I enjoyed the film (though I wish they'd hire actual Russians to play Russian mooks and dub Natalia for once), but it still felt more like fast food than gourmet to me. My main problem with the film was the lack of tension. It's a common superhero problem, but good movies circumvent it by making it not about the hero's physical survival or victory, but about what happens along the way. Avengers has the problem of not just a plot and premise that leave very little space for surprises (come on, like they'd really kill off any of the main Avengers or have Loki succeed in subjugating Earth - now that, would've been a twist and real sequel hook), but having half the main cast be physically invulnerable. That leaves very little room for tension as they get the stuffing beat out of them (though the film did utilise it well on one occasion, having Hulk punch Thor in a cartoonish but still fitting moment). That may be why Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America intrigued me much more than I expected them to: they actually regularly got stressed and exhausted, as opposed to having blows just roll off them. Black Widow gets extra points for being a female superhero character, yet not being forced into a skimpy outfit or a formulaic romance with one of the leads, as well as having value as a badass beyond walking eye candy. The film juggles its diverse cast fairly well without shafting anyone too much, but the invulnerable characters make the prolonged action scenes feel somewhat meaningless. Tony Stark's near death experience, while relatively engaging (his attempt to contact Pepper was touching) was one such example: have the cynical Anti Hero die saving the world, only to make them turn out okay again just as everyone is gathered around and beginning to mourn them? Reminiscent of bad Mary Sue fanfiction, really. Also, while I enjoyed the banter but did occasionally feel like the writers were trying too hard to be 'witty' - The "He's adopted" line was particularly Mood Whiplash-y and made his later attempts to appeal to Loki's sense of family utterly cheap. Loki was memorable, but it felt more like the Avengers were helping Thor curb in his unruly, rebellious troublemaker brother than defeat an evil mastermind - a disservice to Loki as a villain.
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