It can be difficult to determine the start of the summer in this part of the world. One obvious clue is the clocks going forward by one hour and the other slightly more obvious hint is the sudden emergence of superhero movies made with gargantuan budgets in multiplexes all over the Northern Hemisphere.
Fortunately, with the release of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, this summer promises to be no different. And fortunately again, Assemble promises not so much to be a superhero movie but a kind of superhero orgy characterised by a frenzy of flowing capes, mutating monsters, exploding spaceships and infinitely expanding egos. Overall the best attributes of any decent summer blockbuster.
Following on from where Thor left off last year, the Norse god of the same name’s sociopath brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – having survived exile from his home planet Asgard – decides to call upon the service of a motley crew of war mongering extra terrestrials called the Chitauri in the hope of enslaving the human race and increasing his sense of god like grandeur.
In response Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of secret military organization S.H.I.E.L.D, calls on a group of ‘special’ individuals whose back stories are familiar from numerous Marvel Comic’s adaptations. These include: resurrected war hero Captain America (Chris Evans), gamma ray science wiz Bruce Banner, plus his rather green and slightly scary looking alter ego the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), along with the charismatic and inconceivably loaded Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and lastly the hammer wielding god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Not to mention the S.H.I.E.L.D team itself, whose chief employees Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together pack a very serious punch.
Despite the mind boggling effects and brain numbing action though it’s really the chemistry between the characters, which works so well. For example the mixture of Captain America’s earnest heroism and Stark’s pretentious wit is spot on. Whilst the sibling rivalry between alpha male Thor and malevolent Loki is quite believable. That said, Downey Jr’s intrepid performance as Stark/Iron Man does threaten to steal the show on numerous occasions.
That’s not to say that Assemble does not contain a number of flaws, it’s just to say that when you are watching Mjolnir (the hammer of Thor) flying through the stratosphere or a giant green gamma monster battering the eternal life out of an alien god through a pair of 3D glasses you might not notice, or care.
Despite the film’s length (143 mins by my watch) and a slight lack of dramatic tension in places, writer/director Joss Whedon’s script is continually energetic and genuinely entertaining throughout.
Avengers Assemble is now showing at cinemas nationwide.