16 May 2015

Avengers: Marvel, Movies and Marshmallows

The other week, I went to see "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" with my family. Terrific, we all loved it. I definitely need a copy of the film for my DVD collection. I appreciated all the work that Joss Whedon and team put in to the production, developing some of the characters. I loved to see new members of one of my favourite superhero teams introduced and brought to life; characters that I had known since my teenage years as a young comics geek.

However, to tell the truth - if I had to find a fault it would be with the action sequences, well crafted though they were. There was just too much on the screen, so some of these were a little too much for me. Everything went by as a blur, particularly those shots where multiple Avengers were on screen at the same time. I'm going to have to sit down and watch some of these scenes again, just to pick up all of the detail.

I have since read other reviews of the film. One stood out to me. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said, "Although this movie is effective moment to moment, very little of it lingers in the mind afterward. The ideal vehicle for our age of immediate sensation and instant gratification, it disappears without a trace almost as soon as it's consumed."

Instant gratification. I want it now. Isn't that the catchphrase of the modern world?

Walter Mischel developed something called we now call the 'Stanford marshmallow experiment' to test gratification patterns in four-year-olds. In this study, children was offered a choice between one reward (say, a marshmallow) provided straight away, or two rewards if they waited for a short period of 15 minutes. He discovered that having an ability to resist eating the marshmallow immediately would indicate success in later life.

The modern 'action film' is fast-paced and breathtaking. Each new release tries to top the previous one. So, in order to attract a modern audience, new action movies need to be faster and have lots of exciting sequences, hoards of menacing foes, fiery explosions chasing people down a corridor. That has to be there to get the crowds in, I know. Yes, that particular 'marshmallow' is sweet - but I personally want something else from my films.

I want a good storyline. I want something to think about when I head off home. I want to be able to lose myself in their world for a couple of hours. I'm looking for emotion, for teamwork and, above all, for truth.

So, I don't see every movie that's at the cinema. I pick and choose something that's special to me. Something worth waiting for. Something that's definitely worth two marshmallows.

Oh, by the way, on the same day as I saw the film, I also picked up the DVD box set of 'Firefly', Joss Whedon's cult TV series. I'm currently working through the box. There's plenty there!!!

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