ICYMI: MCU Rewatch Issue #6: The Avengers

In 2012, the MCU exploded with the release of The Avengers.  The Geeks look back…

It’s the conclusion of Phase One and the culmination of the solo films that laid the ground work for Marvel’s Avengers.

tomkAvengers

Trailers on the DVD; MCU Phase one, Marvel Ultimate Alliance Facebook game, various Marvel cartoons on the Disney Channel, Frankenweenie.

You know, I generally enjoy Sam Jackson and Whedon’s quip-heavy dialogue, but Fury only speaks in cliches in this movie.

And now I am reminded of the female friend who thought Hawkeye and Coulson were the hottest guys in the movie.

The structure of the character introductions works very well. End a scene with a line about a big guy, then go check on Banner. Say something about soldiers, go right to Steve.  Mention leaving the tesseract in the ocean, cut to underwater Iron Man.

That Chitauri spokesman has two thumbs per hand.

And are all these guys working for Loki mercs or mind controlled?

Of all the Avengers who take a shot at Loki, Steve seems to fare the worst.

I just love the final battle.

“I’m always angry,” always gives me chills.

So, Avengers is probably my favorite overall MCU movie, even though I know it isn’t the best. Winter Soldier and the first Guardians of the Galaxy are objectively better movies, Avengers has a couple flaws to it that I’ll bring up later, and it may be the movie that most exemplifies the Marvel Formula done right though it is still a formula. That said, this is the first true appearance of a cinematic universe where all the characters meet and hang out that isn’t just Nick Fury or Phil Coulson popping in for a scene or two. But here we see Tony, Steve, Natasha, Clint, Bruce, and Thor interact, hang out, bicker, and then beat back an army of generic thugs led by the MCU’s best villain. It may not be as good as later movies, but it does hit all my fanboy buttons.

Wow. Quiet in here.

watson: This is what happens when you talk to yourself.

tomk: It’s a lot like what happens when my classes are in session.

jimmy: Well, after a week traveling to New York (fittingly), my digital copy not working on the plane, Super Bowl Sunday and the in-laws visiting I finally finished The Avengers. Let’s scroll up to see what you guys had to say so far…

…wow, I didn’t miss much.

tomk: Nah. We were waiting for you since you were probably visiting the Chitauri War Memorial.

jimmy: I probably did. I loved the final battle too, but all I kept thinking was how much flack Man Of Steel got for the destruction that was caused in Metropolis and I don’t remember a lot being said about a good portion of New York being destroyed here. Damage Control are going to be busy.

tomk: To be fair, New York is still standing at the end of this. Man of Steel had a giant dusty crater in the middle of Metropolis. There was nothing to rebuild there.

jimmy: And I think this was more “optimistic” and while we can imagine the lives lost, it feel more like just buildings being destroyed. Man of Steel seemed to play up the human element more. Punctuated by its conclusion.

tomk: And then Batsoup showed a rich guy trying to save the city in an SUV!

jimmy: It was a Jeep. They can do anything.

tomk: He would have succeeded if he had Spider-Man’s dune buggy.

jimmy: No one succeeds with that.

tomk: Comedy writers do.

jimmy: I love the first Iron Man, but I felt like this was on par and maybe edged it out. I agree with you about the thrill of seeing the Avengers all together and working as a team. I know Ryan finds the first hour slow, but I still enjoy the whole thing.

tomk: Ryan isn’t completely wrong. That car chase in the beginning doesn’t do anything for me.

jimmy: Don’t you go starting agreeing with Ryan.

tomk: I didn’t say he was completely right, either.

watson: Fine. I’ve seen this enough to jump in WITHOUT a rewatch.

I liked the first hour. ADD Garcia may not like it because “no boom pows…” like his beloved Fast and Furious, but I loved the build up.

tomk: Though I’ve always felt this movie ends Tony’s initial character arc. In his solo movies, Tony mostly acts to defend his company or property. Here, after Steve berates him, he nearly sacrifices his life to save the population of New York City.

watson: The camaraderie followed but Loki’s shifting of their motivation to antagonism. Excellent.

tomk: Loki does rock in this one.

watson: Much better than Thor 1.

tomk: He had a better plan there. This one is the standard MCU bad guy plot of bringing something out of the sky to blow up stuff on the ground.

watson: Ryan liked that.

tomk: Ryan still plays Galaga.

jimmy: I just watched the deleted and extended scenes. They included an awful Maria Hill framing sequence, a hilarious (because the effects aren’t added) extended fight scene with Black Widow and Hawkeye in New York, and an excellent Cap sequence, that wouldn’t really work in the movie. You can see why almost all of it was cut, including another Stan Lee cameo.

When we watched Thor, I praised it as being the best of the solo films at setting up the eventual plot of Avengers. Ironically, I felt Avengers did the greatest disservice to Thor of all the solo films. Loki dead? Thor doesn’t seem too shocked when he finds out otherwise. Bifrost destroyed, stranding Thor in Asgard? No problem. Explained away in one sentence like “Must have been tough for you to get here.”

tomk: And Loki more inclined to get his hands literally dirty.

watson: Best scene in the film? Not the battle at the end…which was cool…but the scene on the helicarrier when Tony is trying to antagonize Banner into turning into the Hulk. Not for any reason other than Tony likes to stir the pot!

jimmy: That was good. A lot of well played humor in this one…much of which centered around the Hulk. Him punching Thor. The “Puny God” scene with Loki.

watson: I think that’s what made the film work. The chemistry clicked. You threw a lot of ingredients into one stew and they blended well. We take it for granted now because they’ve costarred or cameoed a ton by now. But then, it was a big question of “too many?”

