Join 3,555 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Earth's Mightiest Movie
May 8, 2012 5:24 AM   Subscribe

The new Avengers movie is a hit with fans, critics and the box office. Hollywood is taking note.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (473 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
But not with people who remember how shitty Marvel treated Jack Kirby and his heirs, as well as the other cartoonists who actually created these characters.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hollywood is taking note.

Um...Is it "Raise ticket prices so that any big opening movie stands a chance at breaking past income records"?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 AM on May 8, 2012 [19 favorites]


It's probably "OMG We need more superhero movies because there definitely is not enough."
posted by fungible at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Other analysts say the success of “The Avengers” has several earmarks of our times, when the really appealing, cross-generational movies are often related to cartoons, more than the real-life-based events of past family-genre must-sees like “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Patton,” and “Gone with the Wind.”

One, I don't think "earmark" is being used correctly in that sentence. Two, I'll argue that Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Gone with the Wind had their share of cartoonishness and spectacle, which was likely a greater element in their popularity that the more serious themes lurking underneath.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


"What we need to do to make a blockbuster is make five lesser blockbusters that lead into it!"
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:33 AM on May 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


They could have just taken this line from the fifth paragraph and got rid of the rest:

“But based upon film history,” he says vie (sic) e-mail, “I would caution that we should be careful about predicting the future based upon the success of any single film"
posted by ciderwoman at 5:38 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


So much snark.
It's a good, fun movie.
Even people who don't like superhero movies love it.

(I know, Kirby got boned, but what can be done. Should his family benefit? Probably not. Should he have had a credit? Hell yes).

Awesome movie. The first thing I have wanted to see twice since Brain Dead 20 years ago.

Don't diss it because it's a superhero movie. You can't compare Daredevil to Avengers.

I mean, what's the ratio of rom-coms to spandex flicks these days?
posted by Mezentian at 5:38 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Just a thought, but maybe the movie is so successful because it's good?
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:41 AM on May 8, 2012 [46 favorites]


It's a 150 minute long fan wank; I loved it, and I'm not even chafed. And if we get a Black Widow pic, I will be even happier, and if we get a Mark Ruffalo Hulk pic, I will be over the moon.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:42 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


There seems to have been relatively little discussion (that I've seen) about how Marvel are changing cinema into this weird hybrid of 'traditional' popcorn movies cross-bred with some kind of emergent-semi-long-form-narrative-world where dudes from one film can just pop up in another one.

"What we need to do to make a blockbuster is make five lesser blockbusters that lead into it!"


Yeah, that.

And this seems like the place to acknowledge that, notwithstanding the fact that I fucking adored Avengers, I couldn't avoid being a teensy bit disappointed at the hulk ex machina approach to the plot. Ruffalo more than makes up for it with his 'aw shucks, mumble mumble, desert-boots' schtick.

Also I would like to say a thousand other things about this movie. But patience!
posted by Jofus at 5:43 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seanmpuckett

Mark Ruffalo signed on for 6 more movies as the Hulk, so I'm betting a new Hulk movie is a given.
posted by Twain Device at 5:43 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh. OK. One other thing. I sat through the two Nolan Batman flicks inwardly screaming "SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

Having seen Avengers last night, I worry for the forthcoming third film in the trilogy. The line it walks between SERIOUS CINEMA and poe-faced douchebaggery will be more closely policed than ever.
posted by Jofus at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Jofus, Marvel didn't start this mixing of films, horror films have been doing it for ages.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think Jofus is on to something. They're all road movies, really. But in a metacontextual way, there's an over-arc that is pure "buddy pic". A bunch of people who are pretty interesting on their own, have shit happen to them, and then they get together sometimes, and more shit happens to them, and they cope, and life goes on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:49 AM on May 8, 2012


Jofus, the third Batman film, you mean?
posted by orrnyereg at 5:49 AM on May 8, 2012


But it’s not yet clear whether “The Avengers” success in opening first overseas – it garnered $441 million last week – is a harbinger for more simple, good-vs.-evil story lines that translate easily to different cultures and languages.

Yes, just when it looks like we've stopped treating overseas markets as rank-ordered tiers of second-class consumers to whom we'll screen our films only after we're done enjoying them, let's go ahead and learn the wrong message: That those darn dumb foreigners need simple stories they can understand.

It couldn't possibly be that human beings will go to a box office rather than a torrent site if you commercially release a product as soon as it's available for illegal download.
posted by compartment at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


But not with people who remember how shitty Marvel treated Jack Kirby and his heirs, as well as the other cartoonists who actually created these characters.

People who remember this are no longer a part of the Marvel target audience. Hell, people who read comic books as kids are only a tiny part of their target audience now.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


orrnyegreg - Aye. I am a master of wooly syntax.
posted by Jofus at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012


if we get a Mark Ruffalo Hulk pic, I will be over the moon.

I was most impressed by Ruffalo's choices as an actor -- more than any of them, he really seemed to have built a character out of Bruce Banner. I think his performance was outstanding, and considering how many headliners he was sharing the screen with, all the more impressive.
posted by gauche at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


"What we need to do to make a blockbuster is make five lesser blockbusters that lead into it!"

As opposed to a series movies with decreasing returns.

/Never forget Jason Takes Manhattan.
posted by Mezentian at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mark Ruffalo signed on for 6 more movies as the Hulk, so I'm betting a new Hulk movie is a given.

A Hulk movie alone may struggle (as we have seen before), but how awesome would Defenders movie would be with Namor, Silver Surfer, Dr Strange and Valkyrie/Lady Sif as a supporting cast?

It has built in spin-offs.
posted by Mezentian at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I couldn't avoid being a teensy bit disappointed at the hulk ex machina approach to the plot.

Yeah, but they sold it well: a significant portion of first- and second-act dialogue was dedicated to people worrying about what would happen when the Hulk showed up, and how destructively unstoppable he was. I think they handwaved a little over how easy it was for the Hulk to cooperate with the team in the climax, but I haven't read any Hulk comics, so maybe that's consistent with the source material.
posted by gauche at 5:55 AM on May 8, 2012


I like the treatment of Hulk in the film. He's not a hero exactly, he's more a force of nature to be pointed in the right direction. EVERYONE is terrified of him.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


So, this means we'll be seeing even more CGI than we're already bombarded with? It's already hard to tell the movie promos from the videogame ads on TV. I like the Avengers cast, too bad I'm burned out on violence just from watching the news.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2012


I talked with my son on Sunday, he mentioned that he had gone to see it, had a positive opinion of it. The important part for him was it's huge success, he's currently producing Man of Steel, a huge risk for a producing/directing team 'cuz if it goes south it will have a huge impact on their careers (especially after Sucker Punch... ouch).

Someone is going to riding the tail of the superhero movie dragon when it crashes into the sea. Nobody wants to be part of that production (or the superhero movie following it).
posted by HuronBob at 6:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Gauche, there is no consistent Hulk in the comics, never has been, so it all fits in. And the whole Loki/Helicarrier plot was a nod to Avengers 1-3 in the 1960s.

Not sure if they did the same manipulation in the Ultimates.
posted by Mezentian at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The movie was about as perfect as it gets for a summer blockbuster. That doesn't mean it was flawless, but it was damn enjoyable. Hell, even my 60+ Mother n-Law though it was great, despite having no knowledge of the characters. Admittedly Robert Downey Jr helped.

The final scene, after all the credits, was absolutely great and is sign of why Whedon nailed this. He can connect the characters, no matter how super and mystical, with the audience.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


he's currently producing Man of Steel
Poor him.

But, Superman Returns wasn't the failure it's made out to be, and thanks to Superman IV it can't be the worst Supes film ever.

And I liked Sucker Punch.
posted by Mezentian at 6:02 AM on May 8, 2012


I couldn't avoid being a teensy bit disappointed at the hulk ex machina approach to the plot

If The Incredible Hulk is involved, Hulk ex machina happens. That's damn near the whole point of the character. Bad guys, grar, wouldn't like me when I'm angry, don't make me angry guys, this is a bad idea.....HULK SMASH. HULK WIN. HULK JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE (fade to credits)

Hulk is a force of nature. Indeed, about the only question I have is what happens when HULK SMASH runs into Groo doing what Groo does best.
posted by eriko at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I feel sure that the lessons taken from this film's success will be all the wrong ones.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:06 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I feel sure that the lessons taken from this film's success will be all the wrong ones.

As long as someone, somewhere, thinks "Let Joss Go Unmolested" the world will be a better place.

And it doesn't need to be Joss, it can be anyone with a proven track record of Bringing The Fun In.
posted by Mezentian at 6:10 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wish they'd left Captain America's costume from the first movie alone. This is such a great take on the costume, and so much better than this, which looks less like a superhero and more like a mascot waving passersby in for a discount 4th of July oil change.
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 6:10 AM on May 8, 2012 [31 favorites]


The best thing about the Avengers was that they didn't feel the need to make romance a plot driver. I don't go to Batman movies to see Bruce making googly eyes at girls.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


One, I don't think "earmark" is being used correctly in that sentence.

Pretty sure he means "hallmarks".

Yes, just when it looks like we've stopped treating overseas markets as rank-ordered tiers of second-class consumers to whom we'll screen our films only after we're done enjoying them, let's go ahead and learn the wrong message: That those darn dumb foreigners need simple stories they can understand.

I hope not. Christopher Nolan's Batman films have hugely outperformed the Marvel movies in overseas takings, and the simplest story (The Incredible Hulk) is the worst-performing of the Marvel Studios movies so far.

In fact, interesting things about The Avengers - 1) 3D means the tickets cost more, which means that it has an advantage in box-office takings over "The Dark Knight Rises", which has (rightly) eschewed 3D. 2) It has penetrated global markets in a way that Batman movies (and Spider-Man movies) have before, but Marvel Studios movies have often not (which is one reason why Iron Man made about $650 million worldwide gross, Spider-Man over $800 million (in 2002!) and The Dark Knight a billion).

There seems to have been relatively little discussion (that I've seen) about how Marvel are changing cinema into this weird hybrid of 'traditional' popcorn movies cross-bred with some kind of emergent-semi-long-form-narrative-world where dudes from one film can just pop up in another one.

This piece notes that the films which lay out the key plot points for The Avengers - Thor and Captain America - underperformed at the box office compared with the Iron Man films - which isn't surprising, but is sort of interesting ... There was a lot of preparation to create that opening weekend.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, this means we'll be seeing even more CGI than we're already bombarded with? It's already hard to tell the movie promos from the videogame ads on TV.

Yeah...this. I'm waiting for the technology to get to where all the "actors" have to do is license their digitized images to a project for skinning to wireframes and animated. RDJr will still be playing Iron Man in 2112.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:12 AM on May 8, 2012


Oh, and totally agree with Missiles about Cap's costume.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:13 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


But Cap's new costume was (partly) designed by Coulson.
Why do you hate Agent Coulson?


For the record, it puzzles me too. I assume there is a reason, as there is the lack of "Avengers Assemble!" in the movie.
posted by Mezentian at 6:18 AM on May 8, 2012


So, I really don't follow movie news at all, and from the post, I didn't know if this was a new John Steed / Emma Peel vehicle, or a Marvel one. So I clicked on the "critics" link, and waded into one of the most annoying reasons that I do not follow movie news. All he talked about was money - how much it made on its opening weekend, how much it made in Europe, blah blah blah. Somewhere in there he said it was a good movie, but didn't really talk about the movie beyond that, just about the money. That's not a critic, that's a money fan.

It wasn't until I read some comments here that I learned something about the movie. Now I will watch it (eventually), but I am never going to give shit about how much money it made.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


as there is the lack of "Avengers Assemble!" in the movie.

It doesn't make sense to be in the movie, they were literally just forming and only reluctantly. The second film will no doubt have this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. OK. One other thing. I sat through the two Nolan Batman flicks inwardly screaming "SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

Well, from the trailers TDKR definitely looks like it'll avoid being overly self-serious!

Honestly, I think I'm over how grimdark and portentous the Nolan Batmans are now. And hey, this time we get two ridiculous voices instead of just Bale needing a throat lozenge.
posted by kmz at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


...as there is the lack of "Avengers Assemble!" in the movie.

It was hinted at, with Fury and Agent Whatshername's "what will we do if we need them again" conversation toward the end. Both JW and this franchise have been pretty good at planting seeds that unexpectedly germinate later.
posted by steambadger at 6:21 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why the Avengers don’t say their most famous catchphrase in The Avengers.
posted by octothorpe at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"What we need to do to make a blockbuster is make five lesser blockbusters that lead into it!"

Coming Summer 2014: Doc
Coming Summer 2014: Happy
Coming Summer 2015: Sleepy
Coming Summer 2016: Grumpy
Coming Summer 2017: Bashful
Coming Summer 2018: Sneezy
Coming Summer 2019: Dopey
Coming Summer 2020: D7
posted by emelenjr at 6:24 AM on May 8, 2012 [75 favorites]


Two movies in 2014. That's right.






I meant 2013.
posted by emelenjr at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You see, I knew there was a good reason the Avengers never Assembled! MeFi delivers.
ANd I can hum myself to sleep with the story that the did assemble, but off screen, for kebabs and beer.

emelenjr Even 90 minutes of grimdark Sleepy in 3D would try my patience... and I survived Transformers 2.
posted by Mezentian at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012


Samuel L Jackson introduced as Sweary in a post-credits sequence to "Doc".
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


Samuel L Jackson as Prince Charming, surely?
posted by Mezentian at 6:28 AM on May 8, 2012


As long as someone, somewhere, thinks "Let Joss Go Unmolested" the world will be a better place.

Agreed. I'm hoping (naively) that all this box office success will lead to a Joss-ier future.
posted by somanyamys at 6:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've heard that new DVDs of Ghost World have added a post-credits sequence where Nick Fury asks Rebecca to join the Avengers.
posted by Legomancer at 6:30 AM on May 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'll admit, I have't read the comics. And that's going to change later today. But I've been told that they actually started with a villain/plot something close to how it started there.

And I love that. Spider-Man's first villain was Sandman, and he wasn't there until 3. No Vulture at all. Green Goblin wasn't involved until 14, yet he's a bad guy before Doc Oc who showed up in 3.

It's great to see something from the beginning instead of just "Here's a movie full of stuff we know non-hardcore-fans will know about" which ignores the source material's timeline.
posted by theichibun at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2012


And I can hum myself to sleep with the story that the did assemble, but off screen, for kebabs and beer.

You did stay until after the credits? Right?
posted by octothorpe at 6:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Both JW and this franchise have been pretty good at planting seeds that unexpectedly germinate later.

Unexpectedly? The Avengers was hardly unexpected. The seed was planted quite openly in the after credits scene in the first Iron Man film.

Oh. OK. One other thing. I sat through the two Nolan Batman flicks inwardly screaming "SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

Why so serious?
posted by fuse theorem at 6:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Joss Whedon is the director of the most successful movie opening of all time.

Take that Cameron.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:37 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


You did stay until after the credits? Right?

octothorpe I did, but we only got one of the post-credit scenes.
THE BIG ONE.
The other scene was not attached outside America. And it wasn't on YouTube as of two days ago. But I can imagine.
posted by Mezentian at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012


Two movies in 2014. That's right.

To be fair, Doc and Happy kind of go together, until we get the out-of-sequence sequel Doc II: Too Happy, about prescription potion abuse....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012


Captain America was one of the worst movies I'd seen in a long time. And frankly, The Avengers are not very interesting as far as super hero groups go. Yay for the fanboys, yay for Joss, but I can't get past the "meh" phase.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:39 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]



Coming Summer 2014: Doc
Coming Summer 2014: Happy
Coming Summer 2015: Sleepy
Coming Summer 2016: Grumpy
Coming Summer 2017: Bashful
Coming Summer 2018: Sneezy
Coming Summer 2019: Dopey
Coming Summer 2020: D7


You've front-loaded the dwarves. Asking America to sit through a Sneezy movie is bad enough, but then to follow it up with 90 minutes of Dopey? No, it's time for Machete Order:

Grumpy
Sleepy
Bashful
Sneezy
Happy
Dopey
The original movie
Doc
D7
posted by Copronymus at 6:45 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I never knew that the whole reason for the Internet is so I can see the phrase "You've front-loaded the dwarves." written.

In that vein -- I want to see the Avengers with a bunch of Lego. No words needed.
posted by eriko at 6:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I really enjoyed it when I watched it and I think it lived up to the hype, but as a non-initiate into the Cult of Whedon (no Firefly, no Buffy, no Dollhouse, no real interest), I was kind of shocked when Loki called the Black Widow the Victorian equivalent of the c-word. I keep hearing that Whedon is a great screen feminist but I wasn't that impressed with either Black Widow or Maria Hill (or the Pepper Potts cameos). The best thing for me was the Iron Man/Hulk relationship. It was nice to see Iron Man actually want someone's approval for a change.

Not sure what lessons Hollywood can take from the Avengers, though. Plan your movie sequences carefully? Pick your source material well? I like the "release movies worldwide at the same time" but I'm not sure that one will stick.
posted by immlass at 6:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm apparently the only person who wasn't amazed by the post-post-credits scene. I mean, sure, ha ha it's a callback to a throwaway line earlier. It's cute, just not OMG funniest thing evar!

I actually wouldn't mind if hollywood took this (and things like the harry potter books, the lord of the rings trilogy, etc.) and constructed multi-movie arcs on purpose. One of the things that kills sequels is taking a completed story and then tacking afterthoughts onto it. That's where villain inflation like what ruined Spiderman 3 and some of the Batman movies comes from.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There seems to have been relatively little discussion (that I've seen) about how Marvel are changing cinema into this weird hybrid of 'traditional' popcorn movies cross-bred with some kind of emergent-semi-long-form-narrative-world where dudes from one film can just pop up in another one.

It's almost like they're taking their cues from another medium.

...as there is the lack of "Avengers Assemble!" in the movie.

If it makes you feel better, that's the title in the UK (to avoid confusion with the other Avengers.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:57 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best thing about the Avengers was that they didn't feel the need to make romance a plot driver.

Aside from the Epic Love Story of Steve and Tony, you mean.
posted by elizardbits at 7:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Joss Whedon is the director of the most successful movie opening of all time.

Adjusted for inflation?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aside from the Epic Love Story of Steve and Tony, you mean.

He's a sick millionaire with a talent for technology...
...He's a Norse God built for Venice Beach with a hammer to match.

They "Fight Crime!"
posted by eriko at 7:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I want to see the Avengers with a bunch of Lego

Is that the Avengers playing WITH Lego, or rendered in Lego? Because I am sure the latter exists.

(And thanks for not typing Legos.)
posted by Mezentian at 7:03 AM on May 8, 2012


The lesson I hope Hollywood takes from The Avengers is that when the structure of your movie is "ACTION nonaction nonaction ACTION ACTION ACTION nonaction nonaction ACTION ACTION ACTION ACTION ACTION nonaction" no matter how good the ACTION parts are, people want the nonaction parts to be cool too. If those suck, all the totally cool giant awesome robots fighting in the world is not going to be enough to make the movie good. Basically I think The Avengers was the opposite of this.
posted by ND¢ at 7:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aside from the Epic Love Story of Steve and Tony, you mean.

*Narrows eyes*

I mean, if I had to twist my brain into the non-Euclidian dimensions for an OTP in Avengers I'm pretty sure it would be Bruce/Tony.

(Natacha/Clint is a thing that happened).
posted by Mezentian at 7:07 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. OK. One other thing. I sat through the two Nolan Batman flicks inwardly screaming "SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

I have just hated you and the Arnold Schwarzenegger you rode in on. If you want a joke just go across the hall and talk to Chandler and Joey.
posted by srboisvert at 7:09 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Aside from the Epic Love Story of Steve and Tony, you mean.

Oh come on, Tony/Bruce was practically canon.

Anyway, I'll just leave this here.
posted by kmz at 7:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


See, what Nolan did right with The Dark Knight was he made a crime film with a superhero in it rather than a superhero film. Because this particular superhero is equal parts superhero and detective.

Avengers is big, brassy, and bold because it's a superhero movie. Batman films should almost *never* be "superhero movies".
posted by Edison Carter at 7:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


"SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

"Like a submarine, Mr. Wayne." was a pretty darned good joke.
posted by Trochanter at 7:12 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


and both types are equally valid
posted by Edison Carter at 7:12 AM on May 8, 2012


MetaFilter: You've front-loaded the dwarves.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:12 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


There are five ears of Batman films:

B&W - they happened.
1966 - It's just sort of awesome. Some days you can't get rid of a bomb
1980s - Burton. Unlikely Batman, Catwooooman.
1990s - Nipples, colours, the bomb.
2000s - *mumble-mumble*
posted by Mezentian at 7:13 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are five fears of Batman films:

B&W - Oh god I'm color blind
1966 - I took the brown acid
1980s - Burton
1990s - Nipples
2000s - *mumble-mumble*
posted by charred husk at 7:16 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


kmz I had to look up shawarma.
Admittedly I have usually only eaten it when hellishly stumbling out of places under the influence of too much good cheer, but that's not what most people call it here.
posted by Mezentian at 7:17 AM on May 8, 2012


Fine, I am taking my shame and I'm off to watch Star Maidens or Willow.

I said good day, sirs and madams! GOOD DAY.
posted by Mezentian at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember the Joker being Joker-like in that movie.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:20 AM on May 8, 2012


YOU GET BACK IN HERE AND WALLOW
posted by Edison Carter at 7:21 AM on May 8, 2012


Mteafilter: YOU GET BACK IN HERE AND WALLOW!
posted by Mezentian at 7:22 AM on May 8, 2012


Aside from the Epic Love Story of Steve and Tony, you mean.

He's a sick millionaire with a talent for technology...
...He's a Norse God built for Venice Beach with a hammer to match.


In the grand tradition of 'But someone is wrong on the Internet', I'm chiming in here to point out that Cap is Steve Rogers, Thor is Donald Blake.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:23 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I've seen anyone else mention this, but this movie universe seems to be the ultimate universe, not the primary marvel continuity of Earth-616.

I'm hoping the Spiderman reboot follows this convention and builds up to the Secret Wars. Of course they'll have to reboot Xmen and the Fantastic 4 for that to work.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:25 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, for a lot of people, this film was LOKI: THE MOVIE also starring the Avengers .

You could probably make a bajillion dollars with a movie that consisted entirely of Tom Hiddleston staring at the camera and smiling for an hour and a half.

Disregard the fangirls at your peril.
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:26 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


how awesome would Defenders movie would be with Namor, Silver Surfer, Dr Strange and Valkyrie/Lady Sif as a supporting cast?

What, no love for the Son of Satan?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:26 AM on May 8, 2012


Yeah, it was fun, but it was also kind of stupid. The Avengers probably argue stupidly because of Loki's magic stick, but maybe not. The alien army kind of flies around in jetskis and doesn't really, you know, conquer anything. And we're treated to Tom Hiddleston hissing at Scarjo's bum (the camera seems to drop to hip level for anything where Black Widow's on deck) and using stealthy vocabulary, calling her a cunt. Whedon's male-gaze direction actually legitimises that insult, because the camera has already reduced her to parts.
posted by mobunited at 7:27 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thor is Donald Blake

Except when he's Eric Masterson. Or someone else entirely.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:28 AM on May 8, 2012


Defenders movie would be with Namor, Silver Surfer, Dr Strange and Valkyrie/Lady Sif

I just barfed. Seriously. Just because the Avengers worked doesn't mean the every B, C, and D level entry in the Marvel universe deserves a movie. Frankly I would have preferred no Hawkeye and no Black Widow in this movie. Fucking over the shoulder not looking where he's shooting BS.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why the studios that own the rights to Spiderman, Fantastic Four, etc, don't cut a deal with Marvel for a piece of the big Cross-Over dollar. Seems like it's a no brainer for all sides.
posted by empath at 7:33 AM on May 8, 2012


I like the "release movies worldwide at the same time" but I'm not sure that one will stick.
The US got Battleship one month after Europe and Asia and Prometheus will be released in many countries one week earlier than in the US. US blockbusters have near-simultaneous releases today. I remember when they used to take 1 to 6 months to cross the oceans, even Titanic took one month to arrive in the UK. Ben-Hur waited a entire year for its French release and Gone with the wind had to dodge U-Boots for 11 years.
posted by elgilito at 7:33 AM on May 8, 2012


I keep hearing that Whedon is a great screen feminist but I wasn't that impressed with either Black Widow...

