If you saw The Avengers this weekend-- and judging from the estimated $205 million take in North America alone, you probably did-- you might have missed a few lines of dialogue that the audience drowned out. It's rare to be in a movie theater when the audience laughs or cheers so loud that you miss dialogue, but it's even rarer to have it happen multiple times. But every single CB staffer says they missed a line or two seeing The Avengers, and that includes two of us who saw it in a movie theater mostly full of critics. Yes, it really is that big of a crowd pleaser.
But even though we all need to see it a second time through to get everything, we all argued passionately about our favorite scenes in the movie-- and of course, there are so many to choose from that nobody could agree. So we did what we always do when we're debating things amongst ourselves-- we brought it to you guys. Below we each make our case for our favorite scene in the movie, but that's just the beginning of the conversation. Vote in the poll at the bottom of the post, then jump into the comments to let us know in detail what you think. You may no longer be in the movie theater parking lot talking everything Avengers with your friends, but the conversation about the biggest movie of the year is far from over.
WARNING: The rest of this article contains spoilers for The Avengers. You probably knew that already based on the headline, but this is your official heads up. Don't blame us for getting spoiled.
Hulk’s Unexpected Mjölnir Fail
Who’s the strongest Avenger? Yeah, I would have said “Hulk” as well, until Joss Whedon pit the vicious green monster against Asgard’s own Thor in a towering toe-to-toe brawl aboard S.H.I.E.L.D’s invisible Helicarrier. Just typing that sentence brings a smile to my face, because it means the scene exists on celluloid (or the digital equivalent), and at any given point, I can run down to the area multiplex, slap down $10, and watch the God of Thunder beat the daylights out of a gamma-jacked Hulk. The first real, “Holy shit, this is really happening” moment in Whedon’s Avengers has to be when Thor slaps Hulk upside the head. Whedon even thought enough of the moment that he dropped into slo-mo gear so Marvel geeks could catch their breath because they just saw Thor punch Hulk. The ensuing battle rules, an Ali vs. Frazier rumble in the jungle that finds the two beasts devastating everything in their path. The capper, though, has to be the moment when Hulk tries, unsuccessfully, to lift Thor’s mystical hammer,Mjölnir. My geek soul caught on fire when that happened, answering beyond a shadow of a doubt that the demi-god is the Avengers’ strongest link. Now let’s get a rematch in the sequel.
"That's my secret, Captain… I'm always angry."
To everyone’s surprise and actual sounds of delight, Mark Ruffalo’s Dr. Bruce Banner and Hulk kind of stole the show in The Avengers. The actor delivers arguably the best performance in the film--all anxiety and raw nerves, his Banner constantly fidgets with his hands. He’s uncomfortable in his own skin because he’s even more uncomfortable in the other guy’s. Then he rolls up to the final battle, buoyed with acceptance from Harry Dean Stanton, and one single line completely shatters the performance as we know it... you know, right before he punches the giant robot lizard in the face! “That’s my secret Captain, I’m always angry,” doesn’t just give me chills but opens up a whole new take on Ruffalo’s Banner for subsequent viewings. He may be the last member of the team to arrive but Hulk slow motion suits up just in time for the party. Cue the SMASH! And the obligatory, full circle, sweeping shot of a now fully assembled Avengers. The $200,000,000 money shot.
Iron Man going into the portal
For all his money, influence and ego, Tony Stark does have heart, and he demonstrated that and his willingness to put the needs of others before himself when he intercepted the New York City-bound nuclear missile and carried it through the open portal, sending it straight at the Chitauri fleet where it detonated, inevitably disabling their army. Lest we're left to wonder if Stark thought he might be able to deliver the package and return safely, we saw him trying to call Pepper, likely an attempt to say goodbye or to ensure her face is the last one he sees before he dies. What works best about this scene is what worked so well in so many of Tony Stark's in-suit moments in The Avengers. The image that stands out most in my mind isn't Iron Man, shiny and strong from the outside, but rather, Tony Stark's face inside the suit, as shown to us when flying through the portal, and when he knows it's over. That's the man giving up his life to save others. It's a great, truly human moment for a character who does so much of his heroic work encased in steel. And of course, it's topped off nicely with an excellent catch by the Hulk, and a laugh when the Hulk screams Tony back to consciousness.
Cap vs. Loki in Germany
Confession: I've already seen The Avengers twice. The first time, I gushed over the incredible final act, as it is by far one of the most thrilling action sequences ever set to film. But the second time, surrounded by a new batch of fans boisterously cheering at many of the moments listed here, the scene that hit me the hardest was one where the audience fell silent: when Captain America faced down Loki in Germany. Bullying the terrified masses, Loki gears up to murder the one man who dares stand up to him—a little old man who sneers, "There's always men like you." Then Cap comes to the rescue with a dead-eyed aim and a brief history lesson! When Cap battles the stakes feel higher because—as he points out to Iron Man—he doesn't hide behind a suit of armor. Steve Rogers puts himself at risk every time, and while his fearlessness and dexterity make the scene exhilarating, his integrity and passion give it an underlying poignancy that hit me on a deeper level than the rest. Don't get me wrong, I loved many of the moments listed here, but this is the one that makes my heart swell and shudder.
Hulk vs. Loki in Stark Tower
Joss Whedon’s script for The Avengers is peppered with many great, funny scenes, but there is simply none greater than the “fight” between Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). While this may sound like an epic showdown on paper, what makes it such an amazing scene is just how one-sided it really is. The sequence follows two hours of Loki being the biggest self-righteous, arrogant asshole in the universe, and Hulk just represents the ultimate dose of karma. It may be almost entirely CGI, but the audience feels every slam and pound as the Green One tosses the God of Mischief around like a rag doll. The cherry on top are the final shots of the scene where Loki, who is now embedded about 3 inches into the ground, lies perfectly still and wears an expression of, “What the fuck just happened?” while Hulk walks away saying, “Puny God.” I could seriously watch it endlessly on loop for the rest of time. Just priceless.
Black Widow's first interrogation scene
In the previous Marvel movies, both Black Widow and Agent Coulson have been minor presences on the sidelines-- depending on how much you liked Scarlett Johansson and Clark Gregg in their roles, they were either agreeable diversions from the main story or irritating distractions. But The Avengers is time for everybody to step up to the plate and take a major role in the story, and in one swift scene at the beginning of the film, Joss Whedon develops both characters further than any previous movie had. We see Natasha in a precarious position, tied to a chair and dangled over a precipice-- not just being tortured, but dolled up to look hot while she's a victim. But one phone call from Coulson is enough to turn the entire scenario on its head, Natasha revealing she's been in control the entire time and proceeding to kick ass, and Coulson listening, hilariously, to the entire beatdown over the phone. For me that was the first moment when The Avengers announced itself as something special, a perfect combination of action and humor that sets the pace for everything that came next.
What's the best scene in The Avengers?