Film Corner: The Inevitable Avengers Thread

Husband took me to see The Avengers on opening weekend.

It was better than I expected, in that I ended up enjoying myself whereas I'd expected the movie to suck. I don't mean that in a "I don't like your toys" kind of way; I actually really like superheroes and superhero movies for the most part. I just don't really like superhero team-ups because I think balance is always going to be such an issue. I mean, who would win in a fight between a human-who-wields-a-bow-and-arrow and a freaking ancient Norse deity? I'm just saying.

But the movie makers did a good job balancing everything and it all felt fairly natural. Thought I do think that "being able to take on a god and not lose horribly" should go on Stark/Iron Man's and Roger/Captain America's resumes because that's the sort of thing you want to highlight in the yearly performance reviews.

But. Why do I still feel ambivalent about the whole thing, despite liking it alright in theaters?

Maybe it's because Samuel L. Jackson was the only person of color I could find in the film, and he only because someone made the extremely good executive call to take a traditionally white character and cast it with a POC actor who could really make the character work in a way that I didn't expect and really enjoyed. (I know Nick Fury only from the video games and the very little Avengers material I've read and have never really liked him, but THIS Nick Fury, I liked. Or at least deeply respected.)

And while I'm glad -- thrilled -- that someone decided that POCs deserve a place in comic book movies, and not as the First Guy To Die, the epicness of this movie just left me aching for more. There's about a gazillion extras running the airship that encompasses 50% of the movie set, and yet I never noticed much racial diversity. Maybe I missed it from focusing on the action, but I don't think I did. So it comes off like Samuel L. Jackson is the only POC in the whole Avengers universe. And I find that so terribly sad and frustrating.

Maybe it's because there weren't a whole heck of a lot of women, either. Barely enough to pass the first condition in the Bechdel test; nowhere near enough to get to the second and third. So that leaves a whole lot of white men in the background for a movie that is something like two-and-a-half hours long and has dozens of set-pieces with SHIELD minions scurrying in the background.

And then there's the issue of the women themselves. Almost all the love interests for the superheroes have been jettisoned, with the exception of Pepper Potts who makes an appearance here purely so she can fret when Tony Stark (the stealth protagonist) heads selflessly to his doom. See? He's important! A WOMAN CARES ABOUT HIM. That's pretty much Pepper's role: to motivate and characterize Tony Stark. That leaves us with Woman #2, Agent Hill, who's second in command to Nick Fury and belatedly gets a name late in the film. And then we have Black Widow, who I want SO VERY MUCH TO LIKE because she's smart and manipulative and incredible at close combat and her whole shtick is that she manipulates patriarchal attitudes as part of her interrogation technique...

...and yet she's still ultimately the physically weakest member of the main team (lacking super powers and/or super machines) and it doesn't escape me that while her job is a bit of a subversion of the patriarchy, it's still kind of a catering to the patriarchy. She gathers information by being sexy and vulnerable. How... innovative. And then I feel like I'm totally unpleasable because HONESTLY ANA, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, SHE-HULK? and the answer to that is sort of a meek, er, yeah? Or Storm! Or Spider-Woman! None of whom have had solo movies, but hey, neither has Black Widow and isn't that an opportunity knocking, eh? Or, hey, what if we had more than one woman on the team? Wouldn't that be cool? *sigh*

Leave aside the women for a moment, maybe the rumbly little dissatisfaction in my tummy was the movie's desire to conflate the Avergers with AMERICA! even going so far as to have a modern American intelligence agent tell Captain America that he totally needed to wear the stars'n'stripes because people need that message with the world the way it is today! They need truth and honor and goodness and decency, a global message for a global time! So here's a uniform based around a single country's national symbol. Right before dropping him in the middle of Germany so he can make a Hitler reference. Oh my god. I can't tell if no one told Captain America that there's more to Germany than that whole WWII thing, or if no one told the screenwriters, but it is clunky like the clunkiest clunker that ever clunked.

But moving past the fact that Ana is now going to be accused of hating her beloved country just because she thinks an international consortium of heroes should maybe have more foreigners than just the one Russian gal and maybe not conflate all the awesome things with a national symbol that has had both awesome and non-awesome things done in its name and which may not conjure up happy bunny feelings in every corner of the globe and that's the sort of thing that international consortiums of heroes really should think about...

...I did decide that I liked the relationship between Hawkeye and Black Widow.

I mean, here you have this couple. Party A is a badass spy; Party B is a goodie who was sent to kill Party A, took pity and/or sexy love crush on hir, and used persuasion and romance to turn hir to the good side. Whereupon Party A continued to travel widely on hir own, taking dangerous jobs, being sexy, and generally being an independent badass like before, just for the good guys this time. And Party B gets hirself kidnapped and has to be rescued by Party A, after which Party B belatedly joins the team as a sniper support character who rains down support arrows from the sky while Party A takes the hits.

It feels kind of like a gender swap. I like it. Having a man seduce a woman to the side of good is as old as James Bond, but having that woman NOT become downgradded to a love interest is rare indeed. For Black Widow to still be working solo, and working it well, seems kind of unusual. For Hawkeye to be the one kidnapped and brainwashed seems sort of refreshing (at least after G.I. Joe which was the last time I saw the trope, iirc). For Black Widow to be the close combat specialist and Hawkeye the support bow character seems almost revolutionary. They're both powerful, strong, and amazing, and they're both in love with each other and confident that the other can handle hirself.

It doesn't make up for all the little things that are like a tidal wave of fail-straws at this point, but I liked it and I noticed it and I was impressed. Maybe filmmakers are really starting to get this, slowly but surely, that women can be in relationships without automatically being downgraded into the kitchen. It'd be nice, and...

...wait, what did those end credits just say? "Joss Whedon"? Oh.

Well, that explains it, at least.

Here's hoping that the next time I notice a subtle gender swap, it's not Joss Whedon. Not because I don't like his work, but because it'd be nice to finally have two Hollywoodians who get this.


DavidCheatham said...

The reason that all the love interests got ejected is that Whedon tried to eject _all_ the supporting cast of all the movies. He thinks supporting characters belong over in their own 'comic books' and team-ups shouldn't include them. And, frankly, he has a point, considering the sheer number of people the team has by itself.

Executive meddling required him to put them in (Except for Foster, as Portman was not available.), but he made their parts very small, and didn't bother to explain who they were. Even Selvig, despite being in the entire movie, is just 'some scientist guy Thor knows that's been brainwashed', and has maybe two minutes of screen time as 'himself' at the very start and end.

Also, I think Hill got a name (at least a last name) right at the very very start of the movie, either while Fury was talking to her in the first scene or during the chase scene. I know I was thinking of her as 'Agent Hill' by the time we were being shown around the ship. I think that 'Hill' is such a short name it was easy to miss, because you're not the first person I have read saying she didn't get a name until later.

JonathanPelikan said...

Great post, Ana. I watched the SpoonyOne (yay~) review in a v-log when it came out and I think he mentioned that he wasn't thrilled for the Avengers because, as he saw it, making a movie center around one hero is tough, but a whole team? It's hard to give them all character and story, etc, etc, plus there's the issues you mentioned above with power levels.

I think part of the reason there's not a lot of the canon female characters from these settings in the Avengers is that the decision was made to trim unnecessary or peripheral characters just for the sake of not overloading and sinking the whole movie under a deluge of non-story-critical stuff. And then we see the practical effect of that; jettisoning most of the love interests and therefore, a bunch of women.

You'd think including diversity and stuff would be so easy with large groups of extras and background fodder.

Thette said...

I really liked Phil Coulson, because he's the Quiet Background Badass in a Suit, and I was so upset with Whedon for killing him. Especially by impaling.

DavidCheatham said...


I didn't see anyone get killed. I saw Coulson get impaled, I saw Coulson talking about his death could be used to bring the team together, I saw Fury call for a medical team, and then I saw Fury telling people he was dead, while at the same time being caught out in explicit lie about Captain America trading cards.

Redwood Rhiadra said...

Ah, comic book rules. If you didn't *personally* cremate the dismembered body, they're still alive!

Cupcakedoll said...

Not Whedon's first impaling of a cute nerd, either. *grumble*

I noticed all the things mentioned here-- the America-saves-Germany thing was unsubtle, there weren't enough girls and poor Black Widow didn't even get a cool weapon much less powers. None of this spoiled my fun. Loved the movie.

I did read somewhere online that if Black Widow's actress had been unavailable they had an alternate version with a female Avenger I never heard of, think she was named "The Wasp" who Whedon really liked. So there was almost a super-powered female but they went with the recurring character instead for continuity.

Also, in three movies Pepper's never asked to try the suit and Tony's never offered to let her try the suit. He should. It's terribly rude to have a flying suit and never offer your girlfriend a chance to play with it, even if she'd probably say something sensible like, "No way! I've seen how many buildings you crash into!"

Will Wildman said...

I still have yet to see the movie itself, which is kind of strange, all things considered. But I've read a lot of discussion on these things, and as far as female characters go, I'm still not clear on whether there's a specific reason Wasp was dropped from the script when it turned out that were going to be able to get Black Widow back. I mean, yes, it's a huge cast, but... it's the Avengers , its selling point is that it has All Of The Superheroes, and I'm not sure that nudging the number up by one is going to completely ruin everything.

a female Avenger I never heard of, think she was named "The Wasp"

It's funny/sad that you've never heard of her, since in the comic books she was a founding member of the team, actually the one to name them 'the Avengers', and for a time she was elected as its leader. Kind of demonstrates the degree to which female superheroes have been marginalised in comic book culture even if they were all kinds of important.


Ah, comic book rules. If you didn't *personally* cremate the dismembered body, they're still alive!

And if you did personally cremate the dismembered body, it was definitely a synthetic roboclone.

BaseDeltaZero said...

I really liked Phil Coulson, because he's the Quiet Background Badass in a Suit, and I was so upset with Whedon for killing him. Especially by impaling.

It's Joss Whedon, what did you expect?

Cupcakedoll said...

It's funny/sad that you've never heard of her,

Oops, should've added, "who I've never heard of because my comics reading is limited and randomized by what the library has, and I mostly go for X-books anyway."

Too bad she didn't make it in, she looks like a cool character.

Will Wildman said...

I don't think it's at all uncommon to not really know who Wasp is - she certainly doesn't have the fame level of Thor/Cap/Iron Man/Hulk. Featuring her in this movie could have done a lot to address that, which further raises the question of why even Whedon didn't see an issue with the idea that they would have either Wasp or Black Widow but definitely not both. Considering that he clearly wants to support feminism (his success being another matter), it's the kind of obvious thing that he might have pushed for.

