Directed By: Joss Whedon
Staring : Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson.
Commander Nick Fury of SHIELD assembles Earth’s mightiest superheroes to battle an invading alien army led my demi-god Loki. But first the Avengers have to learn to work as a team and trust eachother.
This film has been brewing on the horizon since Samuel L Jackson appeared as Nick Fury in the after credits scene in the first Iron Man film. For many fans of superhero’s, and of Marvel in particular, this is the film that had to get things right. I grew up reading Marvel comics, my favourites Thor, Hulk and Spiderman. I’d read some of the Avengers so had a passing knowledge of who and what the characters were.
Over that past few months we’re been spoiled with countless trailers, each showing off the individual characters, each giving snippets of what was to come. Just on viewing those trailers alone it was clear that giving Joss Whedon the writer/director duties was a great move and one that ensured this ensemble piece worked.
From the opening scenes setting up Loki and his plans we were straight into the action with a set piece in a SHIELD base, from there on in each of the main players was drawn into the film and each given their time to shine. This is very much a group effort and differs wilding from previous attempts at superhero group films. With the X-Men franchise they made the mistake of focusing too much on Wolverine, it would have been easy to go that route here and make the film all about Iron Man, but thankfully Whedon didn’t and in doing so made a much more focused and enjoyable film.
It’s hard to say which actor/character stands out the best, but there is one that – for me – makes the film. All of the main characters have had thier own films to establish themselves, in Iron Man’s case he’s had two. But Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk has had no set up time, he is thrust straight into the story without the comfort blanket of a previous film. Its because of this I find his interpretation of Bruce Banner and the Hulk stand out from the rest. His quiet man just trying to get by is a contrast to the unleashed fury that is the Hulk. And unlike any other big screen version this Hulk has a character all to himself. There are two scenes that highlight the Hulk as more than just a monster that smashes things up, the first where he back hands Thor with a smile on his face, and the second where he proves to Loki what puny humans can do.
There was another character that stood out for me, Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury. I’d read some of SHIELDs adventures back in the day, but it wasn’t until watching this film I realised what a dark character he is. I know he’s a spy and commander of a covert network pledged to protecting America/the World from threats, but in the Avengers he was much more than that. He played people, manipulated them to do what he wanted. In some ways his actions reminded me of 24s Jack Bauer, in that he would do anything, sacrifice anyone, to get the job done. His actions after the death of a fan favourite character were pretty cold, he virtually used the situation to bully Captain America and Iron Man into taking action. Did it need to be done, I guess yes, at this point in the film the team were dead in the water and it needed someone like Fury to look at the bigger picture.
This is a fantastic film, it ticks all the right boxes. As a fan of Marvel superheroes this is a film I’ve waited 30 + years for, and it was well worth the wait.