VOCIFERY 009 The Avengers/Item 47 one-shot (2012)

Welcome to VOCIFERY, my attempt to re-watch every piece of media in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – every movie, every television series, every one-shot, every web series, and every tie-in comic book, using the Wikipedia entry on the MCU as a guide, before the release of Avengers 4 in May 2019. Join me as I write my thoughts about what I’m seeing, as I see it!

Also, spoilers follow – if you’re worried about that kind of thing, view before reading.

The Avengers (2012)
Item 47 one-shot (2012)

Holy hell, I love, love, LOVE The Avengers.

As it comes up on six years old, it would be easy to look at The Avengers and bemoan that it is a relic of the early days of the MCU – and it is: when you consider the first half dozen films, you can see that the producers were really trying to find the tone of the films they were creating for this universe.

And in that sense, The Avengers is the most influential film in Phase 1. While Iron Man 2 swung too far into comedic territory, and Thor almost took itself too seriously, The Avengers – thanks primarily to Joss Whedon’s near-perfect script – struck the right balance between respect for the source material and humour to provide moments of levity.

That tone has carried forward into almost all of the films that came after. The genre alignment may change from film to film – Doctor Strange is a fantasy, Ant-Man is a heist film, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a high school movie – but the tone itself is consistent, meaning that the individual films manage to remain of a piece.

The Avengers is also jam-packed with iconic moments. Captain America announcing “I understood that reference” during the team’s first meetup. Thor announcing “he’s adopted” after being challenged on his defence of Loki. Hulk smashing Loki into the ground and proclaiming “puny god” as he walks away. Iron Man defiantly announcing “we have a Hulk” as he stares down Loki ahead of the final battle. The circular team shot as they gear up for the next wave of chitauri soldiers. The one-take that tracks all the members of the team as they engage in the Battle Of NY.

Holy hell, I love The Avengers.

In fact, I would say that if you don’t like The Avengers, then you probably don’t like superhero movies at all. When fans started to get excited about the possibility of a team-up movie that formed the culmination of five earlier films, we hoped it would be good. It turned out to be great – and sure, I know it isn’t an all-time great movie, but it is the Citizen Kane of superhero movies. It is action-packed, the characters are interesting, the story is straight-forward and engaging and, above all, it is (I believe) one of the most entertaining films released in the last decade.

Holy hell, I love The Avengers.

The subsequent one-shot Item 47, meanwhile, traces S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Blake and Sitwell as they track a pair of bank robbers (played by Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford) using recovered chitauri weaponry which they found after the Battle Of NY.

It is a fairly entertaining short in its own right, but I also found the thematic similarity with Spider-Man: Homecoming interesting; in that film, Adrian Toomes (aka The Vulture) leads a team of crooks as they recover abandoned alien tech, weaponise it, and sell it to the highest bidder. The idea that entrepreneurial criminals would seek out these weapons is an interesting one, and would certainly be a concern in this universe.

It may be short and simple, but it is certainly entertaining, as well as being an interesting epilogue to The Avengers.

Next: Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 Prelude and Thor tie-in comics!

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