Avengers Assemble! After waiting four years, since Iron Man‘s debut in 2008, The Avengers finally hits the big screen, bringing together some of the biggest heroes in the Marvel universe. So, when all these characters combine, is it magic? Or is a trainwreck?
Well, you can breathe now. The Avengers is everything I hoped for.
If you haven’t seen the prequels (Iron Man 1/2, Thor, Captain America, or The Incredible Hulk), I wrote a blog a few weeks back with all the details you need to know, to understand what’s happening.
So the basic gist of The Avengers is this: Thor’s mischievious brother Loki has come to Earth, seeking a magical artifact which can create endless amounts of energy. He has also somehow found an army of alien warriors willing to do his bidding. To stop this apocalypse, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is tasked with bringing together Earth’s mightiest heroes. They don’t necessarily get along at first, so you can expect a few battles between these heroes as they work out their differences.
Will I enjoy this movie if I know zero to little about The Avengers?
Yes. There might be some nods to the previous movies or nods to comic book lore that the casual viewer may not “get,” but there is still plenty to enjoy. You’ll get basic introductions to the characters and then you’ll dive into the action. As long as you can appreciate a ragtag team of heroes learning to work with each other and then fighting an alien invasion, you’ll enjoy the movie just fine.
A lot works. One of my major worries was that heroes wouldn’t get enough screentime. Luckily, we can skip past all the origin stories and character building. We jump right in, knowing these characters and what brought them here. Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man all share the stage and each have prominent roles. Black Widow and Hawkeye also have pretty prominent roles. I heard some complaints about Hawkeye being a minor character, but I thought he had an appropriate amount of action.
Director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Cabin in the Woods, Firefly, and more) has a way with making a team come together and he’s worked magic here. Some of the best scenes in the movie are just dialogue-based, as characters converse and learn about each other. Iron Man / Tony Stark and The Hulk / Bruce Banner have an interesting relationship/friendship and watching that develop is very interesting. Even though Marvel Studios has said they’re holding off on more Hulk movies, Mark Ruffalo has signed a contract for up to six more Marvel films, so maybe he’ll show up in future Iron Man films. In the comics, Iron Man spent a lot of time trying to contain/capture/stop the Hulk, so maybe we’ll see Ruffalo back as the villain in a future installment.
The visual effects are also pretty stellar. My only complaint was that the 3D was almost a detriment to the movie. If you can, I’d choose 2D. The 3D was immersive in some moments but also extremely intrusive at others. In a movie like this, you want to see Thor and Captain America teaming up, not be distracted by the fireballs coming towards you. I’m planning a second viewing in 2D to really get the real story.
Most of you will want to know how badass this movie is. Well, it’s just about as badass as you can get. Each hero has some amazing little moments but you might miss them if you blink. The action (especially during the final invasion battle scene which is focused on in the trailers) is pretty much nonstop. I need to watch the movie a second time just to catch all the little moments that may have been in the background.
I have to give a special nod out to Tom Hiddleston as Loki. It’s great to see the Avengers face off against a villain that can outsmart them and proves as a real challenge. He’s creepy as hell but it totally works.
So what doesn’t work?
With so many characters, the only story I felt a little underwhelmed by was Black Widow (and sometimes how that overlapped with Hawkeye). They alluded to “things that happened” and some dark history between them but even as an informed viewer, I was lost. A Hawkeye/Black Widow prequel would be amazing. I think The Avengers showed that these two could likely carry an espionage-heavy movie by themselves, maybe with a few other well-known S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as supporting characters.
I also have to stress again that the 3D was not worth any additional cost. Some moments were awesome but I felt like it hurt the movie more. I might be able to give more insight after seeing it in 2D.
I loved it. As a fan since childhood, it was incredibly satisfying to see these heroes finally come to life and team up on the big screen. There is something in the middle of the credits and something after all the credits, so stick around.
So, wherever you are on the “I don’t know anything” to “I know everything” spectrum, you should find things to enjoy it. It’s heavy with comedy but the action never really slows down either. Joss Whedon masterfully brings together an ecclectic cast that works amazingly together. So fans and strangers to the material will both enjoy themselves. I know I did.