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PRONOUNS AND ADVERBS MAKE HULK WANT SMASH
May 20, 2012 5:04 AM   Subscribe

AVENGERS IS JOSS WHEDON MOVIE. Film Crit Hulk counts the ways.
posted by Sebmojo (244 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The all caps and fake Hulk voice is consistently annoying and trite. While a decent review with good points, schtick overwhelms and grates, because the canonical version of Hulk isn't that articulate. The writer knows it, most readers know it, so there's there's underling strain of intelligent thought that destroys the Hulk persona. So why write in it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on May 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


I dunno, I think the humor comes from the fact that the writer didn't bother at all to keep up the pretense of the "hulk-voice" except to write in all-caps. The joke is that writing in character as the hulk would be terrible, so he doesn't and says he does. (And maybe it just brings back fond memories of this)
posted by Nomiconic at 5:22 AM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


So why write in it?

Because by writing in it, FCH reached out to a huge audience of people looking for memes and in-jokes and turned them towards legitimate, serious, articulate criticism. I think he's one of the best critics alive today; considering the New Yorker just commissioned a piece by him, I'd bet a lot of other people agree.

You're privileged enough, Brandon, to know something of intellectual culture, so you're seeing this as "critic decides to dumb down". But FCH rooted himself in pop culture and grew up. His target isn't people who know Pauline Kael and Anthony Lane, it's people who've probably never read a critic other than sifting through RottenTomatoes looking to either validate their opinions or yell at people who disagree.

What matters isn't that he religiously follows the rules of the meme. What matters is that he is recognizably enough a meme, and that he is a fantastic critic. Which he is.

He's pretty much the only critic who could convince me that Joss Whedon is any good. Reading the top part of this article has convinced me to rewatch Dr. Horrible, and to give Buffy and maybe The Avengers a shot. Isn't that the job of a critic? To talk about what they love so well and so persuasively that you start understanding why people love a thing? Whedon's been one of my bogeymen for years, but if FCH says he's great, I'm trusting FCH (in a way I totally don't trust my Whedon-fanfriends). I'd say he's doing his job pretty damn well.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:24 AM on May 20, 2012 [50 favorites]


Well said, Rory.

This was an excellent review. I'm glad he addressed that "mewling quim" (ugh) line without being too dismissive. I wonder if most critics either didn't understand it or missed it entirely.
posted by zarq at 5:48 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


But... but... thoughtful analysis of The Avengers? That’s impossible! The Avengers is a ‘critic-proof’ movie: it's not going to be subjected to much in-depth critical analysis. Not of its aesthetics, anyway. Somebody might write about how it changed the movie business (if it does), or study the mythology of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," or examine the technologies used in making it, but they're not going to study the filmmaking, which is serviceable but little more.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:49 AM on May 20, 2012


I like this Film Critic Hulk. It's like a moviecentric long-form Dinosaur Comics minus the gratuitous absurdity.
posted by R. Schlock at 5:54 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really surprised how hard this is to read with the lack of lower case letters.
posted by fightoplankton at 6:19 AM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm glad he addressed that "mewling quim" (ugh) line without being too dismissive.

What? Did you not realize how critical that line was?

It was totally shocking, unexpected, and vile.... a verbal assault that left anyone with a decent vocabulary reeling a little. And then Black Widow instantly turns it around: her flash of insight making that verbal attack the major reason Loki's gambit fails. She's not able to completely neutralize the play, because of all the other strong personalities, but ameliorates it enough to blunt what would have been a horrific loss into an approximate tie.

As far as I can see, that single line is the linchpin of the entire movie, the fulcrum around which the plot pivots. It is vile, yes, but it is not used lightly.
posted by Malor at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2012 [16 favorites]


You're privileged enough, Brandon, to know something of intellectual culture, so you're seeing this as "critic decides to dumb down".

No, I view it as ridiculous and grating, especially the all caps. It is a good review, but it's silly and distracting to hold so rigidly to the elements of the schtick.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


How can you tell that The Avengers is a Joss Whedon movie? Because it sucks.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


As far as I can see, that single line is the linchpin of the entire movie, the fulcrum around which the plot pivots

But...surely the fulcrum was Black Widow's bottom, going by the number of shots of it on view? Oh god. Have I missed the entire point of a superhero movie? Nooooooooo. *sobs softly to herself*
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:29 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This doesn't read as as a review so much as a plea.
posted by Ritchie at 6:30 AM on May 20, 2012


I saw it last night. It was awesome. Now that's how you do The Hulk.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:30 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is an excellent review. Worth struggling through the all-caps presentation.
posted by meinvt at 6:33 AM on May 20, 2012


It was totally shocking, unexpected, and vile.... a verbal assault that left anyone with a decent vocabulary reeling a little

I have a decent vocabulary, I know what that word means, and it wasn't viscerally shocking to me, any more than if someone had an equivalently horrendous word in Spanish. In US English, the language the movie is in, it's just a syllable.
posted by escabeche at 6:34 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


But...surely the fulcrum was Black Widow's bottom, going by the number of shots of it on view?

Having seen the movie twice, it's odd that people are claiming there were so many shots of her ass or that's all there was to the character. Nothing could be further from the truth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:37 AM on May 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hulk Film Critic also has a posting up on The New Yorker’s blog. It’s kind of weird comparing his writing to Anthony Lane’s vapid, phoned-in review.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:41 AM on May 20, 2012


Ok just finished the article the caps was a really odd choice.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:45 AM on May 20, 2012


This doesn't read as as a review so much as a plea.

Yeah, I think the review itself is not very good, and the schtickiness of the Hulk voice kind of camouflages the fact that the actual message is not very thoughtful or insightful. I was kind of looking forward to FCH's analysis of how they think Black Widow is a well-rounded full character, since I thought she was pretty flat and boring, but the review simply asserted that she's great.

It does feel more like a not-particularly-interesting plea to see the film than a breakdown of how it's working, and the all-caps-with-occasional-lapse-into-Hulk-grammar strikes me as a lot of smoke and mirrors designed to obfuscate the fact that there's not much insight under it.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:48 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having seen the movie twice, it's odd that people are claiming there were so many shots of her ass

I assume those people, like me, saw it in 3-D, in which format it eventually becomes a little comical how right-there-in-your-popcorn it is.
posted by escabeche at 6:59 AM on May 20, 2012


My problem with "mewling quim" was it was a writer's moment – a bit when the screenplay sticks out. You could say it's really Loki showing off his verbal panache, but it doesna't work that way for me; I just hear Joss Whedon being prolix. It doesn't ruin the meal that is the film, but it is a lump of something that can't quite be chewed. A few more revisions would have found the phrase right on the button.
posted by argybarg at 7:02 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


It does feel more like a not-particularly-interesting plea to see the film than a breakdown of how it's working, and the all-caps-with-occasional-lapse-into-Hulk-grammar strikes me as a lot of smoke and mirrors designed to obfuscate the fact that there's not much insight under it.

I thought it wasn't so much a review, per say, as a breakdown of all the parts of the script that were great (and not in a "wasn't it cool when Hulk couldn't pick up Thor's hammer [it was epically cool] kind of way) but pointing out the little characterizations and flourishes that Whedon does, honestly, really well. Most of them were things I picked up watching the movie last night, but a couple didn't really strike me but were interesting to read (I knew I thought the guy who played Loki did a good job but I didn't realize how many notes he had to hit as the article points out). It doesn't talk about sets, or costumes, or anything other than the screenplay and briefly touching on the cinematography as it relates to the action being "well written" (which I totally agree with).

I'm not the hugest Joss Whedon fan, although I think he is an excellent writer who knows how to work in and simultaneously subvert our expectations of genre and this article combined with seeing the movie makes me want to give Buffy a shot. Oddly enough I just finished re-watching Firefly without realizing that he was doing Avengers until like last week so maybe it's time to dive into his filmography.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Among the several good points Hulk makes is the notion that the flaws were essential to get us to what worked in the film. I think he's right. The mission is to take four iconic characters, another 5 or 6 very well known ones, and bring them together in a balanced and emotionally resonant way to create an ensemble piece where everyone's internal motivations converge, and to that in a way that the audience cares about. That's a daunting task. Daunting enough that to do it successfully at all is quite an accomplishment, and Whedon did it very successfully. Yeah there were distractions and slow points and moments of too much exposition, but I'd really love to see a script that avoids that and still does all that needs to be done to make an Avengers movie. It's tough to imagine.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:05 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


My problem with "mewling quim" was it was a writer's moment – a bit when the screenplay sticks out.

It was kind of a writer's moment, but that just goes with the territory with Whedon. I loved the line, personally. Anyway, Tony Stark kind of justifies all that slightly overwrought Asgardian dialoge with the "Shakespeare in the park" joke, which was hilarious.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:07 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Malor, I saw the movie in a packed theatre full of teenagers and young kids and their parent, many of whom i suspect had no idea what the word quim meant because none of them reacted to it aloud. The adults I saw it with didn't know when asked what they thought of the line later.

I think the scene was effective, if wholly predictable. I certainly didn't think it was "devastating" or shocking although I agree that's probably what was intended.

The line felt out of place in a mostly monosyllabic script, and it annoyed me that Whedon chose to go with such a gendered insult when he didn't have to.
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2012


Maybe Hulk could have gotten his cousin to do some editing for this review. She's got a JD, she knows how to write.
posted by demiurge at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


And as for the review -- what's interesting is that for me, as a giant Whedon fan, the Avengers was notable for not being very Whedon-y. There were these great moments scattered throughout ("I'm always angry," "Puny god," schwarma, Galaga, "none of that worth ten of you," "I get that reference," etc.) where I remembered that Joss wrote this movie. But it felt like each of these was separated by twenty minutes of unearned portent or loud, grinding set-up for a final battle that, apart from Hawkeye's no-look shot, was pretty much by the numbers. Nobody in my audience stood up and cheered when they panned around the six Avengers.

Look, it's certainly the case that this was a better movie than it would have been if somebody other than Whedon had made it. It was better than Iron Man. It was better than Captain America. It was better than Dark Knight. (I remember the first Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie as being better than this, but that might just be nostalgia.)

