I think Joss Whedon owns a shawarma franchise. But I get ahead of myself.
There were a bunch of ways to watch The Avengers opening day. Okay, a bunch of legal ways. You could go see it during the normal evening hours on the Friday it opens. You can go to the Friday midnight screening. Or you could attend a marathon screening of all the films in the Avengers series, followed by a midnight premier.
The experience was definitely a unique one. I met with a group of friends at a local Denny’s for breakfast (it was convenient to the theatre as much as anything else).
Following that, it was fifteen hours of film madness.
You gain context when you watch things in close proximity. Iron Man 2, even though it came out two years after The Incredible Hulk, occurs concurrently to the events in that film. Nick Fury’s strangely warehouse looking office has screens showing news reports from events in The Incredible Hulk, and Tony Stark’s conversation with General Ross follows from the end of IM2.
The talk about Super Soldier serums and World War II discussions in The Incredible Hulk were pretty straightforward to comic aficionados, but might seem less clear to newcomers to the Marvel background and easily confused movie reviewers. With the background seen in Captain America where you actually see the super soldier program it makes a lot more sense.
You don’t lose as much critical faculty watching this much film at one time. The films seem to be on a much flatter curve. Iron Man is still better than its sequel, but you still absorb much more of the character within the two of them and can ignore more of the overly complicated plot and cast bloat.
Hawkeye’s cameo in Thor seems much less tangential; the first time I saw the film, it felt like it might have been filmed completely separately from the main film, but on a second viewing seems much more integrated to the film, even if it doesn’t fit together as well as Black Widow’s appearance in IM2.
Captain America flows together better than I remember it; Bucky’s death feels more solid than the first time I saw it, and the Howling Commandos remain just great. Is there any way we can get Neal McDonough back?
The last two films in the series, Thor and Captain America, were both shown in 3D, and it worked better than I’m used to seeing it. There didn’t seem to be significant amounts of floating heads (ohh, MODOK. Can we get MODOK too?) or strange issues caused by letting your head wander a degree or two.
The main event, of course, was a screening of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. This isn’t a review of that film, but it was a well put together film. The pacing was strong through most of it, it had at least one of his signature “ohmiGod!*” moments and the final confrontation with Loki’s army feels long and exhausting, but you love every minute of it. It also will leave you hungry for a shawarma.
I can’t say that I’ll ever do a marathon of this scale again; at this point, I’m still kind of exhausted and I’m not sure I’d do this one again. But re-watching the films together before catching The Avengers definitely added to the experience.
*tm & c Chris Claremont