by Randall Allen Dunn
Having grown up with both comic books and movies, I never expected to see anyone make a movie about an entire team of superheroes. I was a kid when moviemakers went to great lengths and plenty of screen time to make moviegoers believe a man could fly in “Superman: the Movie”. It was hard enough to convince audiences that one person could develop incredible superpowers and fight crime. To convince people that several such individuals could exist, it seemed they would have to introduce each of the heroes individually first, one movie at a time.
And they did. In a long-term endeavor, the Avengers were introduced through separate films, with each one hinting in post-credit scenes that the future Avengers team would be formed. The result was an impressive and entertaining team of characters with very distinct personalities and powers, creating a “star-studded” superhero movie.
Of course, for it to work, these intriguing and powerful individuals had to learn how to function as a team. Which meant letting go of their individual agendas.
When an interstellar demi-God named Loki (Tom Hiddleston) attackes the secret government agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. and brainwashes one of their agents, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) – also known as Hawkeye – Col. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) decides to draw together these superheroes for help. Loki intends to take over the earth with an onslaught of alien monsters, once he establishes a portal that allows them direct entry into the human world.
Fury sends another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) – known as the Black Widow – to recruit one of the most dangerous and reclusive would-be members, Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), whose anger triggers a transformation that transforms him into the raging monster known as the Hulk. Banner makes it clear that he doesn’t trust S.H.I.E.L.D. or the United States government, whose military have often hunted him down to try to use his monstrous persona as a weapon. But he agrees to come along when he learns that Romanoff wants to recruit him for his scientific expertise rather than his power as the Hulk, so that he can help analyze the tesseract that threatens to open up a portal to Loki’s world.
The government also recruits the self-obsessed, irreverent billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), whose high-tech flying armor earned him the name ofIronMan.When he sees the potential danger of the threat, Stark also agrees to tag along.
Fury himself approaches Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who made a heroic name for himself as Captain America during World War II. Having just been revived from suspended animation,Rogersis now trapped in a world where all of his old friends and comrades are dead. All he knows now is his commitment to serve his country in whatever way he can, even if he no longer fits in with modern society.
When Iron Man and Captain America confront Loki, they encounter Loki’s powerful half-brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who insists on dealing with Loki himself. He assures the others that this matter is beyond their ability to handle. But the three of them make a temporary truce and agree to take the captured Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.
The team’s various personalities and personal goals soon come into sharp conflict. Particularly between the all-business, all-dutiful Captain America and the clownish egocentrism of Iron Man, who finds Captain America’s concepts of self-sacrifice for a greater cause to be old-fashioned and unrealistic.
Even harder to bring together are the Hulk and Thor, neither of whom whish to spend any more time with the group than they have to. Thor has little faith in the team’s abilities, and the Hulk doesn’t trust their intentions or their concern for his own welfare.
Ultimately, they learn that each member of the team has something unique and vital to offer. Banner and Iron Man challenge CaptainAmerica’s blind allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D., when the evidence shows they are hiding something. This leads Captain America to do some private investigation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and learn that they themselves plan to use the tesseract as a weapon, which the other team members consider too dangerous to be left in any government’s hands.
When the Avengers finally mount a united attack against the invading alien forces, Captain America assumes leadership, using his military strategy to direct each member in using their individual skills to the best effect. Trusting his direction, the other members follow his instructions and repel the invaders.
Even Iron Man, after ridiculing Captain America’s ideas of self-sacrifice, realizes the value of such ideals when he is forced to sacrifice himself. Using his suit’s power, he seals the portal and stops the invasion, but in the process cuts himself off from his own world as he pushes through it to the alien world. Captain America’s noble example led him to understand what it means to make such a hard choice. To be a genuine hero.
Fortunately, Thor uses the power of his mystical hammer to pull Iron Man back from the portal, and the team is briefly re-united before calling it a day, to part as friends and comrades. Despite their differences and individual agendas, they now know they can all work together again if the need arises,
Having great skills and abilities make us each a valued member of a team. But if we can’t also choose to contribute our gifts for the good of our teammates, instead of holding back to benefit ourselves alone, we will never truly be part of that team.
Which means we will never be as strong as we could have been.
Find more reviews of “The Avengers” at amazon.com!
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012