"I won't believe that this is happening until my ass is firmly planted in the cinema!"
I remember saying that when I shared the first wave of promotional images on Facebook and Google+.
Well, I've already seen it twice since the movie came out here last Wednesday and I still can't believe that it happened.
Not only did they make a movie about my favorite comic book title ever but they made a great movie period. I'm not gonna go into details as to how and why because that's what Rotten Tomatoes is for.
What I want to answer is: How does somebody whose online persona has the word "avenger" in it and who celebrated 10 years of being a fan feel about THE MOVIE?
Frankly, I was disappointed.
I didn't expect it to be brilliant.
I didn't expect it to be mindblowing.
I certainly expected a movie that only an Avengers fan would love.
None of those expectations were met. And I'm glad that they weren't because as a huge fan, I feel a sense of entitlement to this franchise. The fandom is not the loudest and not the biggest in the world, to be sure, so this is a make or break moment for us. The Spider-man, X-men, Batman, and Superman fandoms can live their bad movies down on the strength of everything else they got going for them. While the Justice League fans will always have their TV shows, us Avengers fans will only have this one shot at a blip in the radar of pop culture.
Who better to steer us towards that direction than a geek god like Joss Whedon! I remember jolting up from my early morning stupor two years ago when they formally announced at SDCC that he'll be helming the movie. Of course, that event also finalized Mark Ruffalo's replacement of Edward Norton in the role of Bruce Banner as well as the movie roster, which did not include Ant-man and the Wasp.
Did I mind Norton's departure? Not really, though I would've preferred he reprised his role if only for the additional star power to match Robert Downey, Jr.
To be honest, they could've cast a completely new set of actors because I don't really care about the individual movies or characters. I only care about the team. Same reason I didn't mind that Captain America's ears weren't exposed or that Thor didn't have his helmet on.
Regardless of casting and costume differences, everybody in the end did right by their roles including Cobie Smulders. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get Robin Scherbatsky or, worse, Robin Sparkles out of my head but she did right as Maria Hill!
As for Pym and Jan, if they couldn't get their movies out in time, it didn't really make sense for them to be included here because we'd have to spend time detailing their powers and origins instead of moving the story forward. Hawkeye and the Black Widow made sense because as SHIELD Agents, they're already right smack dab in the middle of it all and their powers don't really require much defining. Their scenes are actually the ones I looked forward to the most in the movie.
Yes, Hawkeye is from SHIELD and not from the circus, Nick Fury is black, and the Avengers were forcibly rather than coincidentally assembled. I suppose we owe much to Mark Millar and the Ultimates for paving the way to make this movie happen, but I do wonder what the treatment would've been if it was based more on the 616 timeline.
We'd probably still have Loki but would he still have been allied with that alien race? We'd probably have Skrulls instead, which I've been very vocal not liking the idea of. If not Loki, I would've preferred Ultron (with or without Pym) or Kang or both. That would be fanboy heaven for me!
Speaking of, the identity of the alien invaders and the cameo at the mid-credits were spoiled to me before I watched it. The only solace I find from that is that neither were all that surprising revelations - the former has already appeared in a previous adaptation and the latter has long been rumored.
I already miss those days of rumor-, speculation- and news-mongering. That's almost four years of my life since the first Iron Man movie. I can look forward to a sequel but if this doesn't get one, I'd be perfectly fine with it. How can we possibly top this? We have to do it right or not at all.
I feel strongly about this because as a vocal fan, this movie definitely pushed my personal branding. Everyone I know probably remembers me when they watched it so I also feel a certain level of responsibility. Case in point: My friends applauded ME when we watched the movie together! People I know have been letting me know how much they enjoyed it! I'm just glad they had a good time and that I'm somehow a part of it.
So thank you, Joss Whedon and Marvel, for this gift to the fans of Earth's Mightiest Heroes to hold over the heads of everybody else.