For anyone currently living under a rock, or perhaps anyone successfully enjoying what must be peaceful seclusion from Hollywood’s latest product of seizure-inducing visual ecstasy, the recent Blockbuster “Marvel’s The Avengers” has recently passed $1 billion dollars in global box office and continues to, for lack of a better word, smash income records for motion pictures even three weeks after its release.
Building upon previous films centered around a single super hero (Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America), this steroid infused blockbuster unites all of them under the simple task of saving the world from an alien named Loki, who also happens to be a god.
Under the organization of a cylcloptic Samuel L. Jackson playing head of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury, a team of super humans form the Avengers in order to destroy Loki and his army.
Layered amidst this straightforward narrative are various subplots attempting to join the various back stories of each character brought together to save the world.
Most notable among these back stories is that of Captain America, a super hero experiment brought into existence during World War II who was recently discovered after being frozen for over fifty years.
Visibly lacking in super hero power in relation to his peers (can’t fly like Iron Man, lacks truly superior strength when compared to the Hulk, not a god like Thor) Captain America also lacks true knowledge of the times in which he has been thrust into.
This position strongly suggests the nostalgic obsession America has with itself. Views of a perfect union united under a common goal of battling evil are quickly fading in light of a highly evolving technological world. Though the promotion of equality for all human beings is, and should, remain the focus of this country, there is no denying a level of distrust among our peers regarding the system of beliefs on which we build our agenda.
However, it appears America may be either ignorant to this fact, or unwilling to accept it. Marvel’s The Avengers supports the latter.
Littered with numerous ideological devices within the framework of the narrative, particularly Captain America himself, the film promotes a wholly American set of morals and beliefs inherently built upon from the Baby Boomer era of post-World War II America.
In reaction to Loki’s status as a god, Captain America shuns this fact as a mere exaggeration of the truth. When Iron Man and Thor embark to fight Loki, a team member cautions Captain America to stay out of the battle due to his inferiority and their status as “gods.” In response, Captain America confidently responds “there’s only one god, and he doesn’t dress like that,” perpetuating the Judeo-Christian tradition upon which this country was built and what dominated the majority of America not fifty years ago.
The opposition of Loki and Thor as good and evil could not more clearly at least suggest a relationship between the Devil and Jesus Christ, with the latter happily joining America to defeat the former. This nostalgic recollection of World War II, a time when good and evil were so clear, harkens a desire to return a time of moralistic certainty that is no longer as clear.
To Captain America, teamwork and leadership are still capable of defeating evil, despite his personal lack of power. And to the filmmakers, America is still capable and responsible for ridding the world of evil and is furthermore able to do so without adapting to the current times.
As is demonstrated by the film, evil still remains a constant threat, but so long as America is around, we will be willing to (again) smash anything that stands in our way.