The 10 Best Things about ‘The Avengers’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 8:54 am, This is a list post.

Marvel Avengers Logo The Avengers catapulted into theaters with the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. Earning over $200 million dollars in three days, this superhero blockbuster has established itself as the movie to beat this summer. Both critics and audiences responded well to the killer combination of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, The Hulk and Black Widow, and we at Screen Rant awarded it 4.5 stars in our official review. But now that the movie is a box office hit and Avengers 2 has been greenlit, we decided to come up with a list of the 10 best things about The Avengers. Check out our list and then let us know in the comments what your favorite things about the movie were. WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS AVENGERS SPOILERS!

The Pacing

Captain America and Thor in The Avengers Clocking in at nearly two and a half hours, making it the Marvel film with the longest run time so far, The Avengers could have felt like an extremely long film. Although the movie had a lot of characters to focus on and a lot of story to tell, its running time might have seemed excessive if the film's pacing hadn't been so well-defined. Without bogging itself down in exposition or clogging itself with an overuse of special effects, this film had a solid structure that kept the story going. It's to the credit of writer/director Joss Whedon that this epic film never seemed as long as it actually was.

The Visual Effects

In a movie about superheroes trying to save the planet from a sociopath and his alien army, it was inevitable that The Avengers would use tons of special effects. But unlike lesser films, these special effects work to complement the story rather than detract from it. From Bruce Banner transforming into the Incredible Hulk, to the climactic battle sequence that finds the Avengers fighting against an alien armada, the special effects were imaginative and highly-effective. Director Joss Whedon is known for his supernatural stories (see Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Cabin in the Woods), but this new movie was in another league entirely, and Whedon lived up to the challenge.

The Surprises

Thanos in 'The Avengers' (art by_QuinteroART) What The Avengers offers - and other superhero movies often fail to - are surprises that keep the audience enthralled with the story. This new film offers up plenty of fun surprises that both fans and non-fans of the comic books can enjoy. Two of the best surprises in this film occurred after the credits started to roll. The first post-credits scene hinted at a future battle with Thanos, while the latter one - a secret scene filmed a few weeks ago - showed how tired the team was at the end of their adventure. Not all of the surprises were fun, though. Some of them were far more serious and even tragic (R.I.P. Agent Coulson). But these surprises helped keep audiences on the edge of their seats, wanting to know what happened next. (Thanos Artwork by Quintero ART)

The Characters

Captain America and Iron Man in the Avengers The Avengers was always going to be a difficult movie to write. The screenwriter needed to please the fanboys and girls who have read the comic books, while also exciting non-fans who might not be interested in seeing a superhero movie. But it turns out that the geeky Joss Whedon was the perfect choice to write this film, along with the help of Zak Penn (X2). As Kofi Outlaw noted in his review, "Whedon is in tune with every single one of the superheroes (and villains) in Marvel’s stables, and knows how to arrange those personalities into a well-balanced ensemble like a perfectly assembled puzzle." Whedon's love for both the characters and the story was evident in The Avengers, and that affection helped bring these characters to life on the big screen.

The Convergence of the Plot Threads

Agent Caulson in the Avengers A capitalist egomaniac from contemporary America. A patriotic soldier from World War II. A demigod from another planet. Those are simply a few of the characters that come together to form the Avengers. It was never going to be easy to craft a story that brings such disparate personalities together to fight a common threat. Although this alliance was foreshadowed in many of the earlier Marvel movies, Whedon - like Agent Coulson in the film - had to bring them together. But Whedon's script did more than that. It tied the story together nicely and addressed some loose ends - and missing characters - from the previous films.

New Appreciation for Certain Characters

Black Widow in the Avengers Although many of the Marvel superheroes were introduced in their own respective films, The Black Widow was only given a small introduction in Iron Man 2. But in The Avengers, her self-reliant character takes on a larger role, and actress Scarlett Johansson is up to the task as a butt-kicking and ferocious female super-spy. Whedon, who previously created another strong female character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has now showcased another powerful female who is as tough and agile as her male counterparts.

The Main Cast

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America in the Avengers Yes, The Avengers is a group of six, but four of them have previously been introduced in their own films. While their roles are all limited in this group effort, each of them has a chance to build on their previously-established characters here. From Robert Downey's performance as the ever-lovable Tony Stark, to Chris Hemworth's performance as the ill-tempered Thor, The Avengers allows us the opportunity to catch up with these beloved characters and see them develop into greater heroes than they were before. The witty banter between these main characters allows the actors a chance to earn a few laughs, too, leading us to...

