So, I’ve been looking forward to this pretty much since the first Iron Man movie came out and they had Nick Fury as the tag after the end credits. I’m a huge geek and I love, LOVE the shared universe that Marvel has created with their various superheroes in their movies. Now, some of the standalone films haven’t necessarily knocked it out of the park (Captain America, the Hulk films), but then some of them kicked serious ass (Iron Man, Thor).
And, I must say, that The Avengers definitely did the latter. Avengers kicked ass, took names and…did something else really awesome…(that is weird description, isn’t it? Why would you write down someone’s name after you kicked their ass? Because you wanted to make sure you checked them off the Ass-Kicking List? Because you want to schedule a follow-up appointment to kick their ass again?) ANYWAY…
And you know why this movie managed to kick ass where other movies in the franchise have done less so?
Because this movie was about the characters!!!
Yes, they were running around doing amazing action stuff and saving the world and all that. But Whedon is a pro, and he knew that if we didn’t care about the people then all the special effects in the world wouldn’t save his movie. (This is where Captain America fell down for me. If they had used sock puppets in the middle of all that action stuff I might have cared more than I did. No characters, no emotion in that freaking movie anywhere).
So, because Whedon is a smart, smart man, we get to see Tony Stark having some boyfriend time with Pepper (which was adorable). And you have longtime partners Hawkeye and Black Widow sharing looks and making their relationship feel real and important to the other person (and, consequently, to the audience).* And we even have some brother-bonding/ass-kicking time between Thor and Loki (which was spot-on perfect).
Most importantly, all the superheroes didn’t suddenly get personality transplants. Thor is still his sexy royal self, Captain America is still a good ol’slice of American do-goodedness, and Tony Stark is still the charming bastard we all know and love. They all feel like different, unique individuals and not cookie-cutter hero types. They’re still the same flawed fuck-ups they were in their own movies. But now they get to try and work together!
Whedon started with the people, the characters, and got us invested in them, which meant by the time we got to space aliens and Norse gods blowing up the world we were with him. I was gasping and laughing and clapping at all the good bits. I CARED if this version of earth got saved. And I cared about the people doing the saving.
And, you know what, now I can’t wait for the sequel. They just better get Whedon back to do it.**
* I totally ship Hawkeye/Black Widow now. I really wanted them to have an illicit elevator kiss a la Spock and Uhura in Star Trek. Oh well, maybe in the sequel…
**I mean, for the dialogue alone. Seriously, he had some great quotes in this movie:
Steve Rogers: Stark, we need a plan of attack!
Tony Stark: I have a plan: attack!
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 the crazy on him.
Thor: Take care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard. And he is my brother.
Natasha Romanoff: He’s killed eighty people in two days.
Thor: He’s adopted.
And, my personal favorite….
Tony Stark: …if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it!
So…what are you waiting for? Go out and see this movie!!!