Skip to main content

Avengers Assemble (The Avengers) Film Classic

It is clear that writer-director Joss Whedon knew he was making an American film classic when he wrote The Avengers (2012), if only because Captain America recognises the reference to The Wizard of Oz, on which it is partly based.  Then again, Whedon's brilliant film mind has assembled a half-dozen other canonical film templates, including Citizen Kane, the Magnificent Seven, and Hidden Fortress/Star Wars.  The assembling of the reluctant heroes to save a beleaguered community (New York/Earth) is pure Western; the screwball comedy of the eccentric playboy millionaire is all Kane before the downfall; and Nick Fury is Dorothy, trying to make heroes of his motley crew - or is Natasha Dorothy, lost in a world of monsters and magic, seeking a redemptive home?

But this is mainly comedy as art.  Indeed, there is as much Bringing Up Baby here as there is The Wrath of Khan.  What has to be said is that Whedon has written and directed the most intelligent, dramatic, and purely entertaining family action film since he worked on Toy Story - but probably the best since Indiana Jones outran the big boulder.  I actually thing The Avengers is an instant great film.  The pure cinema moments of hilarity (normally caused by The Hulk), balanced by Shakespearean issues relating to kings, family, and the gods, derive partly from Stan Lee and the Marvel mythos, but are here enhanced in a way that other film versions of Marvel comics have not achieved.  The attention to the NYC cops, and the citizens on the ground in peril, is very touching.  The best lines belong, oddly, to Captain America, whose Christian virtue plays well off of Stark's Casablanca go-it-aloneness.  Of course, as with Rick, Stark chooses sacrifice over the woman (Pepper).  That this film holds up to these greats is what this post is about.  See this one on the big screen.

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…