For me and my fiancee, Avengers: Infinity War was an awesome movie. I saw it three times and even on the third time, I never got bored of it. My fiancee was raving about it and she’s not a big MCU fan like me, so I was surprised that she liked it as much as she did.
Even though I loved Infinity War, I declared (after my first viewing of the movie) that it did not crack my top three MCU films which are (in no particular order) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and The Avengers. But after seeing Marvel’s latest film for the third time, I started to question myself. Really? Infinity War isn’t better than any of those three films that I just mentioned?
So we re-watched The Avengers, with the purpose of reliving the moment when Marvel Studios started their box office dominance and for me personally, reassessing the film’s place in my personal rankings. How did it hold up, half a decade since it’s original release?
Pretty good, actually. I still find The Avengers very entertaining, even after several viewings. But the film does have its flaws, and some of these are more glaring now that so many more MCU films have come out. A lot of positive things have been said about The Avengers since it first came out so I’m not going to go through them anymore. Instead, I’m going to focus on the three biggest nitpicks that I have concerning this movie.
The Acting isn’t as Good Then as it is Now
I know that it’s not fair to compare the first Avengers movie to Infinity War, but I can’t help it. Other than Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, most of the cast haven’t fully embraced their roles in The Avengers. The best way I can describe this is, in the Avengers, some of the actors felt like they were “acting” – they weren’t as natural in their roles as they are now in Infinity War.
I can’t blame the actors – we’ve only had one Thor and one Captain America film at this point, Black Widow wasn’t much of a character in Iron Man 2, and a different actor played Bruce Banner in the first Hulk film. By the time Infinity War was released, each of them had played these roles multiple times already. The acting isn’t bad, but it did stand out to us during our rewatch.
Captain America’s Costume
When the Avengers first came out, I was okay with Captain America’s costume but I honestly preferred his First Avenger garb – it just seemed more realistic. But again, I was okay with the design that Marvel Studios.
Boy, what a difference half a decade makes. Now that we’ve seen Cap’s costumes in the Winter Soldier or Age of Ultron, can anyone honestly say that they’re still okay with the Avengers version? I mean, look at this…
The Age of Ultron version of Cap’s costume still stayed true to the comic book version while also being a design that feels like real world people created it. Knowing that Marvel was able to come up with these versions makes the Avengers version of Cap’s costume much harder to swallow. Every time I rewatch scenes from The Avengers, Cap’s costume sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
Why does something as minor as a costume affect my viewing experience? Well, this is a nitpick, so it doesn’t have that much of an impact. But seeing Cap’s costume, because of how silly it looks compared to his future ones (and even to everyone else’s costumes in this very same movie) takes me out of the experience a little bit.
Black Widow’s “Interrogation” of Loki
This moment did not work for me then, and it still fails to work for me even now – Black Widow’s supposed “interrogation” of Loki. It’s not all that bad, really. It starts fine, with Black Widow asking Loki about Hawkeye, with the former seeming to want to bargain for the latter’s safety. Loki uses his knowledge of Black Widow’s past to call her out on her actions and to insult her, then tries to scare her away by threatening to send Hawkeye to kill her, take his control of his mind away so that he’d realize what he’d done, then kill him anyway. Black Widow plays with the threats and acts frightened, muttering “You’re a monster.”
This prompts Loki to respond “Oh no, you brought the monster.”
I don’t know what leaps of logic she followed but, this leads Black Widow to the conclusion that Loki plans to turn Banner into the Hulk and use him against the rest of the superheroes. I don’t even know why Loki would respond in that way.
Whedon probably wanted to show why a human like Black Widow is part of the Avengers, a group of super-powered individuals. I mean, she has excellent fighting skills and is probably one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most talented operatives, but she is still human after all. But this moment just falls flat for me, no matter how hard I try to suspend my disbelief.
Was it necessary to have Black Widow be the person who figures out what Loki’s plan was? Did the Avengers even need to figure this out? I mean, all this amounted to was to have a reason for Thor and Black Widow to be in Banner’s lab just when Rogers, Stark, Banner, and Nick Fury were arguing about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s plans to use the Tesseract for weapons. It allowed Nick Fury to point his finger at Thor, who was standing right there, and say that they’re building these weapons because of beings like Thor. That’s it.
Leave the part where Black Widow figured out that Loki plans to turn Banner into the Hulk and the movie would still play out in a similar way. The four guys would still argue. You can have Black Widow and Thor join them by simply having Banner say “we’re about to find where the Tesseract is” (Thor wants to bring the Tesseract to Asgard, Black Widow wants to find out where Hawkeye is). The scene with all of them arguing would need a few rewrites, but it’ll still work.
But whatever, the film is done as it is. And this scene will remain as my most hated moment of the Avengers.
So, three nitpicks, some simply due to the movie’s age and me having higher standards. But this film still holds up pretty well even after 6 years and a dozen or so MCU films to come after it. As to whether The Avengers is still in my top three MCU films of all time, I don’t know. I loved this film and I also loved Avengers: Infinity War (and still love The Winter Soldier and Civil War)… I’m gonna give a cop out answer and say they’re all tied for the top four spots!