Amaryllis said...

I haven't seen the movie. (And probably won't.)

This is just to say that I am on my way out to see a movie that apparently involves Benedict Cumberbatch and Frankenstein. I have no idea what to expect.

Mime_Paradox said...

Don't have a lot to add at the moment, but for anyone wondering about The Wasp, this short vignette from the current Avengers animated series is how I fell in love with the character, and was disappointed not to see her in the film.

Launcifer said...

@Ana: Casting Samuel L. Jackson wasn't exactly an executive decision in terms of the films. Well, it was, but it was a decision made much earlier in the process. He was approached by Marvel Comics for the use of his image when they redesigned Nick Fury. He agreed on the sipulation that he had a role in a certain number of films made by Marvel Films. I want to say every film, but I can't be certain of that. Basically, he's not in it because the producers wanted someone of colour in the film so much as because some artist liked his films enough to pay homage to it in a comic.

Have to say, overall, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it. Moreso that my mother knew who Darkseid was, but that's another story. Anyway, I tend to see superhero films for the aforementined parental unit, who loves them (I mentioned somewhere on another thread that there's nothing quite as embarassingly awesome as having the pensioner next to you randomly shout "Hulk smash!" in a cinema full of teenagers. This still holds true), so I'm always a bit tentative, but I knew what to expect when I went in and got that.

I'm ambivalent over the lack of female characters, largely because I found the token nods - Pepper Potts on the aeroplane and the photo of Portman especially - to be jarring in context following on from fairly humdrum roles in previous films. I wasn't entirely sure about having three women in Thor and then giving them nothing in particular to do, anyway. That felt odd, too. Maybe the films simply haven't handled the inclusion of female characters particularly well - or else they're following on directly from the generally crap treatment of any non-white heterosexual male character by the comic books industry in general. I'm still deciding how I feel on that score.

I really could have done without it starring Scarlett Johansson's bottom, though. Seriously.

An odd little thing that irked me was Captain America's costume. The one from the first Avenger seemed much cooler and more practical than the original, so I would have kept with that one instead of switching for the new film. The clunking pro-US message I could have done without, but then I'm English and that sort of tub-thumping is a bit confusing to me outside of a sporting arena (yes, even after the Golden Jubilee, if only because I spent it watching the French Open). Also, Whedon's stuff can be seriously crass at the best of times, so I'm tempted to put it down to that as much as anything.

Well, that was a rather bizarre collection of thoughts. I think I'll stop now.

chris the cynic said...

Unless there's some evidence of a conspiracy, evidence that would indicate Whedon was lying, the reason Pepper Potts is in the movie has nothing to do with executive meddling to get supporting characters included. It has to do with Robert Downey Jr. In other words: actor meddling to get that specific character included. Not really because of Potts, but because of his character. He thinks that at this point the character of Tony Stark is defined to an important degree by his relationship with Potts, so without her you're not really showing the Stark that he's spent two movies establishing.

The reason that Jane Foster isn't in the movie is that she's a supporting character who isn't Pepper Potts.

But from a Watsonian perspective not having Potts would be no problem (she could reasonably be otherwise occupied) where not having Foster makes no sense (they should have called her in well before they got to drafting Iron Man.)


I'm probably in the minority on this, but I didn't read the Black Widow Hawkeye relationship as being in love. They just seemed like very close friends to me.


I don't think that doubt about Coulson's death is really about comic book rules. He lost consciousness at almost exactly the same time as the medical team arrived, so it's not like he was left out waiting. He went from talking to receiving medical treatment in a matter of seconds. The only person to claim he is dead is a known lying liar who lies. (Who lies and looks cool while doing it.) One of the things he is known to have lied about is what happened to Coulson. And the last thing Coulson said to him was to talk about how his death could be exploited for motivational purposes, which is exactly what Fury went on to do. That would have been harder to do if he'd said, "Coulson's alive."

Certainly, reasonably, death is a completely normal consequence to expect as a result of impaling. But we don't have to get into how comic books handle death to have doubt in this case. In real life I'd take for granted that the reports he really died were accurate, but in any movie I'd be waiting for more evidence.

Also, the thing about the idea that it's Whedon therefore he's dead is that Whedon was definitely operating with an awareness that he was playing with other people's toys.


In the scene in Germany I was definitely much more impressed with the random (English speaking) German guy who stood up to Loki than I was with either Captain America or Iron Man.


Thor appeared to Captain America treating monotheism as fact and dismissing the possibility of Thor's divinity. He left to Fury starting quite clearly that Thor was a god, and no one arguing the point. (Mind you there weren't a lot of people present to argue it.)

I like the fact that Fury was treating the fact that Thor is a god as something that doesn't need to be defended or debated, it just is.


Other stuff.

depizan said...

I'm probably in the minority on this, but I didn't read the Black Widow Hawkeye relationship as being in love. They just seemed like very close friends to me.

That's how I read it too. I rather liked them, but I felt like they were in a completely different story for most of the movie. Or at least not really part of the team. Especially Black Widow during the time Hawkeye was off being mind controlled.

The way the scenes with the "main" guy Avengers were presented made them feel more like a team, even when they weren't really a team. Black Widow was left out. She talked less and interacted less. She didn't even go off and interact with someone else (Agent Hill? And pass the Bechdel test?), there was just like a wall there. (Which I realize makes character sense, but it did leave me feeling like the lone woman on the team wasn't part of the team. Not good. I mean, yes, she teamed awesomely with them at the end, but for a big chunk of the movie...)

I liked that Agent Hill survived. I didn't like that she seemed to exist - after her first bit of awesome - as a satellite to Fury. I liked that Whedon didn't get to pee on people's happiness. (He must have been so disappointed he couldn't off anyone but Coulson, and even that was highly doubtful. If he's dead, he died of plot complications and convenience, which is terrible storytelling. If he's not dead, though, Fury is a clever bastard and the story is much better written. And I don't just say this because I kind of liked Coulson.)

The movie would have been infinitely better if Foster, at least, were included. If Hill and Black Widow (and Foster?) had had a chat at some point. If SHIELD weren't painfully white. If they'd dropped the America, Fuck Yeah! bits. If whatever it was that made the guy Avengers seem like a team had been done to include Black Widow.

I mean, I enjoyed the movie, but...

Lonespark said...

Without reading all the other comments which I'm sure are brilliant, there was a monumental FAIL in not using Jane Foster. I DON'T CARE IF NATALIE PORTMAN IS PREGNANT, GET SOME HOLLYWOOD MAGIC AND MAKE IT WORK.

Lack of Black Panther makes it suck relative to EMH, also. "Painfully white," yeah. Worse than Thor, I guess, since it was in New York, although NEW MEXICO IS NOT MADE OF WHITE PEOPLE, MARVEL.

That said, I eat the kinkmeme up with a spoon. I pretty much ship everybody except Widow/Hawkeye. And I HATED Tony/Pepper in the IM movies, whereas here it was just a low-level annoyance...

Also, as I said on DW: Nick Fury, more Odinic that (movie) Odin. He is a great character that way.
I also said I was afraid that publicly finding Agent Coulson adorable was supporting the painfully white and male status quo.

Lonespark said...

If you did personally cremate the dismembered body, that just means resurrecting them requires more shenanigans.

Lonespark said...

The film was clearly starring Johansen's butt...and Evans's, and Renner's. I didn't find the fanservice gratuitously male-gaze-ish.

Lonespark said...

All the things Chris said, too.

depizan said...

If you did personally cremate the dismembered body, that just means resurrecting them requires more shenanigans.

There is no way to kill people off for good for sure in comiclandia. I've never quite decided whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Lonespark said...

I think they can bond Widow and Hawkeye with the team better in later films. They've worked together as SHEILD agents before this business started... I don't read their relationship as romantic, either. Friends, I think, but more so partners. People who understand rely on each other with a kind of trust that's deeper than the possibility of broken hearts... I couldn't see the romance or sex angle at all until the end, when they were fighting and showing a sort of physical chemistry that could also be expressed that way, maybe, but I'm still in favor of BFF status.

Also there should be at least one queer Avenger. All the really good fanfiction (by which I do not mean sexy slash, but rather fic about press conferences where right-wingers are righteously smote) makes me wish for Captain America, but I'll take anybody.

GemmaM said...

I know that when Whedon was asked who else he would have liked to include, the Wasp was mentioned specifically:

chris the cynic said...

I've been wondering ever since blogger did mean things to you, what were you going to say about the women in the movie that it didn't let you post?

chris the cynic said...

Also there should be at least one queer Avenger.

So initially I was just going to propose an entirely queer Avengers team, but as I was thinking of that the idea of Sappho reincarnated popped into my head and, given the numbers, what are the odds she'd end up being the one woman on the team?

Thus my mind has gone here:

Steve Rodgers, otherwise known as Captain America, is the reincarnation of the great poet Sappho. Given the time in which he was raised, it makes perfect sense that he's suppressed his bisexuality and any thoughts that he was actually supposed to be female, but now in more tolerant time she's coming to accept herself, and when her job eventually sends her to a small strangely familiar Greek island she'll also have to come to terms with the fact that maybe it's possible to love other places as much as he loves the US.

Rikalous said...

Killing someone off in a superhero's origin story is your best bet if you want to keep them down. Spidey's Uncle Ben? Still dead. Batman's parents? Still dead, although Ra's al Ghul tried to change that once.

Caretaker of Cats said...

...there are straight Avengers? (*hugs the Kinkmeme*)


I read Widow and Hawkeye as a two person Nakama, if you can have one of those with only two. I'm not sure if I read Widow as being excluded from the team during the dysfunctional team dynamics Act. In a way, yes, she was separate, but I read her acting alone to be a part of her skill set, since while Fury and Thor are contemplating Loki-kabob, she goes off and single-handedly outwits the God of Lies. At this point, ALL of them are acting alone, but her version of acting alone didn't involve picking pointless if kinda sexy fights with team members.


As for who constitutes the eye candy in this film, may I suggest a cup of hot chocolate, Tumblr, and the tag "Tom Hiddleston" as a starting point? For the purpose of scientific research, of course.


I'm also in the Coulson lives camp. Marvel characters have a hard time staying dead and apparently there's some significance to the cellist that was mentioned in all three acts.

Cupcakedoll said...

