Thursday, November 26, 2015

Recap: "The Avengers" Part 3: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

No wonder they like to keep saying "Avengers assemble." Apparently, it takes them almost two hours to do it.

If they had assembled in Act One, Loki would be defeated by now.
As the various remaining Avengers and agents try to recuperate, the news goes out. Agent Coulson is dead. Fury, Cap, and Tony meet on the bridge. No one wants to say anything, but there are things that need to be said. Fury tosses out Coulson’s Captain America trading cards, saying that he found them in his jacket.

So much for “mint condition.”
And worse than that, they have no communications and have no idea where the Tesseract is. So with nothing left to lose, Fury levels with them. S.H.I.E.L.D. was making weapons. But Fury had always been hoping that it would never become necessary to use them. He preferred another project they had been working on.

Nick Fury: “There was an idea. Stark knows this. Called the ‘Avengers Initiative.’ The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles we never could. Phil Coulson died still believing in that idea. In heroes.”

Tony, unusually silent, walks away. Thor, apparently okay after that fall, finds his hammer in a field as a naked Bruce Banner finds himself in the crater that the Hulk left in an abandoned factory. Along with a very confused janitor played by Harry Dean Stanton of Alien fame.

Bruce: “Did I hurt anybody?”
Janitor: “There’s nobody around here to get hurt. You did scare the hell out of some pigeons, though.”
Bruce: “Lucky.”
Janitor: “Or just good aim. You were awake when you fell.”

He tosses Bruce some pants.

Janitor: “Didn’t think those would fit you until you shrunk down to a regular-size feller.”

Oh, you’d be surprised at how good the Hulk is at wearing pants that are too small. Comics Code, and all that.

Janitor: “Are you an alien?”
Bruce: “What?”
Janitor: “From outer space. An alien.”

The guy probably just wants to make sure he won't get attacked and have a chestburster crammed in his body.

Bruce: “No.”
Janitor: “Well, then, son, you’ve got a condition.”

Speaking of conditions, we cut to Hawkeye to see what condition his condition is in.

Either he’s still shaking off Loki’s mind control, or he found Bruce’s huge bag of weed.
He begins to settle down, but he’s still not 100%, so Natasha pours him some black coffee while he tries to explain what’s going on with him.

Hawkeye: “Have you ever had someone take your brain and play? Pull you out and stuff something else in? Do you know what it’s like to be unmade?”
Black Widow: “You know that I do.”

She explains that she got Loki out of his head with “cognitive recalibration,” and clarifies by telling him that she hit him in the head.

Hawkeye: “Natasha… how many agents did I…”
Black Widow: “Don’t. Don’t do that to yourself Clint.”

They end up focusing on what they can do now. Unfortunately, Hawkeye doesn’t know much. Only that it all goes down today. They both want to get in there and kick butt… which Hawkeye notes is a bit out of character for Natasha.

Black Widow: “I’ve been compromised. I’ve got red in my ledger. I’d like to wipe it out.”

Meanwhile, Cap and Tony are in the room where Coulson died. They talk about him. No wife, but he had a girlfriend. A cellist.

Tony Stark: “He was an idiot.”

Wow, Tony moves to the “anger” stage of grief pretty fast.

Tony Stark: “For taking on Loki alone.”

Tony keeps trying to blame Coulson, but it’s clear that he blames himself more.

Steve: “Is this the first time you’ve lost a soldier?”
Tony Stark: “We are not soldiers.”

When it comes down to it, Cap and Tony can agree on one thing. They’re not here to do what Nick Fury says. But they can still work together to get results. To avenge their friend. And that’s when it all clicks for Tony. Tony’s a narcissist, so he recognizes another when he sees one. But not only that, Loki made it personal. And after dealing with Justin Hammer last film, Tony knows that when bad guys want to cut him deep, they have to do it publicly.

Tony Stark: “He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the skies with his name plastered… Son of a bitch.”

