When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to Earth seeking to enslave all of humanity, the Earth’s mightiest heroes, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) must learn to work together as a team to stop him and his invading Chitauri forces.
This is it. This is what everything since Iron Man leads up to. It was a huge endeavor Marvel took on bringing all these heroes together in one film. Nothing had been done like it before. The idea of a cinematic “shared universe” for any franchise was nearly unheard of. However, it makes so much sense looking at the source material. All these characters occupy one comic universe, why can’t they do the same on screen?
Right away it’s easy to feel how the movie is going to go. It opens with a SHIELD base exploding and a high octane chase scene, setting the expectations for the rest of the film. You know right away that the ride is going to be fast paced and exciting. The action throughout the movie was so much fun to watch. With this being a first time team-up between these heroes, they needed to flex their muscles and fight each other (naturally). The highlight being the fight between the Marvel Trinity: Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Then they came full circle when they were working together as a team fighting the Chitauri at they end. The small things, like Iron Man reflecting his repulsors off Cap’s shield, were the most satisfying.
Joss Whedon is the definition of a fan favorite. He has been involved in beloved series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, one of my personal favorites, Firefly. I can’t think of anyone better Marvel could have picked to pioneer this ultimate team-up. Nothing is wasted. Every moment captured on screen is used efficiently and to progress either the story or a character. There is plenty of organic humor throughout the entire movie. It never feels forced or shoehorned. It’s all friendly banter or very in-line with the character. There is nothing worse than forced humor in a film (OK, I can think of maybe a few things but that’s high up on my list).
I really liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk. I wasn’t too happy to hear he was replaced with Mark Ruffalo. My disappointment had nothing to do with Ruffalo but stemmed from wanting to keep actors consistent. But man, am I glad Ruffalo did take over because he is probably the best Banner ever on screen. One of the reasons I think he worked so well in the cast is because he was able to occupy the background without being overshadowed. With actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans who have big personas, I feel Norton would have been another big personality and wouldn’t have meshed as well with the rest of the cast. Whereas Ruffalo is more mellow and can hang back without becoming someone who simply occupies the background. The whole situation was a good blend of personalities.
Another great thing about The Avengers is how seemingly infinitely quotable it is. It seems like every scene someone says something that stuck with me. The better lines mostly come from Stark but other characters get their time to shine, too.
Although this is an ensemble movie (and everyone gets a fair, balanced amount of screen time and development) I have felt Phase One has always been about Tony Stark. He is the one who has grown the most since meeting him in the “funvee” blaring AC/DC’s “Back in Black” He was a self-centered egotist but become someone who was willing to sacrifice themselves to save the world. None of the others had as big character growths. I guess it helps, too, that he had two movies before this one.
One of the only complaints I have is Hawkeye getting mind controlled from the beginning. To be straight, my problem isn’t with him getting mind controlled. I feel that his mind control would have more of an impact if we were invested in him more. He had a cameo in Thor, then the next time he is scene he switches sides. It gave off the reaction of “So? why should we care about this guy following Loki?” Of course people who followed the comic books knew why that was a problem but I’m not sure how non-comic book people felt about it.
The Avengers is everything comic fans had hoped it would be and more. The culmination of four years finally paying off in a huge way. It perfectly balances humor and action, as well as characters. The Avengers was a huge gamble that payed of in spades, forever changing superhero films.
Steve Rogers: I want to know why Loki let us take him. He’s not leading an army from here.
Bruce Banner: I don’t think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.
Thor: Have care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason but he is of Asgard and he is my brother.
Natasha Romanoff: He killed 80 people in two days.
Thor: He is adopted.
Cast & Crew
Joss Whedon – Director / Screenplay / Story
Zak Penn – Story
Alan Silvestri – Composer
Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Mark Ruffalo – Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner – Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston – Loki
Clark Gregg – Agen Phil Coulson
Cobie Smulders – Agent Maria Hill
Stellen Skarsgard – Selvig
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
Gwyneth Paltrow – Pepper Potts
Paul Bettany – JARVIS (voice)
Alexis Denisof – The Other