A lot of times, an anticipated blockbuster movie has no chance to live up to the hype.
The Avengers is not one of those movies.
Thanks to living in a big city and a quick Facebook “Like,” I was able to see the new Marvel Comics movie three weeks ahead of time. It was incredible.
Before I get into the review, though, I have to give an account of the experience of attending a comic book movie prescreening.
A few months ago, I “Liked” the Avengers Facebook page. That turned out to be a good thing a little over a month ago.
When I was working at home, I saw the Avengers had a Facebook update with a video from Samuel L. Jackson. It turns out, the page was having a contest. The five cities with the most Likes earned a prescreening on the Avengers three weeks in advance.
The five cities chosen were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and…Houston!
The page had a link to click on in order to reserve a spot for the prescreening, which was at 10 a.m. on a Saturday. I went ahead and registered myself and one guest.
I figured this was something that would be majorly overbooked, but when one of my friends, Kevin, couldn’t sign up because it was full, I realized this is going to be a legit event.
I invited Kevin as my guest because he is a huge Marvel fan. He was excited to come along.
The theater the prescreening was at was about 45 minutes away at my old stomping grounds of Clear Lake. Just in case, we decided to get there two hours early in case it was overbooked. So we left at 7 a.m. and got to the theater right around 8 a.m.
I was a bit surprised that there were only about 100 people in line ahead of us. I was even more surprised that there weren’t a lot of over the top costumes. I had read the day before if you dressed up for the movie, they would let you in early as a VIP.
I don’t have any comic book shirts (Star Trek and TMNT shirts are the extent of my nerdiness), but Kevin wore a Capt. America shirt.
“I almost didn’t wear it,” Kevin said, “but I figured I wouldn’t be the only loser there wearing a shirt.”
The highlight of the early-arriving patrons was the guys at the front of the line. I called them the Ghetto Avengers. You can see why with this photo.
I’m not sure which part I enjoyed more — the fat guy with the green shirt, the mini Hawkeye bow, the Frisbee for the Capt. America shield, or their buddy who I assumed was supposed to dress up as Thor and decided against it.
These guys, as well as some other costumed people, were allowed into the theater first. Then I noticed the lady with the reservation checklist starting talking to people in line that were wearing Avengers shirts. Those people were also sent to stand in the VIP line.
At this point, I realized Kevin wearing his shirt might have been the best thing he could have done. That turned out to be the case, when the lady came over and sent us to the VIP line because of his shirt.
They were allowing 50 people in as VIPs. We were numbers 47 and 48.
We had to pose for a group photo. I’m on the far left with Kevin, the Asian guy wearing the Capt. shirt, is beside me.
The movie was in 3D IMAX, and as VIPs we were allowed to sit in the center section of the theater. Perfect seats.
We ended up sitting a few seats away from the Ghetto Avengers. I found this particularly funny, considering they got there at midnight, and we arrived eight hours later.
Before the movie, a radio station sponsoring the event had the best dressed fans come to the front. They had a superhero pose contest followed by a dance off. Yes, it was as humorous as it sounds.
I had to get these photos from a freelance photographer since they didn’t allow us to bring in our cell phones. We even got wanded before entering the theater to make sure we had no electronics on us. Clearly, they didn’t want any pirating!
Then, it was time for the movie.
Normally movies in 3D aren’t worth forking over the extra bucks. Not the case this time. From the opening credits, you can tell the 3D was going to be fantastic.
Since all of the previous Marvel movies had developed the characters, there wasn’t a bunch of time spent on this. Instead, it hops right into the action and assembling of the heroes.
One worry going in was whether each of the four main Avengers (Iron Man, Capt., Thor, Hulk) would get equal screen time. As we saw with the X-Men movies, this is normally tough to do.
However, all four had equal screen time in the movie. Scarlett Johansen and Samuel L. also got their share of screen time.
In the past, Marvel has struggled with the Hulk character. The movie with Eric Bana was awful, and the Edward Norton one wasn’t that much better.
It turns out, Mark Ruffalo is a great Bruce Banner. He played the role perfectly, which I thought was a big plus for the movie.
The story was well done and did a good job capturing the tension when the main characters. The script was exciting and funny with plenty of laughs and “That’s fucking awesome!” moments.
A few months back, I wrote my top five Superhero movie franchises. The Avengers was so good, it would move up to No. 2 on the list, just behind Nolan’s Batman movies. It was that good.
Not only do I recommend seeing it, I recommend paying the extra bucks to see it in 3D IMAX. It is totally worth the extra cash.
I plan on seeing the movie again in theaters. I must say, though, getting a chance to see it three weeks in advance was an awesome and memorable experience.
• I was going to write a Horrible Predictions column for the NBA playoffs, but frankly, I don’t care anymore. I’ve been waiting for these playoffs for a month, and now, with Rose out with a blown out knee, I’m thoroughly depressed.
I’m going to say Miami over Boston in the East and L.A. over San Antonio in the West, with Miami winning the title in six. I hate it, I really do. I’m not saying Chicago would have beaten Miami and won the title, but it had a great shot to do so.
• Aside from the Ashton Jeffrey pick (an absolute steal), I’m going to take a wait and see approach with Chicago’s draft. Best-case scenario, I think they got some solid starters. Worst case, the special teams should be improved.
• I do like with the Texans did in the draft. I wanted them to get Coby Fleener, but other than that, it is a team that certainly understands what players fit their system.
• Best drafts: Colts, Steelers, Patriots, Lions, Cardinals and Bengals. Worst: Rams (so many picks, but blew a lot IMO), Browns (with the exception of TRich), Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins and Seahawks.
• Early Super Bowl pick: New England over Dallas.
• Finally, our new website 45Sports is up and running. I’m real proud of the look of it (Desktop wise. We still need to fix mobile). We are hoping this site can become one of the best for local sports in the country.
Swing on by if you want and let me know what you think.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!