When in Manila, heroism is about saving the world.
Critics and fans recognize a breakthrough by The Avengers’ writer/director Joss Whedon who managed to make a box-office movie adaptation while staying faithful to the comic series.
The sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe of the Marvel Studios, and simultaneously a post- and pre- installment films to several other Marvel films, The Avengers proved to be a treat to both average movie-goers and comic book fans alike.
The success of the film was hailed by the comic book fans for it’s being one of the best adaptations and most common adaptations thus far. At the same time, movie crowds have embraced the film, which has reached number 11 in all-time highest gross sales.
Technically, it worked because the producers and the director did not underestimate nor overestimate the pre-orientation of the audiences. It was neither overloaded with technical information, nor was it lacking in details, so it was neither boring nor confusing. It also made effective use of all ttechnological that must have been within its resources, which gave way to its masterful and entertaining story tellng.
The storyline is olden and familiar. The hero’s story has been told so many times; again and again. But great stories should not be told in a singular way. The ascent of the comic books proved this to be true. The multiplicity of avenues and media can only support the truth and strength of common stories and experiences. The Avengers gives me the same impression.
There was a time when people refused to recognize comic books as literature. Serving to young audiences and using languages that are not exactly Shakespearean (although Stark’s Doth mother know you weareth her drapes? stands to contest), comic books were seen to provide only light entertainment as opposed to serious, legit art. The comic book movement was started by writers who could not seem to afford expensive publishing, and catered to younger audiences. In reality, comic book stories make use not of light issues and themes, but even turn to deep mythological and sophisticated scientific references! Besides, most of the comic book lovers I know are actually (and I mean this as a compliment) nerds. Besides defending the intelligence of this story telling, the fact is, art is about telling stories, and showing realities and the human experience. The comic subgenres tell of these experiences, although with different, often fantastic storylines.
Yet there is truth in all its comic seriousness. The hero, he of a thousand faces, as Joseph Campbell puts it, is he whose abilities, courage and determination surpass all others, and through these he rises above his human weaknesses to save his land and people. The Avengers tells of the same story, with fresh exuberance and taste. There are differences in forms and appearances yet we understand that Aall the superheroes supported by either test tube miracles, Krypton or demi-gods, are united by one common feature: the fantastic superpower element that is always beyond the ordinary or the human.
The Avengers shows us that while heroism can be idealized, it can be at once home and real too. This is the comic book experience that Whedon achieved. While keeping the super powers and abilities, he managed to communicate the essential details that allow the audience to feel the story to be their own.
While staying true to the colorful appeals of the powerful shields and cool guns; while keeping the scientific breakthroughs in the light, as well as the almost-forgotten myths, through a right among of lightness, it very well communicates the battle between good and evil, and the hero and villain it can produce. Noticeably, the film was different from others in a number of aspects. The heroes dropped the fancy names and stuck to their nicknames. There was no concentration on one nation – no single national government in focus and power, but rather it aimed for a bigger all-encompassing cause: the human race.
The superheroes fall because of human flaws – pride, anger, guilt, fear. The Avengers doubted they could really come and work together. At one point, the only person who believed they could was one without super powers.
With all its action and colors and technical excellence, I think the film must be commended for the experience it creates. This is common between reading comic books and in watching films – the exultation of the human spirit. It is essentially humanity – or at least human traits and virtues – that move them. The difference between a dog and a human being faced with a machine is not only technical ability, but purpose.
Looking forward to similar movie experiences. Good thing SM Cinema provides ease in accessing movies with the SM Cinema EPlus Card. Until the next movie, When in Manila.
Avengers Movie Review: The Avengers gives us a Dynamic Comic Book Experience