Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters bears all the hallmarks of a film that knows entirely how silly it is. For starters, it's called Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. It's produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, the freewheeling comedic spitballers behind Anchorman. Peter Stormare is in it. Crucially, it has a concept so inherently ludicrous – Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are all grown up and hunt witches with hardware that'd shame Seal Team Six – you'd think it impossible for such a film to lack self-awareness. Why, then, does Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters fumble almost every chance it has to be funny?
Despite its lineage, The Bourne Legacy has received a frosty reception from critics thus far and has had an almost completely anonymous marketing presence – rather than dynamically burst into cinemas next week, rolling up its poster and ramming it down audiences' throats, it shuffles in apologetically to be met with highly suspicious glares. This is entirely unnecessary, because while Legacy couldn't ever hope to match the Paul Greengrass/Matt Damon movies for sheer punch and propulsion, it's as close to replicating them as you could expect, and marks another excellent entry into the Bourneography.
Somehow, thanks to what I can only presume was some oversight in the security details for the cast of Avengers Assemble, I was allowed within dry-humping distance of the stars to ask them some questions about the film. I’ll be posting them all over the next few days, but firstly, here’s my interview with Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. Thank god I remembered to muffle my ankle bracelet that morning.
JOURNALISTS ASSEMBLE! I had the pleasure of joining half of the media in the UK in attending the biggest press conference ever seen in Britain. Probably. It was pretty big. At one point there was a biscuit shortage.
It's only been four years since Samuel L Jackson teased his way into the end of Tony Stark's movie like a fan-wetting afterthought, but it seems like anticipation for The Avengers has been setting the Internet a-buzz for far longer. Perhaps this is because, since the comic-book genre gained credibility again, we've all been waiting for the ultimate superhero crossover movie. With Avengers Assemble, we get just that - four superhero leads meeting up for one mega-blockbuster movie in a way that has never been seen before. As a result, it is the ultimate summer event movie. It also happens to be Marvel's masterpiece.
How many straight-up action movies have you seen this year? Remove all the superhero movies, alien invasions and Jason Statham films (which, as we all know, don't play by conventional rules), and there have been precious few pulse-pounders that were rooted in reality. Being grounded is not something typically associated with Tom Cruise – indeed, in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol he comes closer than ever to his Space God, courtesy of the Burj Khalifa – but the return of Ethan Hunt and his IMF team should be welcomed in a year where far-out fantasy and outlandish action has so far reigned.
Two brand new character banners for The Avengers have emerged, and don't worry, Scarlett Johansson's arse is featured as prominently as possible. Something tells me, though, that this campaign could be considered aggressive in Merseyside.