The Humor

Iron Man in the Avengers Considering that the film is about a team of superheroes fighting an alien army, The Avengers is a surprisingly funny film. Although Tony Stark was always amusing, the other Marvel heroes are given a chance to shine, with a witty script that includes great one-liners and numerous references to the characters' odd backgrounds. From Captain America recognizing a Wizard of Oz reference, to Black Widow's comments about the climactic battle, the smart script uses levity and humor to keep the story humming even when the action has slowed down. A far cry from the more serious (too serious?) tone of Chris Nolan's Batman movies.

The Iconic Moments

The Avengers Assembled Although I don't consider myself a comic book fan, it was nearly chill-inducing to see The Avengers standing together as one unit preparing for battle. These characters each have their own unique traits and powers - but as one unit, they came together to take on the biggest threat to our planet. And the film takes pleasure in showing them assembled as a team. Years from now, one of the things that will stand out about The Avengers is its iconic moments featuring all of these superheroes together. This is a movie that celebrates its purpose and gladly gives the fans what they want: a team of Marvel comic heroes battling together.

The Action

Iron Man Flying in the Avengers The last thirty minutes of The Avengers is mostly one big action sequence with aliens invading, Avengers fighting, and New York being ravaged. But this sequence is so well directed and exciting that audiences will enjoy nearly every second of it. It is in this section of the film that Joss Whedon's direction truly stands out. His camera follows the action from one Avenger to the next, showing this battle sequence in all of its glory. It's truly a thrilling conclusion to a strong film and has kicked off the summer 2012 movie season with a bang.

The 10 Best Things about 'The Avengers'

If you haven't seen The Avengers, it's definitely worth checking out on the big screen. Although I'm still more pumped about The Dark Knight Rises than I ever was about The Avengers, the latter proves to be a strong and film. Here, again, are the 10 best things about The Avengers:
  1. The Pace
  2. The Visual Effects
  3. The Surprises
  4. The Affection for the Characters
  5. The Ties that Bring the Story Together
  6. The Stand-Out
  7. The Main Cast
  8. The Comedy
  9. The Iconic Moments
  10. The Action
For more on The Avengers and other movie news, make sure you follow me on Twitter @johnhanlon.
TAGS: the avengers

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  1. Nope. Scarlett’s bottom.

    • +1

    • Winner winner, chicken dinner! :-P

  2. Good piece.

    • Although I may differ with his take on Nolan’s Batman films. I found Ledger’s Joker pretty amusing.

      • Joker was way too dark for me; I like a funny, more random joker instead of a pure killer one.

        • Agreed. Though maybe going completely random would have been a little over the top…

          All I was waiting for a signature Joker laugh – in the vein of Mark Hamill – and it never happened.

          • Nearly everything Ledger’s Joker says is with some level of humor…which made his portrayal that much more unsettling and twisted. Yes, he was dark. But Nolan’s Batman franchise by design is dark and more along the lines of the graphic novel tone of the Knightfall series. Ledger still pulls off the humor element of the Joker in my opinion.

            Gambol, “You really think you can steal our money and just walk away?”
            Joker “…yeah….”

            “You were a schemer…you had plans….and look where that got ya…” Talking to Dent laying in his hospital bed with half his face burned off.

            Taking that surgical mask off, dressed in that nurses outfit in Dent’s hospital room “…..Hi…” With a devious grin.

            “Do I really look like a guy with a plan?”

            Gordon, “Where’s Harvey?”
            Joker, “What time is it?”
            Gordon, “What does that matter?”
            Joker, “Well, depending on the time, he could be in one place or several…”

            “I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you…..stranger…” flashing a big smile afterwards.

            I think the role a even steady balance of horror and humor.

            • I agree (and kudos for all those quotes)
              I loved the EXTREMELY dark humor of Nolan’s Joker – it was great IMO.

              • I loved the Avengers…and I love Nolan’s Batmans. In my opinion they parallel in experience more than intersect coming from two completely different pieces of literature and with different purposes. I think it does both franchises an injustice to even compare the two.

                It would be like me saying I love pizza…and love tacos. I’m not going to debate about which one I like more, or which one is better. That’s a waist of time in my opinion.

                • That’s what I’ve been saying for weeks. Thanks, Jay.

                  • Except that I didn’t love TDK, I just liked it, but I just don’t get trying to compare them.

                • Pizza is better. ;-)

                • Pizza, hands down. Between pizza and lasagna on the other hand….

