Maria Lewis, The Daily Telegraph, reports
The Avengers is the greatest action movie since Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Need further proof?
How about hundreds of fans embracing each other on George St at 3am in the morning after attending midnight screenings?
For the hardcore geeks out there - myself included – The Avengers is the accumulation of some of pop culture’s greatest superheroes. Together. In one movie.
It connects the crumbs and clues Marvel Studios have been leaving in their films since Iron Man and it doesn’t disappoint.
When a source of unlimited power is stolen by the embodiment of an emo in Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), S.H.I.E.L.D commander Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is forced to assemble a team of people with “unique abilities” to combat the rising global threat.
The team is made up by Marvel’s tent-pole superheroes; Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and master assassins Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
But really, the specific story details are irrelevant because the main goal is to get all of the characters together - as a team - fighting against a common evil. Which it does.
It’s a film in three parts, with the first and second parts being there simply because they have to be; they introduce each of the individual characters, build sufficient tension and throw in the appropriate amount of witty banter.
Essentially it lays the groundwork for the final third which takes The Avengers from amazing to a-freaking-mazing.
It's Buffy creator and geek demi-god Joss Whedon’s baby from the get go.
Whedon conceived the story, wrote the screenplay and directed the film. It shows what can happen when you hand someone who isn’t Michael Bay $200M to make a blockbuster flick - magic.
On the way out of the midnight screening I heard a fan in front of me proclaim “Marvel have found their Nolan in Joss Whedon, man.”
He was of course referring to British comic book lover turned genius filmmaker Christopher Nolan who - at the helm of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - has elevated what the superhero movie is in our collective consciousness.
I’d argue Marvel have found their Joss Whedon in Joss Whedon.
The filmmaker seamlessly brings The Avengers into the Whedonverse - adding biting wit, hilarious dialogue, physical gags, and emotional draw.
And action. Almost two hours of pure, glorious, perfectly choreographed action.
The cast too is perfect, no surprises there. Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man is just as flawless as it was the first time he played him in 2008.
Mark Ruffalo manages to do what Eric Bana and Edward Norton both failed to do on screen and that’s make The Hulk interesting.
Also, Scarlett Johansson’s behind in that latex catsuit deserves its own spin off movie.
Brit Tom Hiddleston and his barely street legal cheekbones make for an enchanting villain, someone you can rally behind to hate.
Yet what is it that makes The Avengers so, so, SO much greater than the legion of superhero movies that have come before it?
Sure, Whedon’s talents have reached such a worshipable level I’m about ready to jump up and down on Oprah’s couch proclaiming my undying love for him.
It’s more than that.
Perhaps it’s because - as Hiddleston suggests - the tales of superheroes have become our form of modern mythology.
In a recent phone interview from London, he adds: “Most mythologies - Greek, Roman, Indian - they’re all highlighting very human ideological battles.
“Human beings have to project their neurosis’ on to those great figures.
“I think that’s what Marvel is now. Comics and superheroes and super villains, it’s the modern version of mythology.”
One thing is certain: despite the weight of fan expectation and pressure of juggling so many pop culture identities, it’s worth kneeling at the altar of The Avengers.