In 2008 Marvel released Iron Man. The film was a big investment, and a dangerous one. It was Marvel Studios first self-produced film and the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To somewhat of a surprise the film was a massive success. And after the credits, Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson was introduced, setting in motion the 5 film lead-up to this year The Avengers.
The Avengers has been a very long time coming. With the budget of $220 million, the film would be a landmark achievement. It would not only tie together each of the MCU films, but star each star. With an all-star cast of RDJ, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and The Hulk newcomer Mark Ruffalo, the film was destined for success. But they cannot hold the movie up on their own. A movie this massive in size and in importance could not just be handed over to some action movie extraordinaire. The pulled in Marvel Comics writer, epic geek series creator, all around amazing filmmaker Joss Whedon to lead The Avengers. And lead he DID!
In a film where you have 4 different stories clashing together, I was really interested in how he was going to make a coherent piece that was both exciting and engaging. So the story goes like this. Loki is sent to earth through a portal that S.H.E.I.L.D accidentally opened using the tesseract (see: Captain America). He is sent there by a sentient being that wants him to receive the tesseract. Loki bargains and say that he will retrieve the tesseract under one condition. He wants to rule the earthlings. And he needs an alien army to help diminish the human numbers and eventually conquer them.
Nick Fury decides to enlist Cap., Iron-man to fight Loki, and nabs up Dr. Banner to help locate the tesseract (it emits high levels of gamma radiation that can only be tracked by him). Thor of course finds out of his brothers doings and brings the hammer down. Joined by S.H.E.I.L.D agents Black Widow and Hawkeye, they team together to bring an end to Loki’s wrath and send the alien army back to the depths of space from which they emerged.
That is the film in a jiffy, of course without all of the nummy goodness. What really surprised me about the film was its focus on the characters interacting with each other. Which is what is so exciting about bringing these stories together. These great beings have more trouble existing together than previously thought. And it is in the exploration of that concept that the true greatness of this film exists. Not being a Marvel fan before the movies, it was exciting to see who would get along with who, and who’s personalities would clash.
Every character in the film got their own portion of screen time, which really helped flesh out how they are feeling in this situation and how they are adapting to the other heroes. Cap. takes it easy and stays calm with eyes on the target. Tony Stark digs into the layers, always curious as to the secrets that people keep from him. Thor of course was just angry man with hammer. But who really shined in the film was The Hulk.
For some reason in the past Hulk films he has just been this monster that destroys things. Obviously we got to see some of the lengths in which Banner had once been willing to go to keep from changing. But it always seemed so superficial. It was always like, oh no he is going to change into The Hulk, and then on the inside you are super excited. There is a scene in The Avengers between The Hulk and Black Widow, and they really embraced how incredibly terrifying The Hulk is and how horrifying everything becomes when he turns out of rage.
Overall the film was really fun. It had a lot of funny jokes and silly references that kept me smiling through the whole film. It was not afraid to get incredibly sci-fi-y and was super self-aware which made the sci-fi fantasy parts super fun and different. It was exciting and at times engaging, however the final battle left me a little bored. It was not anything special and seemed like a recycled New York showdown that we had seen in a dozen movies. But that is the least of your worries. The film still works wonders and added the best installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I give the film a 4.5 out of 5
P.S. – stay after the credits….. both of them….