This quirky initiative called The Avengers so works!

Superb writer/director Joss Whedon has triumphed in bringing together a team of superheroes like never before in THE AVENGERS.

One movie that would bring together all of the recent Marvel Comics heroes and assemble them as a team to fight evil. What?! No way! Then I heard that writer/director genius Joss Whedon was involved and my doubt began to subside – a little. The man who dazzled us with the wit and inventiveness and darkness that was Buffy. Maybe. But I still couldn’t imagine how he could pull it off. Well, I’ve never been more pleased to say that THE AVENGERS – sorry but can’t bring myself to call it by it’s UK title ‘Marvel’s Avengers Assemble’ – is the most fantastically entertaining, funny, moving and exciting movie that you could hope to see right now! I should never have doubted and now just like Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson, I’m a believer.

Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers

Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson are ready for action

With a concept as complex as this, what really wows you almost above everything else in THE AVENGERS is how Whedon manages so superbly to juggle everyone’s stories, making the movie like a rich tapestry that you can just revel in. As the audience, you wonder can ‘the team’ ever come together but then you realise you’re in the hands of a master filmmaker who knows exactly how to tell a thrilling story.

And what is that story? Well, just the small matter of the human race being made into slaves for an alien species. Oh, right. No problem! Possibly not when you have a team made up of these dynamic players.

Firstly you’ve got superheroes you already know a little. There’s Steve Rogers, the super-soldier Captain America (a fabulously winning Chris Evans) who is so out of time from his beloved 1940s and isolated in this new future, wanting only to find a purpose again, which he does by becoming the powerful centre of this movie. Then there’s Tony Stark (the brilliant Robert Downey Jr.) – aka Iron Man – who really isn’t a ‘band of brothers’ type guy but who is actually seen at his best here, raising his game being surrounded by a whole bunch of top-notch equal comrades in arms. And you’ve got the ongoing brotherly spat between the God of Thunder Thor (the terrific Chris Hemsworth) and his mischievous sibling Loki (a fantastic Tom Hiddleston) which escalates here due to Loki’s desire for power and provides the impetus for THE AVENGERS ‘Initiative’ to assemble.

Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Chris Evans in The Avengers

Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Chris Evans focus on saving the world

But they’re not all. You also have the newbies. There’s the pair of superspies, Clint Barton (the amazing Jeremy Renner) – glimpsed briefly in Thor – and Natasha Romanoff (an always incredible Scarlett Johannson) aka Hawkeye and Black Widow respectively, whose close bond is threatened by an early event in the film which immediately makes you really root for them. And finally, you have Dr Bruce Banner (the wonderful Mark Ruffalo) who’s so softly spoken and yet conflicted with his alter ego Hulk that it’s totally captivating.

The mix of characters and dilemmas is just so impressive that it leaves you breathless – juggled oh so adeptly by Joss Whedon. What’s more, it’s doubly great that Samuel L. Jackson, who’s turned up for some fleeting moments as S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury in all of the previous individual hero movies, is really allowed to underpin and drive this story. It’s his moment in the sun and we so enjoy it. Likewise, the aforementioned (and marvellous) Clark Gregg who’s somewhat straitlaced Agent Coulson shows us another side to his character and also really shines here.

Above all, this movie shows us how action, excitement, suspense, pathos, and humour can all co-exist in an all-encompassing package of delight.

Two words really – see it!