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The Avengers (viewed in theaters 20 June 2012)
About time! Watched this with my sister and her boyfriend down in Fullerton. I’m glad we watched the lead-in movies because without them, I’d’ve been seriously lost. (I mean—for example—Loki’s beef with Earth is never explained, and Thor randomly shows up with no explanation, either, so.) Captain America being “a man out of time” was really intriguing; I kept forgetting (and the other characters basically kept forgetting) that most of life is a bunch of cultural references—and that Steve Rogers (having slept for 70 years) doesn’t know any of them. (Thor didn’t know many/any of the cultural references, either.) I also thought it was interesting that the Avengers fought more amongst themselves than they did fighting Loki, at least until the very end when shit finally got real and they had to pull together or die. Favorite characters? Black Widow, easily, with Hawkeye in second place. But really my love goes to Black Widow; she’s a real character in this film, and she has a history and her own traumas, and you know what? She still gets her shit done because it’s her job and she’s got loyalties, too. Actually, here; read this. I’m not kidding; click on that link and read that article. Do it.

Thor (viewed at home 12 June 2012)
The fifth and final movie that my sister and I watched together in preparation for The Avengers. The character Loki is introduced and the backstory for why he wants to take over and/or destroy the Earth is put into motion. Unfortunately, I felt like Thor‘s characters didn’t have much character development at all—even the title character kind of acts the same way at the beginning as he does at the end, except that at the end, he’s not as willing to just jump into battle as he was to begin with. I liked that he (Thor) didn’t really know how to act in any given situation while on Earth, and I was kind of ticked that Hawkeye (featured more prominently in The Avengers) barely has even a single line—he doesn’t even get to loose a single arrow. What a let-down. I thought the fuss that all those neo-Nazis made about Heimdallr being black (back when the film first came out in theaters) was pretty ridiculous all around; Thor‘s Asgardian characters are based on Norse mythology, which is basically the whitest set of gods known to man. I’m just sayin’.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) (viewed at home 29 May 2012)
The fourth of five pre-Avengers movies. I didn’t know Edward Norton was in this movie! That guy’s such an under-rated actor that it’s incredible. (Hahaha; no pun intended there.) Anyway, it was okay. The Hulk isn’t my favorite character in any respect, but the movie was decent and it was interesting to watch the descent (and rise) of Bruce Banner from celebrated doctor to man on the run working in a soda bottling plant in South America to feared monster tearing up Harlem in New York City (with the help of The Abomination, of course). I read somewhere once that filmmakers from Los Angeles always have their disasters situated in New York City and visa versa; I wonder if that holds true for this film, too. I was sad to learn that Norton’s talks with the company broke down after this film and so his character had to be recast for The Avengers.

Iron Man 2 (viewed at home 23 May 2012)
I’m not going to lie; I liked the first Iron Man better, but this one has more Robert Downey, Jr., in it, so who’s really to complain? It’s got Whiplash, too, but haven’t ever read a single comic about Iron Man, or even any with Iron Man in them, so I probably missed a lot more references than I got. It’s okay, though; the scene where he buys strawberries for Pepper using his Rolex watch is by far my favorite. And that quirk he has where he doesn’t like being handed things. Reminds me of me.

Iron Man (viewed at home 22 May 2012)
Of the five Avengers lead-in movies, I’d already seen both of the Iron Mans, but in the spirit of completeness, my sister and I watched them both again. I liked it. I like Robert Downey, Jr., and his take on Tony Stark like he’s Bruce Wayne (the playboy, not the brooding Batman) is really interesting. Makes me wish I had enough money to just do whatever the hell I wanted with a personal assistant like Pepper Potts to just clean up all my messes for me.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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