Cinematic Flashback: Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) Review
There was an idea, Stark knows this, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could as well as being the next “cinematic flashback” for the 2012 film Marvel’s The Avengers (The Avengers as know it as).
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon and Zak Penn
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson
Run Time: 143 Minutes
Release Date: May 4th, 2012
The S.H.I.E.L.D. organization has located the mysterious Tesseract device and the Army’s super soldier Captain America. The Tesseract is actually a gateway to an entirely new world called Asgard. A mysterious being known as Loki arrives on earth and immediately assumes that he can rule all human beings. But that irks S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury the wrong way. As Loki escapes with the Tesseract, Nick Fury believes this is an act of war against Earth. His only hope is to assemble an actual team of super heroes. Dr. Bruce Banner, who turns into an enormous green rage monster known as the Hulk. Tony Stark and his venerable Iron Man armor. Captain America, the Stark Enterprises created super soldier. Thor, the god of thunder, protector of Earth and his home planet of Asgard, and Loki’s brother. Master assassins Hawkeye and Natasha Romanoff. Together they will become a team to take on an attack that will call them to become the greatest of all time.
The Avengers was (and still is) a great superhero movie that definitely stands up there with a lot of moviegoers, including myself. I remember I went to first go see it at 12:30 am May 5th, 2012 and absolutely loved it. There theater was packed, everyone was excited, and it was exactly what I was hoping the movie to be; setting the bar high for future films within the MCU as well as gleeful anticipating what is to come. Some of the latter MCU films did overtake this particular movie as my personal favorite, but none of that would’ve been possible without a solid foundation of superhero team up endeavors….such as The Avengers.
Before Infinity War, Age of Ultron, there was The Avengers, which offered the first glimpse into a large-scale film narrative that required a large cast of lead characters (each one from the previous entries of the MCU) for a big-screen blockbuster installment. Director Joss Whedon, who was known for his efforts on such fan-base TV projects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, definitely had an ambitious film project to deliver, especially with large cast and with everyone having high anticipation / expectations for The Avengers. Luckily, Whedon delivered on that promise, executing the feature with great detail and masterfulness in making the movie feel fun and entertaining from start to finish. Plus, the film’s screenplay, which was also done by Whedon (and a story by Zak Penn), is also a good one, with most characters getting their own turn in the spotlight, especially when the most of the Avenger characters come together (as a group) towards the film’s ending.
While some of the other Avengers films definitely have the more grandiose / spectacle to bring to the cinematic proceedings, this particular film definitely had a certain type of “movie magic” in its overall wonderment. First and foremost, this was the first type of feature film to be done (within the superhero genre) of having several main characters come together for the first time on-screen. I mean… who didn’t “geek” out when Captain America finally met Iron Man or when Thor makes his appearance in the movie. Nowadays it’s a little bit more “commonplace” for characters in the MCU to collide each other or have a fated “chance meeting” with each other, but back then….it was definitely rare and Whedon punctuated those particular “first meeting” moments with equal measure of entertainment and cheeky fun, which is clearly visible on-screen.
In truth, the movie had so many iconic moments, including the meeting of several characters, the little skirmish battle of Iron Man / Thor / Captain America, a lot of the conversation back-and-forth banter with each other, the death of Agent Coulson, the humorous rag doll fight between Loki and The Hulk, and the entire third act that culminated in the Battle of New York (still love that entire battle). Plus, the film’s score, which was composed by Alan Silvestri, was fantastic, delivering each melodic piece of music that punctuated whatever was on-screen (be it soft character moments to rousing hero filled ones). There were a few minor quibbles that had with the movie, but those were few and far between and did not diminish my overall likeable appeal of the feature in any way shape or form.
Of course, the movie also succeeds because of the large assemblage of actors and actresses from the already established from the previous five films, with actors Robert Downey. Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth returning to play the titular character roles of Tony Stark / Iron Man, Steve Rogers / Captain America, and Thor; finding each one exceptional in their on-screen counterparts. It was also great to see actor Tom Hiddleston return as the mischievous villain Loki, who really did steal the scene in Thor and does so again in The Avengers. Plus, it was a good idea for Whedon to use Loki (an already established villain from Thor) has the main antagonist in the movie in order to keep up the feature’s momentum and never get bogged down in bloated sub-plot characters build. The movie also gave more screen-time to the character of Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow), with actress Scarlett Johansson, while actor Mark Ruffalo gets his chance to shine in the role of Bruce Banner / The Hulk (replacing actor Edward Norton in the role.
Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Clark Gregg, and Samuel L. Jackson all returned to their MCU’s supporting characters in the feature, with all lending their acting talents beautifully whenever on-screen (be humorous, serious, or just simply there for continuity purposes). The only character that really does get “shortchanged” in the movie is the character of Clint / Barton / Hawkeye, who is played by actor Jeremy Renner. There’s nothing wrong with Renner’s portrayal of Barton, but just the movie never affords him to have much character development, which is definitely disappointing and ends up being the weakest character of the bunch.
Lastly, the movie hinted at the larger overarching narrative for the planned future of the MCU, with film’s mid-credit sequence showing the first glimpse of the Mad Titan…Thanos, who would be the main antagonist in the final installments of the Phase III saga.
In the end, The Avengers (or Marvel’s The Avengers) is still a pheromonal piece of superhero blockbuster entertainment. It was fun, exhilarating, emotional, humorous, and a visual spectacle that showcase what Marvel Studios could accomplish; paving the way for larger / bolder cinematic narratives to unfold in the MCU’s future. However, none of that could’ve been possible without this movie. Many studios have tried to copy and / or emulate the same type shared cinematic universe idea of Marvel Studios (colliding with a large-scale team up feature as a focal point), but few every succeed as did with The Avengers. Much like what one of the World Security Council members said to Nick Fury “Was that the point of this? A statement?” and Nick Fury responds by saying “A promise.”
Cinematic Flashback Score: 4.5 Out of 5
Fun Fact: This is the first Marvel film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.