Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seeing Marvel’s The Avengers

Seeing Marvel’s The Avengers:

The characters in the new Avengers movie worked well together, and that’s why the movie works. And partly why I’ve seen it twice in theatres. (The other part was, I wanted to take my best friend along the 2nd time.) It’s a great film! Every superhero was at their best! It’s loaded with action, jokes, and heroic exploits for our times.

I’ll be honest, I knew the Avengers only from secondary media in my childhood. Videogames and small appearances on TV. (With Spider-Man.) But, I’d never read their comic extensively until about 2007, when I started to collect comics again in search of the Hero’s Journey, and because they were fun. I can only say that I once told everyone I liked Iron Man the best, prior to ’07, and then realized I was basing that opinion solely on Captain America and The Avengers for Super Nintendo!

Now that each individual Avenger has had their own movie in addition to this blockbuster, and now that I’ve had time to more or less familiarize myself with these characters, I can honestly say that every piece of the movie felt great. It’s action-packed, it’s culturally and socially relevant, and it’s even funny! They started off fighting, exposing their character flaws etc., but eventually put their differences behind and unite to fight off an alien invasion led by Loki. And every character has their comedic moments. Without giving spoilers, with Cap, it's about how old he is, with Hulk, people always try to make him angry. With Thor, he's all brawn and no brains, Iron Man is made fun of for being rich and arrogant. (But, so cool!)

“Okay,” you say. “So, it was action-packed and funny, but you’ve described almost 90% of all action movies. What makes this one so great?” Well, I’m trying not to give spoilers, so I have to go into the experiences of seeing the movie. The first time I went to see the movie, I had a hot dog in the theatre, and pulled up to about the third row and there were a few empty rows. The 2nd time, I had popcorn and it was packed. Both times though, my attention was figuratively GLUED to the screen for its nearly 3 hour run time. So, I think at least part of what makes the movie work is the pacing between the action, the story (Ooo, Ah!) comic relief, (HAHA; there were some good jokes here. I laughed out loud for about 15 seconds maybe three times, punctuated by little chuckles throughout.) and the big climax. (BOOM! BANG! POW!)

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how it incorporated the Hero’s Journey. These heroes from different backgrounds all put aside their differences to fight for a Greater Good. But, they all have to get beyond their perceived flaws first, in order to become one and realize they’re fighting for the same things. And the characters connected so well, whether in conflict or camaraderie, that I never lost interest. Each one had a message for the other about their flaw, and they played well off of each other. So culturally, I think this movie’s about the need to work through differences, but it does it in such a way that it doesn’t stop the action to make its point, as other movies do. And I came out of the movie theater both times with renewed faith that a hero story really can save the world.

All those elements that fit together, are in my opinion, what made it a deserving world record-breaker. (One of the few movies to top one billion dollars worldwide, I hear, behind The Dark Knight.) It’s so fun and spectacular to look at. So I always get asked who my favorite Avenger is now. I have to say I like them all because each one had a message and kicked butt. I’m sorry, no spoilers! But, I’d have to say Captain America is probably most like me, in his loyalty and dedication to keeping the group focused on its goal. Sorry, Super Nintendo-era Iron Man! And yes, I plan on getting the video when it comes out!

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