CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2012

Avengers Assemble

Film4 Avengers Assemble

Synopsis

Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) team up to defeat errant god Loki (Tom Hiddleston)

About

As a concept, Avengers Assemble was a huge creative gamble and potential disaster. Multiple characters drawn together from multiple films, each with their own fairly specific vibe and an A-list actor to boot? Surely it couldn’t be anything other than a frustrating patchwork of egos competing for screentime? Luckily, Marvel entrusted this particular roll of the dice to Joss Whedon, a writer-director known for his deft handling of character and his ability to judge exactly when to undercut pomp with humour and when to bring on the emotion, developed while overseeing several hundred hours of ensemble-based supernatural television.

Whedon’s Avengers Assemble is almost improbably good, considering the possible pitfalls. Enjoyable enough in terms of sheer adrenaline, where it really comes into its own is in how satisfying the whole thing is emotionally. It’s such a huge relief as a cinemagoer to be able to revel in a film like this without having to switch off your brain or check your critical faculties at the door (or worse, being told that disliking - say - a Transformers movie is somehow a failing on your part, because you didn’t dumb yourself down enough in advance before watching, and what did you expect?).

In contrast, if you watch Avengers without your brain engaged, you’ll still have a pretty good time, but you’ll also miss out, since this is filmmaking as smart as it is colourful and exciting. Smart yes, dark, no - Avengers Assemble is also bright and funny, skilfully sidestepping the nihilism fallacy, which seeks to suggest comic book movies are somehow more valid when they’re “dark”.

If Avengers Assemble has a weakness, it lies not with any of the principals, but with what they’re up against. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is of course absurdly brilliant, bringing the King Lear b-plot of embittered illegitimate sibling sharply into focus, giving Thor a personal angle on an earthbound conflict from which he might otherwise have felt distanced - what with being a god from another world and all.

It’s just a slight shame the MacGuffin Loki has to work with is a magical space cube that threatens to unleash forgettable hordes of reptilian chaps visually recalling Doctor Who’s Silurians. Oh well. It’s not like we really recall the individual mooks The Joker unleashed against Batman, either. And it’s certainly refreshing to find the focus here firmly on the heroes, in a genre which is always in danger of being seduced by the villains. You certainly can’t accuse the lizard chaps of glamorizing the way of the mook.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hiddleston, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson
  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Writer: Joss Whedon

In a nutshell

An unlikely wizard of Oz figure, Joss Whedon shows that a franchise hitherto slightly lacking a full complement of brains, heart and courage must have had them all along, as Marvel's finest heroes finally come together to set a comic book franchise gold standard that will take some beating.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Win Win

    Win Win

    Paul Giamatti stars as a struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach who takes in his client's troubled grandson

  • Film4 The Drop

    The Drop

    Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace star in a feature-length adaptation of a short crime story by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead)

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share