I went to see the movie as a treat for myself after so many worries lately and thoroughly enjoyed it! Lots to talk about and oodles of spoilers, so be warned!
Here be my Midgardian Review: ;)
For a movie that’s over two hours long, it moved right along. A movie this packed with heroes could mean short-changing some, but everyone got quite a bit to do. The characters were spot on and the plot wasn’t overly complicated but not unduly silly, either. Loki as the villain was a good choice as you know he’s seething for revenge since the events of the Thor movie.
Tony Stark (Iron Man) was his usual irascible, funny self as Robert Downey, Jr. did a great job. His resistance to the concept of the Avengers and his clashing with Steve was inevitable given his personality but his heart’s in the right place.
Steve Rogers' (Captain America’s) melancholia is only natural given that he’s literally a man out of time now, with all the changes since the ‘40s overwhelming. He’s not sure of his place in this brave new world and he’s still mourning the loss of Bucky and others he knew way back when. His leadership skills are his greatest strength, however, as we see Tony and Thor stop fighting when he intervenes, and later in the big battle against the invaders, an irreverent genius like Tony and a god like Thor unquestioningly obey his orders. Even the Hulk does what’s asked of him! Chris Evans is wonderfully earnest as Cap but also shrewd enough to know that all is not as it seems. He may be an old-fashioned man but that means he’s also aware of man’s treachery.
Thor (God of Thunder) is a delight as always. Chris Hemsworth really nails this character with his god-like grandeur and his genuine affection for Midgardians (humans). He’s matured quite a bit since his movie but not so much that he still isn’t lovable Thor. ;)
Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson) is a woman driven by her past and obviously searching for something to alleviate it, and her fighting skills are incredible. She’s Amazonian without the bracelets, though she does wear her special Black Widow bracelets. And when you can get the God of Deception to spill the beans, you’re one heck of an interrogator!
Clint Barton (Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner) understands her because his assassin past is similar. I love his skill with arrows. Pity he didn’t have a boxing glove arrow, though. ;)
Phil Coulson (SHIELD Agent played by Clark Gregg) is an adorable Cap fanboy. Loved the bit with him asking Cap to sign his Captain America trading cards! I truly was saddened to see him fridged in this film. I wish it hadn’t happened despite his death being a catalyst for bringing the fractious Avengers together.
Nick Fury (SHIELD Director played by Samuel L. Jackson) is tough, capable, and willing to use anything to get the job done (see Phil’s bloody Cap trading cards). You may not like his methods or secretiveness, but if the world’s in peril, he’s the man to save it, or at least bring together the people who can.
Erik Selvig (Professor played by Stellen Skarsgard) falls under Loki’s mind control but not completely, and his fail-safe helps save the world.
Maria Hill (SHIELD Agent played by Cobie Smulders) is an extremely capable second-in-command to Nick Fury and shows courage and skill during constant crisis.
Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) has very little to do in this film but makes her presence known. She and Tony are heating things up! ;)
Bruce Banner (The Hulk) is a complex man. This is Mark Ruffalo’s first time in the role and he projects a man always holding back so that he doesn’t become the raging monster that can trash anything within a matter of minutes. His weary cynicism fits a man on the run with a ticking time bomb inside of him.
Loki (God of Deception played by Tom Hiddleston) is still deceptive and oily. He’s a man desperate for glory and insanely jealous of his adopted brother Thor. With Loki, it’s all about family…and power!
The voice of Jarvis (Paul Bettany) is a delight, as usual.
The canon movie and comics pairing is Clint/Natasha. Nice to see this pairing still around after their debut in the early Sixties. Both have similar pasts and understand each other. Natasha says that "Love is for children" and she and Clint may never have the hearts ‘n’ roses kind of romance but they clearly care deeply for each other.
Also, Tony/Pepper is coming along nicely with champagne and planning for Stark Industries.
The rest are pairings that I saw with chemistry:
Steve/Tony is the BIG pairing in the fandom and my favorite after Steve/Bucky. We clearly see chemistry here as the two shoot sparks at each other while arguing, the time-honored tradition of couples before they hit the bedroom, eh? ;) Anyway, Tony dislikes authority and Steve believes in it (though not to a mindless degree) and while Steve is old-fashioned and a man from the past, Tony is firmly anchored in this century with its gadgetry and cynicism yet haunted by his past just as much as Steve.