Did you not get that she was using that perceived weakness against the Russians and Loki? That her and Hawkeye had a friendship built on respect? Loki falling for the trap and uttering "quim" says more about him than anything else.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


It was good...
but not as good as Cabin in the Woods.
posted by miyabo at 7:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just barfed. Seriously.

YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GO SEE A DOCTOR ABOUT THIS CONDITION.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:37 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. OK. One other thing. I sat through the two Nolan Batman flicks inwardly screaming "SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL A JOKE".

What, you don't like magic tricks?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


I saw Iron Man 1 and 2, did not see Thor or Captain America or any of the Hulk movies. I *loved* Avengers. Never thought that one of the epic multi-hero fights-everywhere battle scenes could be properly translated to film, but they did it.

Not a personal fan of Scarlett Johanson's body type (I like my ladies a bit.. cuddlier) but her face/makeup/hair - especially at "I.. I don't see how that's a party..." - zowie wow.

Ruffalo's "dorky smirk" throughout the film was a PERFECT lead-up to "... I'm always angry."
posted by mrbill at 7:39 AM on May 8, 2012


Did you not get that she was using that perceived weakness against the Russians and Loki? That her and Hawkeye had a friendship built on respect? Loki falling for the trap and uttering "quim" says more about him than anything else.

Joss Whedon's ironic sexist anti-sexism is like a dude who always flirts with you ironically as a way of confirming his heterosexuality until the fifth pint, whereupon he clumsily tries to get on your dick. Except it's way less charming.
posted by mobunited at 7:40 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's weird because I actually like the previous Avengers movies (Hulk 2.0 was kinda weak as was Iron Man 2) but I felt like this movie was actually one of the weaker offerings in the franchise.

It's weird because I feel like it hit most of the right notes: a)Avengers don't necessarily get along as friends, b) nobody trusts the Hulk not to go all aggro on them, c) Loki is a magnificent bastard, d) there needs to be plenty of humor especially with Hawkeye and Iron Man/RDJ on the team.

I think there was just enough problems with the plotting and the pacing and some of the characters that it just fell flat for me.

1) Unlike the Captain America movie, Avengers Cap never really felt like a leader even when he was bossing around the cops. Maybe the actor just doesn't have the dignitas necessary for full on 616 style Cap and movie cap feels much closer to 616 Cap than Ultimates cap.

2) Hawkeye as a lone-wolf character didn't work as well for me. Yeah he's that way in Ultimates but that's because he's been betrayed and lost his family. Traditional Hawkeye is more of a quippy challenge Cap's authority character (which RDJ seemed to get in this movie).

3) The Chitauri just didn't seem like a threat because they were never personified, they were dumb zombie-robots. Probably easier to get a good PG-13 rating that way but still completely flat.

4) Hulk was a random monster on the Helicarrier but suddenly somewhat acts like a team player after maybe 30 minutes? I felt like his character progression was crap.

5) Shield not being involved in the final fight. Instead of watching it on the big screen Fury, Hill and company should've been on the ground with the Avengers even if the Helicarrier was absent. It boosts the number of fighters and gives Cap more people to lead.

I think it was an okay summer block buster but didn't show me anything new or special. It was exceedingly safe.
posted by vuron at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


There are five Tears for Fears of Batman films:

B&W - Mad World
1966 - Sowing the lab-irradiated seeds of love
1980s - Cowl over heels
1990s - Shout
2000s - Every Joker wants to rule the world
posted by zippy at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Disregard the fangirls at your peril.

Indeed, although at least for the marathon event, the audience did seem to still skew male. I had the lovely experience of swanning right past a long line for the gents straight into the ladies during the breaks.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2012


Joss Whedon's

Is this the part where we assume that what a character in a work says is indicative of the author's/creator's beliefs?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this the part where we assume that what a character in a work says is indicative of the author's/creator's beliefs?

Or, you know, the constant ass-tracking of the camera.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hulk was a random monster on the Helicarrier but suddenly somewhat acts like a team player after maybe 30 minutes?

I saw that change stemming from the Hulk being asked to show up rather than forced to. When Hulk is rampaging around the carrier, it's because Banner was forced into a stressful/dangerous situation, so Hulk took over as a force of destruction. When Hulk joins the team, he's asked ("I'm always angry..") so behaves in a more focused manner.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


The CS Monitor article is confuzzling, because the whole "make the simple boom-boom so it sells in foreign markets" idea is at least a decade old, probably two. I thought it was conventional wisdom that Big Loud Stupid Summer Boom-Boom movies have been getting stupider and louder because subtler dramas and comedies don't sell in foreign markets as well, as subtleties can be more culture-specific and the audience for them is more limited anyway. Shit Goes Boom, however, is universal.

That reminds me. Get me Universal on the horn. I got a pitch for a tentpole picture called Shit Goes Boom. A can't-miss smash.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd rather watch "River Tam Beats Up Everyone".
posted by kmz at 7:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Honestly Black Widow's characterization actually kinda worked for me in this film. I don't particularly like Johannsen as an actress (she always seems kinda one-note for me) but I felt like Black Widow in this movie captured some major elements of the comic book character, good close combat fighter, superlative spy skills, drama with the male avengers, etc.

Sure she's manipulative and deceitful but she's made choices in her life that redeem her from the ranks of base villainy. Like many of the later Avengers she has blemishes on her record but has risen to the ranks of earth's mightiest heroes through repeatedly putting her ass on the line.

I don't know how you can effectively transmit several decades of villain-anti-hero-hero progression as a secondary character in Iron Man and as part of a big ensemble.
posted by vuron at 7:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would hope the lesson here is character. We have a movie with eight principal characters (the six superheroes, Loki, Fury) and not only does everyone get some character moments, I think just about every possible combination gets a short scene with just the two of them, so we can see how they deal with one another. I am sure there are two or three combinations excluded (can't recall Hawkeye ever talking with Thor, e.g.) but it is only a two-and-a-half hour movie. Most flicks struggle to do this with three or four character in two hours.

And the reason for the lack of Assemble is obvious: one of the big themes here -- made explicit in the dialogue more than once -- is that these guys do not get along well unless they have a common threat. Consider the three times that Cap addresses Stark with the line "Get into the suit!" and how the meaning and delivery changes with the final one.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


Is this the part where we assume that what a character in a work says is indicative of the author's/creator's beliefs?

I want you to visualize a film directed by Otherguy McNotWhedon and honest, *honestly* ask yourself if you would defend a scene where the villain, speaking to our hero's hips, implies he's gonna get her best friend to rape her to death and calls her a pathetic cunt. Really.
posted by mobunited at 7:59 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this the part where we assume that what a character in a work says is indicative of the author's/creator's beliefs?

Nah, this is where we assume he's a lazy-ass writer because he has to have the one female hero in the room called a disparaging sexual term. Also where we side-eye at his feminist reputation.

Did you not get that she was using that perceived weakness against the Russians and Loki?

I got that that was what was supposed to happen, sure. But she was the one woman in the room and her perceived function was about sex, even if it's "you men are horndogs and I use your sexism against you". There are a lot of women in Avengers history, but this is the one Whedon, and to be fair, Marvel picked and this is how she's portrayed in the movie. Maybe next time we'll get a female hero who isn't about the sexy-sex at all.
posted by immlass at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That scene (Loki / BW) was a "Wow" for me, because I really believed he had her beaten down mentally. Then all of a sudden it was "Thanks, got you figured out, buhbye". That's when I realized she was just as manipulative as he was.
posted by mrbill at 8:04 AM on May 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


I want you to visualize a film directed by Otherguy McNotWhedon and honest, *honestly* ask yourself if you would defend a scene where the villain, speaking to our hero's hips, implies he's gonna get her best friend to rape her to death and calls her a pathetic cunt.

Of course. Loki was the evil mastermind, trying to scare her and get inside her head using the usual "I am man and will scare you" tactics. It didn't work. It failed utterly and completely, to the point where he gave up information.

Maybe next time we'll get a female hero who isn't about the sexy-sex at all.

I don't get how you're seeing the character through that single viewpoint, when she's clearly aware of that viewpoint and playing it like a fiddle to defeat enemies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I want you to visualize a film directed by Otherguy McNotWhedon and honest, *honestly* ask yourself if you would defend a scene where the villain, speaking to our hero's hips, implies he's gonna get her best friend to rape her to death and calls her a pathetic cunt. Really.

I'm not sure you can really justify it in a PG-13 Superhero movie, but that's pretty much par for the course in Game of Thrones, isn't it?
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are plenty of female Avengers but you have to go down to relative D-list characters like Captain Marvel (the african-american female version) before you get to a character that isn't about sex.

Wasp- Sex, Black Widow- Sex, She-Hulk- Sex, Scarlet Witch- Sex.

I'm not saying that sexist characters are okay but there aren't really a ton of non sexist female characters in Marvel's arsenal. Honestly I'm halfway surprised that they even remotely try instead of going full on eye-candy for the 13-25 male demographic.
posted by vuron at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2012


If Avengers really is a good movie -- and I'm not talking Peter Travers, Channel 5 Topeka good -- then great, I'll go see it. I liked the first Iron Man a lot. But I have to say that I resent the general comicization of the movie industry. As pointed out, for every good one there's like 20 crappy others, and I have a suspicion this superficial entertainment/superhero thing may somehow be tied to the decline of our civilization.

However, I'm guessing some will not agree with my sentiments. A few might even judge them somewhat cranky.
posted by nowhere man at 8:07 AM on May 8, 2012


It's kind of hard to have a character codenamed "Black Widow" who isn't using her sexuality as a tool of manipulation. (Which is one of many reasons why I'd have liked to have seen Wasp or Pulsar on the team in addition.)

On the other hand, there's some inherent badassness in having successfully manipulated the god of lies.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:07 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have just hated you and the Arnold Schwarzenegger you rode in on. If you want a joke just go across the hall and talk to Chandler and Joey.

:)

The point I was (clumsily) making is that there's a solemn and crinkly-browed WE ARE TAKING THIS ALL VERY SERIOUSLY vibe that comes off those Batman films (and Inception, come to think of it) that prevented me from really falling in love with them. I get that Batman is serious. I get that the message of the films is that life is stern and life is earnest but there's something beyond the scripts, that pervades the work that I find...what? Depressing? Po-faced? I don't know. It says more about me than Nolan, I'm sure. I just found it a bit wearing.

Maybe it's just that it's easier for me to get behind someone who aims for populist appeal and (apparently) inadvertently comes close to producing Great Art, than it is to get behind someone who (apparently) deliberately appears to be Doing Great Art and ends up producing merely a Good Film.

Meh. Half an idea in there somewhere.
posted by Jofus at 8:07 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


A whiteboard somewhere in Hollywood:

teamup of Earth's mightist [sic]:
metaphysical poets
Saul Bellow protagonists
prime ministers of Australia
pathologists??? Salk in 2014? table for later
radio journalists
dressage riders not after War Horse, thanks
hitmen/assassins universal and lions gate already on this
independent cartoonists
loose cannon cops we have our tentpole!
posted by Iridic at 8:12 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Joss Whedon needs to write and direct every Marvel movie from now on, forever. That is the lesson Hollywood should be taking from this.
posted by chundo at 8:16 AM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't get how you're seeing the character through that single viewpoint, when she's clearly aware of that viewpoint and playing it like a fiddle to defeat enemies.

That's OK, because I'm kind of boggled that people missed that Black Widow wasn't a great character or that people were surprised that some folks might eyeroll about Loki calling her a mewling quim. I wouldn't have thought those scenes (the Russians, which I eyerolled when I saw in a preview online, or particularly Loki and the namecalling) were good if they'd been played on race or sexual orientation either, and wouldn't have liked nasty name-calling about race or orientation either.

I enjoyed the movie a lot, but that was a low point for me and particularly eyebrow-raising/disappointing given that I've been told I should enjoy Whedon's works because they're so feminist. YMMV.
posted by immlass at 8:16 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just that it's easier for me to get behind someone who aims for populist appeal and (apparently) inadvertently comes close to producing Great Art, than it is to get behind someone who (apparently) deliberately appears to be Doing Great Art and ends up producing merely a Good Film.

I never get the impression that Nolan is going for High Art. His work has always been high-concept and low-brow genre work, for the most part. It's just very intelligently and competently done -- more Raymond Chandler than Thomas Pynchon.
posted by empath at 8:17 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasp- Sex, Black Widow- Sex, She-Hulk- Sex, Scarlet Witch- Sex.

I don't get it: Wasp is a fashion designer who gets small, She-Hulk is a lawyer who gets strong, Scarlet Witch is an abuse survivor with irksomely ill-defined powers. Then there are the various Ms - Mantis, Moondragon, Ms Marvel, Mockingbird. I don't get how these characters are about sex in a way that Photon/Captain Marvel isn't...

(Black Widow in the movie universe is kind of actually Mockingbird with Black Widow's backstory, thinking about it...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Comics (GI Joe, and very shortly thereafter the Marvel superhero stable) taught me to read. I've been waiting for this movie for pretty much thirty years. I'd have waited a few more days to avoid opening day crowds, but people on goddamn Facebook and G+ were throwing out one-liners and spoilers by 6am. I can't remember anyone ever being so goddamn rude about spoilers.

So, that said (given that I'm so far on a comment thread I'm clearly talking to people who've seen it): I thought nixing the "Assemble" battle cry was a good call, because--and I say this as an unabashed fanboy--it's a stupid battle cry. In fact, "Clobberin' Time" is probably the only battle cry I've ever heard that sounded cool. I also agree that the WW II Cap outfit was better, but I'm not gonna complain about it.

I thought this film was pitch-perfect. Everyone had their moments, everyone on the team mattered, and Widow & Hulk stole the show. I'm so very, very happy.

(Also, re: Hulk vs. Groo? COMEDY. That's what would happen. Comedy. Gold.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It failed utterly and completely, to the point where he gave up information.

Uh, he didn't, though. Giving up information would have been, "I have SHIELD double agents who are gonna sneak in and blow the shit out of this place and bust me out while you guys are bitching" -- you know, the plot he actually deployed in the film.

I mean, maybe Loki matching wits with a talking bum was a double-fake where we were being tempted by the male gaze to make the same mistakes as Loki, but in the plot -- that is, the things that actually happen in the story, instead of pure emotional beats -- the interrogation is a failure. Plus, it isn't Black Widow's only questionable shot in the film -- we've also got the "I better open about a foot of zipper for this staff meeting" and miscellany

(Also, anybody notice that platforms are mandatory SHIELD feminine combat wear?)
posted by mobunited at 8:20 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Avengers was good. Not just for a summer blockbuster. The writing, acting, everything was outstanding. If you didn't like it, you're a big sourpuss. That is all.
posted by HostBryan at 8:21 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


told I should enjoy Whedon's works

Ah, that might be the problem. I also find that if I am told that I should like something, I spend most of my time rebelling and trying not to like it. Joss's cult of evangelists have more to do with me not caring about Dollhouse/Firefly/Buffy than the actual quality or content of the shows.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Am I wrong when I view that scene as "Loki is an asshole" BECAUSE he insults Black Widow? I don't see the connection between "Character the audience isn't supposed to like doing things that are wrong" and "This is exactly how the director feels about women".

A sexist character in a movie =/= sexist director.

I think that scene showcases "Loki feels that everyone (women included) are beneath him"
posted by Twain Device at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Twain Device, that was my impression too - 'Oh, Loki's really not the vaguely sympathetic guy I remember from Thor, guess he's in for a righteous beat-down'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


A sexist character in a movie =/= sexist director.

Is Loki responsible for storyboarding the scene at leather-hips level?
posted by mobunited at 8:29 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I kinda wish that they had kept Loki as a more sympathetic character in this movie. He's definitely an ass and he'd do just about anything to humiliate his brother and gain power but when the chips are down he generally is willing to step up and help the good guys against some sort of existential threat.

I can't really imagine him bending a knee to Thanos of all people.

By making him more of a completely villainous creature I think they stripped away some of the charm of the character that was found in the Thor movie.
posted by vuron at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2012


You know, on a general level, I tire of sexist kung fu coupons. You know what I mean: Where you can basically treat woman characters like shit -- like shit *tied* to their womanhood -- but you hand in some kind of plot coupon. Collect enough, and said character hands them in for the right to deliver an Awesome Kung Fu Beating. Sexist kung fu coupons.
posted by mobunited at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh Jesus Christ. Look, I'm ALL FOR women in superhero comics being something more than just sexual objects. And in the films.

However, Natasha's sexy. Ridiculously, deadly sexy. Same for Jennifer. Same for Jan. Same for Carol. Same for Jessica. (Maybe not "deadly" for all them, but still.) NOT the same for Wanda AT ALL, who is the absolute ultimate in DAMAGED GOODS and who can't possibly be sexy with that fucking thing on her head anyway, but I digress...

It's OKAY for them to be tough and smart and sexy, too. And I don't feel the least bit bad for enjoying all those aspects of them, nor am I going to cry when a writer, artist or director highlights it as long as they ALSO do things OTHER than sexy sexies.

(Also, oh my god do I want more Monica Rambeau. She was in the first issue of Avengers I ever bought. I love her. I've always loved her. 'cuz she rocks.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have enormous respect for RDJ but I have to say I think Tom Hiddleston is the #2 actor in this one. Loki's a weasel, with a machine gun, basically like the guys in Roger Rabbit, only with much better fashion sense. Actually the thing is, he's just being used AGAIN. He thinks he's the big bad invader dude through the first 90% of the movie but really he's just the eye-shadowed step child again at the end, knowing he got his ass beat because he did something stupid again at the urging of his nasty buddies who are too chickenshit to show themselves just yet. I think that's why he's such a sympathetic character and why the whole thing actually works -- because it's just a family drama. I can't hate Loki, he got used, he got served, he fucked up again, and he knows it. And that's why he just lies there after his chiropractic and asks for a drink.

Really, it's a Shakespearian comedy with a lot of CG.

And that's why it's fucking awesome.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:35 AM on May 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


"I like the Avengers cast, too bad I'm burned out on violence just from watching the news."

The movie is so much more than violence.

"The best thing about the Avengers was that they didn't feel the need to make romance a plot driver. I don't go to Batman movies to see Bruce making googly eyes at girls."

Wow, you nailed something I missed. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Just like how most of the songs I like are not love songs.

"RDJr will still be playing Iron Man in 2112."

And, that year, someone will discover live actors, only to be scorned by The Priests when he brings it to their attention.


I can't stop thinking "Ruffalo Ruffalo Ruffalo Ruffalo Ruffalo Ruffalo Ruffalo."
posted by Eideteker at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought Captain America's costume worked. Specifically, I thought it underscored the discomfort that he seemed to have with contemporary life, which was fueled in no small part by the fact that everyone treated him like a cartoon relic. The suit looked stupid because nobody in today-land gets Captain America, nor treats him like the leader he had been accustomed to being. Remember, he didn't design his own suit this time - it was provided to him. The Captain America movie had a lot of super-suit-symbolism too - didn't he have like, three costumes in that film, and the first one made him look like a member of the circus? I'd bet that in the next installment of the Avengers movies Captain America's costume is yet again changed.

Also, Black Widow: I watched Iron Man 2 a few nights before Avengers came out, and maybe I'm just reacting to how much she sucked in that movie, but I thought ensemble Black Widow did all right. She at least got to relate to characters in a human way, sometimes. Part of the problem is that she is a SHIELD operative, and as such, her role in the movies will probably always be "lets get this plot moving along, patch that hole please."

Pepper Potts? Gross. Let's take the CEO of a major corporation and have her flirt barefoot the whole time! It was a total reversal from the Iron Man films. I get that she's ~happy now that she's being properly ministered to by Tony Stark or whatever, but, gross. I'm guessing that she was basically there for plot/character development in further Avengers movies - if the films go the way I expect, it would probably be useful for the viewers to have some kind of investment in the Potts/Stark relationship.
posted by newg at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just barfed. Seriously. Just because the Avengers worked doesn't mean the every B, C, and D level entry in the Marvel universe deserves a movie.

Oh, please.
It's not like I went NEW Defenders or Champions or New Warriors.

Strange, Surfer and et al have had films before.
Namor, if you count Man from Atlantis.
posted by Mezentian at 8:37 AM on May 8, 2012


In the grand tradition of 'But someone is wrong on the Internet', I'm chiming in here to point out that Cap is Steve Rogers, Thor is Donald Blake.

And miss the hammer joke? No, way, Internet. No way.
posted by eriko at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2012


I want a Heroes for Hire movie with Donald Glover as Iron Fist.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Or, you know, the constant ass-tracking of the camera.
Your heteronormativity is showing.
Did you miss the Gun Show?

I'm as het as you can find, and even I wanted to invite Loki for tea and crumpets.
posted by Mezentian at 8:47 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


robocop is bleeding: "I want a Heroes for Hire movie with Donald Glover as Iron Fist."

Who would do Luke Cage? Because you sure as hell need some solid for that role. Needs to be big, charismatic and somewhat funny.
posted by vuron at 8:50 AM on May 8, 2012


I can't really imagine [Loki] bending a knee to Thanos of all people.

I didn't get the idea that Loki even necessarily knew about Thanos. That was the leader of the Chitauri who was talking to him -- I presume that Loki allied with the Chitauri, who were working for Thanos without bothering to tell the new guy.
posted by Etrigan at 8:50 AM on May 8, 2012


The problem with Defenders is that Fox has the rights to Surfer through FF and iirc Namor as well.

Defenders without Namor being a magnificent bastard and Silver Surfer being an clueless badass just doesn't feel right.
posted by vuron at 8:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Loki responsible for storyboarding the scene at leather-hips level?

When the entire scene is about Black Widow using her "Oh, poor me, I'm just a little lovestruck girl" act to get info out of Loki, is it really out of bounds for the cinematography to emphasize that she is, in fact, female?
posted by Etrigan at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Your heteronormativity is showing.
Did you miss the Gun Show?


I don't think that really washes - sure there was manflesh on display, but not to the leering, creeping extent of the treatment The Bum got.

Nice little rhetorical flourish there, though. Cute.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the reason for the lack of Assemble is obvious: one of the big themes here -- made explicit in the dialogue more than once -- is that these guys do not get along well unless they have a common threat.

Ahem. We had Samuel L. Jackson.

"I said ASSEMBLE MOTHERFUCKING AVENGERS! "

"Shit, what do I have to do, read it to you as a bedtime story? C'mon! Pick up the fucking hammer, notch the goddamn arrow, get into the FUCKING SUIT TONY, what do you mean you can't find that goddamn pizza platter, ITS ON THE FUCKING WALL BEHIND YOU, STEVE "SHIT FOR EYES" RODGERS, and for fucks sake, don't piss off Banner yet. And, yes, I see you have your pistols, good, but you'll die before I hit the ground, so put them away, ok? Why? Why? BECAUSE I'M NICK FURY, AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS FURY WHEN I LAY MY VENGANCE UPON THEE."

"Okay. Now please go beat up Loki without destroying the entire city. Pizza's on me afterwards."
posted by eriko at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


is it really out of bounds for the cinematography to emphasize that she is, in fact, female?

This is genuinely goddamn hilarious.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:55 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


You can tell that Joss Whedon is a feminist by how many shots there were of various female characters walking away from the camera in tight or revealing clothes.

That said, I loved the Avengers.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


you have to go down to relative D-list characters like Captain Marvel (the african-american female version)

Did you even READ Avengers in that era?
She kicked arse, and Cap was in awe of her for getting the Avengers through Olympus. Pre Avengers 300 Monica was The Business. (The band, not the Trump)

She was just date-raped by Dr Druid and... something happened where she was afraid of wheat.
posted by Mezentian at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your heteronormativity is showing.

No, that'd be society's heteronormativity, which gives the display of male bodies a different significance than the display of female bodies because of pervasive bias against acknowledging male-male desire or showing explicit signs (a la Tom of Finland or Batman and Robin), along with the objectification of women as the standard scheme. This is something that anyone who employs the word "heteronormativity" should know.
posted by mobunited at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the movie was absolutely fantastic. It had very good Whedon style dialog and wordplay, as well as his signature mix of humor (not jokes, humor) in serious situations, deadpan snarkery, etc.

And Mark Ruffalo! I don't know if Banner in that movie was a Whedon thing, or a Ruffalo thing, or both or whatever but it worked. It's the first take on Banner/Hulk I've seen in a while that I really liked.

Not to mention the fact that somehow Tom Hiddleston made Loki's trademark Really Stupid Hat work. He might even be able to carry off Galactus' Much Stupider Hat.

immlass Whedon's feminism is... problematic. He claims he's a feminist, and I have no doubt he means well and tries. But on a lot of levels his feminism just fails. He goes for the distressed damsel way to much, and has a tendency to have Broken Bird type female characters for men to swoon and get all protective over (see: River Tam).

