We at the Comic Guru had a fantastic trip to the cinema on Thursday 19th 2012, for a pre-screening of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. And here's our official review...
If this film proves one thing, it’s that Joss Whedon is a god among film makers.
From the moment the news of this film leaked I’ve been looking forward to its release; and with the release of each solo film (The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor and Captain America) the excitement and anticipation continued to grow. But in the back of my mind there was a little voice of worry; after all it was such a huge concept and to get all these characters and elements together was a mammoth task, one that would either fail or succeed. There really was no middle ground as far as I was concerned. And then the news that sent my anticipation into high orbit came out; Joss Whedon would not only be directing the film, but writing it, too! Recipe for success!
I was not disappointed.
I have always been a fan of Whedon’s work, and always been a fan of The Avengers, especially the early issues (I’ll confess I’ve lost track with most of the recent stuff, and my knowledge of current comic continuity is severely lacking), but the good thing about this film is that you don’t need a mass amount of knowledge to understand what’s going on. All the ground work was laid in the preceding films, of course, but does that mean you’ll have needed to see them to follow this film? I’d say ‘no’. The team is assembled in such a way that you learn all you need to know when you need to know it. Whedon’s script is as intelligent as one has come to expect; the action, pathos, humour, drama and character development is woven so neatly together that there is not a single moment of superfluous material. Everything written is essential to the climax of the film. There are a few moments of quiet, but these moments are full of wonderful character interaction and wit, and they also afford the viewer a chance to get their breath back before the next bout of pure adrenalin infused action.
Many people have been concerned about Mark Ruffalo taking on the rule of Bruce Banner, some even expecting the Hulk to be sidelined by the other characters. Well, those fears are laid to rest. The Hulk is a key element of the plot, and is a character that drives some of the funniest moments in the film. I wish I could tell you what they are (I really do!), but to do so would spoil a lot of the film. Needless to say, those scenes will have you roaring in laughter (actually, that’s the only issue with this film I have – there are moments in the script of comedy gold, and Whedon most certainly knew that. Moments where the entire theatre was consumed in a tsunami of laughter. Alas, the laughter drowns out the following few lines of dialogue – I hope those lines were flotsam, and not essential to the plot, since no one heard them). Raffalo plays Banner with a nice touch of charm, and mountains of humour. I was a big fan of Edward Norton’s performance in The Incredible Hulk (although, of course, it goes without saying that Bill Bixby still maintains the crown as the definitive Banner), but Raffalo exceeds Norton’s performance in spades. In fact, one of my concerns was that with such a huge cast of characters and quality actors (actual movie stars!), not everyone would get a chance to shine. I shouldn’t have worried (I must have forgot Whedon’s skill with ensemble shows). All characters are given moments to shine. Not only good character moments, but each one is essential to the story. No character is left out – even the minor SHIELD characters get some great moments (watch out for the dude who, once Nick Fury leaves the bridge of the SHIELD boat (and that needs to be seen to be believed), turns back to playing some random space invaders game – you know, as all office workers do once the boss turns his back).
I really want to talk about the climax of the film, but it’s tough to review a film that’s not out on general release yet. Let me just say – AWESOME! In the most literal sense of the word. Throughout the film we have some real tension between the leads (I don’t want to call them the Avengers, since they’re not at that point), where they are forced and manipulated into scenarios where they have to work together and put aside their personal conflicts, but by the time we get to the final showdown, they really come together as a team. And thus the Avengers are born; kicking serious ass, and repelling an alien invasion on a massive scale. And doing so with a wonderful line in humour.
Avengers Assemble redefines the superhero film genre. Mark my words; this will be the benchmark by which all future superhero films will be measured.
Oh, and a final word. Do NOT get up out of your seat until the end credits finish. Do so at your peril. J
Avengers Assemble Pre-Release Review © Andy Frankham-Allen & The Comic Guru 2012. All rights reserved. Parts of this review may be used for promotional purposes, but please credit the source.