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What a Marvel
This is film comes with a whole lot of dreams – and big plans behind it. And a whole lot of planning.
We were originally introduced to these characters with the first Ironman movie (which was much better than the lacklustre second film) – with Robert Downey Jnr playing the flippant multi billionaire Tony Stark. With a definite problem with authority – and a smart quip for every situation – Ironman was a rollicking start to the franchise.
The only redeeming feature of the second Ironman film was that it introduced us to the characters of Nick Fury, Black Widow and the S.H.I.E.L.D organisation.
THOR was to follow with Chris Hemsworth as the Norse God of Thunder who falls for Natalie Portman’s scientist while a war is waged between two galaxies. Again – the sense of humour was a great part of an otherwise average movie.
With the release of Captain America – the trilogy was complete with the ultra patriotic Nice Guy, Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans. He is (for the uninitiated) a human whose strength comes from a super serum.
The Avengers also brings up The Hulk. Personally we don’t like to think too much about the previous two films (Eric Bana’s version in 2003, and Edward Norton’s closer version from 2008) and this film very much redeems The Hulk with Mark Ruffalo playing him more like the Dr Bruce Banner of the TV series – wrestling with his Inner Anger – and trying to Make Good. We like the references between the Banner accident, and the previous creation of Steve Roger’s Captain America (That damned Gamma Radiation has a lot to answer for).
Rounding out the gang is Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner in a perfect brooding manner.
The film starts with story threads from both Thor and Captain America. In its own way this film reads like a comic with the story being much more rounded if you have watched (read) the previous films (like a comic book), though there is enough there if you were just watching this film without the back story. But that connection is what makes it with references back to previous film, and characters.
Enough time is spent on the characters we know little about to flesh them out (The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) and the film moves at a rollicking pace with the Baddie in the form of Loki (brother of Thor) making an early appearance.
Everyone makes the most of their characters – especially Ironman, The Hulk and Loki who play with a lot of humour. Joss Whedon, who directs, knows his audience well, with his own background in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, et al. He handles this material confidently as he knows how dear these characters are to so many. These characters have a wonderful pedigree with them first appearing in Marvel comic Captain America in March 1941, and the others all appearing between May 1962 (The Hulk) and September 1964 (Hawkeye).
Wheadon uses his $200 million dollar budget all on screen – it feels like you get every last drop of it as the screen explodes with special effects. It shows you what can be done with both great special effects AND a great story line (good characters help also) – the opposite of the Transformers franchise in my humble opinion.
Captain America works his way into the roll of Leader, and Ironman finds his Heart, as they work their way into becoming the team that we obviously know they all become (this is no spoiler alert – we all know they end up as a team), then going up against the Baddies. It is a tribute to Joss Whedon that the climactic end battle takes place in New York (why is it always New York?) manages to look exciting. The film ends with an obvious set up to the next movie and we all left the theatre looking forward to what the next Exciting Episode will bring…
The story line is simple – and that is part of its charm – yet the film moves at a great pace, the visual effects are stunning, the banter crisp, the humour dry. If this the first in the series – we can’t wait to see what they do with the coming film.
Five out of five stars from this family of Marvel fans – even our DC fan loved it. Now that is high praise.
By Anya Brighouse with Marvel expert Riley Brighouse (aged 12)
20 April 2012