Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Avengers (Again)

He we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  That's all there is to it.  I've been revisiting Marvel's Phase I, and I get to the logical end with The Avengers.  Now, I'd already done The Avengers before on this here blog, but I had to to do it again to bring Phase I to a close.  You'll find my original rambling here.  This newer rambling was written down on February 4, 2018.

When I first started traveling down memory lane by re-visiting Marvel's Phase I, I pointed out that The Avengers was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film I did for this blog.  Well, I just had to do it again, because there was no better way to cap off the Phase I revisit!

I know people lament that Justice League or, heck, even Age of Ultron didn't make as much money as this first Avengers film did.  Mainly because that's the kind of special privilege you get when you're first out of the gate.  All the whispered excitement when Nick Fury told Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative in the first post-credits sequence came to a head.  This was the first time we saw all our favourite heroes on the big screen together! 

It also does represent a big turning point for Marvel.  This was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film that was a Disney production from start to finish. To refresh your history.  Marvel went into business for themselves with Iron Man in 2008.  While Marvel Studios made the films, they still lacked that one key component -- distribution.  Movies. like any product, needs that middleman to get the product to market -- the distributor.  So, Marvel entered into a distribution deal with Paramount Studios.  Marvel sells the films to Paramount, Paramount sells the films to movie theatres. 

But then in 2009, Disney bought Marvel.  At the time, Disney said they would honour all existing deals.  Marvel's distribution deal with Paramount was due to expire with Iron Man 3.  Disney did their best to wait until then.  But, after seeing the kind of money that Thor and Captain America made, and projections showing that Avengers was going to make ALL the money, Disney couldn't wait any longer.  They bought out the remainder of the Paramount distribution deal.  With Paramount now out of the way, all Marvel Cinematic Universe movies were Disney productions from start to finish, starting with The Avengers.  As part of they buyout, Paramount still got to stick their logo up front.  But you'll notice, this was the first time the Marvel logo came first. 

And that's how I managed to get into an advance screening.  Being all obsessed with Tron Legacy back in 2010, I reached out to Disney's Canadian press office to get into an advance screening.  And I did.  I was still on "the list" at the time, so when I got the invite to the advance screening of The Avengers, my RSVP was resoundingly positive. 

The film opens in a top-secret SHIELD facility, where a SHIELD research team is experimenting on the Tesseract.  it springs to life, opening up a portal, and out pops Loki.  Now armed with some kind of magic scepter, Loki begins brainwashing the SHIELD agents to bring them under control -- including Hawkeye.  In order to track down the Tesseract and uncover Loki's plan, Nick Fury activates the Avengers Initiative. 

First one called in is the Black Widow.  I do love this scene, where she's called in.  It looks like she's been captured and is being interrogated for information, but we soon learn she's in complete control of the situation, and easily takes down the thugs when her new assignment comes in.  Her first assignment, since the Tesseract emits a unique gamma signature, bring in the world's foremost expert on gamma radiation -- Bruce Banner. 

Once Banner is recruited, Nick Fury goes to grab Captain America, who's still going through the culture shock of waking up 70 years in the future.  Agent Coulson gets to go get Iron Man. 

The first test is when Loki rears his head in Germany.  Captain America is sent to bring him in, and Iron Man soon joins the fight.  Escorting Loki back to the SHIELD Hellicarrier, they are soon met by Thor, who seeks to extradite Loki back to Asgard for his crimes.  We have our big battle between Iron Man, Thor and Captain America as they fight over Loki, and it soon reaches a stalemate, so they decide to work together to find out what Loki's up to. 

And then we get to the middle part where things kind of slow down.  Our heroes start to bicker among themselves as they try to figure out what's going on.  For the longest time, I wondered what the entire point of this midsection was, and why Loki allowed himself to be captured.  I finally realized it with Hawkeye's line, when he describes the plan as needing a distraction.  Loki allowed himself to be capture to serve as the distraction.  Then, while our heroes obsess over him and begin to bicker, Loki's agents can build the doomsday weapon unencumbered. 

Anyway, once the machine is done, they bust out Loki, kill Agent Coulson, and that's what finally motivates our heroes to start working together as a team...as the Avengers.  And thus they established the formula of every superhero movie, where there's a big glowy portal in the sky, spewing out faceless drones for our heroes to fight, and the war rages on. 

What more can be said?  There's just so much good stuff in here, slow mid-section notwithstanding.  And to think, the whole building-up-to-bigger-films concept that Marvel introduced didn't stop with Avengers.  "Holy *^%$, is that Thanos?" everyone said at the post-credits stinger.  Something that's finally going to pay off with Infinity War this summer.

No comments: