This is part of a series of blog posts, discussing my rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe FOLLOWING my viewing Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend. If you HAVE NOT seen Endgame, I suggest you wait to read these posts as I will be mentioning and referencing plot points from the most recent film(s) including Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
6. The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers (2012) seemed at the time an impossible feat. Bringing together so many different characters from four different franchises and tying up strands from 5 previous films. Now, it almost seems quaint in its simplicity. The multiple intros and multiple endings make perfect sense, as almost every Marvel movie needs some of the “previously on” and “in the next episode” that this movie does so well.
My favorite of the intros is Black Widow’s. She’s shown in classic damsel in distress fashion. Tied to a chair, wearing a skimpy cocktail dress, being tortured and interrogated by Soviet gangsters. BUT, we realize with Coulson’s call that she’s the one doing the interrogation and she’s totally in charge. When Coulson threatens to carpet bomb the building they’re in if not allowed to speak to Romanov, there’s never a consideration of what she’d do in such a scenario, because obviously she’d make it out just fine. She’s the Black Widow, after all.
This is paid off in a big way later when she draws in Loki to detail his plan while pretending to be bargaining for Hawkeye's life.
“What does Fury want me to do, swallow it?” - Bruce Banner to Natasha when shown the Tesseract for the first time (knowing what happens at the end of Captain Marvel this is particularly funny).
New Banner (& therefore Hulk) and if you've read my take on The Incredible Hulk you know I don't miss Norton. Ruffalo isn't given a TON in this one but he plays well every note he's offered and establishes himself as the definitive Banner for this universe.
Second favorite moment in the first 30 minutes is Coulson being responsible for the updated Captain America suit. This means Coulson had a part in displaying “America’s Ass” so proudly. This makes me very happy as a longtime Agents of SHIELD watcher. The entire Coulson storyline over this first phase of Marvel films plays out really well in retrospect. You come to care about this minor character, and they paid the fans back for that appreciation with 6 seasons plus now of a pretty good tv series that focuses on him. I am very thankful for that. I wish that we’d gotten a pay off/return of the character at some point in the movies, but I imagine that the next season of SHIELD will make it clear why that wouldn’t work. At least we got him in Captain Marvel. It would be amazing if they do that again in the future with films that fill in the timeline (I’m still hopeful that we get more of that eventually).
The last 30 minutes or so of this film move quickly, and are especially worth watching again post-Endgame. This is the playground where our future heroes are working alongside our past heroes to capture 3 of the Infinity Stones for their “time-heist”. It’s a great sequence in the new film and it’s wonderful to imagine all those things happening in the periphery here. Particularly that The Ancient One and her sorcerers were working around the Sanctum Sanctorum to protect New York in their own way.
The appearance of the World Security Council hints at the troubles we’ll encounter in Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and Civil War. Powers Booth is another actor who crossed over to the SHIELD tv show and had a very memorable run after his appearance here. But of course, the biggest called-shot comes in the mid-credit scene with Thanos appearing for the first time. 6 years before he’d actually threaten Earth, 2 years before he’d appear on screen in a film directly at all, Marvel was telling the world (and especially comic book fans), be patient, but we’re doing something special here.
The fact that they then spent the next 7 years paying that scene off, delivering not just Thanos himself but a wonderful adaptation of one of the most epic comic book storylines of all time, is a feat that truly deserves the monetary rewards it is currently receiving. Thank goodness they updated the character model for Thanos, as he looks a bit silly in this cameo, but I do hate that we never actually got the floating space chair version of Sanctuary that is glimpsed here. Sanctuary 2 is the name of his spaceship that appears at the end of Ragnarok, in Infinity War and Endgame, but the floating throne in open space is something that is straight out of the comics and only adds to the awe that Thanos is supposed to inspire.
I get why we didn’t get it, but I’d still love to see that image in live action at some point in the future.