Cinema Review: Avengers Assemble Simon Fitzjohn April 20, 2012 Movie Reviews 2966 Settling in for a full-blown Hollywood blockbuster usually means disappoint is 90 minutes or so away – take the recent Wrath of the Titans for example. But occasionally, and I mean very occasionally, a film comes along that, despite the incessant hype and the barrage of clips, trailers and TV spots, still delivers the goods. And boy does Avengers Assemble fit that bill – a stark (see what I’ve done there) opposite to the bloated, dour, big-budget movies we have become so used to over recent years. A fantastically enjoyable thrill-ride from start to finish, Joss Whedon’s romp not only meets expectations, it completely blows them out of the water. It’s two hours of breakneck entertainment, with stunning effects, a simple yet effective story and best of all, oodles of fun. All the recent Marvel epics have obviously been building to this, with teasers, post-credit sequences and other morsels whetting the appetite of fanboys worldwide. After a (cheesy it has to be said) piece of voiceover mumbo-jumbo regarding the Tesseract – a piece of top-secret science that has the ability to open portals to other dimensions, things kick into gear when Loki (a deliciously villainous Tom Hiddleston) zips through the portal attempting to bring Earth to its knees. In fact, there are echoes of Terence Stamp from Superman 2 here, with Loki even roaring ‘Kneel before Loki’ a couple of times. Anyhow, Loki has some nice powers to him, and with a potential army on the way, earth’s future hangs in the balance. Time for Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and SHIELD to try and save the day by resurrecting the Avengers project, a failed attempt at bringing together the world’s superheroes. So, while Loki roams the earth turning people to his side, Fury rounds up Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America and The Hulk to turn the tide. As if that was not enough, Thor decides to throw himself into the mix – nipping down from Asgard when he sees his brother up to no good. Anyone who thinks these inflated egos will simply hold hands and join forces though is in for a rude awakening, as the first half of the movie is a series of squabbles and fistfights as the heroes jostle for supremacy. But eventually the penny drops, and these larger-than-life characters set about foiling Loki and his invading army. Whedon has totally nailed this – both in terms of direction and dialogue. The script positively crackles with humour, with some genuine laugh-out-load moments. Most of these, it has to be said, centre around Dr Banner/The Hulk, with constant teases of the big green man leaving the audience more than ready when he finally appears. Everyone is on top form here, with Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo all taking centre stage at one point, without hogging the limelight overall. And Hiddleston makes a stunning villain as Loki, a delicious mix of menace, wit and charisma. The action sequences are genuinely exciting, with New York getting dismantled in spectacular fashion. In fact, I am struggling to think of anything negative to say about this, and if the preview audience were anything to go by, I don’t think I’m alone. The Avengers Assemble proves that rather than running out of steam, this Marvel juggernaut may be just getting going.