The Avengers (2012)

Avengers TeamCongratulations everyone. We made it. We’ve plowed through 25 films and have finally reached the big one, the ultimate superhero team-up and the end of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase One. Let’s run the numbers on the State of the Universe before Joss Whedon entered the scene: Five films featuring four superheroes: Iron Man (2008)The Incredible Hulk (2008)Iron Man 2 (2010)Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), plus two other non-featured heroes (Black Widow and Hawkeye) and a slew of other non-powered agents, spies, secretaries, military officers, and A.I. The Universe burned through a set of villains, most notably the Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Abomination, Loki and plenty of other questionable characters. $230 billion later and the “super friends” reluctantly come together in a single $150 billion venture to take down one established villain and a new cosmic army.
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Okay, let’s assume you’ve already seen Whedon’s tale of a group of “nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.” If you haven’t, I suggest you stop now and go see Firefly. We also assume you’ve seen The Avengers so instead of writing the 1000th review of the film, the two of us (Damien and Lauren) will share our favorite parts of the movie. (Two people watching the same movie and seeing two different things).
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First, Flashback/Backslide’s resident Loki Lover Lauren will catch up any newcomers with a brief summary of today’s feature presentation:
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The hero of our story is a heartbroken young man who recently learned of his father’s betrayal, and has now sworn revenge on his family, including his brother. He descends to Earth in an unparalleled fury with great plans to transform the Earth into his kingdom. The only people who can stop him are an uncoordinated group of loners banded loosely together by the schemes of a one-eyed man.
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Oh, sorry. Apparently Loki is the villain. My mistake. Moving on…

FAVORITE AVENGER

Lauren: Thor

Unfortunately, there is no way to classify Loki as an Avenger, so I must therefore answer Thor. Being a god, Thor’s power is unmatched by the other Avengers. His ability to fight hand-on-hand with the Hulk truly showed the large discrepancy between his god-like strength and Captain American’s super strength. In addition, the plot is more personal for him considering his own brother, who he mourned as dead, is attempting to take over a world that Thor has sworn to protect.

Damien: Captain America

Unfortunately…Lauren stole my thunder here and my opening word.. Obviously Loki is her favorite anything in this movie but Thor is actually my favorite Avenger in the movies. Instead of copying her, I’ll follow her lead and pick my second favorite Avenger. Sure Robert Downey Jr. perfected the arrogant charm of Tony Stark but Chris Evans equally mastered the earnestness of Captain America. Maybe both actors benefit from a previous run in the mechanized suit / spangly outfit. RDJ brings, as the kids say, swagger but stops short of diving into full arrogance which might annoy the audience (think Vince Vaughn). Evans keeps Cap earnest without making the time-displaced do-gooder feel aloof or overly naive. I like this Captain America for many of the same reasons I like Thor. Neither fit into the world they fight to protect and their disconnection lead to Kimmy Schmidt-like moments, one of which we’ll talk about soon.

LEAST FAVORITE AVENGER

Lauren: Hawkeye

Least favorite Avenger is a more difficult question to answer. I do like Hawkeye, but overall he brings the least to the table. I mean that literally – he brings a surprisingly small number of arrows to war. Also, he reminds me of a less awesome Daniel Craig, which in turn reminds me that generally I would rather be watching Daniel Craig.

Damien: Black Widow

Widow ShrugAgain, Lauren took my answer. Honestly I’m not upset this time because Hawkeye really can be an annoying character. He has none of the attitude seen in other comics/TV shows but still maintains a casual cockiness seen when fist-pumping his bow open and no-looking some Chitauri chariots. Maybe he needs that attitude and I’m sure plenty of fans enjoy the Renner stone-facing the camera but It’s not for me. The writers don’t do Hawkeye a lot of favors but with Black Widow they can’t seem to decide how to handle her. She starts out well in Iron Man 2 and carries two of this movie’s best scenes (her two “interrogations”). Sadly she spends most scenes dishing out unnecessary one-liners and cocking the occasional eyebrow.

FAVORITE CHARACTER INTRODUCTION:

Lauren: Loki Opens a Wormhole

One of my absolute favorites moments in this movie is when Loki emerges from the blue light of the Tesseract, full of anger and self-importance, declaring himself to the world, and then Selvig asks if he is Thor’s brother. Loki looks so mad. That look of utter contempt and rage in his eyes at being identified through his brother instead of in his own right is a perfect set up for their relationship during the rest of the movie.

