If someone said to you years ago that Marvel Comics was going to methodically lay out a series of movies, building an audience of a core group of characters that would culminate in one big insane summer tent pole film called The Avengers, you would not have believed it. Yet, as of May 4th, 2012 they pulled it off. And not only did they pull it off, but they shattered the mold for what was possible for a superhero franchise.
My sources are giving very early estimates for Marvel’s The Avengers of between $65 million and $67 million for Friday (including $18.7M midnights) based on matinee trends. Not a record. That would bring the worldwide total to $371 million so far… and counting.
How many articles have we seen over the years with some sort of headline that asked, “Is the superhero genre dead?” It seems like a every time there’s a comic property that flops there’s an Entertainment Weekly or Entertainment Weekly knockoff that runs such a story. What the authors fail to understand is that there is plenty of strong source material — it’s up to the studios, screenwriters, actors and directors to pull their end of the bargain. With The Avengers, a seriously large cast and crew (again, across multiple movies) came together in a collaborative effort and created something magical. The movie isn’t flawless, but it’s certainly close. It could have very easily collapsed under its own weight, and the fact that it didn’t says a lot about the people working behind the scenes.
On person who deserves many pats on the back is writer and director Joss Whedon. After hearing about the bizarre health care rant he scripted for Captain America I was worried. Very worried. Whedon wisely cut the scene from the film, and for the most part stayed away from the political soapbox. Luckily, he didn’t shy away from going over each character with a fine-toothed comb early on to really figure out what their motivation was. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line Joss Whedon came through in the clutch. I’m not sure if he got through the ordeal without an ulcer or two, but if he didn’t Marvel should be paying his medical bills.
So how does one write a movie review and not actually talk about the movie? I just did. There’s not much I need to say. Do you want to see a movie that says, “this product was made by professionals”? Do you want to see something that’s funny, filled with action, and family-friendly? Do you like good, tight writing? Do you want to see a team of actors who all appear to have been on board with the director’s vision and who have given it their best shot to make that vision a reality? If so, go see The Avengers.
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