In commemoration of the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) as well as AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit ALL of the films relating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In addition, for my reviews of the other films from the MCU, click the following links:
- IRON MAN (2008)
- THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
- IRON MAN 2 (2010)
- THOR (2011)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
Click the following link for:
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (SHERLOCK HOLMES  and 2 , and upcoming films SHERLOCK HOLMES 3  and THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE ), Chris Evans (GIFTED , and upcoming films KNIVES OUT  and THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT ), Tom Hiddleston (EARLY MAN , KONG , SAW/LIGHT , and MIDNIGHT/PARIS ), Mark Ruffalo (NOW YOU SEE ME 2 , SPOTLIGHT , and BEGIN AGAIN ), and Samuel L. Jackson (GLASS , INCREDIBLES II , KONG , TARZAN , Star Wars Episodes I , II , and III , SHAFT , and upcoming films CAPTAIN MARVEL  and SHAFT )
Director/Writer: Joss Whedon (FIREFLY  and SERENITY )
Executive Producer: Jon Favreau (JUNGLE BOOK , and the upcoming THE LION KING )
Composer: Alan Silvestri (MARWEN , THE WALK , THE CROODS , PREDATOR  and 2 , and the upcoming THE CROODS 2 )
Cinematographer: Seamus McGarvey (EL ROYALE , SHOWMAN , NOCTURNAL ANIMALS , and GODZILLA )
Editors: Jeffrey Ford (STREET KINGS  and HIDE AND SEEK ) and Lisa Lassek (EL ROYALE, CIRCLE , and CABIN/WOODS )
This is my honest opinion of: THE AVENGERS
Research into the Tesseract has caused SHIELD to accidentally open a portal for rogue Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to come through and take the object for himself, killing some SHIELD agents, mind-controlling others, including Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner), and leaving the rest. Under desperate circumstances, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has called for the recruitment of the gifted heroes of the last few years, Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans), and Bruce “The Hulk” Banner (Mark Ruffalo), to help track down Loki and prevent the war that he wants to start with Earth, using an army from a shadowy unknown presence.
While I certainly see the problems better now than I did back then, I’m sorry all you haters out there, I can’t watch this movie without getting that same pang of awesomeness as is I’d been watching this movie for the first time.
Even before the title card appears, this movie does almost everything right. The Tesseract is going haywire, SHIELD is helpless against a foe that suddenly appears, and even Loki’s very introduction sparks the thrill ride we’re in for. In THOR, Loki barely ever cracked a smile. He wasn’t gleeful, pathetic trickster that he ended up being in later films. This is where his personality really started to shine. He kills some dudes, controls some SHIELD agents, including Hawkeye, some awesome driving action with a minimal use of special effects, and even a big moment where an entire SHIELD facility gets buried in rubble. And I’ll never get those final seconds out of my head when Agent Coulson says, “What do we do?” and it’s just a slow pan into Fury’s face looking dire. And then, BOOM, title card. “The Avengers.” Even today, seven years later, I was quivering in my seat ready for what came next.
The rest of the movie doesn’t disappoint in that regard. We get a fun action scene with Black Widow pretending to be a scared and helpless prisoner and kicking ass to get out of her predicament, Steve Rogers being recruited into the mission to recover the Tesseract, and Iron Man having his wonderfully adorable banter with Pepper Potts. “Next building is going have ‘Potts’ on the side.” “On the lease.” “Eh… call your mom. Can you buck over?” I still love those two together. How is this brief-ass scene that lasts ten-ish minutes better than the near two hour film that was IRON MAN 2?! Leave it to Joss Whedon to make a ten minute scene better than an entire movie. Why was everyone pissed off with him regarding JUSTICE LEAGUE again? We see where Bruce Banner’s been, we get a fun scene in Germany with Captain America fighting Loki, it’s just all a lot of fun. I also really still enjoy that moment where the old man stands up to Loki. “There are no men like me.” “There are always men like you.” Chills, bro. Literally, I have goosebumps just thinking about that old kook.