I'll add another random thought: The shadowy archvillain, (Darkseid? another Marvel personage I know not) was not very impressive. His speeches along the lines of "we will crush the puny humans" followed by "these humans are not as puny as I first believed!" reminded me of old-series Doctor Who villains. And his voice is not entirely dissimilar to that of a dalek. Forget "Earth's Mightiest Heroes"-- call in Sarah Jane and her metal dog to deal with him!

Also, Davidcheatham, applause to you for noticing Coulson is now Shroedinger's Agent, either dead or alive depending on the needs of future scripts. I did not see that at all and seeing it now makes me all happy.

Rikalous said...

Darkseid's DC, actually. The shadowy archvillain is apparently just named The Other, and has no comics counterpart that I'm aware of.

As long as I'm Dispensing Comics Lore, the guy who he reports to at the very end of the movie is Thanos. Thanos has an unrequited crush on Death, who has made him immortal so she never has to deal with him. Unfortunately, Thanos can't take a hint, and tries to woo her by doing things like gaining omnipotence and using it to insta-kill half of every species in the universe at once.

depizan said...

Good point!

Ben Klug said...

Expect great things. Great things.

Bificommander said...

I for one had never heard of Black Widow, but did know about Wasp. I don't know too much, and to be honest I found her powers a bit... lackluster, but I was rather expecting her. I agree with Ana on BW. Her methods of manipulation were pretty cool, but it is a bit of a shame that this was the only woman in the group. Maybe with Black Widow AND Wasp in the movie it'd have been fine. Then we get the 'no special powers but smart and manipulative' as the trait of one of the heroes instead of the trait of the woman.

I was really expecting the cool old German dude to make that reference. It'd have been reasonably cool from him, and he looked old enough to have remembered it. Then it would have been "We remember the horrors when our countrymen followed someone like you." Now it was "Lol, those Germans and their dicators, they all come here, they must be attracting it amiright?" Bit of a shame.

I've been looking up on Thanos (my first guess was also 'Darkseid', I can never remember who's Marvel and who's DC), and was it really Death that makes him immortal? From what I read I didn't think Death was the one trying to keep him alive all the time.

What just bugged me was how lackluster the invasion really was. Black Widow wading into battle with the others (something the sneaky manipulative character should normally not be doing) proved that the invaders were perfectly vulnerable to pistol rounds, and their little hoverbikes provided no armor and pretty poor speed by military aviation standards. And they had the standard sci-fi energy weapons that make a bit bigger holes on impact at the price of low rate of fire and slow projectiles meaning poor accuracy. Only the big flying beasties were in any way impressive. My point is that this unstoppable force might, without the avengers, have leveled New York but were in no way a threat to Earth as a whole. Hawkeye and Black Widow even start in one of SHIELD's transport VTOLS and still manage to do some damage, so why SHIELD could've given them some help with their whole arsenal of planes. So we ended up with the main battle being against a force of mooks and a single super-being they'd already fought before and was about a match for any one of the heroes. Not to say that the way he was taken down wasn't hillarious, but a few more super powered baddies that clearly the regular humans couldn't hope to deal with might've been nice. Still, I enjoyed the movie, it was certainly entertaining. But I'm looking forward to a fight against that Thanos guy, someone who normal humans can't touch and is more than a match for all of them combined.

chris the cynic said...

So someone in love with Death, whose Greek name is Thanatos*, is named Thanos?


I don't think you can really judge the army by what we saw in the movie. The portal wasn't that big, which means that it functioned like a straight or a pass. New York was like Artemisium or Thermopylae if it hadn't had that back way around. The Persian army could have annihilated the Greek coalition in moments, if they could have brought their full army to bear, but the fact they had to squeeze through a narrow space allowed a much smaller force to keep them at bay.

Presumably the reason that Loki tried to take out Shield's carrier was that he realized that at the beginning of the invasion his forces were vulnerable, and they were the only ones who might see it coming.

If you hadn't had the Avengers there, you really don't know how much army would have eventually come through that hole in the sky.

Especially if the force field really was impenetrable. Because plan b was to nuke the city, but if the portal could survive that, and the army survived the blast which, given that the amount of the blast that made it through the portal would have much less force than a direct strike, we have no reason to assume that the part of it on the not-earth side of the hole in the sky wouldn't, then they'd be able to comfortably fly through with no opposition whatsoever.


* If she's female we might want to switch into a feminine form, so maybe it would be more like Thanata, but that obscures the fact that guy in love with death is named, "Death minus the at" if one started from English instead of Greek and used the same rules his name would be Deh.

Charles Matthew Smit said...

Just 2 quick notes re: Coulson. 1) His actor is contracted for Iron Man 3. 2) Rumor has it Joss Whedon was *contractually* banned from killing any recurring characters. He laughed about it in an interview at one point.

Brin Bellway said...

As for who constitutes the eye candy in this film, may I suggest a cup of hot chocolate, Tumblr, and the tag "Tom Hiddleston" as a starting point? For the purpose of scientific research, of course.

Have they removed the stolen private photos yet?

Bificommander said...

Chris: Fair counterpoints, but I remain unconvinced. When Iron man went through the portal, the big vulnerable mothership was just sitting there, with only a few blips hinting at troops around it. It didn't seem like a huge collection of other armed forces just waiting to get through the portal. Add that to Lokey's comment "Send in the rest" shortly after the Avengers trounced the first big flying beasty, and the fact that halfway through the battle we don't really see anything new comming through, and it becomes less likely that we were looking at just a tiny fraction of their army. At least, mobilizing the rest if there is one would have taken time.

And while I'll grant the possibility that the super-magical item with its force field can take a nuke, I saw no indication that any part of the army could. Like I said, most of it goes down with pistol shots. Even the big flying beasties didn't appear invulnerable, just pretty well armored. So, civilian casualties aside, earth could probably surround New York with enough conventional firepower to defeat small groups that come out, while launching an ICBM whenever a large number of them come out at once.

This is assuming that the SHIELD council never thinks of just sending a tactical nuclear missile like the one they used into the obvious portal on their own. Like I said, the energy projectiles those aliens used were slow and inaccurate, I doubt they can reliably shoot down cruise missiles. And if they can, ICBM New York first, then send the cruise missile.

So my problem still stands. The whole plot of the movie was stopping Loki from threatening the earth with his army, while Loki himself was a bigger threat to earth (what with his seeming invulnerability to bullets, teleportation, mind control) than his army ever could hope to be. I'll admit it made a cool fight scene for the Avengers to take on the army, but they were more realistically something to keep the Avengers of Loki's back while he conquered the world.

The thing is, they could've fixed it by giving the army some weaker techno-forcefields of their own. Something like the Dune shields, that stop bullets but can be bypassed with melee-attacks (but the aliens are physically stronger than average humans, so it needs to be the heroes) or with energy blast like Tony's. Then give Hawkeye some more special arrows and Black Widow some Tier-2 weapons, like the one Phil has but smaller. Add in a power that the aliens, if left alone for a bit, can fix the gate on this end to appear anywhere else at will, and presto. The Avenger's ability to fight the aliens has hardly diminished, while regular troops don't have anything they can use. And even nuking the city won't work once they can gate in anywhere they want. You can even have a more natural time limit for the heroes by having them stop the aliens from modifying the gate to be move anywhere. It's better than the stupid SHIELD council now deciding to go straight for the nuclear option instead of those conventional weapons, and aiming it at the city instead of the portal.

Caretaker of Cats said...

The person with the stolen photos was mauled by the fangirl army and had their account banned, last I checked.

Bificommander said...

Heh, that one about the building is a good one. Hadn't thought of that. I have no idea if it would just stay floating in space.

It's true that we can't be certain exactly how many reserves the aliens had everywhere. I'm going by the "Send in the rest" comment and the absense of a large visible army around the mothership that there were no reinforcements beyond what had already been send through. I mean, they were all waiting for that portal to open, it seems strange that they would keep the bulk of their army far away from the opening. And why wouldn't any other troops be guarding that incredibly vital mothership? So I remain unconvinced that the aliens had easy access to far greater numbers of troops. If they had, the movie should've done a bit better job showing us.

And I didn't think the blast from a nuke on earth would've reached the mothership. I just assumed that, since there were no reinforcements all squeezing through the portal anymore by the time Ironman flies through, that it would take time to send more troops after NY and all deployed troops would be destroyed. Enough to send some fighter planes in a guard patrol around the city. If any lone scouts try to sneak through, survive the radiation and just make a run for it they are easy pickings for anti-air missiles, while they didn't have any weapons that looked capable of reliably hitting a super-sonic fighter even if it was nice enough to come into visual range. Meanwhile, get some tanks and Anti air missiles, plus the navy, to surround what's left of the city. Based on their performance, those troops should be able to handle an army the size of what the Avengers fought. If they send more, nuke the site again. Nuke them as many times as neccesary. The stationary portal provides a massive bottle neck for any invading army, so the combination of fighting small groups and nuking big ones should remain effective unless earth runs out of nukes or ammo before they run out of troops.

As to the difficulty of sending a missile straight into the portal, it depends on the kind of missile. There's a lot of missile who can change their course. Long range Anti-ship missiles usually travel low to avoid the radar, then once they're very close fly up and then dive down to make the missiles a harder target for the point defense. And tomahawks can change direction pretty well too. Of course, tomahawks use jet engines IIRC that need air to use... then again once in space it would've just floated straight to the mothership anyway. I don't know enough about missile guidance chips to say for certain if any missiles we currently have can just be programmed to fly into a portal like that, or if they need modifications, in which case you'd need the containment plan as a stop-gap measure. (But I find a missile capable of flying in considerably more likely than a nuclear missile that detonates on a timer based on the expected arival time of the missile, with no GPS or gyroscopes trying to guess if the missile is in fact anywhere near it's intended target. )

When it's all said and done, I guess I'm just upset that we had a cool flying carrier with cool planes on it, and it never served as anything but a giant liability when Loki and Hawkeye nearly crashed it. :p When I first saw that thing I thought "Wow cool, but not much use against a threat like Loki obviously." Then the climax of the film revolved around a threat that that ship and it's weapons seemed tailor made for and it was only used as 'antagonist' when they tried to nuke New York with the Avengers still in it.

Lonespark said...

Caretaker of Cats, let's be best friends.

Slybrarian said...

A carrier would be mostly useless in this kind of battle, actually. Unlike Iron Man, a fighter jet couldn't get down far enough to reach alien forces to dogfight them and would have limited missile magazines (which wouldn't be strong enough to affect the space whales), assuming they could get a lock on the chariots in the first place. Some guys with stingers or a proper AAA gun would have been much more helpful, but there's no NG or Army bases near NYC.

