We’ve made it to The Avengers! The film came out in 2012 and was a huge success. This was the first Marvel film I saw in theaters, and I was super excited to see what it was going to be. I knew what I was doing! I’ve been extra early to every Marvel movie on opening night ever since; there is not such thing as too early for a Marvel film. This film brings together Tony, Steve, Thor, Bruce, Natasha, and Clint to prevent an invasion led by a mind-controlled Loki. It’s a thrilling film with lots to discuss and consider, so let’s jump right in!
Overall, this was an emotional film for me. It gave me such strong feelings of nostalgia and joy that I almost cried from that alone. I have such a great appreciation for the characters that it was fun to see them work together for the first time. I felt that the film did a good job highlighting almost every character, getting the audience interested/invested in them, and setting the universe up for even bigger films. It’s a film that anyone can watch and enjoy. I want to focus on the characters as individuals, because they are what makes this film great and it’s important to recognize their individual traits rather than group them together as a whole.
Tony Stark/Iron Man. My absolute favorite character who deserves the world. We first see him working on renewable energy, not just for the tower but for the world in the long run. He is also working on his relationship with Pepper. He is trying to do good by her and the world, which is such an incredible thing that feels underappreciated. When he shows up in Germany to fight Loki, he makes a dramatic entrance and shows Loki that he isn’t going to lose this fight. His discomfortable with Steve becomes evident as well as he teases him and is sassy the entire time. This spawns from his issues with his father, as his father always spoke about how great Steve was yet never gave Tony the time of day. He does come around to caring about Steve, as he does the rest of the Avengers, and we see this in the battle as he turns to Cap to lead their plan of attack. He genuinely cares about his team members, and Coulson, even if he gets sassy with them from time-to-time. He is also willing to sacrifice himself if it means everyone will be safe, which we see as he takes the nuke into space. This made me tear up because this never goes away. He is willing to die for what is right, to save the world.
Thor. He first appears dramatically and shares how he mourned for Loki, and how he believes they can still be brothers. What he doesn’t know is what Loki went through and that his mind is not his own currently. He also seems acutely aware of his differences from humanity. First when he discusses how they come to Earth bumbling about like giant monsters, and later when he insults the others calling them “tiny and petty.” He does his best to understand what is happening, and wants to help protect the Earth however possible.
Steve Rogers/Captain America. We begin with a beautiful scene of Steve’s butt, while he is beating up a punching bag. He is having flash-backs to WW2 and it seems to be portraying him having PTSD, which I felt was a clever inclusion because it helps raise awareness to soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Steve continues to hold onto his values in this film, standing up for what is right, fighting the bully, and keeping his bet with Fury. He also dresses like an old man, something I noticed when he was on the helicarrier. His confusion with references, or understanding of very old ones, is important because it shows that he hasn’t been awake for very long and is still trying to get his bearings in this new world.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk. We meet the new Bruce Banner while he is hiding away trying to help people. All he wanted to do was help others who could not help themselves, and was dragged into this operation by Natasha. Though he was only brought in to help with the science of finding the Tesseract, he quickly became an important member of the team as the Hulk. He seemingly cannot control the Hulk when the shift is against his will, but later in the film he controls the shift and therefore can control himself. This felt like some good character development because we learn more about his relationship with the Hulk. We also learn he attempted suicide at some point because it did nto want to hurt others, and when that failed he turned to helping the ill.
Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Unfortunately, we do not get much character development from Clint in this movie since he is quickly brain-washed by Loki. We do learn about his gift with the bow and arrow and we see his importance to Natasha. He saved her life back when he was sent to kill her, showing he is not a cold-hearted person. Overall, he gets the least development in all the films, but he does have a good sarcastic humor that helps keep the audience somewhat interested in him.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. We first see Natasha on a mission, where she displays her incredible fighting and manipulative abilities. Unfortunately, she is still being sexualized here sadly because Joss Wheadon has absolutely NO understanding of her character and later diminishes her to her inability to have children. However, we’ll get there when we get there. She is loyal to Clint because he spared her, and we see how important they are to each other. Something I found genuinely surprising was her legitimate fear of the Hulk. I do understand that the Hulk is a strong, violent character that can do great harm, but she is such a stoic person that I found her fear and shock afterwards surprising. I felt it added a bit to her character because it shows that even she has fears, even though she is a badass assassin.
Loki. The love of my life. When this film came out, everyone thought he was the villain. Later we learned that he was under mind-control and had been tortured by Thanos. As I rewatched this film, I saw so many signs of this torture and mind-control that it hurt my soul. I believe this was something that we could have realized from the beginning and didn’t. Instead, we tried to justify his actions because we knew something was off but weren’t sure what. His main sign of mind-control is his altered eye color. It’s a somewhat minor detail, but they are bluer than normal, just like Clint’s and Dr. Selvig’s! The signs of his torture are: him limping out of the facility, his magic falters from exhaustion, he is weaker in battle as his bruises and wounds are triggered, and he often seems out of breath or slower than normal. When he is summoned early on, they even threaten him with more torture and his face shows clear signs of exhaustion! He is not the villain here, Thanos is! If you don’t like that, don’t watch the film.
We still have the original Marvel logo and there is a very dramatic transition into the beginning of the film. It’s much more intense than I remember it being, which was fun in a way because it set up the tone for the movie. Fun fact, Loki’s scepter contains the Mind Stone (something we learn in Ultron), so it is the combined power of the Tesseract and the Mind Stone that allows Loki (who is mind controlled himself) to mind control others. This is also why the scepter can stop the Tesseract, because you need an Infinity Stone to fight/stop another Infinity Stone. Coulson is a huge Captain America fan, which honestly reminds me of actual fans and was fun to see. Stan Lee had a wonderful cameo at the end of the film in the news clips about there being superheroes in New York! It was absolutely wonderful. We see that Tony has his new plans for the tower and each Avenger gets a floor, which shows how caring of a person he really is. And at the very very end of the film, they all get Shawarma like Tony suggested.
A lot of the easter-eggs in this film actually just tie into the previous films, providing more ties to the characters since they have all been brought together. We hear Hulk share his story with Natasha, Tony learn about the others and what happened on Earth with them, Thor and Loki discuss the destruction of the Bifrost, and Steve still holds his values from the first film. Of course, there are smaller things that dedicated comic book fans would catch, but for normal viewers they don’t have much significance. We do meet Thanos for the first time, in the end-credit scene where he is extra purple. He plays a huge role later, of course, and has brief clips in other films as well.
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