EDITORIAL: Why The Avengers?
Why I think people seem to be more enthusiastic about Marvel's The Avengers than FOX's X-Men:First Class.
I have noticed the question rolling around for quite some time now "why all the hate for First Class while The Avengers is receiving nothing but anticipation?" Well, I have two answers to that question, one personal and one not so personal (and also not a fact but a theory). My personal answer would be that I always have been an Avengers nutcase. I don't even bother denying it. In order to even begin with the non personal answer to this question let's first take a look what has gone before.
People have been talking about The Avengers as if it was going to be the first time anybody, anywhere will get the opportunity to see a "group" of heroes in a full fledged, honest to goodness, "potential blockbuster" capacity. This of course, isn't in any way true. The X-Men began their run long ago. With three films to their resume, they are what we could consider an "established commodity."
In three previous X films (two of which were pretty entertaining) we have seen their legendary leader Cyclops reduced to a whiny, ineffective, non essential, emotional, wimp that really had no business in any of the films to begin with. We have had to bear witness to Storm, the African goddess that weaves in and out of an accent (in the same scene). We watched her levitate briefly, twice, instead of spending all her free time flying because she absolutely loves the freedom and it relaxes her. We witnessed a version of Wolverine that was much more "subdued" than anything that we have ever been familiar with. And along with searching for answers about who he really is, he seemed more concerned with searching for acceptance from anyone.
We have witnessed a non Russian Colossus, a non Australian Pyro and we will soon see a non Irish Banshee. For a group that placed as much importance on being as nationally diverse, as it did on it's members being mutants, the only nationalities three films have managed to present so far is four (American, Canadian, African and German).
Now there are many more things I could list but I think I have produced enough evidence to make my point in just a bit. As I said before, the X films were entertaining, even if they did at times irritate most of us and infuriate others for a various reasons (something I am sure The Avengers will also do.)
We have also been lucky enough to see two Fantastic Four films. Another group brought to life before our very eyes. Now, I have heard every complaint under the sun about this film from fans. As an outsider (I have never liked The Fantastic Four much) I have to say that outside of Sue Storm being miscast, I think they nailed the groups personalities and characters. I even think Alba did a good job as Sue. Mis-cast? Yes, but she did the best she could.
The Major problem with The Fantastic Four films can be found in the raping of three of Marvels oldest, most legendary characters. The Silver Surfer looked phenomenal but who came up with the idea to make his powers originate from his board? I'll tell you who. It was the same creative genius that decided it would be cool to see a Colossus/Electro version of Dr. Doom ride it around while the FF joined their powers into a Super Skrull (I forgot about him) in order to take him down. And Galactus..... There really is nothing I can say about the cloud that any of you are unaware of.
Having said all that, I still enjoyed the Fantastic Four films more than most people did. Which leads me to my point. You can say whatever you like about these films, there is plenty there to pick apart (as I'm sure there will be with The Avengers). Continuity can be overlooked, no movie should ever follow any comic book story or there would be no sense seeing it. I have said all along and still beleive, that the major problem with these films rested in the characters. They captured some of what made some of the characters who they were but missed terribly with most of the others. I think the X-films did a fantastic job with Professor X and Beast and a few others. Like I stated earlier, I think The Fantastic Four did a great job with the group itself and dropped the ball with everybody else in both films.
THAT is where The Avengers still looks promising. No matter what story line The Avengers end up using, whether it's Loki and The Hulk or Skrulls or whoever they fight. So far, Marvels films have captured the personality and character of the heroes we will see in the film. Stark, Fury, Black Widow, Banner/The Hulk, Thor and Captain America all look to be spot on versions of the ones we know and love. It's not going to be a case of meeting someone who reminds you of a friend but acts differently. At the very least, we will know the characters in the film very well. That's where we were all at least a little disappointed with the other films and thats the one point most of us agree Marvel has nailed, the characters themselves.
Marvel and Joss Whedon may make a completely terrible movie and X-Men:First Class may be the best CBM of all time. The problem at this point is we have seen what FOX does to our favorite mutant characters. We have also seen what Marvel has done to their's without outside input.
I am planning on seeing both films and hope they are both fantastic but when asked which one I anticipate the most and have more faith in, I would have to say MAKE MINE MARVEL!
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