Though I at least heard of the Fantastic Four and X-Men growing up through shows and video games, I was unaware for quite awhile of the Avengers. That is until the Fox Kids
cartoon. You know Avengers: United they Stand, aka the very forgotten late 90's attempt to make a superhero cartoon of only the C and D-List marvel heroes as the leads. I mean at least Superfriends was memorably hokey while that was very eh, and then Justice League
came along with Teen Titans to show some really awesome (well at times) superhero cartoons. And since I didn't have that much an interest in the comics I never really followed the Avengers or who made up what. That is until hearing they were building to an Avengers team with the line of solo movies as well as enjoying what I could of the Avengers Earth Mightest heroes cartoon. I admit I still wasn't a full on fan of the team but I really liked the build up they were doing for this movie. And after catching Thor and Captain America, I recently checked out the first two Iron Man and Incredible Hulk movie since I really wanted to see everything this movieverse had to offer. And what I saw just made me more of a fan and really wanted to see what this movie could deliever and really hope one of the biggest most unique and buzzed movies this year could deliever. So did it?
Well this is just my opinion but... yes, yes it did.
I'm going to get a couple of very, very minor nitpicks out of the way. I kind of feel since we got to check up on Pepper Pots and hear Jarvis, we should of had a bit of everyone else's support team. They made mention of Jane and Captain America had a flashback of his friends but I don't know a little bit from the others besides Tony. Even if it was just a cameo. Yeah I know they'll appear again (well maybe Hulk's wont if he isn't getting a sequel movie) but seeing them here would of been nice. Also part of me thinks that there should of been a bit more development on the entire team after Colson's "death" (yeah they "showed" he died but hinted that it was an act so I'm guessing he'll pop up again in Iron Man 3 in some form) to kind of conclude their story arcs. We got some of it during battle but I don't know, a bit more would of been nice. Also maybe another scene of the group Loki was talking to. I mean yeah the ending was a tease at them appearing again but something besides them being one of the alien forces from another universe and them thinking so lowly of earth until they got battered around by the Avengers team. Oh and I would of liked an actual joke in that ending bit with the team eating food instead of them just sitting there saying nothing. Felt like a case where ANY line would of just made that funny and not saying anything ruined the potential for a joke. Though really, those are my biggest grievances: wanting to see more. Because everything we got was all very nice. (Actually like Horrible Bosses maybe the worst part of this for me was seeing so much promtiaonl material before hand as I have a feeling if I saw less I would of enjoyed it even more).
First off let me say that as an action movie this delievered very well. Though there were a tussle here and there, there were three big pieces: the opening with Loki entering S.H.I.E.L.D's base and Nick Fury and Maria Hill trying to take him out as he mindwipes everyone, the scuffle on SHEILD'S floating ship (which though I thought was sort of impressive when I saw it in the spiderman cartoon they never did anything with. So glad to see them actually use it and just show how intense the scope is throughout) and the little battles and infights, and of course the big battle at the end with the Avengers taking out all the various Alien creatures and gigantic doomsday ships. Yeah there was a lot of CGI thrown around but it was all done very well without anything really looking fake. And there were a lot of great
bits in the action from Maria's car chase, Black Widow trying to escape the Hulk, Widow vs Hawkeye, Captain America and Thor teaming up on some of the invaders, Widow getting a ride from one, and of course Hulk's beatdown of Loki (which got the biggest cheer/applause in my theather and yeah defintley warranted I have to say). Plus like we got a bit of in Iron Man 2 and in Captain America it was team fighting. Espiecally at the end with everyone working together to either try and dislodge the portal or take down all the invading forces. That's what I wanted to see in this movie and it delievered well on that account as it gave a great spotlight on all of the characters. More on that in a bit but I want to talk about another thing the movie did very well: humor.
Actually watching the first three marvel movies as well as what I remember of Thor and Captain America there's always a good sense of comedy in these movies. Not just in the one liners but actually in all the interplay of the characters. And though there was a big serious plot there was defintley a good amount of jabs thrown around: Widow easily taking care of the group holding her as Colson just waited on the other side of the phone, Tony being suprirsed Colson's first name is Greg, Tony and Bruce getting along so well because they're both such giant intellects and Tony being happy someone finally gets him, Cap getting a refrence Nick Fury made, Colson being a Captain America fanboy (best use of the "I watched you sleep" joke I've seen in awhile actually), Nick Fury jabbing Loki while he was detained, Thor smacking Hulk while he was trying to grab his hammer, Bruce being found naked after the big battle, "I'm bringing the party to you", "This is what you call a party?', the already mentioned beatdown of Loki by Hulk (and also Tony getting the upperhand of Loki thanks to his heart protector was another great moment), The Hulk roaring to get Iron Man awake, Stan Lee's cameo and like I said the end was funny but still would of been better with an acutal line.