And so, we cut to Dr. Selvig setting up shop on the roof of Stark Tower. Called it.

Steve meets back up with Natasha and Clint, who seems to be feeling much better after emerging from the bathroom.

“Can you believe that Loki didn’t let use the toilet once while I was under his control?
I just dropped a deuce big enough to take out the Titanic.”
“…Unfortunately, I understood that reference.”
He and Black Widow are ready to take the fight to Loki, and Hawkeye’s ready to pilot them there. And so, everybody suits up. Thor grabs his hammer as his armor flies onto his arms. Black Widow activates her shock-gloves. Tony buffs his armor. And presumably, Bruce is off getting a shirt while Cap, Hawkeye, and Black Widow walk onto a jet and get ready to go.

Agent: “Hey, you guys aren’t authorized to be in here….”
Captain America: “Son, just don’t.”

Meanwhile, on the bridge, Maria finally talks to Fury about the logical problem with his story.

Agent Hill: “Those cards. They were in Coulson’s locker. Not in his jacket.”
Nick Fury: “They needed the push.”

“If he weren’t dead, he’d be pretty upset at you for smearing fake blood all over his cards.”
“Well, when we bring him back to life, we’ll see how he reacts when I tell him I used his actual blood.”
“…you broke into his locker, stole his cards, and soaked them in his blood?”
“Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like he was using his blood at that moment."
When Cap’s bogey takes off, Fury orders communications back up. As The jet flies to New York, Iron Man arrives at the tower. JARVIS has turned off the building’s Arc Reactor, but it seems as though Selvig already got everything he needed as his machine warms up. Blasting it just redirects the repulsor blast back at him, so he tells JARVIS to prep the Mark VII as he unsuits to enter his tower and meet with Loki.

Loki: “Please tell me you’re going to appeal to my humanity.”
Tony Stark: “Uh, actually, I’m planning to threaten you.”

But first, he offers Loki a drink to stall for time while slipping on some techno-bracelets and doing that other thing he does so well. Talking.

He also makes this face for a second.
Loki: “What have I to fear?”
Tony Stark: “The Avengers. It’s what we call ourselves. Sort of like a team. ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ type of thing.”

And yes, we get yet another amazing trailer line.

Loki: “I have an army.”
Tony Stark: “We have a Hulk.”

And he gives Loki one final promise. However this turns out, Loki will not win.

Tony Stark: “Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it.”

But Loki whips out his signature trick and touches Tony’s heart with his spear… and nothing happens. Because his Arc Reactor’s in the way of Loki’s mind-staff-thing.

Loki: “This usually works.”
Tony Stark: “Well, performance issues, it’s not uncommon. One out of five.”

So instead, Loki tosses Tony out the window as he deploys the rather phallic-looking casing for the Mark VII.
As if there were any doubt that the Iron Man armors represent his... manliness.
It locks onto Tony’s wrists and envelops him. Luckily for Tony, he built Stark Tower to rival the Empire State Building and manages to get his new armor on just before he hits the ground as the music swells. Speaking of armor, why doesn’t Tony call in Rhodey for help?

"Hey, Rhodey? Aliens. No time to explain. Little help?"
"Sorry, man, they're painting my armor red, white, and blue. I'll be tied up for a while."
Anyway, back on the subject of Iron Man’s armor, the Mark VII is basically the last armor, but with a circular arc reactor because Joss Whedon prefers it that way. He also demanded a repulsor “backpack” so that Tony could use his hands while flying and not have to do that “Tinkerbell pose.” And with his hands free, Iron Man gives Loki a final message.

Iron Man: “And there’s one other person you’ve pissed off. His name was Phil.”

“Turns out it wasn’t ‘Agent.’ Blew my mind when I found out myself.”
But the portal-gun activates, and now there’s a big hole in the sky that aliens are coming down from on these hoversled things. Iron Man takes a couple out, but they end up quickly flying past him and attacking New York. Loki turns on his golden magic armor as he watches, but Thor soon shows up to spoil his fun by demanding that he turn off the Tesseract. Except it’s too late. So instead, Thor and Loki fight while Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Cap arrive in their jet.