He tries, and the sad part is that he's better than most of the other people Hollywood lets make movies. But if you expect him to be genuinely feminist you'll be disappointed. Compared to the positively neanderthal BS we see everywhere else in Hollywood he's feminist, not so much in any other context.
posted by sotonohito at 9:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Am I wrong when I view that scene as "Loki is an asshole" BECAUSE he insults Black Widow? I don't see the connection between "Character the audience isn't supposed to like doing things that are wrong" and "This is exactly how the director feels about women".

It's complicated, though. Set aside the sexual content for a second and think about violence in film instead.

You can draw a line through The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence and The Searchers, to Death Wish and Dirty Harry, to Sin City and Watchmen. Somewhere along that progression, violence and vengeance become fetishized. I have no reason to think that Zack Snyder lives out a philosophy of violence in his personal life, but his presentation of violence in Watchmen is hardly one that contemplates the personal and social costs of violence. It might not be an endorsement of brutal vigilante justice, but the presentation of that sort of violence is hardly critical. Zack Snyder chose to make a movie in which his heroes participate in that kind of violence and it. is. AWESOME.

But just like I don't assume the director supports violent vigilantism just because their heroic characters do, I don't think that a director gets a pass on sexism just because a line is in the villain's mouth. That's not what it means to be critical of sexism. Once you raise an issue like this, you have to treat it not only in terms of the plot, but also in terms of the text -- which is to say, the story as it is informationally presented to us.

Is Loki wrong to think that Black Widow's core value, as a character and as a member of her team, is the power of her sexual appeal? Because that's where he's trying to hit her. I think that Loki's assessment of Black Widow is supported by the text, which does seem to suggest that Black Widow's sexual appeal is a large part of her character and her value to her team. Now, her character is able to overcome his attack and turn it against him, but that is the plot, rather than just the text.

BUT! As I'm writing this -- and I've only seen the movie the once, so bear with me -- it occurs to me that the presentation of Black Widow in the text may in fact change at that moment or shortly after. My feeling is that after Black Widow wins the exchange against Loki, she is presented perhaps less sexually than before. I have the feeling that at about this time, she becomes less of a spy and more of a soldier, and I'm not sure, thinking about it now, whether there is a turn in the presentation of her character at this moment or not. I'll want to see it again, but it could be the case that the text supports Loki's read of her right up until the moment when she beats him, but no further. I'm not putting my chips on this reading of the film until I see it again.
posted by gauche at 9:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't think that really washes - sure there was manflesh on display, but not to the leering, creeping extent of the treatment The Bum got.

This might be a perspective thing but I have heard more praise for the Avenger's arms than I have the few shots of ScarJo's rear. And that gets into the creepy.
posted by Mezentian at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2012


Considering the gif I've seen everywhere recently, of Steve's rear end as he pounds away at that punching bag - the camera is centered right on his ass - I think there was some equal-opportunity butt-ogling going around. Plus, Clint's costume was pretty ass-tastic as well, and I mean that in the good way.
posted by PussKillian at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Hollywood is taking note.

Thorzdad: Um...Is it "Raise ticket prices so that any big opening movie stands a chance at breaking past income records"?

From the article: “It doesn’t mean you’ve become profitable because you’ve come out of the gate fast,” [Chris Lanier, owner of Motion Picture Intelligencer, a cinema consulting service] says, adding that 52 percent of the three-day opening resulted from higher-priced IMAX and 3D tickets.

Hollywood is taking note that people haven't shunned 3D or gotten too upset over the mini-IMAX price hikes, above and beyond the general rising cost of tickets.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:07 AM on May 8, 2012


Also, I may be alone in this, but I loved Pepper in casual clothing, barefoot. She's got enough power in the relationship as well as running Stark Enterprises that she doesn't have to armor up in stilettos and Armani outside of the office. If Tony can run around in grease-stained undershirts (and he can, for all of me, he can) she can take the Mahnolos off for a bit.
posted by PussKillian at 9:09 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I didn't get the idea that Loki even necessarily knew about Thanos.

As I recall the Chitauri leader described Thanos as "the one who put the scepter in your hand" or somesuch. I think Loki knew about him but didn't necessarily know who he was in the grand scheme of things.

Re: The Black Widow. Whedon was kind of between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he could be essentially true to the comic book character, thus necessarily leaving in at least some of the endemic sexism. On the other, he could essentially reinvent the character, but then get accused of not being faithful to the source material (and Marvel probably wouldn't let him anyway). He could've done better, though (e.g. there's no reason for Black Widow to have her top zipped down during the meeting scene).

I think Loki's little rant was designed to make it completely clear that he is truly evil, not a misunderstood tragic figure. He has some comic lines and clever schemes, but we're given that speech as a reminder that he is evil on a cosmic level. When he talks about people being sheep, it doesn't mean he intends to be a benevolent shepherd; he intends to treat them like lambs for the slaughter.

That said, I think the q-word was a bit beyond the pale, not because a character like that wouldn't say such a thing but because it took me out of the movie. I expected a lot of things from the movie, but that kind of language was not one of them. I think the rant would have worked just as well had it ended with "you mewling brat" or something like that.

Also, I suspect at least half the audience didn't even know what the word meant. If he had used the c-word (which is actually a much older word; why would Loki use 18th century British slang?), the reaction would have been very different and more universally negative. I don't think we can give Whedon a pass for using an obscure synonym.
posted by jedicus at 9:10 AM on May 8, 2012


Here's Steve's rear view

And also also, can I say that I'm really happy they mentioned Jane? Because I know a lot of people didn't like Natalie Portman's performance in Thor, but I really did, and I just wish they had mentioned Darcy as well, because Darcy was awesome.
posted by PussKillian at 9:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rattling off a string of potential blockbusters that include ... “Battleship,”

Oh boy. Do they not have a clue, or are they just trying to take advantage of every last opportunity to promote that ridiculous movie?
posted by Hoopo at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2012


"Did you even READ Avengers in that era?
She kicked arse, and Cap was in awe of her for getting the Avengers through Olympus. Pre Avengers 300 Monica was The Business. (The band, not the Trump)

She was just date-raped by Dr Druid and... something happened where she was afraid of wheat.
"

That was the era I came into comics, so yeah I'm familiar with the character. I actually like Monica Rambeau as a character but you have to admit that other than Nextwave she hasn't really been used much in recent years. She's definitely a d-list hero.

The truth of the matter is that it's exceedingly hard for newer characters to break into the upper echelon of Marvel (and DC heroes). Wolverine is the last one to really make it up into the A-list, Deadpool and Cable continue to get pushes in the comics but haven't really been featured anywhere near as much.

If you aren't a 60s era Avenger you tend to go not really get pushed that much by Marvel. I think the need to add additional tentpoles will probably get some lesser characters movies but I don't see Monica Rambeau showing up in a movie ever.
posted by vuron at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2012


This is something that anyone who employs the word "heteronormativity" should know.

I only use heteronormativity with sarcasm. Is there another way?
Of course, yesterday I was subjected to an essay regarding 'Don Draper' and his lack of underwear and its "angle of the dangle" so I no longer worry to much about the specifics of gaze. YMMV.
posted by Mezentian at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2012


Joss's cult of evangelists

Yeah, that's about my sense of it. I missed out on the Era of Whedon because I never got into Buffy and I've had people selling me on everything Whedon hard ever since then. I watched this movie because it was Avengers and I'm interested in the characters but it's not going to get me to go watch Whedon's own stuff.

He claims he's a feminist, and I have no doubt he means well and tries. But on a lot of levels his feminism just fails.

Yeah, that was my sense here. He wanted Widow to be awesome SO BADLY and yet he tied everything to her sexuality or femaleness (caring roles, cf being the one who cared whether they got Hawkeye back, or non-threatening, cf being the one to reel in the Hulk, or also being scared of the Hulk and getting chased like a slasher movie). Whedon gets a point for sending Hawkeye off with Loki instead of her, and no points off because she definitely pulled her weight in the ensemble fight, but I just couldn't rate her the full awesome. Disappointing. She did not live up to MY awesome superhero fantasies, which do not involve getting called mewling quim!

(Also agreeing with whoever upthread was meh on Pepper's cameo. I know she was there being cute to show the change in Tony, but that's kind of what women are all about in ensemble supers movies, and ... meh.)
posted by immlass at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2012


I only use heteronormativity with sarcasm. Is there another way?

I guess the non-dismissive, non-sneering, non-self-satisfied way, that is actually useful? Maybe that way?
posted by ominous_paws at 9:18 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Deadpool and Cable continue to get pushes in the comics but haven't really been featured anywhere near as much.

That is because they are terrible, terrible "characters."
posted by entropicamericana at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Avengers was ok.

Monica Rambeau
Aaron Stack
Eliza Moonstone
Tabitha Smith
The Captain
being pursued by Dirk Anger of H.A.T.E.

NEXTWAVE!
that's the superhero teamup movie I want to see. in three-dee.

Also: Nick Fury told everone that Phil Coulson is dead. And you can trust everything Nick Fury Says...
Yeah.
posted by djrock3k at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is this the part where we assume that what a character in a work says is indicative of the author's/creator's beliefs?

I am absolutely saying it, not assuming it. I started out with Whedon as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanatic, and dug his as-then-perceived-by-me feminism so hard. Just the concept alone hooked me--the little blonde teen who is always first to get killed in the horror movies (usually while wearing only underwear) is actually the hero of the piece, killing off the monsters while wearing clothes (and sensible fucking shoes because you have to RUN, dammit). And I watched all of Buffy, and Angel, and Firefly, and read/watched every interview with Joss Whedon that I possibly could. And, slowly, it became more and more evident that his version of "feminism" isn't feminism at all. In a way, it's even worse than flat-out sexism, because it's masquerading as "strong women are awesome and men and women are equal and blahbitty blah," which draws young women in, and then a lot of them don't see/ignore just how fucking sexist he and his work are.
posted by tzikeh at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


truth of the matter is that it's exceedingly hard for newer characters to break into the upper echelon of Marvel

That has been a fact for a long, long time.
You mention Logan, but IIRC Ghost Rider and Blade follow him (or are in the same era) and they had movies.
Gen X had a movie too.
I'm not sure how you define A-list but I figure if you get off the page you are getting up there,
posted by Mezentian at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2012


I think there was some equal-opportunity butt-ogling going around

When it comes to sexism, equal opportunity does not mean equal harm. I suspect there was far more male gaze going on than female gaze in movie theaters last weekend, and far more harm was done by the former than the latter.

I think Maria Hill was the best female character in the movie. Sex and gender roles didn't figure into her character, and she was portrayed as courageous and competent. I hope she figures more prominently in future Avengers movies.
posted by jedicus at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


How have we gotten this far and not mentioned the stone-ground awesome that was the Harry Dean Stanton cameo? I was pumping my fist and woo-hooing in the theater when that happened.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:22 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


How have we gotten this far and not mentioned the stone-ground awesome that was the Harry Dean Stanton cameo?

There was no boot opening.

BOOT opening, not BUTT opening, perverts!
posted by Mezentian at 9:24 AM on May 8, 2012


immlass Honestly, of the feminist problems in the movie, I think "mewling quim" is at the bottom of my list. Bad characters say bad things, sometimes simply to establish their badness. I wouldn't argue that a movie was racist because it had a racist character who used racist terminology. Similarly I don't argue that Whedon's feminism fails because he's got a sexist character who used sexist terminology.

I found the other stuff (Romanov existing pretty much only as sex appeal, the blatant Male Gaze appeal, etc) to be more bothersome. YMMV of course.
posted by sotonohito at 9:25 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm decidedly meh on Whedon because I definitely think his faux-feminism is pretty annoying.

Buffy was solid for the most part but some of his more recent projects just rankle. Yeah River Tam is an ass-kicker but she's also damaged goods same with Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse.

Now maybe given a 3-4 seasons those characters would progress from being victims with super powers to something more positive but it still feels like they are reactive characters that the action happens to them and they react to it rather than being proactive.

I think he's a gifted writer but he needs additional voices on a project to tone down some of his foibles.
posted by vuron at 9:25 AM on May 8, 2012


Whedon has made some stuff I liked and some stuff I could not get into but my big issue with the guy is that his face looks like an Irishman's knuckles
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect there was far more male gaze going on than female gaze in movie theaters

I think you're right, when it comes to this installment in the series. But did you see Thor?
posted by miyabo at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


vuron: Who would do Luke Cage? Because you sure as hell need some solid for that role. Needs to be big, charismatic and somewhat funny."

Needs to be:
Big? Check.
Charismatic? Check.
Somewhat Funny? CHECK.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


and then a lot of them don't see/ignore just how fucking sexist he and his work are.
I'm not the most widely read person, tzikeh but I suspect your fucking sexist is actually "treating characters as equals".

I'm not 100% on all Joss' works, but I am pretty sure he leans to the LIKES not HATES on the scale when it comes to the women.
posted by Mezentian at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2012


Hey, we in Brazil didn't get ANY post-credits scene, so what happened???
posted by Tom-B at 9:30 AM on May 8, 2012


That said, I think the q-word was a bit beyond the pale, not because a character like that wouldn't say such a thing but because it took me out of the movie.

Yeah, that was just gross.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 AM on May 8, 2012


The quim scene was hilarious.
posted by Mezentian at 9:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Edgar Wright's Ant Man might be moving forward as well.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:33 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I found the other stuff (Romanov existing pretty much only as sex appeal, the blatant Male Gaze appeal, etc) to be more bothersome. YMMV of course.

The other stuff was more bothersome on a structural level and particularly when I stopped to think about it later, but Loki's callout and the use of the epithet was the moment in the movie that broke me out of the zone. Also, I think I expect to hear people defend the basic structural sexism as part of superhero movies (although it doesn't feature in MY awesome superhero fantasies either), but it's surprising to hear people defending the epithet.

the stone-ground awesome that was the Harry Dean Stanton cameo

LOVED IT. You were not alone in seat-bouncing.
posted by immlass at 9:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hrmm Isiah Mustafa would make a good Luke Cage as would a slightly younger Terry Crews.

Make it happen Marvel.
posted by vuron at 9:35 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure Loki only used that word because it would make it past US censors and get a PG-13 rating. Because, uh, no 13-year-old here knows what that means.
posted by miyabo at 9:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Three Cheers for Joss Whedon: King of the Geeks, King of the World
posted by homunculus at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2012


Part of the problem is that, since Buffy, Whedon has been put on something of a pedestal of pro-feminist sensibility in the genre. Pointing out that his succession of kung-fu, mild-cheesecake women in perpetually doomed relationships isn't that far removed from Tarantino or Shirow isn't an argument that he's a bad writer, that it's a bad script, or that we're a bad audience for enjoying it.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:39 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


> but it's surprising to hear people defending the epithet.

um, he's a villain?
posted by Tom-B at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


vuron: "Hrmm Isiah Mustafa would make a good Luke Cage as would a slightly younger Terry Crews.

Make it happen Marvel.
"

The best part about it is that Isiah loves the character, is well read on him, and wants to play the role. That's why he went to the trouble to drop hints about it in the Old Spice Virals, make his own independent proof-of-concept trailer, and it's at least gotten Marvel's attention enough for them to invite him in to guest star on their little youtube webseries with the action figures.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


LA LA LA LA LA COULSON IS NOT DEAD LA LA LA LA LA NICK FURY IS A LYING LIAR WHO LIES

Also supposedly there has already been a Black Widow movie prequel greenlit, though I'm too busy swimming in denial to source it out
posted by zennish at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Part of the problem is that, since Buffy, Whedon has been put on something of a pedestal of pro-feminist sensibility in the genre. Pointing out that his succession of kung-fu, mild-cheesecake women in perpetually doomed relationships isn't that far removed from Tarantino or Shirow isn't an argument that he's a bad writer, that it's a bad script, or that we're a bad audience for enjoying it.

To be clear: I think he's a terrific writer. I think he's also terrifically sexist, but manages to make it look like the opposite, almost in a "concern troll" kind of way.
posted by tzikeh at 9:42 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I found the other stuff (Romanov existing pretty much only as sex appeal, the blatant Male Gaze appeal, etc) to be more bothersome.

See, for me she wasn't anywhere close to existing only as sex appeal. In fact, just the opposite. She's linked with Hawkeye throughout, right? Two spies/agents/assassins, who take on similar assignments. But the usual gender roles get reversed. He's the one violated, she steers him home as his steady anchor - not because they're sleeping with each other, but because they're partners. I love her steady, businesslike sensibility - this is what has to be done, I'm going to flinch a bit when I'm hit, because ow, but then we get back to work. She faces down the Hulk, an entity that she can't fight, charm, trick, or run fast enough to elude, and she's terrified, but she does it anyway.
posted by PussKillian at 9:43 AM on May 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


miyabo: "Because, uh, no 13-year-old here knows what that means."

I'm 38 and have never heard that word before.
I suspect it will be more of a big deal for people who knew before hand since it shocked you right out of the movie. Someone like myself has to be told afterwards so there's no visceral reaction, just, "Oh, that's bad. He probably shouldn't have done that."
posted by charred husk at 9:43 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think that really washes - sure there was manflesh on display, but not to the leering, creeping extent of the treatment The Bum got.

It is strange that people are complaining about supposed objectifying, while doing the exact same thing in their comments. The character did numerous other things, but all the Defenders of Women can do is talk about her ass.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Is Loki wrong to think that Black Widow's core value, as a character and as a member of her team, is the power of her sexual appeal? Because that's where he's trying to hit her. I think that Loki's assessment of Black Widow is supported by the text, which does seem to suggest that Black Widow's sexual appeal is a large part of her character and her value to her team. Now, her character is able to overcome his attack and turn it against him, but that is the plot, rather than just the text.

I really don't think Loki was primarily hitting her on the "power of her sexual appeal" level. I saw the main force of his attack on her as being based on her past misdeeds, the red on her ledger, as she put it. That's what got the most reaction out of her, the insinuation that saving one man wasn't going to be nearly enough to outweigh her years of being a freelance assassin. And balancing her ledger was explicitly her motivation in the movie: when Loki tries the romance angle on her, she says, "Love is for children. I owe him a debt," which is when he switches gears in his manipulation of her and goes on about how there's no way she can make up for her past, and later she gives balancing her ledger as her motive for participating in the fight too.

Joss Whedon is by no means a perfect feminist, but I give him credit for making Black Widow an actual, three-dimensional character like all the men in the movie. She has motivations that aren't romance-based, she has skills beyond "look at that hot chick kick ass!", she has flaws and weaknesses that don't negate her strengths. She could have been the worst stereotype of comic book superheroine whose main superpower was sexiness. But she wasn't, she held her own, and she served a purpose in the movie that was not just to service the male gaze. And considering how close Marvel and the suits were to cutting out Black Widow entirely, and that Whedon fought to keep her in the movie, I'm grateful we got as much from the character as we did.
posted by yasaman at 9:47 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


um, he's a villain?

But where does that end? If we were given an extended, graphic depiction of what he describes, would that be okay since, hey, he's a villain? A villain's villainy needs to be established somehow, sure, but at some point it becomes gratuitous. Especially in a PG-13 movie based on mainstream comic books that likely wouldn't have printed the word in question.

Then there's the question of whether Loki's particular brand of evil actually extends to violent misogyny. It seemed a bit out of character. The threat of sexual violence was designed to get at (what Loki thought were) the Black Widow's fears, so I guess I can say that was in character. But the insult at the end seemed like a pure expression of Loki's own character, which didn't make much sense. He thinks of himself as a god, far above humanity. Why should he even regard men and women differently? They're all the same mass of indistinguishable sheep as far as he's concerned.
posted by jedicus at 9:48 AM on May 8, 2012


It is strange that people are complaining about supposed objectifying, while doing the exact same thing in their comments. The character did numerous other things, but all the Defenders of Women can do is talk about her ass.

I don't really think this as clever a point as you think it is.

And thanks for the delightful, belittling "Defenders of Women" jibe, too.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


... fwiw, the moment my friends and I got out of the cinema, from our post-movie talk, the guys were talking about Black Widow's butt, but all the girls, to a person, every single one of them, kept noticing ALL THE MALE ASSES on display. It was actually ridiculous. heh. I managed to distract my bff a few times because I kept whispering, "butt" whenever Steve Rogers was on screen.

And the girls didn't notice BW's (as a result??).
posted by cendawanita at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is strange that people are complaining about supposed objectifying, while doing the exact same thing in their comments. The character did numerous other things, but all the Defenders of Women can do is talk about her ass.

This makes no sense. If Black Widow had been perfectly written and acted except for an utterly gratuitous strip-tease scene, we somehow shouldn't complain about that because of all the well-written parts?

Or maybe we should preface all our comments with a laundry list of what the movie got right? I think that would get pretty old pretty fast, and only serve to diffuse the point, as though criticism is just an exercise in counting up good deeds and bad.
posted by jedicus at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2012


Up until the box office headline of this week I thought this movie was another remake on the Emma Peel spies story. Which interested me a small amount but other than Batman I haven't cared much for superheroes since before puberty.
posted by bukvich at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2012


Up until the box office headline of this week I thought this movie was another remake on the Emma Peel spies story. Which interested me a small amount but other than Batman I haven't cared much for superheroes since before puberty.

Good for you!
posted by kmz at 9:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


I hope this means a sequel to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or they make a mashup where Mark Ruffalo turns into the Gruffalo when he get's angry.
posted by Damienmce at 9:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Admittedly I have usually only eaten (shawarma) when hellishly stumbling out of places under the influence of too much good cheer,

This is why I couldn't believe Tony Stark didn't know what shawarma is. It was unrealistic and completely took me out of the movie.
posted by RobotHero at 9:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I really don't think Loki was primarily hitting her on the "power of her sexual appeal" level. I saw the main force of his attack on her as being based on her past misdeeds, the red on her ledger, as she put it. That's what got the most reaction out of her, the insinuation that saving one man wasn't going to be nearly enough to outweigh her years of being a freelance assassin.

I meant, with the lines that are getting the reaction in this thread. The q-word, which also pulled me right out of the movie, and Loki's detailed description of what he would force Hawkeye to do to Black Widow.
posted by gauche at 9:57 AM on May 8, 2012


The quim insult just seemed out of character in my mind. It's not that Loki can't be dismissive on women as shown by his tendency to treat the Enchantress kinda shabbily when they are allies. I know movie Loki isn't 616 Loki but for a character that is willing to masquerade as a female for extended periods of time (Loki in Sif's body is one of the best versions of that character) he's never seemed particularly sexist or even particularly sexual.

I guess he's openly contemptous of all humans it just was directed at Black Widow as a way of breaking her down but if he's that aware of her past he should be aware than an insult is unlikely to cause her any sort of anguish.
posted by vuron at 9:57 AM on May 8, 2012


Meh. I didn't know what shawarma is but I've eaten donair dozens of times.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:57 AM on May 8, 2012


I found it underwhelming.

The action setpieces were big brash CGI-fests that remind me of Transformers movies, although they were at least coherent. The interstitial character development scenes were fine, but didn't have the blazingly sharp dialog that I'd been hoping for from a Whedon screenplay. The connective tissue between action and non-action sequences was flimsy. Chris Helmsworth sounds like a jackass trying to do that accent. Having pretty filthy Victorian anatomical terms pop up out of nowhere in a PG-13 movie did raise an eyebrow, and instead of making me think of Loki as a baddy it just made me wonder how that got past the ratings organizations. The MPAA and BBFC can't be staffed by idiots, surely? Or is anachronism a loophole? Because then it's just a stunt.

Maybe I'd have liked it more if I'd seen Iron Man 2 or Thor? Maybe I'd have liked it more if I'd been into the Avengers comics? Maybe maybe maybe. As it was, I left the theater annoyed. I'm glad other people liked it, and I'm glad Whedon finally has an enormous financial success under his belt. He deserves it, whatever his poorly-realized pretensions to feminism.

Maybe if I'd seen it in 2D I'd have been more engaged. Dear film makers: It can't be a surprise that your movie is going to be retrofitted into 3D, can it? You have to know about that by the time you start shooting. So why the shakey-cam fight scenes, sudden pans and jarring shifts in perspective and scale between some shots? These all have a place in cinematography, but that place is far far away from anything that involves funny glasses.

You read all the way down here to find out what I thought, right?
posted by figurant at 9:59 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not the most widely read person, tzikeh but I suspect your fucking sexist is actually "treating characters as equals".

