The Avengers (2012)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany
Writer: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn
Director: Joss Whedon
The Avengers. The first one. The one that showed us how this relatively new project from Marvel Studios would bring all the heroes together. Would this movie crumble from its own weight?
I remember wondering that almost seven years ago. The Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and, yes, even The Hulk movies were all entertaining, but those were the individual stories. The cast is loaded. Look at that “Starring” list above. Would the movie’s 2+ hour runtime be able to give them all the time they deserve?
We all know the answer to that question now: Hell yes, it did! Watching it again underscored to me what an incredible achievement this was. The first 20 or so minutes gives roughly five minutes to Cap, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hulk, and we even get to see Hawkeye added to the mix. None of it feels rushed. You get an adequate amount of time with each character, and all the while, Loki is doing his thing.
As if to emphasize the “we have a really big cast, and some egos could be squashed” point, our heroes arguably spend more time in this movie fighting each other than they do Loki and the Chitauri at the end of the movie. As Bruce Banner puts it, “We’re a chemical mixture that creates chaos. We’re a time bomb.” But, as the actors did, they all learn to work together, much to the joy of Nick Fury and the viewing audience.
This movie is all about the firsts we get from it. The first film in which Mark Ruffalo took over as The Hulk. Cobie Smolders joins the team as SHIELD Agent Maria Hill. Most importantly, the first time the Avengers assemble. Oh yeah…and the first appearance of Thanos.
We also see Phil Coulson take one for the team before he
dies goes off to “Tahiti.” We saw Black Widow kick some ass in Iron Man 2, but we really see her develop as a character and show off her brain powers … I particularly like the scene where she tricks Loki into revealing his plan. Also, in light of the Endgame trailer, watching Iron Man lead the nuke into space while trying (and failing) to call Pepper seemed like perhaps a bit of a foreshadow? Iron Man and space don’t mix very well.
All in all, this movie proved to us that Marvel Studios knew well what it was doing by assembling an all-star cast of actors and superheroes and showing us that, despite their galaxy-wide differences, they can pull off a team that would keep engaging audience for years to come.