As for a queer Avenger - well, according to Monica Rambeau (she used to lead the Avengers), the only one on the team who never hit on her was Cap. That includes Wasp. YMMV on that statement given the source. (NEXTWAVE! We don't give a **** about your continuity.)

Aidan Bird said...

Yes! I completely agree here. It was established in Thor that the entire project involving studying dark energy, portals, tesseracks - and all that jazz - was Jane Foster's original project. She was the one searching for them, researching them, and studying them. She had the nice older scientist helping her out somewhat, and she had her awesome assistant - they had great conversations together but they were sadly all too brief - and she was one of the main experts in that field. The nice older guy - never can remember his name - was always a step behind Foster's research, at least how it was presented in Thor. She was an awesome female scientist - the three of them made a great team, so why on earth weren't they all working together in Avengers?

Also, why the heck didn't they IMMEDIATELY call her in when the only other expert was brainwashed and taken by the enemy? Shoving her in some remote location so Thor can be all like "My Woman Be Safe" is the stupidest, most frustrating part of the entire movie. Like, you said, Lonespark, even if Natalie Portman was pregnant or something, surely some Hollywood magic could have made it possible. The inconsistency here just drove me nuts. If they had used something other than Thor's "Me Want Woman Safe" nutsry, and instead had her explained as incapacitated because of being injured in the destruction of the dark energy facility or something like that - then it wouldn't seem like such a huge plot-hole (and just plain stupidity on the part of the characters).

That was one of my major beefs with the movie.

Plus the whole tesserack being all unprotected as it was - the radiation alone could have severely hurt them and/or killed them, especially when the tesserack exploded with energy, thus bringing Loki to Earth in the beginning of the movie. I know, I know, I have to remember it's just a comic book and apparently humans are immune to high levels of radiation that would have killed any of us in our modern world, but as someone who has a bachelor's in physics and going for a graduate degree in it, I found it highly annoying and a bit unbelievable.

As a side note: As much as I really, really loved Black Widow's character, I'm still annoyed that the Wasp wasn't included. Is there some sort of unspoken Hollywood rule that two awesome female characters that can kick ass cannot exist in the same area and on the same team? I just don't understand why they both couldn't be included.

Aidan Bird said...

I agree with reading them as friends. It never occurred to me that they could be lovers.

I also took the story of Hawkeye sparring her life as Hawkeye having empathy rather than Hawkeye falling in love. Why can't a person act out of empathy towards another person? Do they have to fall in love in order to show mercy and kindness? That's what I liked about Hawkeye actually - the fact that he did it not out of love/crush but because he saw her potential and showed empathy toward her plight. Kinda rare to see in movies to begin with, so I hope they keep with that version of the story.

Yes, yes, yes, a queer avenger would be awesome. (By the way, I seem to be agreeing with most of what you say.)

Aidan Bird said...

This is a random note, but did anyone stay until after the last credit rolled? I did with my friend, and there was an epically awesome scene were the avengers just sat in a tiny, possibly-family-owned restaurant eating what looked like tacos for most of them. Though Black Widow's plate resembled gyros more than any taco I've seen, which puts a slight kink into my theory as to what type of food it was. What amused me the most is that they didn't say anything; just ate, while thoughtfully looking off into the distance. I about died laughing at that.

Aidan Bird said...

As far as I could tell from the movie, they still had quite a bit of damage on that carrier. Stark may have got that one engine running, and they may have got some power back to some of their other engines, but they were still fairly damaged by Loki and his men. Even if they had tried to fly toward the fight, their capabilities would have been highly diminished by the damage they already had. Also, a big carrier can't do much in a dogfight between buildings to begin with - all they can do is send out their smaller, more agile craft.

However, considering how Hawkeye and Black Widow's plane was so easily taken out in the fight, the fighters may not have been able to engage properly without them facing the same fate as Hawkeye and Black Widow's plane. Most of the enemy flyers flew lower to the ground than most of those planes can handle - especially flying around buildings - and the ones that can, if one of their wings are hit, they'll spin out of control and cause quite a bit of collateral damage.

Sending soldiers and placing them on rooftops - like Hawkeye situated himself - would have been a better idea - use the planes to fly a ton of soldiers to specific locations, drop them off, and then get the planes out before they're ripped to shreds. Then the soldiers could have helped supplement the Avengers.

At least, that's how I assessed it.

chris the cynic said...

Your thoughts on Jane sound a lot like my own, though it's worth noting that the blame for Jane not being there can't be laid on Thor. Jane was sent off to nowhere in order to keep her safe before Thor showed up.

Their response to having one of the foremost experts on portals to other worlds being stolen by a being from another world was not, "Let's get the other expert working on this case right away," but instead, "Lets send the other expert far away so that she will not be able to help." Brilliant plan.


As an aside, it's the "tesseract", which is a real word. It's a real word that refers to a four dimensional solid, which is probably not the most sensible name to give a three dimensional object, but it's a real word.

A tesseract is the four dimensional equivalent of a cube (imagine doing to a cube what one does to a square to make it into a cube, that would get you a tesseract) and since there's no reason to call the object in the movie by that name I wonder if it could be a A Wrinkle in Time reference.

Not really important, but

Plus the whole tesserack being all unprotected as it was - the radiation alone could have severely hurt them and/or killed them

The only thing I remember them saying about radiation was that it was new (Fury was surprised by it) and it was at an extremely low level that Selvig didn't think was enough to be harmful.

Am I forgetting something?

Caretaker of Cats said...

Aidan, the food they were eating was shawarma, making it the punch line to Stark's request to try shawarma after everything was over.

(Also, another callback moment is after Loki gets Hulk!Smashed. If you're in a theater filled with cheering people you won't catch it, but the noises he makes can best be described as mewling.)

chris the cynic said...

That's how I assessed it as well.

I actually meant to write a post saying more or less that, but somehow got distracted or something.

Loki might not have succeeded in crashing the carrier, but he did seem to damage the majority of the planes. While there were probably more still operational than the three we saw, it really didn't seem like they would have helped that much.

Soldiers would have been quite useful.

elf said...

Over on the fanficcy side of things, we believe Coulson is alive, under the theory of "Nick Fury is a lying manipulative bastard," of which we have direct proof; see cards. "The medics called it... but we're not letting any of you see the body, nope nope nope, got a planet to save and all that, and by the time you're done, the body will have been cremated--for safety, mind you; no telling what kind of alien deity viruses Loki might leave behind."


Anyway. If you like Clint & Natasha's relationship, I can strongly recommend we were emergencies by gyzym. Paranoid superspies in a relationship, of sorts.

Ana Mardoll said...

I am LOVING the Hawkeye Black Widow discussion here.

I thought it was obvious they were lovers in the film, and I feel compelled to point out that the Hawkeye wiki ( ) has him in love with BW, but when this thread went live and people started saying "Buh??" I turned to husband and said "Those two were lovers, right?" and he was all "What? No! He was like her big brother or something."

So apparently I have ship-goggles? This is all deliberately ambiguous? I DO NOT KNOW. But I am loving the conversation.

Caretaker of Cats said...

"Caretaker of Cats, let's be best friends."

*offers crooked pinky finger*

Aidan Bird said...

I must not have catched that they had already moved her. I read that conversation as them reasurring Thor that this was where they were going to take her, and that it was being done. So I might have misheard that conversation a bit. Still, it's the stupidiest idea on the planet since she's the only other expert they had. (And this whole studying the tesseract was her original project to begin with!)

I got the reference to the mathematical object, but didn't really feel like looking up how it was exactly spelled. My bad there. Thanks for the correction. Also, I suppose if they did want it to be four-dimensional, they might not have figured out a way to display it for our minds to handle. Drawing four-dimensional objects is not only ridiculously hard to do, most of the time, I've seen them only represented in embedding diagram or in slices.

They have new radiation, and Selvig didn't think it was harmful tells you that they had no freaking clue what they were dealing with and weren't taking the proper precautions. Whenever any scientists these days deals with radiation of any form, there is certain precautions they take. If it's new radiation, then they make sure it's not harmful to humans, and the dialogue in that movie gives no indication that they had any idea how harmful or not it was. Selvig just kinda shrugs and says he doesn't think it was enough to be harmful. To me that just shows a huge disregard for proper safety precautions - if they don't know, then they wouldn't have been hanging out right next to it, hoping that it wasn't really that harmless. They'd have proper shielding around it with sensors embedded in it, and doing tests on the side to determine how harmless or not it was. *headdesk* Maybe if Selvig had said tests showed it to be mostly harmless, I'd have a lot more respect for that scene and how it was handled, but that's not what he said. Especially considering how technologically advanced they were - they had the capabilities to shield the tesseract and do the proper tests, and Selvig, since he seemed to be one of the lead scientists for the project, would have known the results of any such tests and be able to just state it with a confidence rating, rather than just guessing.

Aidan Bird said...

P.S. If it was new radiation, why reference gamma rays? That's one of the most energetic and harmful radiation for humans. You'd want some heavy shielding between you and gamma rays for certain.

Aidan Bird said...

Ah ha! Thank you for catching that. I completely forgot that Stark had requested that. Now that scene makes a lot more sense and even more amusing.

chris the cynic said...

Sorry, that was unclear. The fact that it was emitting radiation was new, as in a recent development. The radiation was of a standard well understood type. Sorry for being less than clear.

The radiation would have, presumably, started at the same time as general weirdness, which is what triggered the evacuation.

Caretaker of Cats said...

Could we make sense of Selvig's behavior (and perhaps the exclusion of Foster, which I agree is very dumb from an in-universe perspective) by looking at it as Loki's long game? He clearly had some influence over Selvig before the Tesseract project began, based on the stinger to Thor. If he was already being controlled/nudged, the lack of safety precautions for the cube make more sense.

Aidan Bird said...

Which still leaves me baffled as to Selvig's reactions. If it's a well-understood type, and they keep referencing that it's emitting gamma rays (so that they can locate it's position), then I'm still baffled as to how they survived that blast of radiation that brought Loki to Earth. If that was gamma rays, we'd have some super fried, hurt, or dead people. Gamma rays are the most energetic and dangerous of the known radiation. Also, even if it emitted no radiation at all for the entire length of project, why not still have it under shielding? Why be so lax? They don't fully understand it, and the energy they want to extract from it is something they are only beginning to understand - then it'd still make more sense to have it under shielding and using robotic arms to manipulate it. The more I think about it, the more I find the whole tesseract frankly bizarre. Was the cube some sort of containment field for the energy within? For how else could anyone it to begin with? Was this explained in a previous movie that I missed?

