Tag Archives: superheroes

Avengers :: How I was Reminded I Love Superhero Flicks

16 May

I finally saw The Avengers last weekend. I feel like I was the last person on the planet to see it, seeing as the majority of my friends had already seen it two or three times at that point, but oh well. At least I finally did.

I think this scale’s a bit wonky, or else Captain America somehow got a whole hell of a lot bigger.

I have a guilty confession to make: I went into The Avengers without having seen Iron Man 2, Thor, or Captain America, but I was familiar enough with all three of them that I knew I’d be able to pick up on what was going on in no time. Halfway through Avengers I found myself asking: why hadn’t I seen any of those films? I had heard great things about them and had said I remembered wanting to watch them, so why not? I grew up on superheroes. I read the Batman and Spider-man comics as a kid. I used to watch the Hulk, Superman, Xmen, and Iron Man Saturday morning cartoons. I’m pretty sure I even have a couple X-men fanfiction saved in the depths of my external hard drive (where it will remain, never to see the light of day, along with the rest of the awful middle school fanfiction I wrote).

Anyone remember the awesomeness of Fox Kids in the early 90’s? Anyone? Anyone? No? Just me? Right.

Analyzing my past with super hero films, I think I’ve drawn up the conclusion as to why I’ve been so desperately avoiding superhero films for the last six years. Fantastic Four 2, X-men 3, and Spider-man 3 all came out around relatively the same time, and in the end they all broke my heart. Well, okay, I never really cared for the Fantastic Four films, but Spidey and X-men? I adored the first two films in those series, and then the third ones took the sagas I so loved and demolished them. My little sixteen year old heart couldn’t take it.

“I’m so sad this movie exists…” Peter Parker whispered to himself.

Since 2007 I’ve pretty much stayed away from superhero movies for this particular reason. The only ones I’ve indulged in have been the Nolan Batman movies and the first Iron Man, but that’s really been it. My young, naive eyes saw how easy it was for Hollywood to take the comic book heroes I so loved growing up and destroy them, so I thought it best to stay away.

I also watched the Clooney Batman movie during this period of time. Worst mistake of my life.

But The Avengers… The Avengers reminded me why I so loved the comics, movies, and TV shows growing up. I love how, while they’re portrayed as powerful and mighty and kick ass, superheroes are, at the core, merely human (well, except Thor). Most of them deeply flawed in some way. Not to mention Avengers had so many fantastic relationships and, as a writer, I’m all about the characters and the bonds they make with one another. I loved how you could get a sense of all Natasha and Clint have been through, despite neither of them having their own movie, and the witty banter betwixt Tony and Bruce which, deep down, isĀ so much more than merely banter.

The movie managed to balance out the action and the dialogue, and while the first half of the movie was spent reminding the audience of who everybody was and why they’re all essential to the story, it was done in a way that did not drag and was highly entertaining. Each character is given enough screen time that you as a viewer are easily able to draw a connection with them, empathizing with what they are going through. Black Widow ended up being one of my favorite characters in the film, and I find it surprising that so many articles and reviewers have stated that her only purpose is to be the “token girl in the team.” Hardly. She’s, without a doubt, the most calm, collected member of The Avengers and manages to accomplish tasks no other members of the team can (I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say: her little talk with Loki). Bruce ended up being another favorite, which was odd as the Hulk’s never really been my favorite comic book character. Even as a kid when I watched the cartoon he never really peaked my interest, but this time the Hulk was written right. While he’s always been a character that’s played up the Jekyll/Hyde aspect, this time we were actually able to empathize with him. The writing of his character was superb, and Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Banner was delightful to watch. I could get into why the Stark-Banner buddy relationship is also important, but, as River Song would say, “Spoilers”, so I’ll decline.

Plus? Above all else? It was just a really fun movie. I should’ve known it’d be safe in the hands of the amazing Joss Whedon.

The bright side: at least he only killed one character off instead of, y’know, all of them.

Now all of the superhero movies leading up to The Avengers reside in my Netflix DVD queue. I’m excited to go through all of them now, with a restored appreciation for the superhero/action genre of film, and look so forward to all the other superhero movies to come.