About the Film
Teamwork. The first Avengers movie was a long time coming. We had Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye appear either as cameos or full featured parts. All of those films are part of the same universe, called the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and are linked together. In essence, they were a prequel for setting up this movie.
So when the Avengers and its sequel, Age of Ultron, burst onto the scene, what did the fans think? It was a success, and it's not hard to see why. Here are three reasons why the Avengers films are excellent:
Reason 1: Good Chemistry and Teamwork
All of these characters have worked great in their separate movies. (Ok I'd admit, the Hulk not so much) But when you have multiple characters sharing the same movie? That is why The Avengers was the first movie of it's kind – because it can be risky if it works otherwise it can fall flat. When all of these heroes are brought together, as an ensemble cast, the important thing is for the cast and characters to have chemistry on screen together.
And The Avengers has this in spades, either with the characters with each other or against. Captain America and Iron Man at the farm, Black widow and Hawkeye in the heli-carrier, Hulk and Thor battling together or Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch working as a team, all the characters work in harmony together. Everyone gets a chance to shine at some point, and that’s how a team super hero movie should be. Although a lot of fans would like Iron Man to be the main character throughout both movies for an example, a lot of fans would be alienated too, but thankfully this is not the case.
But it's when they are all working as a unified team that things really shine. Although they don't work as a team as much as the comics, the time they do spend plotting and fighting really makes for some special moments. The end of The Avengers and the beginning of Age of Ultron are especially impressive, and it shows that Marvel knew what they were doing all along (like there was any doubt).
Reason 2: Good action scenes
Marvel are great for bringing our favourite heroes to the big screen. They have proven that since Iron Man in 2008. Getting the essence of a character right is only part of the job. The other is action, it would be all for nothing if the action scenes weren't up to scratch. The Avengers faced some big battles in the comics, usually bigger than any of the single heroes combined. This is exactly what we have got with both movies. The villains in these movies plan something that even the most powerful of the heroes couldn't handle on their own.
Both movies feature at least one big battle sequence. This involves the whole team working in unison. It's something special to see at least six superheroes battling on the screen together. The Avengers is where the films were building too, and it's spectacular to actually see it unfolding on screen. Age of Ultron introduces us to another three heroes, and yes – there is a scene where all nine heroes are battling on screen. What a highlight!
Of course, there are smaller action scenes throughout also, but it's not like films like Man of Steel or the Transformers series where the combat seems to go on for maybe too long, or you may get lost in the middle of all the action. The action scenes are all choreographed really well, and there are moments that break up the action too, to make it easier to follow and enjoy.
Reason 3: Lots of good moments
The Marvel Cinematic Universe up to Age of Ultron had a total of 11 movies. That's a lot in one movie series, but somehow Marvel have managed to have classic moments in each film. Both Avengers movies have great team chemistry and great action scenes as I have already mentioned, but there's a lot of good moments spread throughout both movies, which set it apart from some other superhero movies from the past.
Until Justice League is released, The Avengers is unique in the amount of heroes that it features, so having loads of good moments between the various heroes and the heroes and villains probably doesn't come to much of a shock. There's so many fan favourite moments it's hard to choose. How about when Tony finally meets Loki? Or when Hulk and Thor share a moment to celebrate? Or what about that infamous line from Cap at the battle of New York? There's loads of moments like that in both films.
Of course, the two main villains in the films, Loki and Ultron, both have good moments too. Loki and Ultron can be very witty and both were a perfect choice to go up against the Avengers. I quite like that both villains meet up and/or battle with all the Avengers at some point as well, which is quite good to see to see how they will react to a certain member.
The Avengers has been a major part of comic book history for over five decades. Although the members of the team have changed over the years, the goal always remained the same – to bring together a group of super people to fight for earth's freedom. That's exactly what we have got. The Avengers is the success that all comic book fans deserved and it's one of the most important movies ever in a lot of ways. It's just simply brilliant!
My One Big Highlight
The moment at the end of the first Avengers where all they are all assembled as a team for the first time. Cap gives the orders and it really sends shivers down my spine. It gets even better when cap turns around to Hulk and says the best line in the movie: "Hulk - Smash!" Awesome!