No, it isn't. But thanks for telling me what I think.

I'm not 100% on all Joss' works, but I am pretty sure he leans to the LIKES not HATES on the scale when it comes to the women.

Where do I say he doesn't like women?
posted by tzikeh at 10:02 AM on May 8, 2012


Tzikeh, I'm a fan of a lot of Whedon's work (although I have my doubts as to his OMG SO FEMINIST reputation) so I'm curious why you think he's being outright sexist. I know Firefly the best, so examples from that would make the most sense to me.
posted by Phire at 10:05 AM on May 8, 2012


KHAAAN!: "You know, for a lot of people, this film was LOKI: THE MOVIE also starring the Avengers ."

Tom Hiddleston makes a good villain.
posted by the_artificer at 10:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This makes no sense. If Black Widow had been perfectly written and acted except for an utterly gratuitous strip-tease scene, we somehow shouldn't complain about that because of all the well-written parts?

Presumably the well written parts would emphasize that character is more than just her physical appearance.

She's been sent to bring in Banner, fooled the Master of Lies, survived a rampaging Hulk, did her part in the final battle and yet people are hung up on her ass. Why some people are only focusing on the latter is just odd to me.

To me, it was Loki trying to push her buttons and those buttons don't even exist on her. He badly misjudged her. She correctly judged him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:07 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Black Widow's interactions with the Russians and with Loki come I think from the following principles:

- Black Widow will let an enemy pursue a path they perceive as one of strength
- she will then turn that path against them

Because she is female and not obviously a superhero, the male antagonists she encounters follow their preconceptions that her being female is her weakness.

She lets them believe what they are projecting on her, and once they have committed to this route, she sets them up for an Aikido throw where their own action exposes them to defeat.

If the writer is operating from those initial principles (and also perhaps wants to show that patriarchy harms men as well as women), then the scenes play out consistently.
posted by zippy at 10:13 AM on May 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


This is why I couldn't believe Tony Stark didn't know what shawarma is.

To be fair, he might only know it as gyros or maybe even döner kebab. I learned those versions of it before shawarma. Also he's been rich all his life, so I could see him not having had it, just as if he'd never had a fast-food hamburger.

I'm not sure why nobody else seems to know what it is, though. Surely Banner does, but I guess he couldn't really articulate it as the Hulk.

She's been sent to bring in Banner, fooled the Master of Lies, survived a rampaging Hulk, did her part in the final battle and yet people are hung up on her ass. Why some people are only focusing on the latter is just odd to me.

Because that's the part we're criticizing. We'd mention the other stuff if we wanted to discuss the good parts.

And she was sent in to bring in Banner because she was the least threatening choice (because she's a woman), fooled the Master of Lies (by playing a female stereotype), survived a rampaging Hulk (by running away and getting saved by a man). I'll give you her part in the final battle, though.

But even if you're right, we can still criticize the camera placement. That much, at least, has nothing to do with the character and could have been left out without any ill effect on the movie.
posted by jedicus at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd rather watch "River Tam Beats Up Everyone".

Please, Hollywood? PLEASE? Then we can sidestep the whole Kirby issue altogether and I get to see more Joss and everyone is happy, the end!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the writer is operating from those initial principles (and also perhaps wants to show that patriarchy harms men as well as women), then the scenes play out consistently.

"Patriarchy harms men because women might use your prejudice to manipulate you" is not a very strongly feminist statement in my view. It makes the woman out to be the bad actor and in a stereotypical way at that.
posted by jedicus at 10:18 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


But even if you're right, we can still criticize the camera placement.

The camera placement for Thor is at abs-level. If the camera places us in the scene, exactly what is it we are about to do here?
posted by zippy at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure Loki only used that word because it would make it past US censors and get a PG-13 rating. Because, uh, no 13-year-old here knows what that means.

Not a single adult I've spoken to who took their under 13rs knew what word he said or what it meant, but I only asked 5-6 people.
posted by tilde at 10:22 AM on May 8, 2012


Dear film makers: It can't be a surprise that your movie is going to be retrofitted into 3D, can it? You have to know about that by the time you start shooting. So why the shakey-cam fight scenes, sudden pans and jarring shifts in perspective and scale between some shots? These all have a place in cinematography, but that place is far far away from anything that involves funny glasses.

The vast majority of people who see The Avengers — in theaters, yes, but especially on DVD, Blu-ray, and TV over the next few years — are going to see it in 2D. Something like 53 percent of the U.S. box-office last weekend came from 3D screens, and since 3D tickets are significantly more expensive than 2D, that means that a solid majority of tickets sold were for 2D screenings. So if the film's going to be optimized for one D or another, isn't 2D the way to go?
posted by Joey Bagels at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Disregard the fangirls at your peril.

Tv Tropes dissects this issue astonishingly well.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jedicus, I think you can define it in narrow terms like "women will use this against you" sure, but the more general take I have is "patriarchy makes men perceive the world incorrectly, and can make even the most powerful weak."
posted by zippy at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2012


Isn't the camera placement for Thor more intended to add height and majesty to the character? After all Hemsworth is big but he's not Thor big.
posted by vuron at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't the camera placement for Thor more intended to add height and majesty to the character? After all Hemsworth is big but he's not Thor big.

Camera placement for Hawkeye
posted by zippy at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2012


(Kind of amusing that everyone's scandalized by Loki's use of a word that Whedon trotted out to little note in an episode of Firefly.)
posted by Joey Bagels at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


After all Hemsworth is big but he's not Thor big.

What's interesting is that Hiddleson is taller than Hemsworth, so they have to trick things around to make Loki seem smaller than Thor.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2012


Not a single adult I've spoken to who took their under 13rs knew what word he said or what it meant, but I only asked 5-6 people.

I would guess that 99% of the American audience has never heard the word before.
posted by empath at 10:30 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


also, Captain America's butt (via Fempop)

What I'm saying is that the camera devotes ass and ab time to both men and women in this movie.

posted by zippy at 10:31 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


@empath Wait, you mean I am part of the 1% after all? Curse you large vocabulary! Curse you!
posted by sotonohito at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joey Bagels, that's a good point, although it doesn't improve the viewing experience I just had. And I haven't seen a lot retrofitted-3D movies, but I didn't notice those issues in John Carter (seen in IMAX 3D, no less). That movie had it's own problems, but giving me a headache and ripping my attention out of the action wasn't one of them. So presumably it's possible to shoot a 2D movie in a way that lends itself to depthification. It just wasn't done in this case.
posted by figurant at 10:34 AM on May 8, 2012


What's interesting is that Hiddleson is taller than Hemsworth, so they have to trick things around to make Loki seem smaller than Thor.

Unless he's on a box, I think Hemsworth is taller.
posted by zippy at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2012


And she was sent in to bring in Banner because she was the least threatening choice (because she's a woman), fooled the Master of Lies (by playing a female stereotype), survived a rampaging Hulk (by running away and getting saved by a man).

Oh yeah, there's no doubt she'll use the stereotypes to her advantage, complete her mission. But it's also not her defining characteristic, which is the most important thing, IMO.

Everyone runs away from the Hulk and anyone would be happy for another super being to save the day. There's no shame or stereotype in that particular scene, IMO.

But even if you're right, we can still criticize the camera placement. That much, at least, has nothing to do with the character and could have been left out without any ill effect on the movie.

*Shrugs* They showed her ass while she's playing the weak female card. Same thing happened with the low cut dress and the Russians. Both times, the sexism was made to look foolish and weak.

I totally get that people would be upset by sexism in movies. I'm disappointed that there's only one female on the team. Captain Marvel would have be awesome. But I'm pleased that Black Widow (and Hawkeye) were given a bit of depth and character. I think that was important, considering it's odd that two non-powered humans are on the team with a god and the Hulk

Supposedly Whedon's first cut was over 3 hours and featured Cap meeting up with "girlfriend" from his flick. Can't wait for the DVD.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I think we can all agree that it was a good thing they didn't make Hawkeye wear the silly pointy purple mask, though, right?
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I soo soo want Ant-Man and Wasp to be green-lit as a project. Yeah they normally can't carry a comic series on their own and Pym has been a total butt monkey in the comics for decades but the Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes definitely shows that Ant-Man and Wasp can totally work as major characters.

As much as I like Black Widow and Hawkeye as characters I think not having Hank and Janet in the Avengers kinda diminished the franchise some. Plus there is so much room for comic banter with those too characters.

With Marvel being unable to actually use Reed as the big brain of the setting I think Pym definitely has room to shine whereas he's always second best in the comics.
posted by vuron at 10:46 AM on May 8, 2012


Let's take the CEO of a major corporation and have her flirt barefoot the whole time!

I had thought it was because someone said, "Eh, it's too much trouble to block the scene so that a shoe-shod Gwyneth doesn't tower over dainty Robert Downey, Jr. Dress her like Elly Mae Clampett, stick some lifts in his Nikes & call it a wrap."
posted by sobell at 10:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I'm saying is that the camera devotes ass and ab time to both men and women in this movie.

The difference is that I can see Cap from the neck up.
posted by mobunited at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Figurant, I saw The Avengers in 2D* so I have no idea how lousy your viewing experience was, and I should have noted that you're right that it sucks when the expensive 3D version of a given film is the substandard product. I'd urge you to consider choosing 2D screenings when possible, unless you know the film was shot specifically with 3D in mind, a la Transformers or Avatar. Just as it would be hard to design a film that was framed as meaningfully in pan-and-scan as it is in widescreen, or that looked as beautiful in black-and-white as it did in color, I can't imagine that it's easy to make an action film that works equally well in 2D or 3D. If nothing else, the 2D version will generally look brighter than the 3D version.

* Interestingly, I saw it in a multiplex theater that is definitely equipped for (and often utilizes) digital 3D projection. The fact that 3D-capable screens are actually being booked with 2D versions of blockbusters indicates that I'm not the only one avoiding 3D engagements of movies like The Avengers.
posted by Joey Bagels at 10:55 AM on May 8, 2012


What I'm saying is that the camera devotes ass and ab time to both men and women in this movie.

Even if we make the (laughable) assumption that the objectification of men and women is equally bad in our society, the objectification of both hardly excuses the objectification of either.
posted by jedicus at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The difference is that I can see Cap from the neck up.

Not in the following:
- his introduction scene, as he punches that punching bag repeatedly;
- the tracking shot as he walks towards the case with the new Cap suit; and
- i don't recall this too well, but not when he was breaking into the section with the Tesseract-powered weapons.
posted by cendawanita at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it's also not her defining characteristic, which is the most important thing, IMO.

Whereas to me it was the thing that made her stand out. They all have their niches and hers is "being female" and frequently "being underestimated because she's female", which is pretty meh. I get it's a superhero movie aimed at 18-25 and I should be grateful for any female characters or crumb of proto-feminism I get. Still, I'm not impressed on that front, and it's very disappointing compared to the Whedon reputation for feminism and other aspects of the film which were well-executed. (Although if this is really Whedon's second time calling a woman a quim, I'm going to have to go with Whedon's reputation being overrated.)

Also to add to the 2D vs 3D front, I saw Avengers in 2D and was happy with that. The only movie I've ever seen where I really thought the 3D helped was the Moffat/Spielberg Tintin, which suffered from uncanny valley in the previews but was helped a lot by 3D. I haven't seen Avatar at all, though.
posted by immlass at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2012


(Kind of amusing that everyone's scandalized by Loki's use of a word that Whedon trotted out to little note in an episode of Firefly.)

Anything about language has to get in line behind the premise of Firefly: that social democracy is a repressive evil heroically resisted by the equivalent of Confederate States of America renegades. I mean, I suppose if you backronymed ODESSA instead of appropriated "browncoat," it might be more obvious, but ick-equivalent.
posted by mobunited at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's take the CEO of a major corporation and have her flirt barefoot the whole time!

She was at home with her boyfriend, so it seemed natural.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Figurant, I saw The Avengers in 2D* so I have no idea how lousy your viewing experience was, and I should have noted that you're right that it sucks when the expensive 3D version of a given film is the substandard product. I'd urge you to consider choosing 2D screenings when possible, unless you know the film was shot specifically with 3D in mind, a la Transformers or Avatar.

I think we're on the same general page for 2D vs. 3D, Joey. But if I'm going to watch a big guilty pleasure blockbuster comic-book movie, my approach is that I might as well go as full on guilty pleasure as possible. Lesson learned, I suppose, and no real sense in complaining about it.

Sorry for the derail, folks. The thread can now return to the regularly scheduled third-wave feminism discussion.
posted by figurant at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anything about language has to get in line behind the premise of Firefly: that social democracy is a repressive evil heroically resisted by the equivalent of Confederate States of America renegades.

Nothing in Firefly suggests that the Alliance is a social democracy. Yes, the setting was famously inspired by a book about Confedrate soldiers, but not every advocate for local control of their own planet is a one-to-one analogue to Jefferson Davis.
posted by gauche at 11:09 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


- i don't recall this too well, but not when he was breaking into the section with the Tesseract-powered weapons.

We definitely see his face repeatedly in that scene (e.g., looking around to see that the SHIELD personnel in the catwalks had walked away).

- his introduction scene, as he punches that punching bag repeatedly;

Nope, we see him from the neck-up, and we also see his face.

But anyway, we also see Black Widow's face in the scene with Loki. The point is not that there are butt shots, it's that they are gratuitious, overemphasized, and far, far more problematic when done to a female character for whom sexuality is a primary asset than when done to a male character for whom sexuality is not a primary asset.

She's playing Loki, fine. But Loki can't see her butt. In fact, she's not even really plying Loki with her sexuality, just her words and expressions. There's absolutely no reason for the shot except fanservice. It's there to serve the male gaze, not to demonstrate how she is playing Loki.
posted by jedicus at 11:16 AM on May 8, 2012


Sadly, if the previews I saw last weekend are to be believed, 3D filmmakers are stuck selling 3D using the 1953 House of Wax paddleball gimick, which looks terrible and annoys the heck out of me.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2012


*sigh* Reading threads like this, I wonder how many people really go to action films looking for things to bitch about.

Yes, I said 'bitch,' because clearly I'm a misogynist.

The Widow was awesome. She & Hulk stole the show.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


*sigh* Reading threads like this, I wonder how many people really go to action films looking for things to bitch about.

I went to the movie looking for a fun, well-written action movie directed by Joss Whedon (e.g. one with humor, good ensemble writing, and the sudden and questionable death of a well-liked character). That's what I got, and I liked the movie.

I came to the MetaFilter thread for thoughtful criticism and analysis, as is typical for most MeFi discussions of film and television. If I wanted a congratulatory fan wankfest, then I could get that from innumerable other sites.
posted by jedicus at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I want you to visualize a film directed by Otherguy McNotWhedon and honest, *honestly* ask yourself if you would defend a scene where the villain, speaking to our hero's hips, implies he's gonna get her best friend to rape her to death and calls her a pathetic cunt. Really.

A villain. Being villainous. Means a director has some sexism issues. Really.

That is some grade-A analysis fail right there.

I can buy the camera-follows-ass criticism, and there are all kinds of arguments to be had about sexism in both comic books and cinema. But this other thing looks to me more like a signal that I'm dealing with someone who hasn't learned to actually think about either art or sexism.
posted by namespan at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


Nothing in Firefly suggests that the Alliance is a social democracy.

Serenity's plot is that large scale, preventative mental health care kills people or turns them into self-mutilating murdering rapists.

Yes, the setting was famously inspired by a book about Confedrate soldiers, but not every advocate for local control of their own planet is a one-to-one analogue to Jefferson Davis.

Ask yourself: Would you tolerate this if it was about Nazis? If the main characters used Nazi references? Because hey Americans, I know a lot of you don't think they're morally equivalent, but they are.

To bring it back to the discussion at hand, this does not mean that Firefly and Avengers are terrible and you should hate them. I liked Avengers! But they have problematic elements, and liking the thing doesn't get folks off the hook. The insidious thing is that these play off of biases built into our culture. When we see that something's kind of screwed up, this is an opportunity to keep those things from sticking around, unquestioned. It's not about Black Widow's particular ass shot. It's about all the ass shots that pass by unconsciously, and shape what we think of women characters, and how that feeds into scripting, directing and the genera; culture churn. When we have an opportunity to go "Dude, that kind of sucks," this means we have actually made some progress.

The other option is to retrench a bad standard, and even make it stronger by appropriating language we could use to get over our cultural bullshit. We don't have to globally hate problematic things (though sometimes it's appropriate) or defend everything we like, or everything we feel some geek allegiance toward.
posted by mobunited at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those who find Black Widow problematic, how would you change her portrayal?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


But this other thing looks to me more like a signal that I'm dealing with someone who hasn't learned to actually think about either art or sexism.


Yeah, I was taught wrong and can't see that a male villain must threaten rape whenever his antagonist is a woman.
posted by mobunited at 11:39 AM on May 8, 2012


For those who find Black Widow problematic, how would you change her portrayal?

1) "Eyes up here, cameraman."

2) "OK, so it says he says all this shit to me, and I cleverly learn . . . what? Like, the Hulk hulks out anyway and I don't find out anything about the actual attack. How am I winning here, exactly? What does this even mean?"

3) "You mean my costume has bracelets that are frickin' guided missile-bullet things and I never use them? Doesn't that mean I'm the only one who doesn't do anything even vaguely . . . super?"
posted by mobunited at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Serenity's plot is that large scale, preventative mental health care kills people or turns them into self-mutilating murdering rapists.

I'll give you the creepy confederate parallels, but I've having a hard time parsing an experimental mind control drug applied without the subjects' knowledge or consent as "preventative mental health care."
posted by Karmakaze at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


A villain. Being villainous. Means a director has some sexism issues. Really.

That is some grade-A analysis fail right there.


Not just any villain but specifically Loki. As I argued earlier, the threat of sexual violence makes a certain amount of sense: Loki is threatening Black Widow with what he thinks is a significant fear. But the insult at the end is not part of that; it's a pure expression of Loki's own character. But that doesn't make any sense. Loki is not particularly sexual and has no reason to be misogynistic toward humans any more than a human would be misogynistic towards, say, female rats. They're all the same vermin to him.

Serenity's plot is that large scale, preventative mental health care kills people or turns them into self-mutilating murdering rapists.

That was your takeaway? The drug in question was inadequately-tested and unethically, involuntarily administered to an entire planet. That's not large scale preventative mental health care, that's a crime against humanity. It's akin to the unethical medical experimentation on children that the Alliance engaged in at the facility that produced River.

I don't see the Alliance/Independents as being a stand-in for the American North/South. I see them as a stand-in for a generic Colonial Government/Independence Movement. The Alliance keeps the outer planets under control with garrisoned troops and extracts natural resources from those planets, but the wealth stays in the inner planets. I always thought the browncoats were meant to evoke the frontier of the American West, not the American South. The only particularly Southern thing I remember in the series is the ball (the one that ends up with Mal fighting for Inara's honor).
posted by jedicus at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


For those who find Black Widow problematic, how would you change her portrayal?

Give her a genuine conflict. Iron Man's conflict was that he is too much of a narcissist, which was then resolved at the end of the movie. Captain America's conflict was that he felt out of touch and irrelevant, which was resolved at the end of the movie. Banner's conflict is that he can't control his anger/lives in fear of his own power, which was resolved (perhaps not compellingly) at the end of the movie. Thor and Loki had a conflict about their relationship, which looked like it was being addressed at the end of the movie.

Black Widow, on the other hand, didn't get to have character development. We're led to believe for a moment that she might (wrestling with her past) but then it's all a big manipulation. Which, in the end, is not humanizing. And that is the critique here: the female characters in this movie nod towards a respectful representation, but under the surface they're still foils, not protagonists in their own right. Protagonists grow. Foils are static.

This is why I brought up the Pepper Potts cameo as gross. There are three women in the movie and they are all foils and foils only. Since this effect required re-writing one of those three women, it's kind of disappointing, and feels more deliberate.

Also, as an aside, have you ever worn denim shorts with a 1/2" inseam? They are not "around the house" shorts, because they are wedgie city. I did not get the impression in the Iron Man movies that Pepper Potts is a fan of pulling her underwear out of her butt every time she stands up. Costumes are character, and someone got paid a lot of money to put GP in those shorts.
posted by newg at 11:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Nope, we see him from the neck-up, and we also see his face.

It's interesting to me that the one superhero movie that uses male gaze tools on men is Batman and Robin, for which it was despised. It was hated for many other reasons -- good reasons -- but that's one of the reasons most often referred to when people look back.
posted by mobunited at 11:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The purpose of criticism is to say "hey that's interesting," not, "this is a bad thing, and you're a bad person for liking it."

For many fans, loving a given piece of media is a bit like loving one's family or friends. On the balance, they're nice and wonderful people but there's that singular annoying habit that you learn to put up with.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was your takeaway? The drug in question was inadequately-tested and unethically, involuntarily administered to an entire planet. That's not large scale preventative mental health care, that's a crime against humanity. It's akin to the unethical medical experimentation on children that the Alliance engaged in at the facility that produced River.

If the stated ideological conflict was about proper testing protocols, I'd give it to you. It isn't. The controls on the drug, or lack thereof, are just economical storytelling. The whole fight in Serenity, as outright stated, is whether or not you can "make people better" -- you know, a patty cake distillation of the progressive Left. The answer is that you can't because somethingsomething rugged independence!

I mean, it's not a tortured read. This is what the characters *say to each other* in the movie.
posted by mobunited at 11:57 AM on May 8, 2012


Serenity's plot is that large scale, preventative mental health care kills people or turns them into self-mutilating murdering rapists.

Or, it's that administering untested pharmaceuticals to an entire (unwitting?) population will have unexpected side-effects which could end badly for some people. I think you're forcing a message that isn't there, and that it could just as easily be anti-GMO, or anti-top-down-control, or anti-widespread-uncontrolled-military-experiment, or anti-using-people-as-test-subjects. I especially like that last one because it has thematic echoes in what was done to River Tam.

Ask yourself: Would you tolerate this if it was about Nazis? If the main characters used Nazi references? Because hey Americans, I know a lot of you don't think they're morally equivalent, but they are.

You are making two leaps that take you right into Godwin terrotory: I don't, personally, have any love whatsoever for the CSA or the lost-causers or the bullshit tragic victim mythology of the antebellum South, but I also think you've got to do a lot more work than you're doing here to make Browncoats == Confederates == Nazis work.

To bring it back to the discussion at hand, this does not mean that Firefly and Avengers are terrible and you should hate them. I liked Avengers! But they have problematic elements, and liking the thing doesn't get folks off the hook. The insidious thing is that these play off of biases built into our culture. When we see that something's kind of screwed up, this is an opportunity to keep those things from sticking around, unquestioned.

Absolutely. I wrote a big bit above about how at some point we do have to question whether a text supports or undermines the problematic actions of its characters, and I'm not persuaded that The Avengers -- which I enjoyed a great deal -- gets off the hook about that.
posted by gauche at 11:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always thought the browncoats were meant to evoke the frontier of the American West, not the American South.

The American West was an outgrowth of the American South, specifically the losers-of-the-Civil War part. The James brothers (Jesse and Frank) and two of the Younger brothers (Cole and Jim) were former Confederates who struck out West at least partially because they felt the wrong side had won. It's not at all difficult to draw a parallel between the James-Younger gang and the crew of the Serenity.
posted by Etrigan at 11:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Avengers' opening weekend takings totally proves that piracy is killing the film industry. I hope Hollywood is taking notice of that, too.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just can't wrap my head around the kind of thinking that leads to a comparison like: "The Avengers did great, that means Battleship will do great too!"

I mean, is this really how Hollywood thinks?
posted by Vindaloo at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2012


Presumably when Black Widow gets her own movie, it'll be, as speculated, a very Bourne/Hana type thing. Raised to be a weapon, brainwashed, now making your own choices. How do you keep walking forward when your past is full of horror?

I have a comics wheelhouse, but it's a limited one, and these particular characters aren't in it - this is speculation from the movies plus the comic panels I see posted on Tumblr, basically.
posted by PussKillian at 12:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those who find Black Widow problematic, how would you change her portrayal?

Simple: write a character who is an amazingly competent, fearless male superspy. Then, change the name and gender, but keep her in a practical costume.
posted by jedicus at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


You are making two leaps that take you right into Godwin terrotory: I don't, personally, have any love whatsoever for the CSA or the lost-causers or the bullshit tragic victim mythology of the antebellum South, but I also think you've got to do a lot more work than you're doing here to make Browncoats == Confederates == Nazis work.

