First off, if you had asked me a decade ago, two decades ago, even three decades ago, hell, let’s go there, I’m that old, or four decades ago, if I would ever live to see such an animal as an Avengers movie – a real mainstream big screen epic summer blockbuster Avengers movie – I would have laughed at you. And I am one of the biggest Avengers fans you’ll ever know. It is just not something I would have even dreamed possible. Add in the fact that it would be preceded by two Iron Man movies, two Hulk movies, a Thor, and a Captain America movie, and that it would have its own internal continuity – my mind would be blown.
Yet, here we are, on the brink of the release date, and here I am, a forty-plus year old fan of Earth Mightiest Heroes, and I reiterate – I never thought such a day would come. A little background on where I’m coming from – some folks say I am one of the leading authorities on the Avengers online. I don’t believe it for a second. That said, I did review the Avengers comic on a bi-weekly, sometimes weekly, basis at the Avengers Forever website for almost a decade. I was also one of the loudest voices in the forum there. Just for the record the AvengersForever.org community can still be found here on Facebook, and yeah, I’m still there too. Back on topic, the movie is finally here, only days away, and here’s what I hope will, and won’t be in it.
No exposition and telling us what we already know. Please don’t waste my time retelling everyone’s origins over and over again. This is a sequel, technically a sequel to six movies that has been building for several years. We know who’s who, let’s get right to the action. Similarly, let’s not have them fight each other (though we have seen the big three going at each other in previews) for long. The real highlight of the team concept is working together. Cooperation. Come on, we’ve all known about this since “Sesame Street.”
That’s part of what I want to see. I want to see them work together, I want to see the teamwork the Avengers in the comic books are known for. Unlike the Justice League, a group of solo superstars put together as a team, the Avengers are a fighting unit that trains together. I hope to see this, as well as the character interaction that will come from it. Witty banter in the midst of battle, another Avengers hallmark.
That said, this is a fine line. Stay away from camp. So far the Marvel cinematic universe has walked that thin line between realistic superheroism and camp. And it’s very difficult to walk that line when you introduce costumes like Captain America’s. It worked well for story reasons in his own movie but I have worries about it in Avengers. He is the standout. There are reasonable explanations for everyone’s outfits on the team except Cap. I hope it works.
Marvel’s The Avengers has the potential to be the greatest superhero movie ever made, and also if it’s not very careful, it could be a box office disaster, setting the genre back for decades. I’m thinking positive. When I have folks who don’t read comics excited about it and talking about the movie, talking about Loki and Hawkeye, about quinjets and helicarriers, I get excited. This could be the real thing, folks.
What would I want to see in my dream Avengers movie? Melodrama. At its core, the Avengers comic is all about melodrama. Comic books in the 1970s and beyond are the bastard stepchild of soap opera and modern mythology. I would want in my perfect Avengers movie some of that good old-fashioned melodrama, after all, that’s also what Hollywood thrives on.
Come on, we all loved seeing the Avengers fight the Zodiac for three to four whole issues, but does any moment in those battles ever compare to the reveal that Libra is Mantis’ father? Nope, not even close. How about those great stories early on in the Vision and the Scarlet Witch’s relationship where protesters treated the android/mutant thing like an interracial marriage? Or what about that moment where the corpse of Wonder Man stumbled out of a crate, pointed at the Vision and accused him of stealing his mind? Yeah, baby. That’s the stuff movies are made of. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Movies, unlike comics, which are serial fiction seemingly without end, tend to tell one story from start to finish, with a theme flowing throughout. Nothing fits the Avengers like that than Ultron. I know I have said here on Biff Bam Pop! before that Kang is the Avengers’ ultimate foe, but one thing pushes Ultron to the top of the heap. With Ultron, it’s personal, he’s ‘family.’
Try this on for a movie plot. Hank Pym, Avenger and scientist, builds an artificial intelligence that calls him father, and the Wasp mother. This AI, calling itself Ultron turns against him and tries to destroy the Avengers. To do this he builds a son, the Vision, to infiltrate and defeat them from within. This son in turn changes sides and becomes an Avenger for real. Later Ultron builds a bride, Jocasta, based on his mother and sends her to destroy them. Had enough Oedipus yet? It also doesn’t hurt that Ultron is the original Terminator, wanting to wipe out mankind in favor of a machine race.
That story (or stories) is right from the comics and would entrance and creep out movie audiences right out of the box. The magic is that it’s all in the family, an internal threat that endangers the world. How’s that for melodrama? Maybe I’ll get my movie in the sequel…
So take that, Hollywood. That’s what I would want to see, as well as what I hope we’ll see (and not see) in the real movie. I can’t wait! It’s only days away!