Elephant In the Room
I wont lie, Age of Ultron isn't quite as good as the first movie (although its close!) The main reason is it has a lot of scenes (specifically the dream sequences) setting up future movies. This is fine with little hints or mentions. But whole scenes? I hope they learnt their lesson with this for future movies in the MCU.
When the first Avengers film was released in cinemas back in 2012, it was a landmark moment. This is the first time we have seen these characters together on the big screen. With more characters added to Age of Ultron, the team is very strong.
The Team are all prepped for battle. Who is your favourite?
Since the Avengers is all about teamwork, I thought it would be good to go through each member see what they are like in both Avengers films.
Iron Man The billionaire tech genius who designed and created the Iron Man suit. We've seen lots of Iron Man and Tony Stark, and has made lots of upgrades to his suit to make it more powerful and useful. While the upgrade in Age of Ultron isn't as a big step up as the first Avengers, it's still great to see how his suit has grown with Tony as a character.
Along with Captain America, the character has the most screen time and therefore a bigger focus than the other avengers, with Tony Stark and Iron Man appearing just as much as each other. Although things at first are a little rusty due to Tony not being a “team player”, and that mistake he makes in Age of Ultron, he is still a valued member of the team. With lots of quirks from Tony, and an always brilliant performance by Robert Downing Jr, it's no wonder Iron Man has gone from a B-Marvel Character, to one of the fan favourites.
Captain America Cap is clearly struggling at the beginning of the first Avengers. Having been out of action for 70 years and waking up from being frozen, he doesn't understand lots about modern day life. But what makes Cap a natural leader and his other honourable qualities are still in tact, so he directs the Avengers in the final battle and beyond with ease, despite the major differences in it's members.
He does clash with Tony Stark at times, due to their difference in personality and the way they approach their objectives, but still gets the job done in the end. His trademark shield remains consistently awesome throughout both movies, and it's like its leapt straight from the comics. With his expert military strategy, which Cap puts to good use, and a really heartfelt performance by Chris Evans, the character is growing on me more every time I see him in action – on and off the field.
Thor Arriving after discovering that his brother Loki has escaped to earth, Thor kidnaps Loki and tries to reason with his brother to stop this madness and come home. Tony Stark takes this the wrong way, and thinks Thor is an enemy. Although they kiss and make up, Thor has always been an outsider of the group, because of being from another planet called Asgard. Thor yields a magical hammer called the Mjolnir, which has the power to produce electricity and gives him the abilities of super-strength and flight.
Although there is always a little mistrust around a being from an another planet, he gets his approval from the other Avengers as a force to be reckoned with, and a variable alley who can be summoned at any time. Although lacking his trademark helmet from the comics, Thor is a great representation from the comics, and the physique and deep voice from Chris Hemsworth really brings the character to life on screen.
The Hulk Seen as two separate characters, Bruce Banner spends the majority of both films working with Tony Stark on locating Loki and building Ultron. Bruce has a very brilliant scientific mind, and helps his fellow Avengers out using his mind to good use. He gets on well with Tony, and maybe too well with Black Widow, but fears that his involvement in the Avengers is more to do with “the other guy”.
Speaking of which, it may take a while for the Hulk to finally appear, but when we do see lots of Hulk action, specially in the latter part of the first Avengers. He is a mighty foe to bring down bad guys. Although seen as dangerous when under mind control, Bruce helped Tony develop the awesome Hulkbuster armour. I much prefer Mark Bufflo's take on the character than Ed Norton's, and when it comes to character development, his character has probably had the most. I look forward to seeing him in next Thor film.
Who is my favourite? Well I think it's... nice try, I'm not going to tell you that!
Black Widow Previously seen in Iron Man 2, we already knew coming into the first Avengers film on what she's capable of in terms of her fighting style and been able to kick butt. Her character is really more the same in both films, with her having a lot of time to prove that she can stand her own, considering she is just a highly trained SHIELD agent. Considering that she has no super powers, she is tough as nails, and can prove that she can easily match those of Captain America and Hawkeye.
