Sunday, May 6, 2012


Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’ is fun throughout. He should write and direct all future Marvel Comics movies, I think. And for a superhero team whose leader is the ultimate propaganda character (Captain Fucking America, created in World War II alongside Roosevelt’s ‘Buy War Bonds’ campaign), the film is surprisingly able in depicting the state as a counterproductive threat.

Minor spoiler here. At one point, Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. executives order him to nuke a major city, to contain an other-dimensional enemy. Nick refuses, trusting in the Avengers’ defensive capabilities as opposed to killing millions of innocents. This act of Nick Fury, of defying his superiors in the state hierarchy, is a victory of common sense over mindless military organization.

A slightly bigger spoiler coming up. In the end, the government’s Avengers project is apparently scrapped, but the team itself continues to operate and interact amongst each other. What’s more, they are shown in plain civilian clothes, further emphasizing the ‘demilitarization’ or ‘destatization’ of defense institutions. We are left with the impression that government need not be the monopolized protector of citizens’ rights after all.

So in spite of the ‘Fight for Freedom Go USA’ façade, ‘The Avengers’ scores big in presenting private solutions to defense.

[UPDATE: Reelpolitik blogger Anthony Kaufmann cites my article above, but not being a regular reader, he might have missed the irony of the whole  ‘great and libertarian’ thing, as explained in my Hunger games article last month. 
He makes decent points anyway.]

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