Four years and five features is long enough to be kept in suspense’s cruel clutches. So, I’ll cut to the quick...
Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is spectacular.
The film is witty, thrilling, gorgeous, stuffed with sensational set-pieces and, best of all, its sheer quality comes as a complete shock! You might even say it’s “Marvellous”, though the Humour-Police would lynch you for it...
Hawkeye: His superpower is being wicked! Enlarge
It’s possible my ‘Hulk goggles
’ have yet to lift, a half day later. But it’s incredibly difficult to assess such a monumental venture with anything remotely resembling objectivity. Especially when your heart continues to thump with the giddy memory of innumerable gags, quips and stunning action scenes!
The Avengers (Avengers Assemble in UK and Ireland) is too grand a project to waste time detailing the plot’s machinations or each character’s arc. Just rest assured, Whedon has your back! Everyone, EVERYONE gets their time to shine/shield/shoot/smash.
And oh, how you’ll love the smash!
And I don’t simply refer to the quartet of Captain Wow, Mecha Black Sabbath Fan, The Norse God of Flowing Golden Locks
of the rampaging snot green behemoth. Everyone from archer Hawkeye to good old shouty one-eye himself (Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury) gets something great to say and something even better to do.
A rare, sedate moment of walking... Enlarge
Both Whedon’s scripting and direction glitter as fight scenes, vehicle chases, special effects and set pieces are sown together with intrigue, subterfuge and droll banter. In fact his pacing is so breathless, his discourse so deft, it is a MARVEL (So lynch me!) he has endured such problems with film historically.
The man’s grasp over the medium of storytelling is so innate, it’s a shame Whedon doesn’t provide an annual workshop for his Hollywood contemporaries...
The Avengers is such a sensory overload, I’m loath to elaborate further on its inner workings. I WILL allay any fears that it has become ‘The Robert Downy Jr show’. It most assuredly has not.
Others may worry all the best stuff has been spoiled via its marketing campaign. That was but a taste.
Some might be tempted to even draw comparisons with 2011’s Dark of the Moon. Indeed, both feature broad daylight finales cast across a citywide confrontation. The similarities finish there.
To state Whedon out-Bays Michael Bay is inaccurate. Instead, he makes the very notion of Bayhem redundant.
The Avengers’ final push is undeniably epic in scope, yet presented with a clarity and vigour widely absent in blockbusters. Simultaneously its coated in a breathless intimacy and irresistible charm previously found only on the smaller scale.
And, you know, HULK!
How do I love SMASH? Let me count the ways! Enlarge
Sadly, the Avengers is not without fault, I suppose.
There could be twenty whole minutes without action, during which laughs are scarce. Similarly some (but mercifully, only SOME) of the hand to hand sequences could benefit from a wider angle, a clearer shot. And basically, through no fault of its own, it hits cinemas within the same two month window as THE RAID.
And honestly, NO film is walking away from THAT comparison...
Still Marvel has somehow crafted an experience far grander than the sum of its parts. While previous entries Thor, Iron Man and Captain America were merely fine (good at a stretch, my final offer) The Avengers is phenomenal, raising the Superhero-Flick bar to stratospheric heights.
Meanwhile, Thor's Superpower is Property Damage Enlarge
Perhaps it’s this excess of endorphins and testosterone, but for all its ‘artistic merit’ I honestly doubt Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises will trump Whedon’s Avengers.
But enough babble! If you wish to know JUST how good The Avengers is, descriptors such as spectacular, phenomenal, exceptional or unparalleled seem a little unsuitable here. Instead, try this one on for size...
The Avengers is HULK SMASH!!!!!!!!!