Avengers (1998) – movie review

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent
Director: Jeremiah S Chechik

Loads of potential ” so what happened?

The Avengers TV series was a cult classic. John Steed (Patrick McNee) has three female partners throughout the original series and a fourth, Purdey (Joanna Lumley) in the revival series ‘The New Avengers’.

The movie when it was finally made was awaited with huge expectations, the fan base was there, the famous Avengers music was at hand, so why did it end up like this?

I have to say, don’t believe everything you’ve heard about the movie version, critics love to pull films apart and given the chance to lay into a cult classis is just too irresistible for most. The ‘Avengers’ movie does try to follow the theme of the series, which had many weird and unusual episodes, but it just doesn’t really come together.

The new Steed (Ralph Fiennes) does seem to try to copy some of the mannerisms and attitude of the original character and to some extent and to some degree succeeds. The new Emma Peel (Uma Thurman), the partner picked out of Steed’s original four for the movie also does a fairly good impersonation of the original except the wrong original. Uma Thurman seems to be playing Purdey from the ‘New Avengers series! This is no bad thing as it ’happens but why not call the character Purdey. Sean Connery playing the villain is just about acceptable.but only because Connery can act.

The visual weirdness does not really work though and in this respect the film should have been updated to reflect what a modern Avengers should be, in a way that’s more acceptable to the audience. The storyline of Sean Connery’s character taking control of the weather and holding the world to ransom is so thin it’s transparent and any Bond movie (or Austin Powers) has done this better by a mile.

But when it really comes down to it, Ralph Fiennes although he tries just does not make an acceptable Stead, and this with the extremely poor storyline is the movie’s failing.

Ironically Patrick McNee does play the part of an invisible man, so if he was available why not make the movie a follow on to where the New Avengers series left off just as the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise has done? Why not get Patrick McNee’s ‘Stead’ to take on a more senior lead character. Part the character with a new female lead, possibly Uma Thurman who can do a lot better than she does here and what have you got……a brand new ‘Avengers’ movie franchise.

This could still happen. Do what the ‘Highlander’ franchise has done and ignore this movie that didn’t work, pretend it didn’t happen and make another one.

Go on just get on with it, the fans are waiting.

2 out of 6 stars