This past weekend I took in a viewing of Marvel’s latest, Captain America, and despite illness rendering me freezing in the A/C and my large Sprite causing me to squirm for roughly the entire second half of the film, I still found it effortlessly enjoyable and a top-notch adventure yarn. That’s the power of these movies, they combine charismatic performances and simple thrills to achieve something too few blockbusters manage, action-packed thrill rides that are lacking in neither fun nor pathos.
True, the Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk didn’t really accomplish anything, Thor maybe could have put a little more effort into its Earth plotline, and Iron Man 2 could have just tried to be a little bit better in general, but they were all still better than Spider-Man 3, so…
Plus, even if none of them manage a Dark Knight-level of craftsmanship, it’s incredibly hard to deny the big picture formation of this monumental project. The cooperation of several directors and actors across several years and films, all leading up to The Avengers in 2012 is commendable just for the fact that they were crazy enough to even try it, let alone for the fact that they are actually going to finish.
Because, in all seriousness, the idea is a white-hot brand of wacky that you rarely see in Hollywood, mostly because the kooks who have these ideas never get legitimate people to go in with them. Which is what has made the past few years so exciting, with people like Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branaugh, and Robert Downey Jr. proving themselves willing to go along for the ride, and drafting Samuel L. Jackson to commit to a long string of cameos in preparation for what could ultimately be the most impossibly big movie ever (maybe).
But this is where the internet critics have jumped in, saying that the movie is going to be entirely too big, and can’t possibly succeed (Yes, there is cynicism on the internet. I was surprised, too.). But to that skepticism, I say “Nay” in a loud and unnecessarily theatrical demonstration of my resistance to believe that The Avengers will be anything but amazing. Because for starters, Joss Whedon is directing it. And that’s just awesome. I know a lot of you still probably haven’t watched Buffy, assuming it’s just a dumb vampire show, but you’re dumb! It’s really cool, guys! It is! Also Firefly.
Secondly, as previously stated, the complete lunacy of the multiple-year rollout of these films has meant that by the time we get to The Avengers, we will already know how the team formed, along with the basic backstory for most of the characters. So aside from the likely look into Hawkeye’s origin (and maybe Black Widow and Nick Fury), Whedon can spend a lot of time developing a conflict for the heroes to deal with organically.
Not to mention the fact that since he isn’t tasked with showing where they all came from or how they were introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D., Whedon also gets to utilize the combined charisma of all the actors to show them interacting as equals and friends, and if you’ve seen any Whedon material before, you are or should be absolutely giddy at the prospect.
All of this is absolutely huge, and a gigantic boon to The Avengers‘ prospects. Compare all of this with DC’s proposed Justice League movie that’s been in development for forever, but which now seems to be getting fast-tracked (gee, I wonder why?). Whereas Marvel took the time to give most of the characters their own film to introduce us to them, DC is just going to jump in head first and hope the water’s fine. Not only are they not giving films to any of the several members of the Justice League, they are going to ignore existing film canon for the few that non-comics readers might be familiar with.
That means Batman won’t be Nolan’s Batman (probably a good thing), Superman won’t be Zack Snyder’s Superman (maybe a good thing), and… okay, DC doesn’t have that many valuable properties (that Green Arrow movie’s gonna be big, I know it). And, if you weren’t aware (and you very well might not be, I barely am), the Justice League is massive. I’ve seen depictions of it with membership that seems to exist in the dozens, hopefully that would be pared down to your more basic members (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman… and the rest), but without any prior introduction, DC has what appears to be an insurmountable task on their hands.
Which is why I say kudos to Marvel! You crazy bastards have finally accomplished what many have set out to do and failed so hard at, creating an absurdly ambitious franchise that will actually see the light of day, and have been thoroughly entertaining in the process. Next summer’s gonna be good.
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on July 28, 2011