Russ Kent column: Marvel keeps getting it right


“Avengers: Endgame” opened this week.

How big and how successful this movie will be is anyone’s guess. I’m guessing the biggest money-maker of all time.

Most movies open on Friday.

The really big ones open late Thursday evening for those who absolutely don’t want to wait. There are typically a couple of Thursday showings.

But this blockbuster is different.

At Cinemark 14 in Mansfield, not only did the movie open Thursday, there were 11 showings, the first at 6 p.m., the final one started at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Two showings were in latest edition of 3D.

I’ll sometimes get out of town early on a weekend and head to Polaris to the Cinemark theater there. They’ll often start their movies before 10 a.m. I’ll catch a movie, stop for lunch somewhere — Carfagna’s pizza is wonderful — maybe visit Cabela’s and come home.

At Polaris on Thursday evening, there were 24 “Endgame” showings. The first was at 6 p.m., the last one started at 1:50 a.m. Friday. It is being shown in an XD format … whatever that is.

I was tempted to try and get a ticket for that 1:50 a.m. showing, but the part of my brain that likes its sleep said no and I listen to that part of my brain a lot more often than I used to.

I can’t even imagine the number of screens and millions — a billion dollars perhaps — being spent this weekend at movie theaters around the world. I’m certain the amount spent will be unprecedented.

I don’t want to wait to see “Avengers: Endgame,” but I also really dislike crowds. My dislike of crowds usually wins out. So I’m probably waiting until next week, or the week after that — on a school day — to see this grand finale.

I’m a Marvel (movie) fan. I’ve seen all of them. Most of them several times.

It didn’t start that way. I watched the first Iron Man movie a few weeks after it opened in May 2008. I was in no hurry. But I enjoyed it a lot. Still, it’s rare that I see a movie I do not like.

I’d seen Incredible Hulk movies before and they were’t very good so this series didn’t captivate me. Thor? I had absolutely no idea what Thor was about and knew nothing of the different realm. And then I watched the first Captain America movie. I was so proud when — all by myself — I figured out a link between Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, and his dad, who was integral in the first Captain America movie.

Then I shared my insight at work one afternoon in Mansfield … and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. How could I not know the shared history between Iron Man and Captain America.

Soon after. I sat down in my living room at home and watched the first Thor movie. Although a little confused about the nine realms, I loved it. I finally figured out who Loki was and and how Steve and Gere Goble came up with that name for their dog.

And the first Thor movie, left we wanting to see the next one.

I think that’s when the Marvel bug hit me.

I haven’t missed a Marvel move since.

Some 40 years later than it did for some of my friends, I figured out why people love those old comics.

They had great characters, great stories, and they always left you wanting more … and more after that.

I got my hair cut at a barber shop on South Market Street while growing up. I read comic in the waiting area. They featured Archie and Betty and Veronica and Jughead and Reggie.

But I had never looked forward to the next Archie edition. They were just kids having fun. It didn’t matter if I missed an episode, or four or five of them. At that time of my life, an occasional visit from the Riverdale High kids were good enough for me. In fact, 20 or 30 years later, the Archie characters came back to life in the form of Kelly Kapowski, Screech, Zach Morris, A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano on “Saved by the Bell.”

That series also was fun, but it was OK to miss an episode or three.

I do remember picking up a comic book about Superman a time or two, But it was too dark, and too serious. It was very unlike the goofy version on TV in the 1960s. Somewhere deep in the back of my memory, I recall seeing an “Ironman” edition. The Ironman version I remember, as I look back, reminds me of darker, more sinister version of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Well, that’s how I remember it..

Ironman was also too dark, and too serious, and too far-fetched for me. After a couple of panels I assumed I set it back down and looked for something lighter.

Now I know, that was the secret to Marvel’s success.

Those stories were imaginative. They were dark, and thought provoking. They were about good and bad, with great characters, both good and bad.

At this point in my life, I regret never giving the Marvel gang more of a chance.

Now, I know I’ve missed out on decades of entertainment and hundreds of fond memories.

A couple weeks ago I watched “Captain Marvel.” I assume there were Captain Marvel comics, too. But until I saw the movie, I had no idea Captain Marvel was a female character. I love that she is. We even had a discussion on Easter, after dessert, about Captain Marvel. Was she a woman in the original comic book series? Did the character transitioned from a man to a woman (in this day and age anything is possible).

I don’t know. I was going to look up that answer, but figured to me, it didn’t matter.

It’s all about the fun. And I have a good time when I watch these movies.

I enjoy them for the same reason kids growing up before and after me did. They make me laugh. They make me think. A couple have made me cry.

But they always leave me wanting more.

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Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com