Succeed? Man, The Avengers shouldn’t work at all.
Not that there’s any reason to doubt the talent on either side of the camera when it comes to this assemblage of some of Marvel Comics’ most powerful superheroes, even if writer-director Joss Whedon is known (and loved) for creating TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.
But bringing together larger-than-life characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, not to mention a few second-stringers, and expecting them to share the screen?
How are things not going to get cluttered to the point of absolute chaos?
Well, guess what: Whedon and his team, aided by a note-perfect cast, have created an ideal large-scale action-adventure extravaganza, one that delivers thrills, spills, humour and heart without skimping on spectacle.
Yes, The Avengers is a kick-ass blast, a textbook example of how to make a wildly entertaining blockbuster that delights connoisseurs of the comic books while entertaining and enthralling newcomers.
That said, a little refresher course may be necessary, so perhaps check out the solo adventures of the afore-mentioned superheroes on DVD before buckling up for this ride. It’ll certainly bring you up to speed.
Individually, the likes of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), an irreverent genius in a high-tech suit of armour, Captain America (Chris Evans), a WWII super-soldier reawakened into the modern world after decades frozen in ice, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the headstrong Norse thunder god, and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), a mild-mannered scientist who transforms into a green-skinned monster when angered, should be able to handle any threat.
So it must take something pretty serious for secret agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to bring them all together for a world-saving mission.
And it is: Thor’s exiled brother Loki (the excellent Tom Hiddleston, wonderfully combining petulance and psychopathology) has joined forces with an alien race to invade and conquer Earth, seizing a powerful artefact called the Tesseract to do so.
It’s going to take the combined powers of ‘The Avengers Initiative’ to stop Loki and his evil allies…but can these heroes overcome their personality clashes and personal demons to do so?
It’s a trademark of Whedon’s immense skill when it comes to characterisation and interaction that the Avengers putting aside their differences and coming together to work as a team is just as thrilling and satisfying as watching them take on an extra-terrestrial army blowing up New York City.
Of course, that’s always fun as well, and The Avengers does it so well it puts the bulk of its competitors to shame. This is the real deal, people. Accept no substitutes.