Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers (or to give it its stupid title Avengers Assemble) is one of the most entertaining films I have seen in quite a while. Managing to avoid the pitfalls of making a ensemble film, Joss Whedon has managed to weave together the heroes and personalities from several great films into a tapestry of non-stop action, which never-the-less still has a heart. It is also more jam packed with humour than a lot of comedies I’ve seen.

The one main advantage that an Avengers film was always going to have was that it didn’t have to explain the genesis of any of its characters. Thanks to some great films over the years we know what an arrogant playboy Tony Stark is, we know how Steve Rogers became Captain America and why a Second World War soldier is still just as young today, we know the relationship between Thor and his brother Loki, and we know that there’s some weird blue energy than ties them all together. The flip side of this was balancing all these characters out, giving them all enough screen time to shine, and making them all connect in a believable way. And Joss Whedon did it perfectly.

A lot of the humour comes from Robert Downey Jr who once again demonstrates that only he could play Tony Stark; and while his relationship with Captain America, Thor, or Mark Ruffalo’s excellent portrayal of Bruce Banner isn’t the heart and soul of the film, it’s these connections that help make the film so enjoyable. Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as Loki. I know a lot of people thought his performance in Thor was really good, but in all honestly I didn’t really think it was that noticeable, but here he is superb. In film of great acting talent, Tom’s is perhaps the standout performance.

The action of course is all tremendous. I saw this in 2D, and couldn’t see how 3D would have made it any better. The final part of the film is non-stop action (actually most of the film is), but it was never boring or repetitive, and the camera moves were fluid enough so that it was never confusing. I also liked the several little Joss Whedon touches that really made the film his. For example I thought that the shuttle that the Avengers fly had more than a passing resemblance to Serenity; and there were also quite a few quick zooms and jerky focusing like in Firefly. On a different note, I thought Loki’s helmet must have been modelled on Hellboy!

Great cast, great action, great story, great film. I’m sure there is a lot more to discuss, but 1) I’m sure other people will do it anyway, and 2) I want to see it again so that I can notice more detail!