Directed: Joss Whedon
M: Action Violence
The Avengers is a one of a kind film, the culmination of five previous movies consisting of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, into one collective film of multiple characters. What sounded like something impossible at the time has since been proven to be anything but as its ultimate success has shown.
The Avengers and subsequent films also changed how to analyse the films. No longer can we simply take each movie as its own thing. They are now part of a larger story, interwoven together, telling different stories and changing characters. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has essentially become a television show we watch on the big screen and takes several months between episodes.
By the time we reach something where the collective group of characters comes together, we must look at them from both the universe development and how they develop further in the team-up film.
The Avengers follows a team of unlikely heroes such as; Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye coming together at the behest of Nick Fury to stop an invasion from Thor’s brother Loki and an army of Chitauri aliens.
The film keeps its core team the central focus, choosing to establish each character and what they are currently up to very early before bringing them together.
Every single actor in the film brings their A-game to the table and it clearly shows as each character gets to shine and grow to keep moving them forward. There is a lot happening in the film, that it’s a welcome relief to see these characters get the due treatment they deserve.
Loki returns as the main antagonist, serving to use his highly manipulative skills and newfound powers to even greater potential. His physicality is not the true threat as it is more his intentions and goals, which feel believable, justified and possible which help push his character forward. His indifference, yet desperate desire to rule are pitted against one another. He grows as a character, with a clearer path for villainy laid out before him.
The action is constant, with characters coming to blows consistently, whether that be as allies or enemies. The action is also used to help improve characters, their motivations and who they are as people, especially when working alongside one another. There are lots of great moments and the final climax of the film doesn’t hold back, showcasing every single Avenger in all their glory, doing different things to show how they alone cannot accomplish something of this magnitude and its only as a team that they can push the threat back.
While scenes are shot on a similar world ending scale as the Transformers franchise, the camera helps keep our focus and attention directed towards the scenes Joss wants to show us.
The jokes come aplenty, and they’re thrown about in rapid succession. Each character also has their own unique voice of humour, from quips to punchlines, character building to visual comedy and even slapstick.
The plot is fairly simple, but this gives way for some great storytelling and character moments to shine through. For such a big and complicated project, a simple plot is needed to help ground everything and help the audience understand what is happening.
The story is centered around the Avengers becoming a team in their attempt to stop Loki from ruling earth. The focus on the Avengers is the key part of the film, giving almost all of the main cast enough time to bounce off each other, showcase their various personalities and the inevitable fact that they are all different, trying to work together. It moulds these characters beyond simply an individual in their own world, but also amongst others who have similar unique abilities.
It is very clear the vision Joss Whedon had for this film. He knew the direction he wanted to take each character and the specific look and feel of the film, keeping to bright tones and colours to highlight the characters in all of their glory. His passion for developing the characters is clear, despite all of the heavy bustle of the film.
The score of the film is also quite strong, with the Avengers theme becoming an instant classic and possibly one of the best musical scores in the entire MCU.
There are a few criticisms I have towards the film. One of the six main Avengers, Hawkeye is relegated to a side story and his character arc is shallow on the ground. He is sorely missed from the main team until the final act when he returns. It is a shame to see one of the main group, albeit not one of the heavy hitters, given very little to do.
The other is the enemies. While Loki is another quality villain, with stronger motivations since his supposed death in Thor, the army he brings with him are the Chitauri. Their only purpose is to serve as punching bags for the Avengers to defeat. They are quite large in numbers, with some cool troop carriers but ultimately, they are not very noteworthy. Their defeat is also a bit of a letdown.
The mid credits scene has one of the most important teases in the whole franchise, setting up Thanos as the ultimate threat, something that is teased continuously until finally revealed in the third Avengers film.
There is also a very nice end credits scene showing the team enjoying a meal together after their epic confrontation.
The Avengers is something so rare and impressive. Full of fantastic action, classic scenes and star performances.
It is a film for the ages.
9 out of 10 stars