For those of you that don’t want to read any spoilers for the Avengers then I’ll give you time to click away from this page...
I'll just put this picture of Scarrjo here so you don't get to reading....
So I got a chance to check out The Avengers movie tonight. Coming from years of reading comics it’s interesting to see such a hardcore “comic book” movie brought to the big screen. It’s very much the type of comic you would have found at just about any point during the 70’s and 80’s from Marvel. It obviously owes a lot to Hitch/Millar’s Ultimates which are those classic 70/80's comic ideas boiled down and gore’d up to seem new again. This movie version perhaps would best be described at the ultimate “Ultimates” version of the characters and situations. Throw in some snappy Whedon dialogue and it proves to be the perfect blend of hardcore comic fan service and mainstream fan bits. I admit to thinking that Marvel Studios was maybe being overly ambitious with the idea of having so many movies dovetailing into one mega movie. So many things could have gone wrong. Instead they have managed to recreate the ideas, the visuals and the emotions that comic fans have always loved about mainstream comics and dare I say streamlined it and perhaps perfected it. It’s the superhero movie fans have been asking for since fans started asking for superhero movies to be made.
As it stands Avengers is a great live action comic book. It doesn’t redefine superheroes on screen as much as just sharpens them to such a point that there isn’t really a need to go further with the concept. That may sound like crazy talk but I came out thinking “well that’s it” It didn’t feel like a beginning to me as much as it felt like the end of the style of superheroes I grew up on. Those types of stories have their “Ultimate” champion. A loud big brother that can defeat all comers and suck up cash like the giant portal to another dimension that Loki used the Cosmic Cube to open in the movie. Between Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men and to a certain extent Watchmen the super powered hero of the 60’s,70’s, 80’s has told its story. Which begs the question: What’s next?
I’m not saying superheroes are dead. That’s been said time and time again for the last 60 years and time and time again it’s never happened. I do think the idea of a superhero as it has been sold from Marvel and DC over the last 60 years has gone about as far as it can go. If you look at the comic industry sales prove that the fans have no interest in reading the comic versions of the characters. They have transcended the comics and now exist in a perfect form somewhere else. They exist in 3d with CGI and Robert Downey Jr. breathing life into them.
I am actually excited about the future of the superhero. I want to see what does it mean to be a superhero today. Not some nostalgia trip or deconstructed Akira/Chronicle...power drives you nuts scenario. What would make someone put on a costume and try and change the world?
The old superheroes have had their day. They live on in a better place.
Time for new heroes in a new way.