What I Saw: The Avengers
As a kid, I could never figure out why The Avengers comic books didn’t appeal to me as much as other series, like the X-Men. In theory, the team atmosphere should have provided more than enough combinations, permutations and interpersonal interactions to keep me amused for hours. In practice, however, I was never able to relate to any of them. Luckily, Joss Whedon’s take on the familiar characters has helped me give voice to my youthful instincts
My path to clarity began with Mark Ruffalo’s pithy recognition that The Avengers aren’t actually a team. They’re a time bomb. They aren’t heroes who are called together for some high philosophical purpose or common cause, but rather out of necessity. They aren’t First Responders but rather Last Responders, if you will, and even then they have to be tricked into it by Nick Fury, who has himself assembled them despite the objections of higher forces.
As I began to question why they should be brought together so reluctantly--and why they are allowed to disband so easily once crisis has been averted-- I began to realize that they aren’t really the type of heroes I want to emulate at all. Sure, they have super strengths, but none of them actually embrace a value system that I can get behind. One is a flag-waving (and flag-wearing) anachronism, with an ethical sensibility that is so binary and antiquated that one wonders if they left it frozen in the ice. Another is a billionaire playboy (surely part of the 1%), who made his fortunes selling military weapons. Add to that a Norse god of lightning and two hired assassins, and you begin to wonder why the authors are so afraid of superheroes arising from among the regular population. Oddly, it is the big green guy that turns out to be the most relatable as a smart, quiet boy who would prefer to spend his life providing medical attention to the poor, but his bosses and his culture insist that he’d be of greater use smashing things.
What bothers me the most, however, is that these powerful people get praised for simply cleaning up their own messes -- or partially cleaning up their messes, since I doubt that they had to rebuild all the buildings they smashed, sweep the streets the next day or pay for those burning cars. Honestly, the Tesseract device that opens the portal for the evil Loki has connections to Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Nick Fury. Couldn’t they have left well enough alone to begin with? It’s like they are getting credit for cleaning up their own oil spill, or solving a banking crisis that they caused, or narrowly defending us from the invading army that they had been poking at for decades. I suppose that is how powerful people have always portrayed themselves, hoping that when we make movies about them we will call them avengers instead of time bombs.
In my opinion, the film’s best chances for Oscar consideration are in the sound and visual effects categories. But there are some serious contenders still on the horizon that could easily overshadow those possibilities.
Sound Editing (currently ranked 8)
Visual Effects (currently ranked 11)
Sound Mixing (currently ranked 12)
Makeup (previously ranked 25)
Art Direction: James Chinlund and Victor J. Zolfo (currently ranked 47)
Film Editing: Jeffrey Ford and Paul Rubell (currently ranked 50)
Costume Design: Alexandra Byrne (currently ranked 50)
I probably will add the film to my Adapted Screenplay rankings in my next round of predictions, likely somewhere in the middle to lower half of the list.
Some have placed The Avengers into their best picture lists as well due to its box office success, but my suspicion is that there is another superhero film opening in July that will put an end to that speculation pretty quickly. I have also heard Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. mentioned as possibilities since they are former nominees/winners, but I didn’t see anything in their performances that I think could carry them to the end of the year.
As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!
My Lamb Score: 3 ½ out of 5 Lambs
What is a lamb score? Click HERE to learn more.
Read recent reviews HERE, or search the Archives.