But it's not as good as I wanted a Joss Whedon Avengers movie to be. I wanted him to screw with the conventions. I wanted him to make a superhero movie that didn't end with a giant battle against anonymous hordes of B-list H.R. Giger creatures. I wanted him to make a movie where (as in all of his television work) at least one character has something more complicated going on than "I momentarily seemed to be flawed until 90 minutes later I learned about the virtues of teamwork and self-sacrifice." I would have liked to see a movie where Captain America was a bit more of an asshole but nonetheless an effective leader, or where Tony Stark is like "screw it, the world's finished, I'm gonna get really wasted and watch it happen" and the Avengers win anyway, or where Thor and Loki give the impression they met more than 5 minutes before the movie started.

And probably this is impossible. A giant superhero movie is kind of like a flying battleship -- to ask it to be graceful and flexible is asking a bit much, when you ought to be amazed it flies at all.
posted by escabeche at 7:26 AM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Spoilers ahead for a peak moment in "The Avengers", and for a couple of great jokes in "Firefly":



























One thing that Joss Whedon has done a couple of times that I really like is creating the expectation that you're about to see one specific trope come into play, and then undercutting the trope so quickly that the surprise itself becomes a source of humor. In "Firefly", there's a scene where a captured villain that they're about to leave tied up as they escape makes a bog-standard speech about how his search for revenge will be remorseless, FOOLS, and you think you're watching the setup for a recurring villain. But no: the Captain kicks him into the intake of the ship's engine instead.

Or, another instance: a villain's got a gun to someone's head, and it looks like your basic tense standoff situation is developing. Until another character walks into the scene and shoots the villain in the head without even slowing down.

So, the scene in "The Avengers" when Loki begins to castigate the Hulk, that's an interesting moment to me. Because we all know, right, that the Hulk isn't subject to being cowed by mere verbal threats? But Loki launches into his monologue, and we're so conditioned by our experience with other movies that we kind of think that we're in for a long monologue, maybe even one that results in the Hulk being driven from the room in humiliation and shame (because the speech is all about the two character's disparity of worth). But then, no: Hulk grabs him and slams him into the floor four or five times, incredibly fast.

That scene would've tipped me off that it was a Whedon project, even if I hadn't known already.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:28 AM on May 20, 2012 [25 favorites]


*franatically searches for Critical Examination Arrow*
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wanted him to make a superhero movie that didn't end with a giant battle against anonymous hordes of B-list H.R. Giger creatures.

I remember reading an interview where he said we would like to make The Avengers 2 'smaller and more personal' which seems to be pretty much what you want.

Whedon said in a latter interview that he wasn't sure if he would direct the second movie so the point may be moot even if Marvel said okay to that.
posted by Memo at 7:41 AM on May 20, 2012


But then, no: Hulk grabs him and slams him into the floor four or five times, incredibly fast.

That scene was so cathartic it's ridiculous.
posted by R. Schlock at 7:42 AM on May 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


a peak moment in "The Avengers", and for a couple of great jokes in "Firefly":

Yeah, moments like those are a great example of what I meant when I said subverting the expectations of genre. I think it's a really great feeling when a writer does that to you, it keeps you on your toes and engaged rather than just kind of mentally checking out like you do in a Michael Bay movie or something. In fact I think that Hulk moment you talked about was one of the big reasons that during the end battle (while pretty by-the-numbers) I didn't suffer from battle fatigue in the way I usually do in those movies that culminate in a massive set piece (I'm looking at you, Transformers).
posted by nathancaswell at 7:42 AM on May 20, 2012


it annoyed me that Whedon chose to go with such a gendered insult when he didn't have to

Wait. You're complaining that the character who wants to enslave the entire earth and who is specifically at that moment demonstrating his vileness by boasting that he will have a female character raped and killed by her close friend (whom he has enslaved) only to restore that friend's consciousness so that he can be aware of the awful thing he has done before he, too, is killed--uses a "gendered insult"?

You are aware that we're not supposed to like Loki--right?
posted by yoink at 7:43 AM on May 20, 2012 [39 favorites]


You are aware that we're not supposed to like Loki--right?

Direct quote from my wife when going to see the movie the second time: "Ok, I'm going to stare only at Loki this time."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm afraid that just this once, Hulk and I will have to agree to disagree. I was force fed 3 episodes of Buffy by my enthusiastic brother, but just never got it.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:49 AM on May 20, 2012


Direct quote from my wife when going to see the movie the second time: "Ok, I'm going to stare only at Loki this time."

Liking Tom Hiddleston is quite distinct from liking Loki--and speaks only to your wife's excellent taste.

Seriously, complaining that Loki uses unpleasant language is like complaining that people in the Sopranos swear a lot and aren't good role models for our children.
posted by yoink at 7:55 AM on May 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is one of the few cases where I'm waiting on deleted material cause they apparently contained half the stuff I wanted to see( Steve Rogers being sad cause he is in The Future) and cause every so often it felt like the movie had skipped a scene or three.
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


A month(ish) down and we're still focused on mewling quim and ScarJo's butt?

Really?
posted by Mezentian at 8:01 AM on May 20, 2012


At the very least we need to move on to other butts.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


But the arm pron!
THE ARM PRON!

That's all I have heard about.
posted by Mezentian at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having seen the movie twice, it's odd that people are claiming there were so many shots of her ass

Seriously. It's pretty silly, considering how much time was also devoted to long, loving shots of Chris Evans' butt, and Jeremy Renner's butt, and Chris Hemsworth's everything ever. Basically the only butt without screen time was Nick Fury's, and I'm sure that's just because he wore a long coat for the entire movie.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on May 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Please, this is the Jermey Renner's arms movie. Ghost protocol is the Jermey Renner's butt movie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Joss Whedon hates black butts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on May 20, 2012


Having seen the movie twice, it's odd that people are claiming there were so many shots of her ass

The only butt I noticed and made me think 'That's deliberate male gaze' was the final scene when Cobie Smulders walked away from the camera.
posted by Memo at 8:22 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry Hulk: ac;dr

It was better than Dark Knight.

No. It was not. You take that back.

Re "mewling quim", this may have been the first time that I've ever gone home from a movie and looked up a word from it in the dictionary. Quim is a vile thing to call a woman but in the context of the movie I think I was more effective than his calling her the "c" word (which everybody would have understood but also would have seemed unlikely to have been a part of Loki's vocabulary).
posted by fuse theorem at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is one of the few cases where I'm waiting on deleted material cause they apparently contained half the stuff I wanted to see( Steve Rogers being sad cause he is in The Future) and cause every so often it felt like the movie had skipped a scene or three.

Yeah, I was really hoping for a scene with Steve making good on his promise to take the British Intelligence lady out for dinner/dancing, except in a nursing home instead of the (demolished in 1965) Stork Club.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:39 AM on May 20, 2012


In US English, the language the movie is in, it's just a syllable.

I'm as American as it gets and it shocked me.

The gendered-ness of his whole speech was very deliberate. Actually, for all his flaws, I have never felt Whedon used gendered insults lightly. They're always very deliberate.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Apparently that very scene was filmed but not put into the theatrical release, so I've got to wait a while to get my Steve is sad but so noble fix
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apparently that very scene was filmed but not put into the theatrical release, so I've got to wait a while to get my Steve is sad but so noble fix

Yeah, the movie originally clocked in at a little over 3 hours before being edited down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2012


The "mewling quim" line threw me out of it because it felt like a weird bit of pandering.

Loki's leading an alien army to conquer the Earth, he's a lying, treacherous, murderous slime, but now you really hate him because he's a sexist!

It's a bizarre way to undercut any affection for a bad guy. Mechanical. I hated it. I get the idea of ending any "but he's such a magnificent bastard, I kinda want him to win!" sentiment, but it felt cheap to me. If it worked for other folks, hey, fine. A minor quibble with a movie I was tremendously pleased with.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:47 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen the Avengers yet, and stopped after the first spoiler, and I haven't read the comments above because I don't want to see any others...but I just want to say: Hulk really gets Buffy. Good lord I love that show. I didn't really get into it until it was almost over, so I wasn't an early fan... But damn I love, love, love it.

On another point: I'm so tired of hearing how *awwweeeesoooome* Whedon's female characters are...so, so, tired of it...but damn they are so good!. And though feminism and I are on the outs, it really is just damn ludicrous how rare good female action/scifi/etc characters are. It's like...hey, here's this world in which, y'know, the rules are suspended...even fairly regular guys can take on several attackers and kick their butts, action is cinematic, the good guys always win, people can outrun explosions, cast spells, travel faster than light...but, heh, I mean, girls can't fight and lead and be cool of course. I mean, that would just be crazy...

Recon I'll go see the Avengers today...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2012


I think I was more effective than his calling her the "c" word (which everybody would have understood but also would have seemed unlikely to have been a part of Loki's vocabulary).

Actually, the q word is 18th century British slang that is now considered archaic. The c word dates back to Middle English and has a very close cognates with old Norwegian and Swedish words. If anything, Loki would have known the latter and not the former.
posted by jedicus at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes. Audiences don't have any difficulty understanding who the villain is. And we didn't need to hear him essentially calling a female character a whining c*nt to drive it home, either. I thought it was a low point of an otherwise enjoyable movie.
posted by zarq at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


*reckon

*reckon I'll recon the Avengers
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:53 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


But no: the Captain kicks him into the intake of the ship's engine instead.

The double-irony-backflip of that moment is, of course, the events leading up to 'don't fiddle with it'
posted by device55 at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The picture of Whedon in front of the green screen (or on stage?) with Captain America's shield is pretty awesome.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:58 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It just occurred to me that some shewarma place in midtown is going to make a killing if they play thier cards right.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I miss Hulk speaking in proper hulk speak, when he was all "puny Banner" this and "smash" that... that Hulk was strongest one there was, but he's not even in the comics anymore so all-caps and refering to oneself in the third person it is... Though TBH for the later we could just get Dr. Doom to review things.

