Marvel’s The Avengers as a Metaphysical Manifestation of the Deadly Sins (And the Benevolent Promotion of Aforementioned Sins)
By Jeffrey Kieviet
Having watched Marvel’s The Avengers months too late and on a wonderful home viewing center, I regret not taking advantage of this Marvel-ous movie while still in theaters. It’s full of fun, action, humor, and everything else one could want out of any modern day comic-film, especially since this has been a long time coming with a total of 5(ish) prequels(ish) leading us to this masterpiece(ish). However, the 6 team members (plus their boss) can symbolize not just our hopes and dreams for true heroes, but embody the biblical 7 Deadly Sins. Some of these are much more obvious, while the subtlety of others will seem like a desperate stretch, but the most interesting aspect is if you accept these characters are characterizations of sin, the sin is what leads them to victory.
Hulk is the most obvious: wrath. Some may call this sin “anger,” which is why “you wouldn’t like [the Hulk] when [he’s] angry.” Hulk’s rage is what makes him THE most valuable member of the team. Captain America gives him a very simple, specific order, “Hulk smash,” and this releases an unstoppable can of whoop-ass on the villainous army. Before the climactic battle, Bruce Banner (the Hulk’s human alter-ego) shows up and acknowledges that his deep dark secret is of incalculable value to the super-team. He has spent his whole existence (post gamma-radiation: see Ang Lee’s Hulk or the far more powerful and impressive The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton) desperately trying not to release the beast within. The transformation is set in motion when Bruce loses control of himself and unleashes his wrath. However, right before he shifts for the final battle, the intelligent genious, Dr. Banner, announces he’s always angry, becomes the Hulk and smashes a gargantuan flying monster/ship in one fell swoop. This means, the Hulk is always just below the surface, and because Bruce can acknowledge and accept his wrath, he has gained control of the beast and can use him for the salvation of the human race (except for everything he smashes in New York).
Slightly subtler is Captain America’s embodiment of pride. Pride is such a necessity for the human psyche but is, unfortunately, always seen in a negative light. Loki comes down and makes a group of civilians bow before him. One man defies the god and stands, saying something along the lines of “not all of us will bow,” because he believes he’s worth something. Loki is a god, he has more power than that entire human force combined, and Darwinianly should control this group of (to him) insects. Humans have driven this world into chaos, fighting amongst themselves, killing on an ungodly scale, not to mention politics and the economy. But unless you have the pride, the self-esteem to stand up against the villain and stand up for what you believe in, you may as well bow out and let someone else run things. Captain America does exactly this; he believes in what’s right. He respects his authority figures, but succumbs to his beliefs enough to not trust them (that whole subplot about S.H.I.E.L.D. using the cosmic cube to develop WMDs), and wears his “old-fashioned” costume because it represents truth, justice, and the American way. Basically Superman if he was an American human instead of an alien with a God-complex. I think Captain America jumps in and saves the defiant old man, but it might have been gluttony.
Clearly, Tony Stark, A.K.A. Iron Man, is greed. He has more money than Oprah (dated reference? I haven’t’ heard anything since she went off the air), more gadgets and gizmos than 10 Batmans, and a skyscraper with his name on the top (this becomes important because Loki is apparently a drama queen). Hell, the main fault with the film Iron Man 2 was they got too greedy and tried to fit too damn much into the film (both villains were cool, but neither of them got to do anything, and by the end of the movie, I think there were 3 Iron Men, an army of Iron Man robots, and a chick in leather [which, again, we’ll get to in a moment]). Hell Again, even the limo driver got a “hero moment,” which was cool because it was director Jon Favreau, but entirely unnecessary. Back to topic, he is smart, capable, and as a “normal-human” (for lack of a better term) he’s able to hold his own with Thor, which he wouldn’t have been able to do had he greedily not hung onto the sole rights of his Iron Man costume. Outfit? Suit.
What was Scarlett Johanson’s character’s name? I know in the comics she’s the Black Widow but I don’t think they ever called her that. Like the Widow’s name is Romanov-something. Something Russian. Doesn’t matter, y’know why? 2 reasons: T & A. I don’t know if that’s 3 reasons because she has 2 tits and an ass, but the ass has 2 cheeks so then it would be 4 reasons… I lost myself thinking about her 2 reasons. And that’s it. She was just there to be a bouncy bust and a leather-clad derriere. Lust is what you’re feeling right now, I don’t care if you’re a woman because I have yet to find a woman who doesn’t understand why guys lost their marbles when it was announced that she had leaked sexting pictures on the internet. Do a Google search, I’ll wait. Sure, the movie would have still been a rollicking-romp through comic book adventure-land, but how were we to defend our sexuality if the entire movie had just been sweaty, muscle-bound men, intimately banging their bits into each other? What, Gwyneth Paltro? She’s flat as a board in front AND in back. Don’t get me wrong, I watched Shakespeare In Love when I was 13 but my tastes have matured since then. I, however, have not.
Thor is gluttony. This is more prevalent in his standalone film, Thor, but since that movie (as well as Captain America: The First Avenger) was basically just made so they wouldn’t have to do his origin story in Avengers, we’ll say it counts. He has the same shortcomings as Loki, but since he gets to play human for a movie, he learns that humanity has value and to rule with an opened hand instead of a closed fist. Because when you slap a bitch, it puts him in his place without leaving a black eye. Also, there is the scene in Thor when he flips a table full of food! That’s clearly a reference to gluttony if I’ve ever seen one. And he eats in that diner and smashes a cup, cockily demanding more. Ok, that was a bit of a stretch, but get ready for Hawkeye.
Envy. And this may be more embodied by Jeremy Renner as opposed to his onscreen counter-part. I’ve heard through the grapevine (so it should be disregarded as unsubstantiated gossip but then what do I have to write about) that he threw a little bit of a hissy-fit due to his treatment in the film. He’s the only one (aside from Titties-McGee) to not get an entire film before The Avengers, just a 2 second cameo in Thor where he picks up a bow and makes a snarky remark. He didn’t even get to shoot anybody in Thor. But now he gets to fling arrows and whoop ass with the best of them, but he spends the whole first half of the movie under the power of Loki’s magic stick. “Magic stick” should be read with heavy sarcasm because it was stupid. And lets be honest, “Modern Legolas: The Movie” has about as much appeal as a Total Recall remake. I don’t know if there’s a benevolence that comes out of Jeremy Renner’s envy, but he did get to take over for Matt Damon in the Bourne movies. So… there ya go. And if we gave Boobies O’Mal-butt her own movie, would that have made it big at the box office? I couldn’t stay awake through Lost in Translation, and that had the powers of Buns DeBimbo and Bill Murray combined.
If you’ve been keeping count, there’s only sloth left amongst the sins. But there were only 6 Avengers in the movie (unless you don’t count Male-Hunger-Games and Buttock the Wonder-Bra, then there’s only 4). So who could be sloth? Everyone in the movie is running a mile a minute, kickin’ ass and forgetting names. Even Agent Phil gets to shoot Loki with a BFG. How can one prove that sitting around doing nothing helped the Avengers? Nick Fury. Dude doesn’t even get to yell swears about snakes on their [expletive deleted] flying aircraft carrier. And because he doesn’t do squat, he allows the heroes to band together and save the world! Minus New York.