The fears that Joss Whedon wasn’t the right man for the job have been proved wrong. While it was generally agreed Whedon can write a large ensemble of characters well, he’s never been known for action. Lets face it, if Avengers Assemble needed to deliver on one thing above all, it was in the punching/kicking/flying/smashing department.
But Whedon really delivers the action; with this Whedon has officially arrived on the movie A-list. There are almost no words to describe just how immense the set-pieces in this film are. Outside of The Lord of the Rings trilogy its hard to think of another film delivering on such an epic scale; come the finale Manhatten has been totally flattened.
The battle between Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a real fan-pleaser and just what you want to see when these heroes of science-fiction and myth clash, especially when Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) gets involved.
The real stand-out sequences however are the Helicarrier siege and the final battle of Manhatten. Both are necessarily lengthy and explosive, far outstripping anything seen in the other Marvel lead-up films, but are also brilliantly inventive and fantastically shot, really showing the hero’s uniquenesses to their full potential. Everyone, from the big guns who have had their solo films, to the likes of Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson ) get their ‘cool’ moments. The action isn’t there for the sake of it, however, with the two major set-pieces especially moving the story forward significantly.
But Avengers Assemble doesn’t just satisfy with its (Hulk) smash, bang, wallop. True to form, Whedon pulls off an almost incredible feat of giving all the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. officers and villains equal and ample characterisation, no one feeling underused or sidelined. Individually of note Robert Downey Jr. brings further depth to Iron Man, given chance to play on more emotional levels. Equally Samuel L. Jackson shows a more emotional side to Nick Fury under his titanium emotional shell, making this Jackson’s most memorable performance in some time.
Mark Ruffalo also shines as the third incarnation of Bruce Banner/Hulk and his nervey, unhinged portrayal of the scientist really help make the best screen Hulk so far. He’s also given the best laugh-out-loud moments, which are many.
Its a film that’s much more light-hearted than The Dark Knight or even the set-up film The Incredible Hulk. It still delivers emotionally however, with one loss having significant impact that elicited a few tears in the audience. It was a great moment that lead to some other, great and thoughtful moments that allow us to get under the skin of the Marvel characters. These moments never bring the tone down too much however; this is a cinematic party after all.
The levity however doesn’t detract from the huge nature of the film; it feels big. While the film is lengthy it never outstays its welcome and this also lends to the epic-ness of proceedings with colossal scenes that really take one’s breath away.
Its an absolutely titanic film that really deserves to be seen on the big screen, an Imax if possible. Even if you haven’t seen the lead-up films, a movie with this sheer scope comes along once a decade and needs to be seen in its natural habitat.
Move over Avatar, this is how you make sci-fi BIG.