What I love about The Avengers

(I will try not to reveal any major plot points but really, you should have watched it at least once by now.)

Yes, The Avengers is a superhero blockbuster movie, but it doesn’t fall into that typical stereotype of all action and no brains.  In fact, all you have to do is look at Tony Stark.

Tony Stark starts out as that guy.  The sarcastic, cynical egotist who is erecting a tower with his name blazoned in large illuminated letters.  You forget just how brilliant he actually is.  He meets Steve Rogers, the ultimate soldier I’m sure he’s tired to death of hearing about from his own father.  He’s not going to be exactly a team player.

Then the blows fall.  The words get thrown around.  And realization hits all of them that in spite of– or maybe, because of– their differences in culture, generations, experience, specialties and intellectual abilities that allow them, with a motivation that is personal and an arsenal of natural and supernatural talents to assist each other and– oh yes, the world.  What I love is that they’re all so human.  Even Thor and Loki, mythical gods, are not invulnerable.  They get angry.  They act like children.  They’re super, but especially for Rogers, Stark, and Banner, I’m sure there are days when they really wish they weren’t.

Considering that each main character had their own movie prior to the collaboration of The Avengers, the writers/director/creative team might not have felt the need for further development of character.  I remember reading a review in the Vancouver Sun when The Avengers came out, about how, in the end, nobody really ‘bleeds’.  This is valid.  After all, most of the bleeding happened in their separate films.  However, there was certainly evolution of character in little nuances (my favourite) and pain.

Let’s start with evolution.  Look at Cap; he’s finally part of something, he now has a place in this new time and new world (and new york ha ha ha).  He has more to avenge than any of the others.  I think, just seeing how he smiles at the end, that maybe he’s come to terms with his situation and his past.  And Tony for his part comes to really respect and more importantly, like this perfect specimen who he attempted to debase.  The ST RK fall like his walls of sarcasm.  Black Widow and Hawkeye go from spy and assassins to soldiers; they all do.

I’m assuming the reviewer meant figurative bleeding (because they certainly all received some scratches) and nothing was melodramatically tragic to be sure, but there was a great deal of underlying loss and pain.  Thor lost his brother.  Loki’s final stab wasn’t literally in the heart, but it might as well have been.  Right up to that moment, Thor still hoped and believed that he could appeal to Loki’s good nature ; to the brother that he grew up and shared so many crucial experiences with.  If that isn’t devastating, I don’t know what is.  The misunderstanding between the two brothers and each feeling betrayed by the other.  Banner bleeds every time he turns into the Hulk; he loses control and I think his first transformation and its aftermath really made it clear that turning into a giant raging (albeit powerful) monster is not particularly pleasant, and there is no cure.

So no, they don’t have great dramatic epiphanies and nobody gets seriously injured (physically), but there is a great deal of emotion — pride, hurt, love, respect, relief, fear — expressed by the characters, both through dialogue and even through their bodily actions.  Not only did the events have an effect, but they each made an impression on each other, and through the excellent collaboration of the avengers themselves and the hundreds of individuals involved in the making of the movie, on us.