This one’s a Must-see!

Loki has arrived to take control.

Awesome; any comic lover’s dream

And so it finally arrived. Possibly this year’s most anticipated film, The Avengers (mine was Iron Sky, but I digress), is now playing in theaters everywhere and at last the entire world’s comic book fans get to see their favourite heroes assemble a world-saving super team. Has it been worth the long wait and build-up? I’d say yes to that.

The Avengers is a fantastical crossover between several preposterous and quirky concepts courtesy of Marvel Comics and to make all of them work  together, let alone any on their own, requires otherwordly skills in storytelling and directing. Thank Heavens that Joss Whedon directed this then.

Early in the film, Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson) meets with Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) in a secret laboratory where he is researching the Tesseract, a powerful cubic device last seen in Captain America, and by accident releases the vengeful god Loki from his prison somewhere in the cosmos. Still played by Tom Hiddleston, Loki takes control of Selvig, as well as agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), donner of Hawkeye’s mantle. The three of them escape with the Tesseract, as Nick Fury flees from the crumbling laboratory.

The time has come! The Avengers must assemble. Fury, of course, has already contacted Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) about this and they also have Captain America (Chris Evans), ressurected after being frozen since the events of his own film, at their base. However, Loki’s brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is out of reach and their newest recruit Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has a funny quirk that might put the rest of The Avengers in danger. I.E, he turns into the Hulk when he’s really mad.

At first, when the different Avengers have all finally met, they are on bad terms, bickering almost constantly. But soon they’re required to get their act together and stop Loki before he uses the Tesseract so summon the Chitauri, a violent alien race that Loki encountered during his exile. A post credit scene shows us the mastermind behind it all and it would be a crime to reveal it.

Reprising their roles from the earlier Marvel films are Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, Gwyneth Paltrow as Tony Stark’s girlfriend Pepper Potts, Paul Bettany as his computer sidekick Jarvis and, as always, there is time for a Stan Lee cameo amidst it all. And yes, the great Lou Ferrigno voices the Hulk. Cobie Smulders appears as well.

The Hulk, in fact, is one of the finest aspects of The Avengers. It is the only Hulk-film that seems to get the character of the Hulk right. His actions and his personality are all much more accurate here than in Ang Lee’s Hulk or the one with Edward Norton. Hulk also gets the funniest scenes in the film, one where he furiously interrupts Loki’s villain speech and one where Captain America gives orders to the other Avengers for the first time: “Hulk… smash!”. I also enjoyed Loki, who was a more threatening and enjoyable villain here than in Thor.

The Avengers is certainly a success. Sure some bits drag and sometimes the bickering between the protagonists feels somewhat clichéd, but over-all it is a well-made, gripping film with a great sense of humour, pitch-perfect character interactions (which inarguably is one of the most important things to get right in a film like this), cool visuals (even though they, like the visuals in Battleship, were the same “city getting demolished by aliens”-visuals we’ve seen in so many action flicks), genuine suspense, a lovely soundtrack and an interesting cliffhanger, as per always. Is it one of this year’s best? Hell, it might be the greatest superhero film ever made as far as I am concerned. Only a cherophobe could possibly ever dislike it. This, dear readers, is no less than first-rate.

Of course, the film is in 3D. What can I say, really? It’s the same old same old. Not even worth describing its dimness or anything. One thing though – I booked my tickets late, meaning I got a seat far to the left. It did not improve the 3D, I can assure you.

5/5 whatever