What The Avengers Did Right

Fantasy Films

The Avengers PosterAt this point, no one doubts that that the years Disney invested in The Avengers has paid off exceedingly well.Β  Only a handful of films have ever passed 1 billion dollar mark worldwide, and in a few short weeks, The Avengers managed to join their ranks.

It has also broken a number of other records, including the highest opening weekend to date. The results almost guarantee another Avengers film, which I’d welcome along with many other fans.

Given the impressive sales and the large numbers The Avengers continues to draw several weeks after its release, it’s clear that the team behind The Avengers did a number of things right.

Of these, the element that stood out to me most was the characterization, an essential element of any good story.

Disney plotted for years to connect the audiences with their characters by giving most of the superheroes their own film(s) first. Because of that, I could already relate to the heroes. I had an interest in their fate, which I think many people shared, and that alone provided a natural audience hook. Without this build up, such a strong and varied cast could overwhelm the viewer and cause disconnection from the film.

Throughout the film, the characters acted true to their vastly different personalities, which Disney previously established. This provided conflict that pushed the story along, even through the phase of rounding up the superheroes.

The characters made the film not only about explosions and chases, but also about individual struggles and failures, about mercy and sacrifice, and good versus evil. Superhero films aren’t usually known for depth, and this one had its share of snappy action scenes and special effects, but it went a bit deeper because of the characters and their choices.

Do you agree? Disagree? And did you have a favorite character?

Comments

  • Emily Sawyer
    May 16, 2012 - 8:04 pm · Reply

    I definitely agree… I hadn’t really thought much about it until you mentioned it, but the movies Disney previously did on the individual characters did help form a connection with them in The Avengers. I’m also interested to see if they will be coming out with some movies on Hawkeye and The Black Widow.

    Picking a favorite character is extremely difficult; they all add a unique dynamic and I like them each in their own way. If I had to pick one as my top favorite though, it would probably be Captain America and/or Thor. Their quality of character puts them higher on my list, but my next favorite would probably be Iron Man. I love his dry sense of humor… it lightens up the mood of the movie. πŸ™‚

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 18, 2012 - 11:13 am · Reply

      I would like to see the other characters get their own movies, and since The Avengers has done so well, there’s a good chance they will. They’ve already lined up sequels for Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, so they’re definitely looking to expand the franchise. πŸ™‚

      I agree that it’s tough to pick a favorite when there’s so many interesting characters to choose from. Thor is probably my top choice, but as you said, Iron Man added a valuable note of humor to the film, and they all brought unique strengths to the table.

      • Emily Sawyer
        May 18, 2012 - 10:25 pm · Reply

        I agree that it’s very likely they will come out with movies for the new characters, and I’m extremely excited about the sequels coming out! It’s interesting to watch where they’re taking the stories. So far I’ve heard that they’ve stuck to the original storylines pretty well, although I haven’t read much Marvel myself.

        • Sarah Sawyer
          May 19, 2012 - 1:13 pm · Reply

          Oh, that’s interesting. I hadn’t heard one way or another if they adhered to the original Marvel storylines.

          I have wondered before what the avid comic book readers think of the movies. Often, the more you know or love a story in its original form, the less you like movie adaptations (Narnia being an example for me). πŸ™‚

          But if they stuck close to the comic books, I suppose everyone is happy!

          • Emily Sawyer
            May 21, 2012 - 7:55 pm ·

            I don’t remember where I heard that, so it may or may not be true, but I found it interesting also.

            Movie adaptions do have a tendency to fail to meet the expectations of those that are die-hard lovers of the original story… Narnia has been a dissapointment to me as well. Probably the only movie based off a book that I love equally to the original story is Anne of Green Gables. That one never fails to satisfy, and followed the storyline well. πŸ™‚

  • Janeen Ippolito
    May 24, 2012 - 7:37 pm · Reply

    As a semi-serious comic book fan, I have to say that in general we’re more flexible about character adaptations–but that depends on which fandom. Since comic book characters often live in a floating timeline with multiple universes, there are plenty of different ways to portray characters. Often a comic book fan will have their favorite comic book portrayal and so they’ll want to see that particular version come to the big screen.

    This is at the heart of the issues between the old Spider-Man trilogy and the new Spider-Man movie. This reinvention isn’t just a matter of wanting a new batch of blockbusters–they’re pulling from a different comic book version of Spider-Man.

    As far as my favorite Avenger, I’ve always had a soft spot for Thor, but I’m starting to like The Wasp as well.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 29, 2012 - 4:34 pm · Reply

      Oh, I’m glad you shared your perspective as someone who knows a more about the background of comic books. I had a vague idea that there were differences between depictions of the same comic book character, but I didn’t realize it varied as much as you’ve described. Do you ever feel like they’ve “ruined” a character you loved?

      And you’ve cleared up a mystery for me. I’ve been wondering why they could possibly need to go back and start from the beginning with Spiderman. Now I’m more interested in seeing the movie, since it actually has a different origin. πŸ™‚

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