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MCU Under Review: The Avengers

It was May Fourth, 2012.  I was sitting in my last mod class, watching the clock.  Avengers came out that day, so that’s what I was thinking about.  Suddenly the office secretary called me down to the office.  My dad picked me up early and we drove away from school.  I became suspicious, when we missed the turn to go home, and knew something was definitely up when we pulled into the parking lot by the cinema.  I didn’t say anything as we waited in line at the box office, and walked down the hall to go to our seats.

As the film started, I was still in slight disbelief.  I had not been a comic fan for long, but what I lacked in experience, I made up for with passionate fascination.  I had seen these characters together in graphic novels, animated tv shows, and even trailers, but even then, the idea of an Avengers movie, seemed hopelessly out of reach.  This film delivered in spades, proving that what once was a fanboy fantasy, was now the future of commercial moviemaking.

Joss Whedon’s and Zak Penn’s screenplay is light on plot, delivering a simple villian, doomsday scenario, and means of stopping it.  The film builds, and builds, counting on its excellent cast of actors to ratchet up the tension.  The real gem of this film is being able to see these different personalities bounce off one another, and clash together.  Bruce Banner’s reluctance to be involved vs. Tony Stark’s eagerness to be involved in everything; Steve Rogers’ selflessness vs. Stark’s casual narccisism.  Each member of the team does a perfect job, not just delivering their lines well, but broadcasting personality.  Look at the way Mark Ruffalo fidgets with his hands and the way Tony constantly looks around the SHEILD helicarrrier as if he owns the place.

Plus, there is a certain magic, to seeing a unity of superhumans like this unfold from the very beginning.  Unused to other beings of their caliber, they do what anyone embodied with their abilities might.  They fight, often to hilarious result (Iron Man’s duels with Thor still makes me laugh after five years).  They each are their own powerful beam of energy, and when they are pushed together by a common cause, they become stronger.  (That last sentence sounded like it might be a quote from one of the scientists in the movie).

The miniscule criticism that exists points out that the Avengers sacrifices a lot of character development for a 40 minute plus battle royale around Manhattan; Spectacle is placed over substance.  This may be true, but Joss Whedon makes an art out of spectacle. Just watch this clip, and Marvel in its excellence.

This probably the most stunning shot in the movie, and quite possibly, my favorite shot in a movie ever.  The camera movement is fantastic, as it swoops here and there, following our heroes through the battle.  More importantly however, it communicates the idea that even as they whiz along propelled by jet boots or hitching a ride on a Chitauri speeder, sometimes separated by entire city blocks, The Avengers are still fighting together.

Walking out of the theater, I figured, after that post-credit scene we were getting ready for a secret invasion movie.  It wasn’t until later that I learned that the smiling figure who wanted to court death  was not the super skrull, but the Mad Titan Thanos.  Immediately, my friends and I began theorizing.  Would there be a Civil War film?  Might we get a Black Widow solo movie?  Some of these wishes have been granted, others replaced by bigger and better things.  This movie opened up a world of Infinite possibilities…possibilities that are still coming into fruition today.

Plot- 2/2
Characters/Loyalty- 1/1
Score/soundtrack- 1/1
Cinematography- 1/1
Special Effects- 1/1
Action/tension- 1/1
Tone/Aesthetic- 1/1
Overall Enjoyment Factor-2/2

Final Score: 10/10


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