Hawkeye Involved in the original Avengers, Hawkeye has not featured in his own movie, so a lot of his origin is a mystery (if you are in my position and haven't read the comics). Although the weakest in terms of skill, he does comes in mighty handy with his very impressive Bow and Arrow skillset. With much needed Character development and some great moments in Age of Ultron, and quite like the character now.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver The only two people that survived Struckers experiments using Loki's secpter, Scarlet has the ability to move objects with her mind, and implant thoughts into other people. Quicksilver, as the name suggests, does one thing and one thing well – go extremely fast. After initially helping Ultron defeat the Avengers, they became Avengers themselves after learning of Ultron's evil plot. While Quicksilver was a better character than the X-Men take of the character, the scene that Quicksilver is involved in Days of Future Past I found was much better.
Vision The newest member of the Avengers, Vision was created by Tony and Bruce. Vision was created by combining JARVIS, the AI that runs Stark Industries and his Iron Man suits and the mind gem. Being a cyborg, he has many great strengths, including flight, lasers, strength, among other gifts. Although we only seen him in action in the final battle of Age of Ultron, he has already proven that he is a worthy member of the Avengers.
You have been waiting for this list haven't you? It's a list I've been wanting to do since I originally created the site. So after seeing other peoples lists, and just coming back from seeing Captain America Civil War, I've finally gotten round to it. Does the list surprise you?
Ah, the Marvel Studios logo. Do you get really pumped up when you see this come onto the screen?
13. Iron Man 2
Ah, Iron Man 2. What a disappointment you are. Watching it after 3 years have passed, I was hoping to prove the internet wrong and state “this is a very good film, what are you talking about?” With exclamation marks and bold text, and then to get it trending on Facebook. That was the plan. But no, I actually thought it was ok, not terrible, but ok.
It's frustrating as it's got a lot of good moments. The whole Monaco scene was really well done, and the part where Tony suits up the Mark V is still one of my favourite moments from the whole of the MCU. I quite like the fight with Rodney, which was quite different to what we have seen before and after. It's not just the action scenes, the scene in the court was fun and the introduction of Black Widow was cool to see. But apart from that, most of the reminder of Iron Man 2 feels really disjointed and there should have been more Iron Man action and less boring or unnecessary scenes.
I'll hold my hand up now and state that I've never been a huge Thor fan. To me, superheroes should be based on earth and have “earth-found” abilities. (That is, until a 2014 movie changed my mind about that) I came into Thor thinking I wouldn't really like it, but found myself surprised. I did like it, but not too much.
Having most of the story set on Earth was a good choice in my books. With a familiar setting, plus the inclusion of SHIELD and Agent Coulson, makes it easier to introduce Thor into the MCU. Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job of bringing the character to life, as he looks and sounds the part. Anthony Hopkins and the warriors three have good roles also, but it's Loki that nearly steals the show. Still one of the best villains in the MCU, and the reason why this beats Iron Man 2. A good villain!
11. The Incredible Hulk
When I originally watched the Incredible Hulk, I didn't really like it. While I thought it wasn't terrible, compared to the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, it does seem quite weak indeed. So after giving it another go, it’s now not last on the list!
The Incredible Hulk does quite a few things right. The character of Bruce Banner is a mysterious one. We don't really know much about him, until things get unrelieved to the audience bit by bit. The Hulk fight scenes are excellent, and I really like General Ross as the “villain”. But like Iron Man 2, for what is good, there is things that isn't good.
Mark Ruffalo is better than Edward Norton. There I said it. After his performance in The Avengers and future MCU films, I just couldn't warm to Norton. While the Abomination made for a good end battle sequence, I just didn’t like the look of the character. And Betty, played by Liv Tyler is one of my least liked characters in the whole MCU. I just couldn’t warm to her at all.
10. Thor: the Dark World
I've never hidden the fact that I'm not a big fan of Thor (he is my least favourite avenger) but that doesn't mean that I'm not a fan of his films. The first one was decent, this time one is more of the same, just a little bit different.
Another MCU film, another weak villain. If only they spent a bit more time learning about him, and his motives. Oh well. Thor: The Dark World does get a little bogged down with the science stuff, and I did find some of the earth scenes to be unnecessary (do we really need to see Jane Foster dating?).
Although there are many fans who dislike the character of Darcy, I thought she was quite funny, bringing some much need humor into the film. I also quite like some of the action scenes (especially the end fight) and Loki is once again used to the fullest. But it just doesn’t seem very “interesting” to me, and apart from the appearance of the infinity gem at the end credits, and the last scene with Loki, it doesn’t have much to do with the MCU as a whole.
