Its taken me a little while, but I had every intention of reviewing The Avengers. As I said on the podcast, this is the movie I’ve been waiting for since I first started reading comic book and it really didn’t disappoint! I’ll to not got into spoilers right away, but they are coming. And honestly, you really should you seen this movie, so hopefully I won’t be spoiling anyone!
There was tons of hype heading in to this movie and I think this is something that was expected. After all, Marvel was doing what many people thought to be impossible and assembling a team of superheroes onscreen in a live action movie. I had thought that Joss Whedon was the perfect choice to direct this movie. Throughout all of his past TV series he has proven that he can handle a large ensemble cast and still build up each character individually.
I waited until Saturday to see the movie, and the theater was still packed. Even in my 2D showing there was a huge crowd. It seemed the 3D was just as crowded as well as there were tons of people exiting when I came in. Sadly, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones that received a trailer for both The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. In fact I got neither of those trailers. However, that didn’t matter as the main attraction, the movie, was incredible. The 143 minutes just flew by and at the end the first thing I thought was, ‘I want to see this again!’
The scary thing is, that Whedon has said in earlier interviews that he ended up cutting a bunch of material from the movie to make it flow better. Some reports say there is as much as 40 minutes of content that ended up on the cutting room floor! In that case, I can’t wait for the Director’s Cut of The Avengers. One of the scenes that Whedon spoke of was Cap going to go meet with modern-day Peggy Carter in part to see her with his own eyes and explain what happened to him. This wasn’t included in the movie and I can see why as it wouldn’t fit very well. However, the scene would be emotionally poignant and help to beef up Steve’s character some more. I can’t wait to see this deleted scene in the future.
Just a heads up everyone, from this point on there will be spoilers and a discussion on the plot of the movie. Read at your own risk!
There were so many things I liked about this movie and I really only had one minor quibble. That surprised me as I can generally find something to complain about in most comic movies. Some of the things I bring up here might sound familiar and if you’ve listened to the All Things Good And Nerdy podcast that’s why. I was lucky enough to geek out about this movie with 3 other co-hosts. To be fair, I am a big Iron Man fan so I probably focus on him a little too much.
Things I Liked:
- Black Widow Gets to be a Badass - In Iron Man 2 Black Widow served as little more than eye candy. Luckily, Joss Whedon knows how to write strong female characters, just look at his work on Buffy, Angel, or Dollhouse. In The Avengers Widow has a chance to proves what a good asset she is. The opening scene with Black Widow was both funny and badass as Widow is tied up and being interrogated when SHIELD calls to recall her. The fight and the humor within just made for a great moment. And then Black Widow basically played Loki like a violin later in the movie where she just manipulates him into revealing his purpose on the SHIELD Hellicarrier. It was a great moment that showed off the manipulative background of a spy.
- Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner – I loved the way Ruffalo portrayed Bruce Banner as the smart quiet man in control of the beast inside. Ruffalo’s Banner is easily the best in the Marvel movies as gives him a quiet strength. I have to say I loved the chemistry between Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. as well. The two played off each other extremely well. The most powerful scene between the two was in the lab as Tony said he understood Banner. Both of them received their ‘gifts’ through a tragedy. In Stark’s case one of his weapons nearly killing him and for Banner his experiment going haywire. Both Stark and Banner are making the best of a bad situation and trying to help others. Meanwhile the other heroes chose to use their natural or non tragically acquired gifts.
- Continuity Moments - It was a very simple piece but Coulson informing Thor of Dr. Jane Foster’s status was a good moment to remind everyone why Thor is so attached to the Earth and to bring back references to previous films. Including Pepper Potts in the movie in a couple short scenes also reminded viewers that we are in one big Marvel Universe. And it was good to see how Tony’s relationship with her had improved.