Still though action and comedy are one thing but what about the actual story? Well part of me wants to say it was a bit fragmented due to jumping around but it actually worked since it always tied it back to the main cast and made it clear exactly what was happening: Loki was being used or using an alien force to try and conquer earth and the heroes had to unite to stop him. It's not really that complex but it doesn't have to be actually. Plus there is an actual sense of drama built up in just what the cube can do as well as why did Loki seemingly go down so quickly at first and what escape route does he have in mind. Plus it's nice to see one of these super hero movies where love isn't one of the big character movitations or a set up for drama as it's more about friendship and joining together as a team. I mean there are a couple of refrences or scenes but it's not a focus, not even for Hawkeye or Black Widow. Who yeah I'm sure have history together but I do beliieve Natasha when she said it wasn't really love but more deep respect. That's how it came across more here and if it were love, it would of been a lot more noticable. I guess if I'm talking about her though might as well start talking about the rest of the cast and say how each of them did.
Iron Man: Though Tony had the most supporting staff as well as the big hero moment directing the nuclear missle through the wormhole to save New York I'm glad that this wasn't his movie. Since yeah I really do like him in the Iron Man movies but this isn't an Iron Man movie and defintley one where he should share the screentime. And he does that very well. I do wish he spent some more time with some of the others (like Black Widow and Hawkeye) but I do like the relationships he did have. Like his battle with Thor and then jabbing him later, him getting along with Bruce so well due to both them being scientists and yeah his rivarly with Steve. I was hoping for some more refrences to the act Cap worked with Howard Stark then just Tony mentioning he's dissapointed after all he heard from Cap but the attidues worked really well together. From butting heads from their different values to how they managed to concide their differences after helping stabalize the ship and forming a friendship after Colson's death. Plus Iron Man had some good moments to his first takedown of Loki to his new set of armor to going on the ground to bash some soliders just looked really impressive. And hey he did get the last pre-teaser/ending scene which makes sense since he gets the next movie which I can't wait to see and see how it refrences this one.
Captain America: I do feel they should of done a bit more with actually his post traumatic stress from just getting up from the war in his movie but Steve was always a good solider and knew how to handle that well. Plus though he did have a cold cynic attidue towards Tony for not following the rules, I also like he wasn't instantly on Fury's side either getting proof of Fury wanting to use weapons from the power of the core. I think the most important character devleopment though was Cap leading the team and giving everyone directions in the final battle. Obviously he isn't the best technical tactian and the strongest but he defintley has a good heart as well as knowing how the team best operates. I mean he stood up to Thor just to get him and Tony to stop fighting and him telling off that new york offical what to do though cliche was a really good moment. Then again I really liked Cap's movie so I'm glad to see him do good here and also do good in his sequal. And hope he has cool moments like fighting Loki or shielding away from an explosion like he had in this one.
Thor: Oddly enough I think Thor got to show off more of his powers here then he did in his actual movie. From getting to see more of his hammer spinning and flying and then trying to reign down lighting in the final battle to block out the portal. And though he had the most fights with other team members (from him and Tony's scuffle to him and the Hulk knocking around one another. Another good joke was Hulk hitting him away after the two fought together against the alien hoard) I don't think he really had a chance to bond with anyone, at least like the others did anyway. Which is a shame since I would of liked to see more of him and Tony trade back verbal blows being the biggest egos of the team but he still had some good bits. Actually trying to get Loki to see the light and talking about how leadership is not about seeing yourself as better then others from escaping the tube to coming in and lightning blasting the alien hordes to save the others. Plus yeah as a god Thor is the oddest fit for everyone in the team but he still fit well and yeah with him taking in Loki we already have a good way to start of Thor 2. Which I hope is a lot better then the first since IMHO the Thor movie is the weakest of these Marvel Cinematic movies.
Hulk: You know a problem I had with the Incredible Hulk is how though Edward Norton is sympathtic and you can understand his plight he didn't have much of a character. I mean it felt like the Hulk grew a lot more then he did and really since Bruce was on the run most of that movie it didn't feel like he had much of a chance for good build. I'm glad to say that's not the case here though. They actually used his scientific mind a lot better then Increidble Hulk did with him figuring out how to use gamma radaiton to track the cube and trading back intel with Tony. I also like the idea that he always keeps the anger with him and that he just chooses when to unleash it. Since hey at the very least the Incredible Hulk movie showed ways of him dealing with his anger. Plus I liked the little bond we got to see of Bruce and Natasha from their meeting to Hulk chasing her to them trusting the other and trading looks at the end. And yeah the Hulk himself had a lot of great charges. One jump felt like too much a big Ang Lee esque bend of physics for my taste but everything else felt as strong and powerful as the character should be. Kind of makes me want to see another Hulk movie though maybe it's better if he's saved for team ups if more of his movies will just be him on the run again since that would just be pretty old.
