Is it possible to mix mythology and
comic book characters? Well, in a
manner of speaking, the comic book characters are themselves the mythos of the
last century: in times of great turmoil
and war and division and overwhelming brute force, it just felt good to
consider the idea that some set of good-hearted superheroes were out there
looking out for us, and protecting us, and watching over us.
Kind of like militant guardian angels. And,
like the angels, some of them cop an attitude.
But unlike the angels, they serve no superior being.
Therefore, their allegiances are fleeting, temporary, and, truth be
told, somewhat fickle. But oh man, when
they do finally swing into action, it’s a sight to behold.
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, has a
half-brother, Loki, with designs on ruling the universe by controlling a
self-sustaining unlimited energy force. He’s
the bad guy that has legions of henchmen that look like devils, or screaming
harpies, descending upon the earth through some kind of space-warp hole in the
sky, and he laughs at the feeble efforts of “The Avengers” to stop him and
his swarm of destructive nihilists.
But hey, this is comic book stuff, and
we are here to have fun. So the
“Ironman” has a great sarcastic wit. And
“The Hulk” refers to his big, green persona within that comes out when he
loses his temper as “that other guy.” Green
Arrow gets “turned” by the bad guy, but is redeemed by The Black Widow,
who never stops believing in him. Captain
, fresh off his battlefield exploits in World War One, can joke about being a
cultural and technological dinosaur, but there’s always use for a guy who
can punch through a punching bag.
Nah, we’re too busy saving the world for that.
But we might accidentally develop an affection for each other.
This is more of a buddy movie with the girl being one of the guys.
There’s plenty of CGI-kind of action, where you get to blow things up
in the middle of
New York City
and joke about it afterwards.
“The Avengers,” despite the title,
is just plain fun. Sure, it’s even
more fun if you’re a comic book nerd who grew up rooting for some of these
super-heroes of cartoon caricature. But
even if you’re not, you can still appreciate the artistry and camaraderie,
using the 3-D technology to great special effect.
Pass the popcorn and enjoy the ride.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,