THE AVENGERS has broken every box office record in the history of filmmaking, officially making it the best thing since blah blah blah, right? This is not some ode to THE AVENGER’s Hulk-size financial success. Nope, not from me. Instead, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure just why in the world I have spent that past two weekends sitting in a dark crowded room watching these spandex-clad capers. I’ve never paid to see a movie in theaters twice before. I’m not even a comic book novice. In fact, I’d only seen one of the films meant to launch the megapicture (CAPTAIN AMERICA) and even then I was pretty much unimpressed. I am a longtime fan of Joss Whedon so I was a little curious how the ready the BUFFY/ANGEL creator would take on a superhero blockbuster flick. Okay, so that’s reason enough to justify seeing the film one time. But seeing it a second time AND in 3D AND in a jam-packed theater? What gives? As I look at the two ticket stubs in my wallet, I think I’ve finally come to a few rational conclusions for my uncharacteristic behavior.
- There was the “fully-clothed-asskicking-more-than-two-lines-of-dialogue” female hero, Black Widow AND the African-American duplicitous top-secret agency director, Nick Fury, so I filled my “diverse character with depth quota” within the first 30 minutes. How many blockbuster films offer that these days?
- Each member of the mighty ensemble has their moment to shine in such compelling moments of vulnerability. I saw their demons rise to the surface and to what lengths they would have to go to achieve greatness. The film might be a multi-million dollar PSA for good old-fashioned teamwork. All I know is that I finally had room to breathe between the usual Michael Bay-esque explosion overload that clutters action films and actually cared if these guys and gals lived or died.
- It was fun and funny! No spoilers from me, but there are many jokes in the film that play on classic superhero/super villain dynamics that had me cracking up. The heroes also took witty jabs at each other, which made them more relatable/self-aware in my opinion. Joss is a sharp writer, I tell ya.
- I need a hero too. For two hours, I had the chance to forget about my boring 9-5 day job and fall into another world. I love my limited release gritty indie films, but there is something magical about the tradition of larger-than-life comic book movies that spans across generations. I’m sitting there on the edge of my seat asking “Will good triumph over evil in the end?” And I’m obviously not alone. The continued sold-out shows don’t lie.
- I’m looking for the Stan Lee cameo. It’s silly, I know, but I can’t help wonder where will he be this time? It’s almost like the Pixar short before the feature meets “Where’s Waldo?”.
- Joss Whedon may have helmed the first comic book movie to welcome audiences outside of the under 25 male demo– that’s me! I walked into the theater without barely any prior knowledge of the character back story from the precursory films or “literary” references and had a blast anyways. Thank you, Mr. Whedon.
Will I see THE AVENGERS a third time this weekend? Probably not. But I’m absolutely positive the theaters will continue to be packed with first-timers and repeat viewers. It’s just that good.