Oli Templeton, 4:21 pm, Wednesday, 9 May, 2012Follow @TheWestLondoner
An Electrifying Ensemble!
Five Stars: *****
We were certain that this was going to be awful. Surely this would try to be too many things in one go. The concept sounded awful. The title was awful! So how come just over two hours later, we left with a feeling of money well spent and, on top of that, Facebook was festooned with raving statuses all sharing the same sentiment.
The simple answer: it actually worked! Here is a film which is the sequel to both Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) from last summer. It is also another instalment of Tony Stark’s adventures as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr.), and even the fate of outcast Rex Banner (no longer played by Edward Norton, but rather, his good friend Mark Ruffalo) aka The Incredible Hulk, is addressed.
Perhaps one of the most ingenious aspects of the film is how seamlessly these four very different icons are blended together. The banter resulting from their forced co-operation is priceless! Particularly amusing is the spectacle of Tony Stark’s egomania rubbing the wrong way against Captain America’s traditional sense of responsibility, while Banner attempts to keep his stress levels to a minimum. Expect plenty of amusing one-liners too.
Launching straight into the action, the plot sees Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the fallen brother of Thor, questing after the Tesseract, a cube of untold energy last seen tumbling toward the Earth at the end of Captain America! His mind set on world domination, the embittered Loki steals the cube from no-nonsense Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and sets into motion a dastardly invasion plan.
In a bid to avoid the subjugation of the human race, Fury is forced to bring the superheroes together to form an elite defence unit. Flash-backs and references assist with the transition of the story-line from the previous films (i.e. Thor and Captain America) so viewing of them is not necessary to understand this one, although it is still recommended!
Also along for the ride are two other lesser known characters: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), although they are hardly as super as their other colleagues. Hawkeye even spends half the film under mind-control, but seeing as his only power seems to be uncanny accuracy with a bow and arrow, he is no great loss to the team.
All the action is simply beautiful! Visuals are choreographed into one huge bombastic bonanza, with some serious hardware involved, such as a Nimitz-Class which is more aircraft than carrier (and which seems to be the new home of our old Harrier fleet) and HALO-like drop ships.
Producer Kevin Feige said he wanted to try and outdo the level of awesome craziness set by Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In his showdown finale it is safe to say that he achieves that and then some! Just you wait until you see Loki’s friends, the Chitauri alien race, when then come!
When Thor himself gets involved, literally falling out of the sky and straight into a misunderstanding with the heroes in pursuit of his brother, he brings with him scenes which might very well silence all those enthusiasts who bicker over debates usually beginning with “who would win in a fight between…?”
Even the little things are wonderful, and the eagle-eyed might enjoy such small details, such as Tony Stark sitting around in a Black Sabbath T-shirt.
A Second Chance For The Hulk?
Then there is the question of the big green one! Let’s face it, if there was going to be a weak link, the Hulk would have been it. His earlier movies stank so, in many ways, I think it was a major gamble to put so much emphasis on his character. They even made him a vital component to the narrative; the turning point relies on his beastly nature!
But here, in his new incarnation, he has his vengeance. How the audience cheered when he turned into the famous rage monster and jumped onto an F-35 jet, riding it like a bucking bronco. It was just like he had done before in his crap 2002 and 2008 movies, only this time it was good! When he eventually confronts Loki, there were even more cheers!
Marvel Studios have really outdone themselves this time and it just goes to show how deceiving looks can be. Perhaps it does have a rubbish title, and perhaps the trailer did suggest that it was probably going to be a ludicrous blockbluster which would try and bring too much to the table. But then, you should never judge a book by its cover.
This is by far one of the best comic book adaptations in a long while!