Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm like the last person on the planet to watch this movie. It had gotten to the point where I didn't want to see it just because I was getting tired of so many people saying “You have to see The Avengers!” But last week I gave in and watched the movie on Netflix. I think that means I'm caught up on the Marvel movies that count – I still haven't seen the Hulk, but I'm told it barely counts, and Iron Man 3 is still pretty new.
Anyway. Avengers. As much as I enjoy Loki, he was really a weak and disappointing villain here. I mean, was he ever a serious threat to the Avengers? No! He may have done a lot of posturing, but it was the aliens that were the danger to the world, not him. He was just constantly slapped around by the heroes. How sad for the Norse god of mischief and good times. Also, that helmet. I know it's an iconic part of his character design but GOOD GRIEF it makes me laugh whenever I see it.
But even though I always go straight to the villain when evaluating a movie, The Avengers is all about the heroes. Good ol' Captain America was the best, which is no surprise – his movie was my favorite, too, but Iron Man was highly entertaining, too. Even Thor was good for a smile or two. It's the new characters that I want to focus on, the ones that I haven't learned to love during previous movies:
- Hulk: OK, Hulk isn't new, but I haven't seen his movie and it's a different actor anyway, which means that he's going to have his own spin on the character. I've always thought Hulk was a little lame, even on the comic book page – he's big, he's green, he's angry? Yay? But I thought that he was pretty well presented here, balanced between rage machine and brilliant scientist.
- Hawkeye: Good grief, Hawkeye is lame. Sorry, I know archery's really cool, but I can never take archer superheroes seriously because they are ALWAYS incredibly outclassed. Like, Thor is a demigod. Iron Man's got so much technology to enhance his abilities that he's a literal living weapon. Captain America has been super-serumed beyond human limits. Hawkeye...has a bow and some arrows. He shoots pointy sticks. Sure, some of those sticks have been enhanced, but at the end of the day he's a normal guy with antiquated weapon. (Ever heard “Never bring a knife to a gunfight?” That applies to your bow and arrows as well, buddy.) Plus he gets possessed or whatever by Loki and lets the team down.
- Black Widow: Yeah, she's been in other movies but she's the only female hero so I wanted to mention her. She's basically in the same boat as Hawkeye. Yes, she's pretty tough for a human, but she's only a human and she's incredibly outclassed. Flirting information out of bad guys is not a superpower, and it's honestly a little insulting that this was all they could give the Black Widow, the only woman on the team.
On that note, why wasn't there a super-powered woman on the team? I understand not wanting to use She-Hulk or Spider-Woman, since that interferes with other character franchises. I also get that mutants are largely off-limits due to studio disputes over X-Men. But there are still other great characters out there! What about Photon - you'd get double diversity points because she's female AND African-American. (Although I can't help but think that she is too similar to Storm.) Or maybe Moondragon...she's badass enough to make shaved heads cool. Or what about the classic standby Captain Marvel? Sure, she was out of commission for a long time thanks to Rogue stealing her memories and powers, but she's apparently quite active in the Marvel universe these days. I'm sure there are plenty of other great characters that I just can't think of – I didn't follow the Avengers comics as a kid – and I'm just really disappointed that Marvel didn't have a woman on the team who was actually the equal in strength and power to her male counterparts.
But power isn't everything, I suppose – for everyone knows that the biggest, bestest badass of them all is Agent Coulson. It's pretty well publicized now that his story won't end with The Avengers, since he'll be in the new SHIELD television series, but even in the film I thought it was pretty obvious that he wasn't completely dead. Maria Hill and Nick Fury drops a hint or two, and Coulson himself says that the mission would never work unless the heroes had something to believe in, or rally around, or something. (He gets cut off but he was going to say something to that effect.) Anyway, Coulson is just a man, a guy doing his job. He's totally outclassed by these metahumans, but it doesn't intimidate him at all. He just keeps soldiering on. Plus, it was adorable to see him geek out over Captain America. If you're as fond of Coulson as me, you might want to check out the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Not only does it sorta tie Spider-Man into the rest of the Marvel movie universe, Coulson's whereabouts post-Avengers are revealed: he's apparently become a high school principal so that he can keep an eye on Peter Parker. It's stupid, of course, but it's Clark Gregg providing the vocals so it's pretty awesome, too.
Anyway...while the plot itself isn't all that inventive – superheroes fighting off alien invaders, never seen that before! - the film is all about bringing the Marvel characters together and seeing how they interact with each other, and it succeeds brilliantly. It was a lot of fun to watch and it really seems like it must have been a lot of fun for the actors, too.