Friday, 13 July 2012

The Avengers Assemble


The Avengers movie, or The Avengers Assemble, for the more politically correct of us. Now, I can't help but feel odd writing this straight after I've seen the movie (It seems unnatural.) but it's probably going to be posted some time in the far future, so, off we go!

I don't usually watch superhero movies anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love Spiderman (But not his Toby Maguire rendition,) but superhero movies just never seem to cut it for me. I know why this is of course (or at least I think I do.) It's because they're aimed to appease fans by bringing their superhero fantasies to the 'big screen' as it were, and because they have lots of mindless action where the plot should be. But despite me slagging off the genre like this, I have to say, at least the first part (the first part) of the Avengers Assemble was actually pretty good. Perhaps my judgement was clouded by the fact that the conversation that me and my friend were having about Friedrich Nietzsche's master/slave psychology prior to watching the movie actually came up in part at the beginning, but all in all it was probably because Loki was so delightfully awesome.

Disclaimer: Yes I am going to spoil the plot of the movie (or at least part of it.) If you disagree with my action or think that it is wrong, you can read what I have to say about you.

Where do I start? I'll start with Loki, because he's just so cool. After his initial appearance, he decides to crash a ball (that's the dancing kind,) smack people around with his staff as if he's playing golf, and then do the PG13 equivalent of rip a man's eye out of his skull. I have to praise Tom Hiddleston's acting here, he's just so maniacal, he swaps from peak concentration to having sadistic fun so fluidly; maybe I'm just crazy but that transition meant something to me. Next, however, we see him subjugate the flock of people escaping the gathering, and this is where he makes his motivation apparent. “Humans desire to be subjugated.” I don't know if that’s the exact quote, but that motivation was perfect. Loki, as a God, has the right that no other villain has to declare that over his victims, it escalates to the point where an audience can actually have sympathy for him as a villain, because his point makes so much sense. No “misguided revenge,” or “apocalyptic demon” agenda, he actually has a good reason to do everything he does, and tries to portray that to those that would be his subjects. Sure, perhaps he went a bit over the top with his mind control and execution of people who disobeyed him, but this movie was flawed from the start, what I'm trying to point out is it's Potential.
Could he be any more evil?

Actually, now that I think about it, Loki should have made example of people who disobeyed him plainly, and praised those who disobeyed him with temerity (as in, people who actually had a use in his kingdom.) And his mind-control wand of doom should have simply 'enlightened' people, rather than taking over their heads, (which he claimed it did, but the movie didn't make a point of showing that.) Maybe this view is some kind of subconscious imperialism slipping from the depths of my mind, but if that's the case then it further supports his view that people exist to be subjugated, so in that sense it's all good.

Building upon this, after Loki gets captured by our happy crew of Avengers, he begins to play on them from within his cell, using the fact that he is under complete surveillance to his advantage, and aiming to turn them against each other. His ploy is more than obvious from the start (turn The Hulk into The Hulk,) but it wasn't the kind of blaring obvious which hurts the execution, and it added to Loki's amazing manipulative ability, really giving him more authority to carry out his plans than just some power-hungry villain, (he knew what he was on about when he said he would be ruling the Earth.) If I can say anything about how this was handled however, I would say that it took far too long. The movie as a whole was too long, it could have been shortened at multiple points, and this was one of them. Loki spent too long in that cell.

In fact, one of the main diminishing points of the movie, (apart from the insane amount of plot holes starting halfway through,) is the fact that Loki was not the focus of it, from the writer's perspective. In fact, the movie was supposed to be about people in a community coming together, and Loki was supposed to act as a foil to this, breaking them apart. By the end of the movie the focus shifts even more dramatically, away from Loki and onto the Avengers' and he becomes little more than a stock villain, there to hassle the Avengers as they go through their uninspiring personal journies. There was even a great point at the end where he could have done a full turn around, realise his mistake - that mistake being the gaping plot hole of feeling it necessary to harness the power of an alien armada to conquer the Earth - (he's a damn God! What does he need them for?) But the plot was too far lost then, so it didn't matter either way. He went from being a great villain with lots of potential, to just being 'there' as the orchestrator of a world threating attack which really had no dramatic purpose other than to give the heroes things to beat up. (I'm not denouncing the need for action in the movie, I'm just saying that the movie's plot could have been saved with the action intact. For example, if Loki had had some good reason to call down the armada, and then realised that it was a dumb move later.)

Just for reference's sake: There is a point in this movie where it becomes safe to walk out of the viewing room and never look back at it again. I would say that that point is precisely where Hawkeye (who regrettably went without a costume...) shoots an explosive arrow at one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. airship's engines, blowing the whole thing up and initiating the start of the downfall of the movie.

Ah, this is one of those wonderful cases where there is just so much to write about something which could have been so much better. But alas, I shall hold my tongue for now.

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