This film was the grand conclusion of Marvel’s Phase one plan after successfully building up characters in various stand alone films. It culminated into a geek fantasy some could have only dreamed of; a strong, stellar ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans; firm fan favourites from within the marvel franchise including Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and to put the cherry on top of the cake – the man to orchestrate this Marvel juggernaut, none other than geek God himself Joss Whedon. This film single-handedly turned him from geek genius to household name, because of the far-reach the movies had. As I was re-watching it the other day, I came to the realisation that this film came out just before Kat and I started this blog. So let’s put this awful blunder to rest and get this review on the road!
As I said above this film’s cast list speaks for itself in terms of star power: returning to their characters are RDJ, the two Chris’s (Hemsworth and Evans), Tom Hiddleston as our favourite villainous Asgardian Loki, Scarlet Johansson as the Black Widow, Stellan Skarsgård as Dr Selvig Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Fury, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Clark Gregg as Coulson. Joining the ranks for this outing are Mark Ruffalo taking over from Edward Norton’s incarnation as Eric Banner and his giant green alter ego, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Cobie Smoulders as Agent Hill. And each certainly gets their moment in the spotlight, with Whedon combining all the elements into a nice big cauldron pot of goodness, often combining his trademark wit alongside big action sequences.
It takes about 20 minutes or so for the film to really kick into high gear – after the initial pre-titles sequence, we then take a round trip across all our Avengers, seeing them initially recruited and generally introducing them into the plot. Don’t get me wrong it’s all enjoyable but once this is out of the way, the film really finds its stride. Everything from the Helicarrier to Loki’s baiting of the Avengers, which further causes witty in-fighting amongst our heroes which is downright hilarious (“no hard feelings point break, you got a mean swing.”) However the catalyst for bringing this divided group together is the death of one of their own; Agent Coulson, sporting last year’s must have item – Loki’s spear. The death was a hard-hitting one, both on-screen and off as fans had taken the character of Coulson to their hearts after he was created especially for the screen. Of course now, Coulson lives in the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, set to premiere on US in September but that’s beside the point. The event unites our Avengers and they set off to defeat Loki in an all out war on the streets of New York. The action sequences are brilliant, with a lot of special effects crammed in; two particular favourites include Banner’s “I’m always angry” comment and the one long tracking camera shot of each Avenger fighting in the battle, flowing beautifully and ending on possibly one of the most hilarious gags in the film as Hulk punches Thor out of camera shot and sniggers. In the end, even though it sees our heroes standing tall, leaves the team understandably changed forever, with the world also knowing of their existence.
Now that over a year has passed since the film was released, we’ve learned a lot about what Marvel has planned for it’s aptly named ‘Phase two’ plan. It’s already released Iron Man 3, and they have another Thor and Captain America scheduled to be released within the next year. With Avengers 2 scheduled to be released in 2015, we learnt at this year’s comic con that the film will be called ‘Age of Ultron’, slotting another piece of the puzzle into place.
All I know is, Avengers Assemble does not get any older the more times I watch it. The jokes are still funny, the writing and the performances are still fantastically brilliant and I think it may well have been my favourite film of 2012. Shawarma anyone?
Loki: What have I to fear?
Stark: The Avengers. It’s what we call ourselves, sort of like a team – Earth’s mightiest heroes type thing.
Loki (laughs) Yes, I’ve met them
Stark: Yeah, takes us a while to get any traction, i’ll give you that one but let’s do a head count here: Your brother the demi-god; a super soldier, living legend who kinda lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins and you big fella. You’ve managed to piss off every single one of them