I suppose I'll just take the scene with a grain of salt, but as someone who studies physics, I always do tend to pick apart the science aspect of it.

Aidan Bird said...

Interesting theory... but... wouldn't that put his life in danger, and Loki needs him to stay alive?

Aidan Bird said...

P.S. This point here isn't too important, like you said earlier, just me nitpicking due to my physics background. I probably think about this stuff way more than I need to.

chris the cynic said...

My best guess for how we're supposed to interpret is is thus:

--For much time the cube stayed completely inert in some monastery or other harming no one.
--Red Skull located it and discovered it could be used as an energy source, which he used to power his weapons.
--Stuff happened.
--It fell in the ocean.
--At this point in time was producing a trail that could be followed, leaving a detectable level of energy of some unspecified type in its wake.
--At some point in the next 70 years it stopped leaving a trail, which makes one think that the reason it left the trail in the first place was probably a result of being used.
--After Thor showed up Erik Selvig was called in from studying portals to look at the tesseract which was not, at that point in time, emitting either radiation or a trail.
--Hours before The Avengers took place the tesseract started doing two things. One was emitting extremely low levels of gamma radiation.* The other was doing portally stuff. I think that everything we visibly saw it do was on the portally stuff side, not the radiation side. What is portally stuff? Magic, for all intents and purposes. Presumably magic that does funky stuff to space-time.
--In response to this almost everyone ran like help, the exception being Selvig, Hawkeye, and the unnamed people who were in the room with them in the opening of the movie.
--Loki appeared in in an epic event of portalliness.
--Stuff happened.
--Thor took the tesseract home with him.


* Why gamma radiation? Because that's what Bruce Banner knows about. There is literally no other reason for it to be gamma radiation.

Rikalous said...

The fact that it's gamma radiation means that Fury has an incentive not to shield it. If someone gets irradiated enough, he could have himself a brand new superhero with preexisting loyalty to him.
So someone in love with Death, whose Greek name is Thanatos, is named Thanos? Supervillain names can be as bad as werewolf names that way.

As an aside, poor Victor Fries. He spent all those years in college getting his doctorate, and everyone still calls him Mister.

Aidan Bird said...

Aw, the hand-waving that is comic stories. Well, that's as good explanation as any. If the burst of energy was "magic" then perhaps the people hit by it could survive. If it was a blast of gamma radiation, then whoever wrote this stuff initially has no idea how powerfully dangerous gamma radiation really is.

So I'd much rather go with the "it's magic!" theory. :/ And apparently, the by-product of magical use is low levels of gamma radiation.

Also, funny side note: They called the institute researching that cube "Dark Energy Institute" (or whatever that third word was). Is that some sort of hint that the cube is actually dark energy (And not "magic") to try to make it more science-like and less fantasy-like?

I always find it simultaneously frustrating and interesting how movies, TV series, fiction, and/or comic books either through together scientific terms to make it look science fiction like, or actually try to be more accurate. Marvel/DC Avengers series seems to fall in the grey area between those two extremes.

AcyOS said...

It's not off topic for me to talk about disability at this point, right? Because I and a bunch of other people are totally in love with Bruce Banner's story from that perspective.

It just really rings a bell the way almost everyone he meets tries to maintain the polite fiction that his disability doesn't exist and refuses to talk about it except in vague references. A very, very annoying bell. It's there to make them feel better; Bruce will never have the privilege of refusing to think about it. And then comes Tony Stark, who seems to adore everything about him including the Hulk. He appreciates him and tries to get him to appreciate himself.

And then, lest it seem too much like Abled Guy To The Rescue, we're reminded about Tony's own chronic medical condition, and I honestly can't be too disappointed about the other fails because there are these two characters with their bodies that people might consider "damaged" but Tony knows, and Bruce learns, that they're not.

...I kind of have a lot of feelings about these science buddies.

chris the cynic said...

Now that you mention it, when Thor makes it back to earth Loki comments on the fact that Odin would have had to use up a lot of dark energy to get Thor there without the bifrost.

The movie Thor operated on the premise that magic isn't outside of science, it's just the undiscovered parts of science. Which is all well and good except for the fact that it means you have to try to cram it into the areas where the science is incomplete, but the science isn't so incomplete as to allow for the kind of stuff the magic of your story might require.

Given that the "dark" in "dark energy" basically stands for, "We don't understand this, we are baffled," maybe the writer (I think Whedon did the writing) figured that was as good a place as any to shove the magic. To which the logical response is probably, "Scientists aren't that baffled," but if you're watching a movie with superheroes and gods, the logical response probably has to fall to suspension of disbelief.

This is a world where exposure to gamma radiation caused someone to turn into a super hero and a giant aircraft carrier can fly, after all.

chris the cynic said...

I too was a big fan of the Stark-Banner relationship. I would assume that it's too much to hope for to see Banner appearing in the next Iron Man movie.

I'm not talking about a Hulk-Iron Man team up, just Banner being present as Tony's friend. It would be nice to see more of it.

Ana Mardoll said...

I liked that a lot, too, although I did say to Husband after the film "is it weird that I love Tony Stark on the screen but would hate him in person?"

I do love that he and Hulk are both disabled and I love that they're vulnerable because of it and work to an understanding through it. But there are moments where it feels like Tony is trying to do the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing where he wants Hulk to go through the 7 stages of grief HIS way and I'm all like "give me some space, guy!"

But, on careful balance, I liked it more than I disliked it. :D

Lonespark said...

Oh I love this discussion so much! Especially the part about how Tony is mentally and emotionally fucked up and, while he doesn't really deal with it successfully so far, at least he doesn't pretend to be fine/dress up like a bat.

I hatehatehate Tony Stark. If I knew him real life I would have to take a LOT of deep breaths and remind myself that Jesus loves him, too. I soooo hated pairing him up with Pepper Potts, who I found alternately annoying and awesome. I have grown to totally love Pepper and not necessarily hate the relationship in the last movie. (Have just been reading some lovely Bruce/Tony/Pepper fics, also...)

My family watched a Hulk cartoon a while back where Stark and Banner were clearly in love or epic bromance or something.

And on the subject of POC: No Rhoadey? Really? WTF?

My kids were just watching Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the other room, with Wasp being her awesome self, and Black Panther, too. Then they stopped in the middle of a two-parter where Loki controlled the nine worlds and Iron Man was hanging out with dwarves, to go watch Godzilla. Dammit.

I suppose some part of me feels that movie!Hawkeye is probably gay and won't be convinced otherwise. Kinda like Sheppard on SGA and a few other characters over the years. There should probably be an asexual Avenger or too also...unless that fits under the "queer" umbrella, in which case I am redundant.

AcyOS said...

I think a lot of people have exactly those thoughts on Tony, heh. And yeah, objectively the pushiness is not great, but I guess I'm not immune to the MPDG fantasy where somebody is totally hell-bent on making you happier without you having to put in the effort of asking for it. (And if he happens to be obscenely rich and likely to give you stuff, that doesn't exactly hurt the fantasy any.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Seconding wanting Banner back as a Tony-friend. And I loved Banner's secret, because...


...let's just say as a.d. disabled person that I INTIMATELY understand being outwardly calm and inwardly angry. Perfection.

Ana Mardoll said...

S/b "as a". Damn autocorrect.

chris the cynic said...

There should probably be an asexual Avenger or too also...unless that fits under the "queer" umbrella, in which case I am redundant.

I didn't mention it because I was distracted by the strange idea that Captain America should be reincarnation of Sappho*, but I was thinking Hawkeye as asexual.


Which Godzilla?


"is it weird that I love Tony Stark on the screen but would hate him in person?"

I feel the same way.

I think the fact that he's aware he's a jerk and does try to work on it on occasion goes a long way. Captain America, for comparison, doesn't ever seem to realize he's being a jerk when he is.

But mostly he's just strangely likable in a way that wouldn't apply in real life at all.


* Imagine someone asking him what he's doing and him responding, "I'm composing some poetry on a hendecasyllablic base, but every third line I add five extra syllables. What? I can't just stand around punching a bag all the time."

Gotchaye said...

Saw this for the second time today while visiting family.

Reading through the thread, it looks like I was the only one to not see the movie as endorsing Captain America's take on things. He's just too earnest. And there's that "there's only one God, ma'am..." line, which is either cute or eye-roll-inducing but in no way says "take me seriously". He's /supposed/ to have "old-fashioned" attitudes - he represents the USA of the 50s* as remembered by the conservatives of today (polite, white, clean, responsible for saving the world from Hitler, religious, and traditional but totally not racist or sexist). He's not a clown, but he's definitely played as clueless and a bit lost in the modern world outside of a fight.

So I didn't really take his early scene with Loki as an America, Fuck Yeah! thing. Old German Dude is there to provide a contrast, even, and does a nice job of pre-empting the Hitler reference as well as universalizing the whole thing with "there will always be people like you". Coulson's comments are a bit more problematic, but Coulson is also a huge Captain America fanboy.

*I know that the character slept through the 50s.

Lonespark said...

I'll have to watch it again and consider these points. Movie!Steve Rogers is painfully earnest and kind of a dork. He's been asleep through a lot of complexity and disillusionment in American society, too... I dont' the movie endorses his viewpoint, especially, but I kind of think the overall marketing does. It's not our USA, anyway; things are different in MarvelWorld.

Caretaker of Cats said...

On ra-ra-'Merica: On the scale of the scene, it was irritating, though the funniest part for me was Loki speaking English in ClevelandStuttgart and being understood perfectly. Do Asgardians speak some sort of Babelfish language? On the character level, I can rationalize it.

I'm really looking forward to the deleted scenes for the Rogers material that was cut. When Fury was talking to him, he had been exposed to recent history and was having difficulty processing it. I can see him throwing himself into the Nazi-Allegory situation because it's something he *knows*, and knows how to handle, unlike everything else in his environment. Rogers loses his world, SHIELD offers him a role he knows, right down to jogging in formation (albeit on a Helicarrier). Then he discovers Phase 2. Ouch. The "It seems to run on some form of electricity" line was funny, but it would be so frustrating to actually lack so many points of reference.

The Bechdel fail is annoying me the more I look at the scenes with Hill in the helicarrier. I can't get an exact count until it's out on DVD and I can get a decent quality screen shot, but there seem to be at least seven other women in the background in the control room when Banner and Rogers arrive. All it would take is some sort of "Here's the report on X", "Thank you, Name." exchange.

Aidan Bird said...