Black Widow: Oddly enough I think she had the most backstory and most actual character in some ways of the entire team. And thankfully like I said it wasn't really romantic. Yeah she did care for Clint but more as a partner then you know romatnically as well as wanting to try and wash the blood off her hand from her previous actions. A big change from her just appearing in Iron Man 2 to kick butt and pose sexily to actually have a good range of emotions here. From her scene with Loki to even coming up with the plan to get back to the console and shut down the portal (so yeah she was the other big hero at the end besides Tony if you think about it). Maybe they overdid it a bit with trying to showcase her backstory with Loki but when it showed him raving and her realizing his ploy (well thinking she did anyway) it worked out. Plus thinking about it since Steve has a big shield and Hawkeye has all of his cool arrows she's the only one without any big toys or powers to her name. Yeah a lot of cool spy weapons and sneaky wraparound manuvears but usually that's not enough in these kind movies. And glad to see that wasn't the case here.
Hawkeye: Kind of weird that Hawkeye winds up being on the villains side for most of the movie. Well at least the first half anyway thanks to Loki touching him. Wish they did have more of a "I want to make it up after going rogue for so long" but him wanting to put an arrow in Loki's eye as well as sniping everyone from the rooftop and giving Tony advice worked out well. Thinking about it Hawkeye may be the least one we know about since everyone else either had another movie or this one to flesh him out more while a lot of Hawkeye still remains a mystery. Still though after only teasing his bow in Thor glad to see him use a wide arsenal of various shots in this one. I think the best was him doing sneak around arrow shots or shooting Loki with an explosive dart that knocked him back. Personally though I think Widow could carry her own movie but I don't think he can yet but I'd still like to see more of him so here's hoping for that in Avengers 2 or something else down the line.
Nick Fury: After being more of a tease or a "i'm so cool cause I"m Samuel Jackson" it's nice to see one of these movies actually have Fury as a full on character. In this case a spy with his own agenda but one who is still more on the heroes side. Which actually seems different from other continuities where Fury is more for SHEILD and with the higher ups while here he's more on the side of the Avengers. Since this was his inital plan and he wanted to get them all together to show the board this was a much better idea then just building more weapons. In truth he only had a few action movies like at the beginning taking out some of Loki's guards and same in the middle though his missle at the end was pretty cool. As well as him telling off the higher ups that the nukes was a stupid plan and saying the Avengers will come together again if they need to. Hopefully next time around he's more in the forefront of action though since let's face it, who wouldn't want to see Samuel L Jackson just tear up whatever Marvel baddie as Fury. I think some of his best bits were the others jabbing at him like Tony wondering how he sees his console with only one eye or Thor saying trying to control the power of the cube is futile or something to that affect.
Loki: Nice to see a villian in one of thse things actually use a good form of manipulation: in thise case it's a power up of his own powers thanks to the cube and whatever forces he's working with. Who think they're using him even though he's sort of using them as well. After seemingly turning too easily in Thor good to see him as more of a solid villian here as well and actually engage in some sort of fight with most all of the Avengers or at least have a personal connection or scene with each of them. Plus though he did get battered around fairly easily by the team at points him using them to tear at each other while he made his escape as well as his blasting Tony around while they were talking did show his power. And like him using that trick of magic projections like he did in Thor movie to good effect. Like with Colson or tricking Thor and a couple of other times so it was there but not overused. In truth I wonder how Loki's going to keep being a villian since really he has a bad losing streak now but hey if they find a way to keep him interesting and a threat I'll keep watching. Or even as comedic foil since he had some good moments like trying to threathen Thor or saying he would like a drink Tony offered him earlier when all the Avengers are pointing their weapons at him.
The Rest also had some good moments. Though it was fairly scattered like Maria taking out a rouge agent with a shot in the head, Colson using that weapon to hurt Loki (which also got a big reaction from everyone else) and... I think that's Thanos who was at the end. I mean I don't know everything about Marvel yet and am still kind of a newb in some aspects but that was Thanos right? One of the big bads of the entire Marvelverse? Cause it felt like that should be him.
Overall though really great movie with really my biggest complaints being I wanted to see more but what we got was great with a lot awesome action, comedy and characters to go around. And hey if a first avengers movie was this good I think a second could be even better. And really now we know these kind of movies can be made. X-Men proved team super hero movies work but this proved they're even better when you build up the heroes in other movies which makes them teaming up in one so much more grander. So yeah not only the best marvel cinematic movie and possibly the best marvel movie I've seen but as of now, my favorite movie of 2012 since I have the fewest faults with it. And it just being so epically amazing and all.