With the films based on Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor, they were all leading up to one thing, a film featuring them all as they form The Avengers. I’m surprised that they didn’t call the film ‘The Mighty Avengers’ if for no other reason than to get away from any copyright infringement with a certain famous British 60s/70s TV series, although I doubt if the two would be confused. They’ve been living happily together for some sixty years now with the closest connection being the Black Widow’s jumpsuit.
From the hints from the films noted, SHIELD director Nick Fury (actor Samuel L. Jackson) is manoeuvring these powerful individuals into a team. Just in time as Loki (actor Tom Hiddleston) escapes briefly, takes over a select list of individuals to prepare a gateway to allow his hidden collaborator to send his alie army to the Earth. Apart from character moments, this ultimately ends up with the team of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) to be the unbeatable team.
As the film has been out for over a year by now, I suppose I’m one of the last people to watch it, pulling the US version because it has a scene in it that was dropped from the rest of the world. This is supposed to be one of Hawkeye’s scenes although unless I plan on watching both of them, I have no idea which although presumably it’s one of his archery scenes when he doesn’t look at the target when shooting an arrow at it. Hawkeye is a marksman and he’d already liked his arrow before hand but I can see why the censors were concerned. Let’s hope the American audience who watched it don’t try copying it. There was a need to pull this DVD now, especially when I managed to buy at a reasonable price, before the next Iron Man film comes out on DVD in a couple months after the film release. Considering that all of them are having more individual films before the second Avengers film, this is hardly surprising. I wonder how long before there’s a Masters Of Evil drawing a team of villains in to face them?
There were a lot of things that I had to pause and think, so let’s share them here.
I’m still puzzling over why the Cosmic Cube was called the Tesseret, even amongst the Avengers, although can understand it having enough power to free Loki, amongst other things.
Why do they all speak with low monotonous voices. Loki (actor Tom Hiddleston) is a little better here than the ‘Thor’ film but for someone who is supposed to be a tad maniacal, he tends to come over as a bit too controlled. Getting trashed by the Hulk is supposed to be a reminder that he is on par with the God of Thunder for recovery but it’s a shame that he lacks any magical abilities. Bring on the Enchantress if he needs help next time.
The strongest impression I got from Joss Whedon’s direction is that he didn’t forget the comicbook roots giving panoramic shots and heroic poses. I can understand the need for character moments but if I’m critical they tended to slow things down in the wrong way sometimes. They were either conversing explaining their point of view or at each other’s throats. I loved the scene after Thor and the Hulk take out the bad aliens and then ol’ greenskin thumps out the Asgardian. Although it is explained at the end who had control of the aliens, it’s a shame that they weren’t shown as being anything more than drones. I suspect that if they had been given personalities, we might wonder more when any of the Avengers kills them.
From a tech point of view, Stark’s toys still rock and other than the invisibility factor, which wasn’t exploited, and I liked the SHIELD helicarrier. It’s a shame they didn’t have the man in the bowler hat and the lady in the catsuit there. Not Steed and Emma but Dum Dum Dugan and the Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine but I guess that would mean too much back story.
Considering that whenever Iron Man appears, it’s to the music of AC/DC, I’m surprised Tony Stark wears a Black Sabbath tee-shirt. I was surprised that Captain America forgot to carry his shield all the time, especially as in the comicbooks he’s practically glued to it when it’s not being thrown. The Black Widow’s own weaponry was downplayed too much. Why couldn’t she have her widow bite, especially as she was wearing her wristbands or even her widow thread so she could get off the ground instead of the guns she used.
Is it the greatest super-hero film ever? Not sure. I suspect a lot of people went to see the film expecting the worse. After all, there’s been some history with super-group films not being as good as they could be. In that respect, The Avengers raised the level of expectation. They might not be a team like, say, the X-Men but having super-heroes who normally fight alone grouped together, then you expect egos to get in the way when they are teamed up. Having two tiers of power was balanced out by not having them all fighting together which would clearly have shown them outclassed.
Things learnt from this film will undoubtedly be applied to the next film. It shouldn’t come as any surprise from the ending that Thanos will be involved and who better to court death as implied as the character flaw in super-villains in the second film than the alien who does court death, if only in marriage.
With Joss Whedon already involved there, I decided that he wouldn’t be involved in a director’s cut. Having said that, it is still disappointing that there weren’t more extras for the DVD release. At least there is more than the UK edition. An eight minute featurette explaining how well they got on together and an audio commentary is hardly enough for such a big film release on DVD which is surely going to get more sales than the blu-ray version or even the complete boxset of the Marvel films to date. Who’s going to buy it when we’ve all bought the films separately?
Speaking of the audio commentary by director/co-writer Joss Whedon, it’s interesting on some things that were inferred that he had to fight for scenes to be left in. Granted this is an expensive film but it does tend to suggest that there was a strong eye on how much was spent each time. If anything, this is probably why I don’t think there would be a director’s cut of this film, mostly because I don’t think anything was wasted.
In other things, Whedon is diplomatic about tends to suggest that he wasn’t happy with how Loki was portrayed in the ‘Thor’ film. He does point out how so much of this film depended on good editing in linking the scenes together, not to mention the music composer, in this case, Marc Silvertri, needed to catch the moment. Oh, he also doesn’t know that ‘HUD’ is the acronym of Heads Up Display.
With other two hours of talking, Whedon covers most things about the film from his perspective. I did wonder if it would have helped had he been talking to someone else, mostly because it would have allowed for someone else to ask questions or supply information from their perspective. However, Whedon does the commentary all prepared and if he is ad-libbing, then you rarely spot it.
This film will undoubtedly prepare you for the next film and it has a lot to live up to.
(region 1 DVD: pub: Marvel/Paramount 108404. 143 minute movie with minimal extras. Price: about £12.00 (UK) if you know where to look)
cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson