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Late to the Show

Unless I’m mistaken, The Avengers set a new record for biggest opening weekend. Everybody I talked to and everything I read said that the entire world had seen the movie, yet I had not. It was a busy weekend spent out of state visiting relatives. Good times, but devoid of any spandex wearing superheroes. So last night after work we decided it was time to stop living in the dark – we rounded up the kids and headed off to the theater!

As another point of interest, we saw the 3d version of the show. We hadn’t planned on it, but our timing made it so that we could walk in to the 3d movie or wait 40 minutes for the next one. Ever tried spending 40 minutes in  crowded theater with a 3 and a 5 year old? I shelled out the extra cash and expected to not be wowed by the 3d.

I was shocked by how much better the 3d was than I expected. Even the previews were impressive! Granted, they could have cut at least three of the previews out, if not four or five, but I still did my best to enjoy them. Then the main show came along and it was a nonstop good time. Not to worry, I won’t share any spoilers, but I do have some thoughts.

As entertaining as The Avengers was, in hindsight there were parts that just don’t seem necessary. Maybe I missed something or maybe there’s behind the scenes work that will be more apparent in Avengers 2. As it was, I just didn’t understand why it unfolded the way it did. Sure, the scenes worked to pull the heroes together and make a team out of them (well, mostly), but looking back it seems forced or contrived. Does it detract from the enjoyability or entertainment factors? Hell no! It’s just the writer in me that doesn’t like a cop out.

Even with that said, Joss Whedon is the man. I’ve been a worshiper from afar ever since Firefly came out. Now, with the Avengers behind him, I see no reason for my faith to waver.

My favorite character / superhero? That’s an easy one! A little past halfway through the movie I had both my kids on my lap. They weren’t scared, just enjoying it. Acting on a hunch, I leaned in between them and whispered, “Are you guys ready to see Daddy’s favorite superhero?”

They were, and they even asked which one. I hushed them, we were in a movie theater after all, and told them to keep watching. Sure enough, in a few moments Bruce Banner got angry. Then he proceeded to spook the crap out of my son when he took off after Black Widow.  I was thrilled by the superhero deathmatch throughout the movie as well. Trust me, that’s not a spoiler, I was just reminded of the special run comics I’d enjoyed as a kid that pitted this badass against that badass. Very fun!

And as The Hulk kept on getting better and better, I felt he really dominated the latter third of the movie. I was cool with that, I’ve been a Hulk fan since I was old enough to watch The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. I don’t doubt that played a part in me becoming a competitive powerlifter a few years ago (and setting a couple of state records).

Now where did the movie fall short? I’m not sure it did, to be honest. I was disappointed to see Mark Ruffalo instead of Ed Norton as Bruce Banner – but that doesn’t mean Mark Ruffalo didn’t do a great job. In fact, it might have been necessary to not have Ed Norton in it. I have a feeling Mr. Norton might have stolen the show. Captain America was a heck of a lot better in The Avengers than he was in his own movie. Sure, I get the necessity to have the first Captain America to set the stage for much of what occurred, but wow was it boring. Tony Stark and Iron Man? Great, as usual. Pepper Pots in some short shorts in the beginning? Can’t go wrong!

That leaves Thor. My wife got my daughter to agree that Thor was there favorite because he was so “dreamy”. Barf. I used to like Thor before that comment. I think he’s too scrawny to play the Norse God of Thunder, but at least in this one he wasn’t prancing around with his shirt off. I want my superhero tanks to be big and beefy. Well defined is a must and I understand the physique I’m asking for is either the result of computer graphics or a lot of anabolic chemicals. All the same, when I’m talking about bigger / better than human – I expect bigger / better than human. At no point did Thor disappoint me though.

Natalie Rushman / Natasha Romanov / Black Widow. I actually thought the actress had changed between Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Scarlett Johannson bulked up for The Avengers, and I don’t feel she did so in a good way. I much preferred how she looked in Iron Man 2. Even better though was how she acted. She kept it real, displaying a hint of weakness at the appropriate times and even showing how terrified she’d been whenever she was within the same time zone as The Hulk. Black Widow truly kicked ass, but compared to the superheroes involved, her performance was outstanding.

That leaves Hawkeye. Personally, I think they could have left him. Behind. Out. Whatever. Seriously, a bow and arrow? I’m a hunter and I’ve spent a lot of time hunting and on the range with a bow. I love shooting, but there are so many reasons why bringing a bow to a Ragnarok level event is not a good idea. Especially when the people around you have firearms, energy weapons, and mythical hammers that are capable of summoning lightning strikes. As a kid I was never into The Avengers much. The Incredible Hulk and X-Men were my comics of choice, so I didn’t know much about Hawkeye. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything either.

So what’s next? Avengers 2? Count me in! Iron Man 3? I’m there. Captain America 2? Er…okay, why not. Another Hulk movie? Yes, please! But until then I have to stick with my own superheroes in the stories I write. Most of them can only aspire to the Black Widow / Hawkeye level of prowess. Although there’s one guy in the Voidhawk series that seems kind of hulkish…

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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