I don’t know about you, so far this summer, my favorite movie has been The Avengers. First off, my hat goes off to Joss Whedon for doing a great job anchoring the story to the previous films: Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, and Captain America. To my knowledge, this kind of cross story has never been done before. Bravo to all the filmmakers and to Marvel as well.
I seldom see movies in the theater for a second time and I made a rare exception for The Avengers. Yup, I loved it just as much the second time around. As a writer, I can’t help admire that the bad guy (Loki) and the damaged guy (Bruce Banner/Hulk) turned out to be the most compelling characters in the film.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Thor (the yummy Chris Hemsworth), Tony (Snark) Stark (the incorrigible Robert Downey jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and The Black Widow (Scarlet Johanson). They are all awesome. But there is just something about a bad boy.
For example take Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner looking mighty buff). He was more fun when he was on the dark side. Lethal, deadly and focused. Also enjoyable, the simmering sexual tension between him and Natasha (which as Marvel fans know – they were lovers at one time).
Mark Ruffalo’s turn as Bruce Banner, is by far, the most human, tortured and heartfelt performance of the Hulk I’ve ever seen. The rumpled clothes, soft spoken manner and repressed anger made Hulk more believable and redeemable.
And there’s Tom Hiddleston’s electric return as Loki. There were a couple of times, when I felt like I was watching a young Hannibal Lechter. Yet, he never came across as totally evil. Just that he enjoyed stirring the pot and, thankfully, didn’t really care about eating anyone’s liver.
All these messed up, mischievous and morally ambiguous men reminded me of the characters that intrigued me most from my favorite romance novels. Right out of the gate – J.R. Ward’s Vishous and Zhadist. They are the two most screwed up vampires in the series and I love them for it. I also enjoy Charlaine Harris’ Eric. Especially when you didn’t know if he really cares or not. And more recently, Karen Marie Moning’s Jericho Barrons and V’Lane (trust me – she keeps you guessing the whole time).
There is something satisfying about watching and waiting to see which side of good or evil, or somewhere in between, the tortured hero or villain will end up. This could be why I’m totally bored by Superman. The guy is just too darned perfect, which in my book equals a big yawn!
So do tell. Who likes a “good” bad guy or a damaged hero? Come on . . . I know I’m not the only one!