Nah. I mean, "browncoat," is based on the term "graycoat." Firefly really does recycle CSA motifs. What I'm saying is that if you applied this to an equally bad group whose romantic apologetic mythology you were *not* aware of, would it pass muster? Again, fans are not horrible people or anything, and the creators are just as enmeshed in the wider culture, but this kind of bias gets reproduced when we do this stuff.
posted by mobunited at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2012


My impression was that Black Widow actually had the most characterization and character progression in the film. She's instrumental in bringing together the rest of the cast, has a clearly defined goal and personal stake in rescuing Nighthawk, succeeds in that goal, and then goes on to close the portal and save the world. This isn't a grand journey of personal discovery, but it's a bit more substantial than learning to play well with others.

I actually think she may be the main protagonist of the film, if it has one, because I can't think of who else that would be. But I haven't put a lot of thought into this.
posted by figurant at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


2) "OK, so it says he says all this shit to me, and I cleverly learn . . . what? Like, the Hulk hulks out anyway and I don't find out anything about the actual attack. How am I winning here, exactly? What does this even mean?"

i thought it was important that she learned that his plan was to manipulate banner. remember how after warning all of them banner picked up the scepter? he might have changed then, but didn't because she warned them. just because he changed anyway doesn't mean it was pointless.

the scene with loki further developed her characterization. also note that when all the (emotional, irrational) dudes are arguing in the lab, she's the one who keeps cool and knows what to do.
posted by cupcake1337 at 12:10 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


The whole fight in Serenity, as outright stated, is whether or not you can "make people better" -- you know, a patty cake distillation of the progressive Left. The answer is that you can't because somethingsomething rugged independence!

If "making people better" is a value of the progressive Left, let me the fuck off. I like people just fine. My impression of the values and goals of the left go much more like this: society is flawed and unjust in ways that we the people can -- and should, and must -- work to change. Individuals are flawed and broken and also wonderful in ways that only they can really ever change for themselves. To the extent that people are socialized into values that end up perpetuating injustice, those values have got to be addressed, not by making people anything, but by persuading them, and by working -- from the ground up -- to change the values that society perpetuates. I think reading the Alliance as a stand-in for contemporary progressives makes sense if you've internalized the Right-wing caricature of progressive goals and methods.

I personally find far, far more sympathy for accepting people for who they are, and for living and letting live, among people on left than I do on the right.
posted by gauche at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]



For those who find Black Widow problematic, how would you change her portrayal?

Simple: write a character who is an amazingly competent, fearless male superspy. Then, change the name and gender, but keep her in a practical costume.


They did this. It was called The Avengers, and the character was Black Widow.
posted by kbanas at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


Loki is not particularly sexual and has no reason to be misogynistic toward humans any more than a human would be misogynistic towards, say, female rats.

Nor did he have any reason to go to Germany and speak to them in English. I found some of the choices in this film a bit puzzling. Though I guess it gave Cap something to reference clumsily.

Black Widow, on the other hand, didn't get to have character development. We're led to believe for a moment that she might (wrestling with her past) but then it's all a big manipulation.

My read was that she was using emotions she's genuinely dealing with in order to sell the manipulation, for what it's worth.

write a character who is an amazingly competent, fearless male superspy. Then, change the name and gender, but keep her in a practical costume.

This was apparently what happened with Salt. Haywire might be worth checking out on this front too.
posted by ODiV at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2012


Black Widow, on the other hand, didn't get to have character development. We're led to believe for a moment that she might (wrestling with her past) but then it's all a big manipulation.

I interpreted that scene differently in light of her later, non-Loki manipulating comment about balancing her ledger, and her interaction with Hawkeye. I think what made Black Widow successful in her manipulation of Loki was that everything she was saying and feeling was true. She had the self-awareness to exploit her own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to get the job done, and the self-control to not let it affect how she got the job done. Her wrestling with her past isn't exactly resolved, but I think she and Hawkeye ended up at about the same place at the end of the movie: they both recognized that they had done some bad shit (in Hawkeye's case, against his will), and they took action to make up for that bad shit. And in Black Widow's case, she made up for that bad shit by saving the whole planet.

I'll grant that Pepper's entire purpose in Avengers is to be the girlfriend, but I don't really see how that's avoidable given the plot of the movie. I mean, I guess you could add some Stark Industries subplot that requires her to play a Stark Industries CEO role in the movie, but I don't see how you could fit that in a non-Iron Man-centric movie. I'd rather see her in the movie as the girlfriend rather than inexplicably or lazily written out like Jane Foster was.
posted by yasaman at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


The whole fight in Serenity, as outright stated, is whether or not you can "make people better" -- you know, a patty cake distillation of the progressive Left. The answer is that you can't because somethingsomething rugged independence!

The Alliance is a fascist colonial regime, not a stand-in for the Left. Unethical medical experimentation, both on children and on a mass scale? Large-scale censorship? Keeping control using soldiers rather than police? Extracting natural resources from subjugated colonies, which aren't given the benefits of Alliance citizenship? These are not caricatures of the progressive Left, they're straightforward depictions of fascism and colonialism.

By contrast, the Independence movement is considerably more egalitarian and democratic, and it's also plainly unmotivated by prejudice, none of which were strong features of the CSA or really any right-wing regime.

also note that when all the (emotional, irrational) dudes are arguing in the lab, she's the one who keeps cool and knows what to do.

Nah, she argues right along with them, she just doesn't get as many lines (e.g. she defends SHIELD's Phase 2 by saying something about how it's SHIELD's job to monitor threats).
posted by jedicus at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


figurant Just to go geek and pedantic, it was Hawkeye.

Nighthawk is a name given by various Marvel writers to a confusing array of villains, heroes, villains turned heroes, etc without any unifying theme, powerset, history, etc.

Hawkeye is a Jerk With a Heart of Gold archer/spy and sometime member of the Avengers.
posted by sotonohito at 12:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Alliance is a fascist colonial regime, not a stand-in for the Left. Unethical medical experimentation, both on children and on a mass scale? Large-scale censorship? Keeping control using soldiers rather than police? Extracting natural resources from subjugated colonies, which aren't given the benefits of Alliance citizenship? These are not caricatures of the progressive Left, they're straightforward depictions of fascism and colonialism.

Um, are you familiar with what a vocal segment of Americans thinks Socialism is like?
posted by mobunited at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2012


Did anyone else click the "fans" link? Why does the Catonsville High School Comet hate Jeremy Renner?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2012


figurant Just to go geek and pedantic, it was Hawkeye.

And you're right. Mea culpa. I'll admit I was a bit checked out at that point.
posted by figurant at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2012


mobunited, you are the one identifying these features with the progressive left.
posted by gauche at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Black Widow, on the other hand, didn't get to have character development. We're led to believe for a moment that she might (wrestling with her past) but then it's all a big manipulation. Which, in the end, is not humanizing. And that is the critique here: the female characters in this movie nod towards a respectful representation, but under the surface they're still foils, not protagonists in their own right. Protagonists grow. Foils are static.

No sure I see that - with the comment upthread about her becoming less of a spy and more of a soldier in the future, didn't she have that discussion with Hawkeye (what, no maroon bathrobe and martini glass?) about wanting to be more to balance out the red in her ledger?
posted by tilde at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2012


the tracking shot as he walks towards the case with the new Cap suit;

It's at 0:38 in this trailer. The camera is below crotch height and following the Captain's butt.
posted by zippy at 12:20 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously. Just because the Avengers worked doesn't mean the every B, C, and D level entry in the Marvel universe deserves a movie

A Sleepwalker movie would be among the best things ever.

It's not like I went NEW Defenders or Champions or New Warriors.

How does it feel to have stabbed a knife through the heart of my childhood? Do you want to spit on Darkhawk's grave too? Do you?
posted by drezdn at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


mobunited, you are the one identifying these features with the progressive left.

Seriously gauche, I think you're doing the fan thing of looking at the story world at the expense of the story. Serenity has an explicit ideological conflict that the characters openly talk about, and that conflict is between progressive social interests and individualism. The fact that this is characterized *as* a conflict is problematic in the first place -- it ain't necessarily a conflict -- but the world made for the story brings in many elements that are at home in a Tea Party paranoid fantasy.
posted by mobunited at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Black Widow is a cold-blooded murderer seeking redemption by doing good works. When this trope is applied to a male protagonist, we get The Unforgiven, which is widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, are you familiar with what a vocal segment of Americans thinks Socialism is like?

Well, no true progressive lefty...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:23 PM on May 8, 2012


They did this. It was called The Avengers, and the character was Black Widow.

How was her costume practical again? High heels (presumably she was wearing them before the interrogation) and platform boots?

A male spy would have used sex to seduce the (apparently) straight Russian? A male spy would have been put in a catsuit so we could gawk at his butt during the scene with Loki? A male spy would have been threatened with having his romantic interest rape him? I doubt it.

This was apparently what happened with Salt. Haywire might be worth checking out on this front too.

Haywire was written specifically for Gina Carano, actually, which shows that Hollywood can make a good female-led action movie even when it intends to do so. It's just too bad that it's so rare. I think Salt demonstrated the effectiveness of the technique, though.

Um, are you familiar with what a vocal segment of Americans thinks Socialism is like?

I'll give you censorship, I guess, but that's about it. Even the criticisms of socialized medicine have to do with government intervention and rationing, not experimentation. Whereas most Americans are pretty familiar with notion of Nazi medical experimentation. The left is not known for supporting colonialism. If anything the right-wing critique is that it's so opposed to colonialism that it ends up supporting questionable independence movements (e.g. communists). An emphasis on defense is very much a right-wing thing, not left-wing.
posted by jedicus at 12:24 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


No one is going to see this after 200+ comments, but here's my review. I thought this movie really worked.
posted by subdee at 12:26 PM on May 8, 2012


Serenity has an explicit ideological conflict that the characters openly talk about, and that conflict is between progressive social interests and individualism.

You are assuming that the Alliance is a stand-in for progressive social interests. Thus far, your evidence for this reading has consisted of re-stating that the Alliance are interested in top-down, militaristic control of a political system, and exposure of an entire population to untested chemicals. You'll forgive me if I don't see the parallels.
posted by gauche at 12:27 PM on May 8, 2012


Black Widow is a cold-blooded murderer seeking redemption by doing good works. When this trope is applied to a male protagonist, we get The Unforgiven, which is widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made.

We also get Traxx, which is not considered one of the greatest movies ever made.
posted by Etrigan at 12:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Simple: write a character who is an amazingly competent, fearless male superspy. Then, change the name and gender, but keep her in a practical costume.

I have a serious problem with this kind of "strong female character" characterization. A strong female character should be exactly the same as a male character, only with breasts in a sensible costume? That's not exactly a shining triumph for feminism there, what with making a male character the default for awesome. Also, go ahead and try it. Your awesome female character will be, rightly or wrongly, instantly decried as a Mary Sue thanks to sexism. There is just about no way to win here.

And frankly, I think we got the amazingly competent superspy in Black Widow. No, she wasn't fearless, and that's a good thing. What non-superpowered human wouldn't be afraid of being stuck in an enclosed space with The Hulk on a rampage? The point was that she was afraid, but she overcame her fear to do her job.

But yeah, the clothes are still ridiculous. Her catsuit was slightly less ridiculous than other superheroine costumes, and at least Thor and Captain American were in similarly skintight clothing, but it was still the kind of thing she wouldn't be wearing if she was the female Bourne.
posted by yasaman at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also, everyone is talking about the Black Widow/Loki scene, but for me the Nick Fury/Loki scene was a much bigger fail... or wasted moment, at least. Because Loki is supposed to be this hurtful (because he has been hurt), manipulative person, right? He tries to burn Nick Fury by telling him he's never seen true power before seeing Loki, but it's such a ridiculous statement, it doesn't burn at all. The true burn would have been for him to point out that Nick Fury is the servant of others who are in power, whereas he, Loki, is simply realizing his ambitions to lead.

Because it is quite striking that the one black guy in the cast, unlike all the others, basically has his hands tied (his bazooka moment notwithstanding). It’s not like the scriptwriters even had to make an explicit statement here, but it would have been awesome if they'd acknowledged Nick Fury’s likely ambition and capability and the fact that he is constrained more than others, despite his higher official position. Such a wasted moment.
posted by subdee at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's at 0:38 in this trailer. The camera is below crotch height and following the Captain's butt.

Yes, there were shots of attractive men's butts, abs, arms, etc. I've not denied it as a general proposition, though I have taken issue with some particular alleged examples. The point remains that "even if we make the (laughable) assumption that the objectification of men and women is equally bad in our society, the objectification of both hardly excuses the objectification of either."

This is not about keeping score and making sure that there is equal time for male and female butts in the movie. Sexism is not some game where as long as everyone is equally discriminated against or objectified then it's all okay.

And if you're trying to accuse people of hypocrisy for not decrying the female-oriented fanservice, well, come back to me when objectification of men is anywhere near as prevalent or harmful as objectification of women.
posted by jedicus at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haywire was written specifically for Gina Carano, actually

Yeah, I didn't mean to imply it was written as a film about a male spy. I kinda just tacked it on at the end as something to look out for; it might be less problematic because of its origins.
posted by ODiV at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2012


Yes, there were shots of attractive men's butts, abs, arms, etc. I've not denied it as a general proposition, though I have taken issue with some particular alleged examples. The point remains that "even if we make the (laughable) assumption that the objectification of men and women is equally bad in our society, the objectification of both hardly excuses the objectification of either."

This is not about keeping score and making sure that there is equal time for male and female butts in the movie. Sexism is not some game where as long as everyone is equally discriminated against or objectified then it's all okay.


Ok. So you would have preferred to have Thor, Captain America and Hawkeye keep their costuming - their sleek, sexy, one piece skin-tight outfits - but then they should have wrapped Black Widow in a fucking burka or something? And been like, "But she's a real spy!" Give me a fucking break.
posted by kbanas at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


You are assuming that the Alliance is a stand-in for progressive social interests.

That's because the Operative says he stands for progressive social interests. Seriously. "A world without sin." He *says* it. This is what he stakes his life on.

Thus far, your evidence for this reading has consisted of re-stating that the Alliance are interested in top-down, militaristic control of a political system, and exposure of an entire population to untested chemicals. You'll forgive me if I don't see the parallels.

That's because the film is *fiction* and thus, the representative for progressive social interests can be turned into a totalitarian bad guy so that rugged individualists can win the argument.
posted by mobunited at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2012


Simple: write a character who is an amazingly competent, fearless male superspy. Then, change the name and gender, but keep her in a practical costume.

They did this. It was called The Avengers, and the character was Black Widow
Emma Peel.

That's probably not fair. A written-as-male Emma Peel probably would have had a lot less innuendo-laden flirting with Steed.
posted by figurant at 12:39 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And if you're trying to accuse people of hypocrisy for not decrying the female-oriented fanservice, well, come back to me when objectification of men is anywhere near as prevalent or harmful as objectification of women."

I never said these things.
posted by zippy at 12:41 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a serious problem with this kind of "strong female character" characterization. A strong female character should be exactly the same as a male character, only with breasts in a sensible costume? That's not exactly a shining triumph for feminism there, what with making a male character the default for awesome.

No, it's isn't perfect, but I think it's a vast improvement over the way nearly all female characters are written in the superhero comic genre. And within the superhero comic genre, a lot of female fans want female characters that get to kick ass and look cool doing it, not characters that get to be rescued, threatened, or stuffed into refrigerators and look like sex objects while doing it.

Within the constraints of Hollywood as it exists today, I think it's better than what we've got.

Would it be ideal to leap directly to fully-realized, well-written female characters that were written that way from the beginning? Yes.

That's because the Operative says he stands for progressive social interests. Seriously. "A world without sin." He *says* it. This is what he stakes his life on.

"A world without sin" is unambiguously a statement of progressive ideology?

but then they should have wrapped Black Widow in a fucking burka or something? And been like, "But she's a real spy!" Give me a fucking break.

No, she should've worn a sensible costume, akin to what male spies are usually depicted wearing. E.g., pants and a shirt, probably with some tactical gear.
posted by jedicus at 12:42 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I never said these things.

Hence the "if." I honestly wasn't entirely sure what you were getting at, so I thought it sensible to cover my bases.
posted by jedicus at 12:42 PM on May 8, 2012


Pretty sure Loki only used that word because it would make it past US censors and get a PG-13 rating. Because, uh, no 13-year-old here knows what that means.

I was talking to my fellow audience member and cohabitant after the show and this very word came up. We both see a lot of movies and were hard pressed to think that it had appeared in the dialogue of anything made more recently than Rob Roy, seventeen years ago. The most recently-published book I can think of it that uses is is Joyce's Ulysses, which came out in 1922. It is the very definition of Victorian (or earlier) slang.

In short, I am astonished that mefi includes so many antiquarians who found their sensibilities offended by a word that would have scandalized my great-great-grandparents.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


She had the self-awareness to exploit her own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to get the job done, and the self-control to not let it affect how she got the job done.

True. Really, I didn't mind Black Widow at all. As I said upthread I thought she was a huge improvement. She is not a character without nuance, and in terms of the physicality of the role I thought she owned it in a fun way, which is important because in the end this movie about fun. In many ways, Black Widow's role in the Avengers is realistic, not aspirational, because basically every women in a position of power has had to learn how to work with the gender roles imposed upon them to get the job done. When there is work to do (saving the world) the most pragmatic response to someone like Loki getting all insecure and throwing rape threats at you is not to launch into a feminist screed but rather to use their blindness to your agency against them. And Black Widow is certainly pragmatic.

On the other hand, a lot of her character is tell, not show. I felt you sort of needed to know her back story to get her, where with the other Avengers the writers took a much more "show not tell" approach. You don't need to have seen the Captain America movie to get that Cap is out of touch and from another time, you are shown this when everyone is talking about science and Cap goes "huh?" This is not a huge flaw, but well, this movie cost half a billion dollars. I have worked in enough production environments to know that when you're spending half a billion dollars, every single detail is intentional. Very intentional. This is why I am taking the time to scrutinize the female characters in this movie more closely - these are not sloppy mistakes or ambiguous representations. The details are intentional. I find it hard to believe that in some of the differences in how the male vs. female characters were represented, no one noticed how it might seem sexist. They noticed.

There is a bigger point to this that I haven't seen brought up - I have been wondering how much the various character roles in the movie were influenced by the obvious reliance on the foreign market to help recoup the costs of the film. Captain America makes a lot more sense in this context - he's probably an easier character to get into as a non-American if his costume is kind of cheesy, and if he seems hopelessly out of touch. And the women - well, for the most part, Americans don't mind if there are strong females, even if that's not what they're interested in. Other countries however where this film made bank however might mind having strong females quite a bit. Like I said, this was an expensive movie. I don't think any of the details were overlooked. The butts were not part of the plot, they were there to sell movie tickets. And Black Widow was strong, but it was pretty calculated how strong she was allowed to be.

Not really criticisms (in this case), just critique.
posted by newg at 12:46 PM on May 8, 2012


We both see a lot of movies and were hard pressed to think that it had appeared in the dialogue of anything made more recently than Rob Roy, seventeen years ago.

That's where I learned it.

It is the very definition of Victorian (or earlier) slang.

A bit earlier but not much. My dictionary says 18th Century.

In short, I am astonished that mefi includes so many antiquarians who found their sensibilities offended by a word that would have scandalized my great-great-grandparents.

It's bothersome for at least three reasons. One, that's it basically the c-word except sanitized by obscurity. Second, because it's a PG-13 movie (and one without a lot of profanity), it takes you out of the movie if you know what it means. And third, it doesn't actually make sense for Loki to use that word. In fact, the c-word would make more sense, since it's far older and related to a Norwegian and Swedish dialect word that is phonetically almost identical to the c-word.

So, in short, it's strikingly and unexpectedly strong profanity that doesn't even make sense on its own terms.
posted by jedicus at 12:57 PM on May 8, 2012


I have been wondering how much the various character roles in the movie were influenced by the obvious reliance on the foreign market to help recoup the costs of the film. Captain America makes a lot more sense in this context

I just realized, "Hulk, smash" can be seen as a reference to the US involvement in Iraq.
posted by zippy at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Then there's the question of whether Loki's particular brand of evil actually extends to violent misogyny. It seemed a bit out of character. The threat of sexual violence was designed to get at (what Loki thought were) the Black Widow's fears, so I guess I can say that was in character. But the insult at the end seemed like a pure expression of Loki's own character, which didn't make much sense. He thinks of himself as a god, far above humanity. Why should he even regard men and women differently? They're all the same mass of indistinguishable sheep as far as he's concerned.

Haven't you noticed that Loki doesn't have any love interest? Odin has a loving wife. Thor has a cute human girlfriend. Loki has no friends and no love interest - the only positive (-ly intended) relationships in his life are his adoptive parents and brother, in which he is acutely aware of being second-best...and not without reason, considering Thor's hasty disavowal of him as 'adopted' when it's mentioned that Loki has killed 80 people. His relationships with the Frost Giants (in Thor) and the Chitauri here are based on appeals to their greed and with Loki in a distinctly subordinate position. His calling BW a 'quim' didn't take me out of the movie at all (except insofar as it was obviously designed to fly under the MPAA's radar).

Loki is the archetype of the guy who cannot get laid because he is such a massive creep. He's emotionally cold - dead in fact - because of his frost-giant parentage, and thinks that sentiment of any kind equates to weakness. It's not coincidental that his fighting costume includes absurdly oversized horns, or that when Thor appeals to his better instincts Loki's response is to stab him with a knife. A very small knife. In Thor he constantly tries to assert his status in front of his mother but avoids direct confrontation with her. He has a completely broken concept of masculinity as domination and femininity as weakness. He lies and betrays constantly - it's the only thing he's really good at - but every time he feels dominant and confident he blathers on about the truth and sweeping away dirty little secrets. He hates and fears women.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2012 [17 favorites]


I was wondering what sort of beanplating would be happening in here after the premiere. Curiosity satisfied.
posted by chundo at 1:01 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Remember when Hulk grabbed Loki in mid-monologue and started slamming him around like a rag doll?

That was awesome.

posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:04 PM on May 8, 2012 [30 favorites]


Haven't you noticed that Loki doesn't have any love interest?

I view Loki as someone who greatly desires philia but who has no interest in eros. To me he's basically asexual, but I'll grant that it's not an unassailable view.

He hates and fears women.

I could see that with regard to Asgardian women, but why a human woman? I would think that his overall distaste of humanity would predominate.
posted by jedicus at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2012


PUNY GOD
posted by chundo at 1:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"A world without sin" is unambiguously a statement of progressive ideology?

In the context of the film? You betcha. We're talking about a big government that provides some form of standardized education (I doubt River is fantasizing completely, or that this is meant to be "ninja school," though note that it's made out to be creepy and horror-linked) and material support for colonies -- we see that in action. The "evil colonial" angle is a red herring because the world has no indigenous or systematically enslaved people in it -- the people that are essential in any real colonial narrative beyond state mythology (see below).

Now, the drug: Through it, Serenity tells you that your humanity is your capacity to deal discriminate harm (Reavers do indiscriminate harm). It makes this neurological fact. This message gets pushed through the entire film. The Operative has a high capacity for discriminate violence so he can never be a part of society. This premise is the basic Republican/Libertarian fantasy, and more broadly, general macho individualism. Note that River Song only achieves individuality through discriminate violence as well. This fantasy does pretend to be anti-colonial through its take on American state ideology, and the myth of the gun-toting homesteader.
posted by mobunited at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2012


I am a God, you green ugly creature, and I will not be bullied by you!

This says it all about Loki. He's so afraid of everyone, or so entitled, he acts on it by bullying everyone around him.
posted by zippy at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, are you familiar with what a vocal segment of Americans thinks Socialism is like?

Stupid people confusing socialism with fascism does not mean that anti-fascism movies are also anti-socialism.

That's because the Operative says he stands for progressive social interests. Seriously. "A world without sin." He *says* it. This is what he stakes his life on.

A world without sin == Progressivism? Yes, when I think about people posturing about purging the world of sin, it's definitely progressives I'm picturing.

This is a really weird interpretation of either "sin" (especially as used in traditional rhetoric) or progressivism. Maybe both.
posted by kmz at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talking about Nick Fury some more, my personal canon is that he was really against the SHIELD weapons program, and brought the Avengers on board the airship specifically so they'd figure it out and dump all the tech in the ocean. RESULT: a dangerous situation is averted, and he hasn't technically disobeyed any orders. We never get a shot confirming or denying this theory, though, so it will have to stay in my head.
posted by subdee at 1:24 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, she should've worn a sensible costume, akin to what male spies are usually depicted wearing. E.g., pants and a shirt, probably with some tactical gear.

