Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Avengers Assemble!

Marvel Studios
"Look at the size of those opening week attendance and revenue numbers... !"
Why Marvel's The Avengers is the
greatest movie of our time!

Fast paced, insanely fun and riddled with surprisingly entertaining dialogue, Marvel Studio's "The Avengers" is about overcoming adversity and forcing wildly different personalities to work together for the greater good. But the true nature of this film's success is the real story.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you no doubt have heard about The Avengers. The story is about the overcoming of impossible odds and a snapshot of what happens when the right people work together for the greater good.
"On that day... the Avengers were born"

The super-dream team's first epic.
Spawned in 1963 by comic book legends Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby, the Avengers were first thought to be Marvel's answer to rival DC Comic's 'Justice League'. Not so. Marvel simply had loads of ideas and most, like The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Dare Devil were overnight successes. Others, like the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor–not so much. So what to do? Put them all in a book together, of course!

The Avengers were the right concept realized at the right time. A bunch of misfit heroes jammed together where none of them were very interesting alone (at least at first) but together, they were gold!

No lie, the Avengers were hands-down my favorite comic book growing up. The array of different heroes; aliens, Gods, Demigods, Androids, Mutants, Super Soldiers, Sorcerers, even Cowboys–all came together to a lend their talents to Earth's mightiest heroes" (the Avenger's official tag line for decades). When the heat got to deep for anyone else, call the Avengers, they'll get the job done. 

(For a deeper look into the archetypes of modern man the Avengers represents, check out my analytical peak into the Avengers, here.) 

Enter the dark days.
Human Torch
Hey you, on the left, aren't you...?
After a bevy of overzealous printing, marketing and PR efforts while employing a slew of high-priced creative talent (some artists and writers receiving as much as a seven-figure annual salary!), along with some less-than-profitable TV and merchandising experiences, the once and mighty Marvel comics found itself considering bankruptcy by 1998. In order to save the company, Marvel sold the on-screen rights to many of their most popular intellectual properties to SONY and FOX who wanted them for the big screen.

What ensued were a series of wildly successful, if not frustratingly unfaithful movies starring each of the sold Marvel properties; The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Blade, The Punisher, Wolverine and Ghost Rider. All made money but none–minus perhaps the the first Spider-Man and X-MEN: First Class–stuck to the original source material, thereby never realizing their true potential. This, however, was a necessary evil. 

From the Ashes
The Avengers
An Iron-clad case for success...

An unforeseen side effect of the FOX and SONY hero movies was that Marvel, now flush with 5% kickback from the box office draws, began in 2004, to start their own movie production company. 

First up, Iron Man–followed by a slew of hit movies all with varied degrees of success, like Thor, The Incredible Hulk (c'mon, it was good, at least compared to the Ang Lee version) and Captain America. Establishing a track record of success paved the way to let Marvel Studios become a major force for entertainment in Hollywood and set the stage for The Avengers.

But it was not an easy, effortless road to victory. To acquire the capitol necessary to realize Avengers and the films leading up to it, Marvel had to put up the considerable value of their intellectual properties as collateral. That was a monumental risk, but it payed off. In spades!

As of this post, The Avengers has grossed more than $702 million in global ticket sales in just 11 days, the fasted to do so in movie history. 

(For a full movie review of The Avengers, visit my full movie review on my movie review site, here).

Why The Avengers Really Matters

Hey Hollywood–whose your daddy now?
The Avengers are like the UN Peace Keeping Force of comic books, with members from nearly every racial and socioeconomic strata, if not every corner of the galaxy. Heck, they even had an angry African guy called the Black Panther. This is the core of what makes the Avengers a success–their diversity. Great underlying, message but that's not even the real cherry on top.

Marvel so believed in their ability to produce better hero movies than anyone else in Hollywood, they were willing to bet the farm–double down, all or nothing–to make it happen. 

Reckless and worthy of being one of the greatest happily ever-after stories ever! Kudos to Faverau, Marvel, Whedon and the cast and crew that brought Avengers to us. 

Well done. Well done, indeed.

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