Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Avengening Expectations

By Nikki Wilson

I have a confession to make. I didn't thoroughly enjoy the first Avengers movie. I know, I know...get a rope! I actually admitted it on Facebook at one point and it was most definitely a public verbal lynching. But that's ok. I didn't say I hated it, it just didn't fulfill my expectations. I'll tell you why. To me there was a lot of action. Not that I don't like action, but it seemed like one action sequence after another. Also, it felt like the movie had been made to satisfy fans who wanted to know who would win a fight between Thor and Iron Man and Captain America, etc. Not that I wasn't curious about that, but the movie just felt like it was lacking something.

Image result for Avengers

In the movies leading up to the first Avengers movie, most of the plot lines tugged my heart strings, and tickled my funny bone, and ignited curiosity. This is what I wanted from the first Avengers movie but didn't feel that I got. Though many people said they were completely satisfied with the movie and that I was just being too critical. And maybe they were right. I have been known to be overly critical of movies and books, so I accepted that as the reason why I didn't enjoy the first Avengers movie as much as I wanted to. But last week I saw the new Avengers: Age of Ultron and I suddenly knew what I was missing from the first movie.

The new Avengers movie is AMAZING. I hate to give someone high expectations that may not be met like happened to me on the first movie, but I truly think there is something in this movie for everyone. Why is that? Because this time the movie gave us many different beats.

If you haven't read "Million Dollar Outlines" by David Farland you may not know what I'm talking about. David Farland talks about how a writer takes their readers on a journey that actually releases seratonin into the body giving the reader (or movie watcher) instant rewards and satisfaction from the journey. (He actually describes it much better than I'm doing, so read the book!!) But one of the tools a writer has to take readers on this journey can be called emotional beats. Think about it like a song, if you play the same notes over and over again, the listener gets bored. But if you mix high notes with low notes and many variations with the notes in between as well you stimulate the listener and hold their attention. The same can be said with emotions. If a movie or book hammers it's audience with the same emotion over and over they become desensitized to that emotion. That's why the best movies and books have a variety of different plotlines and emotions to choose from.

Image result for avengers age of ultronAvengers: Age of Ultron is a good example of how this is done. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of action in this movie, but there are also many emotional beats embedded inside the the action to slow down or speed up the pace of the movie. The humor beats were perfectly timed, and the romantic plot line added a different dimension as did another plot line where our heartstrings were strummed in another way. All in all, Avengers: Age of Ultron was everything I was hoping for. (Though, I will say there were parts when I realized the Avengers were just fighting a mechanical version of Raymond Reddington from the Blacklist TV show! LOL! But then again, I love the Blacklist, so I didn't mind it too much.)

Now I realize that everyone is different in their tastes and in what they consider an emotional beat. Emotions are very subjective, that's why there are so many different genres to choose from so people can pick the emotions they like best. But even then, the best stories are those that have many different emotions present allowing for a wider audience, and a happier one.

(There! So now you can go see the new Avengers movie and say it's for research! Your welcome!)


  1. I'm going to have to read that book. I think the "emotional beats" was something I've always been aware of, but could never put it into words like that.

    The Star Wars movies have always put me to sleep, because once the space fighting starts going on it's just pew-pew-pew-zap-kaboom, and I just get completely bored. So I know what you mean. ;-)

  2. Interesting perspective, Nikki. I'm going to have to go see the movie, again, SEVERAL times to get the full literary bounty of which you wrote. Thanks for the alibi! :)

  3. My daughter and grandsons love the avengers me not so much

  4. Kasey, I agree with you on Star Wars. I don't get the appeal! And Nikki, I've never seen any of the Avengers movies, so you're ahead of me in that you're educated about them! I'm boring in that I prefer true stories. Not very creative, but there you go. :-)



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