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Off My Mind: Why 'The Avengers' is Already a Success

Disney and Marvel Studios are clearly doing something right when it comes to adapting their characters.

Soon the entire world will have The Avengers unleashed upon them in movie theaters. While everyone may not have seen it, those that have are saying positive things about it. There have been many comic adaptations that came and simply fizzled out. With the record breaking box office receipts so far, this does not look like it will be following that pattern.

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The idea of a comic book movie containing six main characters (along with some very strong supporting ones) is almost absurd. Along with the number of characters, you also have the different actors involved. All will be vying for camera time. In the past, movies with multiple heroes or villains ended up becoming convoluted and would lose all sense of direction. A common practice has been to keep each character/franchise separate in its own little corner.

Marvel has gone against the common practice. Instead of the past notion of keeping the characters separate, they've been working to build up its "Cinematic Universe." This way of thinking will give the movie a large advantage over past comic book movies and is a direction other publishers may want to consider.

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The Avengers may be the first movie in its own franchise but it's not the first movie with the characters. The previous movies, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, all played a role in setting up The Avengers. These previous movies help give viewers a background on each character and should give the movie more room to tell a story rather than focus on the origin of characters.

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When Thor was released, I made the argument that he wasn't as big of a household name as Iron Man or Captain America. Yet audiences went to see the movie because they knew it and the Captain America movie would be leading into The Avengers. All of these movies are pieces of a bigger picture and those that have been enjoying them will want to take in every piece they can get.

DC/Warner Bros. has agreed with this philosophy. Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment, commented on the idea of having the separate franchises rather than work towards a Justice League movie. Geoff Johns even commented a couple years ago that he felt the DC characters were "bigger than Marvel's" and they should stand on their own rather than be "smashed together."

This is also a question that I get asked by my neighbors when taking out the trash. This is something that makes sense to the average movie-goer and it makes sense to comic book readers.

"When are we getting our own movie?"

DC Comics has been successful with its animated movies. Although, what you'll see is a majority of the movies focus on Batman or Superman. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern have had great movies but the chances of any sequels to them are pretty slim. The same can be said for an animated Flash movie. A live action Flash movie has been in discussion but despite the success of The Avengers and the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, it could still be considered a gamble. Green Lantern had its faults but if we people knew it could serve as one of many lead ins to a Justice League movie, it could have been received differently. The chances of Wonder Woman or Martian Manhunter getting their own films are virtually nonexistent. But they could easily shine in a Justice League movie.

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Movie audiences love when movies are tied together. Knowing they are seeing part of a trilogy or franchise gets them excited. They will be on the lookout for hidden clues and easter eggs knowing that there could be some indication to what might come next. Keeping characters in a self contained universe does have its advantages. Nolan's Dark Knight character wouldn't fit in next to Superman in blue and red spandex. But a Batman with a different take could fit in a Justice League movie.

Viewers want to know they're buying into something bigger with the potential to be epic. There are other Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and even Ghost Rider that only exist in their own little universes since the rights are retained by separate studios. Imagine how great it would be if they could exist in the same universe as the Avengers. Hopefully this is something that Warner Bros will reconsider as well so that we can see all our favorite heroes (from the same publisher) together on the big screen.