The Avengers Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

The first of the summer blockbusters is here! (unless you want to count The Hunger Games, in which case, the second of the summer blockbusters is here!) Marvel has been winding us up for this movie ever since Iron Man 2 so The Avengers was going to have to be pretty freaking awesome to live up to all the hype, especially considering how good Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were. And to be honest, the trailer didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Six superheroes butt heads when they are forced to team up against a demigod with plans to lead an alien army against the earth.

The “alien army taking over the earth” thing has, quite frankly, been done to death, but with Joss Whedon (otherwise known as God to all nerdkind) at the helm and half of the population of my awesome list in the cast, I had to believe The Avengers was more than it seemed. And I’m sad to say that it wasn’t. It was funny (Joss-style), it was action-packed, but it was also a little disappointing.

The major stumbling block for me was that evil plan wise, The Avengers is too much like Transformers 3. The bad guys have a science fiction machine set up on top of a tall building which will open up the sky and let in an alien army.

Lokis portal from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Ho hum. Didn’t they do this in Green Lantern as well?

Thankfully, instead of the rest of the movie being taken up by whiny adolescent girlfriend drama it’s occupied with the clashing of massive egos. After Thor’s bratty brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) breaks into the secret spec-ops S.H.I.E.L.D. lab, steals the Tesseract (the blue cube that powered the plane from Captain America), and turns scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and super assassin Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into mindless slaves, badass agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls in his A-team.

Nick Fury calls in the Avengers from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Okay Phil, light up the bat signal.

The problem, of course, is that his A-team is made up of Type A personalities, which means they spend more time fighting each other than the bad guys. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) is probably the most leader-minded, having been in the military, but Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is used to being a god and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr.) is used to being a top CEO and insufferable smartass.

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America face off from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

THOR: You puny human in a tin can! I am a god!
TONY: “Doth thy mother know thou wearest her drapes?”
STEVE: Okay, let’s all just calm down.

And then of course there’s Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) who is cute and modest when he’s nerding out over science with Tony but turns into a giant green rage monster whenever anyone pisses him off.

Natasha flees from the Hulk from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Run away!!

With four such huge personalities on the team I was worried that Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) would be lame background characters. But thankfully I was wrong. Hawkeye is a badass sniper type who hangs around high up in the shadows and shoots people in the eyeballs with his multi-tipped arrows.

Hawkeye falls off a building from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Think Legend of Zelda versatility.

Natasha has a hilarious interrogation technique where she pretends to be helpless and lets the villains tie her to a chair and spew their evil plans before she beats them into a bloody pulp.

Natasha Romanoff interrogation from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Can I put you on hold? I gotta beat up some Russians.

Natasha also has a soft spot for Clint, who was sent to kill her back when she was using her powers for evil but didn’t go through with it (can we PLEEEEASE have a movie about this PLEASE?!) so her primary focus is to get him back on their side. This is adorable but doesn’t quite go as far as I would have liked (can they have their own movie? PLEEEEASE??)

Clint and Natasha almost have a moment from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

CLINT: What did he do to you to make this so personal?
ME: Okay Tash, now you say: ‘it’s not what he did to ME it’s what he did to YOU.’

Anyway, there’s so much going on just within the good guy side that Loki’s practically forgotten. He’s down there going: “hellooooooo remember me? The bad guy? Can someone please pay attention to me!?” And then has to resort to getting himself captured just so he can get some screen time, because there’s no other reason I can think of for him to just hand himself over like that.

Loki subjugates people from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Bow down before my enormous hat… I mean ego… I mean stick.

Loki was something of a disappointment in this movie too. In Thor he gave off such powerful hurt feelings vibes that I thought for sure he and his brother could hug and make up eventually, but in this movie every time Thor reached out Loki bats his hand away with some bullsh** explanation about how real power is being the errand boy for an evil alien overlord. Eventually, though, Loki does get away and the six Avengers have to get over themselves and get to the actual work of fighting bad guys.

The Avengers fight for New York from the Marvel Studios film The Avengers

Okay everybody, let’s go beat Loki over his stupid head with his ridiculous antler helmet.

The constant humor and the cute camaraderie was what made this movie not a waste of time for me. And also – the flying aircraft carrier (Jared, if you’re reading this, I want one. Make it for me.) Without these elements, I could take or leave The Avengers, because the battles weren’t all that original and the plot is kind of perfunctory. But they are there so it is pretty good so you should go see it so Marvel earns enough money to give me my Hawkeye/Black Widow prequel movie.

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