Marvel’s The Avengers: Character Critiques ASSEMBLED (spoilers ahead)


The vision (the abstract one, not the robot)

A long time ago, a clever bastard  decided to do something quite flukey.

The created (alongside Jack KirbAvengers 001 - 00y) this

which over time grew and eventually turned into this

Now the accumulation of all their work and the countless writer/inkers/drawers/voice actors/animators and live actors who have come since marvel first announced they were starting up their own studio,  is now about to reach the table.

They have already invested five films into the making of this franchise and their next installment will see the heroes portrayed in each of those outings finally coming together for the big pay off

And they wonder whether it would work?

Well I had the pleasure of watching it last night and here is a quick review into how I felt this film worked.

Disclaimer

Now before I start, this is less of a review and more of a character analysis of the main cast.

There are already going to be a lot of positive reviews on this film which are going to overlook some glaring things and I am not really one to regurgitate old information, so this review is going to look at things that I picked up that others may not have.

It is a review by a fan for a fan, so the devil will be in its detail.

ps, SPOILERS AHEAD

SO, let’s start at the top.

Loki

While he was probably much more of a formidable foe in this film and he had far greater screen presence and  character, he was still somewhat of a Loki light.

That was because his efforts or his frustration weren’t directed straight to Thor. It was Thor who kept reaching out to make the emotional attachment while Loki didn’t really consider Thor or his revenge on Asgard being part of his plan.

He never really cared for Earth previously (which was always referred to as Midgard in Thor but now was called Earth here, which i found strange) but now it was going to be his basis for rule. he once ruled the entire of Asgard but was willing to settle for earth.

As for his power set, they were very much limited, his mischievous antics were very subtle and some could say there were not necessarily even his, but a product of the staff he was given.

Apart from that, his capture plan seemed totally irrelevant. They said his big play was the hulk but at no point did he use it, nor did the hulk cause the damage that caused his escape, that was done by Clint Barton. This part of the script did feel quite loose but I presume it was a requirement in order to get the team to mis-interact.

And another point was that he does eventually make it back to asgard, so he kinda does get a happier ending than one would originally imagine. He has a better chance of escaping from there than from his previous exile.

I have to say the costume department did great work with him and all his looks in the film were just simply amazing and never one looked out of place.

Top notch and best marvel villain by a mile.

 Thor

Haven’t got much to say about Thor, apart from they overlooked quite a bit his exile with the breaking of the bridge but at least they had the decency of highlighting his love interest and that he still cared for her.

Good dialogue, great use of his powers, good interactions with people, great stage presence and he did not look out of place in his costume. He could have at least worn his helmet once in the film though, meh

One great note about the costume department is that they incorporated alot of his comic designs into a single costume for Thor

He had his chainmail look from the first film, a caped costume with bear arms and also a capeless (or retractable cape), which covers his look from a different range of costumes and eras.

One of the points they play with in the comics is the relationship between Thor and iron man and mysticism and technology, religion and Athiesm, tradition with advancement. This was all left out but there will be time to develop this in other franchises.

Iron man

Let’s face it,with the success of the first film and Robert Downey jr probably being the most high profile actor of the entire bunch at the moment, this film was always going to be heavily focussed around Iron man. So the narrative therefore concentrates more on his private life and motivations than some of the other characters.

Even so, there were some things that were overlooked

Iron man made absolutely no connection between the power battery in  his chest, the arc reactor technology and the cosmic cube. Even though in Iron-Man 2, there is a video with his dad passing on new elemental studies and in Captain America, there is old man stark playing with the cosmic cube weaponary (which may have derived the new element.

This connection would have made Fury’s use of the technology for weaponary more prominent as he would have hacked into Shield and found his father’s research on the weapons and initial repulsor technology in the first place.

Also since Fury had taken Whiplash’s technology into custody (from Iron Man 2), this could have enhanced their ‘phase two’ weaponary detail rather than rehashing the WW2 weapons (they did make a nuke from it though). I had presumed earth would have had robotic drones powered by the cosmic element, or a reasonable alien deterrent on their hands.

I am actually surprised they didn’t decide to blow the arc reactor from the first Iron Man film which sent that big energy signature into the sky, that could have been a nice link to the first film (and also an indication to other alien worlds that earth was now on the map). Even blowing the one in stark tower could have helped bottle neck the portal.

While the other characters also had some form of love interest in all their respective films, Tony’s was the main focus in this one, with his leading lady getting significant screen time. But the chemistry between Gweneth and Robert is really kinda dead, I would have been happier with another one completely. Like having Betty secretly working for shield, way WAAAAY more interesting in the long term of things.

It is strange that they never really touch up on his alcoholism and his father worship as part of the berating session they all have with one another. While drink is shown in his hands often, substance abuse is often left out of the picture. Maybe they don’t want to alienate people from liking/hating him.

 Also I wasn’t impressed with Iron man’s new costume, to my knowledge it had no recognisable upgrades and of course there was no hulk buster suit. The new suit look far too much like the mach 3, 4, and 6 (new designation is 7). I could have lived without it personally. With so many classic ones to still use, the designers are being really complacent.

