After endless hours of updating myself on all things Marvel Comics related, the time finally came. At 12:01 on Friday, May 4, The Avengers finally arrived in theatres across America.
Suited up in my makeshift Black Widow outfit, I arrived at the theatre, accompanied with friends dressed as Nick Fury, Captain America, Tony Stark and the Hulk.
Amidst appreciative applause at our costume efforts provided by the other premiere go-ers, we took our seats in the theatre, hardly able to contain our excitement.
The next two hours were some of the most epic, awesome, entertaining hours of my life– and my life is by no means boring.
The Marvel Comics movies basically work like this: In 2008, Marvel made a movie about the comic book Iron Man, whose alter ego is Tony Stark. Played by Robert Downey, Jr, Stark translates on screen as sarcastic but ingenious and is a crowd favorite in the comic-book-turned-movie world. Thus began the film interpretation of famous Marvel comic books. The next movie that came out was an interpretation of The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk is basically a laboratory experiment gone wrong. Dr Bruce Banner (played in The Avengers by Mark Ruffalo) turns into a big green fighting machine when he is angry.
The Marvel Production Company chose to then come out with another Iron Man, cleverly titled Iron Man 2. Same basic plot concepts as the first, and there are no dramatic changes. Next, Marvel made Captain America, a story about the first Avenger ever. Captain America, played by the ever so hunky Chris Evans, started as a scrawny wannabe soldier during World War II with a good heart, but with the help of Stark Industries (Tony Stark’s father) he is altered into a super soldier.
Finally, Marvel comics made Thor, a demi-god who, due to a rash judgment, was banished to earth where he fell in love with the human people and developed a guardian type relationship for them. Played by the monstrous Chris Hemsworth, Thor battles his envious brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for power. This feud carries on to The Avengers as Loki travels through space, arriving on Earth attempting to “relieve Earth’s greatest lie: freedom”.
Nick Fury of the secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. agency brings together the Avengers team in order to combat the terrible Loki.
The star studded cast of The Avengers had the potential to go incredibly well or incredibly wrong. Luckily, despite the combined star power of about a billion, the characters have unmistakable chemistry. Each Alpha Male’s (or female, in the case of russian spy Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson) personality was at first tested, when the heroes did not get along and were suspicious of each other’s intentions. By the end of the movie, however, they learned how to successfully collaborate and (spoiler alert) defeat Loki.
The fascinating aspect of The Avengers is the subtly placed yet unmistakable political commentary. The entire plot revolves around Loki coming to earth in search of the Tesseract, the ultimate form of clean, “self sustaining” energy. Stark Industries, Tony Stark’s billion dollar multi-faceted company, was pioneering the concept of Tesseract energy. Essentially, the movie expresses the importance of clean energy and its potential for the future (even if Tesseract energy is fictitious).
Captain America and Phil Coulson (an agent who appears in every Marvel movie, played by Clark Gregg) have a moment in which Coulson expresses his admiration for the hero. Coulson mentions that he helped design the Captains new uniform, and when the Captain questions the ever present old fashioned stars and stripes, Coulson reassures him. “Old-fashioned is what we need right now,” he explained. The little hint of patriotism can only be directed at other, real world occurrences.
More obvious, however, is the movie’s stance on nuclear warfare. Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the joining force that brings each Avenger together, is required to consult a council of personality-less political figures. They are supposed to consult and as a group decide on a plan of attack in case of emergency. In the final, climactic battle, Loki opens a portal to his intergalactic world and soldiers come flooding in causing an epic battle in Manhattan. The council members agree that a plan of attack is necessary. Nick Fury is confident in the abilities of his assembled team and hopes that they can protect New York from the threat, but the other council members are skeptical. They resort to sending a nuclear missile to blow up New York, killing millions but isolating the alien attack. Nick Fury is, well, furious.
Then comes Tony Stark’s defining moment. Suited up, he grabs the missile and flies through the intergalactic portal, launching the missile towards the alien space station and obliterates it. The alien attack ends, and the portal begins to close. Stark flies through space in a couple tension filled seconds, when the audience waits to see if he can make it back to earth. This is obviously a blatant statement against nuclear warfare and the capabilities of coming together and working as a team as a nuclear deterrent.
Ultimately, The Avengers was an utter joy to experience. Each character was represented well and fairly, and the snarky chemistry between them gave the entire film a cohesive feeling. Dramatic bits were well balanced with comedic relief, generally provided by the sarcastic Tony Stark. It was well worth the sleep deprivation the followed the next day.
The Avengers has broken the box office record for highest grossing film during the opening weekend with a smashing 200.3 million dollars. I can see why.