SO MUCH SO THAT HULK HAS TO SAY THAT BUFFY IS QUITE POSSIBLY, NAY, QUITE PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST TELEVISION SHOWS OF ALL TIME. AND IF YOU NEED ANY CORROBORATION, WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT DAVID SIMON (CREATOR OF THE WIRE A.K.A. ANOTHER SHOW THAT GETS BANDIED ABOUT AS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME) AGREES WITH THAT SENTIMENT.

Well, they are both great at balancing an ensemble cast. Really great at it, in fact, so they have that in common. And in the case of Whedon that leads to his ability to do this...

BECAUSE WHEN THAT INFAMOUS CIRCLE PAN OCCURS AROUND OUR SIX HEROES, THE AUDIENCE STANDS UP AND CHEERS, NOT BECAUSE THEY'RE SIMPLY THE AVENGERS COMING TOGETHER, BUT BECAUSE IT'S THESE AVENGERS COMING TOGETHER. THERE'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. BECAUSE AT THAT POINT WE'VE GOTTEN TO SEE HOW THEY ALL GOT THERE. TOGETHER. IN THAT SINGULAR MOMENT. IF YOU DOUBT HULK, THINK ABOUT HOW MANY TIMES THAT SAME EXACT SHOT WAS USED IN THE ADVERTISING AND HOW LITTLE EFFECT IT HAD BEYOND "HEY, IT'S THE AVENGERS ALL TOGETHER IN A CLICHE SHOT!" BUT COMING AFTER TWO HOURS OF MOVIE WHERE WE'VE SEEN THEM REALLY SUSS OUT THEIR STUFF? COMING AFTER THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT OF SETTING UP THE BATTLE?

Which pretty much nails why the movie works.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Loved this part about Black Widow:

LOOK PEOPLE, IT'S NOT MAGIC. IT'S NOT EVEN THAT HARD. IT ALL COMES FROM A PLACE OF RESPECT. YOU BASICALLY SIT THERE AS A WRITER AND SAY THE FOLLOWING: "I will not take the easy route because I assume that is all that is expected of me. I will make this character a fully-realized person. I will give her a range of emotions. I will give her capacities beyond being sexy and kicking ass. I will give her great moments. I will not make her fight the other woman. I will give her the same stuff I'm required to give all the other characters." THAT'S IT.
posted by mediareport at 9:21 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"When the villain uses a vile word to insult the hero, that means the author is a bad person" - William Shakespeare
posted by vibrotronica at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Harvey Jerkwater: Loki's leading an alien army to conquer the Earth, he's a lying, treacherous, murderous slime, but now you really hate him because he's a sexist!

I took it more like this. He's obviously an evil guy with a pretty crazy nefarious plot to enslave the human race. Yawn, that kind of character is all over the place in these kinds of movies, and I get that he is an evil dude, and that I shouldn't like him. However, in addition to these grandiose schemes, he is also quite capable of a different kind of evil. The kind on the very personal level, where he will threaten a woman with rape and torture to her face. This is a very different kind of evil, and it makes the villain evil on the level that isn't just Brain ("the same thing we do every night -- try to take over the world!"). You've even just heard that he killed 80 people in 2 days, but you didn't really see any of his murderous rampage, so you're just thinking "whatever, he's evil, fine". This really shows you how evil he is, and what kind of atrocities he is probably capable of.
posted by King Bee at 9:34 AM on May 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Loki's leading an alien army to conquer the Earth, he's a lying, treacherous, murderous slime, but now you really hate him because he's a sexist!

I don't think that's the point of the scene at all. I think the point of the scene is you hate him because now it's personal. Desire to enslave all of humankind is pretty abstract. I mean, sure, we want the good guys to defeat him, but it's all at a very abstract (even god-like) level. His attack on Black Widow shows just how filled with the desire to humiliate his victims he is. This is the scene that makes us cheer when Hulk flails him into a pulp; this is the scene that makes him something other than a token "bad guy."

Audiences don't have any difficulty understanding who the villain is. And we didn't need to hear him essentially calling a female character a whining c*nt to drive it home, either.

Yeah, that's why having Henry Fonda's character shoot that kid in "Once Upon a Time in the West" was such a bad idea. I mean, we knew he was the bad guy, we don't need to see dangerous gun play as well.

And that's why having Darth Vader cut Luke's hand off was such a bad move. I mean, heck, we know he's the bad guy, we don't need to see a father abusing his son!

And Richard the Third killing the princes in the tower? I mean, jeez, talk about overkill!

Complaining that a fictional bad buy does a bad thing just seems utterly bizarre to me, unless the suggestion is that we're secretly meant to enjoy it (a la torture porn films)--which quite clearly does not fit this scene from The Avengers. If we were meant to be on Loki's side in the scene we would not immediately see that his insult in fact had no effect whatsoever on its target, and that she has simply been manipulating him. So not only is it quite clearly meant to be a sign of Loki's vileness that he uses this insult but we are also immediately shown that to a genuine heroine like Black Widow, insults of this kind have no purchase.

The only butt I noticed and made me think 'That's deliberate male gaze' was the final scene when Cobie Smulders walked away from the camera.

The only shot I thought "hey, gratuitous butt-shot" about in the film is a close-up on Captain America's butt as he's working the punching bag. I think if a character is shown full body in medium-shot facing away from the camera and you think "wow, look at that butt!" it's not about the camera language, it's about your personal response to that particular butt.
posted by yoink at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Hey, nice simultaneity, King Bee--I shoulda previewed.
posted by yoink at 9:49 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I audibly gasped in the theater at Loki's insult, although I didn't hear anyone else react. But I thought it was awesome. Tom Hiddleston was amazing, both in Thor and The Avengers. He's the runt in a family of demigods, and the Whedon/Hiddleston take on his
Broken Trickster God personality manages to maintain a consistency established through myth, comics and film over the ages. And he rocks the rhinoceros beetle helmet. I know where Brandon B's wife is coming from on that score. Anyway my headcanon Loki would totally say and act just as he did in this film.

On my second viewing I tried to be more aware of butt screen-time as I really didn't notice anything overly obnoxious on first view, but again came away with the impression that Cap is at least equal to BW in top ass-billing. And as implied in an earlier thread, I never saw any headless rear-shots of either of them.
posted by obloquy at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2012


I was wondering if they'd used some manner of genetic trickery to get a younger Richard E. Grant.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


By the way, if anyone wants an all-time standard of gratuitous butt-shottery against which to rate anything done in The Avengers against, I would suggest this scene of Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment. Complaining about a few full-length body shots of Scarlett Johannsen seen from behind when even a reasonably enlightened director could have easily worked a "but she's a trained cat-burglar" justification for a scene similar to the CZJ one seems so petty...and tiny.
posted by yoink at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2012


The ScarJo butt-sighting in The Avengers is nowhere as good as the opening shot of Lost in Translation (So sorry I couldn't find a less hairy version of that scene but that's all I could find on the internet sorry again).
posted by elgilito at 10:10 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would suggest this scene

I will watch this scene several times to completely guarantee that I have an informed argument on this important issue we are discussing .
posted by nathancaswell at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question: What did Black Window say at the end of her scene in the warehouse with the Russians? It was French I think, sounded phonetically like "Ooge moi".

I know where Brandon B's wife is coming from on that score.

She did admit to ogling Robert Downey Jr. again, the second time around, because he is her "other husband" or some such and felt it would be disrespectful to ignore him.

Also, the Cap butt shot(and shoulders, don't forget the shoulders) was eagerly awaited by several female friends who went with us.

Comparatively, all the hetro men got to ogle were women in spandex where super agents with an intimate knowledge of how to kill you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:16 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like The Avengers is screwing over Battleship, so there's that in it's favour.

(Battleship may be the new movie that I despise sight unseen more than even the Transformers series.)
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's my take on Loki's use of a misogynist word: I think we can safely take the word as an indicator of bad character on Loki's part, and not as as an indicator of being an awesome bad-ass or something like that. I feel that way because the first interpretation is more consistent with a few of the character's other scenes.

First off: the scene in Germany, when he makes a crowd of people bow. His first statement after that: "There. Isn't that simpler?" This is a guy who believes in the intrinsic value of a hierarchy...that beings have position in a hierarchy not just by virtue of political happenstance, but by virtue of their essential identity.

And the (cut off in its prime) monologue that he launches into with the Hulk: "I am a GOD, you dull creature." His complaint of bullying isn't rooted in an objection that the Hulk is physically stronger than him...it's rooted in a complaint that the Hulk is inappropriately stronger than him...that the Hulk has overstepped the proper boundaries.

I've got no problem believe that this is a guy who believes in and supports the existence of the Patriarchy...hiearchical thinking at its most basic, because he benefits from it, and because he believes he should.
posted by Ipsifendus at 10:21 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Avengers" powered to another $55.1 million... "Battleship," which had built momentum coming into its U.S. bow by steaming to $220 million... Lionsgate's "What to Expect When You're Expecting," delivered a not-so-bouncing $10.5

I see what you did there.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:22 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question: What did Black Window say at the end of her scene in the warehouse with the Russians? It was French I think, sounded phonetically like "Ooge moi".

Bozhe moi - "my god"

Very similar to some quite rude french...
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I'm quite glad she had the line "I used to be Russian" because some Marvel magic seems to have removed all other trace of it.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on May 20, 2012


I disagree with escabeche that The Avengers should have been even more Whedonesque. That would appeal to a certain narrow demographic but I think it would have made it a lesser film for the larger audience. Whedon is best in small doses.
posted by Justinian at 10:26 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Battleship may be the new movie that I despise sight unseen more than even the Transformers series.)

I think that I saw the trailers for that stupid movie about ten times in the last six months, that was more than enough viewing time for me to feel OK about hating it without ever seeing it.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: Firefly. Overrated or MOST overrated?
posted by Justinian at 10:40 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


TBH I think Firefly is the only area in which I am 100% in alignment with actual proper Whedon fans: It was great stuff and a second season would have been amazing.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


So no one's mentioned my favorite bit in the movie: the scene that Banner rolls up on a motorcycle in Manhattan just in time for the big battle when the last time we saw him, he was naked in the ruins of a warehouse in who knows where. Where did the cycle come from? How did he know to drive to NYC? How did he get from wherever it was that he crashed in such a short time? What was he using for gas money? I love how Whedon doesn't ever bother to paper over a plot hole like that, 'cause if you're really worried about plot holes in an Avengers movie, you're just just never going to be happy.
posted by octothorpe at 11:22 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where did the cycle come from?

Lots of abandoned vehicles were in New York at that point.

How did he know to drive to NYC?

The big tear in the sky was hard to miss, especially if he knew they were up against magical beings. Either than or it was covered on every piece of media around

How did he get from wherever it was that he crashed in such a short time?

He crashed nearby.

What was he using for gas money?

Most vehicles have gas in them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where did the cycle come from?

I figured it was Deus ex Harry Dean Stanton.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I mean, they repo motorcycles, too, don't they?
posted by small_ruminant at 11:31 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


/shakes head

Ordinary fucking people.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]



Also I'm quite glad she had the line "I used to be Russian" because some Marvel magic seems to have removed all other trace of it.


She also mentions that she knows what mind control feels like sooooo hello Prequel movie? I got the impression from the monster opening weekend that GREENLIGHT ALL THE FILMS was happening.

Admittedly I know literally nothing about Black Widow soooooo
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


But the arm pron!
THE ARM PRON!


In the traditional post-Avengers "who was hottest?" discussion, I immediately said, "Hawkeye. Because he wasn't so... veiny... and... grossly distended."

Turns out that was not a good a conversation to have in a family restaurant.
posted by BrashTech at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


ANYWAY here's something that has been mentioned before but I think needs to be said again. This felt like COMICS. like 60s era Kirby comics with a big dollop of GEE FUCKING WHIZ. The last superhero movie that seemed to get the tone was the first Spiderman with the big colors and having-fun-but-not-making-fun-with-the-material and the general feeling of the Marvelverse movies before this one being Hey action/superhero movies don't have to be dumb and they don't have to be dour. They've all been pretty rollicking adventure narratives and that's really refreshing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Admittedly I know literally nothing about Black Widow soooooo

I dunno, I mean I've read a ton of comics with her in, and she's cool and all, but pretty much everything I know about her is up on screen - ex-Russian spy, works of sheild, does spy stuff and face kickings while wearing skintight black outfits.

They could do some cool stuff with her and Red Ghost and other wacky Marvel U. Soviet villains.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on May 20, 2012


AND HIS SUPER-APES
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the traditional post-Avengers "who was hottest?" discussion, I immediately said, "Hawkeye. Because he wasn't so... veiny... and... grossly distended."

just merge with the yaoi discussion downstream and we can achieve tumblratori
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on May 20, 2012


Why No One Want Make Hulk 2?

posted by Burhanistan at 12:01 PM on May 20, 2012


Avengers was great, and this review touches on a lot of why this movie works, but holy SHIT dude, put it back in your pants. I've enjoyed FCH when it's been linked, but it feels like aside from the caps, the bit was all but dropped to foam at the mouth about how great Whedon is, so much so that everything he highlights is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Thor being an outsider, Loki as a character, the quim line, EVERYTHING seems to be the thing that ties the whole thing together, and btw isn't Whedon a fucking genius?

Look, Whedon did a stellar job on Avengers, and he makes some fun stuff, but at the heart of it, Whedon is a Tarantino: he has a voice that works really well sometimes ("Pulp Fiction", "Firefly") but seems way too pleased with itself when not reigned in ("Death Proof", "Dr. Horrible"). I get when something resonates with you, you can't internalize that it's just not for everyone, and that they just aren't looking hard enough (My girlfriend will most likely stab me if I bring up watching Community too many more times), but holy moly dude, dial it back.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2012


I disagree with escabeche that The Avengers should have been even more Whedonesque. That would appeal to a certain narrow demographic but I think it would have made it a lesser film for the larger audience.

Hey, I didn't say it would have been more popular, just that it would have been better.
posted by escabeche at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2012


"Death Proof"

Death Proof is about showing us how awesome Zoe Bell is, because she is awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


We had a sitter and finally saw Avengers this weekend and it was the best action movie I've seen since Die Hard. And Die Hard was comparatively easy because the only hero you had to develop was Bruce Willis. I think these group movies are so hard to do for just the reason HULK says, you have to spend enough time with each character to care about them. That's why I didn't really care that much about the X-Men franchise. I havent read the comics, don't have a history with the characters, and don't have an emotional attachment before I come to the theatre, same as with the Avengers. So X-Men is fun to watch, and I'm appropriately sad as I'm meant to be when someone experiences a setback, but this was a whole other level of storytelling and by god giving the maverick smartasses the keys to your convertible fun. Also, what a great performance by Ruffalo, I loved seeing him bond shyly with Ironman in the lab while at the same time he had those marvelous physical gag payoff moments. What a fucking fantastic movie. Thanks for the link!
posted by onlyconnect at 12:46 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zarq, fwiw, I did start at the mewling quim line, it surprised me, and when the Black Widow stalled I was totally fooled and thought she'd been affected by the hate and that the line had been a setup to show something really awful that would excuse whatever awful behavior we were about to see from her, as in other superhero movies. When instead she showed us she rose above it and was just gathering intel the whole time, it made me realize (1) oh this is really what her power is, act vulnerable to get others to let their guard down, and (2) how wonderful it was to see a heroine have sexist language hurled at her and be totally unaffected by it, and in fact use it to her advantage. That's a superpower that I need to work on myself. Just my own reaction, anyway.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:59 PM on May 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


"It's as good as superhero films are ever likely to get, which is excellent news because they can stop making them now"

Oh Charlie, you scamp.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh wait I had forgotten about Hawkeye's USB ARROW which actually made me squeal like a harp seal.
posted by The Whelk at 2:14 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was wondering if they'd used some manner of genetic trickery to get a younger Richard E. Grant.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw some of this DNA in Tom Hiddleston's performance which i quite liked by the way.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 2:22 PM on May 20, 2012


HULK DOESN'T KNOW WHO THE PERSON IS WHO JUST SAID "YES" TO HIRING JOSS BUT HULK WANTS TO BUY THEM ALL THE BEERS.

ALL THE BEERS.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 2:26 PM on May 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


1. I loved the mewling quim moment because it's such a fantastic use of Shakespearean language to convey pure eeeeevillll. I was not especially thrilled with the casting of Boobs Johanssen, and up until that point in the scene, I was getting really pissed off wondering why we have one female superhero in the whole bunch and it turns out her achilles heel is LURVE? So then you have the line splendidly delivered by Tom Hiddleston and then the comeuppance and in my head I'm thinking I'M SO SORRY JOSS I'LL NEVER DOUBT YOU AGAIN.

2. 100% agree with the bit about using Captain America correctly; during the scene downtown when Cap is barking out orders, it suddenly dawned on me that someone has to be the organizer, and without Cap, these guys would be lost. It's not like Hulk has the executive functioning skills; Tony Stark is always too busy flyin' about to have any idea what's going on on the ground; Hawkeye and Black Widow are too busy reconnoitering, which just leaves Thor, and something tells me the NYPD aren't going to like being ordered about by a demigod.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2012


Also, I have no idea who "That man playing Galaga" was, but I hope I'm not the only one who misheard Tony Stark and was wondering whether Marvel was having a dig at DC by making Batman look like a total slacker in a crisis.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:49 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got the purpose of the line, which sets up Widow's faux-tearful "you monster!" so that Loki can show his hand in a moment of false triumph. I think that the scene works and that the power dynamic inversion is immediate enough to make its purpose clear. I also thought the line was a little gratuitous and problematic anyway. I guess I think of it like that old quote about how there are no anti-war movies, because the camera glamorizes violence even while the story is trying to show how bad violence is. It's a difficult problem and one I don't think Whedon quite solves, but I appreciate that he seems aware enough of the problem to try to do something about it.

I really liked Johansson's performance. I thought she did a great job showing a character who must have control over the situation in a scenario in which she's clearly and almost hopelessly out of her depth. I sort of wish it was Fury and not Widow who got chased around by the Hulk and then sat there shaking for a minute, because "woman emotionally shaken by battering" is a bit usual gender dynamic. But then I wonder if that scene is as effective in showing Hulk monstrosity if the violence is directed at a man instead, because men are supposed to hit each other in action movies. Again, I appreciate what Whedon's trying to do and I think the scene works and even works great in making this sort of comic violence real, but there's an aspect to it that bothers me. I thought the Widow/Hawkeye fight was great, though.

It's funny, I'm pretty straight and I didn't notice most of the ass shots at all. I went to see it a second time after reading the comments here and went, huh, I guess there are a few. I was watching Loki and Widow's faces the whole time, which I think says more about my fanboyness than any antisexism in me. But man that Tom Hiddleston can chew a line good.
posted by Errant at 2:51 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


SarJo's best fine, by far, in terms of delivery and content is still

"No, It'll be fun."
posted by The Whelk at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of some interest re: mewling quim: Film Critic Hulk on Arkham City.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:06 PM on May 20, 2012


small_ruminant: "I figured it was Deus ex Harry Dean Stanton."

I squealed like The Whelk when I saw him, which probably puzzled people sitting around me. Since Chris Hemsworth is doing the "Red Dawn" remake I wondered if this was a maybe a shoutout?
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:08 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has got to be a fun summer to be Chris Hemsworth.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on May 20, 2012


This would be a fun summer to be on Chris Hemsworth.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:11 PM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


i don't even know why i do these things
posted by The Whelk at 3:24 PM on May 20, 2012


The last superhero movie that seemed to get the tone was the first Spiderman with the big colors and having-fun-but-not-making-fun-with-the-material and the general feeling of the Marvelverse movies before this one being Hey action/superhero movies don't have to be dumb and they don't have to be dour.

FCH is right that one thing this movie did really, really well was humor. But I think it's important to recognize that what it did well wasn't just having some humor. What it did well was have good humor.

A lot of superhero/action movies that try to involve humor end up being plain silly. The jokes are one-liner puns that do nothing to advance the story, characterization, or anything. They're ridiculous set-pieces that are like the director winking at the audience, "Yeah, this is stupid, isn't it? Haha, but we're both in on the joke!" Too often, the attempts at humor are just bad.

