Avengers Assemble (2012)

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Nick Fury gathers Earth’s mightiest heroes to form a response team when Asgardian demi-god Loki returns to spearhead an alien invasion.

Joss Whedon is finally given a chance to prove what he can do with the appropriate resources to hand and in Avengers Assemble has created a rip-roaring rollercoaster of escapist entertainment that has all the ingredients of a first class summer blockbuster. Dispensing with his usual formula of wisecracks and pop culture references it begins as a fairly generic action fantasy, but as the heroes are introduced his skill for creating likeable characters and entertaining comic dialogue is framed within a plot which won’t win any awards for originality but contains just the right balance of characterisation, comedy and eye boggling set pieces.

Once again it is Robert Downey Jr. who is the star of the show but the cast of supporting characters make for an ensemble team that play off each other extremely well and each have just enough room to strut their stuff without overshadowing or clashing with each other. I’ve always preferred the X-Men comics as I’ve always found The Avengers a little too establishment-orientated and a bit of a dumping ground for characters not interesting enough to have books of their own, but Whedon’s decision to make their first encounter a squabbling pissing contest works really well and the alien invasion is as thrilling as it is visually spectacular.

Far, far better than Thor and the Hulk films and even better than Iron Man, Avengers Assembles fulfils all of the promise of the idea and although still not the match of Christopher Nolan’s more adult take on the Batman character, it is still head and shoulders above the vast majority of its comic strip competition.

8/10

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