Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Avengers Assemble | 3 Act Structure | Hero's Journey | Film Review | Year 2

Avenger's Assemble movie poster
The Avengers Assemble is Marvel’s attempt to show that their characters exist within the same universe as one another and that their stories interlink. The Avengers links several of the original comic books together perfectly and its transition to film was only reinforced by the standalone films or the character orientated films behind it, like Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Of course there is not a stand alone film for every character. Black Widow and Hawkeye have been missed but their bond and history is exploited on screen during this movie instead, leaving some viewers confused at their hinted past in Budapest. Before launching into an argument about how comic book bosses are sexist with their representation of Black Widow and how she is missing her backstory, we cannot deny that Joss Whedon has created a beautiful example of a film that not only broadly in captures the Hero’s journey stereotype with several heroes in one film, but has managed to successfully fit in within 3 acts. 

Act one - Establishing the characters (before the Helicarrier) - The Setup (exposition) 

The opening to the film is wrapped up rather neatly under a bow which says ‘introduce all the characters and set the scene’. Gathering the characters from all corners of the universe.
Act one stretches from the start of the film up until our heroes and heroine board the hellicarrier.

The setup for this movie is something that is always missing. This is mainly due to the fact that we jump straight into action with the Tesseract ‘misbehaving’. Although this gives us a sense of urgency and a small thrill, it feels like we've hit the ground running from the very beginning due to the lack of ‘setup’.

The inciting incident for the avengers happens to coincide with the arrival of the Norse god Loki. Everything that happens from this point on his due to his meddling which has created a knock-on effect.

The turning point or first plot point signals the end of the first act. This coincides nicely with the end of act one. This is clearly defined when the avengers have assembled for the first time, board the Hellicarrier and begins to work together to stop Loki.

Act two - Events on the Helicarrier - The Confrontation (obstacles)

During this middle act, nearly all of the action takes place while onboard the Helicarrier. From research, discovering phase 2, the attack to the Avengers breaking up, everything happens within the ginormous collective hold of the Helicarrier. The end of this act marries up quite nicely with the remaining avengers departure from the Hellicarrier as they head towards New York.

During the second act, we feel an ever increasing tension as our main characters attempts to defeat our villain Loki have failed again and again. This is most prominent when the team captures Loki before the attack on the Hellicarrier begins.

The mid point of the scene can be marked by the attack on the Hellicarrier. When the Hulk is released, it reinforces the threat of Loki's power to the audience, and victory seems to be a very distant goal. This allows the tension to continue to build.

The second turning point or plot point comes as our group of heroes have spent the entire second act, trying yet failing to stop the villain. It's at this moment in time when the audience begins to wonder if Loki will ever be defeated. This is backed up when Tony Stark realises that Loki's plan has been to separate them and destroy them as a team from the beginning. 

Act three - Fight! - The Resolution (Denouement) 

This is the third and final act of the film which revolves solely around a large showdown between our heroes and the villain. The tension has built up so much to this epic battle to help 'hype' us up for the final showdown with Loki and his army in the battle of New York. Of course, despite our hero's best efforts the villain continues to win. These losses add so much tension to the narrative it becomes almost unbearable. Of course the councils' decision to launch a nuclear bomb at Manhattan pushes us towards the edges of our seats and makes the whole situation feel that much more intense.

The climax of this film coincides with our relief that the nuke was safely delivered through the portal by Tony Stark just before the portal has closed. When this happens it signifies the end of the threat of Loki. His army deactivates and cleanup can begin.

With the denouement filling us with relief we are treated to a well deserved ending. The avengers of regrouped and have successfully captured Loki and foiled his plans to rule earth. Loki is successfully returned to Asgard, become international heroes whatever life they desire.

The ending of this movie is partially closed. This is because this storyline has ended but it opens up the possibility for another avengers movie in the future. This also coincides with the Credit scene establishing a larger threat for the future, namely Thanos. This type of ending is not uncommon with films of this type due to their nature to continue on with one or more storylines. This film also slots into the Marvel cinematic universe. It is one of many films from the original comic book series that has been made into a film series to show audiences that's just because we have all of these different superheroes does not mean that they exist in different universes or realities. Although this film could be seen as an arc plot, the film itself is actually a mini plot within the Marvel cinematic universe.

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