                • Dark, gritty, realistic pizza? ;D

                  Ugh, I just got a bad taste of Michal Bay’s Alien Ninja Turtles in my mouth…. blech

                  Let’s focus on the real enemy here. It’s not Marvel or DC, it’s Michael Bay :P

                  • Exactly!

      • I agree. Batman was just what it needed to be. Dark. And Joker, scary funny!

    • scarlett’s bottom?

  3. I have to see this movie AGAIN !

  4. Well written. Proofreader needed but the content was well envisioned.

  5. Great article John!

    HOWEVER …

    “A far cry from the more serious (too serious?) tone of Chris Nolan’s Batman movies.”

    Be prepared for the butt-hurt.

    • You’re wrong about that.

      The Avengers is a KIDS MOVIE. Made by kids, for kids. (I mean, it’s FRIGGIN DISNEY!!!)

      Nolan is the true comic book movie master. A bunch of glamorous, no-talent A-listers versus genuine, great (and I might add, award-winning) actors, and that’s just one reason why TDKR will wipe the floor with the Avengers.

      We’ll see who’s butt-hurt when The Dark Knight Rises breaks 250 million on its opening weekend!

      • Thanks for proving my point.

        • You’re welcome.

          I may not be the hero Screen Rant deserves, but I’m the one it needs… or uh something like that…

          I honestly don’t remember. I was too busy watching Iron Man to give a f**k :D

          See what I did there? ;)

          • I hope both movies are great successes. Just though John’s phrase would get the old debates going again.

            It’s nice to know there are heroes on here watching out for us. :)

      • I don’t understand why all this competition exists. Avengers is in a different category, while the Nolan films are different. They’re both good, in their own ways. Batman movies may be too serious, but they’re nice nonetheless. I seriously hope people stop bashing either of the two.

        • Yeah seriously. They’re both great films and each have their pros and cons.

          • And they’re two great films where the cons are easily overlooked, unless you’re paid to only look for the cons and ignore the pros :P

        • I completely agree. Avengers was pure action/entertainment, and few movies will even compare in this movie season. However, I believe the power of Nolan’s films is what they say about our society as a whole, whether it’s the idea of what society views as disorder i.e. (The Joker’s speech to Harvey Dent/Two Face at the hospital in TDK) or how our society is so encompassed by fear (Batman Begins). So I believe the two movies are both great, but strive to have different effects on the audience.

        • I think it stems from that classic, inherent Marvel vs. DC mindset.

          The bottom line is that people are going to like the movies they like – no amount of positive reviews or personal attacks is going to change that.

          I personally think the dark and gritty theme is overrated (and I will shamelessly lampoon it every chance I get).

          • Heh, I’ve never read any of the comics from Marvel or DC, so I just go to these movies to have a good time. Found out that there was bad blood between Marvel and DC comics fans because of The Avengers, and I seriously think it’s stupid. Enjoyed the Avengers, and now hoping to do the same with TDKR.

            • Yeah I don’t require any sort of competition in these movies. If anything, Nolan’s Batman is more like the graphic novelizations of the character than 90% of his comics, even the Miller work that inspired the titles were technically thin graphic novels. Bernie Wrightson’s work was closest to anything like Nolan’s interpretation. The point being, the material these movies are based on is different.

              The important thing to me is movies are being made on this material, some of it pretty damn great.

        • Agree !

      • Oops, bad formatting. Forgot the tag :D

        You guys probably thought I was a Nolanite, huh? :D

        • I have to admit, you confused the heck out of me. 8-)

          • … and me

            • Yeah, I tried to use ‘sarcasm’ BBCode but when I submitted the comment, it either deleted that particular text or actually attempted to format it with sarcasm….. it basically omitted my punchline.

      • Ummmm award winning actors???
        Robert Downey(Oscar winner)
        Jeremy Renner(Oscar winner)
        Mark Ruffalo(Oscar nominee)
        Scarlet Johansson(3-time Golden Globe nominee)

        Please dude. Weak argument. Both The Avengers and TDKR have amazing accomplished actors in them.

        • You should read the other comments first dude… apparently Ryan was being sarcastic (but his emoticons or whatever failed to be posted).

          Anywho, I don’t think RDJ is an Oscar winner. He won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, but I don’t even think he’s been nominated for an Academy Award (goes to show… those guys at the Academy don’t know talent when they see it ;))

      • Sorry TDKR will be great.But Avengers will be #1 till part 2 comes out Marvel once agin slapped D.C down in its place. Batman is the only BadA$$ in D.C I hope they dont do a Justice League cause it will fail.

