If this was a trend piece for the New York Times I would start with a line like 'The water cooler has gone digital' (or maybe 'Brooklyn is getting hip'), but you already know that. You already know that the movie world is a weird place, and box office impact isn't the same as pop cultural impact. Plenty of movies make money, but they never seem to seep into the popular consciousness. They don't spawn catchphrases or favorite characters or, most importantly these days, memes.
The Avengers is already creating so many memes there's a Reddit meme with Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent Is Too Damned High Party, complaining:
And there are a lot, with many of them being big time misses. But that's always the way, and while The Avengers hasn't spawned the classic sorts of memes that Inception did* (yet), there are some pretty good ones - and more coming every day. What all of this says to me is that The Avengers isn't going to be a movie that arrives, makes a lot of money and then goes away - this is a film that's going to be defining the summer of 2012.
Here are some of the images/memes I've come across and liked a lot. I found most of these on Reddit; I'm not sure where they truly originate.
At the top of the article is a really sweet image that homages the recently gone Maurice Sendak using The Avengers. It's quite cute.
This picture of The Avengers in high school made the rounds this week:
Commentary! Will The Amazing Spider-Man suffer in The Avengers' shadow?
I like the dedication on display here:
I shouldn't like this - it's so stupid - but it appeals to me. And I think it speaks to the way people like the CHARACTERS in the movie, and how that's giving the movie weight with audiences.
I have never seen an episode of How I Met Your Mother all the way through, but I'm assuming this image references that show:
This might be my favorite, because it's an Avengers meme that references Mean Girls and is just awesome on its own:
There are a lot of variations on this next one. It bums me out because the image could only come from a pirated version of the movie, but the collective internet consciousness needs meme-fodder NOW:
And by the way, there were a whole bunch of fluff stories in the media about how shawarma sales skyrocketed this weekend, including one place in LA that supposedly sold out of it by 7pm. I don't know (but I will admit I went and got shawarma this weekend!).
This last one is cute, and representative of a lot of the fan-art I've seen. It's gentle, good natured stuff, a lot of it depicting The Avengers as kids or broad cartoons. Again, it's because of the way people like and identify with these characters, which is what is making the movie a cultural force.
And I'm sure there are many, many more I missed (or purposefully left out. Again, some of these blow). If you have any favorites, post 'em in the comments.