In honor of The Avengers being released on Bluray/DVD today, I give you the top ten best things about the Avengers (according to me). Take this at face value for what it is: me just geeking out about this movie.
10. Music: Shoot to Thrill is now my ringtone, and I can’t hear that Schubert string quartet piece without thinking of how much I love watching Loki walking down those stairs and braining that guy with the Glowstick of Destiny. But more than that, I still can’t get the main theme from the score out of my head, with all its big brass swells and exciting crescendos. I could literally listen to the instrumental soundtrack and be happy.
9. Segues: This is totally a directing/editing thing, but I have to say I’m really impressed with how well the scenes flow into each other. Nick Fury’s talking to the Council, and the American man says “War isn’t won by sentiment, Commander.” and Fury says, “No. It’s won by soldiers.” And it cuts to Captain America. Cap says, “You should have left it in the ocean.” And it cuts to Tony under the Atlantic messing with Manhattan’s power lines.
8. Character development: No one misses out on being fleshed out. Hawkeye spends most of the movie possessed and evil and we still come away knowing that he is a confident and sarcastic guy with simple tastes. Maria Hill has, like, fifteen lines in the whole film, but we know she’s loyal, intelligent, brave, and cool under pressure.
7. Pure action, all the time: This movie never stops going (although, to be fair, this made it hard to find a slow time to sneak out and use the bathroom in the theater). It starts out with explosions and gunfire and basically never stops until the Avengers defeat Loki.
6. No romance: I really appreciate this. Most action movies feel the need to have a dumb romantic subplot for their female character so that… the weepily emotional female viewership can relate? (I really don’t know why.) They could have had a whole tedious subplot about Natasha and Clint and how much they loved each other and how sad Nat was without him and how her love broke Loki’s spell. Instead she just punches him in the head until he’s all better. And the only smooching in the whole film is between Pepper and Tony.
5. Humor: Yes, the movie has its serious moments and its depressing-as-crap moments, but the general tone of the movie is light-hearted and funny. Tony and Thor bring some of the best laughs, but no one’s immune from having a funny moment. One of my favorite silly things is when Loki comes over to talk to Selvig and Selvig’s like, “Heyyyyyy,” with this big grin like he’s stoned out of his mind and has no idea that he’s talking to his evil god boss. And when Natasha and Loki hairflip at each other on top of Stark Tower.
4. One liners: I’ve put this separate from humor because, although some of the many, many great one liners in this movie are funny (“I don’t see how that’s a party.”), some of them are just purely badass. (“You say peace. I kinda think you mean the other thing.” “I have a plan: Attack.” etc.)
3. The physicality: The actors do a great job of just being their characters with their whole bodies; I love just watching them move. I love the way Cap runs and the way Hawkeye poses and the way Natasha slays people with her thighs. Bruce just looks uncomfortable and shy no matter where he is or what he’s talking about, and nothing about the way Loki stands or looks ever gives away what he’s thinking.
2. Agent Coulson: Coulson is great in this movie for a number of reasons: as the geek on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team he gives the audience someone to commiserate with; as the plot’s sacrificial lamb he gives the Avengers something to fight for; and almost every scene with him in it up until his death is awesome and/or funny. “I was… present… while you were unconscious… from the ice.”
1. Natasha Romanoff: She is seriously my favorite thing about this movie, and in a film full of well-developed characters, I think she is the most realized. She is also arguably the bravest and best of the heroes: she is not super-powered, nor does she have any specialized weapons save a taser in her gloves, and she fights in the thick of things rather than from a distance. She is obviously, from the get-go, terrified of the Hulk because the Hulk is not something she will ever have control over, and still is able to push past her fears and retrieve Bruce, to try to talk him down when he’s Hulking out, to continue being a friend to and on a team with the person she is afraid of, and to even encourage him to Hulk out when it’s necessary. Her go-to interrogation technique is to put herself in a position of total powerlessness, and then to get exactly what she wants from her marks anyway. She is the one who figures out that fighting the Chitauri is a stopgap measure at best and who gets to the portal and closes it. She is a great example of a strong female character because she is not perfect; she is flawed and afraid sometimes but we see her overcome that and become strong enough to defeat the bad guys.
What were your favorite parts of The Avengers?