Premiere review: The Avengers
Fresh from starring in their individual movies, The Avengers consist of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey JR), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). In The Avengers, they team up supporting players Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), under the direction of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D, to take on Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who shows up on Earth to lay claim to a powerful energy source and open a portal for his invading alien army.

Considering the build-up that involved four individual feature films over a four year period, an A-list cast, a huge budget, an array of iconic characters and a writer/director with one of the most distinct and fanatically adored voices in entertainment today, it’s safe to say that The Avengers comes with massive expectations. And, while most fans would probably be happy if the film merely lived up to expectations, it’s equally safe to say The Avengers surpasses them with swagger befitting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

It was always going to be a challenge to create a movie big enough for all the powers and personalities on display, but director Joss Whedon, who is known for his skill at working with large casts, makes it seem effortless. It helps that four of the Avengers arrive onscreen with feature-length movies behind them, allowing Whedon to dispense with exposition and get into the action almost immediately.

And the action doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s spectacular. Each of the Avengers has unique powers and abilities, and these are given ample screen time, whether the heroes are battling each other or teaming up to take on the bad guys. The battle scenes are kinetic without being confusing, and the final showdown in Manhattan feels epic on a scale unmatched by anything since the final battle in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In terms of the cast, the actors mostly deliver more of what made their individual films successful, with an additional edge thanks to Whedon’s trademark quip-driven humour and razor-sharp characterisation. In terms of Whedon’s dialogue, most of the heavy lifting is handled by Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, although almost every major character is well drawn and gets at least one line that’s sure to draw laughs from the audience.

What’s most impressive about Whedon’s script, however, is that it manages to ask probing questions about the nature of individuality, heroism and leadership in between, and occasionally in the midst of, the massive battles taking place on screen. As a writer, Whedon is peerless, but with The Avengers, he proves himself adept at filmmaking on a whole new level - combining action, character, CGI and humour to deliver, hands down, the most satisfying blockbuster of the decade so far.

The Avengers premieres on Sun 20 Jan at 20:05 on M-Net, 20:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere.