I'm not sure how I feel about the latest Avengers movie after seeing it this weekend, so I'm going to write about it here to process my thoughts. I mean, sure, there were parts of the film that I enjoyed. But there were also parts where I felt uncomfortable; like I didn't want to enjoy it on principle because there were so many instances when I felt my experience becoming strangely analogous to that of Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; that scene, just before they are close to tapping the "main vein" of the American Dream, as they're thrown into a proper Vegas casino whilst overcome by the devilish effects of an American flag bandana soaked in ether. Notes Hunter S. Thompson, the author of the aforementioned work of lucid depravity:
"Ah, devil ether. It makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel. Total loss of all basic motor skills. Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue. The mind recoils in horror, unable to communicate with the spinal column. Which is interesting because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can't control it. You approach the turnstiles and know that when you get there, you have to give the man two dollars or he won't let you inside. But when you get there, everything goes wrong. Some angry rotarian shoves you and you think 'What's happening here? What's going on?' And you hear yourself mumbling..."
Did I mention that I saw the film in 3D? Which is to say, the effects of experiencing this sense assaulting, all you can eat visual and sonic buffet, that is Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, is not unlike the ether consumption as described above: your motor and sensory skills basically shut down, but your consciousness is maintained in this strange parallel universe where you're laughing uncontrollably with glee in a base level puddle of eyes and ears and brains mush with an insatiable hunger for more, more, more action and laughs and hurrahs! and excitement and anticipation and you're captivated but... you're seeing the gigantic, pulsing vein of the American Dream right before your eyes, and you become a part of it, and it terrifies you, and it excites you, and it sickens you to the core because yes! now THIS is entertainment! — seeing a bunch of suited up beautiful demi-gods lead by the unbreakable shield of America (i.e. Captain America) and battling it out for the entire world in this digital gladiatorial colosseum where our deepest fears and anxieties are alleviated by overwhelming amounts of physical violence that are only rivalled by a sensory violence. And we eat our snacks and we drink our sodas and we see ourselves enjoying ourselves in this drunken, ether-like state. Even though it's terrible in every sense of the term: terribly awesome, terribly bad, terrible overwhelming, terrible stunning, etc., and all of it pushes us to the peak of a real heavy drug induced high. And it's all our fault, because this is what we asked for.
In short, I'm worried that we've become this:
That we've become addicted to the drug of spectacle.