Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Breaking the Golden Rule

From Jewett and Lawrence’s The American Monomyth (1973):

A community in a harmonious paradise is threatened by evil: normal institutions fail to contend with this threat: a selfless superhero emerges to renounce temptations and carry out a redemptive task: aided by fate, his decisive victory restores the community to its paradisical condition; the superhero then recedes into obscurity.

I came out of Avengers Assemble last night with one conclusion: I don't believe in comic book films any more. I don't believe in their story, their ethics, their policies or their characters. All this is encapsulated by The Hulk, portrayed rather well by Mark Ruffalo. The message is: if we harness our enormous capacity for violence and use it against our enemies for the common interest then we will win and the world will be safe from the terror that threatens it. That is a message that the gospel of Jesus confronts at every turn, yet is a message that the church has bought into since Constantine and a message still believed by most Christians today.

But perhaps even more damning than the Avengers' acquiescence to a dangerous ideology is that the film bored me. I don't have to agree with the message of a film to like it. Slavoj Zizek has convinced me that The Dark Knight is an ode to the politics of the lie, but I still think it's a fine film and am very much looking forward to Christopher Nolan's final re-telling of the Batman story. Avengers Assemble, however, is a film I don't care to see again, nor does its inevitable sequel hold any appeal.

I have a golden rule for films I see in the cinema: Don't make me want you to end. Into the Wild broke that rule, The Way broke that rule, and now Avengers Assemble has broken that rule.

1 comment:

  1. This is MI:4 all over again. You just don't like movies... :)