What Avengers did, instead, is have jokes that stemmed from important plot points and the actual personalities of the characters. Note, for instance, Cap'n America's "Ooh! I get that reference!" moment. It's funny, and it's cute, but it only works to re-establish the characterization that's been building. It's a tiny moment of triumph for him, as he has a tiny glimpse of the culture/society he's been mourning. We're not laughing at him, but enjoying with him a particularly small success.

Note, also, the great moment towards the end where we get the line, "And Hulk? .... Smash." That's the winky, I-know-you-know-I-know-what-I-did moment, the humor stemming from the use of a somewhat hackneyed cliche. But it's not attempting to undermine the significance of the moment. The cliche doesn't come at the expense of the Hulk's characterization. Instead, again, it's a moment of triumph. Hulk's been suffering the entire movie, understanding his abilities as a challenge and a threat, not a great power. So with this line, the humor is used as an opportunity to acknowledge that the Hulk gets to revel in the awesomeness of being the Hulk -- he doesn't have to suffer and hide anymore. The line makes the Hulk smile, as it makes us chuckle. The humor, itself, is a significant moment of character growth for the Hulk.

It's humor used to support the serious elements of the movie, not tear them down. I really hope more people in Hollywood can recognize just why the humor works in this movie.
posted by meese at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


This would be a fun summer to be on Chris Hemsworth.

This statement needs no seasonal limitations.
posted by elizardbits at 3:33 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love Cap's joy at getting a reference. 'Cos he's from the 40s, you know.. that's great.
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on May 20, 2012


The Whelk: "Oh wait I had forgotten about Hawkeye's USB ARROW which actually made me squeal like a harp seal."

I know. Usually I have to fire one, nock the second one on the bow string the opposite direction, and then it's not until the third one when I've turned it back around again that it actually works.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:53 PM on May 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


At the very least this is worth it for "WE ALWAYS EQUATE 'SERIOUS' WITH 'BETTER' AND THAT MAKES HULK EXTRA SMASHY."
posted by JHarris at 3:54 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


And on the other end of the spectrum, Pavlovs Franchise.
posted by the_artificer at 3:55 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh boy, for a second there I missed the byline.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on May 20, 2012


Where was Spider-Man in all of this? Studying for a final exam?
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:28 PM on May 20, 2012


Liscensed to a different studio... Something you can imagine Marvel bitterly regretting now. Same story with X-Men and The Fantastic Four.
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on May 20, 2012


Liscensed to a different studio... Something you can imagine Marvel bitterly regretting now. Same story with X-Men and The Fantastic Four.

Good. Megacrossovers have't worked well for comics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 PM on May 20, 2012


Apparently Fox owns not only the X-Men but all mutants, which explains the tragic absence of the Scarlet Witch in this movie.
posted by escabeche at 5:53 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has got to be a fun summer to be Chris Hemsworth.

I saw somebody comment that they might only be seeing movies with Hemsworths in it this year, and based on the output so far (Hunger Games, Cabin in the Woods, Avengers) that's not a bad slate at all.
posted by kmz at 6:27 PM on May 20, 2012


made me think 'That's deliberate male gaze'

I'm not sure he quite pulls it off, but I liked what Whedon seemed to be going for in the first scene with Black Widow. The scene starts with her seemingly at the mobster's mercy, and the camera is totally ogling her. But then she stops pretending to be a helpless victim, beats up the bad guys, and in the last shot of her walking away, the camera focuses not on her T&A but her high heels, which she is carrying rather than wearing.

I think it would have been far better if the camera shifted consistently away from the male gaze the moment she gets the phone call (there's a whole lot of jiggling during her fight) to better emphasize the contrast between "how the mobsters see her" vs. "how she sees herself." It still seems a bit like Joss is trying to have his cleavage and subvert it too. But the final at least takes a stab at making the point.

And I have to admit that Johansson and Whedon totally fooled me during Loki's interrogation. I think it's the line "Love is for children" that made me think she was being straight with Loki, and I was rolling my eyes thinking, "Even so, of course the woman has to be worried primarily about a man..."

Part of how Whedon sets the trap for us is Agent Coulson's line that convinces her to drop the interrogation mission: "Barton's been compromised." But it's totally ambiguous whether the import is "The man you care about is in trouble" or "We're facing an enemy capable of turning our best agent."
posted by straight at 6:44 PM on May 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Really? It clear she cares about Barton, but probably more as a friend/fellow agent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:01 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's more than a friend/fellow agent thing, because in the scene with Barton she says "I've been compromised," which I took to mean that although she got the jump on Loki, the exchange hit a bit too close to home for her.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:17 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the traditional post-Avengers "who was hottest?" discussion, I immediately said, "Hawkeye. Because he wasn't so... veiny... and... grossly distended."

Forget the arms (and butts). The hottest was rumpled scientist Mark Ruffalo. Oh yes.
posted by candyland at 7:19 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it's more than a friend/fellow agent thing...

It's more like Xander and Buffy, IMO. Close friends, no physical relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know I was supposed to think of that as The Hulk, but I read it in Owen Meaney's voice.
posted by maryr at 7:47 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Really? It clear she cares about Barton, but probably more as a friend/fellow agent.

But in the scene where she interrogates Loki, the viewers don't know that yet. Later in the movie you get the sense that maybe most of what she told Loki was true and that it was only her apparent distress that was a lie, but at the point where she starts talking to Loki, we don't know. Hawkeye could be her husband or an agent that she only knows by reputation and has never actually met.
posted by straight at 8:19 PM on May 20, 2012


The thing about Black Widow is that really she's the closest thing to a core character in this ensemble film. She's the audience identification character, as she's the closest to a normal human, which is why her terror of the Hulk works so well- it lets the audience feel how scary the Hulk is.
posted by happyroach at 8:53 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


R. Schlock: "But then, no: Hulk grabs him and slams him into the floor four or five times, incredibly fast.

That scene was so cathartic it's ridiculous.
"

That scene was so Tex Avery it was awesome.
posted by Samizdata at 9:38 PM on May 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I know it was great!

But yes, making Natasha the main character made a lot of sense, she's the only Avenger aside from Hawkeye we didn't have a whole previous movie about, and her relationship with Clint is the entire second arc pivot.

And I didn't get a hint romance about her and Hawkeye, it was professional respect mixed with friendship and some Debts, Debts To Be Paid.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 PM on May 20, 2012


And on the other end of the spectrum, Pavlovs Franchise.

There's no more objective confirmation that a film is good than Armond White disliking it.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:20 PM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the traditional post-Avengers "who was hottest?" discussion, I immediately said, "Hawkeye. Because he wasn't so... veiny... and... grossly distended."

Forget the arms (and butts). The hottest was rumpled scientist


I know he's bald but c'mon he's got a vintage set! He's very proud.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 PM on May 20, 2012


The Whelk: "I know it was great!

But yes, making Natasha the main character made a lot of sense, she's the only Avenger aside from Hawkeye we didn't have a whole previous movie about, and her relationship with Clint is the entire second arc pivot.

And I didn't get a hint romance about her and Hawkeye, it was professional respect mixed with friendship and some Debts, Debts To Be Paid.
"

I detected some caring, but only in the sort of

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

sort of way, along with the "oh shit, what's he going to leak" aspect.
posted by Samizdata at 10:27 PM on May 20, 2012


Hawkeye could be her husband or an agent that she only knows by reputation and has never actually met.
We know they've met before because we see footage of them together when Coulson shows up at Stark's apartment.
posted by matt_od at 10:29 PM on May 20, 2012


I think my favorite thing about Cap was that imagined him as my grandfather. My grandpa received a purple heart for his service during the Battle of the Bulge, and somehow my brain made me resurrect him as Steve Rodgers.
posted by Drumhellz at 12:58 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Really? It clear she cares about Barton, but probably more as a friend/fellow agent.

But in the scene where she interrogates Loki, the viewers don't know that yet.


Honestly, it struck me from her reaction to "Barton's been compromised" that it was clear she cared about the guy in some capacity. That look on her face wasn't "Oh shit, we got a leak" but more "Oh shit, my buddy". Phil's measured tone in telling her was also a tell.

Also, when she brought Banner to the the Hellicarrier, she wandered off for a minute and reviewed some past footage of her and Barton fighting side by side.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:37 AM on May 21, 2012


OK, here's my favorite subversion in the Avengers:

In the trailers, we see:
"Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?"

"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
...and then they cut to Thor laughing, and saying "I like this guy". So you expect of course this to be what happens in the movie. Nope! Cap rebutts immediately,
"I know guys with none of that worth ten of you."
They lied! In the trailer! And got a way more powerful scene out of it. How ridiculously, gloriously meta.
posted by effugas at 3:11 AM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sometimes, when you know someone long enough or have been through enough with them, you're not friends, or lovers, or partners; you just...are. I think Johansson and Renner did an awesome job of portraying that kind of relationship.
posted by Errant at 3:25 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


effugas, there were a few lines that had edits in trailer which made them worse lines. My favorite was Nick Fury's line in the trailer,"We are hopelessly outgunned." Revealed in the movie to be the much better and communicative: "We are hopelessly, hilariously outgunned."
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:47 AM on May 21, 2012


Can I just take a moment to shame myself by admitted that, not only did I not know what "mewling quim" meant, I can't even remember hearing it (and wondering what it meant) in the film. I can remember the scene fine, but have no recollection of exactly what it was Loki said at the end.

Maybe I'll have to go back and watch it again.
posted by damonism at 4:20 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's more like Xander and Buffy, IMO. Close friends, no physical relationship.

Except that Xander's obsessive, unrequited love for Buffy makes him creepily jealous of every relationship she has with other guys, and that one time he's possessed, one of his first actions around her is to try and rape her.
posted by elizardbits at 5:49 AM on May 21, 2012


I..I..was not aware of that dimension of their relationship. That's fuckin' weird.

Ok, let's try this again: Black Widow and Hawkeye care about each other in a way that only a hired assassin, saved by the guy sent to kill her and later hired by the agency that sent him, but recruited her, so they became coworkers and killed other people together could be.

