Mark Whelan Best of the Decade

The Best Films of the The Decade: Avengers (2012)

Best Of The Decade The Avengers (2012)

I doubt even Dr. Strange at his most omniscient and clairvoyant had any grasp
of what to expect when Iron Man hit theaters in the summer of 2008. It was a bold
move to cast Robert Downey, Jr. (an actor sort of fresh off rehabilitation) as the
tin-headed entrepreneur, and the idea of carrying on a ten-year and twenty-two
film campaign seemed as equally audacious.
While Iron Man, its sequel, and the films that followed (The Incredible Hulk
(2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Thor (2011)) were a
reputable onset for introducing Marvel’s esteemed superheroes to cinemas, this
ambitious undertaking didn’t truly hit its stride until The Avengers in 2012.
Christopher Nolan had all but reinvented the superhero film with 2008’s
excessively somber The Dark Knight which, for all of its sinister brilliance, was
an overlong exercise in pretentiousness. Nevertheless, the mould was broken, and
the inevitable “serious” (or… “why so serious?”) superhero genre was set in
Thank goodness for Joss Whedon to lighten the mood a tad.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe—or MCU—has enjoyed a lot of
accomplishment since that gamble over ten years ago (perhaps unprecedented as
2019’s The Avenger’s: ENDGAME is now the highest grossing film of all time).
Though I wouldn’t hail it as an unparalleled success; out of the twenty-two films
you can certainly afford to miss a few.
The Avengers is the most cohesive of the bunch: a superhero movie that works
on its own terms without prerequisite or follow-up. But where this film truly sets
itself apart from the rest is its notion of fun. This is a film based on a comic book
franchise…and it damn well knows it! There are dramatic twists and turns to keep
things interesting with plenty of high production value and action sequences to
appease its core fanbase but, for the most part, it never fails to entertain or have a
sense of humor.
Those who are willing to withstand the endurance test of sitting through
countless hours of superhero mayhem will do so accordingly, despite my
reservations. I’ll admit the payoff is worth the investment—particularly the grand
finale of The Avengers: ENDGAME, which packs an emotional wallop, but the
unconverted and mildly curious need only partake (assemble?) with this one…it is
in a class of its own.