Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Avengers

It’s week six of the Marvel-A-Week challenge and the end of Phase One of the Marvel franchise.  It was finally time to watch The Avengers.

The past six weeks has reminded me just how much I enjoy the Marvel films and how invested in the characters I have become over the years.  However, as the weeks trundle on, it has also made me realise that the Marvel movies are not watched regularly, and in some cases, at all.  It’s an odd situation.

It certainly wasn’t a chore to sit down and watch The Avengers.  I was rather looking forward to it.

PLOT:  Loki (Tom Hiddleston) fell off the Bifrost and landed on earth looking like a drugged-up vampire, brandishing a magical sceptre.  There are hints of a traumatic backstory but why waste time on a popular character’s development.  Loki is here to rule.  Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) invites Tony Stark (Robert Downey Junior), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to form a super group in order to bring Loki down.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) rocks up without prior invitation and joins the team.  The Avengers Assemble.  The robots are defeated.  Mankind googles shawarma.  END PLOT

The plot is grand.  The world’s mightiest heroes fail to gel until they are given something to avenge and defeat Loki.  This is fine.  The Tesseract pops up once more as a glowing blue McGuffin, and, in the interest of full and frank disclosure, I still have no fucking idea why it’s so important.  The Infinity Stones are mentioned quite a bit in Phases Two and Three, and what with Thanos on route to earth, I have decided that I am going to use the Marvel-A-Week challenge to educate myself on an incredibly important issue that has passed me by to such an extent that my ignorance is actually quite impressive.

There is plenty of action.  The three-way battle between Captain America, Iron Man and Thor is a neat little dick measuring exercise which concludes in a three-way draw. The main action is the big battle for New York in which many Chitauri and buildings are destroyed.  The battle isn’t that exciting, like everything in the Avengers, what saves it, is the characters.

The trailer for the Avengers still gives me goose-bumps and when the characters are on screen together you can’t help but get excited.  The various personalities clash, but come together in battle with choreography that would make the Strictly Come Dancing judges weep with pride.  I will never tire of watching Hawkeye narrate stuff, Hulk smash and Thor and Captain America double team.  I take credit for their achievements as though I am one of the team.

The cast are on top form and your opinion on the division of screen time will depend on which character your true allegiance lies with.  I lean towards Asgard so the Thor and Loki scenes were the moments that stood out for me.  It may be 2018, but Hulk punching Thor still gets the biggest and most genuine laugh in the entire film.  Chris Hemsworth is grand, although Thor is a million miles away from his Ragnarok personality, and so is the rest of the cast, but it’s once again Tom Hiddleston who steals the show.

I agree with the late Agent Coulson (I do not acknowledge the existence of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) that Loki lacked conviction about his master plan.  I agree with Tony Stark when he said that Loki couldn’t win.  I agree with all the Tumblr theories that suggest Loki wasn’t in complete control of his own mind and only had brief moments of lucidity.  This has to be the case, otherwise, like in Thor, Loki is just bumbling around from one scene to another, making up his plan depending on how various conversations play out.  They usually end negatively.  Loki is like the Anti-Gump with the endurance of Wile-E-Coyote.  I still love him and I’m rolling down the road to Infinity War believing that Loki will be the hero of day.  #TeamLoki. 

Drugged-Up-Vampire-Loki (sceptre not pictured)

Robert Downey Junior, Chris Evans and the rest of the cast are fine.  Mark Ruffalo appears as the newly improved Banner and fits right in.  After sitting through The Incredible Hulk during Week Two I was very pleased to see him. The cast cannot be faulted and I am appreciating their efforts more now than I did at the time. 

The Avengers probably isn’t a perfect film, but I don’t care.  If you came here for objectivity, and made it to the last paragraph, you really should not be surprised when I give it 10/10.  After five films, The Avengers united a team of superheroes in a thoroughly entertaining manner.  It’s an achievement and one I will give Marvel full credit for right up until I sue them for bladder damage.

Next week it’s Iron Man 3.  I suspect I’ll come crashing down to earth. 

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