"Better than 'The Dark Knight'."
Those five words were enough to bring comic book geeks throughout the world to their knees. And Nolan fans scoffing at the ridiculous nature of this unlikely claim.
The humans have uncovered a mysterious energy source named the tesseract, unwittingly creating a portal to another world, unleashing villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to wreak havoc on the earth before he manages to organise an intergalactic assault on our poor, defenseless planet. Our only hope come in the form of the Avengers, a group of superheroes thrown together by S.H.I.E.L.D's Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The Avengers consist of some of Marvel's greatest character, including Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye.
One of the most interesting things about 'Avengers Assemble' is its ability to provide entertainment for a variety of different people: hard-core comic book fans revel in Joss Whedon's approach to film-making and his masterful portrayal of some of their favourite superheroes, movie geeks can appreciate the relatable, human qualities of its characters and the artistic camerawork within the film and those seeking a two and a half hour piece of escapism will appreciate the often cheesy, but rarely clever one liners and the destructive special effects.
The cast had great chemistry together, whether it was Thor or Iron Man's playful rivalry or Bruce Banner and Tony Stark's wonderful bromance, every relationship was depicted by the actors with such honesty, that when coupled with the immersive surroundings and out of this world special effects, the audience would be forgiven for forgetting that they were watching a film.
'Avengers Assemble' focuses equally on several different characters, therefore making it difficult to pick out the defining performances by each actor or actress separately. However, I think I speak for everyone by saying that Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo gave especially amazing performances as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Bruce Banner/The Hulk respectively. Tony Stark, although a highly entertaining and intriguing character, could become hated by audiences if written or acted in the wrong way. Flaws such as his egocentric nature, playboy lifestyle and his sarcastic, anti-social attitudes could become unbearable if the actor portraying him does not go about his character in the right manner. Luckily, the charismatic Robert Downey Jr. insures that none of this becomes the case, instead becoming many's favourite character. As for Mark Ruffalo, he undeniably became the greatest actor to every portray the mighty role of the Hulk. Whedon's writing ensured that Bruce Banner was who the audience focused on primarily, the intellectual aspect of his character overpowering the physical, anarchic appeal of 'the other guy'. Whedon's writing cannot take credit for everything however, Ruffalo made audience's everywhere realise that the Hulk is not just some mindless monster that can only be used as a destructive character, but rather an empathetic, intellectual and flawed being that has just been represented in a wrong manner in the past.
Joss Whedon took on a big responsibility by both writing and directing such an anticipated movie, but most will agree with me when I say that it paid off. The plot was entertaining and provided a fairly detailed level of back story for each superhero, perfect for those members of the audience who have yet to read the comic books or watch the movies dedicated to the individual characters by themselves. The action was entertaining to watch unfold, and the character's provided a certain sense of drama, but it wouldn't be right to class 'Avengers Assemble' as an 'intellectual film'. It's very well done, but compared to the likes of 'The Dark Knight', it comes closer to exceptional piece of escapist cinema than modern-day masterpiece. I suppose the fact that it doesn't take itself too seriously does make up for that, the amount of cheesy one-liners suggesting that it doesn't want to be a serious film, but rather one that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their motives for going to see it.
Was it a fantastic movie? Yes.
Was it "better than 'The Dark Knight'?" Not in the slightest.