28 April 2012 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

"Unhappy the land that has no heroes!" someone remarks to Bertolt Brecht's Galileo. "No. Unhappy the land that needs heroes," Galileo replies. And if superheroes are multiples of the ordinary variety, the world as perceived by Hollywood is currently in as dire straits as it was during the great depression when the comic-strip masked avengers were first created. Joss Whedon, a major hero to Tinseltown's accountants, and Marvel Comics' movie division have come up with the wheeze of bringing together six of Marvel's superheroes (Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America and the lesser-known Hawkeye and Black Widow) to confront Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the evil trickster of Norse folklore. He's slipped through a crack in the universe and stolen the all-powerful Cosmic Cube. In the course of defeating his megalomaniac schemes, much of midtown Manhattan is destroyed along with several thousand people, though happily the Chrysler building survives.

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- Philip French

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