BY EVAN IBARRA
What does “Avenger” mean? Does it mean someone who seeks vengeance? A hero? Or someone who simply wishes to do better?
On May 1 Marvel Entertainment released “Avengers: Age of Ultron ,” the sequel to their 2012 smash hit and record breaking “Avengers,” in US cinema. From the hype and trailers leading to its impending release, this summer blockbuster promised to top the amount of action, geekiness, and revenue set forth by the superhero-juggernaut that is Marvel. Needless to say, “Age of Ultron” is a big deal.
The basic premise of the film is that the Avengers are back with fancy, new costumes ready to save the day again. After some meddling by both the good guys (more specifically Tony Stark), a form of artificial intelligence simply named Ultron, voiced by James Spader, is born in the world of today.
Armed with a genius intellect, apathy for human life and super powered henchmen in the form of twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, played by Emily Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson respectively. The titular villain sets to do what the Avengers failed to do: make the world a better place.
Age of Ultron grounded the Avengers. Besides supplying some top-notch laughs and destroying the very definition of awesome, the film added a surprising emotional, human touch to the superhero team-up formula. During the events of the film, Ultron causes our costumed crusaders to doubt themselves, forcing them to regroup before having another showdown. This hesitation makes the team reevaluate themselves as a group and individually.
What am I? How can I make a difference? Am I strong enough? Am I enough? What do I need to be? There is a certain air of invincibility that surrounds the team when you look at the line-up: a super solider, the world’s deadliest assassins, a god, a Hulk, and a Tony Stark. With all these super men and women on one team, it is hard to remember that they are still people. In this film, however, the aforementioned questions crippled the Avengers mentally and physically, yet made the audience love them even more.
Like the fictional heroes we also deal with the complicated issue of defining our own identities and where we stand in society. We must face the daunting challenge of shouting out who we are, what we feel are, in hopes that someone out there responds with a “Me too! We should hangout!” The problem with this is that we are implicated in the creation of someone else’s identity.
Every word, action, and emotion ends up shaping a stranger’s, a neighbor’s, a friend’s, or a family member’s internal reflection of themselves. Identity is a product of people’s opinions and reactions to a person’s overall self. The Avengers are a product. Ultron is a product. “Age of Ultron” has accomplished something mind blowing: in a shared universe populated by talking raccoons, robots with free-will, and unimaginable characters, the most relatable characters are the most unreal.
A small disclaimer, I am a nerd who loves superheroes and things that are cool. Thus, there is bias when I feel that this movie is a must-see. In truth, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is more about watching the next crazy thing that Marvel has thought up as opposed to the themes of the film. You are more likely to strain your eyes trying to focus on every single detail in the climax in contrast to seeing which Avenger relates to you.
I recommend this movie to someone who wishes to continue on this crazy ride known as the Marvel Universe and see how Joss Whedon managed to make a coherent, fun picture out of a million different parts. You should not watch this movie if you are looking for a film that focuses solely on critiquing society instead of focusing upon the action.
To answer the initial question, however, an “Avenger” is not defined by a desire to seek vengeance. They are not necessarily a hero, nor do they need to have the desire to do better for the world. Instead they are strong enough to stand on the world’s stage amidst boos and jeers. An “Avenger” is confident within their own identity.