  6. the humour whilst good felt overboard imo, and stark was way to comedic then his character is in the comics which paints him as the ‘funny guy’ from the group, when in fact he’s not (not always). if only spiderman was back at marvel, then we would have a designated character for comedic relief ;P

    • Well, considering how Iron Man 2 was a 2 hour exercise in excessive and (sometimes) crass humor, I guess Tony Stark is gonna stay that way in all future films.. :P

  7. Um, good points, but the special effects didn’t really deserve a place in the top 10 things. Sure they were good, but nothing never seen before, and there were some spots were the special effects weren’t that good. Don’t get me wrong, the special effects were nice, specially where Banner transforms into The Hulk to smash that flying creature which was a really nice transition from a real to a computer actor, but still, effects not that amazing to actually deserve a mention in the top 10. A $200 million budget movie can’t have any lesser..
    Well written though. Now for my 6th viewing in the theatre, seen it 5 times in two weeks since April 27th xD

    • “Well written though. Now for my 6th viewing in the theatre, seen it 5 times in two weeks since April 27th xD”

      0_0

      • Hahaha, yeah. 2 times the first day it came out, then my sis wanted to see it, so went with her, then one of my other friend wanted to see it, and I tagged along. Then was getting bored at home with a friend yesterday so went ahead for the 5th viewing as well.. Here in India, ticket prices are pretty cheap even in the multiplexes, with no extra charges for 3D tickets, so multiple viewings don’t cost that much :P

    • I have to disagree a bit because, to be completely honest, scenes like Thor and the Hulk bashing aliens on top of a fortified space monster sound like an awful lot of work to me and I was quite surprised how it all came off seamless. I think the CGI guys did a great job.

      • Yes, the CGI guys did a great job, but still, there were some places where the special effects looked not that good, and I didn’t expect that from this movie specially with ILM and Weta Digital working on them. But it’s acceptable considering everything that was going on in the movie. But again, considering ILM did the final battle, there were places where the effects weren’t that nice. But again, no complaints. Just don’t think it deserves a mention in the top 10 things about the movie.

  8. While I enjoyed the article, here are a couple things you should know:

    A. Learn the difference between Visual FX and Special FX. I see this so often in articles on the internet, and it really ruins your credibility as a “film critic”

    B. Follow up on things like “…with the help of Zak Penn…” So that you know if what you’re saying is actually true or not.

    • No one likes a snob dude…

    • To John Hanlon:

      You did a wonderful job. Keep up the good work!

  9. I really like this articles dissection of the film, but not one mention of Hawkeye? He was as important as Black Widow and together they had their own character arc within the film. I thought he was a pretty great character and he definitely needs to be recognized. Without him, half the aliens would have gotten through if Hawkeye didn’t strike them down.

    • Actually, I felt he was a bit underused. Hawkeye, in the comics, used a lot of acrobatic techniques (like Green Arrow of DC), but you don’t really see that in the movie. I liked him but I thought he could have been better.

  10. The Avengers is “surprisingly funny”? Come on. It was hilarious, but what else did you expect after all the previous Marvel movies? If I laugh that much during TDKR, now *that* will be “surprisingly funny”.

    • Word!

  11. Why are people being so pedantic to the guy who wrote this, who obviously put a lot of time and effort into making something fun for us all to read.

  12. You should probably change the title of this to “The Ways that Joss Whedon is Awesome.” The vast majority of this article was simply praising Whedon. I liked the movie, but I think he is getting way too much credit for the success of the film. I think it would have taken a massive clod to screw this up.

    Also, the humour was one of the things I liked least about the film. There was simply too much of it. One or two comedic moments (not from Stark) would have been fine, but Whedon went overboard. Humour was inserted where it wasn’t needed, and I hope they tone it down in any future installments. I’m not saying it needs to be serious ala Nolan’s Batman movies (which are not too serious, considering the character he’s dealing with), but a little less humour would have made the big humour spots funnier.

    • “The vast majority of this article was simply praising Whedon. I liked the movie, but I think he is getting way too much credit for the success of the film. I think it would have taken a massive clod to screw this up”

      Really???

      Because I don’t think you could be more wrong. Whedon made something, that could have easily gone wrong, into something truly magical, and it was mostly his doing, his script, his directing, his talent, that made The Avengers possible.

      • Agreed.

        • I second that motion.

          • Third.

            While not being a “Whedonite” (or smoking Wheed like some of his followers seem to), I was a bit skeptical upon learning the choice of him as the director. This movie laid that fear to rest, and I believe his unique abilities were finally given the credibility and the budget they always needed. Now, Joss can do anything he wants, including having a TV series on Fox, provided Fox can get the show order correct, of course.

