Avengers Didn't Have a Good Story?
One of the points that is often brought up against the Avengers movie is that its story was weak. Here are my thoughts on the matter...
The Avengers has come and gone. The Dark Knight Rises has come and gone. But the Marvel vs DC wars rage on still. Or perhaps more specifically, the MCU-ers vs Nolanites. It's an interesting war this one. To me, at least. I actually enjoy both the MCU films and the Nolan Bat-films. So, as I read all the arguments made for or against these films, what I get out of it all is a better understanding what what did or did not work in these films. At least for the audience. And since I myself aspire to be a writer someday, well, it's kinda helpful understanding these sort of things a bit better.
Now, on to the point of this...
I have read one specific argument made against the Avengers. And that argument is that the story in it was weak. When I read that, I thought and thought, and I realized that yeah, the story kind of sucks. There really isn't much to it. It's isn't detailed, it isn't deliciously complex. It's just sort of a cliche asshole-wants-to-take-over-world-and-heroes-go-to-stop-him deal. It's simplistic.
Ah! But therein lies its genius. It's simplistic. Simple. Easy. Easy to understand. Easy to process. And while that could be a bad thing if your film is hinges on the story. The fact of the matter is, Avengers doesn't hinge on its story. Avengers was never supposed to be about the story. It was about the characters, and them coming together is a great big Superhero mash.
Now, thankfully the solo films did the job of introducing the masses to these characters. So they had the advantage of not having to waste away precious screentime trying to explain who all these f***ers are. Instead, we get to focus purely on the team dynamics. Pretty much this was how the film was structured:
1) Most characters being introduced individually
2) Characters meeting each other and forming initial character dynamics. Some get along. Others don't. Some members are trusted, some not, some feared.
3) Then the circumstances created by Loki forces them together, and through this hardship, they all learn to work together.
4) Final Battle. They're a team, and now they're kicking ass. (Note: Everybody brings this up so I'll briefly address this. The team readily accepts Cap as the leader because if you remember, early on in the film they are all given information about each other. Cap is the one with military leadership experience, and everyone knows this. Thor kind of does too, but his leadership in the attack against the Frosties ended... uhhh.... badly.)
That's kind of a handful when you have to do all that with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, (Hawkeye... not so much so I'll put him in parenthesis), and even Nick Fury. Now of course you want the audience to enjoy themselves, so you've gotta fill in levity and action to get them laughing, happy, and their blood pumping with excitement.
So how would a complex plot fit into this? Badly.
There is already enough the film is dealing with. And you don't want to add in even more. Because if you do, it all starts to feel claustrophobic. They'd then become more prone to the exposition/plot-dumps that Nolan's films are a little notorious for. And would just be slowing down the film, and sucking out the fast-paced joy and energy which made it a success in the first place.
So yeah, that's pretty much it. You've gotta look at films in different ways. You should never treat all films like a check-list of things to do. Avengers... Did it have a great plot? No not at all. But in this case it wasn't needed. In fact, it might've been detrimental to the tone and pace they were going for.
Avengers 2 might be a different story though (no pun intended). Now the characters have been established as team. Their dynamics set. Their team-work is effective. There isn't as much that they have to establish with the heroes. So that the sequel will probably be a bit more about the drama against the villain and certain other complexities within the team dynamics. The kind of drama and complexities that Iron Man 3 seems to be taking Phase 2 in. A more "personal story". See? Whedon and MCU know what they're doing. Have faith in the guys and enjoy the films.
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