out of Five
Running time: 135
The Avengers is an awesome, action-packed extravaganza. The best of its kind thanks to the enviable skill of its writer/director Joss Whedon. It has been a long time since I've seen a film that I would happily walk straight back into the cinema after viewing, and watch all over again.
What's it all about?
THE AVENGERS starts with the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who comes to Earth to enslave humanity, but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits super heroes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to form THE AVENGERS and help save Earth from Loki and his alien army.
Joss Whedon so sharply defines his avengers that there's one for every child to identify with. It recalls for me moments in my own childhood when my mates would argue over which character we wanted to "be". I can hear children today going through the same. "I wanna be Iron Man!" "No! I wanna be Iron Man!" "OK." "Then, I'll be Hulk." No doubt the only girl in our all boy troop would happily be Black Widow. It was all playful in-fighting, but a necessary ritual before any make believe.
The Avengers builds to a climactic action sequence that's almost exactly the same as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with one crucial difference. This is not offensively bad. The action sequences are everything I wanted and more, much more. So thrilling, and often intense. The film is almost entirely constructed from two major action set pieces taking place on an enormous floating airship and downtown Manhattan as it becomes under attack from Loki's army.
What surprised me though was that the movie would be so clear about its controlling ideas. Here we have an action movie that is deeply ambivalent about nuclear energy as both a sustainable energy source and a dangerous weapon, but the film is also fiercely critical of governments that would rather invest in nuclear weapons than sustainable energy. And even though Nick Fury had the foresight to assemble a dream team, he doesn't always have the best intentions.
I wouldn't hesitate to highly recommend THE AVENGERS to those salivating at the opportunity to see all their favourite comic book heroes in one Hollywood blockbuster, but to all men and boys and even girls that cross my path. It is the ultimate in man-child, action-movie entertainment. The best of its kind, dare I say, it maybe the best film I've seen this year, so far anyway.