Run time: 143 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th May 2012
Box Office USA: $623.3M
Box Office Worldwide: $1.5B
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 283 Rotten: 26
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Joss Whedon
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenwriter: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Selvig, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Paul Bettany as Jarvis (voice), Jenny Agutter as World Security Council, Walter Perez as Shield Pilot, Powers Boothe as World Security Council, Stan Lee as Old Man in TV Report, Arthur Darbinyan as World Security Council, Donald Li as World Security Council, Ashley Johnson as Waitress, Harry Dean Stanton as Security Guard, Alicia Sixtos as Carrier Bridge Techs, Damion Poitier as Man #1, Dieter Riesle as Gala Scientist, Jamie McShane as Celebration Montage Interviewee, Jeff Wolfe as Tall Thug, Jerzy Skolimowski as Georgi Luchkov, Maximiliano Hernández as Agent Jasper Sitwell, Jillian Morgese as Woman in Restaurant (uncredited), Alexis Denisof as The Other, James Eckhouse as Senator Boynton, Enver Gjokaj as Young Cop
When mischievous Loki (Hiddleston) steals the tesseract from top-secret agency Shield, director Nick Fury (Jackson) and his sidekicks (Gregg and Smulders) call in their superheroes: Tony (Downey), Steve (Evans), Natasha (Johansson), Bruce (Ruffalo) and Clint (Renner), better known as Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, the Hulk and Hawkeye. And Loki's brother Thor (Hemsworth) also turns up. But calling them a team is misleading, as they find it tricky to put rivalries and mistrust aside to save the world from Loki's apocalyptic plan.
Cleverly, each colourful character approaches the crisis in a distinct way as they are slowly becoming a united fighting force. And while there's never any doubt how this will end up, and not much real originality along the way, Whedon continually finds suspense in unexpected places, inventively shifting the film's tone as it goes along. The opening scenes are ludicrously po-faced, with characters spouting stiff dialog until Downey appears (in a hilariously snappy scene with Paltrow) to introduce sarcasm, which then infects everyone else.
Each actor is terrific in a role that's pared down from the solo movies. And this actually makes us look forward to Black Widow and Hawkeye movies, as both Johansson and Renner add terrific texture to their characters. But Ruffalo steals the film, bringing complexity to Bruce and sassy intelligence to the Hulk. By comparison, Evans and Hemsworth feel vintage, with their archaic declamatory dialog. So when they team up for the final battle, they make an intriguing muscle-boy duo. Through it all, Hiddleston is simply fantastic.
Whedon keeps things moving briskly, racing through lengthy chunks of exposition that only matter to geeks. As so many characters compete for the spotlight, it's somewhat bewildering, with vague close-ups (who's gadget is that?) and characters sometimes sidelined (most notably Renner). But the cataclysmic final act is thrilling, both for the scale of the effects and, by now, the power of the relationships. It'll be great to see each of these characters in their own adventures, but we also want Marvel to throw them together again.