Given that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the best TV shows ever (fact not opinion) and given that Joss Whedon is a bit of a genius when he’s on form I had high hopes for this film.
On the other hand, fears that it couldn’t possibly live up to its hype or, even worse, that it could end up being The League of Extraordinary Gentleman made me wary. Relief. It was fab and exactly what a comic book action film should be: smart, funny and full of…erm…action.
Whedon handles the ensemble cast with flair. This could easily have been the Robert Downey Jnr show with some other people wandering about in spandex but everyone had a chance to shine (either that or they’re all basking in the reflected glow of RDJ’s enormous charisma).
Considering that there was so much backstory to pack in the film never felt like it lost pace. The characters had more subtlety and nuance than I expected and the CGI didn’t overwhelm the film. I particularly liked Ruffalo’s portrayal of The Hulk and felt that the film really benefited from more Banner / less Hulk. And the brief cameo by Harry Dean Stanton was pure genius.
I also loved the fact that while all the male superheroes had superpowers or special weapons Black Widow simply kicked some old school butt. Her fight scenes were great and her character had some real depth to it – she wasn’t relegated to totty in a catsuit.
Loki made an excellent villain with Hiddleston’s soft-spoken delivery making him seem much more menacing than if he’d strode around bellowing.
The banter was sharp and very funny and whenever it felt like things might get too serious or you felt like you knew where a scene was going there’d be a gag or a twist to prick the pomposity and take it somewhere else. One of the many, many reasons why I love Joss Whedon.
If there was a downside it was filming it in the current tech du jour 3D. It added nothing to the film and the glasses were irritating, especially when you already wear glasses. But, this minor whinge aside Avengers Assemble was one of the most enjoyable action films I’ve seen in ages.
Michael Bay: watch and learn…
Originally posted 15 May 2012