“You and I remember Budapest very differently” – Hawkeye/Clint Barton.
Possibly one of the most quotable lines from Marvel’s The Avengers movie of 2012. This movie made $207,438,708 (USA) (4 May 2012) on opening weekend in the U.S (IMDb), ranking fourth in the highest-grossing films of all time (at the time of publishing). Honestly, I watch this movie at least once a week – sometimes more, and while it’s not even in my top five movies of all time, it’s still there as a movie that I enjoy enough to have on in the background while I relax, catch up on the daily news, or just wandering aimlessly around the net.
This movie came after the success of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor, and also the flops that were The Hulk and The Incredible Hulk movies (I won’t go into much detail as to why the Hulk movies were flops right now, possibly later down the track).
Okay, so for those who haven’t yet seen this movie (I’d say have you been living under a rock, but not everyone enjoys comic-book-turned-live-action movies), here’s a brief as can be outline of what happens, and I cannot guarantee there won’t be spoilers: basically, Loki (Thor’s adoptive brother) is recruited by the big bad guy of the universe – Thanos (who appears for the first time in the mid credit end scene and is referred to in the movie, just not by name), to take over Earth with the Tesseract (features in Captain America), which Loki has to steal from S.H.I.E.L.D and find a way to activate the portal to allow the Chitauri through to conquer Earth… And in between all of this, we meet the team that will become The Avengers. Like any other team that’s just thrown together by an organisation, they butt heads, they think they’re better than the other (with the exception of Bruce Banner/The Hulk who really, really, REALLY doesn’t want to be there – “I just want to finish my work here…”), and then BAM! They become a team that saves the world – well, okay, mainly Manhatten, but whatever, minor details!
Now, when this movie, directed and co-written by Joss Whedon (this guy gave us Firefly, Buffy, Dollhouse… I could go on…), was first put out for the public, there was massive wariness… Two of the key characters, who in the comic world, create/invent the idea of the Avengers, was not even included in this. Wasp and Ant-Man were excluded, but Black Widow and Hawkeye, the former had a semi-major role in Iron Man 2 and the latter appeared uncredited in Thor, were given pretty major roles in this movie.
Whedon claims the reasoning behind excluding Wasp was simply “I could not write her in”. And Ant-Man was practically promised to Edgar Wright at this stage for an Ant-Man movie (that he didn’t even end up directing), Whedon just didn’t know how to include them. He also didn’t know if Wasp and Widow could co-exist in the movie together, because really, Widow’s part is kinda seen as Wasp’s part, just minus the S.H.I.E.L.D agent part… Well, at least that’s what some people seem to believe.
ANYWAY! So the point of this entire post is to give MY view on whether or not this movie works if it could have worked a different way if the story makes sense, and whatever else I deem relevant for my rant.
When I first heard this was going to happen, I was all for this movie working to unite the major players in Marvel’s cinematic universe (which will be shortened to MCU from now on). And it did. There was the tension between Stark and Cap, played by Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, (the follow up to this movie, Avengers: Age Of Ultron exploits this a little more too), that one would expect from a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” and “the soldier – a man out of time”. There was the reluctance from Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo, who really did not want to hulk out and fight. There was Thor (his stand alone first movie sort of let him down), played by Chris Hemsworth, who really honestly (at least at first), thought Loki was there to cause havoc among Thor’s much loved ‘Midgard’ to get back at Thor for throwing him into abyss. There was the sneakiness from S.H.I.E.L.D, led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) covering up/only explaining the necessary stuff that you can only expect from a secret government organisation. And then there were the token ‘we don’t have actual superpowers/money to make our own super suit, but we’re killer assains’ in Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – also, Hawkeye honestly doesn’t get that much screen time, it’s like 12 minutes all up – and that’s cause he ends being mind-controlled by Loki straight up.
Could this movie have been better? Well, yeah. BUT! The style of this movie was literally always going to be ‘let’s just throw these guys in together and make a team outta them, they don’t need to get along, or care for one another right now. We have a crisis, and we need them just to be able to fight!’. This was S.H.I.E.L.D’s idea all along and it seems to have been taken on in Whedon and Zak Penn’s writing for this movie. Granted, we get a little bit of a recap/introduction into the characters before someone comes to talk to them about the ‘Avenger’s Initiative’ and deliver them to the Helicarrier.
This movie delivers the one liners – “Puny god” and “He’s adoptive”, the amazing CGI (Helicarrier turning invisible for flip’s sake – okay so they were reflection panels, but still!) – the portal and space itself, it plays on Cap’s lack of knowledge with the new modern world and Stark’s constant teasing of this. It plays on Stark’s mistrust for Fury and this organisation.
The movie deserves to be where it is ranked in any list really. And simply because it helped revive the comic-book-turned-action-movie genre that was so severely lacking before all of this with massive flops from both Marvel and Fox (who own rights to X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel has Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Elektra… And conveniently, Marvel is now partly own by Disney – yes, this now makes the Avengers Disney Princesses, I don’t care.).
So ends the first blog post of a not quite movie review, mainly a rant, and nothing to do with my uni work… Whoops…