“… deals with all of the characters respectfully and still creates one of the best superhero films I have ever seen.”
The Avengers is a movie that I’m sure will be viewed as a milestone for superhero movies until the end of time. It is one of the first successful endeavours to combine multiple characters from different franchises, and allow them to interact with one another. I say ‘interact with one another’ because obviously, they don’t like each other. It’s kind of like a child who has no siblings, as soon as they have a baby brother they feel the spotlight has been removed from them and therefore they take it out on their new family member. The Avengers consists of Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Thor. These are all characters who were the “only child” of their franchise, because they were the star. As soon as they are thrust into a position where they are expected to play nice with other people, they get kind of nasty toward one another. But the movie handles that in a way that deals with all of the characters respectfully and still creates one of the best superhero films I have ever seen.
The one thing that makes The Avengers stand out from other comic book films is the writing. As I said before, The Avengers deals with each character while still allowing them to stick to their key characteristics. It also introduces very dark elements to these characters, a few examples being Bruce banner claiming he has tried to kill himself, and a certain character deciding to be a martyr to motivate the Avengers (although that scene loses all emotional pull when you realize Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a thing). But it isn’t just the darkness that makes the writing great, it is seeing all of these characters interact with one another. It is like a dream come true, and I wasn’t even really a fan of these characters until I saw The Avengers. And of course people have tried, and always will try (Batman v. Superman) to capture the magic that The Avengers seemed to have so effortlessly produce. I hope other people succeed at making ‘Avengers’ like films, because if they are anything like The Avengers, they would be great. I feel like I’m dancing around the topic, and just praising this movie so I want to get into something that I didn’t like about The Avengers. Some of you may have read my review of The Incredible Hulk, for those who didn’t let’s suffice it to say I wasn’t a huge fan. Bruce Banner makes his triumphant return in The Avengers, the only problem being that he is not the Bruce Banner we were introduced to in The Incredible Hulk. Now even though I am a fan of Edward Norton, I really don’t care that the actor was replaced. What bothers me is that core characteristics were altered to fit the narrative of The Avengers. I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed the character of the Hulk in this film. The problem is that there was already a Hulk film that set up a lot of the character, and that seems to be completely forgotten. To go into more specifics, let’s start with Bruce Banner himself. In the Avengers, Bruce seems to be a completely different man. He acts more timid, and he seems like is afraid of the Hulk, whereas Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk seems more confrontational, as well as he pictured himself more as someone with an illness rather than a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of character. In The Avengers, Bruce Banner makes many references to “the other guy” (the Hulk), where as in The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner acknowledges that he is the Hulk saying things like “… you won’t like me when I’m hungry (angry)”. And to me, it seemed that Bruce had the “Hulk” a little more under control at the end of the last movie. Maybe I misinterpreted the ending, but that’s what I thought. Even disregarding the previous movie, there are a few flaws that occur just within The Avengers. The main flaw being, why the Hulk suddenly understands that the people in the Avengers are people he should fight alongside. Bruce gets thrown off of the helicarrier, and wakes up somewhere. When he returns to New York, he is suddenly in complete control of the Hulk. The movie offered no explanation other than “I’m always angry”, and even then that only explains how he turns into the Hulk, not how the Hulk suddenly somehow has a conscious brain. If the Hulk was always a dude who knew who his friends were, why the fuck did he try to kill Black Widow? I Understand that during that same fight Thor antagonized him, but Black Widow did nothing before he chased after her. I don’t know what exactly Bruce learned during his motorcycle ride back to New York, but whatever it was I would have liked to see it.
Apart from the writing, The Avengers stands out from other Marvel films because of how much of a movie it was. By that I mean, the use of shots to convey a story, as well as all other technical facets, were far more “movie” like than the other Marvel films. Specifically, there were a few shots I enjoyed including: The tracking shot of the little girl in India, the scene with Loki in the museum where all of the sound is muted and there is classical music playing, the scene with Black Widow where we get to see her interrogation via a mirror, the scene where Black Widow is talking to Loki and we can see Loki’s reflection, and finally the scene where the Avengers are having a heated discussion and the camera effortlessly flows through them focusing on each one only enough for them to say their piece. That was a mouthful, but it shows just how many instances were in this movie that made it feel very theatrical. Couple that with the great score, especially the main theme, and you have a very great film. And I can’t review this movie without talking about the insane action sequences. Honestly, the choreography and cinematography during those sequences were phenomenal. Just like the writing, the action allowed every character to shine in their own way. And of course the after credits sequence is one that will never be forgotten.
Overall, The Avengers is an amazingly successful effort to bring together many characters from multiple properties. It truly did set a benchmark for all superhero films to come.
I give the Avengers an A