Neither I nor my companion came to this film with much idea of the back-story: I don't think I have looked at a Marvel comic since I was around eight, and she never had done so. Yet we both thought this was a strong enough story to work in its own right.
Enough was told about the characters for the whole thing to make some sort of sense of the story (I mean to say, you have to suspend a bit of disbelief to connect with this kind of film anyway) and we both found ourselves very engaged with it because of the humour, the straightforward storyline, and even, dare I say, the CGI spectacle - neither of us particularly enjoy massively extended battle scenes, but there was enough tension and fear injected here to make them work.
The fact that this is still in the cinemas after nearly two months isn't just to do with marketing (though that may have a bit of influence): it really does capture the imagination, and is well worth a visit on the big screen.
ndaisley (DI Reviewer), 10/06/12
A post-script - what is it about Jeremy Renner? He's 41, not specially tall, not particularly good-looking, with a sort of rumpled, lived-in face, but he is effortlessly charismatic and compelling in this movie, as he was in Hurt Locker and MI4. He has total conviction as a kind of super-spy-assassin who blows stuff up with a bow and arrows. It must be his eyes - they are very fierce and focussed and intent and a very glittery grey. I think it's kind of wonderful that the older generation of super-heroes (Hawkeye, Iron Man, Bruce Banner) hold their own so effectively against the youngsters (though I suppose technically Captain America is older than all of them, he's played by the scrumptious Chris Evans, a mere stripling of 31) and Renner is by no means less fit than they. Another compelling reason to see the movie anyway.
Andrea Hopkins (DI Reviewer), 16/05/12
Mmmmmmm. CGI heavy and if you haven't watched Thor, Hulk, Iron Man etc. then you'll be missing out on chunks of dialogue. Because this got such good reviews I came into it with great expectations only for it to be dashed. I would suggest it's your slightly above par action guff that is about 30 mins overlong. Ending is generic Hollywood. Disappointed.
yesyes (Unverified), 08/05/12
Quite simply the best action adventure movie based on comic books ever made. I still haven't stopped geeking out about it and I'm almost ready to start work on the D.Phil, so I'd better not get into detail as I'm sure you're even busier than me. But the short version is:
1. Brilliantly written with outstandingly successful integration of the individual backgrounds and storylines of the six superheroes into a relatable plot and often witty dialogue - particularly loved Iron Man and Captain America needling one another.
2. Literally jaw-dropping special FX - the movie is two hours twenty minutes long and I must have spent a good twenty minutes of that imitating a hungry baby bird.
3. Fight sequences of flawless ingenuity, variety and brilliance, so that even though they occupy many minutes of screen time they never get boring. Particularly loved Thor vs Hulk, and there were several deliciously funny visual jokes that I won't spoil.
4. Hardly any romance. Movie presumes (correctly in my case) that its audience has already seen Iron Man I & II, Thor and Captain America, so most of the superhero back story romances are already set up (Stark + Pepper Potts), terminated (Rogers + Peggy Carter), or put on hold (Thor + Jane Foster), leaving only the very understated relationship between Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to be minimally explored.
5. Outstanding villain. Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor was a little underwritten and veered between dangerous unpredictable highly intelligent self-obsessed psychopath and jealous overshadowed sibling. He's delightfully cunning and manipulative in this movie, and he has moved on, successfully rejecting all offers of forgiveness and rehabilitation from his big brother Thor. It's a remarkable performance. You see that he's cold and controlled but you always sense that he's walking on thin ice over a lake of rage and pain. Plus he has several of the best lines.
6. Fabulous kick-ass heroine. Scarlett Johansson is awesome, and as there's only one of her to five male superheroes, she is given a proportionally larger amount of screen-time, during which you can't take your eyes off her. Particularly loved her opening scene where she puts Agent Coulson on hold and polishes off a warehousefull of Russian mafiosi while tied to a chair (although to be fair Drew Barrymore did it first in Charlie's Angels).
7. Outstanding performances from actors in supporting roles - too numerous to mention but especially awesome turns from Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Cobie Smulders as Agent Hill.
8. Special mention for Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner - a brilliant, intense and deeply sympathetic performance.
And this is just the short version.
Andrea Hopkins (DI Reviewer), 30/04/12
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