Marvel Mayhem: Assembling Some Avengers.

I know I’m not the only person who has a lot of feelings about The Avengers. I know this because after just 19 days in the cinema, the film has raked in just over $1 billion worldwide. 19 days! $1 billion! $103 million of that was just in the U.S for its SECOND weekend! You know what came second? Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s collaboration Dark Shadows. You know how much it made? $28.8 million! Do you see the difference!? I mostly don’t care about box office numbers, but my point is that a LOT of people have seen this film. It’s not just comic book kids. It’s EVERYBODY. Because this film is not just good – it’s GREAT.

I went and saw The Avengers the week it opened here. I was ridiculously excited. I dragged my (reluctant) flatmate from cinema to cinema until we found one that still had seats left and I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for it to start while he sulked about the fact that you couldn’t take beer into the cinema (long story). Needless to say, I flipping loved it.  But it wasn’t just me. My flatmate went in there with few expectations beyond the usual superhero explosions and with a beer-related tantrum brewing, and came out not just happy but EXCITED, quoting back all the best lines and asking about backstories to characters.

Like I said at the beginning, I have a lot of feelings (seriously…so many) about this film. I’ve compiled a dot point list, to make them more readable. (Otherwise it would just be me incoherently typing in all capitals, punctuated by brief interludes of “JOOOOOSSSS WHEEEDOOOON!!!” and sobbing.) I am trying to avoid spoilers, but this is probably a better list to read after you’ve seen the film.

  • Why do people not let Joss Whedon write and direct huge budget action films more often? The man had a gigantic ensemble cast and a huge chunk of Marvel universe to work through and he managed to do it in true fanboy fashion. Every character gets their moment to shine. The script is funny and memorable. The characters have relationships with each other that are so delicately handled amidst the millions of other things that are going on, it makes my soul hurt. The battle scenes… oh! the battle scenes! In short, I’m not watching the second one unless Joss is on board, because the man should be elevated to some sort of demi-god status immediately so that I can continue my unabashed worship of him without it being weird.
  • They finally got the Hulk right! After a bunch of really, really awful Hulk films they finally wrote a Hulk that encapsulated everything that the Hulk is supposed to be. I went in with zero expectations for Mark Ruffalo. This is possibly because the last thing I can remember seeing him in was Suddenly 30, and while I’m sure I’ve seen him in stuff since then, it wasn’t as memorable as Suddenly 30 and to me, that is sad. Then BAM! Completely unexpectedly, Mark Ruffalo is all up in my shit like, “I’m actually a talented, versatile and nuanced actor. Suck it haters.” He’s nervous without being overly camp, he’s constantly on the brink of bubbling over into unadulterated rage without melodrama and he’s LIKEABLE. He has some funny lines (and possibly the funniest smack-down in the history of superhero smack-downs) and some genuinely tragic ones. He’s not just a brooding hate-machine, he’s a person. It took 3 false starts, but someone finally managed to convey that.
  • Bruce Banner and Tony Stark – SCIENCE BROS! Just bros, doing science together! Casually saving the world. Whatever. High five for that relationship.
  • Agent Phil Coulson is a massive fanboy for Captain America and it brings so much joy to my heart. He has collector cards. They’re vintage. It’s the best.
  • Captain America is wonderful. How can you not love a character whose main powers seem to consist of gymnastics, volleyball and the ability to duck behind a shield? Steve Rogers is the perfect counterpoint to Tony Stark because he is driven by a desire to be good. Not good AT something. Just good as in pure.  Where Ironman is bells and whistles, showmanship and alcoholism, The Cap just gets on with the job. He does it because it’s right. Sometimes that sort of thing can be boring in a character, but on Chris Evans it works.
  • The reason this works on Evans might have something to do with the fact that he LOOKS like everything America is supposed to look like. Seriously. He won the genetic lottery and came out looking like the embodiment of American-ness, even in a slightly sub-par costume.
  • Speaking of looks, Robert Downey Jr should not be allowed to age that well. Unfair.
  • Let’s take a second to acknowledge the women in this film. All of them are fully formed, actual characters. None of them are defined by their relationships with men. All of them kick arse. Black Widow is awesome from the second you meet her. She takes down three dudes whilst tied to a chair, she outsmarts Loki, she beats the crap out of her best friend to give back his free will AND she closes the giant alien portal through space and time. SHE DOES ALL OF THIS BY HERSELF WITHOUT HAVING TO BANG ANYONE OR LOOK TO THE MEN AROUND HER TO DEFINE HER CHARACTER. High five to Scarlett Johansson. Futher fist bumps to Agent Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders, for being an impressive badass. Despite not geting as much screen time as other characters she still manages to be amazing and does so again, without needing men to define her character.
  • Special mention also to the equal opportunity hiring at S.H.I.E.L.D. If you look in the background, roughly half the people operating the computers and doing general henchmen legwork are women.
  • Samuel L. Jackson. That is all.
  • Hawkeye and Black Widow – SPY BROS! Just spying and saving the world and stuff. This could have so easily gone the way of romance. Not that there would have been anything wrong with that, but it was nice to have a movie where the guy and the girl are friends who care about each other without the pressure of sex. I like them better as spy bros.
  • Chris Hemsworth has come a long way since Home and Away. He is also some kind of man-mountain. Seriously. He’s huge.
  • The Thor and Loki relationship is gut-wrenching. I can’t even articulate thoughts on the matter. It’s just too much. All the awards for Joss Whedon and his ability to write things that destroy my capacity to function as an adult.
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki is pretty much the most wondeful thing that’s ever happened. His ability to be a maniacal dictator and a sympathetic lost soul all at once is just superb.
  • I will never be able to thank this movie enough for letting Tom Hiddleston near throngs of waiting press. Just go watch some interviews and then tell me you’re not totally in love with the man.
  •  My only complaint would be that the villains in this film are a little under-developed. Scary alien-robot hybrid things that appear through a wormhole in space are fine. The fact that they want the Tesseract is also fine. But they don’t really have a motivation other than the fact that they’re evil and they want the cube of shiny energy that everyone else wants. That sucks a bit, but in a film this big with this much of a cast who all need to have air-time it’s hardly a huge fault. By the time the end comes you’re too caught up in all the other rad stuff that’s happening to really care what the bad guy’s motivation is.
  • Plus the fact that it’s part of the GIGANTIC Marvel universe means that there’s probably going to be about a billion other films to follow up with the villainy later on.

I have a lot of other feelings, but this is really getting out of hand. Just go watch the film if you haven’t already done so! You’re letting the team down! Go!Go!Go!

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