by Melanie Ennen
Issue 208 – July 25, 2012
Not often does Hollywood hit the nail on the head about what medicine will cure the ailment, but with Marvel’s The Avengers, it does just that.
On its exterior, the film is a sci-fi/superhero popcorn flick that probably won’t be on any Academy member’s list for best picture; although, it should. This viewer watched the film and took notice of all of the subtle (and not so subtle) references to genuine leadership, freedom and the role of government, unity, the awesome power of the individual and getting back to what really matters and fighting for it. I wish all of our elected leaders would take the hint.
The villain, Loki is an other-worldly demi-god who wishes to rule all of mankind. He is “burdened with glorious purpose,” coming to Earth to rule a humanity that “craves subjugation.” In one scene, his brother, Thor asks, “You think yourself above them? Then you miss the truth of ruling, brother.” Just this single line in the dialogue illustrates the thinking of too many real life leaders who seek power because they think they know better.
Getting back to one’s roots and remembering where one came from is emphasized. Before the team assembles, Captain America and another character discuss the hero’s uniform. When the Captain assumes the stars and stripes might be a little old-fashioned, his counterpart explains, “With everything that’s happening; the things that are about to come to light, people might need a little old-fashioned.”
When warned to let the two demi-god brothers settle a disagreement on their own, Cap’ doesn’t back down, stating, “There’s only one God, Ma’am. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” Faith in God is wise. Belief in a self-proclaimed demi-god here on Earth will always disappoint and the distinction is vital.
The film’s heroes, and there are plenty, all have talent unique to their own; strength, skill, intelligence, and conviction. While they don’t get along at first, they find their calling when faced with a common enemy. The team suits up and finds real leadership in (appropriately named) Captain America. Even when the local police are looking for assistance during the crisis, which is conveniently missing from the federal government; our team leader steps in, still fighting off invaders, and provides a plan of action.
The epic scene where all Avengers work together to defeat an invading army is exhilarating, not just because it’s fun to watch, but that as a team, they all know their jobs. They don’t hesitate- they act and win. In the film, the public goes nuts for the Avengers. They want to thank them for their service. Everyone wants to look and act like them.
In the wake of defeating this mighty enemy, with the public clamoring to meet them and hold them up, the Avengers simply go home. They don’t want power- they’re just soldiers and done with their duty. They will answer the call when they are needed again, but until then, they do not seek adulation and authority.
Finally- a movie where the good guys are good. You can root for them. There is no anti-hero. Good and evil is a clear line and we all want to be Avengers. We don’t have some Hollywood-type shoveling the bull down our throats while taking our money. We feel good when we leave the theatre! We even want to go again! (Or five more times) We say huzzah to one character’s line, “I still believe in heroes.”