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Assembling All the Theories: Analyzing The Avengers Through Various Theories

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Connor Farley

on 6 April 2017

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Transcript of Assembling All the Theories: Analyzing The Avengers Through Various Theories

Connor Farley
Dr. Jones
ENC 1102 70T
Assembling All the Theories: Analyzing
The Avengers
Through Various Theories
April 5, 2017
Introduction
Film Summary: Release and Cast
Released in 2012
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Scarlet Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others
Introduction
Film Summary: Awards and Response
Won several awards: Saturn Awards for Best Director, and others
8.1 from
IMDb

92% from
Rotten Tomatoes
Popularly well received-grossed over one billion dollars
Introduction
Plot
Combines revenge and pursuit master plots
Villain Loki obtains Tesseract, a source of power
Several heroes must put aside differences
Loki captured
Method
Thousands of theories
Most people accustomed to films
Theories applicable to films
Only a few discussed in detail
General Theories
Method
Theories Discussed
Stephen Greenblatt’s New Historicism
Tropes
Carl Jung’s Archetypes
Judith Butler’s Gender Performativity
Thorstein Veblen’s Conspicuous Consumption
Roland Barthes’ Mythologies
Literary devices
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts
Analysis
New Historicism
Different times, different films
Applicable to many films
Fear of atomic bomb: Monster movies, like
Godzilla,
of the 1950s-60s

Analysis
New Historicism Quote
Philip Allingham from
English in Australia
, said that New Historicism worked as a tool to connect different films of the same time period: “The New Historical approach is particularly useful in making connections between various works produced in a given period or era.”



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Analysis
New Historicism:
The Avengers
Global recession during release
Fears of economic failure
The Avengers:
weak feelings
Tropes
Analysis
Connection of similar emotions between uses
Wilhelm Scream>comedy, evokes thought of previous use
Other example: "cool guy walking away from explosion"
Analysis
Tropes Quote
Zachary Pincus-Roth from
Los Angeles Times
, thinks that people have seen many tropes before: “Many tropes are familiar, such as ‘Distressed Damsel’ and ‘Pie in the Face.’”

Analysis
Tropes:
The Avengers
Most notable trope: death of the Chitauri
Chitauri die, Loki's defeat
Alien invasion also trope
Analysis
Archetypes
Trope like characteristics applied to characters
Different genres: different Archetypes
Exclusive Archetypes in superhero movies
Analysis
Archetypes
Examples: "The Gadgeteer": Batman uses several gadgets
"The Brick": Superman's immense strength
Analysis
Archetypes Quote
According to Scott Cranford from a page on the website
Heroic World
, when character types match that of other movies over and over, they become Archetypes: “Oft times this duplication becomes so pervasive that the characters become archetypal.”

Analysis
Archetypes:
The Avengers
Iron Man: "The Gadgeteer" Archetype-relies heavily on his suit
Hulk: "The brick" Archetype: immense strength
Captain America: "The patriot":American flag outfit
Analysis
Gender Performativity
Through alien's eyes:different genders: different roles
Difference between women and men.
Analysis
Gender Performativity Quote
Dino Felluga, from
Introductory Guide to Critical Theory
, discusses how social roles come about by continuous creation by society itself: “All of these theories explore the ways that social reality is not a given but is continually created as an illusion ‘through language, gesture, and all manner of symbolic social sign.’”

Analysis
Gender Performativity:
The Avengers
Black Widow: only main female character
On the surface: acts same as main male characters
Analysis
Gender Performativity:
The Avengers
Black Widow: voice of reason
Uses emotion and femininity as advantage
Tricks Loki by crying
Analysis
Conspicuous Consumption
Seems very evident in daily lives
Easily found in films
Example-when someone buys nice car to seem higher class
Analysis
Conspicuous Consumption Quote
According to Thorstein Veblen in
The Theory of the Leisure Class
, a person's Conspicuous Consumption serves as a basis of his or her reputation: “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.”

Analysis
Conspicuous Consumption:
The Avengers
Iron Man: boasts wealth throughout film
Captain America questions Iron Man: identity without suit
Iron Man: Response solidifies Conspicuous Consumption
Analysis
Barthes' Mythologies
Thoughts and mindsets when people assess a symbol
Example:Valentine's Day>love>hearts>color red
Analysis
Barthes' Mythologies Quote
Andrew Robinson from
Ceasefire
discussed how myths change certain symbols in which they then have a certain meaning: “Instead, myths inflect or distort particular images or signs to carry a particular meaning.”

Analysis
Barthes' Mythologies: The Avengers
Thor's Hammer Mjolnir>Nordic lands like Norway>Skyrim>Hjaalmarch
Captain America's shield>America>Bald Eagles
Analysis
Literary Devices
Prevalent in films as well as literature
Example: foil characters: opposites meant to enhance qualities in each other
Iron Man: arrogant
Captain America: Humble
Analysis
Literary Devices
Symbolism: certain plot element represents an abstract idea.
Tesseract: symbol for unlimited power: drives antagonist desires and plot
Analysis
Literary Devices
Irony: one viewer understands something while another does not
Nick Fury reference:
The Wizard of Oz
Captain America understands
Thor does not
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts: Sound
Iron Man lands on platform on Stark Tower
Diegetic sound: mechanism buzzing: too loud
Takes away from non-diegetic music
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles and Cuts: Sound
Diegetic sound of Iron Man pouring drink works well
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts: Camera Angles
Same Scene
Long shot of Iron Man looking down at Loki
Viewers know of upcoming interaction
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts: Camera Angles
During conversation in same scene: medium shot not good
Facial expressions lost to viewers
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts: Cuts
Same Scene
Shot reverse shots not good
Take away view of expressions
Analysis
Sound, Camera Angles, and Cuts: Cuts
Cut following previous scene good
Iron Man: looks to roof
Camera: cut to roof
Viewers know-roof setting
Conclusion
Additional Theories
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Marx & Engels' Alienation and Commodification
Althusser’s Ideology
Sartre’s Dread and Angst
Works Cited
Sources Used

Allingham, Philip. "The Potential of New Historicism for the Secondary English Classroom."
English in Australia
, vol. 50, no. 3, 2015, p. 39+.
Academic OneFile
, db02.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db02.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=lincclin_bcc&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA453916725&asid=46c6acc60aee19c74f12cfaba000782d.

Cranford, Scott. “Heroic Archetypes.”
Heroic World
, 2017, www.heroicworld.com/heroic-archetypes.html

Felluga, Dino. “Modules on Butler: On Performativity.”
Introductory Guide to Critical Theory
, 31 January 2011, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/genderandsex/modules/butlerperformativity.html

Pincus-Roth, Zachary. “TV Tropes Identifies Where You've Seen It All Before.”
Los Angeles Times
, 2 Feb. 2010, articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/28/entertainment/la-ca-tropes28-2010feb28
.
Robinson, Andrew. “An A to Z of Theory Roland Barthes’s Mythologies: A Critical Theory of Myths.”
Ceasefire
, 30 Sept. 2011, ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-barthes-2/

Veblen, Thorstein.
The Theory of the Leisure Class
. Macmillan, 1899.
Prentice Hall
, wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/107/110141/ch19_a4_d1.pdf.


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