It’s my site (which means I can do what I want ;)), and as far as I’m concerned, today is officially Avengers Day!! 🙂
(Those last two are from the movie, right? ;))
I’m getting ready to see Age of Ultron in a few, so I thought it might be cute to see what we unsuspecting humans thought of the OG Avengers when it first came out. Let’s Delorean it back to the simpler days of 2012 and see what KH contributor Adam had to say about it for this edition of #TBT, shall we? (Side Note: I can already give you my review of AoU, despite not having seen it yet. It’ll be something to the effect of “Holy Cow!! It was awesome!!!”, but I’ll let you know if that changes for some reason. *SPOILER ALERT* It won’t. ;))
Take it away, Big A!! 🙂 xoxox
Review: The Avengers (from 2012, submitted by Mr. Adam ;))
Synopsis: “Marvel Studios presents Marvel’s The Avengers-the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.” (Marvel)
Many discussions surrounding this film will begin with the phrase; “A few years ago, no one would ever imagine this film being a possibility.” Sure, those statements have become cliché at this point, but it’s entirely true. Then Marvel became its own studio, and the rest is history. While “Iron-Man” gave birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Thor” and “Captain America” are the lynchpin films for the plot to this movie. I think the above plot synopsis is enough summary, so allow me to dive right into my thoughts.
I like the fact that the filmmakers involved decided to cut and paste story lines and elements from several incarnations of the comics, coupled with a nice dose of Joss Whedon’s imaginative genius. This allows the film to appeal to the hardcore fan base, while not being tied down to one specific story-line. Naturally, the first issue of this long running comic book was given its due by having Loki as the primary antagonist. As badass as Loki is as a villain, Thor took him down in the solo film, so to have him go toe-to-toe with 5 other superheroes would seem moot. Enter the Chitauri. When fans first heard of an alien foe in the film, they began clamouring for either the Skrull’s or the Kree. Instead, the Chitauri were chosen. Their complicated back story from the books was seemingly ignored. As a reader, that’s disappointing, but is in the best interest of the film. Knowing that they are power-hungry, world conquering S.O.B’s is enough to understand why they would become strange bedfellows with Loki. They want the Tessaract (Cosmic Cube) and Loki wants to rule Earth and stick it to his brother. The plot is straight forward, effective, and accessible for average Joe-public.
I now turn my attention to the main talent in front and behind the camera. Having known that this film was on its way for a while, I’ve been excited yet concerned. I was worried how Marvel would unite all these superheroes, without it feeling forced. Well, my concern disappeared when they hired Joss Whedon. The guy has as much sci-fi street-cred as Tony Stark has money! Thanks hits like Buffy/Angel, Firefly, and his stint on Astonishing X-Men. His strengths are writing strong characters and humor. Both are on display here. Joss manages to capture each hero’s personalities expertly. So well in fact, that if I didn’t know better, I’d think he’d had a hand in writing all the Marvel Studio’s films. Two mainstays of Avengers comic books are the teams differing opinions, which leads to the odd fight, and the humor. Both are transplanted to the film in an organic fashion, without feeling forced, or as a form of lip-service to the fans. I like the trepidation that Joss infuses into the characters, where Bruce Banner/ The Hulk is concerned. With the exception of Tony Stark, they’re all worried about setting him off. The Hulk is finally getting his due, but more on that later.
My only two negatives of this film are as small as Ant-Man but I’ll point them out anyways. I found it very confusing that two ordinary human beings, Hawkeye and Black Widow, had seemingly less of a struggle with the Chitauri army then Captain America, a super-soldier who has endurance “far in excess of an ordinary human being.” I also thought that there was a bit too much humor just prior to Agent Coulson’s “death”. I realize Coulson has been the source of many comedic moments in most of his appearances in the solo films, yet the humor prior to his death lessons the emotional impact of the only significant unexpected casualty of the MCU.
Once again, Robert Downey Jr. proves that he was born to play Tony Stark/Iron-Man. He had so many humorous moments, my favorite being his jab at Thor in the forest fight. Also, he really sells the dramatic self-sacrificing heroic moment near the film’s end. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, man out of time extremely effectively. His straight laced performance highlight Steve Rogers leadership skill, that it’s no wonder the rest of the team would follow him. Chris Hemsworth had the perfect mix of confident swagger and humanity, which really shows character growth in between the first Thor film and this one. Scarlett Johansson seemed more comfortable in her role as Black Widow this time around compared with her turn in “Iron Man 2.” She and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye had solid chemistry, making their implied shared back-story palpable. Hopefully, this will be further explored in the future. Tom Hiddleston was magnificently maniacal as Loki. His portrayal of the villain stands tall amongst other Marvel villains, including Willem Dafoe and Ian McKellen. In fact, I’d put him second amongst comic book movie villains, only to Heath Ledger’s Joker. Hiddleston has mastered the smug superiority that makes you detest Loki. Samuel L. Jackson was his usual badass self as Nick Fury. It was nice to finally see him use a weapon in this one. Although, I felt Jackson’s delivery of his “call to arms” speech after Coulson’s death lacked conviction to be honest.
Then there’s Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. In my opinion Banner and his green alter-ego took command of every scene they were in. Ruffalo plays Banner as someone who has resigned himself from trying to “cure” his condition, instead trying to fly under the radar and avoid volatile situations. Ruffalo also put the focus on Bruce Banner the intelligent scientist, more so then any other film portrayal. This film also brought us a more heroic Hulk. I was smiling from ear to ear when Bruce Banner willfully transformed into The Hulk to face the Chitauri. That brings me to the action/visual effects. Once again The Hulk took centre stage. Firstly, he looked great. Facially he looked like Mark Ruffalo, complete with beard stubble, and slightly grey temples. Secondly, every fight scene Hulk’s in gives new meaning to the phrase “Hulk Smash!” Be it battling with Thor, obliterating the Chitauri army, or pummeling Loki, The Hulk had me laughing and cheering the entire time.
The rest of the visual effects and fight scenes were superb as well. The last act of the film was an all out brawl between our heroes and their antagonists. The action pieces called to mind action scenes from “The Ultimates” and “Secret Invasion.” The transitioning between fights felt like flipping through comic book pages, giving every hero their moment in the spotlight. The final act was the most action packed finale I’ve seen for a movie in this genre at the time. If that wasn’t enough, the mid credit scene left you salivating for more.
The Avengers threw down the gauntlet to all other movies to raise their game. This film really feels like the culmination of a comic book storyline. In fact, put into perspective it is sort of the conclusion to the first Marvel Cinematic Universe story arc. Many superhero movies are adaptations of their source material. Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is truly an example of a comic book coming to life on the big screen. For me, is the definition of a motion comic in the truest sense of the word.