Often, what you see on a screen when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters is not at all what the initial footage looked like. Whether it’s CGI, practical effects, models, costumes, make-up or any of the other numerous tactics employed to create movie magic, the finished product is almost always enhanced in some manner, especially when it comes to big budget films.
Thankfully, nearly every major blockbuster has its production recorded and documented by photographers and over the years, some truly incredible, exciting and often hilarious behind the scenes photos have made their way online. And so, on that note, join us today as we settle into another edition of our weekly column, where we’ll be exploring Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.
These days, the aforementioned director is almost treated as though he’s a real life superhero, but after what he did with this film, that treatment is somewhat justified. The movie itself is really good, immensely satisfying and entertaining and everything you’d want from a summer superhero blockbuster. It’s in the degree of difficulty, though, that Whedon earns his stripes. Not only is the challenge in this project making a team-up flick with an all-star cast work as both a singular story and an opportunity to give all these individual stars and heroes their own shining moments, but there’s also the uncomfortable acknowledgement that the lead-in movies of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger weren’t really all that they could be.
The magic of The Avengers is that somehow it retroactively made those films better. It’s the Whedon treatment of these characters, finding the notes at the right moments, that capture each individual with beautiful economy (a necessity when you have this many leading players and a limited time to share the screen). Just a line here or there, “Puny god” or “I’m always angry,” are so simple but end up carrying so much weight because of their perfectly timed delivery and their impeccable encapsulation of characters we’ve spent entire feature-length movies already getting to know.
On top of that, there’s the final battle, which rivals the action of any climactic big fight scene in movie history. The decision to use that continuous shot, while maybe obvious, can’t be understated in its effectiveness at seaming together these disparate heroes with the sweep of a single classical cinematic technique. In fact, it wasn’t until this film that a lot of people thought hey, maybe Marvel’s onto something here.
While Civil War’s alternative version – all the heroes fighting rather than conjoining – was on another scale entirely, this was the original and therefore the most powerful. You just can’t beat the assembling of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers.