In 2005 Marvel realised they could make their own movies, the problem was that they had sold the rights to all their A-list characters. All they had left was Ant-Man, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Captain America, Twins who got their powers from unicorns and the recently acquired rights to an Iron Man film. They decided not to go with the unicorn twins, but instead with Iron Man and in 2008 they used the first “Iron Man” movie to lay the groundwork for The Avengers. Finally, in 2012 we get the most highly anticipated comic book movie of the past decade and it was worth the wait.
This is not just a Marvel movie, it’s also a Joss Whedon movie and fans of Whedon will spot his signature stamped all over it. The script is classic Whedon it’s smart, funny, dramatic, ridiculous, yet over-all brilliant. It reminds you why he was such a power-house on tv, back in the day.
The hardest challenge this movie faced was giving all The Avengers equal screen time and for the most part, they did.
Each character was served well and each actor looked like they were having the time of their lives. However, if I had to pick my one favourite actor in the film it would be Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. He is easily the best Bruce Banner we have ever seen on film, completely different to those who have gone before him but yet somehow so familiar. Interestingly Ruffalo is the first actor to play both Banner and the Hulk and Ruffalo’s Hulk is more expressive than the two CGI versions of recent years and the movie works so much better for it.
Hulk is a difficult character to put on to film, it worked in a tv series and the comics as you could build up Banner’s internal struggle with “the other guy” over multiple episodes and issues. In a film, you’re constricted to a couple of hours and it’s a difficult balance to get right, if you have too much Banner people complain that there wasn’t enough “Hulk smash”, if you have too much “Hulk Smash” people complain there wasn’t enough Banner. I think we’ve found the perfect vehicle for The Hulk, an ensemble film. Would I welcome Ruffalo in a solo Hulk film? Probably not, but he had better be in The Avengers 2.
What about the rest?
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was in Iron man 2, but she felt more like an intrusion than an equal character. Here we get a better understanding of her past and her relationship with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, which grounds the film slightly more in reality. Jeremy Renner, a man who is single-handedly taking over every action-movie franchise Hollywood is putting out, also works well. He is given the difficult task of making a bow and arrow look cool and he pulls it off effortlessly. Chris Evans, Robert Downy Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Samuel L Jackson all put in great performances.
The 3D is ok, but not essential. The 2 hours and 20 minutes fly by and you’ll leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face, just don’t leave before the end credits..
Avengers Assemble is out in the UK on April 26th and the US on May 4th.
Listen to our podcast review here.