Well here it is – The end of the MCU Phase 1 and the location to which so many of these roads have been heading – Avengers Assemble.
The 5 prior films in so far in the MCU all have some bearing on the evolution of this film, from the most obvious set up in Iron Man 2, through to the smallest of references in The Incredible Hulk. However, each of the 5 play their part in setting up what would become a gigantically successful film in the box office, and to be fair relatively so critically as well.
The film is directed by Joss Whedon who whilst having been heavily involved in directing episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, had certainly now helmed anything like the scale of this film in the past.
He’d been hired in part to complete rewrite’s on the initial draft of the screenplay provided by Zak Penn (interestingly, much as Edward Norton had done on The Incredible Hulk).
From a plot perspective, the film seeks Loki, the mischievous brother of Thor, coming to Earth in search of the tesseract and working to open a portal such that the race of Chitauri can attack and allow Loki to rule the planet, in return for the tesseract. In response, Nick Fury unites a number of the now established cinematic super heroes to try and stop Loki and his plans.
The huge ensemble cast comes together with an impressive level of balance in both time on screen and chemistry across the different roles. The only acting change from the previous films was the recasting of Mark Ruffalo from Edward Norton for the role of Dr Bruce Banner (aka Hulk).
Building on his success in the role of Loki, Tom Hiddleston steals the show as the jealous younger brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and finds chemistry in different one on one scenes with a number of the Avengers team.
In terms of Marvel films operating with different styles of films, this is very much the ‘aliens are coming invade Earth’ movie, but it delivers throughout at a high standard.
Certainly the best of the MCU that I’ve worked my way through so far, but the context of the earlier films is needed to appreciate how much of an achievement that this film actually has been in its delivery.