Uh, you're watching a superhero movie. A genre where sensible costumes are the first thing thrown out the window. Everyone is wearing tights or tight-fitting stuff, often in bright colors and capes, of all things.

it doesn't actually make sense for Loki to use that word

you're really stretching now.
posted by Hoopo at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


We're talking about a big government that provides some form of standardized education

Only on the inner planets. I didn't see any formal, Alliance-funded schools on the outer planets. I saw a lot of ignorance, in fact (e.g. "Safe").

material support for colonies

The colonies are given the essentials for starting out and that's about it. Witness the Alliance attitude towards the stolen drugs in "The Train Job."

The "evil colonial" angle is a red herring because the world has no indigenous or systematically enslaved people in it -- the people that are essential in any real colonial narrative beyond state mythology

Uh, what? The mudders are slaves in all but name. Heck, the "mudders' milk" is explicitly compared to a beverage fed to Egyptian slaves.

Other groups on the outer planets are basically slaves (e.g. the miners on Regina) in that the wealth they produce is taken for the Alliance, they are not Alliance citizens, and they have no ability to escape their circumstances.

Serenity tells you that your humanity is your capacity to deal discriminate harm (Reavers do indiscriminate harm). It makes this neurological fact.

The drug doesn't just take away the ability to deal discriminate harm. It takes away all motivation to do anything whatsoever, including eat and move. The people on that planet basically laid down and starved to death. I would believe your argument if the drug simply made people into obedient drones incapable of revolt, but it goes far, far beyond that.
posted by jedicus at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of any Joss Whedon project is imagining the Very Serious Thoughts About Feminism look on his face as he scripts "conventionally sexy girl does a sexy, sexy dance" yet again.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:33 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Loki (616) prior to becoming a kid again seems to have an ambiguous relationship with the opposite sex. IIRC he's still responsible for Sif losing her golden tresses, has a degree of contempt for Amora who has been a frequent ally of sorts, has been fond of attacking Thor through his relationship with Jane Foster.

On the other hand he seems to be at least a little paternal with Hela and seems to have a good deal of respect for Karnilla (although they don't seem to used together very often).

Loki is first and foremost an elitist who thinks humans, even super powered humans are like pond scum. Even the most powerful super villains are seen as dupes and foils so that Loki doesn't have to get his hands dirty fighting Thor directly. Loki really doesn't understand Thor's fascination with humans at all but likes to screw with humanity as a way to get to Thor.

I think that's where the pettiness of Loki in regards to the Black Widow in the movie doesn't really work, he's a master manipulator who resorts to base threats in order to try to intimidate the female hero. That she shrugs off his threats and deciphers his plans is kinda designed to seem like a "OMG the totally played Loki" female empowerment moment but it rings hollow.

If you could've had that interaction without the threat of sexual violence I think the result would've been better for both characters. For Loki it just seems to reinforce that he's a really bad guy who totally overreaches.
posted by vuron at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


They all have their niches and hers is "being female" and frequently "being underestimated because she's female"

I would have described her "super skill" as psychological manipulation. The whole point of the two interrogation scenes is the "How he sees the conversation" vs. "How she sees the conversation" dichotomy.

Note that in the Russian scene, the male gaze is all over her before the phone call. Then after she breaks her role and beats up the mobsters, the camera lingers not on her T&A but on a close up of the high heels, carried in her hand, as she walks away.
posted by straight at 1:44 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The drug doesn't just take away the ability to deal discriminate harm. It takes away all motivation to do anything whatsoever, including eat and move. The people on that planet basically laid down and starved to death. I would believe your argument if the drug simply made people into obedient drones incapable of revolt, but it goes far, far beyond that.

I think that rather makes it worse. All agency is violent agency.
posted by mobunited at 1:45 PM on May 8, 2012


and not without reason, considering Thor's hasty disavowal of him as 'adopted' when it's mentioned that Loki has killed 80 people.

It's interesting you should mention this line, because it was the only spot in the movie where I thought Whedon's desire to go for the joke led him to betray his character--I couldn't imagine Thor actually disavowing Loki, and as you see at the end, he didn't. He remained committed to him, and compassionate towards him. It was a funny line, but I don't believe Thor would have said it.
posted by not that girl at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


That's because the Operative says he stands for progressive social interests. Seriously. "A world without sin." He *says* it. This is what he stakes his life on.

I could maybe buy your argument if the Operative said "a world without crime," or maybe "a world without want." Crime is something the government identifies and punishes. Sin is something a higher power (or its religious representative) identifies and punishes. There is no indication that the Alliance identifies itself with religious power or maintains its control through appeals to religion. The only representative of religion we have in the Firefly world is Shepherd Book. There's also the religious crazies in "Safe," again not associated with the government. Is the simple fact that the Operative is a representative of the Alliance leading you to associate his "world without sin" comment with progressive social interests? Even putting aside the argument over whether the Alliance represents a progressive socialist government, "world without sin" is a phrase more readily associated with some sort of religious platform or dystopia, not a progressive social vision, and I would say one of the film's main arguments is that a "world without sin" is a world without choice or free will. When Mal says you can't make people better, he's saying you can't take away people's choices in order to make them better, like the Miranda experiment attempted to do.
posted by yasaman at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So yeah … about the 3D. It sucked and it was dark as hell. I took the glasses off several times just so I could see. It's a good thing the big battle took place in daylight.
posted by Potsy at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't think it undermines Black Widow's Moment of Awesome too much to point out that she thinks she's got Loki to reveal his plan, but she's mostly wrong. Provoking Banner is just a tiny piece of it. It's maybe one effect he's expecting from Hawkeye's attack, but hardly central to the escape plan.

He is the God of Lies. For a mortal to deceive and manipulate him at all is pretty impressive.
posted by straight at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2012


I haven't seen the Avengers yet, but in Thor Loki has a temper, acts out of spite, is very emotional and lashes out, and is petty enough to pull rank on people just because. I never really got the impression of Loki as a cool and calculating, in-control villain that would never stoop to using bad words or making disgusting threats. He is as weak, insecure, and petty as they come.
posted by Hoopo at 1:52 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I talked with my son on Sunday, he mentioned that he had gone to see it, had a positive opinion of it. The important part for him was it's huge success, he's currently producing Man of Steel, a huge risk for a producing/directing team 'cuz if it goes south it will have a huge impact on their careers (especially after Sucker Punch... ouch).

Sidenote: I have friends at both DC and Marvel, and when it comes to all things comics, they share your son's concerns. What's good for one company is good for the other, no matter how indirectly. "A rising tide lifts all boats" is the philosophy at both companies, more or less.

I'm curious how Image and Dark Horse fit into this schema, though...is what's good for Marvel and DC also good for them?
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:52 PM on May 8, 2012


Stupid people confusing socialism with fascism does not mean that anti-fascism movies are also anti-socialism.

Can you tell me of a single social institution presented as as a good thing in Firefly's story world?

Can you tell me if the Alliance has any of the distinctive characteristics of fascism besides design sense? Like, there's an evil corporation, but that never went anywhere.

Other than that, it's Star Trek's Federation. Firefly is pretty nakedly a reaction to Trek here, and Serenity argues that for biologically-essentialist reasons, Trek-socialism is evil.

A world without sin == Progressivism? Yes, when I think about people posturing about purging the world of sin, it's definitely progressives I'm picturing.

The Operative is obviously a secular agent, and "sin" is being used in that context, and because I don't want to find and post all the stuff that defines "sin" in that context, which is not "sin" in your dictionary, folks.
posted by mobunited at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2012


Sin is something a higher power (or its religious representative) identifies and punishes.

Ah, but for the Operative, it's pretty clear that the state is as close to an object of awe and worship for him as he will ever have. For him, sin isn't a transgression against a deity. It's transgression against civilization as he sees it. He may be couching it in religious terms, but that's what the object of the drug was: an ordered, civil society with crime and barbarism pharmaceutically smoothed out. It's not even a wholly unworthy goal. The Operative, like all good villians, doesn't see himself as the bad guy. His position, and the position of the government he worships, has ethical merits. But since he's the baddy, it necessarily leads to rage zombies.
posted by figurant at 2:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I could see that with regard to Asgardian women, but why a human woman? I would think that his overall distaste of humanity would predominate.

Thor gets thrown out of Asgard and lands on earth with powers, and what's the first thing that happens? An attractive human female fusses over him. Loki arrives in dominant mode and conversts people by touching their hearts (!) with the rather phallic-looking scepter - which isn't even his, but rather a hand-me-down from the Chitauri and through which they can cause pain to him - and the first female he encounters tries to kill him. Loki doesn't have an especial distaste for humanity; he projects onto them what he dislikes about himself. His inability to transcend parent & sibling relationships to form adult ones is what makes him dislike freedom so much.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:02 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


In short, I am astonished that mefi includes so many antiquarians who found their sensibilities offended by a word that would have scandalized my great-great-grandparents.

I'd bet a lot of the comics readers around here picked it up after League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The first series featured some, ahem, explicit references to Victorian erotica. I don't recall whether that was my first encounter with the term but I do remember being a little shocked there as well--less so since it was an Alan Moore comic than a PG-13 mainstream movie.
posted by immlass at 2:04 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm pretty sure that my familiarity with the "Q-word" can be ascribed to the issues of Penthouse Forum I purloined when I was 13.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Loki (616) prior to becoming a kid again seems to have an ambiguous relationship with the opposite sex.

I'm completely ignoring the comic universe, which I am only partially familiar with anyway. In the cinematic medium, it's more practical to treat everyone as a blank slate, and judge the cinema character and his violent sexism strictly in terms of the cinematic exposition. I like comics, but not enough to take on the project of trying to fully unravel the characters' backgrounds and continuity including all reboots, retcons and so on.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had a bunch of notes countering mobunited's increasingly tortured reads of The Avengers, Serenity, and the Firefly universe in general, the farther down this thread I read, the more it became clear to me that editing them into a post would be a giant waste of my time.

I'll note, though, that BW seemed to me to have at least as much character development as the rest of the Avengers -- which is to say, not terribly much. We know more about her than we do Hawkeye. We only know more about Stark, Banner, Thor, and Rogers because they all got their own movies.

Had I set up the film, I doubt I'd have chosen Black Widow and Hawkeye to round out the cast. They don't have the appeal to me of many other Avengers, nor do I think they carry the broad cultural appeal that the more iconic Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America enjoy. But reasonable people can disagree; I can certainly see the appeal of including some nonpowered members on the team. To me, though, it's almost not the Avengers without Scarlet Witch and Vision.
posted by uberchet at 2:13 PM on May 8, 2012


I wonder if there's a sense that audiences will accept the Black Widow and Hawkeye as bad-ass assassins but they'd need lots of extra explanations if the movie had introduced additional people with super-powers like the Wasp or Scarlet Witch.

I'm not sure that's true.

Although if people are complaining about "Hulk ex machina," I can only imagine how they'd react to the Scarlet Witch's powers.
posted by straight at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's transgression against civilization as he sees it. He may be couching it in religious terms, but that's what the object of the drug was: an ordered, civil society with crime and barbarism pharmaceutically smoothed out.

So he's a "family values" man trying to make it so folk can be Decent Folk and live the prescribed Good Life?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"can be" = "should be"
posted by -harlequin- at 2:22 PM on May 8, 2012


I lol'ed so hard at the Point Break gag.
posted by Damienmce at 2:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's almost not the Avengers without Scarlet Witch and Vision.

I'm with you on that, plus Vision would have set up a character that makes far more sense to me for the sequel than the relatively arcane and obscure Thanos: Ultron.

You would get:

- Hank Pym's father/son relationship with Ultron to compare/contrast with Tony and Howard, Banner and his dad, Thor and Odin.

- A villain the casual fan would find far more accessible than a purple strong guy who is in love with the personification of Death. "Evil robot turns on its creator, attempts to wipe out or subjugate humanity" is pretty well known and understood.

- "Ultron, we would have words with thee." Nuff said.

- Scarlet Witch sets up a nice, easy connection to the X-Men when the rights revert back to Marvel's studio. You could explain her powers as...wait, what the hell are her powers?! I've been reading Marvel comics for over 30 years and I don't think I could explain the Scarlet Witch to anyone.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2012


I think you're on to something, straight, especially given the ill-defined and vague nature of Wanda's powers.

And the Vision? Oh, man. I think he probably just works way better on paper.
posted by uberchet at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me, though, it's almost not the Avengers without Scarlet Witch and Vision.

A friend of mine has a theory that Avengers 2 will introduce Vision so that the big-bad in Avengers 3 can be Ultron.

A friend of that friend has a theory that Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, etc will culminate in Avengers 2 being about Thanos acquiring / trying to acquire the Infinity Gauntlet.
posted by jedicus at 2:25 PM on May 8, 2012


Although the problem with Ant Man, Giant Man, & the Wasp is the Reed Richard technology problem.

Tony Stark's Arc Reactor is bad enough. It's even harder to explain why a world with Pym Particles would remain very much like ours for very long. I think they'd have to take the Spider-Man's Web Shooters angle and make Giant Man & Wasp's powers innate.
posted by straight at 2:27 PM on May 8, 2012


A villain the casual fan would find far more accessible than a purple strong guy who is in love with the personification of Death.

On the other hand, Thanos being in love with the personification of Death, who spurns him, who refuses to even look at or talk to him except indirectly through one of her zombies, is a pretty good hook. My initial thought was that Whedon would have a very hard time getting a villain as good as Hiddleston's Loki, but I think he could probably do some good stuff with Thanos's unrequited love for Death.

"What?! I killed half the living things in the entire universe! What do you want from me?!"
posted by straight at 2:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is not about keeping score and making sure that there is equal time for male and female butts in the movie. Sexism is not some game where as long as everyone is equally discriminated against or objectified then it's all okay.

The reason we tend to make movies full of pretty people - men and women - is because we like looking at them, we like the feeling of being around beautiful, strong, powerful people. We want to see their faces, their butts, their muscles, etc. It's not a failing of the art form, it's part of the purpose of the art form, a fundamental part of the appeal.

The line beyond which something is objectification in the sense of a socially problematic is grey and blurry. I have reservations about BW's portrayal, but this objection to butt shots as being inherently bad, always, I struggle to get on board with that. People like butts. Should they be ashamed of that?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:34 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


People like butts. Should they be ashamed of that?

Well, they certainly shouldn't lie about it.
posted by gauche at 2:44 PM on May 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


Pym will be introduced via the Hulk - he'll want to know where Banner's mass comes from/goes when he changes and will discover the Pym Particle in the process.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:48 PM on May 8, 2012


robocop is bleeding: "Pym will be introduced via the Hulk "

Maybe the Edgar Wright movie will have a Hulk crossover.
posted by the_artificer at 2:51 PM on May 8, 2012


THE HULK ON MARK RUFFALO’S HULK
posted by homunculus at 2:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hope so. You could have Pym and Sampson as supporting characters studying Hulk's condition. Something goes awry (bad guys steal their research?) and the Leader is born.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:55 PM on May 8, 2012


THE HULK ON MARK RUFFALO’S HULK

When did he become Valley Hulk?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:00 PM on May 8, 2012


So he's a "family values" man trying to make it so folk can be Decent Folk and live the prescribed Good Life?

Basically. And is that so bad? If you could instantly put an end to child abuse? Battered spouses? War? Even if it's at the cost of the highs and lows of individual free will? Would that be such a bad bargain to make? The drug would have made the world a genuinely better place had it worked as intended, if a bit more mind-controlly.

The comparison to a slightly theocratic mindset isn't completely out of line. He's a true believer, just not in a gay-hating, war-loving, red-blooded American Jesus. A true believer, if they have even a modicum of introspective ability and aren't cynically wrapping themselves in their chosen creed for personal gain, is trying to make their world a better place for the people in it. The means by which they do so might include international communism, theocracy, or ethnic cleansing but the ends can justify the means very easily if the ends are sufficiently good. That's why he's such a great character, not just a ninja who pops up every once it a while to menace the protagonists. He's got a real, understandably worthwhile viewpoint he's defending. He's just wrong, and the actual implementation of his ideals leads to mass death and rage-zombies.

Much like, metaphorically, a lot of other ardently-held belief systems.
posted by figurant at 3:08 PM on May 8, 2012


(A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters. There may be reasons it made sense, but it also felt female-executive-treated-like-secretary.)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


A pre-accident Leonard Samson had scenes in "The Incredible Hulk," btw. Of course, we've had "sequel seeds" show up in other superhero films that never quite panned out, too.
posted by uberchet at 3:10 PM on May 8, 2012


People like butts. Should they be ashamed of that?

Well, they certainly shouldn't lie about it.


Well, you other brothers can't deny.
posted by empath at 3:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters. There may be reasons it made sense, but it also felt female-executive-treated-like-secretary.

She's a SHIELD operative, probably the one Fury would trust the most and she's established a small rapport with Banner. Give the guy who turns into the Hulk a friendly face.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:15 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The ambiguity could have been sidestepped if she took the initiative, rather than being assigned it as a task. Little things.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:21 PM on May 8, 2012


Well you know, if butts are such an essential aspect of this particular sub-genre of film-making, then isn't who gets more butt-time on screen worthy of discussion?

As it is, I don't see why a discussion of butts is so much more outrageous a topic of discussion than the deus-ex-machina handwavium that's been the ultimate plot device for almost all of Marvel's recent offerings (which is also a big part of the genre).
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:22 PM on May 8, 2012


(And for the record, I have no problems with either fan service or handwavium when done well.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:23 PM on May 8, 2012


The ambiguity could have been sidestepped if she took the initiative, rather than being assigned it as a task. Little things.

I don't see what's strange or belittling about the Shield Director assigning one of his agents to a task.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're confusing the edit with the problem. That him not giving the order is one possible way (for a screenwriter to avoid invoking social baggage) doesn't mean that him giving orders is a problem.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:51 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm waiting for the technology to get to where all the "actors" have to do is license their digitized images to a project for skinning to wireframes and animated. RDJr will still be playing Iron Man in 2112.

By that time he'll be just right for the Looker remake.

Still, I'm not impressed on that front, and it's very disappointing compared to the Whedon reputation for feminism and other aspects of the film which were well-executed. (Although if this is really Whedon's second time calling a woman a quim, I'm going to have to go with Whedon's reputation being overrated.)

I'm not a defender of Joss Whedon, not at all, but Buffy ran for 7 seasons and had a lot going on, whereas you've seen only The Avengers and you're now ready to bang down the gavel on Whedon's feminist creds for a hypothetical extra 'quim'. It seems like a rush to judgement, as if acknowledging one's ignorance then allows one to act as if one isn't.
posted by fleacircus at 3:54 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


That him not giving the order is one possible way (for a screenwriter to avoid invoking social baggage) doesn't mean that him giving orders is a problem.

Then what is your point?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 PM on May 8, 2012


A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters. There may be reasons it made sense, but it also felt female-executive-treated-like-secretary.

When I saw the movie, I assumed she'd been assigned to politely show him around, answer his questions, help him settle in, and put a bullet in his brain if he started to hulk out (which they didn't know wouldn't work at that point).
posted by The Tensor at 4:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then what is your point?

That a spot of better craftmanship could have avoided invoking crap that didn't need to be invoked.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:12 PM on May 8, 2012


That a spot of better craftmanship could have avoided invoking crap that didn't need to be invoked.

I honestly do not understand what you're saying. Can you clarify?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:14 PM on May 8, 2012


(A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters. There may be reasons it made sense, but it also felt female-executive-treated-like-secretary.)

She is the handler that brought him in in the first place. If the job went to someone else, that would be like the situation where a woman works hard on a difficult project and once it's up-and-running, someone else is handed the authority over it. She could volunteer to take Banner to his quarters, but since Banner distrusts Nick Fury, Fury is making a point of not interfering, as BW promised Banner would be the case. He has delegated his authority to BW, instead of merely using BW as a lure.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:33 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The way the scene played out is not unrealistic for the story world, but there are many ways the scene can play out that are not unrealistic for the story world, and it is the job of the storyteller(s) to pick really good ways and implement the telling of them really well.
The storytelling is crafted for a specific intended audience. If the way the storytellers chose to tell a part of the story invites an ugly unintended misinterpretation from its audience instead of the intended response, and there were other ways to tell that part of the story that would eliminate that risk (while likewise not violating the story world), then there is a good case to be made that the storytellers flubbed that part - this scene could have been communicated better.

Given the size and nature of the undertaking of this kind of production, it is inevitable that the storytellers will flub parts, likewise we've all made innocent remarks that only later we realized would likely be misinterpreted in a horrible way, so it's hardly a slam to point out "that bit should have been done better". And since I work in production, I know firsthand that when someone says "that bit should have been done better" about something I've done, usually I've known it long before they said it, but my hands were tied due to deadlines or other factors. There's usually a good production reason something is flubbed, but that doesn't mean it wasn't flubbed, or that it couldn't theoretically be fixed even though there might not have been the time available to fix it in practice.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:47 PM on May 8, 2012


I'll grant that Pepper's entire purpose in Avengers is to be the girlfriend, but I don't really see how that's avoidable given the plot of the movie. I mean, I guess you could add some Stark Industries subplot that requires her to play a Stark Industries CEO role in the movie, but I don't see how you could fit that in a non-Iron Man-centric movie. I'd rather see her in the movie as the girlfriend rather than inexplicably or lazily written out like Jane Foster was.

I have to agree with the Pepper bit--yeah, I'm not fond of the short shorts or the "sexy girlfriend"-ness, but oh well for a character who's on for five minutes-- but from what I've heard, Natalie Portman was pregnant during the filming of the movie and had to be written out. Guess they did what they had to there.

The thing about the quim remark--other than bypassing the censors and proving that Loki is a bad guy-- is that usually the very first insults that come to a jerky man's mind about a woman involve her body. Either she's a whore or she's fat or she's a fat whore, usually. It's not like that was a fun moment for everyone, but it fits with the bad guy specifically insulting a vagina-owner. And given who's saying it, it's not supposed to be an example of what people should say.

While I'm not fond of the catsuit, and wish there were more ladies in the movie like usual that got to talk to each other, I liked the character of Natasha and thought she was handled well and pretty thoughtfully compared to most movies. And while Maria Hill doesn't do as much, she's still holding shit together and getting things done even in a tight suit.

Yes, Whedon has sexy women with troubled pasts--sexy 'cause it's on film and troubled because troubled helps plots, and people who get into physical danger all the time probably have trouble following them around. And you are probably a messed-up person if you're spending your time fighting bad guys and saving the world and spying rather than settling down at your boring office job with your husband and two babies. But hey, the world needs those messed-up heroes at times. Which is the point of the film.

However...movies are made with pretty people almost all of the time, except for "character actors." They are just plain not gonna make a comic book movie where the ladies don't drip with sex appeal. (And to some degree, the men in the tight spandex too.) Men run the industry, they make these movies for 18-whatever men rather than me, and sexy is mandatory. Especially when you know there's male executives saying that they have to want to nail the character. You just kinda have to shrug and say, "That's the genre." Movie ain't gonna be made without it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:53 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had a bunch of notes countering mobunited's increasingly tortured reads of The Avengers, Serenity, and the Firefly universe in general, the farther down this thread I read, the more it became clear to me that editing them into a post would be a giant waste of my time.

I think it's just precious the degree to which people will defend the significance of a nerdy thing right up until it gets significant in uncomfortable ways.
posted by mobunited at 4:58 PM on May 8, 2012


That's pretty disingenuous, since you're basically calling those of us who liked the movie to be precious in our stupid patriarchal sexism/fascism.

You came into a thread about a blockbuster comic book movie to drag behind you a kitchen sink of at best tangential related issues you've been wanting to unleash- such as your pet theory regarding a comparison of Firefly to Nazism/CSA racism, or beanplating individual camera angles and lines of dialogue.

Having discussions about cinematographic choices, down to specific camera angles, seems perfect for a thread about a mainstream movie... up to the point you just won't let go of your (as figurant put it) "regularly scheduled third-wave feminism discussion".
posted by hincandenza at 5:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's usually a good production reason something is flubbed, but that doesn't mean it wasn't flubbed...

It wasn't flubbed. There is nothing wrong plot, charactor or story wise about Fury assigning BW to escort Banner to the lab.

