So, my comic book dorkiness never actually encompassed the majority of the Avengers in their solo works, let alone their group books. As a little kid, I read Batman, Superman, and Spiderman almost exclusively (with a smattering of Scrooge McDuck and other Disney comics), and mostly those were comics picked up on my family's many cross-country drives. And then, in the late eighties, I went through a big X-Men thing where I read a ton of stuff and bought a bunch of back issues (and holographic trading cards, god help me), with just a tiny sprinkling of Sandman in after a friend recommended them. (This era is why I have an unabashed love for Gambit/Rogue, Pryde/Wisdom, Polaris/Havoc, and Banshee/White Queen, by the way.)
My love for the Avengers, separately and together, has all come from the movies. Since I'm on Tumblr and following a bunch of more dedicated comic folk, I've gotten to see some backstory in panels people put up and comment on, but I'm ok with just knowing rough outlines. So really, how did I end up so excited about all these characters? Without that knowledge of the comics, was I coming into the story without the spearpoints that Jo Walton described, which can be so important to emotional impact in storytelling
. I might not have enough forward momentum to bring me into the story on a level deeper than "ooh, 'splosions and funny!" But the movies (barring the various Hulks, which I didn't watch) have been so excellent in their own individual ways, and interconnected just carefully enough, that I fell in love with them in this particular medium, and came to this movie with as much excitement as if these had been my nine-year-old self's favorite comic book purchase at the Stucky's somewhere off a highway. ( So, the movie )
The thing is, if you build up this kind of connective tissue, it makes all the big action setpieces resonate. It makes them live, it gets us invested. Otherwise they just turn into emptiness. There's probably nothing I like better than a really smart genre film, and this is a pretty good example of that. I ranted earlier in someone else's LJ about a condescending-as-fuck Slate reviewer talking about how clearly
Joss Whedon's brand of humor had been brought to bear on this movie because it's the only way adults will excuse themselves for watching this sort of silly tripe meant for kiddies - if we couldn't say to ourselves, "But it's ironic!" than of course we'd stay away from the big pretty popcorn movie only meant for kids. Screw that. I've never been particularly attached to a nerd identity, but there's no better way to get me to fly into a pure, unholy nerd rage than people who think that if a story fits a "lesser" genre, the story automatically has no value.