So if you know me personally, you know that I’ve been talking about Avengers non-stop since I saw it last week. I’ve been raving to friends, family, dogs and cats, fire hydrants – whoever will listen. Luckily I have tons of geek friends who will still listen, but I’ll talk to inanimate objects just the same.
As a Marvel comics reader from adolescence, Avengers was everything I wanted it to be and much more than I had hoped. Marvel doesn’t have the best track record, quality wise with films. Yes, the X-Men and Spider-Man films made lots of money but those films aren’t iconic in the way the original Superman films and various incarnations of Batman have been. There’s always been room for improvement. And yes, there’s probably room for improvement with Avengers as well, but this is the first Marvel movie where I’ve left the theater with a list of raves rather than grievances. That’s a big deal for me, considering I still have a chip on my shoulder after what Bryan Singer did to X-Men and Superman.
Now, this year is a big year for comic geeks, with the Spider-Man reboot and the final chapter in Chris Nolan’s epic Batman series coming in July. But honestly, I think it’s going to take a lot for either of these films to match Avengers, not just on a box-office receipt level, but more importantly, fangirl fervor. Here’s why:
Avengers is fun
One element that makes Avengers so highly watchable is its humor, which of course is expected when Joss Whedon is at the helm, but also an element we don’t see in comic book movies these days. Chris Nolan’s Batman movies are fantastic, and have a couple of funny moments, but let’s face it, there’s nothing fun about these movies, and it looks like I may have to be carried out of the theater after Dark Knight Rises, if the trailer is any indication. The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t look like a laugh riot either, with Peter Parker moping around all emo about his parents. Having deep conversations about the deeper symbolism of comic book heroes is fun (this blog is called the Learned Fangirl, of course we enjoy doing that here.) But there’s been such a push to make comic-book movies “respectable” to the masses that they stopped being fun. Avengers gets back to that feeling of comic book films that make you feel like a kid again without completely insulting your intelligence.
Avengers is epic
As I mentioned before, Avengers is the first Marvel movie that is actually great, rather than just “good” or “OK” or “awful.” It’s also the first truly epic Marvel movie, and they did a great job of building up anticipation for this film from the previous Iron Man, Thor and Captain America films. Even those who didn’t wait until the end credits for the Avengers teasers in the previous films followed the continuity of the previous films and appreciated the “bigness” of this one. It felt like a gathering of all-stars – that’s what it’ supposed to be – and when many of the iconic heroes were introduced or faced off against each other, I heard cheers and applause. That’s the kind of response you want to get in a comic book movie.
Avengers has eye-candy
I’d be remiss to not mention that there are some hot actors in this film and I don’t think that is coincidence. Regardless of your definition of sexy, there’s at least one or more of the actors that will appeal whether you are into smart-ass swagger of RDJ or you dig pretty boys like Chris Evans. Or in my case, my exciting new discovery of Jeremy Renner’s biceps. Why, hello there! And of course, Scarlett Johansson, if you are into her. (sorry, my anti-Scarlett bias is showing) Either way, in addition to the awesome explosions and Hulk smashing, every member of the Avengers is objectively nice to look at and don’t think that’s not an important factor in a summer film.
So, while I am eagerly awaiting the final chapter of the Dark Knight trilogy (not so much Spiderman) I do think Batman has a lot of work cut out for him. After the whiz-bang fun of Avengers, will fans want to go back to this dark place? After ogling Chris Hemsworth for two hours, will we even want to put up with Andrew Garfield? Guess we’ll have to wait and find out.