Good points. In the superhero universe, suspension of disbelief is really the only way to approach it, otherwise, you'll get all caught up in snares trying to dissect how any of the physics could ever be realistic, if there is any realistically portrayed ones, and trying to sort between the two. Though I do think there is some lazy writing going on whenever it comes to explaining the science side of it - this tends to be fairly common in movies to begin with, sadly enough. Just a few alteration of lines here and there can make them sound a lot more professional about these in-depth and intense studies/discussions of these foreign energies/materials/whatever. It also makes me wonder if they have a physicist or some other scientist on call to ask questions? I know a few TV shows did that, and a few movies. (Personally, I think that would be the coolest job ever.)

As an aside, have you ever read the Physics of Superheroes? Here's the url to the author's website: A physicist explains science using superheroes - Iron Man is featured as a good example of solid state physics done well. It's a fascinating book that shows the bridge between science and the world of superheroes. If you like that sort of stuff, it'd be worth the read. It's written so a person of limited science background could still enjoy the majority of the book.

Lonespark said...

I think there's something called Allspeak where Asgardians can make themselves understood?

Aidan Bird said...

I'm pretty positive there is something like that - it was briefly discussed in Thor from what I remember (since how else would Jane and her crew understand Thor and him them?). I think it was Foster's assistant that asks Thor about it.... So I assume, Loki is just using it in that scene with the Germans.

Caretaker of Cats said...

Ah. I don't recall it being mentioned in Thor. That makes sense.

Aidan Bird said...

To be honest, I'd have to go check if it wasn't one of the deleted scenes, because I always watch those when I see a movie from the DVD and sometimes my mind just kinda inserts them in as if they were there all along. (Does that happen to anyone else?) But I definitely remember it being Foster's assistant asking the question.

Froborr said...

You can kill a comic book character for good. They have to (1) be a parental figure for the hero, and (2) die either in the first issue or the back story. Batman's parents, Spider-Man's uncle, characters like that.

Froborr said...

Interesting you pegged Stark as the stealth protagonist, Ana. I had Black Widow as that--she's the one who actually gets the information they need out of Loki, she's the one who closes the portal... I like someone's (flickfilosopher, maybe?) description of her as "the best-written and worst-cast character in the movie."

Asha said...

I know I will regret asking and come off terribly... but...

Steve Rogers came off as a jerk?

depizan said...

Yes, yes, death by origin story. That really is the only way.

I suddenly envision an evil plot in which a villain goes back in time to attempt to off the hero before they become a hero by making them the death in someone else's origin story. Naturally, this would backfire and the villain would be stuck with the hero they created to off the original hero. Unless they managed to somehow off the hero in their own (the villain's, that is) origin story. ... Which promptly backfires and turns the villain into a hero.

Gotchaye said...

I really liked how that started, but I felt like it ended up being for nothing when everyone refused to listen to her and Fury. In a better world, she'd have been able to rush into that lab, say "Banner, you need to leave right now," and he'd leave. Failing that, I'd have liked it if she'd dealt with Hulk herself, maybe by shooting out a window and him getting sucked out. Or something else awesome. If she'd neutralized the Hulk threat before the prison break, she could have snuck her way to Loki's escape shuttle and put a tracking thingy on it to find out where he was going. Later, I felt like the Hawkeye thing was more of a B plot, and then she closes the portal after Hulk and Iron Man have neutralized the threats. Probably the old scientist could have closed the portal at that point; it just might have taken him an extra five minutes to crawl down and up the stairs.

Stark is the one that gets the heroic journey. Early on he's accused of (and expresses some) unwillingness to sacrifice for others. He and Captain America don't get along. Then they learn to cooperate and he takes on a substantial risk in order to help out everybody else (the propeller thing). He's the one who figures out where Loki's going to be opening the portal, via a pretty flimsy intuitive leap, which is the /real/ information that they needed after the airship breakout. He gets a solo scene where he outwits the trickster god while at a disadvantage. Despite Captain America giving most of the orders, he seems to be the one in control of the big fight (especially in knowing that Banner would show up) and contributes much more spectacularly than anyone other than Hulk. And of course he's the one that gets the big self-sacrificial moment at the end while also completely eliminating the Chitari threat (including the ones on the ground who suddenly dropped when the mothership blew up).

Asha said...

I agree with you, but I think this has to do with Iron Man's movies making more money than the others and his presence being the main draw. The others are still working on gaining popularity. Perhaps, in the next movie, the other characters will get more development.

And more female characters. I still can't forgive them not including the Scarlet Witch.

Rikalous said...

Personally, I'd rather have some indication of how the X-Men tie into the Avengers movie verse before they get any mutants on the team. Definitely needs more females, though. Especially Wasp, founding member and the one who came up with the dang name.

Found someone interesting browsing through a list of people who were in the Avengers in the comics. Moondragon, a psychic-cum-scientist-cum-martial-artist who was on the team in the Seventies is a canon-to-the-comics gay Avenger. Plus, she was trained by Thanos's father, so there's a tie to the upcoming villain. They're probably not going to include someone that obscure, but I can dream.

Ana Mardoll said...

This was where my mind was, too, the heroic journey.

Ana Mardoll said...

I didn't really think Rogers was a jerk, but I thought Coulson was INSUFFERABLE, and clearly I'm in the minority on that so YMMV.

His THE WORLD NEEDS AMERICAN VALUES thing made me want to hurl popcorn and continually reminding Rogers that he's out of his own time bordered on extremely cruel for me.


Asha said...

Someone earlier had commented that while Iron Man would admit he was a jerk, Cap wouldn't?

My impression of Coulson was that he would do or say whatever it took to convince the team to work together. Though I think he did have an inner Cap fanboy, he was also the one that the Avengers universally (I think) liked. I've seen the movie three times (yes, yes, yes, but my friend had to cut out at the end and we needed to see that end together) and I don't recall him saying anything about 'American Values' per se, but he did say something about needing something 'old fashioned.' The entire sequence was about getting Cap to think he still had a place and a use in the world, even if he felt that he was a washed up relic.

chris the cynic said...

Most of the time, no, he came off as decent human being, the problem was that when he moved into jerk-mode* he never seemed to, for even a moment, have even the slightest awareness that what he was doing was any less acceptable than what he was doing when he wasn't a jerk.

In The Avengers I never, ever, get from Rodgers the sense that he's aware that he's ever been in the wrong, and yet sometimes he very much is. Tony knows he's a jerk, and actually puts a (largely failing) effort into dealing with that on occasion. Rodgers goes from righteous to self righteous without ever noticing the difference.

Also, in the example from the footnote, he was seriously trying to beat the crap out of someone because he disagreed with the person's philosophy wrt the Kobayashi Maru test.

Sure, Tony might be wrong to not believe no win scenarios, but what exactly will beating him up prove? That Tony is a lesser genius when it comes to supersoilder creation than Abraham Erskine because Erskine's formula beat Tony's suit? What bearing does that have on the conversation? It's just an excuse to try to hurt Tony without feeling guilty about it.

The barest of credit goes for realizing that beating up an unarmored Tony would be beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. But, "Make it a fair fight so I can hurt you," is not something someone says when they're not being a jerk. The fact that Tony was also being a jerk is no excuse.


* As, for example, when he's repeatedly demanding that Tony Stark don the armor of Iron Man so that the could settle their dispute as all disputes should be settled: by beating the crap out of each other.


I'm with Gotchaye on the Black Widow's interrogation being for nothing.

Also her response to learning the info wasn't good either. "Loki's plan is to unleash the Hulk, let's put every big ego on this ship in the same room as the Hulk and see if that doesn't finally break through his fairly impressive apparent calm."

How was that ever thought to be a good idea? If it were, "Loki's plan is to unleash the Hulk, tell Banner I/you/Coulson need/s to meet with him in private," would be a much better idea because, as far as they know, what they need to do is keep him calm, not up his stress.

Getting the information from Loki was very impressive, the fact that that mattered not in least sort of diminished that. It would be like stealing the Death Star Plans only to find out that the plans revealed there were no flaws that could be exploited.


He's the one who figures out where Loki's going to be opening the portal, via a pretty flimsy intuitive leap,

I actually didn't think it was that flimsy. Loki was being very personal, it was already suggested (by Banner) that Loki was aware of Tony's new skyscraper and New York is a pretty good place to go if you want to put on a show for the whole world to see anyway.

I was surprised it took as long as it did for Tony to figure out, actually. When he was describing Loki I thought he'd already figured out he was just building up to explain his his reasoning. It was only at the moment of Tony's realization that I realized he hadn't worked it out earlier.


I didn't really think Rogers was a jerk, but I thought Coulson was INSUFFERABLE, and clearly I'm in the minority on that so YMMV.

I thought he was insufferable any time he was in the room with Captain America.

Ana Mardoll said...

I thought he was insufferable any time he was in the room with Captain America.

Thank gods I'm not the only one.

I see Asha's idea about it maybe being an act to pull CA together and out of the dumps, but.... meh. I'm not really a big fan of "but what if they are all really PRETENDING", as everyone knows from my failure to embrace the Alternate Character Interpretation of all the Narnians just leading Caspian around by the nose. I mean, I see nothing in the text to contradict it, but I just have to have a wink and a nod SOMEWHERE for me to really hang my hat on the twelve-dimension chess theories. If at any point Coulson winks-and-nods that all his Ra'Merica is anything other than genuine, I missed it. And I REALLY expect more nuance in a 30-something CIA, oops, SHIELD operative.

Especially in a world where American-located Stark enterprises has been churning out weapons of mass desctruction for how many decades? I just don't think a global consortium like SHIELD needs Coulson levels of jingoism at the helm. Most people on earth are not going to see the American flag and heave a sigh of relief that HELP IS HERE. :(

chris the cynic said...

My preference is to just see it as Coulson's brain shutting down where his hero is concerned. He's not pretending, but neither is it really about America. He's head over heels* in love with the idea of Captain America and everything he says to Captain America comes from that. It's not about America, or the good old days, or anything else like that, it's about Cap is awesome and therefore... whatever.

When he's not around Captain America he seems quite reasonable, as I recall. And his confrontation with Loki was wonderful. "So that's what it does."


* By the way, why isn't it heels over head? Head over heels is the normal state of affairs.

Ana Mardoll said...

That makes sense. You still have the problem with him treating CA more like an object than a person, but I guess there's no way around that. I'ma just gonna imagine CA singing Rush's "Limelight" on Avengers Karaoke night...

Asha said...

