Making the Grades
Finally! After starring in their own movies, the long anticipated coalition of Marvel Comic heroes comes together to tackle one massive threat to humankind. The catalyst for welding their super strengths (and in some cases super egos) into one cohesive fighting group is Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the adopted brother of the hammer-wielding god Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
Still a little ticked off about the preferential treatment his blond sibling enjoyed in the royal courts on Asgard, Loki plans to bring an alien army to overrun Earth. His first acts of business: steal the Tesseract Cube and then take over the minds and wills of the sharpshooter Hawkeye (the alter ego of Clint Barton played by Jeremy Renner) and scientist Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgärd).
Fully aware that mere humans will be helpless in the face of the invasion, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of the international peace keeping agency S.H.I.E.L.D., begins assembling the Avengers, starting with Tony Stark (Robert Downing Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). He sends agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) to lure the reclusive Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) out of Calcutta. Meanwhile they wait for Thor to return from the outer regions of the universe.
Putting this much muscle—to say nothing of attitude—into one confined space comes at a price, one that Loki plays to his advantage when bickering breaks out between the superheroes. For audiences, some of the movie’s most memorable lines come out as these characters exchange quips and barbs with one another. But it takes a graphic and startling death to solidify the mission of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and The Hulk.
Unfortunately most of the fun happens in the first acts of this movie as Director Joss Whedon juggles screen time for each of the Avengers. While working with a cast of this magnitude isn’t always easy, the story manages to give even viewers without a comic book background enough information to understand the action. However by the third act, the typical destroy Manhattan clichés are as plentiful as the swarms of mutant soldiers. And watching scores of innocent New Yorkers stumble through debris-clogged streets as buildings shudder and crumble has a feel of reality that isn’t always as entertaining as it is probably intended to be. While most depictions of violence include massive explosions, fantastic weaponry and the expected mayhem associated with alien invasions, some are more human and graphic. A man is attacked with a device that initially appears to extract his eyeball and another is run through the chest with a spear. More bloody injuries occur as hand-to-hand combat is engaged in. And in one scene, a character being repeatedly hit onto the ground like a rag doll plays as comedy.
Set to be the first big blast for the summer 2012 movie season, Marvel’s The Avengers promises and provides plenty of big screen action. Yet parents of children and tweens may want to push pause before taking their kids to see the superabundant amounts of violence employed by these avenging superheroes.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Marvel’s The Avengers.
What strengths does each of the Avengers bring to this assembly? What role do egos play in this group? What attitudes do they have to overcome in order to work together? If you were a superhero would it be difficult to be a team player?
How do Captain America’s views and morals differ from some of the other characters? Why is that?
How does this script employ the literary theme of god vs. man? What advantages do the humans seem to have over the gods? Why is this theme recurrent in literature and other entertainment?
How does Bruce Banner deal with his anger? Is it important to find positive ways to overcome weaknesses?