Countdown to Avengers Endgame: The Avengers
We’re in the Endgame now. Just 15 days to go before Marvel Studios unleashes the biggest theatrical event in a generation (if not ever), capping off a story that is 11 years and 21 films in the making. There’s no denying that what Marvel has done here is unprecedented. As we approach the big day lets take a look back at the films that lead us here.
While it pales to Infinity War (or what Endgame seems destined to do), The Avengers was a massive event at the time. Even people who had only shown a little interest in the Marvel films up to this point lined up to see The Avengers assemble for the first time on film. Sure there had been other super hero team movies (X-men came out 12 years before The Avengers) but never had a studio brought together characters introduced over five films with a single narrative like this. It changed everything.
One of the biggest things The Avengers did for comic movies though was show that a big cast could really work in a super hero film. This finally ended the myth that many comic films that had struggled did so due to “too many characters.” The reality with many of those films was that characters were just poorly developed and not well balanced. Avengers on the other hand benefited from the films that came before it, requiring that they spend less time introducing every character, and just simply managing all the characters in an effective way. This took two forms, keeping the characters as true to their roots as possible and giving all of them time to shine. While Iron Man and Captain America are arguably the main characters of the film it doesn’t feel like their film specifically. Unlike X-men which was really the Wolverine show, fans walked out of Avengers loving Hulk’s moments, and Iron Man’s, and Captain America’s and let’s be honest…
The audiences were so overwhelmed with excitement that the crowd in my theater burst into cheers as the team truly assembled for the first time. Even after two additional Avengers films this scene and the entire Battle of New York still brings out the inner eight year old in me. The final set piece of the film is also the first super hero fight I can recall in a film where most of the characters didn’t feel awkwardly out of place (X-Men: The Last Stand came close with its big action finale). It feels cliche now but having The Avengers first outing be against an army of alien invaders instead of a singular villain allowed them to showcase all of the heroes individually and you know what, I just love this whole thing.
The Avengers moves at a brisk pace (though never feels rushed), has tons of humor and character building moments while also tossing in a ton of just “holy hell that was awesome!” moments for good measure. It’s been seven years since Avengers came out and people are still quoting, “I’m always angry.” This isn’t even getting into Marvel introducing comic things once thought too wild for the movies like Hellicarriers, alien invaders and of course setting up Thanos. In short, the film got so much right that it’s very easy to let some of the small things slide.
Which, there are a few small things that bug me about The Avengers. Most notably, costume design was not at Marvel’s peak. It’s unfortunate that The Avengers is Captain America’s worst costume in the MCU. Many of the SHIELD agents also look odd in their comic accurate but didn’t translate well to film costumes. In general The Avengers at times has a “TV” feel to it, which is not entirely surprising realizing that Joss Whedon had only one film directing credit to his name (Serenity) at the time.
The Avengers wasn’t just a popular film it was a cultural phenomenon. Everyone liked Marvel after this and it literally propelled nerdom into the mainstream in a way that nothing had before. To this day it remains on many fan’s list of the top MCU films and for good reason.
Next is the film that not only had the unfortunate pleasure of following up one of the biggest films ever made, it also took a few risks with very mixed results among fans; I am of course talking about Iron Man 3.