Marvel's The Avengers - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Marathon
Again, there will be spoilers to Marvel's The Avengers and other Marvel movies and shows. Sorry about the several marathon posts today, but wanted to get Phase One done before I go out of town this weekend.
Marvel's The Avengers is and will probably always be my favorite Marvel movie. There will be films that may be technically better or even more enjoyable, but I have such an emotional attachment to this film.
The film begins with S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to harness the energy of the Tesseract. Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), who was brought on to the project during the post credits scene of Thor, says the Tesseract is acting up. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) tells Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) that he's supposed to be keeping an eye on it. Suddenly, the machine goes crazy and explodes and standing there is Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Hawkeye and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attack, but Loki uses his scepter to take over the minds of Hawkeye, Selvig and some agents. We learn in Avengers: Age of Ultron that the gem in the scepter is the Mind Stone. Loki and gang then make a dramatic escape.
It's also worth pointing out that this is the first appearance of Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). She is Fury's right hand. While she is different than her comic counterpart, I enjoy this version.
We're then introduced to the various people who will become The Avengers. We start with Black Widow doing her spy work and showing what a bad ass she is. You can tell Scarlett Johansson has gotten better at her character since Iron Man 2. It might have to do with the direction, but just this scene shows her with much more confidence. Next, we go to India where Widow tracks down Bruce Banner (now played by Mark Ruffalo) who is in hiding. Next to Captain America (Chris Evans) who is still trying to deal with having returned after 70 years. Fury tells Cap about the Tesseract and that there is a briefing packet waiting for him. And last, but not least, to Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.). Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) comes to talk to him about The Avengers and what is going on.
I'd never heard it before, but Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) asks Phil about "the cellist." This is later revisited in an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Phil and the Agents have to rescue her from a villain using the power off the Darkforce.
The Avengers are then brought aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. And how exciting was it to see the Helicarrier for the first time!
Meanwhile, Loki continues to have Selvig, Hawkeye and a whole bunch of other people complete the Tesseract project. We now know Loki is working with some unknown force. Loki goes to get the eye of a doctor who has access to iridium which Selvig needs for the project. After, Loki can't help but monologue about power and subjugation. This is when The Avengers show up and take Loki into custody.
This is also the moment that Cap and Iron Man meet in person. Immediately, you can tell they don't like each other much, although they're both suspect of how Loki gave up so easily. But they don't have much time for that because Thor (Chris Hemsworth) shows up and takes his brother. Iron Man and Cap chase them. Thor is insisting that Loki give up the Tesseract and go home.
This is when Iron Man shows up and fights Thor. Captain America comes to break it up and asks Thor to put his hammer down. Thor, angered, hits Cap's shield and there is a large explosion. The whole scene is epic and iconic and gives me major goosebumps. They put Loki in a cell meant to contain the Hulk.
The Avengers debrief on the Helicarrier. There is a second reference to Phil's cellist when Tony tells him he'll fly him to Portland to keep love alive. Fury wants Tony to work with Bruce on identifying how Loki's scepter works and what he is up to with the Tesseract. This begins the Science Bros relationship. Tony is suspicious of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Cap, always a good soldier, thinks they should follow orders. Regardless, Cap goes to check out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is up to.
Phil tells Thor they've relocated Jane Foster to keep her safe. Thor is concerned for his brother, but also for what he might do. Fury asks him to join them.
Black Widow uses her spy skills to get information from Loki. Just when Loki thinks he has the upper hand, Widow finds out he has plans for Bruce...or more specifically The Hulk.
Cap confronts Fury about what he found out about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plan to weaponize the Tesseract. And he saw how that worked out with Hydra. All The Avengers then get into an argument which is broken up when Hawkeye launches an attack on the Helicarrier. All hell breaks loose. Cap and Iron Man go to fix the damaged part of the ship forcing them to work together. Bruce turns into the Hulk. Thor goes to subdue The Hulk in an iconic, exciting battle. This also begins their competitive brotherly relationship. And Black Widow fights Hawkeye.
In the end, Iron Man and Cap are able to fix the engine. Hawkeye is rescued. Thor is tricked by Loki and trades places with him in the cell. Hulk crash lands on Earth after trying to take out a jet. And Phil Coulson is murdered by Loki who then sends Thor hurling to Earth in his cell. Both Hulk and Thor survive their falls.
Fury uses Phil's death (as he is the one who gathered most of The Avengers) as a catalyst to make this group of remarkable people into a team. Widow is able to break Hawkeye out of the control of the Mind Stone.
All The Avengers realize they need to put aside their differences because there is something bigger to fight for. Maria Hill confronts Fury about his manipulating Phil's death to bring them together. I thought it was kind of a douchey thing to do, but I realized in this viewing that Phil's last words to give him a push. So, Fury was trying to give them that push.
Iron Man goes to Stark Tower where Selvig has set up the machine Loki has wanted. Loki is there and Tony tells him about The Avengers which leads to an altercation. The machine then opens a portal to space where aliens, we learn the Chitauri, invade Earth and the Battle of New York begins.
So many great moments here, including Cap's getting the police to follow him, Black Widow's boost to commandeer one of the sky cycles, Hawkeye's bomb arrow blowing up in Loki's face, Hulk punching one of the giant space whales in the face, Hulk and Thor rescuing people in Grand Central Station and then Hulk's punching Thor.
But the greatest moment of it all is the iconic circle formation. It's a moment that still gives me goosebumps and the moment I realized that Marvel Studios truly was able to create a shared universe. A shared universe is one reason that made Marvel Comics so popular and now they were doing it in the movies.
Another memorable moment, one of the most memorable, is when Hulk smashes Loki. It's hilarious because its unexpected and Loki looks like a rag doll.
I liked the fact that, while having to fight the aliens, The Avengers tried to make sure to keep civilians safe. One thing I can't stand in movies where a lot of destruction is happening is when there is disregard for human life.
The World Council decides to order a nuclear strike to stop the alien invasion much to the protest of Nick Fury. I noticed one of them is Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) who we later learn in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that he is a Hydra leader.
Iron Man heroically has the missile follow him. In the meantime, we find Selvig subconsciously put a fail-safe into the machine so it could be shut down. Widow is going to shut the machine down, but Tony tells her to hold off because he's going to send the nuclear missile into space. The alien forces are destroyed by the missile as he then plunges to Earth. Hulk manages to catch him and Tony, always the jokester, suggests they all have shawarma, which we see them eating in the post credit scene.
Loki is then returned to Asgard with Thor. Bruce goes off with Tony. Hawkeye goes off with Black Widow. And Cap goes off on his own. Fury is certain that when the world needs them, they will get back together.
In the mid-credits scene, we see the mastermind of the attack - Thanos! He is the villain who would pop up a few times throughout several movies and leading to his taking matters into his own hands in Avengers: Infinity War!
Stan Lee Cameo: Man being interviewed who thinks The Avengers is a hoax.
I'll say it again. This is my favorite Marvel film. It was the moment I said, "They did it!" And there's nothing that can change that moment for me.
I'll be taking a short break as I am away for the weekend to experience Pixar Fest at Disneyland. Then it's off to Phase 2 and Iron Man 3!