Mouse here…. Coming into the weekend to see The Avengers, I hardly doubt that there are any people that HAVEN’T seen any of the movies leading up to it (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, or Captain America). With that said, I’d say less than one quarter of the people that are seeing this film are actual comic book fans and even less still collect them on a regular basis. With that said, Marvel has done an incredible job at building up the hype for this movie. To be honest, I think this started off as an experiment. “Let’s just put a little dilly hinting at The Avengers and see how the audience reacts to it.” Samuel L. Jackson broke the comic book look of the Nick Fury character (which was originally white old man with a salt-and-pepper military haircut) and showed up after the ending credits of Iron Man about the “The Avengers Initiative”. And the fans reacted…hard. The internet was a-buzz with all kinds of Avengers rumors. Thoughts on who would play the Mighty Thor or Captain America, which Avengers would even BE in this movie (the roster for this team is a laundry list of Marvel’s who’s who), or even IF this movie was going to be made. The trick was how to engineer this mega team of superheroes without having to give one person the spotlight. And so Marvel decided to go on a superhero journey using “us” as the experiment. They added another Avengers-hinting scene at the end of The Incredible Hulk (starring Edward Norton), produced Thor and Captain America AND added more Avengers-themed scenes in those films as well. All those movies did well by box office standards. And now the moment has come. The Avengers movie has just come out and they did it right! Eat your heart out, Justice League. Marvel just kicked your ass. So what of this movie, you say? Mind you, I was a heavy comic collector when I was a kid. I knew of all the characters before there was movie hype about them. So it goes to say that I’m coming into this whole thing with a bit of scrutiny. Each film leading up to this one I had to look at and be sure Hollywood didn’t just butcher the franchise like they have with other Marvel-themed movies… *CoughDaredevilGhostRiderFantasticFourPunisherElektraX-MenLastStandSpiderMan3 Wow, that was a long cough. But yes, individually, they did an amazing job at building up each character that would form The Avengers. And the movie…WAS FREAKING AWESOME! Like most movies, I just set myself a low standard because if I’m disappointed, I’m not missing much. Knowing I had seen all the previous movies AND being a former comic book fan made it hard to NOT be totally jazzed about this film But it delivered in spades. What I will say is that all of the Avengers get fairly equal screen time. Not one star overshadows the other, but there is more emphasis on the “super” part of the team (Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man) than the “not-so-super” part (Black Widow, Hawkeye). I can forgive that, though. (I could have used more Black Widow ass shots, though) Having Joss Whedon write the screenplay was a brilliant move. A veteran of BOTH comic book writing AND movies (as well as TV shows) gave this man the right tools for the job and it shows. Like all his previous work, he emphasizes the great things the heroes do with some not-so-heroic moments sprinkled with some humor to really bring the audience in. He also approached this movie very matter-of-factly; the movie is, and should be, a fun popcorn flick. There’s nothing really deep, no welling of the tears, no third-level psychological inner meaning here…just a good kick ass movie that leaves you with a good feeling when you leave the theater. If you’re looking for some deep character development and a multi-level storyline, I’d kindly direct you to The Dark Knight Rises. But if you just want to be entertained. This is a no brainer. Go see THIS…NOW! And if you didn’t get who the character was at the end of the film with the purple skin and the vertically rippled jaw…let’s say he makes a good hint for The Avengers 2. Until next time, I’ll be back in my corner.