It's complicated but not in an AskMe sort of way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was looking for the thread where I could finally confess to having seen it with the 7 year old nephew in 3D and would sit through it again, so there and who cares if I'm old enough to be his gramma

I can't say why the movie works but it does... and I've not been to a movie theatre in more than 5 years. Enjoying reading these types of discussions...
posted by infini at 5:58 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, I've RTFA and there's no mention of the subtle currents of self referential amusement I picked up from the characters. They did seem to be enjoying themselves. The special effects were great as well - would appreciate any links to write ups on how that was done (says the owner of Making of the Black Hole)
posted by infini at 6:10 AM on May 21, 2012


Lots and lots of computer effects teams - from the credits it seems like all of them.
posted by Artw at 6:22 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I will say it's been a long while since I left the theatre without regretting the money I spent there.

Thanks, Joss...
posted by Samizdata at 6:22 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


from the credits it seems like all of them.

That's the problem, I found out later about the after scenes as well... my brother in law rushed us out before the disproportionate crowd (saw this on Saturday in India) crushed the kid a la Bollywood.
posted by infini at 6:54 AM on May 21, 2012


The special effects were great as well - would appreciate any links to write ups on how that was done (says the owner of Making of the Black Hole)
Here's a very comprehensive article about the visual effects on The Avengers.
posted by Memo at 7:11 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]



It's complicated but not in an AskMe sort of way.

"Can you recommend a good, comprehensive guide to post World War Two American history? If I can get it through the NYC library system, all the better. Thank you.
posted by SRODGERS1
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 AM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would have liked to see a movie where Captain America was a bit more of an asshole but nonetheless an effective leader

You wanted Ultimates, which is "The Marvel U only everyone except Peter Parker is a complete dick." Turns out it's not all that great.

Cap is at his best when the writer takes Cap's idealism, his fundamental decency and all-around white-hattedness, and OWNS it, and Cap says, "YES, I'm one of the good guys, why aren't YOU??"

Cap is supposed to take all that straight-laced idealism, wrap himself in that ridiculous flag, and make it work. When he's at his best, he does that just fine. Honestly, I would've liked to see Cap have more of a role in this film... but he was great just the same, and did not suffer for Natasha and Bruce stealing the show.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:20 AM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dr. Zira: "Where was Spider-Man in all of this? Studying for a final exam?"

Spider-man was rescuing civilians from falling buildings. And the Fantastic Four were either in space or in the negative zone, because they're always in space or the negative zone.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:29 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


There was more than a little Ultimates about all of it, even if Cap wasn't shouting about the A on his head not standing for France.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on May 21, 2012


Just one scene. Doesn't have to be long. Cap returns to his boyhood Brooklyn neighborhood, a thinly disguised Bedford Ave/Williamsberg parody. He roams the streets, confused and flabbergasted, looking for something familiar when he spots of a big old Captain America post in the window of an antique store. He goes in to find a whole array of old 40s era Cap merchandise and some conversation with a patron or clerk on they can't give them away and how no one wants Cap Kitsch anymore and it was all propaganda anyway, which of course, enrages Steve enough that he buys the entire stock.

Smash cut to Steve in his apartment, surrounded by Cap toys and dolls, holding his own figurine and having Weighty Thoughts.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of course this would have to happen BEFORE Loki's attack, as I imagine retro Cap stuff would SKYROCKET IN VALUE following the re-appearance of the super solider.
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2012


I wish Kirby had lived to see this film.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2012


How wonderful it was to see a heroine have sexist language hurled at her and be totally unaffected by it, and in fact use it to her advantage.

This is precisely why I liked it when Loki used it. Loki is hurling everything he has that he thinks will work on her. Everything that all of the darker nature of humankind presents for us. Everything that everyone has always used against women. Yes, he's calling her a whiny c-nt, and yes, again, and yes, we're so tired of it, but we're so tired of it because it's brought up again and again and is real.

And she just shrugs it off. As though it means nothing to her, and could never mean anything to her. Because it's irrelevant. Because it's not what that's about.

I would have liked to see a movie where Captain America was a bit more of an asshole but nonetheless an effective leader/em>

You want Marvel's Civil War. They may actually wind up getting there, depending on the success of the other movies, but they have to get there first. Captain America is never an asshole persay-he can't be. But he is occasionally...arrogant in that over-idealistic For America way. His fight with the Punisher is actually kind of epic.

posted by corb at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2012


And even with preview, I still didn't catch that. Woe. Sorry.
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2012


It's Ultimates, if Ultimates had been written by a good writer.

The sad thing is, based on the recent comics I've seen, if this movie had been a comic, Loki's speech would have worked, Black Widow would have been crushed, and she would have been Loki's emotionally ruined slave until Hawkeye or Captain America rescued her. Because modern comics suck for female characters.
posted by happyroach at 10:01 AM on May 21, 2012


Or the Blob would have eaten her...
posted by the_artificer at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


You want Marvel's Civil War. They may actually wind up getting there, depending on the success of the other movies, but they have to get there first. Captain America is never an asshole persay-he can't be. But he is occasionally...arrogant in that over-idealistic For America way. His fight with the Punisher is actually kind of epic.

No. Civil War was, "Hey, look! Over fifty years of established continuity, and I'm gonna chuck it out the window because I'm awesome!" Hardly anyone in that story arc held to their core character. Sure, Cap would've gone against registration... but Tony would've co-opted it from the inside without being a brutal douchebag about it. Spidey would've never gone along with it. Castle wouldn't have ever been stupid enough to gun down bad guys in front of superheroes thinking they'd just be cool with it. The list goes on and on. "Civil War Cap" was genuinely the worst-written Cap I've ever seen.

Add to that the fact that interviews with Millar and Quesada clearly demonstrate that they don't actually understand their own storyline or even remember it as it was written, and you have the greatest train wreck since the Clone Saga. The fact that Marvel keeps trying to hype it like it was something good just makes it even worse.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


When Cap asks "Take away the suit, what are you?", it was kinda weird, even though it allows for set up for a funny line. That was the same thing everyone was saying to him when he started. I'd expect him toknow that someone can be more than their costume.
posted by BurnChao at 10:58 AM on May 21, 2012


Cap's suit was not capable of a number of things that Tony's was, so it's a legitimate point. It's easy to be hero when you have super toys that no one else has.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:09 AM on May 21, 2012


Cap's suit was not capable of a number of things that Tony's was, so it's a legitimate point. It's easy to be hero when you have super toys that no one else has.

Sure, but for Steve to take that angle on Tony was a little... out of character. Tony was being arrogant, obnoxious, grandstanding, etc., but on some level Steve should've been aware that there were good reasons Tony was there in that room with the rest of them. He could easily have made it more about the showboating. I chalked it up to the whole bit with the staff making everybody angry.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I chalked it up to the whole bit with the staff making everybody angry.

Ok so we're in agreement that the staff was causing them all to get angry at each other right? Cause that's what I assumed as well.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That scene is one of those "I think a sequence is missing" bits. I can understand not wanting to release a 3 hour plus movie, but sometimes the seams really show.
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on May 21, 2012


Sure, but for Steve to take that angle on Tony was a little... out of character.

Steve and Tony might have been affected by the big, hard staff in the room, but I think it ads a bit of depth to Cap. He's been to war, fought, buried friends and now there's there's an obnoxious shit who's smirking all over the place because of his super suit. I can see "Grandpa" wanting to take the "young punk" down a peg or two.

Plus, I really want to see that fight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


When Cap asks "Take away the suit, what are you?" ... That was the same thing everyone was saying to him when he started.

"Yeah, Mr. America. Take away your super-soldier serum and how brave are you th...OW!!"

[gets smacked in the shin by one of the wheels on Peggy Carter's walker]

There was more than a little Ultimates about all of it


It's not the Ultimates unless Hulk eats someone (or at least threatens to).

I'm really glad it's not the Ultimates.
posted by straight at 11:53 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the "take away your suit" struck me as disingenous when the super-powered Captain America says it to the guy who *invented* half those toys no one else has.
posted by maryr at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2012


Well looks like the Blu-Ray is coming out September 25, extras are:
1. AUDIO COMMENTARY BY DIRECTOR JOSS WHEDON
2. MARVEL ONE-SHOT: ITEM 47
3. SECOND SCREEN
4. GAG REEL
4. DELETED SCENES
- Alternate Opening - Maria Hill Interrogation
- Extended Scene - Loki & Barton Strategize
- Steve Rogers - Man Out of Time
- Nick Fury & World Security Council
- Extended Viaduct Fight - Raw Footage
- Fury & Hill Discuss the World Security Council
- Extended Scene - Banner and Security Guard
- Alternate Ending - Maria Hill Interrogation
5. FEATURETTES
- A Visual Journey
- Assembling the Ultimate Team
6. SOUNDGARDEN MUSIC VIDEO - "Live to Rise"
posted by the_artificer at 12:42 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The point wasn't that Stark was a genius billionaire without his suit - the point is, he was unprepared to lead, despite acting like he was in charge. The exchange after the comeback to the comeback was important - "Will you lay down on the barb wire to let your buddies climb over you?" Cap was right, and Tony knew he was right - Iron Man hadn't been tested, hadn't pushed himself in that way before. Without that exchange, I don't think he would have been able to fix the turbine, face down Loki without a suit or gone through the portal with the nuke - he would have wasted time he didn't have trying to think of a good solution to a situation that didn't have a good solution.

Cap turned an attention-whore showboat into a team player who will put himself deliberately in harm's way for his team and his mission. Captain America does shit like that.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:43 PM on May 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


nathancaswell: "Ok so we're in agreement that the staff was causing them all to get angry at each other right?"

Early on in that sequence, there's a shot that does a 180 degree pan through a vertical plane, centered around the staff while it makes an ominous ringing noise that none present seem to be able to hear. If that's not the film telegraphing "HEY! This MacGuffin that has already directly brainwashed people on touch also has subtler mental influencing powers over those in close proximity", then the part where Banner grabs it without even knowing it surely is.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:53 PM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


The sad thing is, based on the recent comics I've seen, if this movie had been a comic, Loki's speech would have worked, Black Widow would have been crushed, and she would have been Loki's emotionally ruined slave until Hawkeye or Captain America rescued her. Because modern comics suck for female characters.

