Opinion: Superhero film saves Cleveland from suicide ledge

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected].

There isn’t a long list of things Ohioans can get excited about. With its lackluster economy, perpetually terrible sports teams and the controversial anti-teacher Senate Bill 5 close to passing, the Buckeye State is desperate for some good news. Last week the city of Cleveland got just that.

Gov. John Kasich announced Thursday that the upcoming superhero movie “The Avengers,” starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, will be filmed in Cleveland. It comes out May 2012.

This is a big deal for our city of hard knocks. The people of Northeast Ohio finally have something good to talk about besides food and the weather. We get a taste of Hollywood.

We also scored a lot of jobs and money. “The Avengers” will be the largest film ever made in Cleveland. The film’s producers were drawn to our state because of the movie productions tax break Ohio offers. The Marvel-Disney film was originally going to be shot in Detroit, but that changed when Michigan lawmakers made plans to end their similar tax credits.

While Cleveland rarely lands big-budget movies, the city isn’t a complete stranger to the Hollywood scene. A couple years ago Euclid Avenue downtown was transformed into New York City for the bank heist car chase in “Spiderman 3.” Tobey Maguire wasn’t in town for the stunts and action shots, but it was still cool to see the Terminal Tower, the second-tallest building in the world when it was built, immortalized in such a prominent movie, even if it was just for a couple seconds.

Other significant films to be shot either partially or entirely in Cleveland include “A Christmas Story,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Major League,” “Air Force One,” “The Soloist” and “The Deer Hunter.”

According to reports, scouting for locations in Cleveland has already begun for “The Avengers” and filming is expected to start in the fall. It is unknown at this time whether any of the scenes shot here will include any of the big-time actors in the star-studded cast.

It may turn out like “Spiderman 3,” where only stunt doubles and extras comprised the shots filmed in Cleveland. Even so, it’ll be neat to see some C-Town landscape chew up the big screen. Though any time Scarlett Johansson is in Cleveland is a good time.

“The Avengers” chronicles the formation of a team of super heroes that includes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk. Whether or not the movie turns out to be stupid (like the third Spiderman movie) really doesn’t matter. It’s a good day for the city and the region as a whole.

Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected] .