Kids (and adults) who have always wondered what would happen if Marvel comic book heroes Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America got together to kick butt finally get their dream come true with this terrific blockbuster movie.
Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of mysterious organisation S.H.I.E.L.D, has been keeping an eye on all of the rogue heroes he has crossed paths with in the past: millionaire Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man (Downey Jr), Nordic god Thor (Hemsworth), Dr Bruce Banner, who has a tendency to go a bit green and grumpy when he gets mad (Ruffalo), chemically-enhanced WWII hero Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America (Evans) and the only girl of the group, Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow from Iron Man 2, as played by Johansson). While none of them work well with others, he needs them to get over their own egos and become a team to stop Thor’s sinister brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has stolen a power source that could destroy Earth.
Bringing all these comic book heroes together in one movie is a genius move, and it’s handled expertly by writer/director Joss Whedon (best known as the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer). Not once do you feel there are too many characters flying around (a problem Batman & Robin, for one, suffered from) – in fact, the only criticism of the film is that there could have been more of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye – as each hero is given their chance to shine, spout witticisms and punch a baddie or two.
As you’re watching the collection of cool actors trade barbs with each other, it’s clear they, and Whedon, are out to have fun. And fun this most definitely is, packed with humour, action and adventure (and even satisfying glimpses of what has happened to lesser Marvel characters such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts). The performances are great, too, with Ruffalo a stand-out as the sweet Banner who turns into a jaw-dropping Hulk thanks to motion-capture animation, Downey Jr bringing many of the laughs, Sam Jackson finally getting something to do as the man who has – perhaps unwisely – brought all these heroes together, and Clark Gregg (as S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Coulson) bringing real heart to his increased role. Meanwhile, Hiddleston matches each goodie scene for scene as the Asgardian bad guy with more than a few tricks up his sleeve.
Clearly aimed at fans of the Marvel hero movies that have gone before (it does help if you’ve seen at least one Iron Man movie and Thor but it’s not essential) but just as fun for everyone else, this is a truly joyous comic book adventure that stays true to its origins while adding lots of humour and style. Major plaudits should go to Whedon, a skilled writer (he also wrote this year’s The Cabin In The Woods and the first Toy Story) who deserves awards by the bucketload for a movie that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and chuckling at the same time.
Is Avengers Assemble suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This has less violence than a Transformers movie but is classified a 12A certificate for the action sequences and a tiny bit of swearing.
Young children may be scared by Loki and his ‘army’ but children over the age of 8 should be fine.