Sorry man, but while "Modern comics suck for female characters" might be valid more often than not, Natasha's depiction in Brubaker's Captain America or Fraction's Invincible Iron Man or Andy Diggle's Thunderbolts doesn't incline me to agree with this specific example.

Yeah, the "take away your suit" struck me as disingenous when the super-powered Captain America says it to the guy who *invented* half those toys no one else has.

It should be noted that in spite of both his own movie and the Avengers giving him all sorts of wire-work stunts to do, Cap doesn't actually have any powers.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:53 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cap doesn't actually have any powers...

Right about when my daughter was turing two, I was carrying her inside, as she had taken her shoes off in the car again, and I tripped over my own feet going up the three concrete steps to the front door. I twisted and turned in mid-air, and made sure I wasn't going to squish her into the railing, or drop her outright... but in doing so, I whacked my knee on the top step, right in the "funny bone" part of the knee. I plopped her inside the doorway, tried to get up, couldn't, tried again, couldn't, and then had to sit down. She. Lost. Her. Shit. This was not the way the world was supposed to work.

Captain America gets blasted in the belly. He tries to get up, can't. Tries again, can't.

This is Joss Whedon. He just killed Agent Coulson, after spending a crapton of time and effort making him into someone we'd genuinely like to see in the comics. Also, this is a movie, not the comics, it's a self-contained world... Coulson could have just have been the appetizer, Cap is now the main course. It felt like the right time, the right place, the right end... I. Lost. My. Shit. This was not the way the world was supposed to work.

For my little girl, Mommy came over right away, smiled, and then I got up.

Thor, dealing with a gut wound himself, hammer in hand, comes over right away, smiles, and Cap gets up. Awesome.

In the aftermath...

1) Captain America knows what it's like to have "the suit" protect you.
2) The suit was probably designed by either Howard or Tony Stark.

Man, this movie has depth...
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:08 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


What I am taking from this threat is that The Whelk and Mr Dan Harmon need to collaborate on a superhero project. I gather the Cape needs five more seasons.

Nick Fury & World Security Council

One of whom was Jenny Agutter, of Logan's Run fame. I'm not sure I saw any mention of it elsewhere, so... if you are seeing it again, she's pretty obvious.
posted by Mezentian at 6:34 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cap doesn't actually have any powers.

Except the Super-Soldier Formula which makes him uber-buff and stuff.
Which was a pretty big part of his film, and his 50 years of comics (expect that bit where he had it removed 'cause steroids).

Oh, and others will yield when he throws his mighty shield.
posted by Mezentian at 6:37 AM on May 22, 2012


when my daughter was turing two

Somehow, an apt typo for this thread...
posted by infini at 6:40 AM on May 22, 2012


At the risk of thread-hogging, I just read
Pavlov’s Franchise by Armond White, and fuck that guy.
His opinions are so opposite from me he is from the darkest timeline.

I've learnt to avoid his stuff more quickly than I made stepping in cat spew.
posted by Mezentian at 6:44 AM on May 22, 2012


Obviously, it made you question things.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:13 AM on May 22, 2012


For folks who may not have seen this article earlier, a fun piece about the shooting of the post-credits scene (SPOILER!): shawarma!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:26 AM on May 22, 2012


"Can you recommend a good, comprehensive guide to post World War Two American history? If I can get it through the NYC library system, all the better. Thank you.
posted by SRODGERS1


My wife and her sister have a headcanon where Cap and Thor (who's also not too hip to pop culture) have a secret movie watching club where they try to watch all the hallmark movies of the last 50 years so they can start getting everybody else's references. Cap really loves cheeseballs and just piles them onto his shield which he uses as a bowl. There were other details but I can't recall them now.
posted by kmz at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just don't put on a Viking movie Thor will spend the entire time criticizing it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cap doesn't actually have any powers.

Except the Super-Soldier Formula which makes him uber-buff and stuff.


The movies aren't completely clear about what exactly the Super-Soldier Formula does. But in the comics it canonically allows Steve Rogers to perform at "peak human" ability, which means he can do most physical feats as well as the very best human -- he can sprint like an Olympic sprinter, lift as much as an Olympic weight lifter, move like an Olympic acrobat or a parkour expert, run distances like an Olympic marathon runner, see as well as a top pilot or marksman, etc.

This is superhuman in the sense that no normal human body could be physically capable of all of those things at once. But it means that his feats seem "normal" on a human scale. Black Panther, Daredevil, and Captain America are (like Batman) impossibly versatile, but any individual feat they perform is supposedly something a normal human could possibly do. Spider-Man is super-humanly strong and fast. No human can move as fast or lift as much as he does.
posted by straight at 11:45 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not aging certainly seems to be superhuman.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2012


Hawkeye's super power isn't his archery (look he holds his bow like an idiot okay), it's his direct mental connection to his quiver which holds a gateway to the Elemental Plane Of Arrows, where the pure concept of Arrow is formed. From there he can pull out of the unlimited possible arrows the perfect arrow to do the job.
posted by The Whelk at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2012


Also, his arms are dreamy.
posted by maryr at 11:53 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is also a superpower.
posted by The Whelk at 11:55 AM on May 22, 2012


Whelk, he runs out of arrows in the Avengers movie.
posted by straight at 11:58 AM on May 22, 2012


because the situation called for No Arrows.

Thank about it.
posted by The Whelk at 12:01 PM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, very good. Think you very much.
posted by straight at 12:07 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's his direct mental connection to his quiver which holds a gateway to the Elemental Plane Of Arrows, where the pure concept of Arrow is formed. From there he can pull out of the unlimited possible arrows the perfect arrow to do the job.

Wanna know how I know you didn't see the movie?

Whedon completely and totally geeks out over how Hawkeye's arrows, bow and quiver work. I mean, we're talking a 12 year old filling up half a wirebound graph-paper notebook with sketches and diagrams and essays on the various parts, all in in .5mm pencil level of geeking out.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:45 PM on May 22, 2012


I did see it! Twice! USB arrow is my favorite thing!
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on May 22, 2012


Ok, I've RTFA and there's no mention of the subtle currents of self referential amusement I picked up from the characters. They did seem to be enjoying themselves. The special effects were great as well - would appreciate any links to write ups on how that was done (says the owner of Making of the Black Hole)
posted by infini at 3:10 AM on May 21 [+] [!]


For what it's worth, the other day I went to a one-year-old's birthday party with the guy from Weta who did Iron Man's mocap. He said he spent a lot of time falling over.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:53 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just don't put on a Viking movie Thor will spend the entire time criticizing it.

"Tony Curtis. Ernest Borgnine. Seriously?
posted by Amanojaku at 5:17 PM on May 22, 2012


I think I would pay to see a short which consisted nothing of Thor's reactions to the 13th Warrior.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:38 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me where Alexis Denisof is in the movie? I've seen it twice but never caught sight of Wesley -- which I guess is because it's a voice role -- but still.
posted by obloquy at 5:46 PM on May 22, 2012


obloquy: "Can someone please explain to me where Alexis Denisof is in the movie?"

Spoilers.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:52 PM on May 22, 2012


Okay. Thanks Doc. I would also like to say that although this thread is really just another excuse for getting to chat about the movie, I've really liked everything I've been reading from FilmCritHulk, including his engaged responses to comments. I read the New Yorker blog piece linked upthread before this one, and recommend that for all of those who, like me, just aren't finished overthinking The Avengers yet.
posted by obloquy at 6:01 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goodamn, I love this movie!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:21 AM on May 23, 2012


So why write in it?

Because by writing in it, FCH reached out to a huge audience of people looking for memes and in-jokes and turned them towards legitimate, serious, articulate criticism. I think he's one of the best critics alive today; considering the New Yorker just commissioned a piece by him, I'd bet a lot of other people agree.

You're privileged enough, Brandon, to know something of intellectual culture, so you're seeing this as "critic decides to dumb down". But FCH rooted himself in pop culture and grew up. His target isn't people who know Pauline Kael and Anthony Lane, it's people who've probably never read a critic other than sifting through RottenTomatoes looking to either validate their opinions or yell at people who disagree.

What matters isn't that he religiously follows the rules of the meme. What matters is that he is recognizably enough a meme, and that he is a fantastic critic. Which he is.

He's pretty much the only critic who could convince me that Joss Whedon is any good. Reading the top part of this article has convinced me to rewatch Dr. Horrible, and to give Buffy and maybe The Avengers a shot. Isn't that the job of a critic? To talk about what they love so well and so persuasively that you start understanding why people love a thing? Whedon's been one of my bogeymen for years, but if FCH says he's great, I'm trusting FCH (in a way I totally don't trust my Whedon-fanfriends). I'd say he's doing his job pretty damn well.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:24 AM on May 20 [51 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Just coming back to say this is the best defense of FCH I've ever read - I have found his shtick deeply irritating, but he's just that damn good that it's worth it.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:58 AM on May 23, 2012


Scroll down on this page for a Greasemonkey script to transform Film Critic Hulk into Film Critic Banner.

(Install the Fix Caps script, then go to Tools>Greasemonkey>Manage User Scripts and click the [Options] button for the fixcaps script. Add http://filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/* and any other ALLCAPS webpages that bother you, such as the FPP: http://badassdigest.com/2012/05/18/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-avengers-is-a-joss-whedon-movie/ then reload and let Banner do the talking.)
posted by straight at 9:46 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cap and Thor (who's also not too hip to pop culture) have a secret movie watching club where they try to watch all the hallmark movies of the last 50 years so they can start getting everybody else's references

Also they really like Dancing With The Stars

posted by elizardbits at 10:50 AM on May 23, 2012



Also they really like Dancing With The Stars

THOR: THIS "TIFFANI AMBER THIESSEN" IS AN AFFRONT TO THE DANCING RITUAL

CAP: I think she's trying her best, it's really hard to go on stage and perform.

