The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel’s The Avengers

| April 11, 2019

For better or worse, a generation is now growing up with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whatever that says about the direction of Western Civilization will be left to history depending largely on who writes it.  Avengers: Endgame brings the hammer down on this series on April 27th, so for the next few weeks I am going to take a look back at the films that have built a massive phenomenon.  Are they any good?  Let’s take a look . . .

Image result for The Avengers 2012

By the time Marvel’s The Avengers came out in 2012, the result of the movie had to be nothing less then a magnanimous box office blockbuster.  Because of the enormous success of the preceding films – Iron ManThe Incredible HulkIron Man 2Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, this team-building blend of all of these introductions was going to succeed at the box office in spite of itself.  Even if it was a failure as a movie the guarantee of a $300 million gross was already in the bag.

Fortunately, Marvel’s The Avengers turned out to be a pretty damned entertaining movie.  Okay . . . it wasn’t a monumental moment in the art of the cinema, but it was a positive affirmation that a big-budget tent-pole movie need not be a negligible chuck of empty-headed hot air (Hello, Independence Day).  The brilliant decision to introduce these characters in previous adventures meant that the weight was off of this movie.  It could slide past all of the obligatory introductions, alleviating the possibility of leaving the supporting characters as unfocused strangers hanging around in the background (Hello, X-Men).

What is not surprising is that the first adventure featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk would be a massive series of trash and bash action set pieces.  What is surprising is that the movie allows these characters time to get to know one another i.e. to work past their distrust of each other and somehow form a family.  Having the world now under the dominant power of Thor’s brother Loki, the template of having Thor and Iron Man and Captain America meet for the first time, meant that they had to work through a lot of distrust.  The movie overturns a great deal of conflict when Thor throws his might hammer a Cap’s shield and . . . what do you know? . . . the shield wins.  Respect.

Marvel’s The Avengers isn’t straining to challenge you.  It wants to put a lot of likable characters on the screen and have them do a lot of action stuff.  It’s not trying to rearrange the art of cinema or to make a cultural statement.  It’s entertainment, fun entertainment and that’s not a bad thing.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.