An action spectacular with a witty script to match its big visuals, The Avengers takes the superhero movie to unprecedented heights and establishes Joss Whedon as a blockbuster filmmaker to cherish.
Several years in the making, The Avengers concludes a drawn out journey that Marvel Studios first began with Iron Man, where their tent pole characters (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk) would team up in one massive film to the giddy delight of superhero fans everywhere.
With such a well-orchestrated tease, the question remained whether the hype of such an undertaking could be met. Answer to that is a gamma radiated, super serum filled “yes”, for Marvel had the foresight to bring in fanboy favourite Joss Whedon (creator of cult TV series Buffy and Firefly) who had the brains, balls and credibility to make not only the best superhero movie thus far, but one of the best action films seen in some time.
Whedon knows that great drama comes from great stakes and the stakes don’t get higher than the threat of total annihilation from an alien army led by mischievous Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston). With the Earth threatened, its mightiest heroes assemble under the ever watchful eye of S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Yet there is trouble in superhero paradise with egos clashing from the get go. With these characters already established in their own films, Whedon (who shares a screen story credit X-Men scribe Zac Penn) side-steps any origin story distractions and focus on other character elements, namely the vanity and trust issues these superheroes have.
The cast complies with strong performances. Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth once again prove their mettle as the power trio of Iron Man/ Captain America / Thor. Tom Hiddleston brings the evil as deceptive immortal Loki. Then there are the new kids on the block, with special mention to a wonderfully cast Mark Ruffalo who brings wit, intelligence and pain to the hot potato role of Bruce Banner / Hulk (previously played by Eric Bana and Edward Norton).
Yet the biggest star in The Avengers is Whedon, who pulls off a magnificent balancing act not only between the different personalities on screen (who all have their time to shine), but also between drama, wit and action.
And boy does Whedon especially deliver on the action front, with spectacular action sequences featured throughout culminating in the best kind of down-town smash ‘em up, alien invaders vs superheroes, action set piece one could ever wish for.
The Avengers proves that blockbuster filmmaking doesn’t have to be dumbed down to provide popcorn munching escapism. It is also proves that a superhero movie can obtain conviction without resorting to darkening its image (ala Batman).
This is action adventure filmmaking with a capital A, and sure to give other superhero movies an imposing bar to reach.