It’s at about this point where we enter the final half hour of the movie, which is basically one big action scene to cap off both the movie as well as the first phase of the MCU. So pardon me if I don’t go into as much detail with exactly who beats up which alien.

Loki ends up grounding the jet with an energy blast, forcing them to land it as best they can in the streets to tackle the fight on foot. So naturally, it’s at this point where… a wild Steelix appears.

As Iron Man scans for a soft spot, Thor tries and fails to get his brother to see the light.

"This brother! I like him!"
Loki runs off on a hoversled as the battle on the ground continues. Cap runs off to protect some civilians as Hawkeye and Black Widow do what they do best while rescuing more civilians.

Yeah, I really like this gif. Probably too much. So sue me.
Black Widow: “Just like Budapest all over again!”
Hawkeye: “You and I remember Budapest very differently.”

As they debate Budapest, Cap runs up to the cops and tells them what to do.

Captain America: “You need men in these buildings! There are people inside and they’re gonna be running right into the line of fire. You take them to the basement or to the subway; you keep them off the streets. I need a perimeter as far back as 39th.”

“Hey, audience. Can you believe this spangly putz?”
Cop: “Why da hell should I take orders from you?”

You know, Cap, he might listen to you if you didn’t look like a cosplayer.
But after Cap gets busy unleashing his fightin’ skills on some more Chitauri, the guy changes his tune.

Cop: “I need men in those buildings. Lead the people down and away from the streets. We’re gonna set up a perimeter all the way down to 39th Street.”

“You’re damn right.”
As the cops get their rears in gear, Iron Man gets the attention of the robo-dragon as everybody continues to fight aliens, including Thor. Cap starts telling them the new plan of attack, but that’s when Bruce Banner rides up on a motorcycle. It’s actually less of a deus ex machina than it might seem because Bruce actually got a glimpse of the result of the Tesseract-tracking result moments before the helicarrier was attacked.

Bruce: “So. This all seems… horrible.”
Black Widow: “I’ve seen worse.”

"You saw what I did to Harlem, then?"
Iron Man tells Cap to tell Banner to suit up.

Iron Man: “I’m bringing the party to you.”

Either she's getting a bit snarky, or she's suddenly turned into Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Bruce walks slowly towards the incoming behemoth.

Captain America: “Dr. Banner… now might be a really good time for you to get angry."
Bruce: “That’s my secret, Cap’n. I’m always angry.”

I'd imagine that this was when he figured out that particular secret.
And he quickly and smoothly Hulks out (because he’s actually letting the other guy out this time) to bash the thing’s head in. A rocket from Iron Man help bust it up. And so, for the first time, our heroes stand together.

Hell. Yes.
But Loki orders the rest of the troops through, including more of those Leviathans. So Cap orders the others into position. Hawkeye on the roof, keeping an eye on everything. Iron Man flies around to create a perimeter.

Hawkeye: “Can you give me a lift?”
Iron Man: “Right. Better clench up, Legolas.”

Thor gets to go perch on the Chrysler building and shoot lightning into the portal to take out newcomers. Black widow and Cap will fight on the ground.

Captain America: “And Hulk? Smash.”

Like he needs to be told.
And they all get down to business doing that voodoo that they do so well. Meanwhile, over with S.H.I.E.L.D., the World Security council wants to talk with Fury. The fighting continues on the ground, with Hawkeye taking out a sled without looking, and Cap launching Black Widow up onto another sled to hitch a ride up to the portal generator. Hulk and Thor work together to take out another Leviathan, and Hulk gets some revenge while he’s at it.

On top of Stark Tower, the lights in Dr. Selvig’s eyes dim as he returns to normal and sees just what the heck he’s done. After Cap saves a bank full of civilians, Fury talks to the council. Apparently, they’re wondering why he isn’t doing what they want him to do.

