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Published on February 12th, 2018 | by Lauren Bycroft

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Road To Infinity War: Part 6 The Avengers

We have arrived.  At the time (2012), nothing quite like The Avengers had come to theaters before.  We had never seen a team-up of this level; major characters that don’t normally exist as part of a team like the Fantastic Four for example.  There had been rumors for years that a Justice League movie would finally come to fruition.  George Miller got the closest in 2007 with Justice League: Mortal and yet, it never came to pass.  As Infinity War Par I inches ever closer, The Avengers is going to begin to look more and more quaint but it’s important to remember just how monumental it was.

One of the great strengths of The Avengers, and indeed, the MCU, is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.  He is evil, a master manipulator, he courts chaos, and yet there is a glimmer of something there.  There is humanity, pain, something relatable that makes us believe again and again that he could change.  He is Shakespearean, theatrical, and yet, understated.  He’s like the comic book caped version of Hans Gruber full of quiet mirth and menace.  The subtle look of glee on his face as he extracts an eyeball comes to mind.  His plan for world domination may be vague and a bit lacking, but the strength of his performance more than makes up for it.

Say what you will about Joss Whedon – and there is a lot I could say; he’s become a much more complicated character than he was when the film was released – but the sharpness of his dialogue moves the film along.  Briskness goes a long way when there are characters to introduce and a team to bring together, break apart, and forge into something real. He writes an introduction for Black Widow so good, it makes you double down on the wish that she hadn’t be involved in Iron Man 2 at all. He establishes her as someone who is a lynchpin of the team, someone who has a connection with just about everyone except perhaps Thor.  She’s absolutely one of the best parts of the film and it’s especially nice given the fact that she’s sadly yet to receive her own stand alone film.

One of the strongest arguments against superhero films both pre and post Avengers is the third act problem.  So often these films, Marvel included, boil down to dark, CGI heavy, destruction fests.  They’re boring, predictable, and often become a stumbling block for even the best superhero films. See Wonder Woman (an otherwise tremendous film) for example. While The Avengers’ third act is a destruction and CGI heavy fight to save the world, it has a lot going for it that flies in the face of most comic book films.  First and foremost it takes place in broad daylight.  Dark, often rainy settings for fights can give CG some breathing room.  Daylight means the effects need to be on point and they are pretty stellar here.  The Avengers also divide and conquer, giving us not only the great opportunity to see different dynamics at play, but also a clear strategy.  We watch the team try to minimize casualties and contain destruction as best they can.  

Without the film’s success it’s hard to say where Marvel would be right now.  It’s not as if they would have been destroyed by its failure or lackluster performance but I’m not sure that we would be seeing Infinity War on the horizon.  The upcoming film is pretty much unprecedented as it has to serve double digit main and supporting characters.  If Marvel hadn’t been able to handle just the Avengers they would have had quite the long road ahead to work out the kinks. But that’s all just conjecture given the fact that they delivered.  It’s just as entertaining and enthralling to see our heroes at each others’ throats as working together.  The relationships feel true to life and overall the film feels a bit like a response to critiques of the comic book genre.  In the end, The Avengers is an invaluable milestone on the road to Infinity War.


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