When Tony leaves the room after Nick delivers the bad news about Phil Coulson, Steve is the one who goes after him, and Steve is the one who helps Tony during the air battle. It’s Cap who Tony obeys during the heat of the final battle as Steve’s legendary leadership skills shine.
Tony/Bruce had real chemistry as the two scientists immediately connected, and even drove off together at the end! Definitely possibilities here. ;)
Thor/Loki: Despite Loki’s treachery, Thor still loves him and genuinely wants Loki to come home to Asgard. His apparent death had affected Thor deeply, but despite his eagerness to work with Loki once the invasion is on, Loki’s cruel deception and petty avarice even turns aside his adoptive brother. This can be seen as slash or an intense sibling relationship or both.
Steve/Thor: In comics canon Thor has always held Cap in the highest regard, even subjugating himself to his leadership in the Avengers. Warriorhood and comrades-in-arms is extremely important to Thor, and his friendship and comradeship with Steve has always been strong. In the film, there are moments when that respect shines through, and could have possibilities for slash fans.
Natasha/Bruce: The two seemed to connect in the film very well. Neither is big on romance given their pasts but something sparked there.
Steve/Clint: In comics canon, Clint was intensely jealous of Steve when the first met. In early Sixties canon the hostility is obvious but the two become close friends. I can see them together in comicsverse and in movieverse, their brief interaction was friendly and respectful, so you can take that and run with it.
Clint/Phil: I’ve noticed in fandom this pairing pops up quite a bit. In this latest film there isn’t much interaction at all but the concept intrigues me: straight-arrow agent and shady former assassin/current agent could lead to all sorts of things!
How cute was Steve when he got the flying monkeys reference? Felt good to get something for a change! ;)
The fight scenes are very well done in this film. I especially liked the obligatory hero clash between Iron Man and Thor. I especially thought it amusing that Cap was the one to break it up as he always does, but that even a super-soldier who’s still very human comes between two of the most powerful Avengers and they listen to him tickles my Cap fangirl heart. As does the final battle and the duo obeying Cap’s commands.
ADDENDUM: The scene in Stuttgart as the old man defies Loki and is ultimately saved by Cap is pretty powerful. The elderly man's age means that he was probably around in World War II and understands power-hungry men very well, as does Cap. The theme of (eugenic?) superiority was cleverly handled, I thought.
The final battle doesn’t overwhelm you with destruction and blood though there’s certainly enough of both. What I mean is getting your senses continuously assaulted and turning you off the film. Maybe I’m just not an action movie fan, but constant battering and destroying doesn’t thrill me. Maybe that’s why I’m not a big gaming fan.
I was surprised that the aliens were defeated almost so easily but it could be a case of them over-inflating their own prowess (gee, that never happens, does it?) or the Avengers are just that good. Maybe the world could have stopped the invasion or thrown them off but not until after billions had died and the property damage would have been incalculable.
There are reasons to stick around during the credits and after. Typical Stan Lee-type of humor. Liked his cameo, too. ‘Nuff said! ;)
I just hope that The Dark Knight Rises can compete with this film. The Avengers are smashing box office records like the Hulk. Marvel put in a long-term plan which is coming to full fruition with its mega-opening last weekend. They carefully cultivated a series of films showcasing their heroes and culminated in this Avengers extravaganza.
What has DC done in the past four year? Released the highly successful The Dark Knight but also Jonah Hex and Green Lantern. Real box office winners there, folks! They had a Justice League movie planned but felt that people would be too confused if they included Superman and Batman and if the ‘verse ended up different from their films. I can’t help but wonder if Christopher Nolan’s ridiculous insistence that Batman is the only hero nixed the JLA idea and any connection of DC heroes. I suppose Green Lantern never mentioned any other heroes, and Man Of Steel won’t. Marvel treated its Trinity of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor with respect. While DC will always green-light Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman will never get a movie. I suppose DC considers her out and Green Lantern in when it comes to the Trinity now. *shakes fist at DC and Warner Brothers*
I highly recommend seeing The Avengers (They are already green-lighted for the sequel, which isn’t surprising when you look at the box office numbers). Chris Evans said that originally they wanted him to sign for nine movies but reduced it to six. I assume that means movies with one hero mixed in with multi-hero Avengers films. You know, actually acknowledging that other heroes exist! What a concept!