09. Iron Man 3
Bold statement time, you ready? Iron Man 3 is a good film. “No way!?” I hear you cry out. While fans were split on Tony Starks third outing, I thought it was a decent film to add to the MCU. But look at those words carefully, I said it's a good film, not a good Iron Man sequel.
Most of film involves round Tony finding the Mandarin. Which is fun to see for the most part, I just wish there was a little more Iron Man action. The Mailabu scene is fanatic and the end scene is extremely well done with an end fight that isn't two giant suits attacking. The mark 42 was a great improvement over previous suits, I just wished they stopped using the breaking apart gag. I also liked the scene where “Tony saves all those people on the plane” I think that scene was trying to prove Cap wrong who said that “the only person you care about is yourself” It could have been a great film with some edits and more Iron Man!
Before I go backwards to go forwards (you see what I mean in a minute) I’ll have to address the elephant in the room: the Mandarin. Did I like the great twist? I did actually, but I would of done slightly different. I think the Mandarin himself was great, and I loved Ben Kingsley as the drunk fool. In the All Hail the King One-Shot, we find out at the end that the real Mandarin isn’t happy that someone has used his name. If that was placed as an after credit scene, I think the whole controversy of the character wouldn’t of happened.
08. Captain America: The First Avenger
Out of all the films on my list, I had the biggest change of opinion when I re-watched Captain America: The First Avenger. Rather than thinking it as a ok film, I think it's a great film. (meaning it leap-frogged 3 places on my list!)
Steve Evans is perfect in the role, with him nailing the part of skinny Steve and Cap in equal measures. As he said in the film, “I’m just a guy from Brooklyn” and you believe it. A clear conscious, and a key figure of saving the world from hydra and the Nazis during the second world war. Peggy Carter is one of the strongest supporting characters in the MCU, and still one of the best female marvel actresses we have seen. She looks the part, she acts like the part and the character continues to surprise me. (Especially now I have seen her TV show) I also really like Tommy lee Jones, playing a similar role to his Men in Black counterpart, which works in the movies favour, with some witty humour and quick one liners.
Revisiting Cap and Bucky after seeing their characters develop in Winter Solider and Civil War gives the film a different prospective, especially when we find out what happened to Bucky. The only thing I didn't really like was the Red Skull. He wasn't bad by any means, just wasn't as good as he should of been.
07. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy were all very well received with fans. Age of Ultron had a lot of hype, would it be able to match it? No, not quite but it did a good darn try.
Age of Ultron has lots of fan favourite moments. Vision picking up Thor’s hammer, Stan Lees Excelsior cameo, Captain America’s language gag and Hawkeye doesn’t like being brainwashed. With three new Avengers, an improved Hawkeye and another great villain in Ultron himself, it does a lot of good stuff.
But it does fall into the trap of spending too much time setting up future films, with lengthy dream sequences and Thor’s scene in the pool slowing down the action. While other MCU films do this, so far this is arguably the only one that negatively effects the film. It does more good than bad, but those bad points make it Excellent, not a classic like it’s predecessor.
Now Ant-Man, the potential black sheep of the MCU. It's got a funny name (that even the character tries to change in-film), a weird sounding power and has never been considered as one of Marvel's “good” characters. Many people (including some fans I might add) had doubts and thought this would be Marvel’s first flop. But boy, did Marvel prove them wrong.
You might of noticed I prefer this than Avengers: Age of Ultron. While that film has plenty of great moments, there was a few missed opportunities. Ant-Man doesn't have that problem. It's a good movie. Not great, but good. It blends humour, action and heist scenes really well. The superpower of the Ant-Man suit of being able to shrink and be super strong works well on screen, with some great special effects. Realistically, this is as good as they could of done with such a silly concept on the outset. While not the best film in the MCU, it’s definitively one of the more enjoyable ones, with the whole film being quite fun to watch.
05. Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel have had great success taking what was B list super heroes (like Iron man and Scarlet Witch) and making them just as popular as your Spider-Man's and Batman’s. But how about making D list super heroes into household names? Well, this seemed like Marvel were taking a massive gamble, even for them. But they've done it again, what are the odds?
And to top it off, it's one of the best movies that Marvel have done so far because it's quite different. While set in the MCU the whole movie (barring a 5 minute flashback sequence) takes place outside of earth, somewhere we have rarely seen.
