Avengers Assemble (2012) BBC 1, 8.30pm


Note: nobody in Hollywood has a normal sounding name, the screenplay was by Joss Whedon with help from Zak Penn. I’m not sure why dear old Joss needed any help with his screenplay but when Walt Disney Studios is paying out (a declared) $220 you can be sure they want bang, bang, bang for their buck. And boy do they get it. There’s a fight every ten seconds involving Loki, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson (I can’t remember who she’s supposed to be, but she looks good even when wearing a chair) and Samuel L Jackson never plays anyone but Samuel L Jackson. And oh yeh if that’s not alien enough – alien invaders. They’re a bit like orcs only in flying suits with guns. On the good-guy side ledger, one guy dies a tragic death of cut upper lip, which the Assembled Avengers swear to avenge. On the bad-guy side ledger they get hit with everything but a nuclear bomb, apart from, of course, they do get hit with a nuclear bomb. But the bad guys did get to smash up Manhattan. That can’t be all bad. There were two mildly amusing moments in a film running to 143 minutes. One was about an hour into the film (but it seemed longer) when one of the officer on the Avenger’s Assemble flying ship gives some order and the staff behind him start tapping on computer screens. The camera pans in on one of the screens and the programmer is playing one of those old-fashioned Atari games when the ships buzz down and you shoot them from the bottom of the screen. The other amusing moment is near the end of the film. The bad guys have opened up a portal to let in alien ships and the Avenger team are up batting for planet earth, killing as many aliens as they can without their hair getting too drab. Loki challenges the Hulk to bend his knee and worship him. The Hulk picks him up and smashes him like a cartoon a couple of times. I actually laughed at that. But making money is a serious business. This film made reported returns of $1.5118 billion. Then you’ve got your add on-sale of Marvel figures. DVD sales and selling the first film to BBC so that the next film is being advertised and can make a similar profit. Superheroes are the most visible sign of sure-fire profit that Walt Disney can assemble. Until the figures start flagging they’ll be wearing the same old costumes again and again. It’s old-fashioned wrestling: Good guys versus bad guys (sshhh, spoiler, the good guys always win).