As we continue our look back at the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Pheby gets the whole gang together and revisits The Avengers.
It's a risk putting a large group of Marvel superheroes together in one pumped up, chest flexing movie. Each of them has their own following, which could become a distraction. Add to that a collection of very talented actors and it could easily become a potential powder keg with some idiot holding a match waiting for an opportunity to create havoc.
All this preamble to one side because, thankfully, The Avengers excelled in all areas. There was no 'match wielding idiot', instead Marvel wisely entrusted Joss Whedon with both writing and directing duties, and he did a superb job of molding the group into a credible collection of S.H.E.I.L.D. recruits.
There's Robert Downey Jr as arrogant mouth almighty Tony Stark/Iron Man. Chris Hemsworth as Thor (resembling a heavy metal guitarist), Chris Evans (not the ginger DJ) as Captain America and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. They are joined by Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow, who appears to have been squeezed into her outfit by syringe. Johansson provides the glamtidote to all the testosterone and muscle flexing, even if at times she seems as if she was at odds with the genre, and although she doesn't get a sizable chunk of the action, she does brighten things up considerably. I have to give extra credit to Mark Ruffalo as brainy Bruce Banner, the alter ego of the heaving Hulk. He gives the role something that it was missing in the solo films with Edward Norton and Eric Bana, both of whom left me cold, uninterested and bored with their portrayals of the muscle bound lime. Finally, there's Samuel L Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Boss Nick Fury. Yes, it's more shouty stuff from Sam the Man who's eyes seem to bulge out of his head even when there's nothing to get terribly excited about, but that's his style, visual Marmite.
Quite a gathering there, and quite a challenge to give all the characters the perfect amount of screen time needed. Somehow The Avengers manages to pull it off with style and aplomb. Almost from the word go the movie explodes into life, leaving you fidgeting in your seat for all the right reasons.
The story is absurd to a degree but it's a joyous outing that pulls you along by the coat tails and energizes the audience. Thor's sibling, the highly entertaining and desperately naughty Loki (played brilliantly by Tom Hiddleston) has his heart set on World domination (that old chestnut). It appears his plan is entirely possible as Loki has done a deal with a race of extraterrestrials known as the Chitauri (not from a planet of small dogs). In return for obtaining a translucent blue "thing" that has unprecedented power, Loki will be given an army to assist in the conquering of Earth.
That "thing", the Tesseract, activates and opens a wormhole allowing Loki to reach Earth and make off with it. Nick Fury activates the Avengers Initiative, and so it's up to our new team of superheroes to track Loki down and stop him and his dastardly plan. Our heroes have to jettison their considerable collective egos to face the impending menace or risk being 'Super' on a planet made up entirely of dust and cockroaches - easy choice then! Tensions are exposed within the group when the intentions of S.H.E.I.L.D. regarding the Tesseract become clear. They plan to use it as a weapon to protect the planet, thus adding a moral dilemma into the proceedings, one which is entirely welcome.
In short, The Avengers is an effortless bowl of triumphs and treats. A dynamic movie, full of action and drama which is thoroughly entertaining. Upon its release it breathed new life into the genre and showed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has the potential to run and run - in the right hands of course. What more can I say about it that hasn't already been said a thousand times before? The Avengers simply is one of the finest examples of a comic book movie, and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn't get what's on offer.
Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half
English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting
on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film
abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town
of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter