The Avengers (2012)

Marvel’s ‘Phase 1’ comes to an end with this, the team up of all the characters we’ve met already: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Hulk (recast with Mark Ruffalo from this point on), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), as well as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), brought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).

I remember sitting in the cinema when this was released. It was my first experience of IMAX, and those opening scenes in space were the perfect intro – I genuinely felt like the cinema had disappeared for a moment and I was floating in the darkness. But, after enjoying the MCU so much ’til this point, I was convinced this would be the one that ruined it. Six characters in one movie? Mixing the high tech with the ‘magic’, the history with the monsters? I could see it all crashing and burning with this…

And, how wrong was I! Phew!! Not only did none of those fears come to pass, Avengers managed to be even better than the sum of its parts.

We have Loki (Tom Hiddleston), a firm fan fav, as the baddie. We have the clash of personalities, brilliantly juxtaposed. We have the emotional journey of these disparate individuals suffering loss, learning how to bond, and overcoming their individual weaknesses. And along the way, a few laughs that hit with perfect timing to surprise a genuine belly-laugh or three.

I’m expecting the jokes now, of course, so they lose a bit of the punch (hah!). But I still love this movie. It’s pretty much spot on in terms of superhero movies, in bringing this lot together, and the series was never better – until, perhaps, very recently.

This is the one that, I believe, cemented the idea of the MCU and allowed another sixteen (!) movies to follow it. Before this they were good, but this was just something else, so unexpectedly. And if there’s anything not to love it’s perhaps that the characters are never again given quite the delicate individuality and sense of first steps of growth. There will be fallout, but at this point it’s all highs and air punches. Right now the real world needs a bit of this, methinks.

Also the last time Marvel released just one movie in a (calendar) year. It’s been two or three ever since, but Avengers quite appropriately stood alone.

Released: 26th April 2012
Viewed: 17th March 2019 (most recently)
Running time: 143 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 9/10

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