Nick Fury: “I recognize the council has made a decision. But given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve elected to ignore it.”

Apparently, they want him to scramble a jet and nuke Manhattan. He refuses. Hawkeye shoots an arrow to distract Loki from Black Widow. Naturally, he catches it. So, naturally, it was an exploding arrow.

And the sudden explosion is hilarious, naturally.
Black Widow leaps off her sled and lands next to Dr. Selvig while Loki, landing back into Stark’s penthouse, has an encounter with the Hulk. Originally, Loki was going to use some false images to try and trick the Hulk, who would find Loki by scent as a callback to Bruce’s “smell the crazy” line. But as it is, the Hulk simply walks up to Loki and prepares what I’m sure will be a glorious battle. After all, that’s how superhero movies work. They end in huge fights that….

Hulk: “Puny god.”

Well played, Whedon. Apparently, he actually feels the same way. He’s called this scene his magnum opus, and I kind of have to agree. Seeing Loki get smacked around like this is immensely satisfying after how easily he’s pulled his stunts since Thor.

Meanwhile, Selvig tells Widow that he built a safeguard into the machine, even with Loki’s mind control. The scepter. It can close the portal. And now that Loki’s been taken down….

Iron Man fails to damage a Leviathan with his super-laser from the end of Iron Man 2, so he goes all Jonah on it and destroys it from the inside. Hawkeye finally runs out of arrows after using his last one to grapple to a lower window, breaking the law regarding firing weapons over a New York street. Although I’m pretty sure the cops are too busy setting up a perimeter by 39th street to get after him for this.

Unfortunately, some pilot has decided to listen to the WSC instead of Nick Fury and gets ready to take off to fire a nuke at Manhattan. Luckily, Fury grounds it with a bazooka, allowing him to directly help in saving the day… only for another one to take off in its place. Fury radios Stark that there’s a nuke on the way, so he takes off into the sky to intercept the missile.

Pilot: “Detonation in two minutes, thirty seconds, mark.”

And yes, that missile blows in exactly two minutes and thirty seconds of screen time. So Iron Man grabs onto it as Black Widow and Selvig prepare to close the portal.

Iron Man: “I got a nuke coming in; it’s gonna blow in less than a minute.”

"A what?"
Iron Man has no choice but to grab onto it and redirects it upwards towards the portal.

So… there’s an old video game. Aliens are coming down from the top of the screen. You try to shoot up and take them out before they get to the bottom or kill you. And when things get really dire, you can fire a bomb to wipe them all out.

That’s right. Iron Man is playing Galaga.

He thought we wouldn’t notice. But we did.
Tony ties to call Pepper one last time (since she got all upset the last time he kept dying a secret from her), but she’s too busy watching the invasion on her jet’s TV. It’s down to the wire, but Tony makes it through to the other side of the portal and lets the missile fly into the alien armada beyond.

“My God. It’s full of stars. …Well, it’s outer space. I guess that makes sense.”
And because this movie is already two hours long, the destroyed mothership disables the drones below, like in Independence Day. Although if you want to be generous, you could assume that the Chitauri are partially cybernetic and that the EMP from the nuke shorted out their systems. Still… yeah, it’s a bit of a deus ex machina.

But whether you like it or not, the Chitauri all keel over, and Iron Man manages to fall back through the portal before Black Widow closes it. Hulk catches the unconscious body, and brings it to the ground, which is pretty heartwarming when you consider that the Hulk just went out of his way to save Bruce’s new science buddy. Unfortunately, it looks like nobody can save him. Who knows if they teach CPR on Asgard, and it was invented on Earth after Cap was frozen in ice. And Hulk would blow Tony’s lungs out his butt. But the Hulk still ends up saving Tony’s life by letting out a roar that shocks him back to life.

Iron Man: “Please tell me nobody kissed me.”

