Marvel Studios made a colossal gamble over the last five years. They launched several diverse and unique comic superheroes into movie franchises, each directed by different men, from newcomer Jon Favreau to Shakespearian director Kenneth Branagh, yet all hinting at something bigger to come. Avengers Assemble is the final product; four of Marvel’s recent endeavours combined into a supersized action fest.
It is certainly the climate for such a task. We have seen excellent continuity from the Harry Potter franchise and how successful it has been because of it. Avengers Assemble brings Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor together in a true test of comic book adaptation to film, and amazingly it more than works out.
Watching their individual films – and ignoring the often blatant references to the Avengers – you would be sceptical of the characters working well in a two hour narrative, but enter writer/director Joss Whedon, famed for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly (the man has also written several Marvel comic books including X-Men.) An ensemble cast of diverse characters is this man’s bread and butter.
It shows too. Whedon’s writing style is in abundance here; the dialogue is snappy and memorable, with characters jeering and joking at each others’ faults and strangeness. Iron Man’s ever-sarcastic Tony Stark especially enjoys ripping into the stoic Thor. Having set up each character’s back story already in previous films, frees Avengers Assemble to have fun with them; their personal demons are present but underplayed in preference for team building and settling of differences.
Oh, and colossal fight scenes.
The film’s premise follows elements from the Thor and Captain America films; Thor’s brother Loki steals an artefact from S.H.I.E.L.D (a secret department of defence responsible for the Avengers Initiative) in a bid to dominate the planet. Facing a global threat, S.H.I.E.L.D’s director Nick Fury brings together the unlikely team.
Each hero has the opportunity to fight another, and surprisingly the story allows this to happen without it feeling awkward or contrived. The fights are suitably epic, memorable and very characterful (Iron Man flying into the fray while broadcasting AC/DC was a highlight!).
Marvel Studio’s has always cherished its “human superheroes”, heroes who are not without weaknesses and failings, and while the film puts a lot of the characters’ personal struggles aside, the battles they fight are more than they can handle at times. The heroes are outmatched, and their new struggle is to work together and protect those around them.
My only shortcoming about the film would be its plot hinging indefinitely from Thor and Captain America’s movies, the two weaker Marvel movie franchises. If you haven’t seen Thor, you will have no idea who Loki is. But, the film is still very entertaining and the actors know exactly what they are doing, and chances are you have seen those films if you are interested in the Avengers…
Avengers Assemble is a phenomenal success, easily pushing aside early doubts about its integrity, mostly with a storming sense of humour set to make audiences laugh out loud, explosive fight scenes and an excellent sense of continuity.