The Avengers (2012)
Robert Downey Jr.
Samuel L. Jackson
Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.
After forever in the ice Captain America, Chris Evans, has been found. Which works out beautifully because Loki, Tom Hiddleston, has come to Earth to exact his revenge against Thor, Chris Hemsworth. Naturally, Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., is pulled into things because he’s super smart and they need his help. To round things out a bit we get Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, and Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, who both work for S.H.I.E.L.D. to join because they know the system the best, plus, you know, they’re super good at what they do.
It was truly incredible that they were able to get all of these characters in one movie and not once did I feel like someone was slighted with screen time. They each had their moment to shine, they each had their own thing, and it all came together seamlessly. The fact that they did that with the first Avengers movie speaks to the quality of writers working on this film.
Iron Man still very much has his issues, he’s got his attitude, he desperately needs to speak to a professional, and yet he doesn’t because he’s good. For some reason Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, is wearing cut off blue jean shorts the first time she appears on screen which is not like anything she’s ever worn before and is kind of weird, but apparently they didn’t want her to be taller than Tony and…yeah it was stupid, but whatever.
Captain America is very much a man out of his time and is very easily pulled into saving the Earth because it’s the one thing he’s familiar with. His skill set transfers well and even though he clashes with Tony I don’t think he feels that they’re too serious clashes. While Tony reacts to him in a very juvenile way that really shows his short comings.
Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, is a harder sell. He doesn’t want to hulk out because he’s finally figured out how to control the monster inside, however, he’s a good man and does want to help save the world. When he’s assured they don’t want his green alter ego he joins them. His interactions with Tony are fun, they’re both super geeks, though, he is worlds more mature than Tony. I feel like if they’d done a movie together they would have worked fine together until Tony pushed him too far and The Hulk beat the ever living shit out of him.
Black Widow and Hawkeye are honestly just there because they’re the best S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. They’re really good at their jobs but I wouldn’t really call them superheroes. This movie really started the poor Black Widow fight scenes, there are so many quick cuts and close ups you honestly have no idea what’s going on and it’s disappointing to watch. Hawkeye is…well he’s a great shot, clearly smart, but I don’t really have anything else to add regarding him.
What I find interesting about the movie is you can pinpoint the exact moment when the general public’s opinion of The Hulk completely changed. He went from a character that people were bored with and didn’t really care about anymore to treating Loki like a rag doll and calling him a puny god. All of sudden people were again talking about another standalone movie for him, which thankfully Marvel has not done. In my opinion, The Hulk works as a great supporting character, but doesn’t work as well on his own.
We were introduced to another female character, Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders, that kicks a lot of ass, is basically S.H.I.E.L.D.S. second in command, and is promptly shoved aside and mostly forgotten. That makes how many characters now? Sure Black Widow has been in a lot of movies, but she is almost always a side character and about as interesting as a pile of rocks. What about Lady Sif? Agent Maria Hill? Jane Foster, Natalie Portman’s character in the Thor movies? Thank goodness Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell, got her own TV show, as short lived as it was.
The Avengers struck the perfect tone, there was just enough comedy to lighten up the potentially Earth ending consequences. The characters were each given their moment to shine, Tony proved that he can rise to the occasion and make the hard decisions without whining about it, he also proved that he can set his ego aside and acknowledge when someone else knows more than he does. It was really a great moment of growth for him, I just wish it lasted. Cap was, as always, incredibly amazing even while clearly struggling with his new surroundings. Thor needed a haircut and wash, it was too long and stringy. Mark Ruffalo was a much different Hulk than Edward Norton, but he filled the role well and worked better with everyone else than Norton could have done. It was a great movie and set the bar high for the following movies.