“I was thinking about it. After all, I saved Snow White that way.”
Tony, having saved the day, lapses back into form and starts rambling some ad-libs about shawarma.
Iron Man: “I don’t know what it is, but I wanna try it.”

But they still have to take care of Loki. And when he finds himself looking at all the Avengers aiming at him, he wisely gives up.

Loki: “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll have that drink now.”

And so, the day is saved. The various news outlets interview people about the alien invasion, including one man who doth protest too much.

Old Man: “Superheroes in New York? Gimme a break.”

“I’m trying to play chess here.”
Actually, Stan, don’t you usually step down from your lofty perch to inflict your will upon the world of your creation? Why are you just playing chess?

“Because I’m taking a little break after engineering this alien invasion.”
You were responsible for the Chitauri invasion?

"Damn skippy."
“Have you seen Hell’s Kitchen lately? Gentrification central."
So you made aliens invade for the sole purpose of wrecking Hell’s Kitchen?
“Yep. Had to do something to set that blind lawyer on the path he was destined for.”
Well, maybe I was a bit quick to say that the day was “saved.” But with the imminent threat over, Loki and Thor use the Tesseract to get back to Asgard…

Like father, like son, apparently.
Even though the World Security Council isn’t okay with giving it up. Or giving up Loki, for that matter. He has a lot to answer for. But I’d imagine that Thor, being royalty, has some form of diplomatic immunity. At the very least, Nick Fury’s probably treating him that way to spite the WSC.

Tony and Bruce drive off, as do Black Widow and Hawkeye, while Nick Fury lets the WSC know that after all this, the universe will think twice before messing with Earth. And he promises that one day, when the world needs them, the Avengers will reassemble.

Nick Fury: “Because we’ll need them to.”

And the film ends as Pepper and Tony look over the renovations for the tower. If you look carefully, you can see that he’s planning out floors for each Avenger. And on the outside of the tower, we can see a change I think Tony will want to keep.

Apparently, Robert Downey Jr. wanted to keep the “A” too. So they gave it to him as a birthday gift.
But even though the universe will think twice before messing with Earth, that’s not to say the universe is done with the planet of the Avengers. In the mid-credits scene, the Other tells his master that the Avengers are bad news.

The Other: “To challenge them… is to court death.”

And the scene ends on the face of the only being in the Marvel universe psychotically obsessed with literally courting the anthropomorphic personification of Death.

Thanos, the Mad Titan.
And with the stage set for the MCU for years to come, the credits roll. And yes, there is a post-credits scene. But since all the post-credits scenes up to this point have been leading towards The Avengers....

Well, here they are. Nothing left for them to do but eat shawarma.
Since Thor’s still here, I like to think that Loki’s tied up and left under the table while they eat. And I’m sure that Jane will be thrilled that he stopped for food but didn’t even think about using S.H.I.E.L.D.’s information on her to give her a phone call or something. And don’t tell me that Thor doesn’t know what a phone is, he’s seen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents use their headsets to talk to people who aren’t in the room.

“…I thought those poor agents had been afflicted with the brain fever.
Or mayhap they liked to talk as much as Stark.”
But Thor's inevitable chewing-out will have to wait for his next solo film. Because it's time to answer the big question.

Is The Avengers a good movie? Well...

Eh, I'll tell you tomorrow in the Review. It's Thanksgiving; I've got stuffing to stuff myself with. So have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


  1. There was a comic that showed that Rhodey was busy fighting people in Hong Kong when everything was going on in New York.

    1. True. But I've always been of the opinion that if it didn't happen onscreen, then film/TV "canon" is up to the individual.

      Plus, I just like the idea of Rhodey being the world's unluckiest superhero until Spider-Man comes along. Having his armor taken over, missing the big Avengers brawl to get his armor painted, getting a paintjob/rename he hates, having his armor taken over AGAIN....

      At least he gets to finally join up in the next movie.