They should have had it powered by the cosmic cube or a piece of uru metal from Thor or something. Or even a destroyer variant since he now had the intel. except for the amazing transformation scene, it lacked any real luster to it. But as a complaint, that is tiny in respect of everything else.

apart from this,  and the lack of a chest uni beam, I want to sell my kidneys for that t-shirt.

Captain America

The emphasis of Captain America being captain fucking America is heavily played down in this film.

The original emphasis was supposed to be one of two things. He was originally seen as just a man among gods but we quickly found out with such people around, he was the only one capable of leading a team like that.

Secondly, he wasn’t and will never just be a man or a soldier. he isn’t defined by his powers rather than the qualities that make him Steve Rogers.

If they had played on the fact that he was out of his time more (which they didn’t), then when it came to the time of the final sacrifice, he too should have done what he did 80 years ago and attempted to navigate through the portal. A history repeating itself kinda moment (except for now he wasn’t alone, he could rely on others to support him)

I just never got the impact that Cap got the respect he was due from everyone. Not even the shield operators on the bridge were in awe of his presence when he first arrived.

And he definitely needed more angst with banner (with his hatred of the military and following orders) and Thor (who would have seen him as weak and worthless initially). When it came to the final battle, one could argue he had the least physical impact (highest strategical one though), even Hawkeye and the black widow played a greater part in taking down the Chitauri invasion.

I always thought this film would end up being a mixture between a Captain America and a Thor lite but it’s really hard to swing cap into this without more emphasis on his ‘fish out of water’ life being explored.

The entire point is the world still needs heroes and real heroes come from strong men, just like back then. he will never be an outdated emblem. Never.

_____

sidetrack example

Take the scene where he talks about his costume upgrade, they should have mentioned coulson’s variant which would be laughed off and given him a black ops costume like Hawkeye and black widow. On the realisation of the death of a certain agent, would have marked his change back. This would be in ode to the symbolism and his realisation of what he stands for and what he brings to the team.

Hope

Again, a scene with the team being taken down without him only to rise triumphantly with him by their side would have said more than enough.

Tiny things like this would have made the world of difference but money talks. I suppose for me, Cap’s journey has become the heart of an origin avengers tale. maybe I’m wrong there

_____

Even though I still always see Johnny Storm in a Captain America costume, Chris gets two thumbs up in my book. Although i would have gone nutty if he had gone toe to toe with the Hulk and stood his ground (like Bronsky did before in the Incredible Hulk).

Banner

Firstly, I’ve written a specific Banner/Hulk Review here, feel free to check it out

This incarnation of Banner is pretty different to the ones we’ve seen before, he’s damn calm and probably the most level headed if the main heroes. But it works well for the story, especially with the bouts of paranoia  thrown in).

The entire team were sympathetic to him from the outset and none of them really just pictured him as the monster whom the media sought to find as a menance.

It is a shame we didn’t get to see general Thunderbolt Ross in this installment, since he was the one initially recruited for the Avengers initiative and it would have helped banner’s cause alot having the general try to override everyone else’s open approach to his predicament.

But Ruffalo did his scenes well and while he didn’t have the greatest chemistry with the rest of the cast (even though I didn’t like him as much, Edward Norton would have gelled well with the cast much better). he did great.

I think he may have broken the curse of having the hulk role for only a single film but only time will tell.

Then again, he got the best line of the entire film

Hulk

I am separating Hulk from Banner because it really has to be done for a truly fair assessment.

And again, I’ve written a specific review about this character, feel free to check it out

Every scene he was in was pretty much perfect. his design, high fighting, his leaping, his mannerisms, heck the hulk could have carried this entire film on his own. And all without a hitch CGI wise.

My only plight was that there wasn’t enough of him, and they really should have given his voice acting to Lou Feringou to do, Lou is much better at it than Rufallo.

Also as the hulk, he should have interacted with the team more. I would have loved to hear his  classical ‘metal man, soldier boy and lock hair’ names for the rest. Plus in the new Earth mightiest hero’s rendition of the avengers, he has a fantastic relationship with Hawkeye. in one episode, Hawkeye stares him down and threatens to take him out, to which the hulk reverts back to banner in a laughing fit state. It would have been a nice touch (at least somewhere down the line)

The hype around this character at the moment is incredible and while I thought this film was going to be an ‘Iron man and friends’ team up, The hulk has finally become the centre piece in marvel’s jeweled crown.

At least for now. As a long term hulk fan who has seen the main public shy away from his first two films (second one I can agree with since it was poor), I am finally happy he is getting the credit he deserves.

He literally smashed it. had he done a thudnerslap, I would have literally shat myself in public and smeared it all over the place in glory.

One final tidbit is that it would have been nice if Cap had mentioned something about the aliens/loki having betty. Similar motivations were used to ‘control’ the hulk in the comics but I can forgive it because he was literally that good.

