To begin, I will say that if you are excited about The Avengers movie, have seen all the previous Marvel Superhero movies, and are wondering if it lives up to all the hype and whether you should see it or not – It does, go see it. But why does it have appeal? And why does it seem to have something that everyone can enjoy?
First, there is a collection of such a diverse amount of strong characters, that it would be hard not to relate to one of the heroes/heroines. From the Black Widow to The Incredible Hulk, from Nick Fury to Captain America, there is a plethora of different types of characters each with different strengths and flaws all interacting on screen, teaming or not teaming up, in ways that sometimes produce awe inducing moments, and sometimes, you have to laugh and say “Oh, Hulk…you’re so…you.”
Second, the enemy epitomizes what we do not like about ourselves, and so there is a universal appeal towards defeating him. The enemy, Loki, sees himself as “entitled” as a God. He lords himself, and merely wants to be seen as the Great Ruler who “frees” people from their own “freedom”. It is a terribly flawed statement, which shows how little he has thought it through. What he really means is: I think I am better than everyone else, so kneel to me. There is a great moment when an old man (possibly a Holocaust survivor), stands up while everyone else kneels to Loki, rejecting his “godhood”. The Avengers movie is a case study in tearing down the wanton destruction a callous dictator can create in civil society. I think that we don’t like the entitled part of ourselves, so we gain a bit of spiritual discipline when we set our hearts against the antagonist in this film.
Third, the last 30 minutes are explosive, but the setup is brilliantly maneuvered. The film spends a good amount of time setting up the final battle royale. There is something for everyone in this film (relationships, anger, self reflection, cool gadgets and toys, philosophy, etc.), and the characters spend a good amount of time realizing how they will not get played by the enemy, who has a plan, and how to defeat a seemingly invincible opponent at his own game. I can’t give out too much away without this being a spoiler, but I will say that Captain America’s character impressed me even more, as he did a bit of theology (whether you agree with him or not), when he said, “There is only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that,” concerning the enemy. I love it. There is another even more humorous moment that I’ll let you experience on your own. In the midst of the explosive energy, the conversations keep the film grounded and help us think through how we would act under stress. It is a good study in what we feel we need, especially as all people across the globe face bigger challenges because the future continues to come.
All in all – this film had me engaged throughout. It was the first film that I feel that 3D actually worked well (possibly because it blended so well, I only noticed it a few times, and when I did I realized how much it added to the High Def, rather than being a gimmick). Kudos to the Costume Designers, who did not make the film feel like a cartoon, and to those who did endless calculations and renderings to make the computer graphics seem like reality. The seamlessness of the film, with only a few slow moments, make this movie one of my all time favorites, at least in the genre of Semi-Philosophical Action Movie. Well played. Well played.