Is "The Avengers" the best movie of all time? Probably not. Is it my favorite movie of all time? I guess time will tell, but it has certainly jumped toward the top of the list, and there can be no doubt that it is one of the best "comic book movies" of the past decade or two. I loved "The Dark Knight" and "Spider-Man" and "Iron Man," but I have always maintained that my personal favorite superhero movie is "X2." That may have changed, but if it has, it is only because I loved "The Avengers" for all the same reasons I loved "X2."
When I painted the murals for my daughter's room, I told you that part of my inspiration was a cartoon special I had seen as a kid that combined all of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons into one awesome half-hour. There was seriously nothing cooler than seeing the Muppet Babies hanging out with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And this isn't just a comic book thing. Crossovers are popular across genres.
Soap operas do it. Prime time shows do it (Hawaii 5-O and NCIS just did one!). Movies do it too. Remember how excited people were for Star Trek: Generations?" Kirk and Picard were finally going to meet! I am also reminded of the recent film "Midnight in Paris." Now some of that stuff actually happened, but how cool is it to think about Picasso, Hemmingway, Porter, and tons of other writers, artists, and musicians all hanging out together?! They were the Avengers of culture!
So right off the bat "The Avengers" is looking like a win for me, because you've got all of these great heroes, each from other movies, all getting together for the first time. That doesn't mean it will be good, not by a long shot, but it already has a leg up in the hype and excitement departments. And then the movie takes all of these different characters and blends them together perfectly into a movie that is exciting, funny, at times touching, and most of all just plain awesome.
I think we have director Joss Whedon to thank for that, because it is not an easy job to take a bunch of stars and give them each the chance to shine just the right amount without any of them overpowering the others. But he does it. In the same way that "X2" did it. You may have your favorite at the end of the day, but I don't think anyone can complain that their personal hero didn't get screen time, or any awesome moments. If you like superhero movies, you can't miss this one. If you like summer action blockbusters, go see this movie. If you enjoy comedies about a group of outsiders being forced to work together, this is the movie for you. And if you don't like any of those things, then I'm sorry for you, but don't worry, Oscar season starts in the fall.