This is an exclusive party we’re having here. Well…it’s exclusive in that it’s only for the several million people who’ve seen The Avengers in the last few days. Now that the flick is out and shattering box office records, we thought we’d take some time to talk about all the little things that make the flick one of the coolest things ever to hit the big screen. In my review of the flick, I noted that Joss Whedon is a master of small moments. There are dozens of them in this movie, but I’ve narrowed it down to my 10 favorites for easy web-digestion (is that a thing?). If you’ve seen the movie, check it out. If not TURN BACK NOW. Seriously, there are MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS UP AHEAD!
You’ll probably disagree with some of these, but they’re my favorite moments, so back off. I’m also heavily influenced by the screening audience I saw the flick with, as I remember the cheers many of these moments brought on. Anyway, here we go, in (roughly) chronological order.
Black Widow Becomes a Character
As fun as it was to see Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, we have to admit that she was mostly (very effective) eye candy with a little bit of kick-ass thrown in. Whedon changes that in one scene. Upon hearing a single phrase (“Barton’s been compromised.”) she shifts from a sexy assassin with a mean roundhouse to something more, a character with worries and interests and (most importantly) people she cares about. It raises the stakes on the whole movie, and it gives one of the least-exposed members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes a little meat. Plus, she still gets to kick ass…while tied to a damn chair!
Iron Man Makes an Entrance
Tony Stark was always going to be the showman of the group, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less cool when you see what tricks he’s got up his sleeve. Leave it to Iron Man to swoop in on Loki’s little German domination trip to an AC/DC soundtrack and pull the rug right out from under the trickster god. The line he gets when he’s got Loki all locked up – “Make your move, Reindeer Games.” – might be one of the best Whedon quips ever.
What Happens When Mjolnir Meets Cap’s Shield
The Avengers were always going to deal with a few growing pains before they really developed into a team, but I bet even Fury didn’t expect something like this. Iron Man, Captain America and Thor squaring off in the middle of a wilderness was cool enough, but when Thor brought that hammer down on Cap’s shield it signaled a whole new level of action for this flick. This was no longer just about fighting. This was about blows so heavy they could change the landscape. It sent a message.
We Have Helicarrier Liftoff
How stoked were you to see the Helicarrier in motion after all these years? Yeah, it was exactly what we expected, but when that ship came up out of the ocean and hit the air, I got chills.
What SHIELD Agents Do When Nick Fury’s Not Looking
This might be the smallest of the small moments in the flick, but it got one of the biggest laughs. As a big meeting of The Avengers brain trust breaks up, one crafty SHIELD operative turned back to his console and queued up a game of Space Invaders. Hey, you goof off at work even when your boss is Nick Fury, right? It was the perfect little hint of levity from Whedon, letting us know he’s still back there pulling the strings even amid all this big budget polish.
Agent Coulson Says Goodbye
The first hour of The Avengers still held a lot of uncertainty. There were great moments in there, sure, but I didn’t yet know if this would become the movie I really wanted it to be. That changed when Phil Coulson took one in the heart. Whedon took the Marvel Movie Universe’s resident suit and made him even funnier, gave him a heart (and a man-crush on Cap), and then took it all away from us in one gasp-worthy moment. I remember sitting in the theater and muttering “Oh my God, he did it.” He really made this into something huge, beyond all the blockbuster trappings and the endless jokes. He gave The Avengers a heart right then and there. He even gave Tony Stark a teary moment. It’s the scene that galvanizes the entire picture, and it’s another iconic Whedon death scene.
Iron Man’s Midair Suit-Up
It wasn’t enough that Tony Stark got that cool walking de-suit during his entrance into the film. He had to be working on a new version of the Iron Man armor. He had to have an awesome suit-up, and there was no where to go but up.
Hulk Superpunches a Giant Space Snake
We’d already seen Hulk the Monster when the final battle of The Avengers began, but we hadn’t seen Hulk the Badass yet. When we finally did, it became the most awesome display of raw power this movie had to offer.
Loki Gets Bullied
Leave it to Whedon to take the supervillain monologue and turn it on its head…literally. Loki’s just arrogant enough to take a stand against the enormous green rage monster, and in response the enormous green rage monster repeatedly whips him against the floor like a rag doll. The moment, and Loki’s resulting expression, is priceless.
We’ve come to expect codas from the Marvel Movie Universe, but this was the one that got the most audible response from any crowd I’ve ever sat through a flick with. When that grinning dark face appeared on screen, the fanboys all cheered, but what was more fun was hearing the fanboys explain to everyone else just who it was and what it meant on the way out. I love that even after all the rest of the awesome we’d just sat through, Whedon decided to up the ante one more time, and Marvel let him.
What was your favorite awesome Avengers moment? Let us know in the comments!