From this point forward, it’s everything this movie needs to be. Rogers interacting with Stark, Thor and Loki reuniting, Thor and Iron Man fighting, which was damn awesome, and who the hell knew that Cap’s shield could withstand a full strike from Thor and Mjolnir? One would think the sheer force of Thor’s blow would be enough to break Cap’s kneecaps. I don’t care, it was awesome.
Even the dialog scenes aren’t devoid of interesting conversations. I feel like if this movie was made in the 80’s, or even the 90’s, the characters would just be instant best buddies. But here, they don’t all get along. Sure, Tony gets along with Bruce, Steve gets along with Natasha and Bruce, but Steve doesn’t get along with Tony. There is some head-butting and even a little bit of dick-measuring. But at the end of the day, when their backs are against the wall, they know to set aside their differences and work together. I especially love that science room scene where you can understand almost everyone’s perspective given the revelation of SHIELD’s “Phase 2.” <<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ From SHIELD’s perspective, Earth was attacked by aliens who are significantly more overpowered than humanity can handle. Maybe they can acknowledge that the Destroyer attacking that small town in New Mexico was the actions of one person, but they know that their mere existence means that there are other races out in the cosmos, and maybe not all of them are friendly. Earth needed to defend itself against that kind of power, using the only source of power they know that will give them that edge, the Tesseract. However, the Tesseract is Asgardian and doesn’t belong to Earth. By having that level of power at their disposal, and I love how Thor phrases it, “It’s showing that Earth is ready for a higher form of war.” This also will later factor in to what Vision will end up saying in CIVIL WAR, about how power breeds challenge, and challenge breeds conflict, or whatever the hell he said. Either way, by making that statement that Earth has power, this is a beacon for those who would like to test their might, which is putting Earth and its people in harm’s way. This actually makes for one of the smartest conversations in the entire MCU. I mean, who would you side with? Who’s right, or wrong? In a movie that a lot of people are saying that the story was weak, this conversation is overlooked too much, giving this movie more of a brain than many give credit for. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
And who can forget the climactic fight in New York? Tony standing up to Loki and the immortal, “I have an army.” “We have a Hulk.” The Chitauri coming in droves and everyone has a place in the attack. Hawkeye feeding Tony battle tactics to Tony, Thor doing an awesome job of keeping the portal from having too many aliens from coming through, Cap and Widow kicking ass on the ground, and Hulk smashing everything in sight, it’s way too awesome. I will never get tired of the one-shot pan-around of all of the heroes, or that amazing near-all CG one shot of all the heroes doing their thing. I especially love some of the smaller details. When Widow and Hawkeye were talking on the helicarrier, he tells her that he’s confused as to why she, a spy, wants to play soldier and get in on the ground-floor of the action. Later on during the fighting, you can clearly see her running out of breath. That her spy training never prepared her like a soldier, likely pushing herself past her limits, which have never been tested in such a way. While I’ve never cared for Widow as a character, leave it to Whedon’s great direction that makes me take that level of interest. And of course, that incredible sucker punch from Hulk.
However, the time has come to take off the nostalgic goggles and acknowledge this movie’s flaws.