Agent Coulson

Wow, I never expected that the turn of events and his character arc in the film would hold that much prominence. his scenes are fantastic and heart felt.

My only concern was that his demise should have occurred infront of everyone, probably via some sort of broadcast screen (since Loki’s cell was slightly isolated). It would have made a bigger connection, especially since he played a decent role in Thor and Thor himself never received the news of his demise (if i remember correctly).

Great death scene and great use of what i believed to be the ultimate nullifier variant.

Hawkeye and Black Widow

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS

Hawkeye’s use in the film as a heel felt somewhat unnecessary but I think it was required in order to humanise black widow, which I think worked very well.

She was much better in this film than she was in Iron man 2 and didn’t seem too far out placed against the rest of the team. It was just a shame that while the main group of characters were all arguing, she didn’t get or receive that many personal digs. I suppose she was still viewed as a shield agent at that time but the team needed more of a strong prominent (vocal) female character there and perhaps Natasha isn’t that type of character (being a spy and all).

Hawkeye was great in both his incarnations and didn’t feel out of place amongst the rest of the team. His preferential use of the bow is never really explained, nor is his incredible accuracy of it but some of the trick shots he played were just awesome. Definitely the best use of a bow in a film of this nature.

They definitely had good chemistry with one another and I would be at this point happy to even watch a Hawkeye/Black widow black ops prequel film. This could help introduce characters like iron fist into the radar or perhaps rescue larger characters or align with various villains.

Even though they are played down in the promotion of this film, these two characters, and especially Barton help drive the film forward alot more than the main five (including fury).

One tiny request would have been to have Barton do some trick shots with things other than arrows, I know he’s not Bullseye but still.

Nick Fury

Now I have limited knowledge of what Nick fury is like in the mainstream comics but I got the impressionfrom the ultimate line  he was very patriotic back in the day and now he just simply will use who ever he wants to get what ever the agenda required is. Respect goes out of the window and the mission is always first.

The problem I have is that Samuel L Jackson is and will always be Samuel l Jackson in most of the films he portrays.

When he shouts at the helicarrier pilot ‘WHERE DOES THE SUN COME UP’, i was immediately thrown back to his pulp fiction narritive, expecting him to say ‘say what again, i dare you, i double dare you mother*******.

I also just kept wanting him to say ‘Where is my superhero suit’ from his portrayal as Frozone in the Incredibles, too funny.

But the main point is that this interpretation of the character he plays is actually based off the real life Samuel l Jackson (which makes his casting actually perfect). So I suppose it’s impossible for him to not get a scene perfect. It still irks me though

The one conclusion I wanted from Fury’s arc was that the team pretty much stuck a finger up to SHIELD  decided they were too important to be a government organisation and they had to go private if they were to make any real impact.The end result was the same but the scene was cut out and implied instead.

But again, this is a tiny thing in the grand scheme of things.

Aunt Robin Maria Hall

Kids, let me tell you a story about how in the Summer of 2012, Aunt Robin Joined the Avengers

Cobie Smulders was very good in her role, I just wish they also had Carol Danvers in the Shield line up since the team is missing a strong female character and her eventual turning into the ms marvel (with the introduction of the Kree and captain marvel) would be a great story plot and would help enhance her character rather than potentially looking like a Fury sidekick (which he doesn’t have in the ultimate universe funnily enough). It looks like the avengers are going to focuss on alien threats more so the kree would be a good batch to introduce if it means enhancing the line up

Still a great performance and very action packed. I have no negatives about maria hall in this what so ever.

My main concern over this whole thing is

‘Where’s Rhody?’

Not even considering the ethnic influence of this film (and I’m kinda glad they didn’t throw in an international cast for the real sake of it) but they are in a war, and not even a war machine cameo, bit of a shame. I hope he didn’t fly to high and get iced up in his mach 2 upgrade. 😦

Final Verdict

I never really wanted to enjoy this film, the hype around it and the build up had been too high and I have been let down so many times in the past. So I promised I wouldn’t like it.

But I just couldn’t.

Rejoice.

It.IS.MARVELOUS

Overall, the character interactions we did see were great but with so many permutations of conversations, it would have been nice to see more (black Widow-Thor), (Iron man Hawkeye), (captain-hulk) etc.

Hopefully what will happen in marvel’s next batch of individual movies will be the star is followed by either another minor character or a new one is introduced to join the team later on. cross over characters should now be the norm. Even the smallest cameos make the biggest difference.

Thank you marvel for returning my faith to the genre, either keep the bar this high all the time or kidnap Joss Whedon and lock him in your dungeon forever.

in whedon we trust

In Whedon we Trust

Otherwise, I will have words with thee.

.

Le’ts hope the other superhero movies this summer are just as good.

Admiration assemble

I hope you all enjoy it when you see it and if you chance, watch all the first and second seasons of earth’s mightiest heroes before as well, it’s just THAT good.

Let me know what you all think of both when you get the chance. I’m off to watch it again.

ps, this doesn’t mean I still don’t hate Stan Lee though
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