The movie isn't flawless and there's lots of odd turns (Hawkeye being let back into battle after betraying, the Hulk fighting for the team after trying to kill some of them, Loki's weird plan to turn the Avengers against each other). But BW being Banner's escort/guard/possible killer ain't one of them.

You seem to be arguing that it was demotion or back hand menial task for the BW, "female-executive-treated-like-secretary" was the quote. BW was never portrayed as any sort of executive, she's a field agent who clearly has a boss or two. Not sure where how her boss giving her an order means anything other than that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:15 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's pretty disingenuous, since you're basically calling those of us who liked the movie to be precious in our stupid patriarchal sexism/fascism.

Well lessee, given that I don't call anyone "stupid" or imply it, say outright that I liked the Avengers and it's often OK to like problematic things, and do not call anyone sexist or fascist but excessively defensive, back at'cha!
posted by mobunited at 5:20 PM on May 8, 2012


or imply it

I inferred a lot from this comment. I understand that you of course did not imply it on purpose, or that it is anything other than in my own reading, but I can't read those words without dripping condescension and a thick sneer, marveling at my own idiocy.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:31 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You seem to be arguing that it was demotion or back hand menial task for the BW

No I am not. I am pointing out that for many audience members, seeing the only woman in the room get selected for the show-him-to-his-room job is too evocative of personal cultural experience of those audience members, such that it conveys something other than what the storytellers intend to convey.

It was flubbed if I'm not alone.
If I'm the only one in the audience for which this raised that specter, then it's fine; I'm just an outlier. But if a chunk of your audience is getting a message from what you say that you absolutely did not wish to convey, then as a storyteller you fucked up, plain and simple. There is no amount of "but it makes sense in the story world" protest that can change that - knowing the audience and thus being able to correctly communicate what you intend is part of the storyteller's job. Hell, it's the job.

While not a majority, I also doubt I'm that much of an outlier on it. But I also doubt I'll ever know.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:35 PM on May 8, 2012


Let me try a different angle: BW is assigned an important task. Audience member mistakenly interprets it a menial task because the context in which it occurred (assign it to the woman while the men continue the discussion) has the hallmarks of a trope widely used in other films and TV and life itself (assign the menial tasks to the woman while the boys do the serious talking).

By setting up a scene such that it shows significant resemblance to a TV trope, the storyteller can confuse the audience or give audience members the mistaken impression that the task is menial.

Solution: Set up the scene better. Don't accidentally appear to use tropes you don't intend to.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:49 PM on May 8, 2012


you're now ready to bang down the gavel on Whedon's feminist creds for a hypothetical extra 'quim'.

Whedon's feminist reputation implies a higher standard and sensitivity towards feminism-related issues of story and character that a history of sneaking "cunt" past the censors suggests. It doesn't make him a bad person, but he doesn't get any special bonuses for pleading feminism. I'm sure he's a nice guy and loves kittens and puppies and all that, but Avengers doesn't buy him any extra credit for being a feminist with me and it really doesn't want to make me see more of his own original work on the grounds of his work being more feminist than other works in the same genre.

I thought Avengers was a very fun movie, enjoyed it a lot, and would see it again. BUT it gets no special points for being feminist. People (including me) can like it while not thinking it's very feminist.
posted by immlass at 5:51 PM on May 8, 2012


"Problematic" is an interesting word.

While my wife was going through an MSW program she took some cultural diversity units. During that period, "problematic" sort of sounded like a big club when broken out around the dinner table.

We had to unpack the whole "racism" thing, and that got kind of fighty (I was coming at the word from the usage that means "deliberate hater," i.e. "prejudice's bigger, more malicious sibling and she was not.) I've come around to her usage, because it was pretty easy to retire racist and start using "bigot" for garden variety knuckleheads and "racialist" for the weird, creepy "no, black people were invented by a Jewish sorcerer" and Nazi types.

Anyhow, during the time when the word "racist" was in contention, "problematic" was a problem for us, because there was some sort of commutative property at work:

"It's problematic," she'd say, "because that's sort of racist," and I'd be all "how can you say that's racist ... that's no racist dude there because mosquito nets and Heifer Project" and then we'd be back at it. That took two weeks to work out.

Could have happened with "sexist," too, I'm guessing. We just got to racism first.

But after the MSW program — which sounded like it could get kind of strident and all about self-criticism — and after we got our language aligned, "problematic" fell into place, too, the way soloing did when I was in the high school jazz band: My director would always say "it's not about right or wrong, it's about better or worse choices."

I guess I read "problematic" as "maybe not as good a choice as could be made." Frankly, as a pretty privileged 40-something white guy who outearns the shit out of his much better educated and more deserving wife, my entire existence is problematic. I have to read it that way to keep getting out of bed in the morning. Maybe more importantly, my wife and I don't get as fighty over the word when I read it that way.

"That's problematic," she says, and I say, "huh ... yeah ... I can see that."

Maybe another part of it that's helped is that after a few weeks of not getting each other, I reached back and remembered how much fun I had once had with the deconstruction less as a thing to get all pointed and hostile about, but more as a way to turn ideas or things over in my head.

Joss Whedon as a crypto-fascist who's no better than a garden variety misogynist and maybe even worse? Why the hell not? People got all worked up about David Brin when he did his whole "Star Wars is anti-democratic" thing, but it was fun. And something to kind of think about, but not throw garbage cans through the multiplex ticketing booth window over. So we both turned the whole thing into a sort of a game. Not a competitive one, where one is trying to "win" some point, but more like a big game of Katamari Damacy except with no timers and we both could bat the blob back and forth at each other.

Apologies to people who might actually truly be hating the guts of anyone who ever loved Firefly or the Avengers and do not at all think this is a fun game. Drop a MeMail and I'll be happy to start thinking of you as more hostile than I thought.
posted by mph at 5:53 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


See this feminism discussion is extra weird to me because I'd never considered the Avengers was supposed to be making a feminist statement. Was that part of the pre-release hype or something? I'd honestly never even considered that Whedon's characters were supposed to be exemplary of feminism in fiction or whatever. I mean I guess he made a show I liked that had a female protagonist, but otherwise I just saw his "thing" as being fun and nerdy.
posted by Hoopo at 6:06 PM on May 8, 2012


I'd honestly never even considered that Whedon's characters were supposed to be exemplary of feminism in fiction or whatever.

A lot of people hold them up as such and he's made something of his "unofficial minor" in "gender studies and feminism" in interviews, implying that it informs his work now. Not all feminists agree that it does, but it's not surprising that he gets extra scrutiny in this area, either from people trying to square his feminism with his work or people trying to establish that he's not much of a feminist after all.
posted by mph at 6:15 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Solution: Set up the scene better. Don't accidentally appear to use tropes you don't intend to.

Or one could review the scene, think about what actually happened and come to a different conclusion. Blaming the writer/director for sloppy thinking on the part of a particular is pretty lame.

2) "OK, so it says he says all this shit to me, and I cleverly learn . . . what? Like, the Hulk hulks out anyway and I don't find out anything about the actual attack.

This a good point, but I think something got left on the cutting room floor or this is a plot hole (not the only one!)

When Loki is brought onto the Heli Carrier, he notices Banner at work and smiles gleefully, sort of like "Yah, my plan is coming together". BW susses out that Loki wants the Hulk to Hulk out, but there gets caught up in the argument they all have in the lab with Fury. Then Hawkeye blows up one of the propellers, Banner gets scared, confused and angry and Hulks out.

So yeah, it feels like something more was supposed to happen there, plot wise, but nothing does.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or one could review the scene, think about what actually happened and come to a different conclusion. Blaming the writer/director for sloppy thinking on the part of a particular is pretty lame.

No, speaking to your audience is the essence of success, and the heart of what you do, and the purpose for doing it. If someone wants to do wank that disregards how actual imperfect genuine humans will react to it in the real world, and require that viewers study a scene instead of react to it, well, Hollywood has little use for that person.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:33 PM on May 8, 2012


No, it isn't. But thanks for telling me what I think.

On reflection, you are correct. I over-stepped. Sorry.
posted by Mezentian at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2012


No, speaking to your audience is the essence of success, and the heart of what you do, and the purpose for doing it.

Someday, maybe, a significant chunk of Hollywood Blockbuster audiences will care about (or even notice) things like whether the movie is subtly reinforcing a bunch of sexist stereotypes by having the woman show the guest to his room. (I think not, in this case, but I'm genuinely glad you care about that kind of thing.)

Alas, that day is not today.
posted by straight at 7:21 PM on May 8, 2012


Well, this tread took an expected turn (Save Firefly!) and an unexpected turn (Socialism!) while I was away.

Did we discuss how Joss is "Pro Negro Slavery" (The South Shall Rise Again) yet? Because that one's always fun.

Scarlet Witch sets up a nice, easy connection to the X-Men when the rights revert back to Marvel's studio. You could explain her powers as...wait, what the hell are her powers?!

Comics Should Be Good discussed that this week here: she either basically casts bad luck spells or changes reality, or affects probabilities (backwards through time.

By that time he'll be just right for the Looker remake.

No, Looker is from Batman & The Outsiders! That's DC. They can't even get their act together for a Justice League movie.

I'm going back to look for Black Widow animated gifs in the thread now.
posted by Mezentian at 7:26 PM on May 8, 2012


1. The use of the "q" word was in fact pretty jarring, and probably didn't belong there. (I honestly don't remember it being used on Firefly, but apparently it was. That character and that whole episode were a mess.)

2. Pepper Potts's shorts in her first scene with Tony Stark were unbelievably short. That seemed more problematic to me than most anything else, really. Maybe it's just because my wife and I are both comfy pants the minute we get home kind of people.

3. I just saw the movie again (2D both times) and unless the 3D version is framed very differently or I'm just totally blind, there weren't as many butt shots as people are talking about. Specifically, in the Loki/Black Widow scene, other than an early establishing shot, I don't think we see Black Widow's butt again. Loki does talk to her back several times, but she's shot from the waist or shoulder up.

4. Yes, there were still too many male gazey shots in the movie.

5. Joss is not a perfect feminist by any means, and his works are problematic in other ways too. But I think he really does try, and tries harder than most anybody else working in Hollywood.

6. I still love Joss, and I'm super happy for his success.
posted by kmz at 7:34 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The use of the "q" word was in fact pretty jarring, and probably didn't belong there.

It didn't bother anyone I know at all, either those of us who knew what it meant, or those who didn't. I just rolled with it and assumed Loki likes some Victorian porn.

Pepper Potts's shorts in her first scene with Tony Stark were unbelievably short.

Have you looked at any young girls lately? They like short shorts. It's the style these days.

I'm just totally blind, there weren't as many butt shots as people are talking about.

I think in 3D they stood out more. (I can't make a pun out of that).

Let us be honest: this movie had eye candy for everyone.
posted by Mezentian at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2012


Pepper Potts's shorts in her first scene with Tony Stark were unbelievably short.

What would be the proper for a woman at home, about to have a romantic evening?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The use of the "q" word was in fact pretty jarring, and probably didn't belong there.

It didn't bother anyone I know at all,


It didn't bother me, but like kmz, it jumped out as out-of-place to me. It seemed out of character as I understood Loki's character at the time, and trying to rewrite my understanding of Loki to incorporate it, the result didn't seem to make much sense to me, so I decided to just forget that line, to not incorporate it into my understanding of Loki.

Later, reading here, when someone said the choice of word was likely motivated by trying to get past the censors, that made sense to me, suddenly everything clicked into place, which I take to mean that I wasn't wrong in my understanding of Loki, the movie was wrong (for practical reasons) :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:58 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


After seeing The Avengers today, I think it handled sexism better than most action movies, but then again, that bar is set at roughly ankle height. I noticed that one of the fighter pilots had a female voice, and that Maria Hill was wearing a jumpsuit that didn't look sprayed on, and just the fact that there were two female characters with actual lines that weren't defined by their gender - yay!!! Then I got depressed because something so little seemed so progressive for the genre.
posted by peppermind at 8:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think Whedon would get a lot more credit for handling gender issues if he wasn't explicitly identified as a feminist. And I'm pretty sure a big part of that is self-inflicted.

His oevre is mostly genre fiction. As peppermind says, it's a low bar. He does a whole lot of things right, but start calling yourself a feminist and all anyone can see are the flaws.
posted by figurant at 8:27 PM on May 8, 2012


Everyone is wearing tights or tight-fitting stuff, often in bright colors and capes, of all things.

"No capes!"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:50 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


mobunited, I wholeheartedly approve of your browncoat baiting. A+

And I can hardly wait for the eventual "Firefly Begins" dark and edgy reboot where Mal is some kind of trader in enslaved AIs and big government types are trying to hunt him down and free his roboslaves.

But that being said, Avengers surprised me. Whedon pulled it off. It was an immensely enjoyable movie. Sure there were a few things that didn't make sense, but normalized by the attempted scope, he really did a fantastic job. Maybe the extended version will fill in some of the gaps.

Regarding the sexism, one of my friends was tremendously angry at the prolonged shirtless muscly scene Hemsworth scene in Thor. "It was just unnecessary and gratuitous" he said. But he sees no issue with the ScarJo butt shots and such.

I don't think restriction of camera mediated butt shots solves the problem. Even women in voluminous burkas get criticized for having "seductive eyes", so the solution is probably saturation in the other direction. Tracking Butt shots for every character! Then we'll be so saturated that no one will get any joy out of it and it won't matter.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:37 PM on May 8, 2012


Then we'll be so saturated that no one will get any joy out of it and it won't matter.

People will never tire of butts.
They're hypnotic.

And films mean people can gaze away without feeling creepy.

Regarding the sexism, one of my friends was tremendously angry at the prolonged shirtless muscly scene Hemsworth scene in Thor. "It was just unnecessary and gratuitous" he said. But he sees no issue with the ScarJo butt shots and such.

Do we know each other?
I had exactly that same conversation.
The scenes from Thor were probably gratuitous fan service to get women to see Thor. Which worked.
The Black Widow's skin-tight jumpsuit was just in character. Of course it should have been grey but... eh.

And then.... Then Tom Hiddleston made his move. But he saved his suit for Avengers.
The women I know (who range from shallow to deep) are evenly split as to whether improbable body sculpting or a well-tailored suit works best.
I have not yet asked my gay friends.
posted by Mezentian at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2012


I never noticed the ass shot, but I was trying to watch a movie, not trying to sneak-a-peek. I also never heard of the word "quim" before, neither has my spell-check. That scene did make me feel uncomfortable, which made her victory over him that much more powerful, realizing she had been playing him the whole time. She pushed his buttons to get him there, and she did it on purpose. He was trying to push her buttons, and these were actually buttons she has (told to Loki by Hawkeye), but he still never actually got to her (or he got to her and didn't hold back at all).

The real faults were (1) the Heli-carrier. I can suspend disbelief for Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, but not for that ridiculous creation. Just no way at all I can believe in it. It's just stupid, plus extremely pointless. Why the hell would you ever even want an aircraft carrier that flies? (2) this is more minor, but how did Iron Man "fall" back through the hole to Earth? He had momentum away from the worm hole, using his jet power to move away from the worm hole, and holding onto a nuclear rocket that was using it's own jet to move away from the worm, with no gravity or anything to pull him in any direction.

I don't think Black Widow, Hawkeye, or the Hulk should get their own movie. There should be a S.H.E.I.L.D. movie, with Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and maybe some other characters around their some magnitude of "super''. And many movies should use the Hulk, but shouldn't be about the Hulk. He's an excelllent foil or nemesis, but as the main character he's too tragic for anything other than a tragedy.
posted by BurnChao at 11:35 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The scenes from Thor were probably gratuitous fan service to get women to see Thor. Which worked.

Did it? I can hardly think of any women I've ever known that were motivated by that sort of "visual stimulus". Granted things have been changing in recent years what with the Yaoi types.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:44 PM on May 8, 2012


Did it? I can hardly think of any women I've ever known that were motivated by that sort of "visual stimulus"

It did. Yes.
But I know people who call Chris Evans as Captain Firey.
Anecdata, but my partner had no real interest in Marvel until I showed her the trailers.
posted by Mezentian at 11:54 PM on May 8, 2012


After reading the original article talk about this amazing new strategy of releasing films overseas first, I excitedly looked up the Japan release date. AUGUST?! Nevermind, I guess Japan still doesn't exist to Hollywood.
posted by mochimochi at 12:18 AM on May 9, 2012


Oh god. They are trying so hard. So god damn hard. But battleship just isn't going to happen. It is going to be Ishtar without that horrible sort of train-wreck charm.

And the Prometheus trailer? Each time I see it in theaters it gets a little more intense. This time I may have pooed myself a little.

The Hulk movie was pretty good too.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:45 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


She was just date-raped by Dr Druid and... something happened where she was afraid of wheat.

Wait, what, wheat?

(I realise that in a sane world I would be "wait, whatting" the part about being date-raped by Dr Druid, but metaphorical or literal sexual assault is so much par for the course for superhero women...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:43 AM on May 9, 2012


As long as someone, somewhere, thinks "Let Joss Go Unmolested" the world will be a better place.

I think we got Dollhouse that way and I thought that was not just irredemable, but that all of Whedon's discussion after it got cancelled about where he wanted the show to go were even worse than the episodes I saw. '

Whedon is hit and miss for me: I liked a chunk of Buffy and Angel and Dr Horrible, but not Firefly, Dollhouse or Serenity. I haven't (sob!) seen Avengers yet, but I know now that I am going to spend a lot of it looking for shots of bottoms. Plus explosions.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:16 AM on May 9, 2012


So yeah, it feels like something more was supposed to happen there, plot wise, but nothing does.

I suspect there was going to be a bit about Hawkeye and the rest of the Blue Eyed Crew swiping Hydra tech from the helicarrier's vault, what with Cap's discovery that SHIELD had not only been hoarding but improving on the recovered technology. The baddies probably were going to use it to stabilize the portal or something, but then someone pointed out that they already had a Baddies Get MacGuffin scene in Germany and the movie was already stretching out.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:47 AM on May 9, 2012


(I realise that in a sane world I would be "wait, whatting" the part about being date-raped by Dr Druid, but metaphorical or literal sexual assault is so much par for the course for superhero women...)

It was around the time I stopped reading Avengers back in the day, but there was some skeevy stufff with Dr Druid (A character I had liked until that point) in which he did bad things to the Avengers for reasons that made no sense.
IIRC, there was some sort of assault that led to the (previously kick-ass Monica) being chased off.

The wheat thing relates to her new powers (then) which caused wheat to explode in a special.
posted by Mezentian at 6:00 AM on May 9, 2012


And films mean people can gaze away without feeling creepy.

It's still creepy.
posted by empath at 6:02 AM on May 9, 2012


all of Whedon's discussion after it got cancelled about where he wanted the show to go were even worse than the episodes I saw.

I did not like Dollhouse. Mostly it was middling at best (I have not read the Buffy comics), but based on the two Epitaph episodes, I can see where Joss was going.

If I where thinking the long game, I think treating the dolls as rape dolls would be the sort of thing I'd do before unleashing the real plot.

The fact that the show lasted two seasons (and Firerfly didn't) confuses me. But I can kinda see where he was going. I'm just not sure why he took so long to get there.
posted by Mezentian at 6:07 AM on May 9, 2012


I think we got Dollhouse that way and I thought that was not just irredemable, but that all of Whedon's discussion after it got cancelled about where he wanted the show to go were even worse than the episodes I saw. '

Dollhouse had plenty of problems on its own, but executive interference was not not a thing.
posted by kmz at 6:13 AM on May 9, 2012


It's still creepy.

Yes, and no.

Millions was spent to bring you $body-part in glorious 3D.
Millions more to market it so your body part was in the seat to watch it.

Creepy is in the local public transport hub staring at the tight buns of the student in front of you on the escalator.

If you ask me.

Joss is pro-chicks. I trust him to not screw stuff up.

As much as I enjoyed her on screen, ScarJo was not used and abused by anyone.
Joss gives us strong (or equal) female characters. And apparently he gave male-gaze fan service. I'm not sure he could have escaped without haters ragging on him.
posted by Mezentian at 6:19 AM on May 9, 2012


I suspect there was going to be a bit about Hawkeye and the rest of the Blue Eyed Crew swiping Hydra tech from the helicarrier's vault, what with Cap's discovery that SHIELD had not only been hoarding but improving on the recovered technology.

The initial cut ran about thirty minutes longer, and even with the most skilful editing, sometimes amputated story arcs still leave traces. I found myself wondering -- speaking of the Blue-Eyed Brigade -- why when Loki first arrives, we see him recruit Hawkeye, Selvig, and Never Seen Again Guy in Tie. Maybe he will resurface in the DVD deleted scenes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:22 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like a lot of Whedon's stuff. Firefly was my first introduction to him, and I loved it and still love it. I tried watching Buffy but it just never really grabbed me. And I love Avengers.

He is, I think, better than most other people in showbiz on the feminist front. But both his own fetishes(?) (and damn does he have a thing for vulnerable, broken minded, but superpowered women) and the constraints of working in Hollywood limit his feminism pretty severely.

Plus, of course, the fact that he keeps advertising his feminism means people look for it where they wouldn't from another writer/director. The bar is very low, and he gets over it pretty well, but we expect more from a guy who is constantly talking about how feminist he is. I suspect that if he didn't advertise himself as a feminist we'd be praising him a lot more.

I also think, to an extent, Whedon has come to believe that "feminist" means "having women who aren't utterly helpless and can kick a little ass". And that's a step up from the usual woman as victim Hollywood stuff, but it ain't exactly feminism as most people understand the term. In fact, there's a whole feminist conversation on the topic, largely critical of the idea that equality means women who can be violent.

As for "quim", I think one reason I'm reluctant to really condemn the use of the term is that it seems to be falling into the trap of magic word bigotry that the right wants us to fall into. Lately we've seen a lot of defense of bigotry in various contexts on the grounds that it isn't really bigotry because the bigot in question didn't say the right magic words (blatant racial or sexual slurs usually). For example, the dust up over Limbaugh often focused on his use of the term "slut" rather than the misogyny that oozed from every other part of his screed, and many of the defenders of Limbaugh while scrupulously careful to avoid that term espoused ideas often more misogynist than Limbaugh's original screed did.

Plus, of course, the fact that the character is being established as a villain. I'll make a comparison to Kenneth Branagh's portrayal of the character Arliss Loveless in the 1999 Wild Wild West movie. The character was an unapologetic racist bent on reviving the CSA and resuming it's evils. He got into verbal sparring matches with Will Smith's character and used a variety of now mostly obscure racial slurs to which Smith responded with various ableist slurs all played for laughs. Would either the movie or the character have been especially worse if he'd called Smith a "nigger" instead of a "coon"? The racism he espoused is just as vile regardless of whether or not he used a particular slur. The character is being established as one we can hate and cheer for the downfall of. Is it bad for a bad character to say bad things?

In movies about Nazis we frequently see them using antisemitic terms, if we're going to argue that Loki shouldn't say "quim" should we argue that movie Nazis can't say "kike"? I can, sort of, see the argument. The terms are hurtful and for people who have been attacked with those terms (and related terms) hearing them in a movie, even from a villain, can be an unpleasant experience and break them out of the movie. OTOH, bad guys do need to be bad or what's the point?

That said, it's a great movie and my partner and I are watching it for the second time tonight. I critique it because as a geek I always dissect things, especially things I like.

BurnChao The HeliCarrier, while stupid, is a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. lore from way, way, back. First introduced in 1965 in fact. And, it pretty much always crashes or is at least seriously damaged. Like shaking bridge scenes with falling plaster dust in Star Trek, you really can't have S.H.I.E.L.D. without both the HeliCarrier and it getting messed up.
posted by sotonohito at 6:42 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


First introduced in 1965 in fact.

No way. That thing was totally stolen from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
posted by miyabo at 7:28 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope they include Vision in the sequel, and I hope they introduce the technology he runs on by making Ghost the villain of Iron Man 3. (Vision and Ghost are both intangible robot/cyborg thingies.) Ben Kingsley is cast as the villain, but they haven't yet announced what character he'll play.

I most think it'd be interesting because of Ghost's motivations. The time is perfect to have Tony Stark's nemesis be a superpowered anti-corporatocracy saboteur. Ghost is a villain to Iron Man, but a hero of the 99 percent! It's probably impossible to make Iron Man a likable hero in a movie that genuinely addresses American wealth disparity, but I'd love to see them try. Especially if they also folded in the Devil in a Bottle storyline. I'd definitely watch a movie about Tony having to battle being an alcoholic who is too damn rich.
posted by painquale at 7:39 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd definitely watch a movie about Tony having to battle being an alcoholic who is too damn rich.