I don't really have a good explanation for why Cap was being all jerky in that particular scene, beyond some fangirl speculation. But in all honesty, I think everyone in that room was OOC, because of the scepter. They had, up until that moment, been nominally cooperative and reasonable and the presence of the scepter exacerbated what was ugly in all of them until they exploded. For Cap, the guy who hates bullies, to suddenly act like one felt very strange to me. But then again, I am a Cap fangirl.

As for fangirl speculation- I think that particular scene was ship-sinking. The ho-yay between Cap and Iron Man in the comics is pretty well known, and I like to think the writers are aware of how those two characters are often interpreted. A lot of the slash written before the Avengers movie came out was between the two. (Now, it's Banner and Stark if you go by the Kink Meme). The only love interest to make it into the movie was Pepper Pots, and to me, that felt more like a way to reinforce Stark's sexuality to me. Again, this is just fangirl speculation, and I'll retire if that's out of place.

Ana Mardoll said...

I do recall wanting to shout "I will take it! I will take the ring!" at that point in the theater, so if we're talking about the same scene, I'm with you on the theory that maybe the staff was making everyone behave badly.

chris the cynic said...

Definitely the staff seemed to be playing a role, but Rodgers was still the only one who defaulted to violence as a solution, and I think that says something about him. It's actually something we already knew to an extent.

Everyone else starts talking angry, Rodgers starts picking a fight.

depizan said...

Did he pick fights or did his interference lead to fights? (There is a difference.) I honestly can't remember how the scenes went in Captain America.

Though, now that I think about it, he must have at least agreed to a fight in one instance, since he defended someone in a building and then was getting his ass handed to him outside of said building. You don't have to say yes to "let's you and me take it outside" or whatever.

Lonespark said...

Yeah, scepter rachets up everyone's inner asshole.

I don't necessarily see "put on the suit so we beat on each other to let out our aggressions" is all that bad. I guess you could see it as a guy thing, but as a petite (and fat, but can't I still be petite?) woman who enjoys wearing armor and beating the everliving crud out of my friends and acquaintances with rattan weapons I can relate. I don't think it's so much about winning the conflict through violence; Steve Rogers spent a lot of his life getting beat up, and I don't see that that made him think he was wrong. OTOH, I think he's kind of against fighting with just words...and when he was resorting to fighting words, is when he came across as jerkiest, IMO. On a third (?) hand, Stark is smarmy and does canonically enjoy humiliating his foes, but Cap was more going off first impressions of a guy who's full of himself. I think modesty is important to him. Kinda reminds me of my grandma.

chris the cynic said...

I don't think it's so much about winning the conflict through violence;

The problem is, I'm pretty sure Rodgers specifically presented it as a way to settle things.

What I wrote earlier sort of makes it seem like that's where Rodgers went first, which definitely isn't true, it's where he went last and the only place he stayed for any length of time with every line from him after that point being, "Put on the suit."

First he acted like that didn't matter ("Without the suit what are you?" or something to that effect), but when Stark had answers for that* he went for whatever the emotional equivalent of going for the jugular is**, and then when that didn't work be proposed to settle it by stepping outside. And unless I'm vastly misremembering, it definitely is presented as fighting would settle it.

So I do agree that he came off as jerkiest when fighting with words, but he also came off as saying, "I can't win this argument, so let me kick your butt and that'll settle things." Which makes it seem like, now that he's the strongest, he does think winning the fight means being right.


* And good answers when you think about it. The suit is the least impressive thing about Stark, the fact that he designed himself, with the initial version worked out in a cave while pretending to do something else, is much more impressive.

** Stark stopped being an arms dealer before Rodgers was thawed, which means that there's no way Rodger found out that Stark was an arms dealer without also finding out that Stark stopped being one because of a series of emotional traumas that came in rapid succession. The way he uses this information is to rub Stark's past in his face in order to claim that Stark isn't allowed to have an opinion on weapons ever again.

Asha said...

In the Captain America movie, the scene you're talking about? He was telling a guy who was being disrespectful of someone crying in a movie theatre to show some respect and be quiet. This leads to the scene where we see him getting beaten up. That's the only time we really see him in a curb-stomp fight. After that, every time he's being harassed in SSA boot camp, he just sits there and takes it. For example, when Hodges kicks the barb wire on top of him. You never see him actually provoke a fight, but he won't run from one either.

And yes, I saw this one three times in theatres, too.

My impression of the argument scene was that he was sick of seeing Tony pick on Banner. Remember, the first time he sees them working together, Tony has just shocked Banner and was wanting to see if he would Hulk out.

Froborr d'Wiggy said...

Unfortuantely, as I understand it (IAMAL), they cannot have *any* mutants--or Spider-Man or any character primarily associated with Spider-Man (e.g. Doc Ock, JJJ)--in the Marvel Studios movies, because other companies hold the film rights to those characters.

chris the cynic said...

In the Captain America movie, the scene you're talking about?

The basis for what I'm talking about is more the scene later in the movie where he talks about his various past fights and someone's interpretation of that scene in light of the rest of the movie (which does specifically include the scene you're talking about.) I'll see if I can locate that interpretation, but it won't be right away.

My impression of the argument scene was that he was sick of seeing Tony pick on Banner.

I'd rather not go with that interpretation because, to me, that makes him seem like an even bigger jerk. He was angry at Tony for picking on Bruce so he waited for a time when Tony and Bruce were on the same side and the picked a fight with Tony then?

That would fit with, "I don't like bullies," I suppose, since not liking bullies says nothing of those being bullied, but I'd prefer to think that the reason he doesn't like bullies is because he want to protect their victims.

Going after Tony when Tony and Bruce were on the same side because Tony had picked on Bruce in the past isn't going to help Bruce. So if that's what Steve is doing in that scene then he's really making it all about him. It isn't about how Bruce feels, it's about how Steve feels. What matters is not the victim, but Steve.

And that's an interpretation that I do not want.

I'd rather that it be about him not liking Tony in general because then it's not him taking Bruce's experience and making it all about him.

But maybe I shouldn't have brought up that scene, because now everything on the topic is about that scene. A better example would be how he responded to Tony seeing if Bruce would go Hulk*. He made it not about Bruce, but about the safety of everyone on the ship. That's certainly worth considering, but it ignores the humanity of Bruce. It makes him into an object. It unpersons him.

Bruce then has to reassure Steve that, no, he will not kill everyone at such provocation. He's well aware of the the problem and has it under control and would not have come if he didn't because he's well aware that he's an inhuman monster who could kill everyone.

Which, ok, useful information to know. But if Tony attacked Bruce then why is it now Bruce's job to comfort Steve? And why is no one in the room showing any interest in Bruce? I expect that from Tony, I think we all do (though he will eventually show an interest) but from Steve?

The way Steve reacts is the way you'd expect him to react if Tony were playing around with a nuclear bomb. There's only the slightest lip service applied to the idea that Bruce is a person.

How about, first and foremost, you shouldn't be hurting Bruce because he's a person and people are not to hurt for our amusement? Yes, it probably should be pointed out that doing it to this particular human being could have wider consequences, but there should be at least some sense that even if it were certain no one other than Bruce would be hurt, it is still unacceptable to hurt Bruce.

Of course Bruce's response to the whole thing basically demonstrates that at this point people treating him as a thing rather than a person is pretty standard for him. On the surface it doesn't faze him, though one imagines that it might contribute to his always being angry.


* Still in the same room, and thus still potentially under the influence of the scepter.

Lonespark said...

It seems to me that they were all acting very hair-trigger aggressive and that is largely due to the scepter. But they aren't friends and there are tensions and Awake!Cap can't really be out of character cuz we have nothing to compare it to...

Gotchaye said...

I'm now convinced that Rogers was a jerk in some ways, but I don't think that "put on the suit" was especially bad. I'm with Lonespark on a lot of this.

Part of it is that these are superheroes. Violence isn't something they're particularly averse to or threatened by, and a superhero-on-superhero fight is almost guaranteed to never produce serious injury. Probably more superheroes have been seriously (psychologically) injured by words than have been injured by nominally friendly-but-annoyed superheroes. Stark was being an ass, and was having fun with Rogers because Stark is just better at verbal sparring. Rogers suggested physical sparring, where they're more evenly matched, and I don't know that this is morally any different than what they were already engaged in.

I actually really liked how, right after that was interrupted by an explosion, Rogers gently helps Stark keep his balance in order to help him get to his suit as quickly as possible. He doesn't want anyone to feel threatened by him; he can't fight Stark unless Stark puts on the suit because when Stark is in the suit Rogers won't seriously hurt him.

Gotchaye said...

You're probably right. I didn't remember Rogers falling down, but everyone else seemed to. I did get the strong impression that he was much more capable in that situation and was of real assistance to suit-less Stark. I remember him with his hand on Stark's back, sort of steadying him and pushing him forward out a door or down a hallway, but maybe I made that up. I liked the last "put on the suit" a lot, but felt like it was largely just there to be funny.

And that's a very neat take on Rogers' insecurities. I hadn't seen the Captain America movie so that's pretty much all new to me.

Moving on, Banner felt like a pretty together guy to me. And he seemed to be very aware that he's a potential threat and very aware that everyone else thinks he's a potential threat. He also seems to want to know exactly how jumpy the people around him are. Early in the movie, he goads Romanov into pulling a gun on him by acting like he's getting very angry just to see what her reaction would be. And that she clearly doesn't feel safe isn't a dealbreaker for him - he agrees to go with her right after that. So he just wanted to know*. Isn't there some reason to let him know that information from Loki means that they think there's a good chance that he's not (or is even less) safe, even just on respect-for-persons grounds? And also to let him know as quickly as possible, without letting concerns about whether there's an audience get in the way? I don't think he'd have wanted to risk any delay (keep in mind that they didn't really know how Loki intended to trigger Hulk), but that's probably not very well-supported.

Or they could have done what someone else suggested, and just have had Romanov or Fury come by and say "hey Banner, walk with me" and break it gently and without an audience.

*I guess an alternative reading is that he actually did get mad, barely kept control, and then played it off. But he's really concerned about not hurting people, and I don't buy that he'd allow himself to be on that airship and in the presence of people who are at all annoying if he's always close to the edge. I'd have expected him to run out of the room and maybe hurl himself off the side shortly after the arguing broke out. And I realize that I'm talking about him "getting mad" when he says he's always angry, but I don't know what better language to use here. Maybe "losing control"?

Ana Mardoll said...

Early in the movie, he goads Romanov into pulling a gun on him by acting like he's getting very angry just to see what her reaction would be.

