Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson
Game-changing moments are felt instantaneously. It’s those moments that have you sitting there knowing the landscape of moviemaking will change. One of those undeniable moments came from the unification of these superheroes and how every other major studio attempted to replicate it.
Once Loki (Tom Hiddleston) arrives on Earth and grabs hold of the powerful Tesseract, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) unleashes the Avengers initiative. This will seek to unite super intelligent and superhuman figures from around the world to unite to stop whatever Loki seems to be planning.
The day The Avengers landed in theaters caused an earthquake in popular culture with ripples that still reverberate strongly today. It did something studios could only dream of and they surely tried to replicate it for the next decade. Superhero films had been building popularity since the beginning of the millennium with X-Men and hit an unparalleled apex with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but this film did something none of the other films could do. It took the characters established in previous films like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger and combined them into one feature along with some new characters. Loosely connected through post and mid-credit scenes, the seeds were planted for this film and it hit full realization with The Avengers. It showed incredible patience and it paid off big time.
The story centers around Loki in his attempts to prove his greatness and conquer something, which carries over from his character in Thor. He’s given the opportunity to do so by these alien creatures who will give him an army willing to do battle if he can open a portal for them. However, the main draw undoubtedly comes from the team-up of these characters and how they would interact with each other. Knowing that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes in nobility above all and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) possesses a large ego will certainly cause some interesting confrontations. We receive just that as they go back and forth with the best way to move forward in their plan. Then you add in a character like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who has godly powers and a personality to match, you get a fascinating mix of characters. The actors work well together even if it does not display their finest acting, as it helped cement them as the only people we could imagine could portray these superheroes.
The moments of action are thrilling in their own way, but it does show the negative influence the film had on other movies. Not that this can be held against The Avengers, but other studios saw this incredible success and sought to copy its lesser aspects. One being the alien invasion that occurs. You could rattle off a whole list of films that used what this film did and created armies of faceless things for their heroes to show off their abilities. That’s essentially the purpose they serve, but the stakes in other films did not have the same pull as this one. Additionally, the laser in the sky became such an overplayed trope that it almost felt like parody. At least in this film, it opens a portal for the Chitauri to make their way onto Earth. Other films seem to have it because it looks cool? I’m not sure, but it took it from this film and utilized it to a much lesser impact and narrative importance. It says a lot about the success of this film that other universes tried and failed to copy it but could not reach the same level as The Avengers. That will be the legacy as it soon gets engulfed within a 20+ film series.
This became quite the undertaking for writer/director Joss Whedon, as he had to navigate all of these characters and tell a coherent story. With Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America having their own films made by other directors, Whedon needed to combine already established personalities and make them work together. He certainly had some help, but he deserves some recognition. He created the unthinkable in bringing a comic book to life. I have never read a comic book but I have been told by many that the fight that takes place in New York City feels like something taken from the page to the screen. The way its shot has some great dynamism with how it switches between characters and the individual battles they hold. At the end of the day, they are heroes so they must fight these alien creatures while protecting civilian casualties at the same time and it added some stakes to their battles.
Having weight, but also using the comedy that would define this film series, The Avengers has left a large mark in the way films are made. It puts the audience right in the action with these superheroes and shows excellence in building a universe. It’s an enjoyable feature that provides incredible entertainment and continues the stories of heroes developed in previous films.