It's taken over four years and five films in order for us to get here but at long last the Avengers have assembled! In what is perhaps the most audacious gambit in cinematic history, Marvel Studios have taken four different film series with four different continuities and brought them all into one shared universe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Returning to their previous roles are Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and reintroducing the Hulk, now played by Academy Award Nominee Mark Ruffalo .
Still reeling after his defeat in last year's Thor, Loki gets his hands on the Tesseract (the glowing cube from CA: TFA) and plans on using it to take over the world by opening a portal to bring in his alien army. Dangerously outmatched, Fury restarts the previously decommissioned Avengers Initiative which assembles Earth's "Mightiest Heroes" into the planet's last hope.
Avengers is well worth the wait as everything about the film is fantastic. Thankfully the storyline is nice and simple which allows the filmmakers to focus on the important scenes that we all paid our money to see: the Avengers interacting with one another. The dialogue is crisp and at times hilarious, with Downey bringing the majority of the laughs as the ever lovable Tony Stark. Writer/ Director Joss Whedon was faced with a titan task of bringing so many big personalities together but he does it beautifully with each character getting their own scenes and focus, with only Thor feeling a little bit shortchanged by the ending credits.
The actors really bring their best with Hiddleston really outdoing everyone in what is perhaps the best performance of his career (there is a particular scene with Black Widow that is worth mentioning) and an impressively strong start from Mark Ruffalo taking over the Hulk role. There is a real sense that these actors fully inhabit their roles and bring their characters to life, none more so than fan-favourite Robert Downey Jr. The post-converted 3D is just as good as post-converted 3D can get and the musical score by Alan Silvestri is beautifully fitting.
Without going into spoiler territory I will happily say that there were lots of little points that I especially loved, for example seeing how Tony Stark's relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts has progressed since Iron Man 2, plus seeing how the government reacted to the events in Thor and the revelations of the other realms. Whilst it may not be 100% necessary to have watched the previous films (every character does have a brief explanation of their origin at some point), it would certainly help you to enjoy the finer points of the series such as the passing references or obscure jokes.
It is worth mentioning that Avengers definitely deserves its 12A rating due to the frequent fantasy violence resulting in the huge finale, but arguably this film contains nothing strictly inappropriate for a child that has enjoyed the previous Marvel films. However I would recommend caution with a more sensitive child as the Hulk is deservedly a lot scarier in this film.
Ultimately this film is the film of the decade for the fans; it was inevitable that they were going to love this film regardless of its quality but the fact that Avengers is also a great film, only makes the experience even more ground-breaking than it already is. I cannot say enough nice things about Avengers.
Oh and make sure you stick around for the mid-credits scenes, you know what Marvel are like…