The darkest times are upon us in an otherwise fun, event-filled, and growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. To celebrate the coming release of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," where two ideals will come to a head, let's reflect on the "marvellous" films that this studio has put together. I will be going in order from 2008 - 2015, ending with thoughts and predictions for "Captain America: Civil War." These will be minor reviews and more of a re-evaluation of my thoughts on these films, how they hold up now, and how well they connect/impact the films that came after. Here we go.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!!
Part 6: The Avengers (2012)
It is May of 2012. The first big blockbuster of the year is about to hit theatres. People of all ages swarm the theatres upon the release of one of the biggest ensemble films of all time. The anticipation is killing everyone. Is the film good? Does it live up to expectations? Looking back on all of this is a hilarious feat, as this film, critically, from audiences, and box office wise, exceeded any and all expectations. The pressure of making five great superhero films to precede what would inevitably be the biggest one ever made was daunting enough, but the fact that everyone loved this picture and still rave about it today is another thing entirely. I do not personally agree that it is the best film we have gotten from this universe, but is it undeniably a fun action film with great characters, an engaging premise, and an incredible villain? Check, check, and check.
Picking up with each character, pretty much where we left off with each individual film, "The Avengers" sets up Loki as the villain, Thor arrives on Earth, and Nick Fury finishes his recruiting process. In this very simple story of good versus evil, Joss Whedon (entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe with passion) wrote and directed compelling characters that you can feel for throughout the entire duration, and when each of them are in any kind of peril or have disagreements, it works wonders for the film. This is one of the most viewed superhero films ever, and for a very good reason.
Pulling in a whopping 1.5 billion dollars at the worldwide box office and becoming the third highest grossing film of all time at the time (eventually to be taken down by "Jurassic World" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015), it was no question that Marvel was doing everything right for their studio. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Enough said. This cast is enormous and absolutely loaded with talent from beginning to end.
Not only does this have an amazing cast, but the witty banter they are able to have between one another, due to the fantastic quips written by Joss Whedon, is really something to behold. There was less world building going on here and more of everything coming to a peak. Once the team takes down the threat and banishes him back to his planet, everything seems to be okay, other than the mess of the city. Everything was okay again and fans had consumed amazing action sequences, great character moments, and just a great time at the movies overall. Nobody expected the tag in the credits though.
Each one of these films have been building to something even bigger in their post credits scenes, and while this had been the biggest film of them all at the time, having Thanos appear for the hardcore fans was the most enjoyable one yet. Since then they have yet to really impress us with this character, but fans know that will be coming down the line eventually in 2018 and 2019 when "Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2" comes to fruition. This may very well be a straight forward story of a team coming together to take down a threat that wants to destroy them and their world, but in the end, it has more depth to that after sitting through the origins of these characters first. The weight felt real. I love watching this every time I revisit it, but as I said, the greatest films in the universe were still yet to come. 2014 was the greatest year for them in my opinion. When "The Avengers" concluded, audiences around the world applauded while muttering, "bring on phase 2!"
Review By: KJ Proulx