Saturday, March 17, 2012

Avengers Mini Muggs!

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It could not feel any more like Summer Time than it does right now. Crazy that its only the middle of March and its 83 and sunny outside. You could fool me into thinking its late July and I should be on my way to some big outdoor grill contest or grand fireworks display. I know that I've gone on in the past about how I don't really like the summer months and while that is true what I mostly mean is I do not enjoy the long hot and humid late summer months. These early ones are always a nice change of pace from the cold and snow. While I don't enjoy everything related to summer I do have to share my love for the Summer Blockbuster season that is literally right around the corner.

Twitter followers (and you can follow me @grindhousecinma) have probably picked up on this by now but I manage a movie theater. Blockbuster season is probably the most important time of year for us. It can literally make or break an entire years worth of revenue in just a couple short months. Especially the small single screen theaters like mine.

This year we have one of the biggest movies, maybe ever, coming out in Marvels 'The Avengers'. Comic book fans already know what to expect but for everyone else this will be your first opportunity to see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and a bunch of other superheroes together in the same movie. Yes the superhero crossover has been done to death in comics but for these big Hollywood film adaptations this is basically uncharted territory. Generally speaking when it comes to superhero movies Spider-Man has his own film universe that is kept separate from Iron Man, who in turn is kept apart from the Fantastic Four and so on. Seeing these larger than life characters together in the same film is going to be a once and a life time experience and something that fans of the genera have been waiting for.

You can always gauge which movies the studios think are going to make them the most cash based on how much marketing material they put out prior to the films release. This isn't always a perfect indication of how a movie will preform, a great example of that would be 1998's Godzilla, which basically tanked at the box office. Yet for an extended period of time it was impossible to walk into a store and not see those massive green "Size Does Matter" Godzilla logos plastered all over everything. And you know what... its fun. Even if the movie doesn't turn out to be the greatest film ever made the marketing leading up to it can still be a blast. I am one of the rare supports for the 1998 Godzilla flick but even I have to admit that they way the film was marketed was more fun than the movie itself.

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It is still early in the year, but much like Christmas, the Summer Blockbuster season keeps coming earlier ever year. While making a routine Wal-Mart run I couldn't help but notice an entire huge section dedicated to "The Avengers" and this was not your run of the mill comic book character section, this was all very clearly meant to tie into the up and coming film.

After a quick scan of the isle one of the first things I noticed was this Incredible Hulk figure. This is not just a Hulk figure... it is a Hulk figure that looks like Mark Ruffalo! We are very close to entering some scary alternative universe where our favorite comic book characters no longer look like themselves but instead the actors who portray them on film.  A great example of this is even before he was cast as Nick Fury the folks at Marvel were drawing Nick Fury to look like Samuel L. Jackson, which eventually made casting him in the roll all the easier. Now we are at a point in time when nobody even remembers that Fury used to be an old white dude with a full head of hair, everyone thinks of the Samuel L. Jackson version instead.

I almost left with this Incredible Ruffalo figure, because in all honesty it is a really well detailed and sculpted figure but at the last moment decided that I wanted these two Avengers Mini Mugg figures instead. Settling on the idea that they would look better sitting on my computer desk than what Hulk would look left in a package and on the wall someplace.


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First off let's do a little overview of the package these little guys come in. Conceivably you could leave each of them in the box and display them just like that. As each provides a fairly sizable see through viewing window. Though I would prefer if the cartoon representation of the figure on the right hand side of the box did not cover up quite so much of the figure, especially on the Captain America box which tends to look a little on the crowded side. It is a nice bright package and Hasbro made sure to stick 'AVENGERS' as large as possible on the box, just to let everyone know what film these are for.

I do have to mention how much I hate the large "Ages 3+" text near the top of the package. Yes, I get that they are required to put that information on here but couldn't they fit it in super small text and hide it on the back of the box? Mini Muggs are one of those lines that while technically are sold as kids toys end up in the hands of adult collectors more times than not. Hasbro should know better than to ruin an otherwise neat looking box with unnecessary information such as that.

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A top down view of the package provides my favorite piece of artwork for these Mimi Muggs as the entire top of the box has been turned into a cartoon representation of the characters. It is little details such as these that are the difference between tossing a package away and keeping it for all of eternity. I wouldn't blame someone for keeping this tucked away in the box and displaying them as is. It is a nice looking package and is one that, even though the figures will be coming out of, will join up with all my other opened boxes that I cannot quite throw away. My house is sort of a fire hazard because of them. If it burns down at least I have an excuse to go out and buy more things.

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The back of the box continues the trend of being very well designed, though you at home are probably wondering why I am spending forty minutes talking about the package. I like the package. There is nothing wrong with liking packages.

The back side provides all the necessary information, such as the full line of Avengers Mini Muggs, which 74include: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Nick Fury. No love is given to Black Widow, but that is because nobody likes Scarlett Johansson and her version of the Black Widow hardly counts as a superhero when compared to everyone else in the group

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The decision to take these out of the package was indeed a wise one. While they look merely alright confined to there plastic tombs, Avengers Mini Muggs really shine when they are taken out and allowed to stand on there own two feet.

And speaking of standing, each figure clocks in at just shy of three inches tall and sports a high quality paint job. The colors on these are very rich and have a nice deep quality to them. The reds don't just look red and the blues are not simply just blue they feel like a combination of multiple shades of each to create a more unique, one off color combination. If I had any complaint it would be that part of the paint on Captain Americas shield has a small chip in it. Though it came like this from the factory, I have to assume that if you purchased these with the intent of allowing your kids to play with them they might crack and eventually peel.

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Iron Man features more of a glossy finish than Captain America, who ends up looking not quite as cool in comparison. I am assuming this design decision was due to the fact that Iron Man wears a costume made of metal, while Cap wears a type of spandex. This glossy finish makes the Iron Man figure have a little more "pop" to it than Captain America and therefore makes it a slightly more visually appealing figure.

The round chest piece is nice but I would have preferred the triangle design for Tony Stark's Arc Reactor. From a purely visual standpoint Mini Muggs already feature overly exaggerated round shapes and the way the reactor is designed now it sort of blends in with the rest a little to easily. A triangular shape would have made it stand out and look a little nicer and also tie into the film better. Considering he Tony Stark ditched the circle design midway through Iron Man 2 in favor of the triangle one, which he continues to wear in The Avengers. I am a real stickler for details like these.

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I have nothing but good things to say about Avengers Mini Muggs, I doubt I will be able to find the full set of these but that is alright. I know I could probably very easily find them via Amazon.com or some other online website, part of the fun in collecting is tracking them down yourself... not just getting them delivered to your front door. Though I really want that Hulk Mini Mugg.

In closing I have to say that while I am indeed very excited for the Avengers film, the way they market it is going to be just as good. The movie itself will only last for a couple of hours but in a perfect world we will get to live the films marketing campaign for a couple months leading up to its release. It will be fun to see just how much stuff Marvel manages to cram the Avengers onto. Mini Muggs are a fun little distraction before we hit the inevitable shit storm of limited edition Mount Dew flavors, bags of Doritos, and other items that will make your eyes cross and heart race with excitement. My fingers are crossed for limited edition cereal boxes with four different covers for each Avenger. I hope that one comes true!

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