  13. This movie is the best superhero film ever. Its perfect in putting so many iconic and diverse characters together, along with humor, story and action. AVENGERS FTW!

  14. Great points John (it’s nice to read one of your lists that I can actually agree with ;)).
    Still, I thought the humor was a little too much (like ScarJo’s comments on the battlefield). Don’t get me wrong, the humor was fantastic and really makes the movie shine and stand out from other CBMs, but at times… I dunno, it felt a little unnecessary (it’s not really a complaint that I have, only a minor gripe that I hope won’t be repeated in Avengers 2)

    Another thing that should be mentioned in your article was how Whedon and Hiddleston got away with saying “mewling quim” in a disney movie!!! A DISNEY movie! ;)

    • I don’t know why people make such a big deal about the Disney aspect. Disney is just the distributor. Marvel and Paramount are the production companies.

      • I know… it was just a joke dude ;)

        • Well, aren’t I the derpy one…

  15. I don’t understand all the back and forth about nolan(-ish) movies and the humor in the avengers movies. personally I love both! they’re both great PRECISELY because they’re NOT the other. It’s all about getting a diverse summer movie going experience.

    • And The Amazing Spider-Man sits somewhere in the middle, I think, tonally.

  16. Yeah, The Amazing Spider-Man is certainly the middle child of the superhero movies this summer. I love Spider-Man and I hope its as awesome as it looks.

  17. Damn

    What is it with all this Batman vs Avengers in most of these articles. It’s unnecessary…

    • Yeah I know right. Why can’t people just like both and get on with it. Or if you prefer one over the other than don’t trash the other.

    • Completely unnecessary. Right know, as has been said numerous times, Avengers is the hot girl at the party (first said by Kofi). In 2 months, hopefully Spider Man will be the hot girl, then TDKR. I just wish people would give credit where credit is due.

      • I think it was Kofi who said it first. :-o

  18. I mostly agree with everything in the article, i’m so desensitized to the CGI/explosion type action that hardly anything visually impresses me any more though lol. O.o Everything else was pretty good though.

  19. Hulk smashing loki best part hands down

  20. I loved the part when Hulk looks out the corner of his eye and punches Thor standing next to him.. I laughed my a$$ off in the theater!

  21. Actually the funniest part of The Avengers for me was Hawkeye whipping out his bow. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be funny, but man did that look silly.

  22. What I loved most about The Avengers is simple.
    IT WAS FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
    And not just for Comic Book Fans.
    I was with my wife (36), my daughter (16) and my nephew (10) and everyone one of us had a great time. I was worried that the running time would be to much for my nephew but he didn’t want to miss a second and my wife and daughter laughed and enjoyed it just as much as I did.
    Is the film going to win best picture at the Oscars or BAFTAS? No. But I’m hard pressed to think of a film that will be as enjoyable for all ages that’s coming out this year. Even my father (62) and my aunt (57) have said they want to see this in the theater.
    Even though it’s only been out a week here in the US the inevitable snobs are starting to pop up saying the script and plot were blah, blah, blah. But to them I say get over yourself!! I love movies that are dark, gritty, emotional and filled with various twists and turns as much as anybody but I also love going to the theater just to have a good time, laugh and marvel (pun intended) at the special effects and the spectical on screen.
    I say again this movie is FUN, FUN, FUN. So much so that I can’t wait to see it again…

  23. One of the funniest parts was when Iron Man first meets Thor.

  24. EXCELSIOR!:)

  25. stupid to categorize the elements of a movie so rigidly. not a fan.

  26. I have to say my pick of the reasons why Avengers was great would be the pacing, action, cast, characters and humour.

    Everything was just so perfectly balanced, and I think the two and a half hours running time was the right length. Can one imagine all that spectacle being crammed into 1 hour 40 mins or so – that would just made it rushed end product and a complete mess.

    Have to say the pure sight of Scarlett Johannsson in skin tight black, could (and maybe should) have easily made the top ten for sure

  27. I still think that extra scene would of benefited with Loki maybe sitting away from the table and trying to get something to eat and then just as he’s about to take a chip or something -have either the hulk knock him back or Thor slap his hand…

  28. Of course this movie was going to be incredible! Joss was behind it.

  29. This pretty much sums it up for me:

    Pros: the Avengers is the best comic book movie of all time.
    Cons: the Avengers is the best comic book movie of all time.

    What makes the Avengers so good can also be a weakness for some.

    • huh?