I’ve heard a lot of advice on making a marriage work, and I sometimes do a terrible job of following it.
For example, you’re never supposed to go to bed angry. Having been married about five years, I have had ample time to reflect on this while falling asleep after my husband has annoyed me during the day.
I actually heard a different piece of advice a few years back: it’s ok to go to bed angry because then you sleep on whatever’s bothering you and wake up in a calmer frame of mind to discuss the problem, instead of trying to work out your anger at the end of the day when the offense is fresh and your wits are worn thin with exhaustion.
I haven’t really figured out if I ascribe to the latter advice, or if I’m just a crappy wife. But I can offer at least one piece of golden advice for making a marriage work.
Get to know the Avengers.
Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time with Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Agent Coulson, Nick Fury, and Thor.
Just like these superheroes’ mythologies intersect at certain points, I try to show my husband ways in which my world and his also interact. For example, that that guy from all the Shakespeare movies also directed “Thor”.
These are intersections well-handled by the human brain, but it baffles Netflix, where my husband and I share an account. This has led to the categories “Indie Dramas” and “Like: Much Ado About Nothing” appearing alongside “Anime Action”.
Because my husband strongly felt that my having viewed the recent Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor films with him in the theaters to be insufficient preparation for “The Avengers”, a culmination of these films in which all of these heroes would unite. He didn’t want me to go into the new “Avengers” film with any confusion about where these heroes came from or how they related to each other (“the Marvel universe”).
No doubt my husband has gone to bed angry many times, because of my penchant for speculating about things that are not important: how does Iron Man deal with international airspace regulations? How come The Hulk’s growth shreds all his clothes except for his pants? Why do citizens of Asgard a) speak English and b) have British accents?
I thought the first Iron Man movie, starring Robert Downey Jr., was a fine film. But I can’t match my husband’s fervor for The Hulk. I admit I was at a bit of a disadvantage going into “The Avengers”, as far as the storylines of Thor and Captain America: I feel asleep at the end of both their films and the climactic details of the plots, alas, escaped me.
But I’ve been looking forward to “The Avengers” for awhile, as a sort of graduation that might, in fact, be more interesting than the average graduation ceremony.
I would not be sorry to say goodbye to the Avengers. Sure, I find Robert Downey, Jr appealing in the role of Iron Man, but I’m sure The Hulk’s transformations violate the rules of physics and anatomy (not to mention grossly exaggerating the elastic qualities of men’s pants), and Thor and Captain America, frankly, aren’t smart or complicated enough to be remotely interesting. I felt that I had made enough space in my marriage for the Avengers. This climactic film would be a fitting – and perhaps even enjoyable – farewell.
My husband and I discussed the trailer at length – particularly a scene in which the camera whirls around the Avengers rallying together in the ruins of New York City, including the giant green Hulk, the god Thor, the armored Iron Man and the super-soldier Captain America. But somehow Scarlett Johansson got in there too – my husband told me she is the Black Widow, a Russian spy. I saw her cock a pistol, wearing nothing but a skin-tight black zip-up suit alongside her superhuman colleagues.
What is she going to do, show the bad guys her boobies and hope it distracts them long enough for Thor’s hammer or Iron Man’s blasters to demolish the threat?
Philadelphia’s Metro newspaper apparently agreed. Under the headline “Avengers Assemble!”, Metro (and, apparently, all of the male actors interviewed) failed to picture Johansson or even mention her role in the movie.
On our way to the movie theater, we did a little avenging ourselves – avenging the prices for movie theater snacks, that is. We smuggled in one package of dried mango strips, one bag of sour gummy worms, one king-sized peanut M&M’s, one large bag of Trader Joe’s popcorn, and a four-inch ham and cheese hoagie with pickles (women are responsible for carrying everything, as some of you may have read). Even now I am terrified the cinema-snacks police are going to round us up.
I thought “The Avengers”, under director Joss Whedon, was pretty good. It was funny, well-paced, perfectly-costumed and exciting. It appeals to me because it’s much more character-driven than most smash-‘em-up films.
My favorite line of the film was (I believe) delivered by Captain America to Hawkeye (don’t ask me about his back-story, he didn’t get his own movie) as they’re about to descend into an inter-dimensional war-zone.
“Do you have a suit?”
Because what else would you need to know about your super-hero compatriots on the eve of battle?
Some people get into their marriages because they think the state of being married will somehow solve their interpersonal problems. I say this because thinking you can watch “The Avengers” and say goodbye to Captain America, Iron Man and the rest is sort of like reaching the altar for people who think marriage will solve their problems (take note, singles: “oh, we never fight” is code for “we choose not to communicate”).
Not only does the end of “the Avengers” scream “Avengers 2”: my husband has matter-of-factly informed me that in addition to a complete re-boot of the Spider-Man trilogy, we also face Thor 2, Captain America 2, and Iron Man 3.
I fault myself for not realizing this sooner. I came to “The Avengers” with the dewy-eyed certainty of a young virgin bride. Believing that “The Avengers” was the end of the Avengers franchise was just as nonsensical as believing that marriage is easy. Instead of graduating from the Marvel universe, I have become its Sisyphus.
But in conclusion, I’ll ask you this. Can your spouse knowledgeably compare multiple productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”? Mine can. He does his part too. So I stand by my advice about the Avengers.