Don’t bother trying to reach me at work today, I’m out sick. Okay, I’m not really sick; I’m actually holed up at one of the local multiplexes–whichever one has the largest screens–so that I can spend the day continually watching The Avengers until I either fall asleep or get tossed out by the manager. Ever since Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, popped up after the credits of 2008′s Iron Man to talk to Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark about “a bigger universe” and “the Avenger Initiative,” fanboys such as myself have been
eagerly obsessively waiting for the eventual teaming of Ol’ Shellhead with fellow Marvel Comics mainstays the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America.
The arrival of this unprecedented big-screen super-hero smash-up, however, got me to thinking about what a rarity a movie like The Avengers is in Hollywood history. Such multi-character confluences hardly ever occur outside of the horror/sci-fi genres (think Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Freddy vs. Jason, and Alien vs. Predator) or in satires and pastiches (Bob Hope’s B-Western comedy Alias Jesse James, Neil Simon’s sleuth spoof Murder by Death, and the ”SuperFriends” of Victorian Literature, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I read once that writer Colin Higgins–who penned both Harold and Maude and Silver Streak, among other titles–was contemplating a prequel script that would have teamed free-spirited senior citizen Maude (Ruth Gordon) with Silver Streak’s wise-cracking thief Grover (Richard Pryor). For whatever reason that project never came to fruition, but there are plenty of other potential pairings out there. For example:
What if Paul Kersey’s Death Wish crusade to clean up the streets of New York pitted him against The Warriors? How would All About Eve’s Margo Channing have dealt with gossip articles by J.J. Hunsecker from Sweet Smell of Success? What sort of otherworldly threat would have Ash from The Evil Dead joining forces with Big Trouble in Little China’s Jack Burton? Pretty in Pink’s Ducky didn’t win Andie’s heart at the prom, but rather than wind up with some anonymous coed, he would have been better off with a girl who would appreciate his unique sense of style…like, say, Alison from The Breakfast Club. And what if an aging Michael Corleone faced a battle for control of his organized crime empire thanks to a brash Cuban immigrant named Tony Montana (yeah, Pacino vs. Pacino!)?
Those were just a couple of ideas off the top of my head, but what about you? What film characters have you always wanted to see get together, as lovers, enemies or something in between? Sound off in the comments!