Friday, April 27, 2012

Assembling this Summer's Biggest Hit!

It's that time of year again...perhaps my favorite – when the summer movie blockbuster season is in full effect. One this summer's most anticipated movies is the much-hyped and star packed The Avengers. The film is based on the popular Marvel comic book created by Stan Lee and Jack "The King" Kirby back in 1963. The comic was Stan Lee's answer to giving his readers more bang for their buck – by assembling a team book of his top-selling characters...kind of exactly like what Hollywood has done with the movie.

The Avengers has done the impossible! It's placed the characters and by default the actors of some of the biggest superhero franchise films into one action-packed movie. The film version of The Avengers like the book its based on is bringing together a line-up of Hollywood heavy hitters that each all of their own have carried their films to big box office success. But as impressive as this is, because of my pop-culture pedigree (it never fails) whenever a franchise film like this is set to launch and is based on a popular comic book I get bombarded by questions...
The Avengers come alive on the big screen!

Exactly who are The Avengers?

Well now everyone knows who The Avengers are. They're plastered all over every major city, on every billboard and on the side of every bus. But everyone knows them as Robert Downey Jr. who has played the armored avenger Iron Man in two successful blockbuster flicks, Chris Evans who is the star-spangled super-soldier Captain America (and before that he was part of Marvel's first family as the Fantastic Four's Human Torch) and Chris Hemsworth who is the mighty God of Norse myth Thor. Yes...this is the perception of the modernized team of heroes that the world is calling The Avengers, but with all due respect before Downey's man of steel (or iron, or fiberglass for that matter) there were more than four decades of Avengers history.

So...who are The Avengers?

Well, they're comic book characters – you know that, but when the original team of heroes came together similarly to what you're gonna see in the film, they were manipulated by the Thunder God Thor's trickster brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston once again) into coming together to battle a common threat...that threat was The Hulk (realized in CGI but modeled after Mark Ruffalo in the film). The original team line-up did include Thor, Iron Man and an unwilling Hulk, but to round-up the roster The Avengers were also joined by the diminutive duo Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Realizing they'd been duped by Loki, the group pooled their resources and fought their common foe...and on that day The Avengers were assembled! Moving into a midtown Manhattan mansion, the roster has since changed and evolved to largely include almost every single character in the Marvel Universe including The Black Widow brought slinkily to life by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 and who now is joining the team, alongside another veteran member of the team Hawkeye is played by Jeremy Renner recruited for the role after introducing the archer in last summer's Thor.

The cover to the first issue of The Avengers.
The Avengers are called Earth's Mightiest Heroes and soon they'll be Hollywood's Biggest Box-Office Draws and if the history of the comics is any indication, the film franchise could have a significantly long life. The Avengers have fought off alien invaders, would-be world dominators, evil dictators and megalomaniacs...they've even faced-off (and most recently again) against The Uncanny X-Men. Can you imagine that movie deal? It's probably already in the making, but let's stick to what the well of Avengers history has to offer.

Rumors are already spinning that for the sequel the team will be filled out and will introduce Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne – the real names of Avengers original team members Ant-Man and The Wasp. And one of the more winning rumors is that Desperate Housewives Eva Longoria is being courted for the coveted role of the whimsy Wasp. Note to Hollywood: That would be brilliant casting! But still there are decades of stories to choose from!

The X-Men films haven't introduced two of Marvel's most popular mutants and it has been theorized that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver the twin children of Magneto were kept out of last summer's hit X-Men: First Class in order to be more appropriately be introduced alongside The Avengers line-up. That would open the door to revealing new Marvel characters including The Vision and the one of the team's most menacing adversaries – the evil Ultron. That has summer blockbuster all over it!

So who are The Avengers? That is now one of the most loaded questions in popular culture, because if the film does as big at the box office as is anticipated, it'll be something that Hollywood will claim ownership over, while legions of comic book fans will thumb through hundreds-upon-thousands of pages of Avengers comics attempting to cast the more than 60 members of the roster, which have come to include Spider-Man and even The X-Men Wolverine and most recently Storm. One thing is for sure now that the formula is proving its worth, it won't be long before the competitive DC Comics Justice League movie is set in motion.

Avengers Assemble! Blockbuster battle is on!

JC Alvarez is the host and personality behind the nationally syndicated radio-show "Out Loud & Live!" on Modern World Radio ( and is also a pop-culture/celebrity columnist and Nightlife Editor for EDGE On The Net (

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