Assembling With Friends & Strangers for an 'Avengers' Midnight Screening

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Oh my sweet Thor. I'm still in a daze from last night's events.

See, I've been (im)patiently awaiting "The Avengers" since the end credits for 2008's "Iron Man." And when I sat in the Hall H audience at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con and heard Joss Whedon reveal he'd direct "Avengers," I've since been anticipating 2012 for this event even more than my own college graduation.

Not unlike my midnight mayhem with "The Hunger Games," I invited scores of my friends  to join me for the late-night premiere of our favorite Marvel movie heroes. Marvel apparel was encouraged, but boy, they took the suggestion seriously. We walked to the Kips Bay 15 theater in Manhattan and swarmed the lines with our enthusiasm ... and hero-laden t-shirts.

Yes, the movie will still have showtimes for the next few weeks that aren't in the wee hours of the morn, but midnight has always been my favorite time to screen a film. Only the most dedicated, hardcore fans will line up in whatever weather to get the best (or worst) seats in the house and update their statuses immediately upon exiting the theater. They laugh the loudest (I bet Agent Coulson does stand-up in his spare time), geek out at the tiniest Easter egg of hints, and don't flinch a muscle until the end credits have come and gone.

Oh, and they tend to dress up, too.

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Having planned my suit since Halloween of last year, I showed up as Iron Man (NOT Iron Lady, though that ended up sticking by the end of the night), and I swear this was the closest I'll ever be to being a celebrity. I had some creative license with my costume, putting wall lights in my red gloves to imitate repulsor blasters, and an old-school arc reactor attached to my American Apparel body suit. Let's just say every nerd in the house was excited for more than just the movie starting. But I didn't get the memo that apparently Captain America is the 'in' Avenger right now, with everyone and their second cousins dressing up as the patriotic guy, but that just made me stand out even more.

The film far exceeded any expectations I came in with -- which might sound weird, but I didn't come in with any. I had to restrain my inner-Hulk not to read spoilers for nearly a year now, but I knew I was in for a treat. Hello, no one does "Nerd" truer than Joss Whedon. That alone guaranteed a superhero film to top all superhero films. And Mark Ruffalo's Hulk: perfect casting. Finally they did the big green guy right.

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Also, Marvel chooses its character storylines carefully. There's a reason none of the films leading up to "The Avengers" have flopped horrendously like say, another jolly green jewelry-wearing fella. These heroes have much more  sass, class, and all-around badassery, but the reason I park my butt in a seat for every film is that they're relatable. They're no holier-than-thou heroes that can knock you to oblivion; they have egos, they screw up, and often don't play well with others. That's what makes this movie so utterly fantastic and every comic book reader's dreams come true: It's the ultimate alliance of misunderstood super freaks who set aside differences to fight something bigger than themselves.

Best. Midnight. Movie. EVER. So, 2012 is set to be the year of the best midnight screenings ever. Two down, who knows how many more to go this summer? And I swear I don't do cosplay and take 30 friends with me to EVERY movie ... If only.

Shwarma, anyone?

NextMovie editorial intern Phoebe Kingsak is a senior journalism/cinema studies student at NYU who is also available for your child's next birthday party. Follow her on Twitter.