The superhero origin story is now tried, tested and tired, but the super-team origin story—Samurai, cowboys and Alan Moore stories aside—is a little greener. Avengers Assemble, the long-time-coming conclusion to the spate of recent Marvel releases, eases into this brand new spin-off of the modern superhero film as cool as you like.
The ego of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, the nobility of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and the honour of Chris Evans’ Captain America were always going to gel on screen; they simply had to. The pressure of fitting in to this group could easily have crushed The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) but, instead, it’s an almost perfect depiction of a Marvel legacy on the big screen. This is mostly thanks to director, co-writer and real-life geek superhero, Joss Whedon.
Anyone familiar with Whedon’s work will be aware of his almost symbiotic relationship with comic-books and, with the films leading up to this one overwhelming any major individual influence by the director (especially Branagh’s Thor), Whedon has instead taken control of the comic and let Avengers Assemble structure itself.
The result is a good number of scenes that needed to happen; the ‘go bring them in’ bits, any given Avenger fighting another. Predicting the appearance of those is easy; watching how the film handles them is great fun. The pithy, and just plain funny, dialogue bites are perfect Whedon, as are the more touching moments. Avengers Assemble is a human film, in that heroes, like humans, can be utter tools.
The slightly precious Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the film’s villain, operates on revenge and greed but, alas, fails to convince as a redeemable, misguided soul. Even so, the Avengers have time to assemble, play with Loki, fall out, get back together, kick ass and still bond as a cast full of heroes without losing the audience.
Avengers Assemble is a brilliantly balanced comic-book movie; Whedon has weighed the sheer amount of material available perfectly with the mainstream audiences’ vulnerability to being overwhelmed and the comic book fan’s need for more.