Set one year after the events of Thor, Avengers Assemble deals with the return of Loki (Hiddleston) and his plans for intergalactic domination after falling into bed with a devilishly evil, and appropriately belligerent, alien force. After stealing a source of unlimited energy known as the Tesseract, it’s up to the collection of superheroes introduced over the last few Marvel Studios outings to stop him.

What follows is just over two hours of unabashed comic-book joy, laden with stunning visual effects. As expected, Downey shines as Tony Stark, Ruffalo proves more than adequate as the new Bruce Banner, while Evans, Hemsworth, Renner and Johansson play their roles with aplomb. Jackson delivers his usual solidity, and Hiddleston steals the screen with his deliciously unlikeable antagonist.

The real star of the show, however, is director Joss Whedon. Here, his greatest triumph isn’t the glorious spectacle of New York being destroyed, or the sublime CG, but in the breaking down of traditional characters so routinely abused in comic book films to date. Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, traditionally some of the more boring characters, become the most interesting. The plot falls under its own weight at several points, but the overall experience should satisfy even the most ardent aficionado of Marvel’s imagined universe.

FILM review by James Rundle

Good for: Fans of Marvel and blockbuster cinema alike

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson,
Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

12A | 132mins | Disney