In which anticipation for the Avengers pays off

The Avengers has come and gone for me. Color me disappointed. Not in the film itself,it was everything I wanted it to be. The banter was there, the characterizations were there and the spectacle, oh the spectacle, was there. But what’s disappointing is that now it’s over, I’ve seen it and wonder, what’s next.

The Avengers movie was a dream in the waiting for me. Sure, I’m 45 now, but I distinctly remember as a kid wanting to see real live superheroes. Those old Marvel cartoons and Super Friends were great, but as a little kid I just knew superheroes were out there. Growing up, wanted to go to New York City so bad. Why? Just to catch a glimpse of Spider-Man swinging through the city. I knew he was there and if I could just get my Dad to take me, it would be the highlight moment of my young life. Alas, it never happened and a dream was deferred.

Later, there were some live action TV shows featuring superheroes. There was Spider-Man. Good show, not great. But Spidey’s webs in that show, classic. Those weren’t webs baby, they were some serious ropes. And I don’t recall it clearly but I don’t think we ever saw webswinging in those shows. Wall crawling, sure. But no swinging. There was, of course, the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno Hulk series. While I remember the Lou Ferrigno Hulk stuff in that show what always stood out to me was how very sad David (huh?) Banner’s life was. Not much superheroics when you’re all weepy at the end of the show. There were more: Thor, Daredevil, Captain America, etc. But none of these were really great. I guess the technology of the era wasn’t up to the challenge. So again, a dream deferred. (And yes, I know I’m not talking about Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman – buy hey, I’m a Marvel guy).

But then, in 2002 everything changed. Spider-Man was brought to the big screen and they let a geek do it. Spider-Man was everything I wanted to see when I was a kid. I had to wait until I was 36 to see it but there it was. Wall crawling and web swinging! And everything kind of spiraled out from there. So it was all good (well not Daredevil or Elektra but still, progress). Then someone at Marvel remembered the two things that made Marvel Comics so good back in the sixties. Real characters and a shared continuity. Iron Man hinted at this in 2008 with a small clip at the end of the credits when Nick Fury tells Iron Man about the Avengers Initiative. Be still my geeky heart. Were they really going to try this? Were they really going to make an ensemble superhero movie? And every movie Marvel made subsequently held out that promise.

I won’t lie, I have been looking forward to seeing The Avengers, not since 2008 but since about 1978. That small, quiet kid who so desperately wanted to be something more, to be special, wanted to see that opportunity for superheroics held out to him. He wanted to know it was possible for superheroes to exist. And Marvel finally provided that, 30 years later.

But, as with all things so eagerly anticipated, they eventually arrive. Sometimes those things are everything you hoped they would be, and sometimes they are not. But either way, they have occurred. And that, it seems to me is the real problem with anticipation. Be it for superhero movies or life changes eventually that moment will come. And then you have that “now what do I do moment?”. Personally, I’m facing that “what do you do now” moment with my career. I think the correct response is to live in the moment and know you’ll make the right decisions that will ultimately take care of the future. Hopefully I’ll be as successful as Joss Whedon and Marvel as I make my decisions.

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