Early ‘Avengers’ Reviews Point To Fan And Box-Office Gold

Talk Nerdy asks, 'Will the superhero all-star flick live up to the hype?' Fans who got an early peek seem to think so

“The Avengers,” apparently, rules.

After a string of Los Angeles screenings, nerdy tastemakers have been squealing all over Twitter about what director Joss Whedon has delivered for this loooooong-in-development superhero all-star flick. “Like, double plus awesome,” declared Seth Green. “Lost” guru Damon Lindelof came up with a Twitter hashtag that’s a little too colorful to reprint here without a tweaking: #AvengersF—Yeah.

To Lindelof, I say right back: F—yeah! Because, honestly, what a relief! For a while now on “Talk Nerdy,” Brian Phares and I have been expressing worries like:

» There are too many heroes! With Iron Man fighting for screen time with Captain America, with Thor potentially chaffing against Loki as much in a brother-vs.-brother brouhaha as in matters of plot-point development, “Avengers” is simply going to be overstuffed. No character or storyline will be given room to breathe.

» Is the Hulk going to look hokey? Can the CGI beast hold his own next to his flesh-and-blood compatriots and not come off looking like a cartoon?

» Are 2011′s good-but-not-great Marvel installments (“Captain America” and “Thor”) a sign of good-but-not-great things to come?

And so on. Now, though, our cautious, please-Joss-don’t-hurt-us approach to the film appears to be unfounded. “Avengers” hasn’t yet screened in New York, so we can’t throw our own nerdy support behind the film, but the future is looking superheroically bright.

Moviegoers are taking notice too. Early box-office tracking suggests the movie will open north of $125 million over the first weekend in May. That’d be double what both “Thor” and “Captain America” reeled in last year. The question is whether “Avengers” can top the $128 million opening weekend of “Iron Man 2″ in 2010. If Tony Stark can collect all that cheddar on his own, one would expect a film assembling so many Marvel heroes and villains on one screen would eclipse that mark. Based on the early geek buzz, it does seem like “Avengers” can pull it off. And it’s the buzz that Whedon is counting on.

“We really put the characters through it,” he told MTV News recently, “and we want the audience to be with them every step of the way and come out of it going, ‘That was an extraordinary experience, and now I want to pay to see it again.’ ”

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