The Avengers: Goal Achieved
– A Hero Corner Catch-up Review by David 2

And, lo, there came a time when the heroes that Marvel Studios still owned had to assemble to do battle to save the world.  And they called this great adventure… “The Avengers”!

Yes, this was the culmination of the “grand plan” for Marvel Studios.  Everything from “Iron Man” all the way to “Captain America: The First Avenger” led us right to this movie.

“Marvel’s The Avengers”, or simply “The Avengers”, was released in 2012 and stars Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Colbie Smothers, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany (or the voice of), Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson.  Mark Ruffalo took the place of Edward Norton as both Bruce Banner and the “other guy”, aka The Hulk (with the help of some CGI, of course).

We start where we last left off in the after-credits of “Thor”, namely a super-secret facility run by Nick Fury of SHIELD, with Maria Hill (Smothers) and Phil Coulson (Gregg) by his side, overseen by Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgard), and watched over by “The Hawk”, Clint Barton (Renner).  The object in question, we learned from “Captain America”, is “The Tesseract”, and it pretty much is a god-mode McGuffin.  Well the “McGuffin” starts acting up, and out pops Loki (Hiddleston), which should surprise people after what happened in “Thor”.  And now he can take over the minds of people like Barton and Selvig with his scepter.  So with his little army of compromised SHIELD agents, he forces Fury and company to make a hasty exit before everything goes “boom”.  Fury declares war, and he sends his people out to summon… well, a group of people who don’t know how to operate as a team yet.

Coulson calls on “Agent Romanov”, aka Black Widow (Johansson), who then tells her to get “The Big Guy”, while he gets Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Downey Jr.), who is busy showing off for his girlfriend Pepper (Paltrow).  We learn that “The Big Guy” is actually Bruce Banner (Ruffalo), and he plays a little hard-to-get with her.  Nick, of course, gets to bring in Captain Rogers (Evans), aka Captain America, and has a cute little bet with him about how much he can be impressed.

The “team” slowly gets assembled onboard the SHIELD Heli-carrier, which actually lives up to the comic book version.  When Loki shows up in Germany, Captain America is there to challenge him, along with Romanov and Iron Man.  Loki surrenders, but on the way back to the Heli-carrier, they are interrupted by the arrival of Thor (Hemsworth).  Let’s just say the meeting wasn’t on the best of terms.  In fact, most of the movie is about everyone not being on the best of terms with each other.  And yet somehow… well, you can figure it out, and I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it yet.

There are many reasons why this movie is the best Marvel Studios has done, not to mention one of the best all-time superhero movies.  This was the end result of Marvel’s long plan that that they managed to pull off, tying in everything they previously did with a huge group bow and then presenting to the fans like a Christmas present.  They only person they didn’t manage to bring in was Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, but they at least managed to cover her disappearance with a quick mention of her being safe.  Also missing was Don Cheadle’s Jim Rhodes, aka War Machine, but they didn’t bother to cover his absence.  Don’t worry, he won’t be absent for long.

The big obstacle was to get these individual heroes from all of those movies not only together, but working as a group.  It’s not perfect, but director Joss Whedon pulled it off and did so in a pretty epic way.  Then again, if anyone ever saw “Serenity”, then you know that Whedon knows how to do epic.  On top of that, the movie end with both the infamous mid-credit scene and an after-credit scene, although the latter was more for the fans.  You may have heard about the infamous shawarma scene.  If you haven’t, then fast-forward through the second half of the credits to see it.  Just don’t expect anything funny or grand or even poignant.

In all, “The Avengers” lived up to the expectations.

And so “Phase One” was complete, Marvel Studios ruled the cinematic roost, and the other studios scrambled to keep up.

On to “Phase Two”…

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