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My laptop never turned up so here, belatedly are my brief thoughts on the biggest film of the year so far and one of the most ambitious movie projects ever mounted.

Earth. The present. The Tesseract, a source of ultimate power opens a gateway in space which Loki (Tom Hiddlestone) nips through to begin a campaign of conquest but Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D has other ideas and assembles a group of extraordinary people to defend the planet from invasion. Among them are Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Dr Bruce Banner aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Captain America (Chris Evans).

The story of Marvel Avengers Assemble is nothing tremendously special, a straightforward enough war tale ruled by MacGuffins and flying aircraft carriers. You won’t find the depth of The Dark Knight but the plot merely serves as an excuse for six charismatic actors to get down to some great banter while knocking the bejeezus out of the hordes of Loki.

As a character comedy the film excels particularly given the nature of the ensemble. Joss Whedon’s experience of handling a large cast tells in every scene. Downey probably edges it in both gags and action which was to be expected but in fact Ruffalo steals much of the picture with a nuanced hand-wringing depiction of Banner. Despite this being his first time wearing the indestructible trousers his performance feels definitive on the big screen.

Whedon doesn’t skimp in the excitement stakes either especially during the extended climax which resembles that of Transformers – Dark of the Moon just with likeable characters and CGI that doesn’t overwhelm anything. The film has to be regarded as an unqualified success, not just because of the money it has made but because it could have gone so wrong and didn’t.

Verdict

Not just the biggest comic book adaptation ever made but possibly the funniest. A summer blockbuster that lives up to the hype by being enormous fun.

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