Friday, 04 May 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers

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Perhaps the most highly anticipated movie of the year, The Avengers has some predicting that the film could have the largest box office opening in history, defeating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows-Part 2, whose debut reaped an astounding $169.2 million. The film has already generated quite the buzz as a result of the money it is making overseas, totaling nearly $300 million in just one week. An intensely patriotic and moral film, The Avengers is sure to entertain audiences of all ages, and could come close to the Potter threshold, though is unlikely to pass it.

In The Avengers, the world’s greatest superheroes: The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Tony Stark), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), team up to defeat Thor’s evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and his intergalactic army of ships and other deadly forces before they create chaos on Earth that is beyond repair.

Secret government agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of SHIELD, rounds up the Avengers in order to train them to defeat Loki, who has made his way to earth from his and Thor’s home planet, Asgard. Loki discovered that the Tesseract, a jewel, is actually a portal between Earth’s solar system and Asgard, as well as a portal to other areas in the universe.

Loki, who is hell-bent on enslaving all of mankind, steals the jewel in order to call upon an intergalactic army. Besides the Tesseract, Loki possesses a powerful staff that allows him to brainwash Hawkeye and one of Fury’s scientists.

Loki is pure evil. His first act on earth is murderous, and he exhibits no desire to reach a détente with earthlings. He is clearly driven by jealousy towards his brother, whom he has a strong desire to humiliate.

Not only is Loki equipped with several powerful objects, but he has a profound understanding of human nature and uses it to his advantage. He manages to divide and deceive the Avengers, and turn them against each other.

What unfolds is an absolutely entertaining and exciting film. While the ending is certainly predictable, everything leading up to it is strewn with quality. Not only does the film possess a powerful message about good and evil, but it also emphasizes the necessity for teamwork, and promotes patriotism. The film even seems to take jabs at individuals who believe themselves to be god-like, and proves that hubris can be destructive.

Each of the heroes have highly desirable attributes, but the clear point of the film is that it is not what one has but what one is willing to sacrifice that makes him or her a true hero. And none of the heroes disappoint in this arena.

Still, Captain America is inarguably the most valuable of the superheroes, which is inspiring for moviegoers. He is a highly ethical character and his presence throughout the film is likely to stir up a strong sense of patriotism amongst audiences. He is said to embody “old-fashioned values,” but as it carefully pointed out in the film, we can use some “old fashioned values.”

It is those values which Captain America extols, such as integrity, heroism, dedication, and empathy, and just an overall positive attitude, that propels him to the front of the group so as to lead. His optimism and leadership skills are underscored by some of the more cynical attitudes of characters like Iron Man and the Hulk.

What is perhaps most fascinating about the film is not the major battle between the do-gooder super heroes versus the evil doer Loki, but the mini struggles that plague the characters leading up to the finish. In some cases, those battles are entirely internal, while others made valid attempts at diplomacy to achieve their ends with one another.

There are a variety of other positive elements in The Avengers. In addition to the excitement throughout the film, there is a significant presence of humor. And aesthetically, the movie is simply remarkable. Likewise, the film shies away from any sexuality and keeps the foul language to a minimum. It also makes references to Christianity.

Predictably, there is a great deal of violence in the film, which may prompt some parents to want to keep their children at home. There are some scenes involving people getting kicked and punched, and others that involve people getting shot and stabbed. The climactic battle, wherein there are constant explosions and crashes, seems to last well over half an hour. There are also implications of torture.

In the end, however, goodness has its day.

Much of the anticipation for this film was created by the lengthy establishment of each of the Marvel superheroes featured in the film. Over the course of four years, viewers were entertained with films like Iron Man and Captain America, with the full expectation that the films would lead to the climatic adventure captured in The Avengers.  

For those who waited with bated breath for the film’s release, my prediction is: You won’t be disappointed.


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