So I went to see the Avengers on Mothers’ Day with my family, and my take-away first impression was, “Every second of that movie was either funny or action-packed or both.”
Then I went to see it again, this past Monday, and my second opinion was, “All right, not every moment was funny or action-packed or both. But most of them were.”
One of the great things about it was that it needed little to no exposition for the heroes. The previous five movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk) introduced us to most of the characters, even the ones like Hawkeye and Black Widow who weren’t the focus of the films.
Another thing was that Joss Whedon was heavily involved. As anyone who’s watched Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, or both can tell you, Joss Whedon is a master of comedy, both spoken and physical. I’m sure his involvement in The Avengers was a big part in its awesomeness.
All right, so I’m done waxing eloquent about how great it was, and I’m actually going to discuss the movie. Anytime you see the word ‘spoiler’ like this ‘SPOILER:’, it means there is white text in front of it that you can highlight to see.
So The Avengers begins with a big threat (naturally), and you should be able to figure what it is, if you’ve seen the first movies. Director Fury needs backup. Super-powered backup. So he goes looking for our intrepid heroes.
Cap’s easy. He’s on hand, since SHIELD thawed him out, and since he’s a soldier, he’s ready and willing to help. Banner, however, is in hiding, Natasha is on assignment, and Stark is busy with his own stuff.
Now some movies have a deus ex machina here, which forces our heroes together. Not so in The Avengers. Each one has a nice little story bit that pulls them smoothly into the main flow.
SPOILER: I especially liked Natasha’s. “You can’t call me when I’m on assignment. I’m in the middle of an interrogation, this moron’s giving me everything.” Russian: “I… I not give everything…” And then Banner’s: “STOP LYING TO ME! … I’m sorry, that was mean. I just wanted to see how you’d react.” End Spoiler
But once they’re together, there’s still friction between them. Cap and Tony get into conflicts over following orders, everyone’s edgy around Banner, Thor’s condescending, and Fury’s aloof and secretive. Their petty arguments, however, get dropped pretty fast when a catastrophe (another one) demands action.
They’re still not a team. As Banner puts it, “A team? No, no, we’re a time bomb.” But then something happens, something so small in the eyes of the villain, but which binds the team together.
SPOILER: Agent Coleson’s death, and Fury’s slight manipulation with the trading cards following it. End Spoiler.
And once the Avengers are united, they are all kinds of epic. Plus, given that Hulk and Thor (and Iron Man, to a lesser extent) are essentially invincible, there’s plenty of room for heroic slapstick.
SPOILER: Such as Hulk punching Thor across the room after they take down that worm thing. End Spoiler.
The final battle of the movie is one of the single greatest long battles ever. All six of the Avengers have epic scenes, and funny scenes, and epic funny scenes, and even the villain has a funny line.
So, some ratings, and then I’ll have a big spoiler block with my favorite scenes.
Visuals: 5/5 They even included Thor’s armoring-up scene, which I thought was the single coolest thing in his entire movie.
Dialog: 5/5 Tony Stark, man. Every time he opens his mouth, funny happens.
Story: 5/5 Big epic threat, believable finish, cliffhanger at the end, but not one that leaves you without closure.
Oh, and when you see it, stay ALL the way through the credits. There is a second bonus scene.
Tony Stark: Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.
Bruce Banner: I don’t think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.
Thor: Have a care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard. And he is my brother.
Natasha Romanoff: He killed eighty people in two days.
Thor: He’s adopted.
Natasha Romanoff: [discussing attacking Loki] They’re basically gods.
Steve Rogers: Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.
World Security Council: Director Fury, the council has made a decision.
Nick Fury: I recognise the council has made a decision, but given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve elected to ignore it.
Natasha Romanoff: [watching the aliens come toward them] This is just like Budapest all over again.
Clint Barton: You and I remember Budapest very differently.
Tony Stark: [chased by a Leviathan] Guys, I’m bringing the party to you!
[he and the Leviathan break out of a building and speed away toward the rest of the Avengers]
Natasha Romanoff: I don’t see how that’s a party.
Loki: [after Thor charges at Loki’s duplicate and gets locked in a prison] Are you ever *not* going to fall for that?
End Spoiler, and End post.