For seven years we have watched Marvel Studios pump out movie after movie. Each one teased us a little more on what was coming. A movie combining four different franchises? Never done before. The Avengers promised to be the Smash Bros. of summer blockbusters. Could it be done? Would the final product pay off in the end? Well after almost a decade of waiting, I can tell you that it can, and it most certainly did.
The Avengers is pretty much a 143 minute money shot. Pretty much all of the Marvel films had that one moment that made the entire audience applaud in geek pride. Well The Avengers does that almost every 20 minutes. There are big reveals, huge set pieces, familiar faces in despair, with some real drama thrown in. And that’s just the prologue.
If you saw either of last year’s Marvel films (Thor and Captain America), then you have an idea of the plot already. Loki comes back to steal the cosmic cube (the Tesseract in the films) so that he can take over the universe. Nick Fury then assembles the Avengers (see what I did there?) in a last ditch effort to save the day. But guess what? They don’t get along initially. Will they overcome their differences to keep Loki from destroying the universe?
Of course they will! It’s a comic book franchise turned summer blockbuster. You know damn well what is going to happen. That’s not the point though is it. In the process of getting this team together you get every possible confrontation you ever saw in the comics and wanted to see on screen. Captain America vs Iron Man, Hulk vs Thor, Black Widow vs Hawkeye, it’s all there. You get just enough of a taste of what everyone can do individually that get the sense that they are all equal, which of course is the point. It then makes it that much sweeter when they eventually work together and form a cohesive unit against the bad guys. This of course is headlined by the movies primary money shot which is the money shot to end all money shots.
While everyone gets their screen time and chance to shine, it’s the Hulk that surely stole the movie. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is great. Where Ed Norton, who I like a lot, played a man on the run who happened to be a scientist, Ruffalo plays Banner as a scientist first. Also, like all of the characters in this movie, Banner is more of a smart ass as well (even Tony Stark). We get teased with the Hulk for most of the movie, but when he finally shows up, he’s here to stay and totally worth the wait. The Hulk does something every time he is on screen that is amazing, and by the end of the movie is he is on screen a lot. You might even see a little more of the Hulk in The Avengers than you did in The Incredible Hulk. You will find yourself simultaneously in aw and laughing at the awesomeness of what the Hulk is capable of.
Perhaps the greatest testament to this movie was that despite everything thrown at you, from metal power suits to super soldiers to aliens to gods, at no point did it seem too over the top. Everything, and I mean everything, was giving reason and purpose and dosed with just enough reality that you buy that it could possibly almost kinda happen. A big part of this was just from how everyone referred to each other. No one calls Iron Man, Iron Man. They call him Tony. Hawkeye is just Clint. Their “superhero” names are only veiled at for the most part. Thor is Thor of course but you get the idea. The point is that by making such detailed origin stories that explain all of the details of how each individual entity came to be, The Avengers is able to get away with concepts and ideas would normally be completely unbelievable, yet we’re still able to accept them.
The Avengers puts its foot on the gas from the very beginning and never lets go. The best thing I can say is that I didn’t want it to end. If I had to nitpick I would say that if you didn’t watch the previous movies you might get a little lost, but it was made for you anyway and you’ll be very entertained regardless. It’s everything that’s right about the summer blockbuster and I’m pretty sure I’ll be seeing it again as soon as possible.
Also the post credit scenes are amazing.