Film & TV

Review – The Avengers

‘King of Cult’ Joss Whedon has served up a crucial lesson in how to balance huge expectations and a smorgasbord of Hollywood talent in this year’s must-see superhero spectacular The Avengers (or if you’re in the UK… Avengers Assemble. For all intents and purposes we’ll call it The Avengers.)

Despite the huge number of potential pitfalls associated with a project this huge, The Avengers is a classic case of a studio getting it right. Where in many cases the number of protagonists involved might see the film become jumbled, the blend of characters from Robert Downey Jr.’s “genius, billionaire, playboy… philanthropistto Samuel L. Jackson’s eye-patched Nick Fury captures the imagination of the comic books and translates it effortlessly to the big screen.

And what a spectacle it is, witnessing Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner going toe to toe with an alien army against a New York backdrop is a joy to behold.  The sheer scale of the action and ambition of the set pieces is breath-taking, yet the film takes it in its stride and Whedon’s motley crew of heroes fit perfectly. But it isn’t all about the heroes…

Every superhero needs an enemy and the group of A-List heroes are but all usurped by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Given the chance to build on his convincing big screen debut in Thor, Hiddleston gives us a villain with style and a genuine sense of evil. His scenes offer some of the most enjoyable viewing in the film’s 140 minutes and without giving anything away, by far the funniest. That’s not to say that humour is a rarity; Avengers offers a number of genuine laugh-out-loud moments balanced with touches of heartbreak and poignancy. While the epic action scenes and over-the-top set pieces will be what attracts its audience, these moments make it all seem more human, more real.

That’s not to say that The Avengers is perfect. If I were to have a couple of gripes I’d say that Cobie Smulders as SHIELD Operative Maria Hill could have been given a bit more screen time rather than being little more than Samuel L. Jackson’s right hand. At the risk of being really picky, sometimes it was all a bit too much; The Avengers is quite possibly the only film where a nuclear warhead could simply be considered almost nothing more than a mishap. Or did this just add to the grandeur and gravity of the accompanying scenes? The box office smash seemed to agree with the latter and it’s no surprise that Avengers 2 has already been commissioned by Disney. If it’s anything on the original, we’re in for a treat. Disney, if you’re reading this just make sure Mr Whedon is involved again.

And one last point, don’t ever leave a Marvel film while the credits are rolling.

David Straw

Film & TVFilm Reviews

Tom is a budding film reviewer, hell bent on providing informed opinions on the latest movie releases to those who need them, whether they like it or not.
10 Comments on this post.
  • Steve
    11 May 2012 at 11:33
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    I am sorry but this movie did not get it right. This movie was brutal and boring to watch. 5 Stars? Did we go to the same movie?

    • Eric John
      11 May 2012 at 12:55
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      I am sorry, but you simply have poor taste…spread your misery and cynicism somewhere else please.

  • Tom
    11 May 2012 at 17:13
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    I am a hard person to please when it comes to movies. The Avengers was not only enjoyable, but Trilling. It gave just enough humor, as well a just a touch to the heart. This was exciting, and well balanced. I say keep Mr. Whedon doing the Marvel movies. He has done the best work to date as far as i am concerned.

  • Dave
    11 May 2012 at 21:57
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    @ Steve: apologies for upsetting you to the magnitude I have. Since reading your comment I’ve been back to the cinema and can confirm that Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is neither brutal nor boring… right up your street

  • Dominic
    11 May 2012 at 22:14
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    Dear Steve, I thought this movie was pretty good. For me not a five star-er, but by no means “boring” and certainly not “brutal”. Perhaps you mean brutish, as it was at times unsophisticated. But who the hell cares?! It’s a big blockbuster, I wanted a light-hearted romp and that’s what I got. Are your inflammatory views on the “brutal” and “boring” nature of the film in fact just an effort to seem more cultured?

  • Mal
    12 May 2012 at 10:45
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    I liked it. It was good fun, and for a Hollywood blockbuster, quite well written. I would give it four stars within it’s own genre, but you can hardly compare it to modern greats can you?

    Having said that, I did have one or two minor gripes. Such as the hilarious A-team style lack of deaths among even basic on-lookers in the final scene (the Aliens must have been taught by the Russians from Goldeneye). Also the inexplicable change from tense and genuinely frightening Hulk, to controlled comedian Hulk, was a little irritating. And, as always with a blockbuster of this magnitude, the plot and ending was completely predictable.

    I make these points because I think reviewers are getting a bit OTT in their reviews. Yes, it was a good film, excellent within it’s genre, and it delivered where many others have failed. But this was no five-star extravaganza which changed or perfected or did anything of any real note in the industry.

    So my final words are, enjoy it for what it was, by all means, but have no illusions, this was not a five star film in the wider scheme of things. This was a bit of fun, and should be treated as such.

  • Edward Haynes
    12 May 2012 at 15:51
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    I would of given this film five stars, I thought it was brilliant. I agree with Tom as I thought that its sense of humour was its best feature. I fear people seem to be under the misconception that if I film is fun it can’t be a five star film. It didn’t set out to be a thought provoking drama and did exactly what it needed to. I also think its sense of humour was refreshing in comparison to the trend in this genre to take your self very seriously. (new spiderman trailer being a example)

  • Malc
    12 May 2012 at 23:27
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    I think the whole 5 star issue bottles down to one thing: did you leave the cinema with a massive grin on your face? Which I certainly did, regardless of the fact that it wasn’t the most technically brilliant or most thought provoking film ever, and I think it’s unfair to judge a film solely on those terms as that’s not what the Avengers set out to do, but it was undeniably the film it set out to be.

  • benjamin
    18 May 2012 at 11:31
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    Wow, you guys analyse things way too much.

    It’s a super-hero film for crying out loud, not an in-depth philosophical take on psychology.

    You’ll probably be calling me a “delinquent” or “imbecile”, which I don’t really mind.

    A five star film can mean different things to different people. Lighten up and enjoy it as an experience, it’s not an exam, you dont get marks for giving an over complicated answer.

    Hulk was awesome and the fight between the super hero’s were pretty damn epic!

    Go and see it, I recommend in iMax 3D 😉

  • Dan
    22 May 2012 at 13:19
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    Why can’t a superhero film be philosophical? This movie, and superheroes in general explore a whole range of themes and ideas that are interesting and important. Superheroes aren’t just flicks to entertain children. By studying the people that we idolise, heroes, we can learn a hell of a lot about what it means to be human, and what we value as a society. The Avengers was a fantastic movie on so many levels; the character interactions, the special effects and action sequences, the exploration of ideas behind being a hero. Just because the characters and dressed in costumes, don’t assume the movie is dumb or has no deeper meaning.

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