DVD Review: Avengers Assemble


Avengers Assemble, The Cast of Avengers Assemble

After the rush of blockbuster superhero flicks since Spiderman was ‘done properly’ back in 2002 it was inevitable that Marvel would attempt something bigger. Hulk, Iron Man 1 & 2 came & went, then Thor. By the time Captain America was released it was already well-known that Marvel were preparing to unleash them all in one go as The Avengers.

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Avengers Assemble
 Nick Fury rocking the eye patch
SHIELD, a covert military enterprise created to protect Earth, has had the Tesseract in its possession since they found it back in the 1940’s, (not that far from the frozen form of Captain America). It is a dark energy source which acts as a doorway between worlds & Loki, (the mischievous norse god last seen in Thor & played again by Tom Hiddleston), has found a way to return from exile to steal it. Once it becomes clear that he intends to use it to summon a vast, inter-galactic army, SHIELD’s one-eyed commander Nick Fury, (Samuel L Jackson), begins to assemble the Avengers: Iron Man, (Robert Downey Jnr), Captain America, (Chris Evans), Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) Hulk, (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow, (Scarlett Johansson) & Hawkeye, (Jeremy Renner).

Iron Man & Captain America, Avengers Assemble
Iron Man & Captain America stare really hard 
It’s a simple premise which manages to tie the existing storylines of two of the heroes together - Captain America & Thor.  Cap is already aware of the threat of this dark energy having encountered it in his own movie & from the outset we are given a dramatic pivot for his character as he seeks to stop it being used again. 

Thor wants to stop his brother Loki from enslaving the universe & in this tempestuous relationship we are granted another epic battle between the two and further insights into their universe-endangering rivalry. Add to that the dry wit of Iron Man & the self-deprecating powder keg that is Hulk & we find that The Avengers has managed to become a film that is not only heavily charged with menace, action, drama & tense character stand-offs but is also very funny too. The Hulk, (despite two previous outings that were somewhat pretentious starring Eric Bana and Ed Norton), is not only responsible for the film’s funnier moments but is played with such charm, vulnerability and intelligence by Mark Ruffalo you wonder why they bothered using anyone else.

Thor & Captain America, Avengers Assemble
Captain America makes use of the Sky dish
It’s to the credit of the script from a story written by Zak Penn & the film’s Director Joss Whedon, (Buffy, Angel and Firefly), that no one character appears less important than the other. Not even Captain America who appears somewhat lacklustre in the ‘super’ department, is left out. The script quickly ties them all together, makes them likeable, exposes us to their strengths, cements the purpose of the initiative as Loki’s plans come to fruition and engages the viewer in an epic, slick & well-paced two plus hours.

Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, Avengers Assemble
Scarlett Johansson is so hot the pavement blows up 
It is true that the invasion in the 3rd act looks like someone has borrowed heavily from the Tranformers: Dark of the Moon, but unlike Transformers you will know what the hell is going on. Fanboys were psyched when production of Avengers was announced & on paper the idea was awe-inspiring. And that was why I dreaded it so much. Marvel had done great jobs on Iron Man, Thor & Captain America, but in the world of Hollywood where a film can live or die by its budget I suddenly lacked the confidence that the studios wouldn’t just trot out some tired, bloated piece of an accountant’s wet dream that would make Fantastic Four look good. How was it possible to afford not one, not two but four crowd-pleasing heroes, two of which would be predominantly CGI as well as pulling in the ever bankable Samuel L Jackson & Scarlett Johannson?

Hawkeye & The Hulk, Avengers Assemble
Hawkeye envies The Hulk's 'guns'
Part of the success of Avengers is that the studio was financially able to create what they did in the first place. Had any of the principal actors been replaced with someone demanding inter-stellar cash like Tom Cruise the end result would have been dominated by one character, the plot would have been wafer thin and the CGI effects and set-pieces would not have been as slick and hi-octane. In the end, it is quite apparent that Marvel has actually created a movie not with an accountant, or with a child fond of blowing things up between one-liners, but with writers, actors and a director who know how to make a great film.

Avengers Assemble, (as it is known in the UK), is available now on Blu-ray & DVD.

Steve Gray, Guest Writer Pretty Luscious Things
Steve Gray
Review by Steve Gray who is not a Avenger but is available for the next film.

Images (c) Marvel

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