We knew he could. We hoped he would. And Joss Whedon did - he delivered a fun, action-packed popcorn-fest with a heart. A script full of zingers, well-thought out action that enables each character a wee bit of development whilst retaining continuity with their individual Marvel movie franchises. Building on 'Captain America', 'Thor,' 'Iron Man,' and 'The Incredible Hulk,' Whedon brings it all together in a movie as funny as it is action-packed (delights include Iron Man telling Hawkeye: "Hop on, Legolas!" and, well I won't spoil it - but a wonderful retort from Hulk to Loki's posturing!) Solid acting (the cast are clearly having a ball), great special effects (although forget the 3D - see it as it was shot - in good ol' fashioned no-nonsense 2D), and the type of scripting and direction we've come to expect of the man who brought us the brilliant 'Firefly' on TV and the superb 'Serenity' on the big screen. Imagine for a moment if the same care went into the character and script development of the headache-inducing dullness that was 'Transformers' 2 and 3, 'John Carter,' 'Battleship,' or 'Clash of the Sh*tans' movies. Whereas those monolithic monstrosities had great CGI and art direction, but precious little else, 'The Avengers' starts from the place where all solid entertainment should begin - the page. CGI alone does not a decent movie make. You need characters to care about, a decent plot and at least a modicum of dramatic tension. Add a sprinkling of humour to offset the ridiculous premise of any superhero movie and you have fun family entertainment (it is a Disney movie after all!)
Black Widow has a surprising amount to do and Scarlett Johansson kicks butt as pleasingly as Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor.) Samuel Jackson owns the role of Nick Fury (a character modelled on the actor, so as a comics loving fanboy, it's great to see things go full-circle) and Tom Hiddleston plays the baddie Loki with great relish and a gleeful twinkle in his eye. But for me? The standout part was Dr, Bruce Banner. The CGI is a perfect match of raging Hulk and Mark Ruffalo's features, and Hulk steals the last act of the movie as soon as Cap' gives him the, er, green light to: "Smash."
Great fun. Highly entertaining. But only four out of five stars because, let's face it, that fifth star I'm reserving for another comic-book movie; one concerning a certain 'Dark Knight'...
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