June 15, 2019

The MCU Project: The Avengers [2012]

As you can see, we are working hard on this project, the wintry weather assisting us in our urge to snuggle under blankets of an evening. I even had a hot water bottle one night this week; a far cry from that June heatwave 13 years ago, when the Small Boy first put in an appearance.

Anyhoo, you want to hear about this film, I suppose. I think we can call this the first Avengers ensemble movie, featuring exotic superheroes of both mythical and scientific origin, and also Hawkeye who is basically just a fancy sniper. The film is directed by Joss Whedon, scores a surprising 8.1 on IMDB, and we watched it while eating a delicious if slightly on the dry side home-made lamb biryani.

The film opens in some sort of military place where everyone is having a bit of a panic because of the energy surge from the tesseract. At this point we don’t know what those words mean, but fortunately Nick Fury does, and he sets about assembling the team. We retrieve Black Widow, who I suspect is Pete’s favourite because she kicks ass and her outfit fits her like an anime porn star, from a situation where she is required to kick ass and then pick up her stillettos before she leaves. She then fetches Bruce Banner, now played with lovely dry delivery of some of the wittiest lines in the film by Mark Rufalo. Captain “Cap” America shows up with all his muscles, and Tony “Iron Man” Stark brings his Boris Johnson levels of self-belief.

Our villain, nay supervillain, for the evening is Loki, complete with reindeer horns and a pointy stick, which he uses to brainwash some of the good guys to beef up his team. He sets about doing various megalomaniac odds and ends, in league with the Night King and a range of otherworldly baddies. It turns out that this tesseract thing is the door between the worlds, and the energy surge is what opens it. Quite pleased that I figured that out.

Thor shows up. He and Iron Man flirt a bit. There’s quite a lot of fighting. Loki gets put in a cage. The superheroes have philosophical moments, meant to illustrate them coming to terms, in their different ways, with their dark origin stories and the sources of their power. So let’s say the theme of this one is that they are all discovering their value, except for Iron Man who is already fully convinced of his own value, but still has room to grow, which he does, resulting in the further boosting of his own ego. The other theme is fighting and things exploding.

Bechdel-wise, the women in this movie don’t have the opportunity to speak to each other about anything. In Gwyneth Paltrow’s scenes with RDJ, she is barefoot while he wears platform soles, so we don’t notice that they are the same height, because clearly that would be an implausible aspect of their characters. I’ve mentioned the outfits. I’ve mentioned the ass kicking. I’m not sure they balance each other out. As Bernard says, they’ve got to make the movie interesting somehow.


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