THE AVENGERS! Fans Assemble at The Box Office!
I debated whether or not talking about THE AVENGERS was appropriate for a horror site but, as the other Dave put it, “It’s our blog and we can write whatever we want.” With that in mind I promise to never do any posts revolving around the Octomom or that new Web sensation, “The Tanning Lady” who looks like she just got booted from a minstrel show. Besides, we always thought of this site as equal opportunity for all facets of geekdom; whether horror, science fiction, fantasy, or comic books. As covered recently regarding my visit to C2E2 (see story HERE) the lines are fairly blurred and most of us are fairly eclectic in terms of our interests anyway. If that still doesn’t convince you, I should also mention that giant armored monsters do appear towards the end of this film which does sort of fall into our “Terror Dave” jurisdiction.
I started collecting comic books back in 1984, when I was 13 years old. Of course I was no stranger to them prior to this but that was the year when I got serious about it. The catalyst was the 12 issue limited series known as SECRET WARS which saw Marvel’s best and baddest transported to another galaxy where they could duke it out in a “no holds barred” battle. I’d always liked Spider-man the best and this was the series that introduced his alien black costume which intrigued me (sorry Spidey purists, but I thought it made him look more like a real spider).
Soon I went on to read and collect multiple titles including “The Uncanny X-Men,” “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” “Alpha Flight,” “The Mighty Avengers,” their spin-off “The West Coast Avengers,” and of course “ROM: Spaceknight” (whom I paid homage to in the earlier days of this site and you can revisit HERE).
In the Marvel Universe, which prided itself on heroes that were plagued with many of the same issues we average citizens have, “The Avengers” were probably the least troubled. Well…aside from Iron Man’s drinking problem and the marital woes of Ant-Man and The Wasp that is. But while The X-Men could never catch a beak from the public, this team (at least back then) seemed to have it made in the shade. They boasted a state-of-the-art mansion complete with uber butler, Jarvis (now the name given to Iron Man’s computer), as well as some handy flying machines known as Quinjets (necessary for those heroes unable to achieve flight on their own). If memory serves, they also got paid like a $1,000 a week which seemed like a million bucks “back in the day” to this thirteen year old and certainly more than Peter Parker’s Spider-man ever had in his webbed hands during his entire comic life.
Its been nearly 20 years since I stopped collecting. I married a beautiful woman (who never quite understood my interests), bought a home, and had a family along with all the responsibilities that come along with them. My comic books got boxed up and stored away somewhere next to my former self. I was happy ten years ago when the first SPIDER-MAN film hit the theaters and I was able to start seeing Marvel characters executed well on the big screen while also priding myself on remembering what was true to the original stories and what wasn’t. There’s been plenty more Marvel adaptations since then and a few recent ones even had teaser scenes at the end leading up to this highly anticipated film. As of today, the wait was finally over! I went to an early showing that was playing nearby on a 3D “Ultra-Screen” for optimal viewing (along with optimum prices – $12 an adult matinee ticket). I took my seat a half hour before show time and the place was soon packed; not bad for a weekday at noon.
The big question is whether or not this film lives up to its hype. Of course it was destined to make lots of money, but would it pass muster with comic fans or become the THE PHANTOM MENACE of super hero films? The answer is a resounding YES! This movie is WELL worth the price of admission along with multiple return visits to the theater and an eventual spot in your home video library. Not just because the heroes are accurately portrayed from a fan’s stand point but, I believe, in no small part to director Joss Whedon.
There are two things that Whedon (creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is better at than just about anyone else; snappy, humorous dialogue and the ability to successfully portray powerful female characters. I can honestly say that BOTH of these elements are present in this movie and absolutely heightens its entertainment. The exchanges between the main characters supply laughs throughout and even the zippy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) achieves a whole new level of hilarity. In fact, prior to this screening, I’d of sited Iron Man as my favorite character. I was very surprised when I walked out feeling more enthusiasm for another. Scarlett Johanson’s “Black Widow” is fanboy-tastic and, by the end of this picture, went from being one of my least favorite Avengers in print to one of my favorites on screen.
Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor all stay true to their previous films while another, happily, wasn’t. Comic fans should rejoice that The Incredible Hulk is much truer to his comic rendition than the previous Hulk films! His clash with Loki (the big bad from THOR who returns in this film to further cement his title as “The god of Mischief”) is worth the price of admission alone!
Then something unexpected happened during the film’s amazing climax that I hadn’t experienced at the movies for a long time. It was moments after Captain America shouted orders to his battle worn comrades and the audience sees the group of mismatched heroes suddenly become a team. In those moments I felt that same twinge of inspiration I’d felt when I was six years old and saw Luke Skywalker blow up The Death Star, or years later when Sigourney Weaver donned a cargo-loader and delivered an iconic warning to the alien queen in ALIENS. It was a kind of Nerdvana that I’d forgotten all about and is something only a true fanboy (or gal) can understand. I guess you’d call it a sense of “hope” mixed with the realization that through our love of fantasy we can sometimes be inspired to cope with our reality. For me, the timing of this film could not have better.
Last weekend the life of this Terror Dave was turned upside down and I discovered that the world I embraced 15 years ago will soon cease to exist. This coming year will see the end of my marriage, the eventual loss of my home, and my broken family scattered. The only lesson I can share to some readers out there, including my co-blogger, is to NEVER be ashamed of your interests nor who you are – especially when you feel the pull of society telling you what you should be or what you are supposed to have. Hook up with people who like you because of your interests and not despite them, because that is what makes you, YOU. It’s been a bitter pill thinking that this time next year it’ll be me alone with those old comic books once more. After walking out of the theater today, however, I wondered if the inspiration to move forward can’t somehow be rediscovered by revisiting the contents of those dusty boxes.
When the movie ended the entire audience cheered (myself included) and even stuck around to watch the credits. This was a good move as, just like the endings of some of the previous Marvel films, this too has a special scene designed to entice viewers for the next installment. If my comic memory is correct, I believe I can sum it up in one word; Thanos. The Avengers will indeed be back and myself, and millions of other fans, will be there as well. That’s because no matter what our station in life there is one thing that we all have in common…
A need to believe in heroes.