And the answer was no way. They are perfect together.

jimmy: Well, maybe we didn’t need Hawkeye. :-p

tomk: It also helps, for the Hulk, that they waited so long to bring him out. We got lots of Banner interacting with Tony, even with ad libbed blueberry stuff, which may even explain why the Hulk catches Iron Man at the end: Tony wasn’t afraid of him.

jimmy: Banner seems more in control of the Hulk at the end, or at least, Hulk’s aware enough to side with the Avengers. Yet on the ship he was a pure rage monster destroying everything and everyone in his path.

tomk: He was really mad about everything he’d been lied to about.

jimmy: We’ve spent most of our short chat praising the film. Was there anything you felt didn’t work? Tom, you mentioned the car chase…

tomk: It doesn’t work for me for some reason.
I’d also add some other issues.
How do the Avengers talk to each other in that battle?
How did Thor know to go to Stark Tower? Even Banner saw the screen light up with his Tesseract tracker before he changed into the Hulk for the first time.
Head trauma stops mind control?
And I know they were probably making things up as they went along, hence Tony hacking SHIELD’s systems and not learning how deep HYDRA was in the agency, but why would Thanos give Loki an Infinity Stone to collect another one?

jimmy: I don’t know, but that Thanos end scene was so great. Especially at the time.
(Also, not Josh Brolin.)

tomk: It certainly was. It’s just that Age of Ultron makes part of this movie’s plot more confusing in retrospect.

jimmyAge of Ultron has enough issues as it is, no surprise that it spilled over into other films.

tomk: We can cover that later.

jimmy: Do we have to?

tomk: Yes. For the project.

jimmy: It’s always the project with you Tom.

tomk: I would do it anyway and rewatched Ultron once as prep for Civil War. We all need our reasons.

jimmy: I did too. And didn’t like it any better the second go round. But I digress…

I had a few nitpicks as I was watching, but nothing really coming to mind now.

I did wonder sometimes why Loki needed such an elaborate plan? And times when it was like “why isn’t Loki just using magic or whatever?” Obviously being held in captivity was part of his plan.

And I never felt like that cell was any real threat to Hulk (not that he was in it) or really Thor.

tomk: That cell was the best that they could do.
And there is the fan theory that notorious liar and trickster Loki lost on purpose to make sure the Avengers formed and get the tesseract back to Asgard with him.

jimmy: That makes sense.

tomk: Depends on what his ultimate goal is. World conquest through direct violence isn’t his thing anywhere else.

jimmy: Well, it seems like it will be a short chat this week. Tom and I often have this issue in our DC Animated Universe rewatch with really good episodes. It’s easy to ramble on when you have lots of things to nitpick. Sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.

So let’s get to our scores shall we?

tomk9.5 out of 10 puny gods.

jimmy: I’ll give it the same 9.5 this is how you do it DCEU out of 10.

watson: I like this one but not quite as much as most folks. I give Avengers 8.5 “kneel before Zod…I mean Loki”s out of 10.

jimmy: Let’s see what the big wheel now reveals…
Iron Man 9.5
Avengers 9.2
Captain America 8.7
Thor 8.2
Incredible Hulk 7.2
Iron Man 2 6.2

MCU Overall 8.2

jenny: Can I cast a late vote?

jimmy: For sure. Jonathan too if he wants.

jenny: Iron Man 2: 8 New Iron Man suits &new war machine out of 10

jimmy: No, you can only put in an Avengers score. :-p

jenny: Damn it.
Haha

tomk: Jenny is gonna throw off all the averages if she tries to retcon the old scores. Typical Jenny…

jimmy: I added her IM2 score. It’s still last. 🙂

jenny: Hey! My votes count!
Iron Man 9
Avengers 9.5
Captain America 8.5
Thor 8
Incredible Hulk: 6
Iron Man 2: 8

tomk: They do count.

jimmy: Geez…
Recalculating…

tomk: Women’s suffrage is a thing.

jenny: …

tomk: It isn’t?

jenny: No, it definitely is. I just don’t have the energy this morning.

tomk: Jimmy has to do math now. And he’s Canadian so it’s in the metric system.

jenny: I have faith.

tomkFaith is a Valiant comic.

jimmy: Ok, including Jenny’s scores, the rankings are unchanged, but the average scores are a bit different…

Iron Man 9.5
Avengers 9.3
Captain America 8.6
Thor 8.1
Incredible Hulk 6.9
Iron Man 2 6.6

MCU Overall 8.2

tomk: We have completed Phase One. Commence Phase Two.

jenny: Hmmmmm, very interesting indeed. Iron Man 3 is next?

jimmy: It is. I’ve been “anxious” to rewatch this one for awhile because Ryan loves it and I hated it originally. And given Ryan’s track record, my opinion probably won’t change.

tomk: I dig this one too. But that’s for next week. And Ryan still likes Krull.

jonathan: My grades:
Iron Man 9
Avengers 9.5
Captain America 9
Thor 7.5
Incredible Hulk: 6
Iron Man 2: 6.5

jimmy: Geez…this could see a Hulk/IM2 flip flop. Let’s see…

tomk: Don’t worry, Jimmy. As soon as you finish the metric math again, Ryan and Greg will be along with their own scores.

jimmy: Haha
Ok, rankings still the same, but the top and bottom are extremely close now…

Iron Man 9.4
Avengers 9.3
Captain America 8.7
Thor 8.0
Incredible Hulk 6.7
Iron Man 2 6.6

MCU Overall 8.1

tomk: Are we done for the week now?

jimmy: God I hope so.

jonathan: I feel like the next entry will be the most divisive

tomk: It should. It’s a Christmas movie.

jimmy: Lol

jenny: I will punch you
Iron Man 3 is a terrible film.

tomk: Terribly festive.

 

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