A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.
I was fortunate enough to have seen The Avengers this past Thursday on opening night.  I've written about comic books a fair amount since having started this blog, and anyone who knows me even reasonably well can tell you that comic books and graphic novels are by far one of my favorite types of media.

That having been said, The Avengers surprised me in lot of ways.  Although DC Comics will always be my go-to publisher for super-heroes, Marvel deserves a fair amount of credit here. Between Batman, Superman, Wonder-woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern, it's hard to beat the all-star lineup that comprises the Justice League.  However, while I may not have been as big a fan of Marvel's comics, their cinematic ventures (thanks to their acquisition by Disney) almost consistently knock the freaking socks off DC's theatrical flops.  With the recent exception of Christopher Nolan's previous two Batman films, DC has achieved such cinematic feats like The Green Lantern, Cat-woman, and Steel. The list unfortunately goes on.

In the run-up to the most recent Avengers film, Marvel hit one home-run after another with their film releases. Beginning with 2008's Iron Man, they followed up with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man II, Captain America, and Thor.  The Rotten Tomatoes ranking on those films are 94%, 67%, 79%, and 77% respectively.  Not to mention that Natalie Portman's inclusion in Thor was reason enough for any male under the age of thirty to deliver nothing short of glowing praise for the film.

DC's most recent film, The Green Lantern, scored a meager 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and was universally praised for its poor storyline and confusing character development.  I mean it when I say that you seriously have to be trying in order to screw up a character as badass as Hal Jordan.

Switching back to The Avengers however, the movie really did achieve the impossible. It combined on-screen a handfull of larger than life characters (in the Hulk's case quite literally) while doing so in a natural and convincing way.  Each character felt true to life for fans who have followed their comic adventures while at the same time did not go so far as to alienate the average viewer.  That's an incredibly hard line to walk.

While I loved DC's 2009 film The Watchmen for its authenticity in paying homage to the graphic novel, many of my friends who had never read the book walked about from the film confused about what they had just seen (and why there had been a closeup of a large blue CGI penis).

Another area where The Avengers really shines is the balance it strikes between action and comedy.  Whereas a lot of recent comic book film adaptations have placed a heavy and uneven emphasis on large action sequences, the dialog and banter in The Avengers that occurs throughout the movie and even during the fight sequences themselves is what I enjoyed most.  You really feel a connection with the characters, especially if you are at all familiar with their backgrounds.

All said and done, if you haven't yet seen The Avengers, you should. Period. It's one of the best super-hero movies ever conceived, and it does the Marvel universe complete justice in its modern day portrayal of some true American classics.

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A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.