Since they touched on this a little in Iron Man 2, I suspect they won't go back to it. Which is a shame, because its inclusion in Iron Man 2 was sort of played down.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:43 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah - Marvel Movieverse Tony Stark doesn't have a drinking problem so much as he has a drinking awesome.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:13 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought this movie was another remake on the Emma Peel spies story.

I remember someone writing this on Usenet in 1998:

"The good news is that they've finally made a big-budget, live action AVENGERS movie! The bad news is that, judging from the previews, the Black Widow and Jarvis(?!) are the only members of the AVENGERS roster in the movie. Proving once again that all Marvel movies must totally suck. My only consolation is that it can't possibly be as bad as that X-MEN
Fight the Future movie."
posted by martinrebas at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's proud of "mewling quim".
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:07 AM on May 9, 2012


The HeliCarrier, while stupid, is a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. lore from way, way, back.

Ah, I see. That does force their hand. Thanks for the explanation.
posted by BurnChao at 9:08 AM on May 9, 2012


Yeah, martinrebas, that would have been funnier if I'd been able to think of a good X-Men analogue for Mulder to better pretend I thought the X-Files movie was an X-Men movie. I got as far as "[blank] and Jean Grey investigate mutant phenomena and hardly ever use their powers" and then gave up and just posted it.

Ethical Mirth Gas/"I'm chaste alright."/Magic Hitler Hats/"Tight Camel Hairs!"/Chili Hamster Tag/"Irate Clam Thighs!"
posted by straight at 9:17 AM on May 9, 2012


BurnChao Yeah, it's kind of like Loki's trademark Really Stupid Hat. Jack Kirby was a god among men in a lot of ways, but he was obsessed with utterly stupid headgear (see: Galactus) and bizarrely impractical machinery (he designed the Helicarrier). The movie would have been better without the Really Stupid Hat and the Helicarrier, but the shrieks of fans who have come to expect them would be deafening.

The Helicarrier has the advantage that while it's staggeringly impractical and serves no actual purpose of any sort, it does look pretty damn awesome and provides an excuse to spend some CG budget on something other than the Hulk's pecs.

Loki's Really Stupid Hat just looks dumb and the only purpose it serves is to keep fans who expect it from freaking out.

Though, and I never thought I'd be able to say it, Tom Hiddleston made the Really Stupid Hat work. If they ever do a good movie with Galactus they need him to play the role as he might be the only human in existence who could keep movie audiences from bursting into laughter at Galactus' Amazingly Even Stupider than Loki's Hat hat.

But really, the question is what the hell Jack Kirby was thinking. He **LOVED** really stupid hats (see: his proposed designs for a Lord of Light movie, where you can also see some more extremely impractical machinery) and apparently no one ever told him that they looked dumb.
posted by sotonohito at 9:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Coming Summer 2014: Doc
Coming Summer 2014: Happy
Coming Summer 2015: Sleepy
Coming Summer 2016: Grumpy
Coming Summer 2017: Bashful
Coming Summer 2018: Sneezy
Coming Summer 2019: Dopey
Coming Summer 2020: D7


This was a funny comment, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this series of films would actually be righteous as hell. Even, like, one-hour HBO specials for each of them, each directed by someone different. I think my dream team would be:

Doc: Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Bryan Cranston
Happy: Directed by Ron Howard, starring Sean William Scott
Sleepy: Directed by Richard Kelly, starring Jeffrey Tambor
Grumpy: Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood
Bashful: Directed by Michel Gondry, starring Michael Cera
Sneezy: Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, starring Crispin Glover
Dopey: Directed by Mike Judge, staring H. Jon Benjamin
posted by Greg Nog at 9:45 AM on May 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


If you can't get John Carpenter for the group finale, forget it. Though Sonnenfeld or Tarantino might be interesting in an Oh Shit kind of view.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2012


I like the Really Stupid Hat. I think Branagh nailed the concept that Asgard should be boldly surreal, operatic in scale, and not remotely bound by practicality or realism.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you can't go over-the-top stylistic awesome on the design of mythological gods (or their extra-dimensional immortal alien equivalents) when can you dish out over-the-top stylistic awesome?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:09 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Helicarrier has the advantage that while it's staggeringly impractical and serves no actual purpose of any sort

Having never read any of the comics, I was sure that the design was intended to sell as many movie tie-in quadcoptor toys as possible.
posted by gauche at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2012


But really, the question is what the hell Jack Kirby was thinking. He **LOVED** really stupid hats (see: his proposed designs for a Lord of Light movie, where you can also see some more extremely impractical machinery) and apparently no one ever told him that they looked dumb.

Someone buy this man an anthropology textbook. Also, a dictionary that explains the difference between 'hat' and 'helmet,' and which includes the term 'symbolism.'
posted by anigbrowl at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2012


Though I completely understand why other folks were bothered, I was fine with the "mewling quim" line as used in the film, at least on a social level. On a characterization level it did seem a little strange, since Loki otherwise appears to hold mortals of all backgrounds in equal contempt, but he is a manipulative villain who uses words as weapons, etc etc, so I went with it.

Then I read the Whedonesque interview seanmpuckett linked above, which contained the following joyous snippet:

RDA: What do you feel is the greatest achievement of "the Avoiders"?
JW: Getting "mewling quim" out there to the masses. Also, Hulk.


Which ... sure as hell puts a different spin on the situation. And yes, if you search for the phrase on Twitter/Tumblr/etc, there are a lot of people gleefully throwing the phrase around. Score one for feminism!
posted by bettafish at 10:45 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


anigbrowl Har har har. I'm aware of all three, thanks.

And, symbolism or no, Kirby's over the top hats look really stupid. As do a lot of real world symbolic hats. See: for example, the hats worn by some members of the Catholic hierarchy (which, of course, don't look anything *at all* like male genitals).

Loki's hat looks dumb. So does the mighty hat of Galactus. So does the hat he wanted to put poor Sam in for Lord of Light. And, really, I'm not sure if there's anything you can find symbolism with for the latter two. Perhaps Kirby was prescient and realized that since Galactus was from a prior iteration of the universe he was an import of sorts, so following C style programming conventions he chose to surround the Planet Eater's head with angle brackets?

bettafish Yeah, he does seem to be going out of his way to be an ass there.
posted by sotonohito at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not understand the kind of feminism that lives or dies on the use or avoidance of a single word. That seems lazy and reactionary.
posted by Eumachia L F at 11:24 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Some of you would be shocked to learn what everyone called the garrison cap in the '60s.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2012


I think the "looks dumb" argument can be applied to most character designs in comic books. Certainly a lot of people have snarked on how superheros wear their underwear over their pants. In terms of the character-design goal of giving Loki and Galactus a distinctive otherworldly appearance that's immediately recognizable as distinct from the average mook, I think the helmets work.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:09 PM on May 9, 2012


>The Helicarrier has the advantage that while it's staggeringly impractical and serves no actual purpose of any sort

>>Having never read any of the comics, I was sure that the design was intended to sell as many movie tie-in quadcoptor toys as possible.


It's an airship, duh.
posted by subdee at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2012


... I'm personally having trouble viewing "the villain who earlier in the film was explicitly compared to Hitler hurled an antiquated sexist insult at a female character during a scene where she skillfully outmaneuvered him and tricked him into confessing part of his plan" as a blow against feminism.
posted by kyrademon at 12:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Crazy head gear fulfills the vital function of allowing the artist to draw a "mysterious" silhouette of the villain which 12-year-old kids can look at and say, "That's...LOKI!!" and then feel really smug about being a master detective. Like Batman.

Kirby's over the top hats look really stupid.

Why do you hate giving 12-year-olds the chance to feel like Batman?
posted by straight at 12:33 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Getting "mewling quim" out there to the masses.

It's a shame the OED didn't have any obscure racial slurs Loki could have revived for the masses during his conversation with Nick Fury.
posted by straight at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "mewling quim" line reminds me of a famous moment from a dinner scene in Dexter Season Four.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:42 PM on May 9, 2012


Having recently rewatched Iron Man, I felt like the scene where Hulk chased Black Widow through the bowels of the ship mirrored the scene where the Iron Dude chases Pepper Potts in a similar environment, maybe that was the point? I dunno, something I noticed.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:47 PM on May 9, 2012


Scarlett Johansson Has the Most Human Moment in 'The Avengers'
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


not that girl: "It was a funny line, but I don't believe Thor would have said it."

Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.
posted by the_artificer at 11:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked that black widow beat the shit out of hawk eye utterly unassisted.

Also, asses are great, and enjoying them can be not a bad thing.
posted by flaterik at 1:23 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.

Hell, just being alive is offensive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


just being alive is offensive

Thanos to the rescue!
posted by Chekhovian at 5:41 AM on May 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.

To be honest, when I was watching the movie, I thought that was going to be thing to start the 300+ comment shitstorm. Clearly, I don't know MetaFilter as well as I thought.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got an adopted kid and I thought it was funny.
posted by sotonohito at 8:54 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.

I honestly thought that was going to be three links to nerds ranting about how Thor would never say such a thing.
posted by straight at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2012


Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.

I've seen people claiming it's as offensive as if Thor had said "he's gay" or "he's black" and I had to leave the internets for a while because wtf.
posted by elizardbits at 12:56 PM on May 10, 2012


I am adopted, and it seemed out of character for Thor, but funny. "Mewling quim" didn't even have that in it's favour, and I don't think anyone deserves praise for giving asshats a new (to them anyway) slur to use against women.
posted by peppermind at 5:41 PM on May 10, 2012


I am generally a Whedon fan (although I'm beginning to resent him for having no fear in killing off my favorite characters, although at least there seemed to be a meta-awareness in this film -- "I killed him just to piss everyone off and give us a rallying point"), who thought this film was fun and entertaining but not (to quote my comic-book loving, movie-geek friend) "the best movie I've ever seen." Then again, I did see it in half 3D and half slightly-blurry-yet-significantly-brighter 2D because I was was not the one who picked the tickets. Maybe it will be better when I am able to watch it properly.

Also, I've been following this thread in interest because I must have been too distracted by my attempts to quell my motion sickness to even really register the camera angles or realize that there was bum-candy and arm-candy and ab-candy (one of my friends specifically watched the movie just for the guy who plays Thor. I may have stared at her in bewilderment because I felt he was one of the weaker [haha!] characters, until I realized she goes for the muscles, I go for the quippy bon mots). And admittedly, "mewling quim" totally blew past me (I'm thinking I was too busy going "what the hell?" with the threatening he'll mind-control Hawkeye into slowly and intimately killing her with everything she fears. That and I was bean-plating if it was wrong or weird that I was the only one in our theater to outwardly guffaw at the "Regimes fall everyday. I tend not to weep at that; I'm Russian" line).

Anyway, in my gradual reading through this thread, I clicked the Whedonesque "interview" linked above. I skimmed it for what seemed to be the pertinent piece for the "mewling quim" discussion, but stopped cold one question before:

RDA: Is "the Ravengers" a perfect movie? It did get an A+ cinemascore...

JW: There are very few perfect movies. "The Court Jester","One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Godfather" I & II... The list does not go on and on.


I...

...cannot begin to explain the deep and abiding love I have for "The Court Jester." I'm pretty sure at one point in my youth I had a goodly percentage of this film memorized. Yes; even the whole "vessel with a pestle" tongue-twister. I probably reference this movie at least once a week (if only to myself because no one outside of my family understands -- I mean, when I've had a rough day and nothing seems to be working right, I'm not actually going to "thrrrrrrrow myself from the highest turret!" And when I find myself mixing up words, as I so often do, I'm not actually crazy when I start spouting "hand-ker-heart! Heart-ker-chief!" Ok. Maybe a little crazy.)

So I may have doubly-fangirled out because OMG JOSS WHEDON THINKS MY FAVORITEST MOVIE IS A PERFECT MOVIE!!!!

My life is complete. Well, almost.

I still need to see "The Avengers" in proper 2D. Except now, I fear, I will be painfully aware of every buttocks shot.

Metafilter, you have ruined me.
posted by paisley sheep at 6:21 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Finally got around to watching it today. Only thing I really have to add is that Ruffalo's Banner was the best, and this was the first hulk out of the three movies where the CGI Hulk seemed to be recognizably the same actor as Banner, if that makes any sense.

Also, this was pretty much the best possible superhero movie. It pretty much perfectly captures everything that makes marvel comics great and a lot of what makes them awful.
posted by empath at 6:48 PM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ruffalo's Banner was the best

Totally. One wonders why so many previous versions couldn't manage to recognize that the Hulk is just the 2 year old inside of all of us, ready to burst into a tantrum at a moments notice.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:03 PM on May 10, 2012


Ruffalo's Banner was the best

Yes, he built the character into a person, with a touch of pathos, humanity and quiet charm. But he had a lot of solid actors to bounce off too.

If they make a Hulk movie with him, there needs to be a solid cast in the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 PM on May 10, 2012


The Young Avengers!
posted by the_artificer at 2:18 AM on May 11, 2012


A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters.

She is an agent of SHIELD.
She is an Agent of SHIELD who is not Nick Fury.
She is an Agent of SHIELD who is not Hill and is not needed on the bridge and is a major character, with an existing relationship with Banner.

It made sense to me.
posted by Mezentian at 5:24 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


That and she's totally fine and capable of putting a bullet in Banner if he starts getting out of hand.

It's amazing what people will find fault with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:46 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That and she's totally fine and capable of putting a bullet in Banner if he starts getting out of hand."

Well, trying to anyway. I strongly suspect that if she shot Banner the bullet would bounce off the Other Guy's head.
posted by sotonohito at 6:31 AM on May 11, 2012


Given that Banner said he shot himself in the head and survived, I think that's pretty safe to say.
posted by empath at 6:49 AM on May 11, 2012


elizardbits: "Some other people didn't like that "He's adopted." joke.

I've seen people claiming it's as offensive as if Thor had said "he's gay" or "he's black" and I had to leave the internets for a while because wtf.
"

Eh, I can see the argument there. A lot of people who are adopted do have issues with being treated like they're not real family and normalizing that can be hurtful. If you're stuck on "as offensive as", maybe try "offensive in a similar way to"?

I'll grant that interpretation did not occur to me at the time. My response was that it's out of character for Thor, even sticking to just the characterization shown onscreen and leaving comic book baggage out of it. I don't think Thor would use "adopted" as code for "thus, no longer worth defending," both culturally and because of the way their relationship is.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:12 AM on May 11, 2012


Well, trying to anyway. I strongly suspect that if she shot Banner the bullet would bounce off the Other Guy's head.

Sure, but they didn't have idea that was possible at the time. Having Banner accompanied by someone who would kill him before he completed transforming seems logical. Black Window had no problem with that, as shown in the scene where she retrieved him.

Now, why they'd bring him aboard the ridiculously large, expensive and vulnerable special effect HeliCarrier as opposed to setting up a remote work station...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 AM on May 11, 2012


Now, why they'd bring him aboard the ridiculously large, expensive and vulnerable special effect HeliCarrier as opposed to setting up a remote work station...

There's a point at which there is so much ridiculous and implausible bullshit thrown around that it kind of creates its own reality, much like the lead up to the Iraq War.
posted by empath at 7:25 AM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I liked the movie anyway.

I know you were all waiting for that.
posted by Edison Carter at 7:29 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think Thor would use "adopted" as code for "thus, no longer worth defending," both culturally and because of the way their relationship is.

I didn't see Thor as implying that "adopted" was code for anything like that. I saw it as Thor simply saying that he didn't share any genetic material with Loki, i.e. even though he's a dick, he's my brother, but it's not like we share any dick genes or anything like that. Pointing out that Loki is effectively adopted is Thor's way of having his cake and eating it, too: he can say that Loki is worth defending as his brother, while also separating himself from Loki's treachery and bloodlust.

I'm not familiar with Thor in the comics, so I didn't realize how out of character that really was. As a relative newcomer to that character, within the universe of the movie, I liked the idea that Thor can be a little wry.

...

As for BW "showing Hulk his room": I saw that as part and parcel of BW's job as a handler of high-interest, high-danger targets, plus it's also a way the audience gets to know both BW and Whedon's version of Dr. Banner. It never occurred to me that there was anything particularly feminine or depowered about showing people their offices, especially since she's showing him his laboratory, and not a room at a spa or whatever.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:46 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh, I can see the argument there.

My point is that it's a shitty argument that will alienate the very people the arguer is trying to enlist the support of. No adopted people have ever been beaten to death for being adopted, or been forbidden from marrying nonadopted people, or had laws made to restrict their human rights. One can certainly say that it could be seen as an offensively othering statement without having to make ridiculously unequal comparisons.


My response was that it's out of character for Thor, even sticking to just the characterization shown onscreen and leaving comic book baggage out of it. I don't think Thor would use "adopted" as code for "thus, no longer worth defending," both culturally and because of the way their relationship is.

Yes, exactly. It's kind of jarringly OOC, especially as it was clearly done for the lulz.
posted by elizardbits at 9:37 AM on May 11, 2012


If you want to be generous (and I do!), you could say Thor meant "he's adopted" as shorthand for, "He's different -- I and the rest of my family don't approve of him killing mortals -- but he's is my brother and there's a limit to what I'll let you say about him."

If it didn't come across the way he meant it to all of us on Midgard, it's hardly the first cultural misunderstanding he's made here. We also don't smash our glasses in a restaurant to request a refill.
posted by straight at 9:38 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Young Avengers!

I demand a high school yearbook photo of Agent Coulson as well!
posted by straight at 9:40 AM on May 11, 2012


I demand a high school yearbook photo of Agent Coulson as well!

Nick Fury got blood all over it while trying to motivate the football team.
posted by Etrigan at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, exactly. It's kind of jarringly OOC, especially as it was clearly done for the lulz.

It was a Joss-tastic quip, but I didn't find it OOC.

Clearly, in the films (and the comics) very time Loki fucks up and stabs him in the back, Thor takes Loki back, as a brother.

Why can't adopted people look at the whole narrative?
posted by Mezentian at 6:13 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Avengers caused $160 billion in damage to New York.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 AM on May 12, 2012


The Avengers caused $160 billion in damage to New York.

Except it was make believe.

And downloading of Avengers cost $160 trillion in losses.
posted by Mezentian at 7:30 AM on May 12, 2012


Except it was make believe.

Thank you for making that clear to everyone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read the 'he's adopted' thing as Thor saying explaining why they are different, but he still seems to have the same obligations and commitment to him as a brother.
posted by empath at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone give me a run down on whats coming up in the marvel movies? Who the villains are, etc. I assume Leader will be the villain in the next Hulk movie? Who were the guys after the credits in the avenger movie? Who is left for iron man to fight?
posted by empath at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2012


Nothing much is known about the villains of upcoming Marvel movies. Ben Kingsley will be playing the villain of Iron Man 3, but they haven't said anything about who he'll be playing. Iron Man doesn't really have that many great villains: the Mandarin is a classic, but they've been avoiding him for obvious reasons. I'm holding out on the Ghost. The guy at the end of the Avengers credits was this guy, which strongly suggests that they'll be modifying this storyline for Avengers 2 (or a Guardians of the Galaxy movie). There is also a bit of speculation out there about which other Marvel heroes will be receiving movies. Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, a Daredevil reboot, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are all rumors that have some merit to them.
posted by painquale at 2:40 PM on May 12, 2012


Isn't the Extremis storyline up next in Iron Man? No idea how they're going play the villain for that.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:03 PM on May 12, 2012


A BW bit that bothered me was when, out of a room of heros, she is assigned to show the new person to their quarters.

This could have been played differently. But for the scene's intended purpose (continue to build rapport/interaction between Banner and Romanoff) I'm not sure how to make it work without ordering Black Widow to remain in the room with Banner: she is not going to volunteer to handle him, because the Hulk scares her and she wants to get the hell away from him.

To me Romanoff and Banner were the surprise highlight of the movie and their relationship among its most interesting: Romanoff sympathizes with Banner, thinks he's a decent guy, and tries to treat him with professional respect, but at the same time she's absolutely terrified that he's going to Hulk out any second. In turn Banner toward her is apologetic (that she's so scared of him she can't hide it and he can't do anything about it because she's right) and resentful (that she's the representative that has sucked him back into a dangerous situation, that she's pretending the situation and her fear are under control when they're not).

The culmination of both their storylines is when Black Widow accepts Banner/Hulk as a teammate before the final battle with the "I've seen worse"/"Sorry"/"No, we could use a little worse" exchange: He's again apologetic that he's scary, but this time she acknowledges that her fear is manageable, that his scariness can be put to good use, and she's willing to believe that Banner can control/direct the Hulk scariness enough to make him a useful ally. It's her bravest moment in the movie.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:13 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having seen the movie again, there is subtle relationship between. BW brought him and said he'd just be doing research. But things got out of hand, Banner was injured and he was probably angry at BW for putting him in this situation, hence the Hulk being pissed at her.

Who were the guys after the credits in the avenger movie?

That was Thanos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


painquale: "the Mandarin is a classic, but they've been avoiding him for obvious reasons."

With the terrorist group in the first movie being "The Ten Rings" I kind of thought they might be setting up a future appearance for him.
posted by the_artificer at 9:42 PM on May 12, 2012


It's a shame the OED didn't have any obscure racial slurs Loki could have revived for the masses during his conversation with Nick Fury.

Blackamoor? Blackguard?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:09 AM on May 13, 2012


It's a shame the OED didn't have any obscure racial slurs Loki could have revived for the masses during his conversation with Nick Fury.

Hm. What if Loki had spoken of himself as being a blueblood?

Sidenote: weren't there racial slurs against Blade in the Blade movies? I certainly remember Ron Perlman asking Blade if he could "blush."
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:45 PM on May 13, 2012


Sticherbeast: "Sidenote: weren't there racial slurs against Blade in the Blade movies? I certainly remember Ron Perlman asking Blade if he could "blush.""

To me that line comes across as a jab at Blade's not-fully-human/not-fully-vampire Daywalker status. Vampires are pale because they don't have a mortal's typical bloodflow to capillaries close to the skin's surface, so blushing, which is an increase in that bloodflow, is right out. Because Daywalkers are so rare, there's not a hard and fast list of which vampiric and which mortal traits they're supposed to have, and so Perlman's character turns that general ignorance around into a bit of an insult to Blade's freak status.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2012


radwolf, I'm pretty sure the point of that insult is that it works both ways as a racial slur and a half-vampire-freakazoid slur.

And in case it isn't clear, I meant "it's a shame the OED didn't have any obscure racial slurs" as an ironic way of saying it's a shame Whedon have the same reservations about reviving synonyms for the C-word that I hope he'd have for reviving synonyms for the N-word.
posted by straight at 7:31 PM on May 13, 2012


Loki didn't have a list of sins that Fury committed, to get him in supposedly vulnerable moment where a racist epithet would add a little zing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know, I just wanted to take the piss out of your sarcasm by playing it- straight.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:28 PM on May 13, 2012


Not enough Tony/Steve bitchslapping, nor did I buy that they didn't work well together at first, but it delivered.
posted by The Whelk at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2012


Loki didn't have a list of sins that Fury committed, to get him in supposedly vulnerable moment where a racist epithet would add a little zing.

Especially since said "zing" is also supposed to make us think Loki is a giant douche, as contrasted with a cool villain like the Joker. Whiny, entitled, treacherous jerks like Loki are the sort of people who mock women for being women. This made it all the more satisfying when Loki got his comeuppance, over and over and over and over.

IIRC, right after the "mewling" line, doesn't BW suddenly figure out that Loki wants to use The Hulk to escape, and then she mockingly thanks him for his cooperation? There's a meta-joke in there about Loki trying to be this master mainpulator, but ultimately BW's too big for his schtick, leaving him to go "wh...what?" in his cage.

That said, I do also understand why people wouldn't want "mewling quim" (or its equivalent) in any pop culture item, especially in something as fluffy as The Avengers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:54 PM on May 14, 2012


It's pretty simple, really.

 "You don't tug on Superman's cape
  You don't spit into the wind
  You don't pull the mask off that ol' Lone Ranger
  And you don't mess around with 'quim.'"

posted by Eideteker at 2:22 PM on May 16, 2012


dear god there is a literally endless amount of avengers porn available
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


dude no the Endless porn is DC/Vertigo.
posted by Eideteker at 8:09 PM on May 17, 2012


I did a semi NSFW Endless show not long ago....
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 AM on May 18, 2012


« Older Al Jazeera is closing its Chinese bureau after the...  |  Delia Derbyshire, most famous ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments