The Avengers (2012)

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The Avengers (2012)

Post  BoG on Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:15 pm


The Avengers was the end-all and be-all of super-hero films up to that point. It broke box office records quickly - the biggest opening weekend of all time, the first film to break $200 million on that first weekend, and one of the biggest grossers overall, surpassed only by Avatar if going by recent films and non-adjusted. The film combined the Marvel Super-Heroes of the recent spate of success stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk - as well as other heroes The Black Widow & Hawkeye, and SHIELD Director Nick Fury. It was the All-Stars of super-heroics, with an all-star cast: chiefly Robert Downey, Jr., and Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson repeating their roles from previous appearances, as well as Mark Ruffalo taking over as Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk. Combining all these characters & actors resulted in a multiplication of the previous successes.

The villain and much of the plot follows the Thor film of the previous year: Loki (Tom Hiddleston also reprising), last seen hurtling through a void in Thor, materializes on Earth inside a SHIELD facility, compromises Hawkeye (Renner) with his dark magic, and steals the mysterious power source known as the Tesseract. SHIELD agents are outmatched by Loki's power and the cunning mythical figure is now teamed with some other mysterious entity which will lend Loki an army of alien warriors to conquer Earth. Here then is when Fury (Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative which we've been hearing about for the past 4 years or so in other films. The Black Widow (Johansson) is assigned to contact the fugitive Banner. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) again contacts Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.); Fury approaches the recently-thawed Steve Rogers (Evans) to put on his super soldier uniform; and the action kicks in again when Loki pops up again at some social event in Germany. Here we get to see the troublesome godling take on Captain America & Iron Man. Surprisingly, Loki surrenders after a short fight.



Seeing the various battles between the various costumed figures is what much of this film is about. With the capture of Loki, Thor (Hemsworth) finally makes his appearance and then we get to see the film's version of what usually happened in Marvel Comics stories when heroes first met - they would have a good fight. Thor takes on Iron Man and then Captain America (or, more properly, his unbreakable shield), all involved showing their short tempers - except Cap, who is always level headed. The big fight, however - the one everyone waits for - is between Thor & the Hulk. The group of heroes end up on a SHIELD helicarrier to make their plans and it's mentioned how Banner has mysteriously kept his mean alter ego under control for the past year. Well, anyone familiar with such storytelling methods as foreshadowing knows that it's only a matter of time - a short time - before the big, mean green guy shows up. Loki, as expected with his sneaky nature, allowed himself to be brought aboard and all hell breaks loose when the hypnotized Hawkeye attacks the floating ship.

Though it is an ultimate form of super-heroics, the film does have problematic and clumsy moments. Thor, for example, was shown to be stuck forever in Asgard at the end of his own film, due to the destruction of the gateway. A mere mention by Loki of Odin's use of dark magic explains this away. I didn't really understand the focus in the first few minutes of the final act's non-stop action and battles - Iron Man & Captain America engage is hasty repairs of the Helicarrier's engine; this isn't the most exciting type of action to watch - the two heroes playing mechanics. But, otherwise, the action delivers - the team unites and takes on an entire army which invades New York City via some sort of space warp hole, a now basic sci-fi plot of alien invasion. There's further tension when a shadowy Earth council in charge of defense orders a nuke against the city to wipe everyone out; this last seems forced and unlikely, but it provides Iron Man with perhaps the single most heroic moment of the story, as well as a satisfying coda to all the internal conflict among the heroes.

The strength of the script is that despite the huge cast and the complex action, none of the super-heroes are given short shrift - each hero is given the chance to shine and each has a substantial role; each stays true to his or her distinctive personality. The Avengers title began way back in 1963 and the earliest members of the team were indeed Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America. The only ones missing here are Ant-man (then Giant-Man) and the Wasp. Hawkeye joined a bit later (issue #16) and the Black Widow was only a guest star during the first decade of the comics series, not  as prominent as she is here (Johansson as the Widow starred in the 2nd Iron Man film in 2010, so her inclusion here is all part of the master plan).  I admit  I was a bit disappointed in the alien army here; it would have been more cool had they been an alien race from the actual books - there are a lot to choose from - but the extra scene during the end credits reveals the master villain as Thanos, perhaps the best super-villain and alien ever created for Marvel. BoG's Score: 8.5 out of 10
Avengers Trivia: Downey, Jr./Tony Stark last appeared in Iron Man 2 (2010) and next appeared in Iron Man 3 (2013); Evans/Cap was last in Captain America the First Avenger (2011) and next appeared in cameo in Thor The Dark World (2013) and then Captain America the Winter Soldier (2014); Hemsworth/Thor was last in Thor (2011) and next appeared in Thor The Dark World (2013).  Ed Norton previously played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk (2008) but left the role after disagreements with Marvel Studios; Ruffalo took over the role for The Avengers film. Coulson/Clark Gregg, though fatally speared from behind by the diabolical Loki here, returned to headline the TV series Agents of SHIELD (2013-2015). Stan Lee cameos at the end as a NYC citizen who scoffs at the mention of super-heroes in NYC.
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Behind the Scenes of Avengers

Post  BoG on Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:42 pm




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What if Avengers in the '50s and '70s

Post  BoG on Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:10 am

I don't recall from what site I got this from; it imagines what an Avengers film would be like in the late fifties, I think. The only quibble I have with it is that Rod Taylor was not yet a star then, so I would place it around 1961, imagining that Rod starred in this instead of the silly Colossus and the Amazon Queen film he did. The problem with that, of course, is that the Avengers comic book didn't begin until 1963 - so now we have to move it up to 1964 or so. Also, I am unfamiliar with actor George Wallace, but I think he was starring in films in the fifties...
here's the accompanying trailer, which actually refers to an even earlier year, 1952:

Here's another one that imagines an Avengers film in the late seventies (circa 1979). A few Marvel super-heroes made it to TV back then and this imagines them all together in one film. One exception is Brigitte Nielsen as the She-Hulk, who might have posed for some pics in the eighties but never actually portrayed the super-heroine. The other one is Nick Fury, who was played by David Hasselhoff in a TV film in the late nineties.
here's the accompanying trailer which stitches all these 1970s versions of the super-heroes into one supposed movie -
______
Note that Nick Fury has a cameo, but by yet another actor, Alex Cord. Also, The "BRONZE AGE" refers to an era of comic books, those published in the seventies. Some people regard the BRONZE AGE as having occurred from 1970 to 1983.
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Re: The Avengers (2012)

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