Damien: Black Widow’s Interrogation

According to Screenrant “Whedon himself confessed that the Widow introduction is essentially ‘my career in microcosm,’ featuring a ‘helpless female’ tied to a chair, who turns out to be much stronger than the men around her.” This scene is everything I like about Black Widow and the reason I get so annoyed when she is relegated to the role of one-line deliverer.

FAVORITE NON-AVENGER:

Lauren: Loki

loki gifI suppose the answer here is obvious. Epic helmet and terrifying sneer aside, Loki is an amazing villain. Especially after my recent viewing of Captain America and the disaster that was Red Skull, Loki is a worthy opponent for the team of Avengers. Tom Hiddleston said in an interview that he was actually concerned that his portrayal of Loki would not be villaneous enough to justify six superheroes teaming up to take him down, but he nails it. If you had any doubt, just rewatch the scene between Loki and Black Widow.

Fun Fact – Joss Whedon’s favorite shot in the movie was of Black Widow through the glass cage with Loki’s ominous reflection approaching.

Honorable Mention: The janitor who finds the Hulk and calmly states, “Son, you have a condition.”

Damien: Agent Coulson

I go back and forth with Coulson even more than I do with Black Widow. His deadpanning works well when played off other characters, especially Iron Man, but it can grow tiring in the MCU films. Obviously in The Avengers he plays a more important role but with that his character fills out to meet the elevation.

BEST FIGHT BETWEEN TWO AVENGERS:

Lauren: Cap’s shield vs Thor’s hammerCap Thor Gif

Cap Thor Gif 2

Was there anything better than watching the colossal explosion when Thor’s hammer hits Steve’s shield? This was a fun moment for nerds like me because we get to see which weapon is stronger. Here’s why it was so interesting: Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, was forged in the heart of a star with Asgardian metals and has several spells placed on it. It is described as virtually indestructible, and can destroy almost anything with the exception of adamantium, the strongest metal on earth. Steve’s shield is made from a vibranium-steel alloy combined with an unknown metal largely considered to be a prototype of adamantium called pro-adamantium. Steve’s shield is also considered indestructible. When these two collide, the force generated is unbelievably strong, but neither are damaged, which may confirm the presence of pro-adamantium in Steve’s shield.

Side Note: If Thor’s enchanted hammer can’t break Cap’s shield, what can? It looks like Avengers 2 might answer that question for us.

Damien: Hulk vs Thor

Bonus: Slow Motion

Bonus: Slow Motion and Rocky-esque Spit/Sweat flying

FUNNIEST MOMENT:

Lauren: Tony Stark provokes Bruce Banner

Tony Bruce Gif

Tony Stark is asking Bruce Banner about how he stays calm and attempts to secretly stab him to see if it will set him off. He is like a five year old with a new toy. Classic Tony Stark.

Damien: Captain America vs Pop Culture

Here we get a Four Scoop joke cone: (1) One (not very) obscure pop reference provided by frequent referencer Nick Fury, (2) a confused Thor who finds himself lost in Midgard pop culture as usual, (3) an elated Captain America who finally gets the joke after struggling through two movies worth of confusion, and (4) an eye-rolling Tony Stark surrounded by a demigod who “weareth drapes,” an overly excited do-gooder in tights, and a man who refuses to give in to his anger issues.

WHAT WE HOPE TO SEE IN Avengers: Age of Ultron

Lauren: Bro-Time

I fully expect Ultron to be defeated in the first 10 minutes of the movie, and Loki to take over as the main villain for the remainder of the film. In case that doesn’t happen, I am hoping to see exactly what was missing during the final season of How I Met Your Mother: the group sitting around, joking and having fun. There are so many interesting dynamics between the characters that would be fun to exploit. The nerdy bromance between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark has so much potential, the second Captain America movie left some fun tension between Black Widow and Captain America, and please, PLEASE Hawkeye and Black Widow, we beg you to tell us what happened in Budapest.

Damien: Walking, Talking Hulk

The Hulk’s character undergoes major changes throughout the movie. He starts out as a liability to the team and is treated like a villain as much as Loki. By the end we see him in control of his rage and helping the team in the Battle of New York, even catching Tony after he falls to Earth. I’d like to see this trend continue in the second movie. with Banner showing more control over the Hulk and the Hulk continuing to work effectively in the team (and not “lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster”). That being said, it looks like the story arc might take a step back in Avengers: AOU with a potentially sick/infected/manipulated Banner/Hulk. On the other hand, this might give me exactly what I want as the character works to rid himself of this corruption and fights to be a part of the team, not the beast attacking it.

Damien’s Rating: 9/10

Lauren’s Rating: 9/10

Thanks for reading!

Damien and Lauren from Flashback/Backslide

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