web analytics
Home > Movies > Assembly Lines

Assembly Lines

May 7th, 2012

I’ve always been a DC Comics kinda guy. As a kid, I preferred square-jawed, clean-cut heroics to the angsty adventures and verbose hype that marked the Marvel brand. While I’ve come to appreciate the great influence of creators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, their shared universe never appealed to me as much as the one inhabited by Superman, Batman and the Flash.

So, yeah, it kinda cheeses me to see Marvel absolutely crushing the Distinguished Competition at the box office. And to find me enjoying their movies so much.

Major kudos to Team Marvel. They pulled off quite a feat: producing a series of interlinking films culminating in the first-ever big-screen superhero team-up.* It might be a crass attempt to build a perpetual-money machine. It might be a bunch of fanboys turned executives indulging in something that they themselves have always wanted to see. It’s probably a bit of both.

It’s also a great deal of fun.

I’ve heard complaints from some quarters that the Marvel Studios films (in particular, Iron Man 2) were sullied by their need to lay the groundwork for The Avengers. Never mind that Marvel Comics themselves always have engaged in exactly this manner of intra-company world-building.

I realize that this is another case of me staking out an unpopular position, but I preferred Iron Man 2 to the original. I think that the earlier installment benefited (as did the first Pirates of the Caribbean flick) from a combination of exceedingly low expectations and an unexpectedly entertaining central performance. I felt that it was weighted down by its grim Afghan torture sequence and its origin story obligations. The sequel, however, was able to get right to the good stuff.**

For all of this build-up, I don’t know that I have all that much to say about The Avengers. It’s safe to assume that I loved all of the same parts that you did–especially those involving the Hulk–and that I inwardly groaned at director Joss Whedon’s trademark killing-that-character-wot-you-like scene.

The highest recommendation that I can give The Avengers is that my wife Vicky, who famously hates any movie that exceeds 90 minutes, not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but declared it a “no watch-check” film.*** That might not equal $200 million in box office receipts, but it’s quite an achievement.

*Yes, the X-Men and Fantastic Four–each of which have had multiple big-screen adventures–are teams of superheroes. The distinction between them and the Avengers is that the former began as fully-formed teams, whereas the latter is an all-star group composed of heroes that previously headlined individual books. Comics have been doing this sort of thing since the 1940 debut of the Justice Society of America, but it’s a first for live-action films.

**Said “good stuff” including Scarlett Johansson in a black catsuit. I am not made of stone, folks.

 ***Her review system is based off the number of times she looks at her watch.

Categories: Movies Tags:
Comments are closed.