Friday, June 15, 2007

The Earth's Mightiest Heroes Coming to Big Screen

When one imagines the reaction of a comic book fan to the news that The Avengers (totally different than The Avengers) were finally coming to the Big Screen, one imagines images of geeky childhood delight. Well, according to Borys Kit of the Hollywood Reporter, the first part of that equation has arrived. The Avengers will be coming to the big screen, with a screenplay by Zak Penn.

But the second par of that imagining, isn't happening on my part. Instead, I worry. I worry an unreasonable amount. I am getting hives from worry. I am very precious about my dear Avengers. You see, they are my favorite superhero team. I own every issue of their comics, no small feat, and have stuck with them through thick and thin. Sure, I don't think that The Avengers have ever been as entertaining as the Giffen/Maguire/Dematteis era of The Justice League, but their lows haven't been as low and their "average" level of writing has kept me entertained for over thirty years. So, in my preciousness I am worried that any Avengers movie will lack the heart of what I enjoy about the franchise.

But my preciousness is really the least of my worries. I am more concerned with the fact that The Avengers are a TEAM, a very large team, as this picture demonstrates.

That picture was drawn in the 90s. Since then the list of heroes who have been a part of The Avengers has only grown. No, I don't expect any movie about The Avengers to try to include every Avenger, but I do expect the movie to be a team movie and that means team movie problems.

What team movie problems?

Well, there's the whole, "how do you introduce the team members to an audience who might not know them" problem. This problem was key in the weaknesses of the Fantastic Four film. Too much time covering the back story and you end up with no narrative.

Then there's the "too many heroes" problem. What heroes do you choose and how many? How many are too many? Which heroes get personal narratives? Do any? Is this just a "group" story, in which case it isn't very Marvelesque, or does it have the requisite Marvel soap opera qualities?

Finally, there's the "satisfying the fanboy" problem. How obscure do you get with the members of the team? Do you do the "original Avengers," Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, and Thor (with Captain America coming quickly, but the Hulk leaving as rapidly)? Do you go with the "classic Avengers," Iron Man, Ant-Man (in one of his multiple forms), Vision, Captain America, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Wasp? Is that even really the "classic Avengers?" What about Black Panther and Beast? They both rule and spent a lot of time hanging out with the team.

I don't want to think about it. I'll just think about the animated movies they did recently. They were okay. They lacked the Marvel essence, but they were a good team adventure.

I don't even want to think of who the villain might be in an Avengers movie.

Zak, I don't envy you the attempt.

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