“The Avengers”, or ‘This is a proper action movie. Plus CORR and PHWOARR, look at Jeremy Renner’s arms’ by Caitlin McGrane

Posted on June 11, 2012


For the last week or so there have been a series of Facebook status updates about how amazing The Avengers is, and how it is the “most amazingly epic” thing that anyone has ever seen. This kind of hype tends to go over my head; I’m not an action fan. Can you tell from my previous reviews? But The Avengers showed me how fantastic action can be when it’s done properly.

Let’s start with the negative: it’s sooooo long! Any film more than 2 hours needs to have some seriously good character development, which was seriously lacking in The Avengers. This is not to say that it was necessarily a problem for a film in which the characters are drawn in from their individual films by a mysterious stranger with an eye-patch, but it could have done with a bit more development.

Follow the rules and put the most popular front and centre, who cares about the story.

Length aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It’s rare for me to make this statement about a film that is so lacking in female representation but Joss Whedon (director and real-life hero) really knows his shit. And it shows in the way the characters and story are brought together to give us something new for the action genre.

For starters, the script has its tongue firmly in its cheek. This makes it surprisingly sharp, witty, and engaging. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t seen either Thor or Captain America (I’m not an action fan), so I’m not quite familiar with their stories. But I gathered enough from this film to piece together the nuts and bolts of who they were and the gist of what the hell was going on.


Which brings me, somewhat clumsily, to the acting talent in this film. Apart from Scarlett Johansson (who seems to play the same sodding character in every film – breasts, pout, bum… and not necessarily in that order), I thought each character was pitched perfectly. Even the stupidly-named Captain America (Chris Evans) seemed to take to his character’s trajectory really well. And as always Iron Man (Robert Downey-Junior) is just marvellous. Every time he and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are on screen, I fall in love with their chemistry. And he steals every scene, even from under the nose of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Mark Ruffalo is brilliant as The Hulk, giving some much-needed lightness to previous portrayals. However, the stand-out for me has to be Loki (Tom Hiddleston – surprisingly handsome) who is a fantastic villain. He reminded me of Prof. Moriarty from BBC’s Sherlock, in that he managed to be just unhinged enough for me to partly understand why his brother, Thor, cares for him. I do also need to mention Jeremy Renner, or rather Jeremy Renner’s arms, which are magnificent. Stellan Skarsgard also makes an appearance, and it’s always nice to see him not being a bit odd (see Mamma Mia and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for details).

All-in-all, The Avengers made for a surprisingly light and engaging action movie to lighten my Friday night the other week. If you can’t be arsed seeing it in the cinema, then seeing it on DVD will not be detrimental to your viewing experience.

And, as ever, see it in 2D, not fucking 3D.

The Avengers is still showing in cinemas. If you’d like to read more of Caitlin’s reviews click here. Tell us what you thought of The Avengers, could you handle the action? Was Scarlett Johansson’s acting alright or was she just bum? Tell us in the comments.

Posted in: Movies