Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 9:27 am | Overcast 70º


Cinema in Focus: ‘The Avengers’

This creative bringing together of the various Marvel heroes is wonderful storytelling

3 Stars — Entertaining

The Avengers is wonderful storytelling. Not only does it bring together the familiar Marvel comic characters, but it does so with witty dialogue and complex plot twists as well.

The struggle between good and evil is obvious, yet the characters are not simple. With both the screenplay and direction by Joss Whedon, The Avengers benefits from his veteran skills and experience. One of the most versatile people creating films today, Whedon’s skills range from writing the screenplay for Toy Story, directing Thor and producing the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to being an actor, lyricist and even providing the soundtrack for a variety of films. This breadth of experience comes together in The Avengers to create an exceptionally entertaining film.

Based on the story by Zak Penn, who also wrote The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and Elektra, among other science fiction films, the story of the various Marvel characters takes on a new chapter as they all come together to protect the Earth from an alien invasion. But, like everything else in the film, the villain is a familiar one. It is the treacherous Loki (Tom Hiddleston), adopted brother of the valiant Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who was banished in their earlier tale for attempting to steal his kingdom.

The power source over which the two universes are now battling is the blue Tesseract, which is a Captain America (Chris Evans) cosmic cube of infinite power. But Loki has invited an evil alien army to come to Earth and take possession of it. Similar to the arc reactor that Tony Stark created to become the incomparable Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Tesseract has the power to open a portal through which the invading insect-like creatures and ships can invade Earth.

Recognizing the danger of an alien invasion, a global organization called SHIELD is created to protect Earth. The director of SHIELD is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury believes that the only ones who can protect Earth are the collection of superhumans he calls the “Avenger Initiative.” In addition to Thor, Captain America and Iron Man are Bruce Banner as The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), the Russian spy Natasha Romanoff known as The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton whose vision creates a Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) ability for his special arrows to find their mark.

What makes the film so effective is the ability to bring these disparate personalities together in ways that both enhance their individuality as well as reveal their true character. One such moment is when Loki claims to be a god, but Captain America simply replies that there is only one God and He doesn’t dress like Loki or, by implication, act like Loki. The ability of these superhumans to recognize both their strength and their need for one another is a powerful message of the need for committed relationships, humility and working together to fight injustice that fits the moral messages of the Marvel comic tales.

In the final analysis, the message of the tale is that true heroes are not made by their power or personality, but by their willingness to lay down their lives to protect the powerless. That is a cosmic message that fits the real world as well as it does the cartoon series.


» Life is filled with the struggle of good and evil. How do you know which is which, and how do you fight for the victory of the good?

» The revenge with which Loki is consumed almost makes him vulnerable due to his narcissistic and egotistical plans. Have you ever been consumed with vengeance? How did you confront your own ego and resolve your issue?

» It is not easy for people with unique abilities to feel accepted in the world. If you were a genius like Stark, powerful like Banner or enhanced like Captain America, how would you live your life? How does your own uniqueness show itself both for good and for ill in your life?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >