As we were leaving The Avengers--my second viewing in less than a week--my sister asked me a movie-related question. I always love those. She asked me which movie I thought was better--not which I liked more, not which I found more entertaining, which movie was better--The Avengers or The Hunger Games. I answered the former with no hesitation whatsoever.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed The Hunger Games. I thought it was a solid adaptation of an enjoyable, memorable book. The Avengers eclipses it, though, in several ways, but the one that sticks out to me the most is its character beats. The movie gives each of its characters a chance to breath, to grow, to respond--and I loved all of them. I loved Phil Coulson and Pepper Potts as friends, even as Tony doesn't know his first name. I love Steve Rogers always calling Maria and Natasha "ma'am" and the fact that he's religious. I love Bruce Banner's insistence on calling The Hulk "The other guy," and his reactions to everyone's reactions to him. I love Coulson as a Captain America fanboy. I love Loki's moments of doubt, even fear. I love Thor's faux-Shakespearean dialogue. I love Tony Stark's sass. I love everything about Black Widow and Hawkeye's relationship--their shared history, their comfort with each other, their teaming up. This last set is probably my favorite small touch of the movie. Putting these two, who frankly seem rather outranked by the rest of the Avengers, together and making them both SHIELD Agents first and Avengers almost by accident was a great stroke. It incorporated both characters smoothly and effectively--not easy when one of them is an archer, for crying out loud.
Honestly, there was no part of this movie I didn't enjoy. I thought the casting was fantastic (though I did feel that Robin Sparkles--er, Cobie Smulders's role was rather thankless). I especially liked Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner.
This is, frankly, an ideal summer movie.