MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS
Based On: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s The Avengers
Directed & Screenplay By: Joss Whedon
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
I’ll tell you all the truth, the first and foremost reason that it is this film and not its sequel that holds a place in my personal top ten list is simply for the fact that it is still currently playing in theaters and, as such, I can’t properly analyze certain scenes or elements of the film proper. That and a few other things that run the risk of spoiling the film for those who’ve yet to see it so with that out of the way, let’s get this party started shall we?
For this review, I’ll refrain from summarizing the film simply for the fact that if anyone on this Earth has yet to actually see the film for themselves, then I sincerely doubt that my words could push them into watching the greatest film based on a comic book bar none. In point of fact, I dare to say that Marvel’s The Avengers has set a permanent standard for all comic book based films to come and while I sincerely hope for the best in whatever adaptation may come for the Justice League, given DC Comic’s poor luck in movie adaptations… I’m not going to hold my breath.
Besides, what other film can you say has five other films leading up to it with, currently, sixteen more following in its wake and, of those sixteen, only three being actual “direct” sequels as far as naming convention is concerned?
While it currently holds third place in the highest grossing films of all time, something that I doubt will remain permanent but is still quite the achievement nonetheless, The Avengers have gone and broken many more records than that. How many you ask?
Nineteen. Nineteen film records ranging from highest gross for an opening week (end) to theater average to even how quickly it reached $550 million dollars, which was thirty-one days I’ll have you know. That currently beats Avatar (the current highest grossing film) by a whole week! It has also gone on to be nominated for seventy-four awards but, unfortunately, only won twenty-one of them with a majority focused on particular characters/actors of the film.
Yet, for all its monetary numbers and records, the thing about The Avengers that well and truly makes it a comic book movie is the fact that it is a comic book turned into a movie. I don’t mean in the literal sense of it being a direct adaptation of a comic book but rather that one could quite easily imagine the reality of the film converted to pen and paper with perfect ease. The plot is simple, the villain malicious, the threat world shattering at the least, and it checks off many a list of an atypical “crossover” of heroes including such things as the common, but oh so awesome, fight scene prior to a glorious team-up.
Going in that order, and again skipping the plot because come on people, go and watch this movie for yourselves, Loki as the main villain who draws the heroes together to form the Avengers was admittedly, quite surprising for me. In fact, I admit to being somewhat disappointed at the prospect as I had been quite firm in the knowledge that Thor alone could handle his brother with ease. However, as was proven in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, for all of the Thunderer’s strength it means nothing against the Lord of Discord, especially when he’s backed by the likes of Thanos.
Now, while I shan’t go too deeply on any character save for my favorite later this week, I shall say something briefly on Thanos. He is a threat unlike anything the Avengers could ever hope to face as they are in the first or second film. To those who have seen the film, you recall that moment when Thanos’ little stooge informed him that further affairs of Earth would be akin to courting with death? Do you also remember how Thanos smiled at that idea?
He smiled not because he is a monster who deals out death and destruction with casual ease, because he does that but because he can. No, it’s because Thanos is literally in love with Death and will do anything short of ending his own existence to earn Her Affections. His stooge’s words meant to discourage Thanos did the exact opposite and only encouraged his enthusiasm in dealing with Earth and the Avengers.
The atypical fight between heroes occurs not once but twice firstly with the “big three” between Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. What I especially like of the fight is the little nods towards previous films, particularly in the case of Iron Man whom, having fought a villain who specialized in electrical attacks, upgraded his armor to absorb electricity and thus was able to, however briefly, overpower the God of Thunder himself. Yet the best moment to be had was when the fight was ended by way of showing just what can result when an unstoppable force meets an unbreakable object in the form of Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield.
The second fight was one that was between the Hulk and Thor. I would include Black Window but seeing as she was actively running from the Hulk rather than doing the stupid thing by fighting him… Yeah, so Thor versus Hulk… It was an okay fight considering that the two of them didn’t, and couldn’t, go all out as they normally would in such a confrontation.
I did enjoy the fact though that they made a point in demonstrating that for all of the Hulk’s strength, it is not enough to lift up Mjolnir when he isn’t worthy of its power. I mean seriously, the freaking floor was breaking underneath the Hulk’s feet as he tried to lift the thing up! That’s dedication to detail if I’ve ever seen it!
As to the team-up, oh man, there’s so much I can say, so much that I can try and describe with words. There are plenty of amazing moments when the Avengers come together as a team but the best scene by far is one where our view is carried across the battlefield of New York City by each Avenger doing their best to confront Loki’s army. The camera doesn’t cut or jump to each character but follows them along as they face each threat and only moves on to the next in line when they’re in sight. It truly gives a sense of scale not only to how huge this invasion is but at how much damage the Avengers are dealing to it.
That it ends with an awkward silence between the Hulk and Thor following their defeat of a carrier serpent was already funny enough but when the Green Machine went and gave a surprise punch to Thor… I laughed so hard I fell out of my seat!
Yet… out of the entirety of the movie there is one scene in particular that I enjoy the most. One that I fervently hope that my departed grandfather, a veteran of the second World War, can see from his place in the afterlife. My grandfather was a member of the German Air Force and he was proud of that fact because, to paraphrase his own words, the first country that the Nazi Party had invaded was Germany itself and he stood where other men would bow to a monster guised as a man.
The scene I speak of in the film is the one where Loki has a crowd of people before him that he has commanded to kneel and is set into a monologue on how this is our place, that we crave subjugation, and that we are meant to kneel.
When one old man stands up in the crowd and proclaims, “Not to men like you.”
At Loki’s response that there are no men like him, the old man’s response was a simple, “There are always men like you.”
I swear on all that I hold dear in my heart, that moment, that scene alone, made the entirety of the film for me. In a world where gods descend to walk amongst mortal man, where soldiers can rise up to stand against such powerful beings, and where a man’s monster of unconquerable rage and machines of war are all that stand against the horrors of what lies beyond the boundaries of our world…
It is strangely humbling to see that the greatest of heroes, the greatness of humanity itself, can be witnessed in such a simple gesture as an elderly man rising to his feet against one who would have him kneel in subjugation.