At the age of 12,I read "Avengers" #1,by the incomparable Stan Lee and the legendary Jack Kirby.I had just started reading Marvel and,suddenly,here was a comic with 3 of my favorite characters (Thor;Iron Man;and the Hulk)in it together!It was,to me,magical!Even moreso when,in issue #4,Captain America was added to the mix.There were no 'comic book stores',per se,then and,to find each and every one of my precious Marvel comics,my big brother Johnny,who was my best friend for more than 50 years,would drive me around on what we called "comic book hunts".And,though Johnny was the family rebel/babe-magnet/tough guy (he never lost a fight in or out of the ring!),and I was the family introvert/nerd,he
not only supported my new obsession,but learned all about the characters by listening,even encouraging,my various ramblings about them.Sadly,my best friend is now gone.And the magic of those days long passed...Almost.
Joss Whedon has done such an incredible job of imbuing "The Avengers" with the magic only childhood
can see combined with roller-coaster thrills;sprinkled generously with nuance;character;suspense;humor
and spectacle that he has not just done a movie for ALL ages,but a milestone for THE ages.You don't
have to love comics to love this movie.Just like you don't have to be an ichthyologist to love "Jaws",or
a boxer to love "Rocky".This is not just another summer blockbuster.Thanks to Whedon and each of his performers,amid all the excitement and fun,one can also see the subtle nuances in each of the characters.Like with "Fellowship of the Ring",this is that all-too-rare group adventure story where each and every member of the group is unique unto themselves.Its not their costumes or abilities that set each apart from the other,its their spot-on dialogue and the way each member of his awesomely
talented cast delivers it.Thats why this is a movie,not to rent,but to own.Because,each time one watches it,one can see something new.Yes,there are unbelievable effects,but they are used to serve the plot,NOT the other way around.
If viewed with an open mind,"The Avengers" skillfully delivers the pathos,humor,and distinct character
development of a small,indy film wrapped in a massive package of fun and excitement and escapism.And
on a personal level,each time I see it,yes,there's an old man watching it.But there's also a 12 year old
boy,watching it,transfixed by the magic,with his big brother sitting right there with him.And,when the
closing credits roll,I'm always smiling.And I truly believe that,somewhere,my best friend Johnny is smiling too.
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