Three things make Guardians stand out: It’s characters (one is a talking Raccoon and another is cool Tree!), the soundtrack (it's got the best use of popular songs and one of the best soundtrack complications of all time) and it’s really funny (with some great humour with great moments from all the guardians). Let’s not forget that it was this film that jump started Chris Pratt’s legendness and the whole dancing Groot craze.
04. Captain America: Civil War
There was a lot riding on this one. With an excellent second Captain America film and a slightly disappointing Age of Ultron, will this raise the bar or will it be an excellent film, not a classic? With 13 films in the bag, it only really seems like Marvel is now only stretching it’s legs. I don’t think it quite beat The Winter Solider (put you knew that already) but it's still an Amazing and Spectacular Civil War is.
Yes, those puns were intentional. The reintroduction of the Spider-Man character in the MCU was handled perfectly, we have another great new on screen character of Black Panther, one of the best action sequences in the MCU to date, while having lots of laughs and great moments along the way. What a great film, filled with all your favourite Marvel characters.
03. The Avengers
You have those landmark films in history. Films that captured something that had not seen on screen before and loved by millions. While Spider-Man and the Dark Knight are classed as such, it was this film that comic book nerds all over the world had been waiting for decades! It was the first assemble superhero movie, with different characters from different movies. It was truly a fantastic way to bring Marvel’s phase one to a close.
The Avengers is still the most successful superhero movie of all time and it's not hard to see why. I could write a whole list of all the great moments, with so many to choose from. Choose a character, and he or she will have a chance to shine. Marvel even managed to improve Hulk after the disappointing reception to The Incredible Hulk. The big question remains: Can Avengers: Infinity War top this?
02. Captain America: The Winter Solider
Now where do I start on this masterpiece. How about the story? Hands down the best story in the entire MCU. It has lots of unexpected twists and turns. Including, what I think, is best plot twist in the entire superhero genre – HYDRA! In one word, the whole MCU is changed forever. I still remember how shocked I was when I first saw this scene.
Elsewhere, Captain America 2 acts like a thriller, with Cap on the run for nearly the whole movie. With the help of the Black Widow and the Falcon (both are awesome), it's got excellent scene after excellent scene. It also includes one of my favourite MCU scenes: the one where Nick Fury gets attacked by “Police” and he uses his bulletproof self driving (modern day KITT? You bet!) car to survive the attack.
It’s not just the big scenes that are excellent, it’s also the little details too. Those combat scenes with tightly choreographed knife scenes are extremely impressive, considering the actors did that themselves. Nick Fury has a great one liner towards the end of the film, and Black Widow is obsessed on finding Steve Rodgers a date. Coming from a technical standpoint, Winter Solider is the best film Marvel have made, but coming from an enjoyable and fun factor, my No 1 pick has it beat.
01. Iron Man
Finally we are at number one. For many, one the best films in the MCU and one of the best superhero films ever. If it wasn't for Iron Man, the MCU wouldn't exist, we wouldn't have the perfect Iron Man, and the superhero genre would be a different place indeed.
It’s hard not to view Iron Man through nostalgia glasses, as I remember first watching this film around the same time as been disappointed with X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3. This was so different to what I had seen before, while not getting bogged down by keeping the story simple and entertaining.
Superhero origin stories are generally well known by audiences, but because Tony Stark was classed as a B-list character, this one was important to get right. Unlike some origins where your just waiting for the alter-ego to make an appearance, this one is worth investing time in. The film involves Tony building and perfecting his Iron Man suit, and he does just so with entertaining scenes, witty one-liners and some bad-a** action to boot!
Robert Downing Jr. is a perfect choice of casting, and with a great AI named JARVIS, and with just a cool suit to see, this film has it all. Marvel turned the superhero into one of the most popular in the world. Iron Man, thank you for creating my second favourite my favourite movie series of all time.
When people say that Marvel own the movie business at the moment, they aren't wrong. Even when do have a film that isn't as strong as some of the others, they are still considered successful and still add story arcs, character development and other things to the MCU universe.
With Doctor Strange, Spider-Man Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and the two part Avengers 3, there seems to be no stopping them. Which is great, because they are doing a terrific job. Why slow down and the whole world loves what your doing?