For a certain definition of “teamwork,” anyway. But of course, that was what made it so engaging. The way the characters played off each other, especially when it wasn’t nice.
I could have maybe picked the humor as another of the more engaging aspects of Avengers, but the character interaction is more integral to why the movie worked so well. And besides which, the humor might make it stand out from most action movies, but not from the rest of Joss Whedon’s work.
Instead, I’d like to address what works really well in this movie in particular. All of the characters on the team had a little bit of themselves revealed in the movie, but their interactions made the film. This is something the director, Whedon, talked about a lot in interviews and whatnot. That these characters don’t really belong on a team. But it was in their arguments, in the problems that they had with each other, that we got to know them.
I also loved that each main character in the Avengers got at least one vulnerable moment. My personal favorite was with Hawkeye and Black Widow, in their first dialogue scene together. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what they’re dealing with the aftermath of in that scene. And each of the Avengers got something to do, throughout the course of the film. Also fun was that, when we finally do get to see them work together, the team dynamics come out. (Skip next paragraph if you don’t want mild spoilers on the teamwork.)
Steve Rogers (Captain America) is the field leader. Tony Stark is more likely to be the leader in non-combat situations, but in a fight, he’s usually the one going after specific targets, playing hero. Hulk is pretty obvious. He’s the muscle. Black Widow tends to like to focus on taking out the source of the problem. Hawkeye makes for a great lookout and coordinator. Thor’s used for whatever his lightening can be specialized for. He’s also more likely to fight alongside the Hulk since I’m pretty sure he’s the only one who could actually take Hulk’s beating.
And they all get to fight, too.
And since this is pretty much Joss Whedon’s break into the mainstream, I decided to quickly comment on a recent list of Joss Whedon’s work, ranked from worst to best: From ‘Buffy’ to ‘The Avengers’: Joss Whedon’s Best and Worst Projects, by Matthew Perpetua in Rolling Stone.
This is definitely a controversial list, putting Firefly so low and putting Buffy season 3 in first place. The Avengers placed 5th, and the recent Cabin in the Woods placed 3rd.
Most of Whedon’s work has something to make seeing it worthwhile, but if I had to pick a representation of his work for a top five list, I’d be more likely to choose from Firefly, Buffy seasons 2 and 7 (the latter one being a controversial choice itself), Dr. Horrible, and The Avengers. Don’t know what I’d do with Cabin; not being a fan of American horror means that I could tell that I couldn’t appreciate all of the intricacies of the movie, though I still appreciated watching it.
But that’s just me. Feel free to let me know what you think!