There were many things to talk about the movie, writer-director Joss Whedon shows off his genius in the making of this movie (it’s something that his geek roots have effectively put to efficient use) and I believe that it’s better discussed when we include the spoilers of the movie. So if you haven’t seen it, you probably wont know what I’ll geekily be discussing here. If you have, read on.
The AVENGERS has layers of storyline. Not only was it filled with spectacular action, and rich, RICH character development; it also has great subplots.
The idea of SHIELD taking the “Avengers Initiative” originally meant to be an alternative to the usual “last resort” for extreme situations is brilliant. In times of extreme threat and turmoil, the government’s military usually resorts to its biggest guns; weapons of mass destruction. We see it all the time in the movies; when pinned down to a defeated corner, the (US) government would resort to a nuclear strike.
In the Avengers movie, Nick Fury considered the Avengers Initiative as the alternative to the option of using nuclear weapons. It makes perfect sense as to why a government group would lead the way for a superhero group to be created.
Aside from the appearance of Thanos and Maria Hill, the movie did not have many other secret seed cameos of other Marvel super-heroes and villains. Even in the scene where Loki employs SHIELD enemies to his army, not one of their names were mentioned; not one new villain was highlighted. Likewise, in the scene where the invasion of the Chitauri began; I was kind of expecting some new character (perhaps a stranger to our group) emerge from the chaos to help out in fighting off the alien attack, and revealing his superpower abilities to the public. I was thinking that this would be a possible way to introduce Ant-Man and Wasp. But I guess doing so might break the harmony of what was already a great character-driven movie that sufficiently energizes its numerous cast of characters.
Speaking of appearances, SHIELD officer Maria Hill was well-adapted in this movie. While Nick Fury has the tendency to use his authority to bend rules to what he feels is right and for the betterment of all; In the comics, Maria Hill is a more cold, sometimes borderline villainous character who strictly implements what authority dictates, regardless if it be moral or immoral (she would have been the kind of character who would have unflinchingly obeyed the “secret authority’s” orders to bomb Manhattan with a nuclear missile, if she was director of SHIELD). I can see that the movie gives hints of that trait in a subtle but defined manner.
Agent Coulson has a great storyline arc. His being giddy and nerdily loveable was a great build-up to his death. There’s that moment after he died, how Stark was all silent and serious. It’s just my imagination, but with Downey’s acting, I feel like I could hear him whisper off-screen “Phil”
In addition to the topic of appearances, during the alien attack fray, where the heck was Stark’s buddy War Machine? The movie bothered to reference Jane Foster and Pepper Potts, why wasn’t there any mention of Rhodes and his War Machine? I thought that it was something that would not be ignored especially since the world seemed to need all the super-power might at that moment. I’m hoping that this will be addressed in the full uncut version when their official DVD comes out.
Some people would also nitpick that if Bruce Banner could control when and where he can unleash his Hulk side, then why did it seem to be out of control during the scene in the Helicarrier? If you would notice, the scene began with a blitzkrieg attack on the craft; so sudden that Banner might have been caught off-guard. Imagine this; you can control a glass of water, you can control whether to put it on a table or be still in your hands. But if somebody catches you off-guard by pushing you, you might just easily lose your hold of the glass, and let it fall on the ground. Same with Banner and the Hulk. These are all just minor nitpicks and does not come close to even diminishing the greatness of how incredibly good the movie was.
SKRULLS VS THANOS
There was initially much speculation early on that the villains of the movie (before it got released) would be the Skrulls. Many fans were adamant about it, and the internet boiled with much speculation about that. So much so, that I did not fully go with my bet that Thanos would be a villain. I was initially betting that Thanos would be a villain to the movie, or at least would make an appearance in the movie. My basis for this was that during one of the comic convention exhibits for the Thor movie last year, one of the items that were on display was the Infinity Gauntlet. This was a relic that is featured strongly in comic book storylines that involved the character Thanos. That was my first clue.
My second clue was the fact that Thanos is one of the major basic characters that are among the most popular Avengers villain. Other Avengers villains did not seem to be likely villains for an introductory Avengers movie; you cant have Ultron because you probably need to have characters like Hank Pym introduced first; and Kang would involve a time-traveling storyline which is too complicated and outlandish for a first episode that needs to adjust with its audiences’ expectations first.
Last of all, the Skrulls seems unlikely for me, because it’s a race that is more complicated as well. Having the Chitauri as an introductory villain seems appropriate because this was an alien race that does not could merely act as a plot device; they could function merely as an extension of Loki.
It was impressive how the movie did not disregard realism concerning the aftermath of the alien attack, and how the world would look like when something like this happens; the memorials of those who lost their lives, the heroes who emerged from the conflict, and the mysterious Avengers who had a great impact on the public; all done in brief but substantial TV clips montage.
The movie’s final scenes feature the integration of what is now The Avengers. The Stark Tower, partially damaged by battle, seems to now become something that will serve in the operation of the Avengers.
For now, they seem to have parted ways. Thor is off to Asgard to return the Tesseract and bring along his brother Loki for sanctions. He looks like he’s ready to be off to another solo adventure for the Thor movie sequel.
The Black Widow and Hawkeye look like they’re pretty much playing the Avengers roles now, but nothing has indicated that they have broken ties with SHIELD anyway. Although there are rumors of spin-off films, there has been no official word as of yet that a solo movie for these two characters will be made.
Tony Stark is set for another adventure on Iron Man 3. Rumors have it that his next villain could be his comic book arch-nemesis The Mandarin. Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce are set to appear in this movie. From the looks of things at the end of Avengers, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are becoming close buddies. That means that there has to be some excuse to separate them for their solo movies. The Incredible Hulk will also return for another solo movie. It is not yet announced who he will be officially smashing in the next movie, but from the looks of the last movie, his comic book arch-villain The Leader is emerging.
Captain America Steve Rogers will continue adjusting to the modern world. There was actually a scene that was deleted from the final cut of Avengers, wherein we witness Steve Rogers’ struggle and drama to adjust to this new world (something that may also be tackled in the Captain America movie sequel), and also a scene wherein he goes to search for the woman he was supposed to have a date with before he got frozen in the arctic. It was deleted because it hindered in the tone of the entire movie. Director Joss Whedon said that there is around 30 minutes worth of extra scenes that will be included in the full version when the DVD of the Avengers will be released.
When you take the character conflicts, the Avengers Initiative, the nuclear missile last resort of the government, the involvement of Thanos, and Iron Man’s daring sacrifice; all these subplots really do come together brilliantly to create one great storyline as a whole. Especially on the “spectacular” and “extremely entertaining” level, this film is as close to what a perfect superhero movie is. The AVENGERS has now ASSEMBLED. And we all can’t wait for the next movie.