Well it’s been a long time coming and now it is finally here. 4 years ago there was no real news about an Avengers movie, only the occasional rumor and skepticism that it could even be done. Than Iron Man premiered, and in a post credit scene Samuel L. Jackson walks out of the shadows and says the words “Avengers Initiative.” Since then everything has been leading up to this.
In short this is the tale of several people that would never otherwise be together banding together for the greater good, basically the theme of the comic. The first act revolves around recruiting the various heroes, during which we get exposition as to who they are (in case you missed their solo movies). One interesting tidbit is that Banner is recruited for Banner is recruited for Banner/his scientific skills and not so much the Hulk. They are called together because Loki from the Thor film has the Tesseract/Cosmic Cube (From Cap’s movie) and wants to use it to rule Earth.
Like all previous films that lead to this, there are great character bits for everyone. It is a true achievement in screenwriting that every single Avenger gets quality screen time where we get to see what makes them tick. Everyone has a role to play, even non–powered heroes like Black Widow and Hawkeye. (We get some nice background on them by the way)
Naturally they don’t get a long at first, some fight each other. The straight and narrow Cap clashes with the flashy Iron Man, who gets along well with Hulk, who naturally has some rivalry with Thor. It all feels very natural, none of it is forced.
One of the things I thought all previous movies did well was explaining everything to the non-fan audience. Avengers explains who all the heroes are in case you missed one of the movies, but Loki’s introduction was a bit forced. (If I recall he actually says “I am Loki from Asgard!” or something like that). Also the way they figured out Loki’s plot seemed a bit clunky. In one particular case Thor tells the group who Loki is working with and I completely missed how he knew that. After watching Thor I was wondering how he would get back to Earth in this movie. The way he gets back is literally Deus Ex Macina, but I guess that had to happen somehow.
There’s more action in this than all previous entries. It’s pretty much wall to wall action mixed with great character moments. There is a sequence in the second act where three different things are going on, which is fine, but somehow some tension was lost maybe via the editing or the pacing. In the beginning of this sequence for instance the bad guys show up and then you don’t see them for a bit because of the other two situations. That seemed a bit odd. Plus there’s a part where it’s really hard to believe Iron Man didn’t die or at least pass out.
The third act makes up for this however. We’ve all seen these kinds of movies that have the big fight with the bad guy at the end. Avengers does it’s third act better than most anybody. (One could bemoan the fact that the big battle takes place in NYC, we do get a reason why it’s there though) We all watch these movies knowing the outcome, but in the moment this one delivers that feeling of desperation, that the heroes really are up against impossible odds, and that no hero alone could save the day.
Along with a great climax the denouement is also excellent. Now there’s nothing wrong with darker themed superhero films where the characters are feared, but this film, unlike so many, shows the public truly embracing and loving it’s heroes. Maybe it was because so few films did this, but it was a great feeling to see the outpouring of love the general public showed. Again the falling action sequence in Avengers is one of the best.
While there’s subtle references to past films, aside from SHIELDS Maria Hill and Loki’s army, I don’t think anything new has been added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this entry. I didn’t catch any Easter eggs that the other films had. That is not a complaint, this movie had plenty on it’s plate to deliver.
When I really think about it, previous entrants like Thor and Iron Man were probably better than Avengers, but that is not to say Avengers was disappointing. It pretty much delivers the fanboy dream we all hoped for. It’s been a long journey, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
P.S. There is a scene at the very end of the credits, but it’s purely for laughs. There is however, a mid credit scene that is a hint of things to come, and it’s a doozy.