Is Marvel Putting All of Their Eggs in One Basket with The Avengers?

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The worst kept secret in comic book film news was finally “confirmed” at the San Diego Comic Con, which was that Joss Whedon is officially directing The Avengers. In other news, there’s a pretty serious oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But seriously, fans rejoiced as geek-favorite Whedon confirmed he was heading the epic movie team-up, and even dropped a few plot hints and casting decisions, including The Unusuals’ Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. The best part of the whole Avengers hype blitz came during the panel, in which the entire cast of The Avengers - Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johanssen, etc. - came out to the most forced display of unity I’ve ever seen. Granted, it was pure gold for the SDCC crowd, completely overwhelmed at the thought that this film was actually going to happen. Not to mention, they also threw together a weak “teaser” to be shown as well.

As you might’ve deduced, I’m not sold on an Avengers movie, mostly because I don’t like the assumption on Marvel’s part that the Captain America and Thor movies are going to be smash successes. They may be, and judging by Iron Man, all signs point to yes - but diving headfirst into their biggest production yet without assessing moviegoer reaction to the solo films of its main players is a mistake. If you look at Marvel’s track record, they only have one wildly successful movie franchise that is solely under Marvel Entertainment and not another studio. Spider-Man and X-Men are not under the Marvel Studios umbrella and therefore cannot and will not be included in the onscreen Marvel Universe, at least not anytime soon. Based solely on Iron Man, (The Incredible Hulk was a failure), Marvel is going full steam ahead on a film that combines franchises that don’t really exist yet.

Call me pessimistic, but this could collapse everything that Marvel as an all inclusive studio has been building towards. If Captain America or Thor fails next summer, that essentially makes one third of The Avengers’ main cast unmarketable. There’s always a chance it wouldn’t matter anyhow; summer moviegoers will see anything, after all. But it’s still a risk, particularly when there are hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into these projects.

So while Joss Whedon directing and the Marvel Universe coming to life in theaters is exciting, let’s not forget that all we really saw at SDCC was a bunch of actors on stage hugging one another for a pay day and a teaser that literally showed us nothing. I urge you, as comic book and movie fans, to at least wait until next summer upon viewing Captain America and Thor to start building your hopes up for a successful blockbuster of Avengers magnitude.

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