As last week I believe I provided the world’s first entirely interrogative film review, I thought that this week I would up the stakes and embroider this review on antimacassars, in mirror writing — this has also never been done before, as far as I know — but time, alas, proved my great enemy, so I’m afraid I have simply written it in verse instead. I hope you will forgive me.
Avengers Assemble, my lovelies, is ‘the superhero event of the year’,
And if this gets you all excited, you probably have nothing to fear.
But if big action so big it’s humongous just isn’t really your thing,
You may find, as I did, it drags, with its surfeit of CGI bling.
The fact is the earth is in peril, you won’t be surprised to learn,
As there’s a villain afoot called Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston.
Loki purrs and taunts and is well camp, with a mullet plus helmet with horns,
But don’t be deceived, my lovelies, as he’s the most evil baddie ever born!
Loki has stolen ‘The Tesseract’, a glowing cube that can do cool stuff;
It can supply the world with unlimited energy but, as if that weren’t enough,
It can also open a portal, a portal to — gulp! — ‘outer space’,
And Loki plans to summon an alien army, one that’ll kill off the human race.
(Yes, my lovelies, you’ve spotted it: global domination is what has him in thrall,
Rather than, say, something a bit different, like free dentistry or aromatherapy for all.)
Now Loki must be defeated, but by who and how, where and when?
This is the question for General Fury, as played by Samuel L. Jackson.
And he knows the answer — yes, indeedy; knows exactly who’ll make it all fine,
And it’s a quintet of Marvel superheroes, coming together for the very first time.
So we have Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow who, in her leathers, is phwoar!
And Chris Evans as Captain America, plus another Chris (Hemsworth) as Thor.
Meanwhile Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man again,
And Mark Ruffalo is The Incredible Hulk who, when he gets cross, splits his pants and goes all green.
(I know, doesn’t rhyme. Give me a break here.)
Now, like I said up top — did you pay attention to what I wrote? —
This is an effects-driven movie, so you’ll like it if this floats your boat.
It’s a 3-D bonanza with battleships, iron dragons, explosions galore.
But frankly, my lovelies, I could have done with less action, and the back stories? Rather more.
The Hulk is the best character by a long shot, as he gets his own tragi-comic arc,
And Ruffalo’s lovely performance hits the ball right out the park.
Also, Captain America is quite funny, so uptight and nerdy and old-fashioned,
But as written and directed by Joss Whedon, I don’t think character is his passion.
Indeed, just when any banter gets going — which is what I liked most of all —
Another bloody battle would commence, as if battles can never ever pall.
Well, I can assure you they can — and so do — all this bish-bosh-splat!
And as the outcome is rather a given, where is the jeopardy in that?
(All I’m saying is if set-pieces
Are not to your liking,
You may get rather fed up
Of all the gratuitous fighting.)
This will be loved by genre fans, when all is said and done,
But at two hours forty, you may find it numbs your bum.
Seriously, more attention to character could have made it a lot more fun.
And now I have said all that, I believe my poem is done.
PS: You’ll never get this kind of thing from Lloyd Evans, or Delingpole, aka Jamie. Which is why I am paid four times as much and get to sit on Fraser’s knee.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated April 28, 2012