My friend Clint sent me this fantastic (and very long) article that serves as a breakdown of THE AVENGERS. It's a great examination of the film scene-by-scene, breaking down structure, character motivations and plot development. Todd Alcott does a wonderful job as our guide through the film.
The Oscar nominations were announced the other day. To no one’s surprise, the screenplay for The Avengers was not among them. That’s a shame, because the screenplay for The Avengers is a startling model of precision, density and propulsion. It manages to juggle no fewer than ten wildly disparate main characters in its ensemble cast and give each of them weight, clarity and purpose. Dear readers, I’ve worked on many a comic-book movie, none of which ever got near production. To get one superhero narrative to work is damn near impossible; The Avengers soars with seven.
We begin with a blue cube on a black screen. That’s the Tesseract. What is the Tesseract? Well, assuming the viewer has not seen Thor or Captain America, the answer is “Who knows?” But the Tesseract is the very first thing mentioned in The Avengers. It is, of course, the maguffin of the movie, the object around which the narrative revolves. That it has been mentioned in previous movies doesn’t matter. In a lot of ways, and this is an important concept, what the maguffin of any narrative is doesn’t matter. It is “an object of consequence,” and that’s all you need to know.
Read the rest here.