- Killing Coulson – I had a feeling that Whedon would kill of a popular character but I can see why it was done. Coulson’s sacrifice is the motivation all of the heroes needed to set aside their differences and band together. The moment where Nick Fury plays on Coulson’s death to motivate the team is a perfect portrayal of Nick Fury. He wants so hard to achieve his mission that he will manipulate or lie to make it happen. Lying and saying Coulson had the Captain America trading cards in his pocket upon his death due to his belief in the heroes was just the tool to bring everyone together. Was it right to play on everyone’s emotions? No, but it was necessary to save to world and I doubt Coulson would have objected. I hope this is a death that sticks, if they find some cheap way to bring Coulson back it would cheapen his death a great deal.
- Iron Man Armor Removal - The platform on Stark Tower that is used to remove the Iron Man armor just makes the process look so cool. It’s really impressive to see the evolution of this process over the span of the Marvel movies. Originally, getting into or out of the armor was time-consuming and awkward but Stark has continued to refine it in each movie.
- Iron Man Mark VII – This armor was just cool. When Tony was putting on the wristbands I was trying to figure out just how they would come into play. Seeing Stark get thrown out a window and a suit of Iron Man armor deploy around him was just like something out of the comics.
- Quips and Humor – In typical Whedon fashion the movie is full of quick one-liners and puns thrown in the midst of a battle or dramatic moment. This never takes away from the movie and leads to fun moments. There were times in the theater where people were laughing so hard I missed bits of dialogue. I think Thor had one of the best quips during a discussion about Loki where he tried to defend him only to learn Loki had killed 80 people in two days. His response immediately thereafter of ‘he’s adopted’ had the theater rolling.
- Sibling Rivalry – It was interesting to see Thor try so hard to redeem his brother in the beginning of the movie. In his own movie Thor had learned humility and how to set his pride aside. It was very cool to see him try to pass that on to this brother. Even at the end Thor tries to save his brother only to get stabbed in the gut. Seeing no choice he has to fight and the realization of that on his face is powerful.
- Tony the Hero – In the earlier parts of the movie Tony and Cap had butted heads. Cap pointed out that Tony wasn’t willing to do the hard things as a hero and that he was in fact not a soldier. This fact, not being a soldier, is something Stark readily agreed to. However, when faced with NYC getting nuked or sacrificing himself Tony didn’t bat an eye. And how heartbreaking was it to see Tony trying to call Pepper and say goodbye and she doesn’t even see her phone ringing?
- Hulk is the Man – To steal a phrase here, Hulk does more hulking in Avengers than he ever did in his own movies. There were so many great Hulk moments throughout the film. There were two in particular that stand out to me. One is Hulk grabbing a fallen Iron Man out of the sky and bringing the fallen Avenger to the ground. The other is his confrontation with Loki, where Loki continues one of his longer evil rants and Hulk just grabs him by the ankle and throws him around like a ragdoll. What made that moment perfect was Hulk muttering ‘puny god’ and walking off. That was something that felts so much like the comics to me.
- Thanos! – This was an awesome setup for the future Marvel movies. I’m guessing we will see the Infinity Gauntlet come into play as it was already seen in Odin’s vault in Thor.
- Cap’s Costume – I think they really gave Cap a near perfect costume in his movie. I understand why they changed the costume, mostly to modernize it, but it would have been cool to make it look a little closer to his WW II uniform.
- Thor’s Return To Earth – With the destruction of the Bifrost Bridge in the Thor, many were left wondering how the God of Thunder would return to Earth. To me, just saying as an aside that ‘Odin did it’ seemed a little bit like a cop-out. My guess is that the explanation for Thor’s return is in one of the deleted scenes.
Overall, I loved this movie and I think it opened up a lot of possibilities for future Marvel films. If I had to give it a score I’m thinking a 9.5 out of 10. There were a couple of things I was left curious about that I’m hoping are in the deleted scenes. I’m anticipating that the Director’s Cut of this movie will make this a 10 out of 10!
It is pretty interesting to note that Mark Ruffalo has already been signed to appear in 6 Marvel movies. I would love to see him have a cameo in Iron Man 3 if only to continue building upon the friendship Stark and Banner seemed to develop in The Avengers. In fact I think the Internet agrees with me based on one of the newest memes floating around.
Time for Science!