Well, The Avengers is in theaters. You may not have heard much about this little indie flick but here’s what you might like to know. It is arguably the most financially ambitious project in cinematic history. From the moment Robert Downey Jr.’s career rose from the phoenix’s ashes in 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel has been leading up to this colossal ensemble of summer blockbusters.With five movies serving as prequels (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) Marvel has spent a minimum of 750 million dollars in production costs alone just setting the character roster of this movie. Admittedly they’ve taken in over two billion dollars in returns from these prequels. (Quick question: why doesn’t the federal government make movies?)
Anyway, the movie we’ve been getting four years of previews for has finally made it to the screen, and if you’re reading this review then you probably don’t need to be told what it’s about. Pretty standard Joseph Campbell stuff. A being out of Norse mythology named Loki is taking out his dad-always-liked-you-best issues on brother Thor’s favorite hangout spot and bringing a whole lot of District 9 with him for backup. Fortunately Samuel L. “One-eyed” Jackson (Nick Fury) has anticipated that something possibly along those lines might or might not happen in the foreseeable future and has been trying to organize a team of anyone who wasn’t in The Expendables. Failing to recruit Danger Mouse, Tarzan, Scott Pilgrim, Sailor Moon, or the Tick, Fury is stuck with the League of Extraordinary Egos, and the first two acts of the movie are about the machine not working. Why is that, you might ask? Why, when confronted with a threat that big, can’t extreme personalities take the lesson learned from Flash Gordon and just team up and fight? It’s simple really. But it’s no fun that way.
Yeah, we’re giving The Avengers a bit of a roast, but the big boy can take it. Since the eighties, the summer movie season has always been about watching boys play with their action figures. The truth is, the movie was fun. We walked out of the theater satisfied and a little giggly. It should be noted that the dissenters who have to find something wrong with everything can easily deflate the fun factor by saying “Is this movie even about anything?” Point taken. This movie is about something in the way that a roller coaster is about something. If you want to learn the history of roller coasters or the ethical ramifications of inciting adrenaline, you’d best look for those answers in places other than on the ride itself. But the roller coaster in its purest sense is meant for riding. And that’s all The Avengers ever needed to be.