The Avengers is an action packed superhero film that was based upon the Marvel Comic universe superhero team created by the legendary Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. The film followed the plot of the various films produced by Marvel Studios in the last few years, with Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk in 2008, Iron Man 2 in 2010, and Thor and Captain America in 2011. The Avengers was directed by the iconic Joss Whedon and features an ensemble all-star cast of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders.
The plot of the film begins when the God of Mischief, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), steals an object of untold and unlimited power known as the tesseract, thereby threatening the safety of the world by intending to harness its power to conquer the human race. This prompts Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson), leader and director of the peace-keeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. to recruit the superheroes Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America for the “Avengers Intuitive”. These heroes, along with Black Widow and Hawkeye, are called upon in order to come together and save the world from destruction brought by Loki.
There are many great themes that I want to discuss in regards to this blockbuster, but I want to focus on the team itself. In the beginning of the film everyone is isolated and none of the heroes could get along with one another. Despite their differences, they are called upon to save the world because of their unique gifting’s and special abilities. Nick Fury developed the idea of bringing together a group of remarkable individuals so they could become part of something much greater than themselves. This idea comes into fruition after much fighting and chaos as the heroes finally come together as the Avengers and begin fighting side by side one other, warding off Loki’s invading alien army. This theme is embodied by Jesus Christ as he brings together people of different backgrounds and ethnic groups in order to worship God and serve their fellow man together as a united church family. The Avengers teaches that were not created to be in this life alone, we were created to be with others in a community.
Next, I want to explore some of the major characters in the film. As shown in his other films, Tony Stark/Iron Man is a world class billionaire with a big ego and a variety of narcissistic tendencies. He lives in his own world with no room for anyone else. In the Avengers, Stark is put to the ultimate test of having to set his pride aside and work together with others as a team. At first he is full of himself, but as the film goes on Stark is able to put his ego aside and work with the others heroes for the common good of mankind. This reflects a reoccurring theme of how everyone in the world battles with the issue of pride and selfishness.
Steve Rogers/Captain America (played by Chris Evans) is a World War II veteran who once led the fight for freedom and justice and now, after being frozen for many decades, is called to fight an epic battle once again. Steve is a man out of his time and very much more isolated than anyone else in the film. However, as the film goes on, Steve is able to become the leader of the Avengers by leading the team in the fight for freedom and justice. Captain America is a representation of mankind’s constant fight for justice, and also a man who leads courageously. He serves as a leader in both the Marvel Universe and our universe setting an example of what a brave leader should look like.
The highlight of the film was none other than Bruce Banner/the Hulk (played this time around by Mark Ruffalo). Bruce Banner represents a man trying so desperately to control his inner demons. Anger and rage are the two main characteristics that describe the Hulk. In the beginning, Banner is unsure and afraid that he isn’t going to be able to contain his dark side from everyone else. Some of this fear makes him to be less confident and more fearful of the destruction that he could unleash if he becomes the Hulk. Once he gains control of his demons, Banner proves to be a valuable ally and very useful asset on the battlefield. Bruce Banner/Hulk represents how a man can overcome his inner demons and use his life to benefit and serve others.
Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), the Nordic God of Thunder, has the tasks in the film of stopping his own brother, Loki, from destroying and ruling over the human race. Thor who was once prideful and arrogant in his previous film has learned true humility and intends to use his new found heart to stop the death and destruction that Loki intends to cause. Thor represents a man who was given a new heart and a new found purpose to protect all of life no matter where it is. This can be seen in the gospel where Jesus Christ gives new hearts and new minds to all those who would believe in him. Also, in the film Thor tells Loki, “You know nothing of ruling,” pointing out the flaws in his brother’s tyrannical ambitions to rule the Earth. This further adds to the idea that Thor now understands that ruling requires being a compassionate servant towards others, and not using people as tools to feed one’s pride and ambition.
Last, we get to the villain of the story Loki, the Norse God of Mischief and Thor’s adopted brother. Loki is a representation of a broken spirit and man is who is totally depraved. In the 2011 Thor film, Loki was shown as the jealous younger brother who had always lived under Thor’s shadow constantly trying to prove himself worthy to everyone around him, especially his brother. While his brother learned a lesson in humility, Loki takes the opposite path choosing to become a prideful tyrant over mankind, believing himself to be a superior being to everyone else. This has been a common theme throughout the Bible and history as many men have risen up believing they were greater than everyone else. Despite being a treacherous villain, Loki made a great point when he said, “human beings were made to be ruled,” being that everyone constantly looks to someone to lead, guide, and shepherd us. Yet the person that mankind was created to be ruled by is not another man, but the one true God: our heavenly father and creator of the universe, Jesus Christ.
The Avengers is a film that’s worth checking out and is a fantastic blockbuster to watch in order to kick off the summer. There are all kinds of elements and themes that bear fruit for deep discussion that are tied into the film. The film is entertaining, witty, comedic, action-packed and insightful. Comic-book/superhero fans and movie goers alike are sure to enjoy this film. Also, as Christians we can learn the value and importance of unity and being together from the Avengers as they overcame the world by coming together and being on one accord.
Assemble your friends to go and out see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: the Avengers!