Man, Bruce Banner is such a God-damned worry-wart. How did I not see it before? This guy’s dialog is most comprised of being paranoid that he’s going to change into Hulk. I mean, okay, the Hulk isn’t exacting controllable and is prone to cause a shit-load of destruction, but there’s plenty of triggers that exist in the world to make him mad. Why is a SHIELD lab a cause for concern? Up in the air or not, this just seems more like paranoia than anything. Hell, half the time, he’s challenging people to make him mad. From his meeting with Natasha in India, to the infighting in the science lab with everyone arguing about SHIELD’s “Phase 2” plans, for someone who doesn’t want “the Other Guy” out, he certainly sparks situations where he can. And what’s with him calling Hulk, “the other guy.” He never did that in the INCREDIBLE HULK. I mean, I guess that’s progress as he didn’t even acknowledge Hulk as an entity at all, but still. This seems really juvenile for a world class scientist. <<<SPOILERS>>> [ To top it all off, he’s spent x-amount of time learning how to be angry all the time in the off chance that he can summon Hulk at will? This seems… very bipolar. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
As much as I like that gala scene resulting in Cap and Loki fighting, I have to ask the necessity of that scene. Particularly when Hawkeye steals that energy cell thing. I mean, I know it’s some kind of missing component for Selvig’s machine to open a portal for the Chitauri, but really, it’s a long-winded excuse for Loki to get captured. The stealing of the energy cell wasn’t exactly needed or necessary in terms of the writing.
I know that one of Loki’s main draws as a villain is that he thinks he’s entitled to be some kind of supreme overlord, but even as far as dictator types go, nothing about what Loki’s saying when he monologues makes any real measure of sense. “Freedom is life’s great lie,” or, “Is kneeling not your natural state? Do you not crave subjugation?” Like, who the hell says things like this? I know it’s a comic book movie, but even Red Skull wasn’t this hammy. He wanted to break away from Hitler and have Hydra take over the world in their own way. He said that and he moved on with his life. No long-winded speeches for mugging purposes. But Loki is all about that and it’s actually a little awkward. I would honestly respect the guy more if he was just upfront about his intentions. “Yeah, I’m just here to enslave you. Try and stop me.” Were it not for the Avengers, who could? Much as I love this movie, I didn’t like it when Loki monologued.
Even Fury doesn’t make sense. After he captures Loki and they start going back and forth, Fury goes into his own monologue, saying that Loki is wielding a power that can’t possibly be controlled. And yet… look at what he and SHIELD were planning on doing. SHIELD intended to use it to create a new age of weaponry to use in the off chance that more aliens would attack. That sounds like someone’s making an attempt to control and uncontrollable power. I know, eventually Fury says that he didn’t put too much stock in that and preferred to rely on the “Avengers Initiative,” but he seemed like he was standing by SHIELD’s ideas in that big argument in the room. Motivations just seem to be all over the place here.
Quick question. Before Widow went to confront Hawkeye on the helicarrier, did she seem traumatized by her confrontation with Hulk? Like, her eyes were wide and she hadn’t moved from that spot since Thor saved her. I mean, I guess anyone who gets on Hulk’s shit-list would cause anyone to shit their pants, but she’s a spy working for SHIELD… death-defying missions and situations shouldn’t be that new. Her opening scene is of her tied to a chair and threatened to be dropped down a hole. Sure, she may have been in control of the situation, but you never know if that henchman dude would just sneeze, or something, and accidentally push her down. Just saying. <<<SPOILERS>>> [ And let’s ask the real question… how the hell does that traumatized look lead to the two being romantic interests? This makes their ULTRON characters even more random than it already is. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
<<<SPOILERS>>> [ And the more I see this happen in movies, the more I dislike STAR WARS: PHANTOM MENACE for inspiring this… why does destroying the mothership mean that all of the minions just die? At least in Star Wars, you can acknowledge that the machines are networked and make up something like that and have it make some measure of sense. But for a movie like this… what, are the aliens hive-minded? We don’t see a queen alien or anything. So… what the hell? It’s pretty forced and I guess Whedon just didn’t want to write how the Avengers still had clean-up to do. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Overall, my nerdgasms never cease when I see this movie. It truly never gets old and I still love revisiting it. True, as time goes on, I see more of the flaws, but it’s easy to ignore them and enjoy the ride. And like a lot of these movies, while some things have shown some wear and tear, others have aged beautifully. So really, I think any superhero fan can watch this and get something incredible out of it. I loved it back in 2012, I love it today.
My honest rating for THE AVENGERS: a strong 4/5