Otherwise known as Marvel Avengers Assemble, this latest superhero film has hit cinemas with a bang…or six. The combined forced of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye give us an action film worth watching, filled with the typical drama and fight scenes of respective films of the first four, and all the humour needed to keep audiences laughing. With a team like this against Loki – the inordinately furious brother of Thor – I knew going in that I was due a few thrills.

After a startling trailer at the close of Captain America, there began a long wait for the Avengers film to make its way on-screen. With a cast of wholly qualified actors and a recasting of Bruce Banner (AKA the Hulk) with Mark Ruffalo, and a budget of 220 million dollars to its name, we haven’t been disappointed.

Besting the previous films of the genre released by Marvel, we have an assemble of heroes that demand the screen. While Captain America remained somewhat reserved, his Boy Scout attitude shines through despite the big egos and bigger anger issues surrounding him, allowing for his nature as a solider – as the perfect solider – to stand out despite his lack of superhuman abilities. You know, if you forget the fact that he’s been shown to throw soldiers through the air like rag dolls when he really gets on a roll.

Fighting alongside him is Iron Man, the “genius playboy billionaire philanthropist” that is Tony Stark. With an ego to match his newly built Stark Tower and a suit of armour that can literally blast holes through walls and challenge a god, he’s presented himself as being a screen-hog. This was the biggest issue I had with the film before viewing it, given the fact that Thor demands attention in his very nature of being a god and the Hulk can’t help but receive it…given the fact that he’s a giant green rage monster. There were too many big personalities, even with Captain America being as reserved as he is and the remaining two members of their party – Black Widow and Hawkeye – wishing they didn’t have to play the part of solider.

But it worked. It really, really worked, and I couldn’t be happier that Marvel didn’t totally screw it up. Let’s be serious here: when you bring those six characters together, you’re going to have problems. Not just in terms of in-fighting, but in terms of who to give more screen time, and who to show off more. I really believe they couldn’t have done a better job in evening things out a bit, even with the pair of assassins never really getting much of a story before now. They’ve been developed, and they fit right into the group of supernatural power-houses.

This doesn’t exactly balance out the playing field – the Hulk is generally considered to be the most powerful weapon they’ve got – but it does make for an interesting display of character and heroism in a film that could easily have been dominated by the larger personalities. And this is all ignoring Nick Fury and his can-do, will-do-or-I’ll-shoot-you attitude. With Samuel L Jackson reprising his role as the Director of SHIELD, things are certainly brought up a notch. It’s not just a bunch of action heroes actually doing what action heroes ought to – and many times with added and unexpected hilarity; we’re also given the particular spark of brilliance that Jackson brings to Fury that wasn’t foreseen, given the rewriting of the character. (In the comic books, Fury is portrayed as a Caucasian male, though the rewrite totally works!)

So what does it all add up to? Brilliance. Sheer brilliance. While we avidly avoided the 3D showing, we found it didn’t matter. Post-production really did a number making the fight scenes phenomenal, while the more-than-capable actors – while not Oscar winners in big Drama roles – brought a sense of wonder to the whole film. Never failing to show us who their characters were and what they stood for, we can get a picture of who the men and woman are behind the Avengers.

This is definitely not a film to miss, with laughs, gasps and a final applaud when the credits began to roll to prove that this is a flick that’s appealed to the masses.

Rating: ★★★★★

Director: Joss Whedon
Age Cert: 12a/PG13
Release Date:  April 26th 2012

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