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Preparing for the endgame: A review of the Avengers films

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With the highly anticipated “Avengers: Endgame” right around the corner, many people are preparing themselves emotionally for the devastation to come. What a better way to appreciate where we are than to reflect on where it all started. From evil Norse gods to stone-seeking aliens and everything in between, this is a review of all the Avengers movies.

 

“The Avengers”

Where better to start than at the beginning. While technically not the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it is what tied all Marvel movies before it together. The movie starts when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), an agent of a top secret organization called S.H.I.E.L.D. messes with an alien artifact that he does not understand. He unwittingly uses it to open a portal that unleashes an alien army that is lead by a Norse god named Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Fortunately, the army does not make it across the portal, leaving only Loki to try his best and re-open his portal and summon his army to take over the world. Now it is up to the world’s best superheroes to put a stop to his plan. The team consists of billionaire philanthropist, Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.); the first super soldier, Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans); the Norse god of thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth); a monster of pure rage, The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); the world’s best spy, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); and an archer who never misses, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Unfortunately, the Avengers are closer to a group of kindergartners than a team of elite heroes. Throughout the movie, they try their best to live up to their titles as the earth’s mightiest heroes.

This movie is much like a roller coaster in terms of overall quality. Its peaks are extremely well done, but when its issues pop up, they really pop up. The story overall isn’t very impressive. It’s the classic story of heroes coming together against a common enemy, but this was the movie that popularized the idea of crossover events. The writing for the characters is a bit on the extreme side. Sometimes the characters come off as giant jerks. Sometimes they have an intense charm that is hard to hide. The comedy is very quippy, which I personally found enjoyable, but others may find abrasive. The cinematography isn’t interesting in the normal moments, but when it comes to the action, the long panning shots make it very enjoyable. I found the action to be the best part of the movie. It never overloads you with loud noises and bright lights, and its well choreographed. The soundtrack is nothing to write home about other than the iconic Avengers theme song you’re probably singing in your head right now. While the movie doesn’t work super well on a film bases, it is more of an event that you should do your best to enjoy.

 

“Avengers: Age of Ultron”

The greatly-anticipated Avengers sequel came out in 2015 to a mixed response. In all honesty, it was a bit of a disappointment. The story takes place around a year after the first Avengers movie. A now fully-funded Avengers team works to destroy the leftovers of their last alien encounters and defeat those who would use them for evil. The work keeps piling up, and so Tony Stark, with the help Bruce Banner builds an Artificial Intelligence who they hope can keep the world safe when they are not watching. Unfortunately, this AI goes rogue (gee, that sure is original) because it senses an incoming threat that humanity will not survive. Plagued by this information, the AI, now going by the name Ultron (James Spader), seeks to end all life on Earth as quickly as possible in order to turn the earth into a living factory constantly producing Ultron machines. The Avengers, of course, are on a race to stop him before he can reach his goal and destroy life as we know it.

Now it’s time to talk about this movie’s glaring flaws. First off is the story. The plot is like a much worse version of “The Terminator.” Ultron has absolutely no presence on screen as a villain and does not seem like he poses an actual threat. If that weren’t bad enough, this movie lacks the strong action present in the Avengers movie. There is exactly one action scene that I would consider great (the Hulk vs Iron Man scene) and it ends before it can even hit a peak. The rest is just boring and just feels so much less impactful. The writing is now even more extreme, so if you weren’t a fan of the jokes or the writing in the last movie, then you will strongly want to avoid this movie at all costs. The music is still boring, and even the cinematography is bland. If this movie wasn’t needed to understand the rest of the series, then I would highly recommend skipping this movie.

 

“Avengers: Infinity War”

Now we reach our final entry in the Avengers franchise (until Avengers: Endgame is released) and boy is this movie a large leap in quality. The movie starts with the aftermath of what appeared to be a full on war. On closer inspection, the warriors seem to have been defeated by a group of five people. This group, known as the Black Order, watches as their leader, Thanos (Josh Brolin) defeats Hulk and Thor, two of the strongest Avengers. Hulk escapes to earth to warn the Avengers of Thanos’s coming. We also learn what Thanos is really after. He seeks to destroy half of the universe’s population in order to bring balance to the universe. In order to do this, he needs six infinity stones, which are gems of great power that came about during the big bang, and with them, one could do anything his or her heart desires. The Avengers, who have been unfortunately divided by a different conflict, are not ready for Thanos, and so they go in smaller groups to stop him. The rest of the movie is about the struggle of the Avengers against the force of nature that is Thanos.

This movie is a huge leap forward in terms of just about everything. The plot is unique because not only does it have an interesting villain who is more of a force of nature than anything, but it also puts him into the role of the protagonist. We truly get to know his motives, and this makes him and the Avengers so much more interesting. This flip also shows us the heroes´character flaws, serving to show us a new side to a familiar cast. The writing is also much better. The comedy is more toned down due to the atmosphere of the movie being more bleak than usual, but in the moments it’s present, it works pretty well. The action is better than ever and helps to highlight the story, rather than distract from its mediocrity. The cinematography is better, but still bland, and so is the score. Overall, the movie shines when it matters the most.

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