To applaud or not to applaud, this was the question.
People are weird when it comes to clapping after movies. After all, the point of clapping is to show a performer your appreciation of their performance, right? When you are watching a movie, it’s not like the actors or the director can hear you. So what’s the point?
Maybe the applause isn’t for the performer though. Maybe it is simply you acknowledging your enjoyment. It’s a way of saying you were wowed in the same way tears show great joy or sadness.
As if you’re so impressed by what you just witnessed, you have to react. You have to do something to declare “this was great”.
And it is for that reason that I applauded after watching The Avengers.
Beyond the Greatest Expectations
Saying I had high expectations for The Avengers is like saying smoking is unhealthy; the statement doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’ve always loved Marvel comics. Joss Whedon (the writer and director) has probably had more influence over my storytelling than anyone else in the world. I pretty much idolize the man.
There were so many reasons why The Avengers should be amazing, and that’s part of the reason why I feared it wouldn’t be. I mean, could it really be as great as I wanted it to be?
The answer is yes. Truthfully, The Avengers was EVEN GREATER than I was expecting.
And as I sat in the theatre watching the credits roll, I was lost in awe.
Greatness still exists.
The Birth of Cynicism
I remember a few years back I ran through a string of movies that ranged from well below average to just okay. Film after film, showing after showing, my expectations kept dropping as I began to wonder…
Maybe greatness doesn’t exist.
Maybe I’ve matured past a point of being wowed. Those memories I had of being impressed were false. Surely I must have just been caught up in the moment.
And I begin to settle. I was slowly accepting this idea that the best the world had to offer had come and gone.
This is how cynicism starts. There isn’t one big happening that crushes your faith, but a constant flow of disappointments.
Like a river slowly eroding through a mountain, cynicism sinks into our souls. Without realizing it, our great peak has been reduced to a deep valley. And we convince ourselves it has always been this way.
The Death of Hope
When doubt is truly accepted, hope dies. The two cannot coexist. In this world of doubt, mediocrity is king. Greatness is not real. It probably never was. All that we once hoped for is deemed impossible.
And we may still “hope” for things, but we don’t do so realistically. It’s like going into a battle fully expecting to lose. You wouldn’t mind winning, but you know you won’t. You probably won’t even try. After all, what’s the point?
It’s Time to Wake Up
The Avengers reminded me of something incredibly important. Greatness is real. That which seems impossible is not impossible.
The fact that they were able to cram all of these huge characters into one film and do it with such style and grace is incredible. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
And maybe you didn’t like The Avengers (in which case I would feel very sorry for you). The point is that amazing things can happen. You just need to open your eyes.
If you have grown cold, doubtful, and cynical, wake up. Find the beauty that has been breathed into this world. Be in AWE.
Stand up and applaud. Scream at the top of your lungs that life is amazing. And DO something with it. Great things have happened in the past. But I believe that greater things have yet to come.
For all of us, greater things are still to be done.
When was the last time you were wowed by something? What’s the greatest thing you’ve ever done?