Guest Post: ‘The Avengers’ Movie — What Did You See?

After my last stab at a movie review, the HogwartsProfessor faculty revoked my season viewing pass at Doc Films and asked me to refrain, please, from upsetting our readers who love, y’know, film. So, it’s a grand good thing that one of our All-Pros went to see The Avengers last weekend as did every other American (and a cousin), present company excluded not having a pass, and wrote something up about it.

This post  is from Susan Raab (, a marketing strategist, high-conversion copywriter and best selling ghostwriter who would really rather be reading — she tells me — the latest HogPro recommendation late into the night, or teaching another “Christian Content in Harry Potter” class for her contemplative prayer group, or writing her own book for Heaven’s sake.

The Avengers: Integral Alchemy

Mercy, the Deathly Hallows opening weekend record has been smashed by what, a mythic mash-up of comic book goons? How random is this?

Perhaps not very. HogPro trained to look for patterns, I was astonished to see one in this promo shot (below the jump!), and suddenly the whole phenomenon made sense.

This is a pattern I haven’t seen discussed at HogPro—a pattern of how we, both as individuals and as societies, grow by transcending and including our previous forms. In the Avengers, we see our evolution writ large:

The Hulk, the raw strength and power of our animal origins; Hawkeye/Black Widow, our human skills of vision, recognition, and intuition; Thor/Loki, the kingly magic, mystery and maya that science can’t explain away or overcome; Captain America, the noblest ideal of modern science; and Iron Man, the sardonic postmodern technocrat.

Sound familiar? It does to me. As an infant, I got so angry and cried so hard I turned a different color (red) and was frightened by the power of my own feelings. In the cradle I enjoyed discovering my fingers, toes and the skills to use them, and in early explorations of the world felt close to the magic and mystery. As I became more rational, I took on the youthful ideals that today I struggle to believe.

The Avengers movie shows what we can accomplish when we unify all of this and bring to bear the best of what we’ve learned.

My husband asked why the movie lingers over the one-on-one “get to know you” battles between each pair of characters. To me, each battle was a mini-purification: a burning away, illumination and transformation in each relationship until transcend-and-include unity is attained. This inner battle is the fascinating heart of the movie; the generic aliens are just one more ho-hum symbol for the ruthless external furnace of life.

That’s the pattern I saw, and was comforted that the rules of symbolism are still reliably at play, even in the biggest pop phenomenon of the day. I know it may be hard to look (“Movies! Hollywood! Ugh!”), but what patterns do you see?

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