"Joss Whedon knows a thing or two about ensemble pieces, being the creative genius behind TV’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and the criminally short-lived Firefly. His big screen career has never really taken off, but if there were ever a time to take flight, helming the Marvel mash-up Avengers Assemble is a good place to start. Not only does he have to make room for four of the worlds biggest superheroes, Jackson’s Nick Fury, Johansson’s Black Widow, Renner’s Hawkeye and Hiddleston’s big bad Loki are after a piece of the action too.
Everybody gets a share of the spoils, but it’s Ruffalo’s Hulk that leaps away with the movie. Joss is wise to keep him under wraps for the first hour, giving Ruffalo the chance to add weight, charm and subtlety to the role of Bruce Banner. When the big fella does take charge the results are electrifying, with Whedon achieving something no other director has managed before. I mean really, who knew The Hulk could do comedy? Robert Downey Jr. snags most of the best lines and Chris Evans gets plenty of screen time (his second take on Captain America is even more charming than the first), with Joss homing in on Cap’s struggle to fit in to modern day America. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is still arrogant (and still incredibly likeable), and even Hawkeye and Black Widow are given the chance to shine, with unexpected plot twists providing plenty of ammunition for them both.
It does get a little talky at times (especially at the start of the second act), and the plot is certainly nothing to write home about, but Joss injects the movie with so much passion, wit and creativity, there’s next to no chance of you feeling disjointed. The interplay is a joy from start to finish, with Whedon finding the perfect balance between bruised egos and backward bonding. The final act – which provided the trailer with much of its material – is an absolute riot form start to finish. Joss has always been a great writer, but with Avengers Assemble he proves he can handle Bruckheimer sized action sequences too, keeping characterisation at the fore and cruising to a rousing finale decked out with big laughs, pulse-pounding action and lots of things for The Hulk to smash up.
With so many great moments to choose from, Avengers Assemble gets pretty much everything right; blessed with humour, heart and style to spare. The Dark Knight and The Amazing Spiderman have a lot to live up to this summer, because Joss Whedon has just crafted one of the smartest superhero movies of all time." AW