In the beginning there was the Hype, which moviegoers know may leadeth to box-office paradise even amidst the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the people gypped of the price of admission plus popcorn and two hours of their short lives upon this earth.
But today there is great rejoicing in the Buffyverse as the world bears witness to the awesomeness of Joss Whedon. All hail the men and woman in unitards!
The Avengers is an absolute blast, go see it. Best reserve your tickets online as there are long queues.
* * * * *
Our sister wanted to bring our 5-year-old niece to the screening. “NO!” we cried, not just because we allow only one infantile monster in the room and that is us. No, we feared Mika’s mega-decibel appreciation of Captain America, which manifests itself in bloodcurdling shrieks of “I love you, Captain America!” and flying kisses.
“Who do you like better, Captain America or Thor?” Cookie asked her child.
“Captain America! Mwah! Mwah! (flying kiss)” said Mika.
“I thought you liked Thor,” I reminded her.
“Captain America!” It should be noted that when her parents took her to see Captain America she had no interest whatsoever in Steve Rogers before he got the super-injection.
“Thor!” For when Chris Hemsworth donneth the outfit, cape and wig and speaketh in archaic English we both start giggling uncontrollably.
“What about Iron Man?” Cookie suggested, for we feel it our responsibility to teach the next generation that good looks and large muscles are exponentially enhanced by scientific genius and billions of dollars.
Mika was not interested in Iron Man. “How can you not love Robert Downey, Jr!” we screeched. “The line delivery, the comic timing, the sense of irony!” She was unmoved.
“She liked the giant Hulk hand in the toy store though,” Cookie said.
“We worry about The Hulk,” we said. “What’s there for the big green guy to do?”
“Don’t worry,” Cookie assured us. “In the comics whenever there is some seemingly indestructible force they always send in The Hulk.”
“Hulk!” we cried.
So we went to the movies without the kid.
* * * * *
We were standing in line at the box office when someone messaged us. “Are you watching The Avengers?”
“No, we’re standing in line to watch The Lucky One.”
He believed us.
* * * * *
All Robert Downey Jr needs to be a superhero is a Black Sabbath T-shirt. And the armor.
One of Joss Whedon’s strengths as a storyteller is the way he invests his material with a psychological acuity that overrides the silliness without losing its innate humor. In The Avengers every character is clearly delineated and his/her role defined so no one looks like a spare or a concession/contractual obligation. (True, Whedon was working with characters who had already been developed in comics and previous movies, but this only made the potential for disaster greater.)
So Iron Man is the former child prodigy whose money and brilliance have kept him from ever having to grow up, Thor is the favorite son who had to learn humility in order to rule, and Hulk is trying to live with his boundless rage by staying away from the things that might trigger it. Captain America is the old-fashioned hero whose ideals and beliefs seem out of place in the contemporary world, the Black Widow is atoning for her sins in the past, and Hawkeye has to live with looking like a member of a Village People tribute band (He doesn’t get a back story in the movie).
But for their amazing powers they’d be just like the rest of us. And that’s the secret of superhero comics.