CINEMA REVIEW: The Avengers By DAVID MORGAN WHAT do you get when you put a gang of vigilante superheroes in the same room? A fight.

But what happens if those same costumed defenders have to unite to face a massive threat to the planet they have vowed to protect? A war.

That is the basic premise of The Avengers, which strings together the characters we know and love from the recent Marvel Comics films and ups the ante.

The ensemble cast squabble, flex their muscles, practice their best quips and come to blows before realising the stakes are much higher than their own egos.

Yes it’s cheesy but director and writer Joss Whedon has his tongue firmly in his cheek.

With The Avengers he has been entrusted with the biggest budget production of his career and it has paid off.

Whedon adds flair to the scenes of carnage and destruction.

But it is his trademark humour – which made his TV work like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly such fan favourites – that gives the story the charm it needs.

The film sees Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America as well as the lesser known Hawkeye and Black Widow unite to battle Loki and his intergalactic army. In interviews Whedon said he wanted to make a war movie and he has succeeded but you also get the sense there isn’t enough room to do all the characters justice.

As expected, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man steals the show while the excellent Samuel L Jackson is a little underused as Nick Fury, the leader struggling to keep this rag tag group together.

Overall The Avengers is a triumph but could have benefited from a stronger villain.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, the adopted brother and enemy of Thor, is more whiney than scary.