Original review featured on the Doha Film Institute website.

Film: The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans , Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson
Running Time: 142 min

The midnight premiere of “The Avengers” in Doha filled every seat in the theatre. One ticket for six heroes… deals like this don’t come very often. .

Co-writer and director Joss Whedon delivers one of this year’s most highly anticipated films, Marvel’s “The Avengers.” By bringing together the cream of “The Avengers” crop, including the mighty “Incredible Hulk,” the cool-as-steel “Iron Man,” dashing “Captain America,” “Thor” and his magic hammer, slick “Black Widow” and master archer “Hawkeye,” has met all expectations in combining the real world with Marvel-style myth.

An opened space portal, a la “Thor,” launches us into this new adventure. It is the bridge between the two worlds from which the exiled semi-God Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steps through. His mission is to conquer the Earth with the support of the dark alien army of the Chitauri, in exchange of the Tesseract, a powerful energy source. His abilities, to control minds and use his evil power to slaughter with ease, have made him a ferocious enemy. If you’re familiar with Loki’s evil charms or have seen “Thor” – to whom he is an adopted brother – then you are fully aware of his frightening desire to prove his capacity to rule. Loki’s failure to reign in space further fuels his desire to be King – but on Earth. By demeaning the powers of humans and taking advantage of their inability to unite, his true motives and means are revealed, “It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D, reactivates The Avengers Initiative which, in other words, consists of joining the power of superheroes. The first to be recruited are Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) now with new and improved anger management skills! Mind you, all it takes is for the deliciously provocative Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to let rip and, well… we all know what happens when The Hulk gets mad! Thor’s intervention is mainly due to his attachment to our mortal specie. Remember when he fell in love with one?

The result at first is a chaos of people with weird outfits, the egos of superheroes and a tremendously dissimilar ensemble. It seems like each has been evacuated from their respective film sets after a fire alarm and ended up in the same room. It is hilarious as they ridicule each other’s guise but mostly, they prove their inability to compromise and unite which is exactly what Loki was hedging his bets on.

After a power display of muscles and skills – with a number of injuries along the way – Fury interferes within his capacity (not physical of course) to motivate them and direct their attention to the one antagonist instead of each other.

I don’t remember having enjoyed any of the individual films starring our aforementioned heroes therefore I was skeptical about this collective initiative. To my delight though, I spent those two cinematic hours laughing out loud to an unexpected, incredibly well-written script, combined with an aesthetically intoxicating action, sci-fi, adventure and the magic of comics. Watching the film in the cinema was a fantastic experience all round.

An elite cast for the genre, the most pleasant surprise of them all is Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk (previously performed by Edward Norton) in a first with such a role, polished with craft. The epic dialogue is unforgettable, with key quotes that are sure to continue ringing out in the DFI offices and with Marvel/The Avengers lovers around the world. The Avengers was a fantastic prelude of top-notch superhero adventures plus with “The Dark Night Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-man” to be released soon, this seems like a fantastic start to the summer line-up!

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