I hated that scene. I understand why Banner would do it, and I'm not even saying he's wrong to do so -- he has a right to know what level of deadly force SHIELD is prepared to deploy against him -- but I really wanted SOMEONE to point out that BW is a woman in a very dangerous situation and that domestic violence isn't a joke for most women (no, not even her, whose "beat-em-up" repertoire extends mainly to human guys).

chris the cynic said...

I hated that scene. I understand why Banner would do it, and I'm not even saying he's wrong to do so

I feel more or less the same way. I hated that scene, and I hated Banner for doing it (it was, I think, the only time I didn't like Banner in the movie) but at the same time there are a lot of things he should know before going into a situation where he might end up killing a lot of people.

From that bit of evil he learned that she was ready to kill him, that she had been lying to him the entire time and saw nothing wrong with that, that killing him had been planned out ahead of time with a fair number of personnel devoted to it, and that SHEILD was woefully unprepared should something go wrong. And one has to wonder if that helped.

If he hadn't known going in that he'd be surrounded by people who were lying to him and thinking about ways to kill him, would he have been able to maintain his composure so well later on? He takes it in stride pretty well when he learns that they went through a lot of work, and presumably burned through a lot of funds, to remodel the ship in order to create an execution chamber for him. He also has a pretty good handle on things when he learns that they lied to him about everything except those things where they were forced to tell him the truth in order to let him do his job.

If he hadn't had advanced warning of those things, if they'd caught him off guard, would he have been able to maintain control when he found out? If not then him doing that probably saved lives. And I still hate him for it.


but I really wanted SOMEONE to point out that BW is a woman in a very dangerous situation and that domestic violence isn't a joke for most women

I agree that that would be a good thing, but I'm actually not sure how it could be done well. How would you do it?

Lonespark said...

Maybe being a jerk already makes the scepter's jerkification powers function more slowly on you?

This is an interesting point. (I have a similar theory about sex pollen. Er...)

And yeah, Steve with the projection.

And sacrifice and survivor guilt are touchy for both of them.

Lonespark said...

Buh? I don't get how that's domestic violence. (Maybe I'm misreading here?) Also I guess I'm just used to thinking that the SHEILD folks are probably telling at least three levels of lies, and to a certain extent never showing their real faces...

I loved the Widow/Hawekeye fight, too, although it annoyed me that just being knocked out could reset his brain. That shouldn't have worked, and/or if it did work there should have been more mistrust that it had.

Lonespark said...

Also I think I just had Banner and Stark in my 11th grade class taking standardized tests. What annoying little adorable physics bastards.

Ana Mardoll said...

I agree that that would be a good thing, but I'm actually not sure how it could be done well. How would you do it?

I wrote that meaning "someone" on the writing side, which means I would have sent someone else in for that scene other than The Woman Who Will Be Threatened With Violence. (And *teeth grinding* especially since that's pretty much BW's only role in the plot: to be threatened by men with (frequently sexualized) violence. At least until Hawkeye comes back and she starts Waif Fu-ing aliens.) I remember there being some reason why Fury couldn't go in to see Banner, but didn't they have someone else in the movie who could recruit Banner? Or even send him a phone call?

But if they wanted to have it still be BW but draw a line in-text under why "threatening a woman with violence to see how she reacts is bad, mmkay", they could maybe add a line of dialogue or two? Doesn't Banner already say something like "I just wanted to see how you'd react"? Having BW acerbically say something about how, "Yeah, that's the reason most men give for attacking me" would underscore why Banner's behavior was Not Cool Guys.

Really, I'm uncomfortable with a lot of the Banner/BW scenes. When we finally get Hulksplosion, he goes after BW with alarming single-mindedness, especially considering that in the preceding moments before Hulking-out, she had been the closest thing to a genuine ally on his side (imho). (Yes, there was also Stark, but Stark had stung him, for cripes sakes.) There's almost this very creepy "big guy want tiny woman" King Kong bit to it that I like not at all.

Incidentally, they did that same "Hulk wants the white womens" in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to good effect, I thought, but that was because THAT Hulk was actually Mr. Hyde and he was supposed to be the embodiment of repressed violence, lust, etc. Plus, his object of interest was Mina Harker who could easily handle herself, what with being an immortal vampire and all.

chris the cynic said...

especially considering that in the preceding moments before Hulking-out, she had been the closest thing to a genuine ally on his side (imho).

I didn't see her that way at all.

It seemed like she was more the closest thing he had to an an antagonist.

She was the one who had been manipulating his emotions from the moment she hired a little girl to claim her father was sick. She was the one who had been lying to him from the first moment they met. She was the one who convinced him to come from a place where he was safe and incident free to the middle of the most stressful place on earth. And then in the confrontation she's the one treating him as incompetent and most active in trying to make him shut up and leave.

Though in reverse order, I guess. When she first walked into the room he asked her if she had known about the weapons of mass destruction. She ignored the question and told him to leave. Then she got to treating him as incompetent by way of explanation as to why he should shut up and leave.

When they broke off by pairs it was Fury vs. Thor, Rodgers vs. Stark, and Romanov vs. Banner. That last one really seemed to be the most personal. A pretty good example being that when Romanov eventually gets around to saying that Loki is manipulating Banner, Banner's response is to point out that she's been doing the same thing.

Neither Banner or the Hulk really has anyone else to hate on the ship, not even Loki. Theoretically Fury has been treating him the same way, but he's been doing it through Romanov. (When even when Fury has his shut up and leave moment it's not saying it directly, it's telling Romanov to make Banner shut up and leave.) Stark was mean that one time but has been significantly nicer since, Rodgers was callous. Fury was dishonest but distant, Thor, Coulson and Hill weren't even in his sphere. As far as I know he never even spoke to any of the nameless background people. Romanov is the only one who he's been close enough to, and mistreated enough by, for him to be really pissed off at.

That was how I saw it.


Of course all of that comes from the decision to have her be the one to get Banner in the first place. If Fury had done it personally then he'd be the one running like hell through the ship. That's because Fury would have taken the same approach, lies mixed with truth to form a manipulation pie. If Stark or Rodgers had done it there might not have been an antagonist for the Hulk to go after. (Though there's a question of whether they'd succeed in recruiting Banner at all.) Who knows what would have happened if they'd somehow ended up with Thor for the job (that would have to completely alter the order of events, though.)

Put anyone else in the room with Banner in the beginning, and it wouldn't have been Romanov running from the Hulk on the airship.

Basically, putting her in a position to be threatened by Banner made her the one most likely to be threatened by the Hulk. Which should have made those making the movie doubly wary of using the only woman on the team as the one to be threatened there.

Ana Mardoll said...

Yeah, I didn't see her as Not!Ally because of the recruiting scene because I thought Banner would have put it together later that she was basically there as one of Fury's pawns (i.e., it wasn't personal).

And I saw her as Ally in the argument scene because she seemed to be the one saying "Get out, it's Loki's plan for you to be here, ooga booga Magic" (i.e., again Not Personal and Not Othering) while everyone else seemed to be arguing over whether he was Inexcusably Other or something.

But it's been awhile since I saw the movie, so I may be remembering the scene wrong. Overall, I agree with you that it was just plain a bad idea to send her in for the recruiting scene.

Michael I said...

why the heck didn't they IMMEDIATELY call her in

Two possibilities come to mind

chris the cynic said...

I don't think she was trying to be antagonistic, but if you look at it from Banner's perspective (which is the only perspective that matters to the Hulk) I think it comes across that way.

He and Tony had finished setting up the tracking system. This is a good thing. They were about to learn the truth, also a good thing. Fury barges in all angry-like, but Steve is able to stop that by being armed with Truth. Fury attempts to deflect with a lie, but Tony finally breaks through security and again Truth triumphs over Fury. He might not be particularly happy about what the truth is, but if he's willing to face reality (which he seems to be) this has to be about as good as he can expect things to go.

They'll soon have located the cube, the lies are giving way to truth, he, Tony, and Steve are all on the same side at the same time for the first time since they got there.

When you consider that the bad things are still bad regardless of whether or not he knows about them, this is the absolute best things have been going for Bruce since he was recruited.

Then Natasha walks into the room. He asks her if she knew about what was going on. He doesn't get a lie. He doesn't get truth. He doesn't get an answer. He gets told to leave. However wondrous her intentions, I'm betting that doesn't feel like an ally move from Bruce's position.

It goes downhill from there for everyone.

I think that following the rest of the conversation from Bruce's perspective (remember that Bruce didn't see the scene where Natasha worked out Loki's plan and no one in the room knows the way the camera is lingering on the scepter, if it's started doing that yet) results in Natasha coming off looking a lot worse and that's how one has to look at it when considering the Hulk's actions.


I think. It would be better if there were trustworthy transcripts out there because sometimes I remember things out of order and that changes everything.

Ana Mardoll said...

I agree with you on the dire need for transcripts, but all the words you said and the order you said them in convinced me -- it seems reasonable that Banner wouldn't know what *I* knew at that point, i.e., that Natasha was reasonable and wouldn't have told him to leave without a good reason.

depizan said...

I think the set up you outline there is also part of why I felt like the (super) guys on the team were a team, while Natasha wasn't. Which is one of my issues with the movie.

Caretaker of Cats said...

I can post a transcript of the Scepter scene, is that okay?

Lonespark said...

Thanks for the transcript, Caretaker of Cats. Now I wanna watch it again right now.

We've been watching Earth's Mightiest Heroes, so I feel yet more keenly the lack of Wasp and Black Panther. (We watched an episode where the got exiled to other realms and hung out with elves and dwarves and Steve was in Helheim and Janet RODE A FLYING HORSE it it was just the funnest thing ever.)

Lonespark said...

Also: SIIIIIIF!!! MCU needz moar Sif.

Ana Mardoll said...

Awesome transcript. I want Tony Stark to have Serious Words with his writers, though. They give him all the good lines, yes, but the correct answer to "how did you get all your wealth again?" is "I inherited it and then grew a conscience". Booyah!

Asha said...

*sigh* Having to reevaluated again... Ah, well...

renniejoy said...

It's definitely ambiguous; Black Widow and Hawkeye have no unresolved relationship tension in the movie.

They obviously care about and are important to each other - Natasha drops everything when she is told that Clint was taken, and Clint told Loki everything about her - but they are also all about business until the threat is dealt with and we're not given evidence (besides chemistry between the actors) for anything more or less than friendship.

In my head, they've had sex at least once, if for no other reason than, "I'm bored and horny and you're here, why not?", but I'm agnostic about what else there is. :)

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