points out that the Hulk saved his life. If the Hulk had not absorbed the gamma radiation then Banner would be dead, and that maybe what Banner needs to do is not try and “cure” himself of the Hulk but rather embrace that side of himself
Fans of Joss Whedon will not be disappointed by his latest offering, however, his fans will also know that he likes to kill off popular characters with little to no warning. So, consider this your warning - not all of the characters from the previous films seem to make it to the final credits and it is tragic to see one of your favourite characters die.
The special effects are very impressive, and the battles between the characters as well as the final battle is incredible done with the action seamlessly moving between the characters as they each fight their way through the army invading their world. The humour even in this scene is tongue in cheek and after the final fight in Iron Man 2 was a bit of a damp squib it is good to see that the final battle is suitably climactic.
Sadly, the film does drop the ball on a couple of points, the audience may wonder why nobody seemed concerned that during the fight between Thor and Iron Man, Loki made no attempt to escape. Also the relationship between the Hulk and the sceptre seems to be relevant in some way but is not really looked at, and the audience may wonder why Hulk is going crackers in the Helicarrier one minute fighting everyone in sight but is quite happy to fight alongside them later on. I would have preferred to see Banner transforming but not harming anyone until Thor attacks him, perhaps believing that the Hulk was attacking, it would have made a bit more sense.
As usual there is a little bit after the credits which sets up the prospect of additional films, although, it has to be said with a film that has become the third-highest grossing film of all time during its opening weekend more films are coming. It brings an end to Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phase Two begins with Iron Man 3 .
Do I even need to say that this film gets a Thumbs Up??
Actually thinking about it, Avengers Assemble, for living up to the hype and not disappointing me gets a rare 2 Thumbs Up.
9/10 - All in all Avengers Assemble is a simply brilliant film, with an excellent cast, great direction and lives up to the hype surrounding it. Audiences will not disappointed and will be left in anticipation, awaiting the new films starring their Marvel heroes