Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
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Bronx, New York, United States of America
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December 13
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Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact nickleshi@aol.com for more info.

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MAY 20, 2012 10:50PM

The Success of the Avengers

Rate: 7 Flag

Another week, another box-office victory by Marvel's The Avengers. As of this writing, it has earned an impressive $457,000,000 domestically and an unbelievable additional $723,000,000 in foreign ticket sales, bringing its global total to over a billion dollars already. If it can keep it up, it is on track to steal the crown from Avatar as the highest grossing motion picture of all time.  What is the secret of its success?

First and foremost, it is a movie that fans have wanted to see for a long time.  The greatest heroes from Marvel Comics united in one live-action film, what's not to love? People want to see the DC Comics equivalent, too -- Justice League -- but Marvel managed to make it happen first.

The Avengers movie is the culmination of years of planning and teasing.  When it finally hit the screen, it lived up to the hype.

It was faithful to the original source material.  There were no major deviations from what fans loved about the comics. (The fact that Ant-Man and The Wasp were missing is no biggie -- maybe we'll see them in the sequel.) They even finally managed to get the Hulk right.

They took it seriously, but not too seriously. It was a fine line and they pulled it off superbly. The actors brought their A-game, giving it their all, but also having fun with it. It wasn't just camp and silliness, there were moments of real emotion too. And everytime something happened that might make the audience's eyes roll, the story didn't shy away from acknowledging it and doing something that made viewers laugh, smile, or cheer.

Every character, big or small, had a purpose and moment (or two or three) to shine.

The action and special effects were awesome, and most importantly, served to move the story forward.

It might not be a film that will earn any mentions as one of the best classics of all time, but it arguably is one of the best popcorn flicks ever made, and that's saying a lot. If you're looking for some great escapist entertainment, you can't go wrong with The Avengers.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is steamrolling through the competition.

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Do you think Dark Knight Rises will beat it's total at the box office? Seems tough to do.
Nice, summation, Nick.

As for the Dark Knight Rises.... i think it could have offered tough box office competition to the Avengers... if they had better characters/Actors. I'm still highly dissapointed in the choice of Hathaway and the early 'teases' only reinforce that. I'm hoping I'm wrong and it is as good as Dark Knight, but right now, i cant imagine it being as good, much less better.
assuming the next Nolan Batman movie is as good as the 1st 2, it will easily surpass The World's Blandest Heroes.

but, that's why there will never be a live-action JLA movie. Marvel has kept tight control of the (boring) tone of the flicks leading up to this planned payday.

DC gives the studio and director too much leeway to build a cohesive movie universe. plus, they need to find someone to play Wonder Woman who won't get upstaged by Lynda Carter.
Malcolm, good point. DC Universe needs to find a happy medium.
Too bad Hollywood doesn't use this formula more often! Nice review.
I discussed several aspects of the Avengers film, and one of the creators of the property, at length recently at my daily weblog Kirby Dynamics:

http://kirbymuseum.net/blogs/dynamics/

I think the main reason the Avengers film was so successful is that the Marvel movies have become an "event," like the Super Bowl. They are like a new J.K. Rowling book -- there is a built-in audience that will line up to be first in line to see the new episode.

The Marvel movies are also a rare chance to participate in a group experience. And the films appeal to adults and children. So in my opinion even if the film had been poorly reviewed, and poorly made -- tens of thousands of people would still have flocked to the theaters. It's just something to do on the weekend.

If the movie turns out to be enjoyable, that's a bonus, but I suspect regardless of the critical acclaim or lack thereof these movies get, millions of people are going to keep paying to see them for maybe 10 or 20 more years.

Marvel really hit the jackpot with these properties. And the word "jackpot" is a pun -- again, please consider checking out Kirby Dynamics to learn more about the man behind all of these popular Marvel movies.
One of the things that make good pop culture great is discovering new depths to the characters, or to add new depths (with retroactive continuity or "retcon"). What's interesting about The Avengers is that Joss Whedon and company didn't do that; those depths were always there.

Where DC's heroes were always buddy-buddy in the 60's, Marvel's often fought each other, and didn't always get along when they weren't. DC's Justice League has existed in a lot of animated versions (and one really bad live-action version you can only find on "grey market" video tables). They don't have that kind of interest.

And there is an explanation. The live-action Justice League pilot was "tarted up" by the idiot producer and director, trying to make them a team of screw-ups like a spandex-clad WKRP in Cincinnati. Too many Hollywood types think they're superior to the old Jewish guys who wrote comic books in the 1930's, and can't resist getting their greasy thumbs all over the source material.

Whedon respected the material and featured what was unique and good about it. That's why Avengers and its predecessor features did so well, and why the best DC could do, its sputtering treatment of Superman over several TV series and movies, is second class.
Robert, how then to explain the lackluster performance of a Marvel character like Ghost Rider or the first Hulk movie or the Fantastic Four films, etc.? And would that apply to DC heroes too? If so, Green Lantern pretty much failed.

You're explanation is spot-on if we only consider how a movie "opens" but I think when a blockbuster has "legs" and continues to dominate the box-office, it might actually be a "good" movie. Now, we can debate the various degrees of good in popcorn flicks vs. art cinema, but you see my point I hope.
Interesting take, Nick...check out a female perspective on "The Avengers"!!