The Avengers

Director: Joss Whedon (2012)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth
Find it: IMDB

Here in the UK by some trickery of Loki, The Avengers goes by another, much stupider name. I suppose Marvel wanted to disassociate this film with its 1998 incarnation. So ashamed are the studio of that Uma Thurman slash Ralph Fiennes bomb that even the character names have been changed for Joss Whedon's reboot. They're still fairly recognisable though: Scarlett Johansson can go around calling herself Black Widow all she wants, she's definitely playing the Emma Peel part. And jolly well she does it too. The role of Steed is vastly reduced, but Clark Gregg brings charm and stoicism to the character. Not an umbrella though, which is disappointing. 

Peel and Steed are minor characters though, compared to The Avengers' newest recruits. There's Iron Man (Downey Jr) who has a smart mouth and flies around in an iPod suit listening to Black Sabbath. Thor (Hemsworth) is a Norse God with a massive hammer and great designer stubble. Captain America (Evans) is a man out of time; a relic from World War II, he dresses like your granddad and calls ladies "ma'am". You reportedly wouldn't like Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) when he's angry, although his Hulk gets the funniest moments in the film. And Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has a bow and arrow. When Asgardian asshole Loki (Tom Hiddleston) threatens to take over the world, the Avengers must assemble to protect all humanity.   

Unless The Dark Knight Rises or Prometheus pull something pretty damn fantastic out of their respective bags, The Avengers is going to be my favourite film of 2012. It could never have matched my ridiculously high expectations, but it comes very, very close. As Thor and Iron Man began knocking lumps out of one another ("doth mother know you weareth her drapes?") I was giggling like a girl. And then, again, as Thor punched the Hulk in the face. Come the finale, I was beginning to know what multiple orgasm feels like.  

It's an imperfect epic: the plot is silly and a little saggy. Samuel L Jackson does nothing for me as Fury (I still dream of Clint Eastwood). I really wanted to see the whole team have to fight Hulk, not just Thor. Captain America feels like a guest star rather than one of the big hitters - and his costume looks awful. But it's just too spectacular for my nerdy soul to not wholeheartedly love. I hadn't thought much of Loki in Thor, but in The Avengers he feels like a genuine threat. And a foul-mouthed one, too. Its apocalyptic endgame is similar to that of Transformers: Dark of the Moon but in emphasising character over thrills and spills, it feels very different. If it's fun watching the Avengers fight amongst themselves (in a series of battles that feel very Marvel vs Capcom) it's fullt incredible to see them put aside their differences to become team-mates.

With The Avengers, Marvel may just have punched themselves into a mighty deep hole. The individual characters' sequels are soon to follow, but I don't know how satisfied I can be with just Captain America on his own, Thor riding solo or Tony Stark without his fellow Avengers to riff off've. With this wrapped and The Dark Knight Rises on the horizon, I really don't envy the next batch of superhero flicks.  



  1. I agree about Cap's new suit. Ever since the previews I though "What the fuck did they do?" It looked great in the first movie, why'd they make it look so tacky and fuck the colors up like that. What the hell happened!?

  2. I too much preferred his uniform in 'Captain America' (although I think it's impossible to make it not look silly). I see what they were trying to do, but it reminded me too much of the silly showbiz costume they had him wearing in that film's spoof sequences. Blame Agent Coulson and his crappy costume design skills.