When my college friends planned an outing to watch the midnight release of The Avengers at a theater near school, I agreed without knowing much about the movie. I hadn’t even seen the trailer, normally a prerequisite if I was going to pay downtown Los Angeles theater prices. But after a rough week of pulling all-nighters to work on finals papers, a midnight movie sounded just right.
At that point, I had seen and liked a handful of superhero movies, but I wasn’t really a fan. I hadn’t followed the release news and speculation, and I definitely wasn’t watching each movie diligently as it came out. That all changed with The Avengers.
With a decade’s worth of hindsight, I can recognize now that the movie is unevenly paced with a bulky beginning and a fairly cheap ending, but I can also see what appealed to me so much. At the time, I don’t think I would have been able to put into words what I had seen in it. Now, I can say that what stood out to me with The Avengers was that it felt ambitious and new. Not necessarily in cost, though it was an expensive movie, and it wasn't impressive to me that these five characters got together onscreen (because I hadn't particularly cared about them before). The Avengers movie felt ambitious because it was a hero movie that focused on relationships, trauma, and how people exist alongside their trauma.
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