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Chris Krapek

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The Scene-Stealer In The Avengers Is... Cobie Smulders?

Posted: 05/09/2012 6:53 pm

If you haven't seen The Avengers yet, what, do you not like America or something?

If you have seen the movie, I'd imagine afterwards you had a discussion face-to-face, on a Facebook status or through tweets regarding who you thought stole the show. Did you like Robert Downey Jr.'s sarcastic quips and even more sarcastic facial hair? Could you not divert your attention away from Chris Evans' bi's and tri's? Did your inner-nerd get excited when Mark Ruffalo was talking scientific jargon about transcendent squares of energy?

Like the thematic all-star game it is, everybody in The Avengers is jockeying for position and gets a little bit of shine. Iron Man and Captain America have fast-talking, Vince Vaughn-esque, back-and-forth banter. Hulk and Thor share a moment in which they single-handedly provided the sold-out show I was in with the biggest guffawing. Black Widow and Hawkeye get existential. Nick Fury... has a tight eyepatch.

But for me, the sole stealer of scenes in The Avengers was Cobie Smulders.

Cobie Smulders? Yes, Cobie Smulders.

The actress, best known for playing Robin Scherbatsky on CBS's sitcom How I Met Your Mother, popped-up playing S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill. When she first appears in the first few scenes of the movie, I squinted my eyes hard in confusion. This wasn't a character that I had previously seen in the post-credit clips of the previous Marvel movies. WTF?

It took a while to register, but it finally came to me; "Oh my God... that's Robin Sparkles."

For the next two hours and 20 minutes, whenever Smulders appeared, I quietly freaked out. An actress best known for being a real Canadian hoser and former teen pop star was now backing-up Samuel L. Jackson and the whole Avengers crew. Now, I'm completely ignorant to the Marvel universe, but upon some research, it seems Maria Hill is a pretty important character -- so important that Smulders is inked to appear in seven more films in the franchise. Every scene she's in, there's an odd, and possibly calculated prominence given to her, perhaps setting the table for the sequel. Her character doesn't have a really defined or important function (yet), but she's illogically effective. Amid recognizable superheroes being played by Oscar nominees and sex symbols, she is able to hold her own without doing a whole lot.

Smulders, unlike most of her How I Met Your Mother co-stars, hasn't had the opportunity to translate her small screen work to the big one. Her biggest film role to date prior to The Avengers was starring in the little-seen Broken Lizard movie, The Slammin' Salmon. In just a few years, she has gone from playing a waitress competing for Norah Jones tickets to playing a pivotal role in the one of the biggest flicks of all-time. While I don't think it's the best superhero movie of all-time (big ups to The Dark Knight), The Avengers will be forever immortalized -- from the record-breaking box office numbers, to the universal love from critics, to the inevitable spot on FX every other weekend for the rest of time. In less than a week of release, it's already an instant classic. It's hella zeitgeist.

Writer, director, king of fanboys and brainchild behind The Avengers, Joss Whedon, already has a well-established relationship with cast members of How I Met Your Mother. Alyson Hannigan was in his long-running show Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Neil Patrick Harris collaborated with him on the Emmy-award winning and cult hit Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. It's not surprising that this adorable nepotism possibly lead to Smulders being cast in The Avengers; what is surprising is the history they already had with each other.

In 2006, Whedon was hired to write and direct a now-defunct adaptation of Wonder Woman for the big screen. Whedon's choice for the iconic super heroine; Smulders. It makes sense. She's a beautiful brunette who kind of looks likes Lynda Carter and would be convincing thwarting evil in the role. Fans have even made concept art of Smulders as Wonder Woman.

More recently, MMA star and Haywire actress Gina Carano has expressed interest in donning the patriotic duds and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn wants Mad Men's Christina Hendricks for the role in his interpretation.

No.

Based on my near spiritual experience with Smulders in The Avengers, if she and Whedon are not solely committed to this franchise for the next two decades, I say they dust off that Wonder Woman script and supply super heroine addicts with their rightful fix. As a dual-threat in rival comic universes, she could dethrone Milla Jovovich as the most consistently badass actress in Hollywood.

If you, like me, were captivated by Smulders in The Avengers, imagine what she could do with a lasso of truth.

 
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