Tuesday, May 8, 2012


...for a blog called "Citizen of Oa," a title which only a comic book geek would even get, it gets pretty serious in here sometimes.  There are serious family issues, serious health issues, serious marriage issues, hell, there are even serious pet issues discussed.  (No, I have not killed our dog.  Yes, I still want to.)  But for this post, at least, I want to get back to comics.  Even if you've never read a comic book, even if you just don't get it, even if you think that all comic shops and their owners and clientele are really like what you see on The Simpsons or The Big Bang Theory...do yourself a favor.  Plunk down eight bucks at your local cinema and go see The Avengers.

Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions have been years setting up for this movie, beginning way back with the second Hulk movie, and continuing on through both Iron Man films as well as last summer's Thor and Captain America.

You do not have to have seen any of those movies to enjoy The Avengers.

If you have even the most basic knowledge of pop culture gleaned from TV (or even hearsay) you will seriously enjoy this movie.  You don't need to know anything about Marvel Comics characters, really, because Joss Whedon, the director and co-writer, brilliantly explains who they are without unnecessary (or boring!) exposition.  Briefly, Iron Man is a billionaire playboy inventor who created a suit of armor for himself so as to prevent a piece of shrapnel from getting to his heart.  Thor is...Thor, the Norse god of thunder and brother to Loki, the Norse god of mischief.  Captain America was the first -- and last -- recipient of an experimental Super Soldier formula back in WWII, who fought Nazis but was accidentally thrown into suspended animation during the War, only to be revived today, 70 years later.  Hawkeye and Black Widow are master spies and assassins.  And the Hulk is that same big green guy who pops up when Dr. Banner gets angry ("You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!") that we all probably remember from the old TV show.

Frankly, I didn't even need to tell you even that much.  You don't need it.

What you need, is to go see this movie.  It is most definitely a summer action popcorn movie, not an art film.  But the action is absolutely breathtaking.  The characterizations are wonderful, the acting quite good (especially Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner) and the action sequences are without equal.

It is, and I do not say this lightly, the best superhero movie I have ever seen.  Up until now that spot was reserved for the first Iron Man movie, which I still love.  But Avengers blows it out of the water.

In fact, it is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen, period.  I rank it up there with the first Star Wars (the really first one, Episode IV, not the execrable Episode I) and Forbidden Planet and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It's that good.

Oh, and if you are a comic book fan?  Well, you've probably already been to see it, even if you're a DC fan like I am...but if not, you are in for the treat of your life.  There are so many Easter Eggs and little treats and tips of the hat for dedicated fans that I could spend three columns just exploring all of them.  They really made the move so much more special for me...but I was with complete comics noobs who knew nothing at all about the Avengers, and they had a blast.

If you're a fan of the little "button" scenes that some movies tag on after the credits run -- like in Young Sherlock Holmes when Sherlock's math professor turns out to have survived and signs the hotel register as "Professor James Moriarty."  As you may have heard, this movie has TWO of them.  Be sure to stay for both of them!  The first one only long time Marvel fans will fully appreciate, but it sets everybody up for the sequel, no matter how much you know (or don't know) about the Avengers' roster of villains.  And it's really good.  The second one is a treat for everybody and is well worth staying until the bitter end to see.

Just saying.

Now get out of here and go to the movies already!

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