Avengers Assemble

HERE it is. The movie event that everyone has been waiting for. The one that has been building up ever since Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury proclaimed that he was impressed with Iron Man in a sneaky post-credits sequence. It’s the big summer blockbuster of this year and does it live up to the hype? Kind of, sort of, yeah.

The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble Electric Boogaloo or whatever it’s called, suffers from an acute case of “over-hyped summer blockbuster” syndrome. It has been hard to get away from any kind of promotion for this film and this has two effects; either you get sick of all the hullabaloo and just try to shut it out or you pin so many hopes on the film that you ultimately wind up disappointed.

But this is really the only failing of this film- yes, sometimes the plotting can seem a little off at times but overall this is an enjoyable film. Being a fan of the source material, some may even say a nerd (shock horror!), I was able to watch this film from the perspective of someone fairly well versed in Avengers lore and have little nerd moments when something was referenced or something cool happens (Hulk Smash!, that is all) but if I hadn’t been a comic book fan I definitely would have enjoyed this film the same. The beauty of The Avengers is that you don’t need to have watched the character’s solo films to get it (although, it would probably help) every character is expertly written and their back stories are fleshed in in as lightly referential a way as they need be without them being inscrutable to newcomers; a little flashback or a nod to the audience is all you need to know who the characters are and where they’re at.

Each of the heroes are given enough screen time and personality to be able to contribute to the film. Even previously minor characters are given a bigger or significant role, but none of them are spread so thin as to be forgettable, which was always the danger. I felt that the best part of this ensemble work was when The Avengers team finally got to fight together. Every single one of the heroes has their own individual fighting style, built up over the course of both their solo outings and this film, and this makes them seem all the more real to me.

Throughout the film, I kept expecting things to become a big brooding mess- I’m looking at you Joss Whedon- and, while there was some brooding, it wasn’t the main part of the film. Sections were funny, genuinely sad and emotionally impactful. Nothing was played for cheap thrills in this film, which I liked, and there was very little servicing of fan-boys for the sake of it, the last thing we would have wanted is for the entire film to be one big self-referential mess.

This is a film for everyone. Take the family, take the girl/boyfriend, take everyone so many times they get sick of it. Then buy the DVD when it comes out and make them watch it again! While it’s hardly a perfect film, it’s definitely one worth watching, people will be talking about this film for a long time after.