Marvel films are standard fare at the cinema now. We are no longer surprised by their release, we know what is coming years in advance the internet is alive with plot theories, trailer dissections and reviews on release. Age of Ultron is no different to any of those that have gone before, enjoyable despite its faults and required to add little nods and winks to what will come. My main thought coming out of my enjoyable viewing was why do these films continue to thrive?
Yes, comic book fandom plays a role. Yes, there is our endless need as human beings to be entertained and Age of Ultron services those needs successfully but is there something else at play? Something that we are unconsciously seeking by continually entering these comic book worlds?
Dare I suggest that rather than being on the search for a cinematic classic we may be on the search for heroes?
This blog post will land on your social media feed somewhere in-between posts requesting help for the earthquake in Nepal, stories around #blacklivesmatter in Baltimore and election posts from both those crowing in triumph and the wailing despair of those who feel they have lost.
The demand for heroes has never been stronger, our world is crying out for them. The Avengers certainly match those desires a group that come together, taking direct action (often involving the destruction of a city, think of the costs folks!) wielding powers that we can only fantasise about. The Avengers work together (most of the time) to make the world a better place, the stuff of comic book legend. We go to the cinema to lose ourselves in wonder, awe and return blinking into the daylight to the familiar brokenness of reality.
Look again though. Look more closely.
Look at the aid agencies and charities rallying within hours of disaster to feed, clothe and rebuild cities for those in need.
See the clergy parading in unity to the front lines of protest in Baltimore to stand face to face with the oppressors of their communities to boldly declare that their lives matter.
Scroll through Twitter and read the tweets of those energised in electoral defeat. Not prepared to settle for the new regime but determined that the new regime will hear their voice.
We do have a desperate need for heroes. It has probably never been greater.
The truth is though that they walk among us on a daily basis using their powers of compassion, mercy and a desire for justice. These are the true heroes and none of them need an iron suit or magic hammer to get the job done.