Friday, April 27, 2012

Sucker for Movies

I went to the cinema today (after a follow-up to one of the research studies I volunteered for), and saw the Avengers movie.

Now I've enjoyed the recent spate of comic book adaptations quite a bit, I liked Thor and Iron Man, I really didn't hate most of the Hulk attempts, and although I think they missed making the end of Captain America almost unbearably poignant, it was a jolly good movie.

Also, I'm not approaching this particular oeuvre with an eye to high art; I'm looking to suspend a bit of disbelief and relax while people smash things up and quip and get a bit angsty. I'm also not completely without critical faculties, though: Ryan Reynolds sold me on the GL movie with his panel oath at Comic-con (look it up on YouTube, he makes some kid's year), but the movie was still bad.

Cut back to me watching the Avengers today, armed with some Maltesers (one of the few things I miss by comparison with going up the block to a movie back home), and the effect of the stroke is quite profound. I'm suddenly a total sucker, in the best way possible.

I've mentioned before that some months ago I thought I had some emotional lability that meant I laughed uncontrollably at the most childish of things. Well it turns out that the effect is not lability at all, in my case, it's a lack of motor control to suppress the laughter. In other words, just as I did when I was six years old, I think unexpected farting is hilarious, and I always did, I just learned not to laugh out loud at it sometime before adulthood.

Some of that impulse to control my laughter has returned: There are things that I find amusing that it's really not OK for other people around me know that I find them giggle-worthy. But I am often caught off guard, and I suppose I generally laugh a bit more than before my stroke.

A movie like the Avengers film is engineered to provoke responses from us, especially if we read a bunch of comic books. I mean, it's a classic hero team story: The protagonists spend about 2/3 of the time fighting each other, then team up to kick ass for the last third. There are beats of pathos, beats of humour, moments where we're supposed to respond to Robert Downey Jr.'s glib responses, to Chris Hemsworth's studly godliness, to Mark Ruffalo's fist, and to Chris Evans' old-fashioned morality. 

Those emotional responses have a physical component that adults usually dampen, but I still don't do. The brain and mind respond to the body, and whether that's always the case, or as adults we associate more extreme physical response with more heightened emotion, it's hard to say, but the end result was that I really enjoyed the Avengers movie, to the point that I can't tell if I squealed out loud or not. (I'm pretty sure that I didn't, but maybe everyone was super-polite to the disabled guy.)

I'm all in favour of this return to the child-like pleasure of going to the movies. Even considering the exorbitant cost of Maltesers, I so got my money's worth from it. I'm not sure I would ever take movie recommendations from me ever again, but I would go with myself to see something stupid and explode-y.