Avengers Assemble, the Marvel movie-verse’s ensemble superhero flick, has done exceedingly well at the box office, taking $1.2 billion to date globally. If you haven’t seen it yet you are one of the few. A combination of clever marketing (the smartest of which was the utilisation of short 90 second slots at the end of a number of Marvel superhero movies over the last five years, including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America), smart casting (not least the reprisal of actors who made a role popular) and a crowd pleasing script bringing good word of mouth and fan boy appeasement has meant that this ensemble film has pulled in the studio dollars, got bums on cinema seats and generally done enough to ensure a few more spin-offs and a sequel.
Coincidentally, good casting, a smart script, a competent director and efficient marketing are everything that I think a good ensemble movie needs to be a success. Avengers Assemble may well be a superhero movie, but first and foremost it is an ensemble movie. We have at least seven key characters and a few more besides, with story arcs to be played out across the course of the film and whose storylines must overlap in order to create a narratively satisfying whole – one where we don’t wonder why we’ve been jumping about between different characters but enjoy the time we spent with each one and how they all come together to deliver the punch line.