Having already seen Joss Whedon’s other big screen effort this spring (Cabin in the Woods), I was optimistic that Avengers Assemble would, at the very least, be entertaining. Joss Whedon rarely makes anything that makes me want to fall asleep, but I must also admit that Avengers Assemble didn’t have me as excited as your average comic book geek. Something in the back of my mind knew that this film would not be my kind of comic book thing. But, as I hadn’t heard anything but praise for the Avengers, I decided to part with my £8 to see the film in 3D (not that I had a choice in that really…NPH didn’t offer the 2D alternative).
The Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) are called into action when the dastardly Loki steals the powerful Tesseract (or the Cosmic Cube for those who’d prefer to stick to the original source material..) and threatens to rein alien terror down on the world using a portal that the Tesseract can open. Loki, played by the wonderful Tom Hiddleston, also plays mind tricks with our heroes along the way, the worst/best of which brings forth the Hulk. The film culminates in a final battle on the streets of New York, which is just fantastic and it is where you really get your monies worth.
If you are looking for 160 minutes of entertainment, then Avengers Assemble is definitely the film for you. It had many strong points; witty comedy, rip-roaring action, and er, Captain America (swoon). Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk are a definite highlight, as is Thor’s slightly ridiculous British accent. Hulk steals the show during the final battle, smashing ‘demi-god’ Loki into submission in fine fashion. A man/beast after my own heart.
I was glad I saw the film, but my worst fears were confirmed. Did I laugh? Yes, a great many times. Was I transfixed by the action? Oh, hell yes. But did I care about the characters? No. Don’t get me wrong, they are good, entertaining characters but there just wasn’t the depth there that I like in comic book heroes. Now, I realise this might have something to do with the fact that I haven’t seen any of the Iron Man films, any of the Hulk films or Thor, and I’ve only seen Captain America: The First Avenger because I read it featured both WWII and superheroes and I thought ‘gee whiz, that sounds like my kind of party.’ I don’t know too much about the characters either because they weren’t my comic book thing when I was a kid. Apart from the Amazing Spiderman, I am more of a DC comics girl. Marvel has it’s moments, most of them involving Spiderman or the X-Men, but my interest largely lies with DC’s Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the delightfully feline Catwoman. I like my superheroes to be slightly tortured, questioning what it really means to be a hero, juggling a double-life and continually trying to live up to all that ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ jazz.
The plot of Avengers Assemble also just felt overly drawn out. The film is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, and up until the last hour or so the film fell a bit flat for me. This, again, might have been because of my lack of complete understanding that would come from having seen the individual’s previous films. It is something that I hope to rectify soon, and perhaps Avengers Assemble will take on a whole new meaning and I will have to eat these words. But I’m quietly confident that they still won’t surpass the complexity and intelligence of Spiderman or Batman. I was also hoping that Black Widow and Hawkeye would get a bit more screen time, as I think those are the characters who could have a really interesting back story and thus bring a bit more human interest to the film. Jeremy Renner did a great job as Hawkeye and has possibly even succeeded in changing my mind about his upcoming turn in The Bourne Legacy (see my Guide to Summer 2012 for more details). He really is a fine actor and I am very pleased to see that Hollywood picked up on that after his fantastic performance in The Hurt Locker.
This was the superhero film that I was least looking forward to this summer, and I dare say it will remain thus once The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises have their say and show us how comic book heroes should be done (in my world anyway). But, none the less, if you are apathetic to comic books or just like a solidly entertaining film then I’m sure the Avengers will deliver in droves for you. For the fellow DC geeks among us, I’d say see it and enjoy it for what it is (i.e. don’t keep thinking ‘the Justice League would be so much better’), but see it in 2D. The 3D aspect of the film completely passed me by, and only helped to strengthen my growing apathy to this technological ‘advance’.