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The Avengers (2012)
June 23, 2012, 1:41 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Joss Whedon

There is little to add to the discussion of the box office behemoth that is The Avengers. It is exactly what one would expect: loud, sometimes funny, sometimes exciting, loud, well-acted, loud, and loud. It is an admirable thing for a summer movie to live up to its marketing when the blockbusters of today are largely forgotten by September. The Avengers surprises in one major way, however, and that is in the propagandistic elements that seem at odds with Joss Whedon’s worldview (at least the worldview that one sees in his previous work). Samuel L. Jackson, in the role of SHIELD director Nick Fury, at one point defends the secret arsenal of weapons held by his organization, arguing that their program is best not questioned and that they have the interests of the country in mind. It’s an off-putting aside that reaffirms the film’s heavy pro-military stance, contextualizing the alien invaders as the feared “other”, a terroristic power hellbent on little more than destroying American freedom. In another line – which is admittedly charming in that it reflects the “rah-rah” single-mindedness of the character – Captain America, confronted with two battling Norse Gods, tells the audience that there is only one God and that he doesn’t dress “like that.” It is inappropriate to criticize a film for having a decidedly right-wing point-of-view (as long as a film executes its point-of-view competently, it is a success), but both moments seem terribly at odds with Whedon’s often cynical sensibilities as a writer, which were on display only months ago in The Cabin in the Woods. None of this is to say that The Avengers is a bad film. It’s simply exponentially better the less you think about it.

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