Sunday, June 10, 2012
Like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk, Avengers is an origin story. In this case it is the origin of these heroes working as a team. So much of the movie is focused on that and not so much on the action. Thus many folks might find it slow and lacking. I am not one of them. Knowing it was at the core still an origin tale I expected the balance to be a bit more talking heads and actually enjoyed how they didn't just walk into room, give a couple of high fives and go team. Like real people there were conflicts, there was baggage and it played havoc with an easy setup. Those conflicts were actually part of the fun.
We kick off with a mildly over the top space dimension to with a gravelly voiced character waxing poetic about the Tesseract and how it's on Earth. Those that have seen Captain America will recall that this was the glowing cube that the Nazi bad guys wanted to use to power all their tools of mass destruction and world control. Which Captain A snatched back and dropped into the ocean when he crashed the Nazi Plane of Evildoing. So Mr Gravel Voice proclaims that he's got a buddy that is going to get it back so Mr Gravel can rule the universe while his evil buddy gets to be king of Earth and the puny humans can't stop them (yeah right).
We cut to a secret government energy lab where no shock, they have the Tesseract and have been experimenting with it. Something has gone crazy weird and our buddy Nick Fury and his assistant Maria Hill come to find out what's going on. Fury tells Hill to have all their cool new weapons and the staff pulled out while he questions Erik Selvig (from Thor) and Agent Barton (aka Hawkeye). In the midst of Fury's questions the mystical space gateway that is the Tessaract's top trick opens up and out pops Loki who does what he does best, creates chaos by putting a smack down on the soldiers, doing a mind mojo on Selvig and Barton, and walking out with the Tesseract (and new minions).
Against several objections, Fury decides to resurrect The Avengers Initiative, a rejected action plan for using superheroes as a kind of joint response force. Coulson calls in Natasha who is hesitant to respond until she hears the news about Barton. He sends her to talk to Bruce Banner who has been hiding out in India working as a doctor while Coulson goes to persuade Tony Stark to join. Fury himself goes to Steve Rogers who doesn't hesitate, like the good soldier that he is. The various members meet up on a super awesome aircraft carrier looking vehicle that turns out to be a giant airship with cloaking reflectors etc. In a wink wink call out to comic book geeks everywhere we find out that Agent Coulson has a near vintage set of Captain America trading cards.
In the evil stronghold we get a dose of Loki and team working on whatever they are up to (more on that later) before we move into a lot of snappy dialogue especially from Tony, flashy computer tricks (especially from Tony) and a lot of ego clashing. The first big moment coming when they capture Loki and Tony has a Total Smackdown moment with Thor who has his own plans for his brother. He's persuaded to join with the 'team' effort and Loki is imprisoned in the airship using a cage that was in fact designed for dealing with 'the other guy' (aka the Hulk) it the need were to arise.
In a little roundtable moment our good guys figure out Loki's master plan to open a giant portal to bring an army to wreak havoc on the planet and secure it for Loki to rule. Tony and Bruce head back to the labs to keep searching for the Tesseract. Tony being Tony also sets out to hack into the SHEILD computer systems under the belief that Fury is hiding something from everyone. He gets into a sniping match with Steve who still continues his 'we should just follow orders' good soldier but Tony's words and Bruce's own questions lead him to snooping around the ship. Natasha goes to have a conversation with Loki, who knows all about Natasha having pulled the details out of Barton's mind. Loki revels in Natasha's distress only to find out that she was playing him to find out why he let himself be caught. That plan being to release the Hulk.
A plan which works wonderfully when Steve and Tony's discoveries kicks off a massive pissing match super charged by Loki's magic staff of mind control so none of them are paying attention to the fighter ships approaching. The pissing match gets cut short by one of Barton's awesome arrows blowing a hole in the airship and kicking off the attack. Ultimately the team wins, and gets back an awakened Barton, but not before Loki gets free and both Thor and Hulk each end up dropping out of the ship. And not before Loki kills Agent Coulson, whose death is the push they all needed to put aside their egos and work together.
A united team goes after Loki, who has set himself up on the top of Stark Tower in New York to use the tower's Arch Reactor to open the portal (Tony's diva speech is hilarious). Scores of Loki's army come crashing out of the sky and the havoc wreaking begins. Of course the team will win but I don't want to spoil the details. Expect a lot of explosions, smashing with a very Joss dose of girl power to keep Natasha from being just a pretty face. There's also a good bit of wit in the mix. And my favorite, some really great slow motion moments. I hate fights where you can't see what's going on so that thrilled me.
All in all, this was one great movie that I think really finished off the whole origin series quite well. Now that the pieces are in the place the next act should be quite exciting.