Where to begin a story which has no beginnings, or an end?
An arrival is often followed with a marker for when, but here it is why. Under the hands of a director comfortable with blockbuster cinema, Arrival has the maximum potential; 12 alien ships arrive on earth, no one knows why; except of course America. Yes, this too is an ‘America-saves-humanity’ movie. Only that it was directed by Denis Villeneuve.
And it is bound to frustrate those seeking blockbuster entertainment, because of the very visible slowness, take for example the usual money shot of earth realizing that it has guests, showed here simply by Amy Adams(she is simply brilliant here!) walking away from a group of students crowding around the television. Absolutely no hurry, even when there enough opportunity to create tension, something like a Dr. Strangelove kind of situation; Villeneuve refrains.
Arrival is adapted from a short story titled ‘Story of Your Life’, not Armageddon or Apocalypse, this is one of the most personal films I have seen and maybe the slowness is to make us understand there is no concept of time; where there is no such concept of time; slow and fast are deprived of their meanings. Even beginnings and endings are just empty words.
Arrival is about being alone and being together, about being human and alien, about the teacher and the taught and about the nature of knowledge itself, and how we are all going about in circles, literally. Denis covers all this and without hurry and completely removing drama, treating aliens and humans with respect, the movie is neither dark nor filled with popcorn aggression (again much scope for this is there when a world prepares for war), nor does it squeeze the aliens into blobs of horror or sentiment.
Arrival is perhaps the most tranquil of alien invasions.
Sometime during one of the hundred carefully and aesthetically choreographed action sequences, Phil Coulson (“since when is he Phil? His first name is Agent”, Tony Stark informs us) informs rather warily on his way to the end (oh no! spoilers) to the main antagonist Loki played to some exception by Tom Hiddleston that he (Loki) would never win because there was no conviction.
Well, that could apply to the rest of the costumed crusaders and the whole plot of Avengers, we all like them; but do we want them all the time? Simply put in more serious prose: What is the relevance of a hero in the absence of a crisis? The Avengers doesn’t deal with all that, since Marvel had already green-lighted the mega-project and only needed a skin of a story to work on. The skin provided by Joss Whedon is there, but we do not have time to pinch in further, only later these questions were realized whensome thinking was done beyond the CGI. Was an Assemble! Call really necessary to tackle an invading army brought out by Loki (simply put villain, otherwise put Shakespearean tragic anti hero with a brother problem). I mean haven’t these fellows (Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor and others. Simply put: good guys, the heroes. Otherwise cannot be put.) have done those acts singularly in the past.
Tesseract, the cube of infinite energy is the item of contention as with the previous Marvel production of Captain America, Loki steals it right from Nick Fury in return of an army of Chitauri (more bad guys) which will lead directly to earthlings to be ‘free of freedom’. Comics and any literature often derided for inducing loss of reality states in its readers have always stayed on pace with real events, like how Avengers meanders through nuclear disarmament, energy crisis and the power of the people. But are these done just as a nod to reality or will these help in creating something in the public is a topic hardly discussed, not even by Arnab Goswami. Fiction follows fact only up to a point where it can fuel its own progress, in the end these are just plot elements.
Joss Whedon’s Avengers is not pretentious and gives what it exactly aims for: a proper summer blockbuster, only to maximize those electronic ticket printing sounds at the theatres and it does this cleverly by indulging in the main characters only if the events lead to a graphic fight and this type of approach not only is good to watch, does not mess with our head in any way, in plain sight, it is an enjoyable movie with right lines at the opportune moments. Dialog in superhero movies should be a separate PhD topic, there is just so much to observe.
There is no need to bother about acting in a film headlined by Robert Downey Jr, especially when he is joined by a shy and angry Mark Ruffalo, the heroic Chris Evans, and the visitor Chris Hemsworth, though I did expect a little more of chatter amongst them, all that is lost in the run up to the war.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a very theater friendly one, not only it has internal connections, there is also the happy fact that simply for watching the Avengers you would have to go through those told stories and the looming possibility of further individual films like Hulk.
Opinions on movies are mostly instantaneous, which makes it easy to proclaim that a/any movie is the most ‘awesomatic of the aaaromale’ superhero movie ever, but Avengers is not to be so. End of the day fans are happy and will sleep without fear that they are in the good hands of the Protectors of Planet Earth, ‘realists’ will nod in disbelief and continue to make feigned movies.
So Suit Up, you don’t need a reason to watch the movie, as they didn’t need one to make one.
The piece was written under the influence of a song fittingly called, “Tu Mera Hero” from the movie Desi Boyzz (yes two zees), close friends tell me it is the only good thing in the film.
Joss Whedon’s Avengers is now out on theatres, no good print available on net.