Ethan Survives 15 Hours, 6 Films and an Assembly of 'The Avengers'
by Ethan Anderton
May 6, 2012
At midnight on May 4th, The Avengers assembled on the big screen for the very first time (read Jeremy's review here) and audiences have turned up to the tune of over $200 million this weekend alone. But for the entire day preceding, some dedicated and loyal fans of the iconic superheroes had enough free time (or skipped out on work) to spend an entire day in the theaters as part of the epic Marvel Marathon hosted by AMC Theatres. The event ran through Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, in that order, leading to The Avengers, and damn was it great.
This was my first time sitting in a theater for a long marathon of movies all from a single series, though I was interested but unable to attend events for The Lord of the Rings and most recently the Harry Potter franchise. I've partook in double and even triple features of the films in theaters at any given time, but this experience is quite different. Sitting with fellow nerds, most of them suited up in their best Captain America and Iron Man shirts (I decided to support the whole team with my 2011 Comic-Con exclusive shirt), the experience is truly a unique one and sometimes annoying if you're sitting next to a guy who sounds like a broken accordion when he breathes and always shows the crack of his ass when he stands up.
But that's not what's really important. What's really important is just how the right crowd can make an experience like this that much more enjoyable. When it comes to seeing films with the people who love them, they laugh, clap and cheer at all the right parts. This was no different as we sat in a movie theaters for 12 hours, watching directors Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston assemble our Avengers little by little. Sitting through each individual movie, I found myself increasingly excited about the prospect of making our way to the epic assembly of superheroes that's been built over the past five years with no less than five feature length films building up.
However, I was also wondering just how the style in each film, and the strength of each character would be utilized in an ensemble setting. How the hell was Joss Whedon going to pull this off? Despite the fact that even my least favorite films in the series (Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk) were fun in the theater again with this comic book loving audience, there were cracks in the well-molded plan leading up to The Avengers. Mostly The Incredible Hulk has holes with its final scene where Tony Stark talks to General Ross (William Hurt) about recruiting Bruce Banner for "a team," something that doesn't make sense after seeing The Avengers. However, in the context of this marathon, I found myself more forgiving of certain flaws in each individual film. Even the clunky S.H.I.E.L.D. centric parts of Iron Man 2, merely there to help set-up this superhero ensemble, felt fine in the grand scheme of things, even if they don't let the sequel work as a standalone film.
Then before I knew it, the time had come for pigs to fly, as The Avengers were coming together on the big screen and it wasn't a cruel April Fool's Day prank. Thankfully, director Joss Whedon took all the best parts of each film (even some of Kenneth Branagh's Dutch angles) and threw them together in a blender with a shitload of great action, some quick, witty humor, and came out on top with a respectful comic book movie that should please fans everywhere. Though the first act is a little choppy and weak on the action front, once the team starts coming together, everything and everyone fits in its proper place.
The dynamic between our heroes is perfect, from the difference in their strategies and personalities to their hilarious banter, mocking each other at almost every turn (mostly with great nickname one-liners from Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark). The Incredible Hulk and Bruce Banner brought to life by Mark Ruffalo is easily the best incarnation the green mean machine has ever seen on the big screen (okay, that rhyme almost made me throw up in my mouth). Even S.H.I.E.L.D. gets a chance to shine through Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) and especially Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).
Honestly, it's been a long time since I have heard this much raucous laughter, excited applause, and straight-up cheering at any midnight showing. Joss Whedon has assembled The Avengers in one of the best comic book movies the genre has ever seen. Normally, I'm not a fan of things like magic and cosmos in comic book movies (I know it seems weird), but the way all of the grounded emotional elements of the series mesh with the outrageously fantastical pieces is almost too good to be true. And I'm not even going to spoil the credits scene that delivers one whopping set up for a sequel. Frankly, it's this film that already has me excited for another Marvel Marathon in another few years when The Avengers 2 eventually arrives.