Avengers Review Part 2
This is what intelligent audiences need to buy into fantasy movies…the why. And not only does each member arrive in their own unique style, but they all have a stake in the game.
Captain America literally has no life at this point outside of service, so he trains and waits for an assignment; he recognizes right off the bat the magnitude of what it is they’re dealing with, having seen it before. Tony Stark is almost reluctantly recruited, but because of his expertise Coulson recognizes that they’d be fools to keep Stark out. Natasha is a part of the program from the beginning, but doesn’t want to come in until she’s told that Hawkeye’s been compromised, and their bond is enough to motivate her. And, Dr. Banner…he’s supposedly brought in because of his expertise on Gamma radiation, but it becomes obvious that Fury was indeed willing to put everyone at risk in case they needed to release The Hulk, like their version of The Kraken, on whatever Loki might be bringing to the table. And, Fury was right, they really did, because they wouldn’t have won without him. Thor arrives, riding his trademark lightning, to arrest his brother and retrieve The Tesseract, understanding the danger of both in being around humans. Hemsworth also wonderfully conveys Thor’s hurt at Loki’s actions.
Of course we have to have hero on hero fights, and it happened that way(over many years mind you) in the comics, and they totally deliver. Iron Man vs. Thor, Thor vs. Cap, Hulk vs. Thor, Widow vs. Hawkeye, it’s all here boys n’ girls! Loved them all, really wanted to see more. Unfortunately, herein lies one of the movies few flaws, revealed in these battles, one I’ll address more fully in the Problems section, that being one of power levels. Widow & Hawkeye’s fight was completely organic and necessary given the circumstances, and the other fights were just super testosterone at work, and I loved it. Geeked out to the max.
Loki’s plan is revealed as it is in the process of unfolding, one of divide and conquer through trickery, which again, is pitch perfect for Loki’s character. I actually wanted to scream at Fury for bringing Loki on board since it was so freaking obvious that he was playing them, but whatever. (There’s a clear explanation of where Jane Foster is, excellently done.) Loki slowly ramps up their personal insecurities as well as their resentments and true opinions about the other team members, and we get some of the best dialogue in the entire movie. Cap feeling like a soldier out of time, Iron Man’s ego both in and out of the suit flaring up, Thor’s godly arrogance resurfacing, and Banner’s basic distrust of everything and everyone was all on full tilt. And, in full Whedon style, they actually all tell the truth; that’s what made it all so powerful. Banner essentially said the same thing that The Hulk always does, “you won’t leave me alone.” I loved that part. Natasha realizes that she’s lost her soul, but just like Elektra, what exactly does she have to go back to if she stopped being a spy? She doesn’t even have the Soviet Union any more. It was all so brilliantly written and executed. And of course, The Hulk wakes up. This was another huge plot hole in the movie, more on that later.
Once the team calms down, or actually distracts The Hulk enough to get him off the Helicarrier, they can somewhat deal with the simultaneous raid being led by a Loki possessed Dark Side Hawkeye. Cap and Iron Man both basically risk their lives to save that falling Helicarrier, as the true heroes that they are, and I thought Fury should been made more aware that they saved his freaking bacon. Once Natasha brings Clint out of it, they’ve regrouped enough for the device that Stark and Banner constructed to actually find The Tesseract and they go after it.
But not before they all having a sobering moment.
Thor’s moment seems to come when, after he crash landed to Earth, he summons his hammer and it appears not to move, reminding him that he loses his full power when his godly arrogance resurfaces, because he stops being worthy. He humbles himself, gathers himself, regains the hammer, and gets ready for action. Banner wakes up and is confronted by Harry Dean Stanton(asking, natch, if he’s an alien, HUGE WINK), and seems to have a change of heart about being a part of the team. Natasha & Clint’s moments come when they both realize that they’re out of their league, but they have a debt to pay and/or a score to settle, because they don’t like being used as pawns. Fury, Cap,
and Stark have their moment after Loki kills Coulson. Which was a complete shock to me; I mean, it’s Joss, we know that somebody had to die, but I still didn’t see that coming. More on that later. Fury manipulates that moment with a bloody set of trading cards that wasn’t actually in Coulson’s pocket, but it was necessary, and Fury knew it.
The middle of the movie, before we get to the off the chain rock ‘em sock ‘em action ending, demonstrates in no uncertain terms, exactly why this movie works. It’s because none of the characters’ integrity as characters had to be sacrificed, at all. They were a motley crew that had no business calling themselves a team, and they knew it, and in the end, they never did have a common motivation. They were all each driven by the exact same things that drove them from the beginning, but with the fate of the world at stake, they were willing to do what needed to be done, and that’s what made them heroes. That’s something that the audience can resonate with even without the fantasy backdrop and super powers.
This is why Avengers works. It’s The Breakfast Club for super heroes.