The Avengers and Nuclear Power

The Avengers2012, Walt Disney Studios

The Avengers
2012, Walt Disney Studios

Sticking to a theme of Oscar movies that have energy in them, I thought I would quickly mention a few things from the Avengers (2012).

The most prominent energy angle is the recurring appearance of nuclearesque energy throughout the movie.  Usually, Hollywood presents nuclear energy in one of two ways:

1) as dangerous and risky (think Silkwood (1983) and China Syndrome (1979)), or

2) as an enabler of super heroes or time travel (such as in Back to the Future (1985) or Iron Man (2008)).

As a follow-on to Iron Man, this movie takes both tacks, showing nuclear in a positive light, connecting it with super powers, but also highlighting the dangers and risks.

There are a few elements worth noting.  In the opening scene, there are the words “Dark Energy” written on a wall, a scientist, and a possible “meltdown” event that creates a non-safe area over a large radius implying an experimental center looking at new forms of nuclear energy.  The movie even includes a glowing blue middle part of a reactor that is reminiscent of Shrinkov radiation.

There is the ring of imploding earth (sort of like the fears by the general public a few years ago that CERN was creating darkmatter that would implode on itself).

And there’s the Tesseract, which is a form of nuclear power that offers the key to unlimited, sustainable energy—something the world sorely needs and is almost available to save humanity until the bad guys grab it to weaponize it, invoking the connection between nuclear power plants (clean power for the world) and nuclear weapons.  This risk is what brings the Shield out of retirement and into action.

And, of course, there is Iron Man’s cold-fusion-like nuclear reactor ring embedded in his chest, which gives him his powers.

All of these reflect our mixed emotions of nuclear power: it is clean and dangerous; it has the power to liberate or threaten humanity; it is connected with scientists and research; and the bad guys are trying to get it.

That’s just a quick sampler…there is more on the nuclear themes that I will come back to in subsequent posts.

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.