THOR: BATTLING THE ICE GIANTS IS HARD, TWIRLING IN GAUZY OUTFITS IS MERELY TUESDAY.
posted by The Whelk at 11:35 AM on May 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Goddamn, I love this sitcom!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on May 23, 2012


Their Secret Media Shame: The Avengers

TONY STARK: Extreme Makeover Home Edition (gets drunk and weepy, ends up signing huge checks to strangers that Pepper intercepts)
DR. BRUCE BANNER: As The World Turns (At this point the only thing keeping him sane is the meditation and figuiring out who killed Selexia's twin sister robot)
THOR: Micheal Bay movies (not secret, but try to keep him away from too many, they give him ...ideas)
CLINT BARTON: RuPaul's Drag Race (Trying to understand and deploy "shade" for combat situations)
NATASHA ROMANOV: The Barefoot Contessa (One of these days I'm going to learn to cook yep one of these days now, next mission, then cooking....yep)
CAP. STEVE RODGERS: Marx Brothers Movies (This isn't secret, and it isn't shameful, but it is ALL HE WATCHES)
posted by The Whelk at 11:54 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


THOR: "Twirling about on stage in your sparkliest outfit for the assembled throng while the Judge stares critically at your every move is the hard part. Battling Ice Giants is the easy part."

CAP: "It's embarrassing at first, especially the outfits, the way the ladies have to put themselves on display for boys who think they are men. But you think about the lives saved by all that money, and you get used to it. And seeing the looks on the faces of the kids when you land the perfect move (on Hitler's jaw) makes it all worthwhile."
posted by straight at 12:04 PM on May 23, 2012


Nick Fury is a Brony.
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2012


The Whelk: "Nick Fury is a Brony."

And if can name any one of these ponies, you are too.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:31 PM on May 23, 2012


*if you

(My Hellicarier for an edit window)
posted by radwolf76 at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2012


And if can name any one of these ponies, you are too.

If you are trying to attach some stigma to that term, you have failed. (Anyway, none of them are THE PINK ONE.)
posted by JHarris at 3:09 PM on May 23, 2012


Actually, I was just looking for an excuse to pony the place up. And anyway, you know The Pink One is in league with Loki, she even frequently invokes his name, after saying "okie doike..."
posted by radwolf76 at 3:37 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


A SUSPECT IS TIED TO A CHAIR IN A WINDOWLESS ROOM. NICK FURY ENTERS, CARRYING A SMALL BACLK BOX. HE SITS DOWN OPPOSITE THE SUBJECT.

SUSPECT: What's that?

FURY: A lesson.

FURY OPENS THE BOX TO REVEAL A FULL SET OF MY LITTLE PONY FIGURINES.

SUSPECT: Is this a joke? Nick Fury plays with dolls?

FURY: These ....dolls all represent the elements of harmony, the different parts of ourselves -

SUSPECT: You sure they don't mean you're a little Strawberry Shortcake?

FURY PICKS UP THE PURPLE PONY

FURY: See you're trying to remove an element, intellect, by trying to make me angry. It won't work, but you know what might?

FURY PICKS UP ANOTHER PONY.

FURY: This is Fluttershy, she represents compassion. empathy. Human kindness.

SUPSECT: Pony kindness?

FURY: If you want, I can put Fluttershy back in the box and we can continue without her. Is that what you'd like?

SUSPECT: No...?

FURY LEANS IN CLOSER, HIS HAND ON A TAZER ON HIS HIP.

FURY: No what?

SUSPECT: I don't want Fluttershy to leave.

FURY: good, I'm glad we can continue this discussion in a civilized matter.
posted by The Whelk at 3:59 PM on May 23, 2012 [14 favorites]


I think that's actually the most dramatic scene I've ever written.
posted by The Whelk at 4:09 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, Fury's just jumping on the G4 bandwagon. Not that I'd call Dr. Doom a hipster, but he was into My Little Pony before it was cool.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:13 PM on May 23, 2012


I think that's actually the most dramatic scene I've ever written.

You should write a sitcom about the Avengers, but similar to Community.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hollywood, call me.
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


IF YOU'VE SEEN ANY OF JOSS WHEDON'S OUTPUT THEN YOU KNOW. CHARACTERS DIE. AND WHEN THEY DIE IT SEVERELY AFFECTS THINGS. THEIR DEATHS HAVE CONSEQUENCE. THEIR DEATHS ARE EMOTIONAL. THEIR DEATHS ARE OFTEN SHOCKING. SO TRAUMATIC ARE SOME OF THE CHARACTER DEATHS THAT A FEW FANS HAVE TAKEN TO HATING WHEDON AS MUCH AS THEY LOVE HIM. IT'S ALMOST AS IF THEY PORTRAY HIM TO BE THE VENGEFUL GOD. ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE COMMENTS WAS WHEN SOMEONE REFERRED TO HIM AS "Sadistic McKillsalot." THE TRUTH IS JOSS HAS OFFERED ONLY ONE CHARACTER DEATH OUT OF ALL OF THEM THAT HULK THOUGHT REALLY TIPPED THE SCALES TOWARD SADISM AND IT WAS MORE A PROBLEM OF EXECUTION THAN WHO SPECIFICALLY WAS KILLED OFF AND WHY.(7) AS FOR THE REST OF THEM? THEY WERE ALL SIGNIFICANT. THEY ALL HARROWED THE SOUL AND PUSHED THINGS FORWARD AS MUCH AS THEY TORE US DOWN.

Hmm. I've definitely fallen out of love with things Whedonverse because of the death count. It's not that I want all of my fiction to be a happy fluffy squee-fest, but Whedon just always takes it a bit too far for me. I bought all of the Buffy & Angel dvd sets as they were coming out while the shows were still airing, thinking I would go back and rewatch the series from the beginning once they were over. But by the time the shows were over, so many characters & relationships had been decimated, that the thought of going back and watching everything get put through the meat grinder is completely unappealing. I adored Firefly when it aired, and cursed Fox & bought the dvd & hoped for more stories like the rest of the Browncoats when the inevitable cancellation came. But after I watched Serenity, all I could think afterwards was 'THANK YOU FOX CANCELLATION GODS!'. Because the movie confirmed to me that if the show had continued, the Firefly characters were in for just as much if not more misery than those in the Buffyverse, and I was in for seasons of heartbreak.

So, for me, the deaths no longer move the story forward. The deaths actually pull me out of the story, making me feel like Dorothy in Oz suddenly seeing the guy behind the curtain. They make me feel like Charlie Brown tricked by Lucy pulling away the football, feeling like an idiot for falling for the same fucking trick yet again. During Coulson's death scene, instead of feeling sad about his death, my thoughts were more along the lines of 'well, fuck you very much too, Joss. Ugh. No wonder Pepper was asking about the cellist.' Someone in a Whedonverse show getting into a happy relationship is always a sign of doom, but yet again I didn't see it coming.

I'm still holding out hope that Coulson's death was a fake-out by Fury, as implied by Agent Hill's question about the trading cards. Even if that wasn't Whedon's intent, that's how the scene read to me. Am I alone in that?
posted by oh yeah! at 9:25 AM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nah, he's dead. Leaf in the wind dude...

BTW you may want to track down the comic "float out" as a neat little coda to Serenity.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on May 28, 2012


Also, if, like me, you're inclined to peice the various comics together to get an idea what season 2 would have been like, with Serenity as a two parter near the end and then Float Out as last epsidoe... well, it would have been a great ending.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on May 28, 2012


I'm still holding out hope that Coulson's death was a fake-out by Fury, as implied by Agent Hill's question about the trading cards. Even if that wasn't Whedon's intent, that's how the scene read to me. Am I alone in that?

I think so. Coulson's death isn't the fakeout there - the fakeout is that Fury went to Coulson's locker, took the cards, rubbed them in Coulson's blood and then handed them to Cap. It's a call-back to how desperate Fury has been made, and what he's prepared to do. If life gives him dead aide, he makes dead aide-ade.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:39 AM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Artw, in my head, Serenity is an AU fanfic, I'm not really interested in seeking out anything that would solidify it into canon status. Whatever is in the comics, the movie already showed me what season 2 would not have been like -- would I have gotten to see Zoe & Wash being parents? Nope, Joss would have killed one of them first. Would I have gotten to see Simon & Kaylee get together? Maybe briefly, but something would happen to wreck them. Same goes for Mal & Inara. We probably would have gotten a satisfying reveal of the mystery of Book's past, but he'd still be a leaf in the wind eventually too. There would have been lots of great dialogue, lots of great scenes, but, every character I loved would have been put through more torture that I would have wanted to bear.

Ah well. I did enjoy The Avengers, and I agree with a lot of the points made by Film Crit Hulk & and others in this thread. But I'm still going to pretend that Coulson was taken to a secret I.C.U. somewhere to recover until Marvel forces me to believe otherwise by showing an open-casket funeral.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:11 AM on May 28, 2012


Ha! Detail from Hulk's Helicarrier Breakout Lego set
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on May 28, 2012


Did Coulson have a big backstory from other movies that I didn't see? I'm sort of confused about people talking about his getting killed as a "Joss Whedon signature move" -- Coulson's death, in the context of the Avengers, read as a pretty standard "expendable minor character gets killed by bad guy, heroes swear to fight on," not something that was meant to bear a lot of emotional weight. "The Body," it ain't.

But then again, I don't see Whedon as being particularly brutal towards his characters. That's why, when it happens in his TV works, it actually feels like it counts.
posted by escabeche at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2012


Coulson's the guy who is always around, basically - he is Tony Stark's first SHIELD contact, and is sent to retrieve Thor's hammer in Thor, in which mission he is Hawkeye's boss. He's supposed to be a relatable everyman, and even got two short films - The Consultant and The Robbery - which developed his character a little further. Coulson's the only character everyone knows and has had screen time with - apart from Captain America (hence the baseball cards), because 1940s, and Banner, because of the Hulk movie standing a little further out from the Marvel Studios canon (hence the Consultant).
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:19 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Ha! Detail from Hulk's Helicarrier Breakout Lego set"

THAT MAN IS PLAYING SPACE INVADERS. It was Galaga in the movie; thought we wouldn't notice, but we did.

"Did Coulson have a big backstory from other movies that I didn't see?"

Iron Man 2 established that he was a Captain America fanboy, and Thor's movie showed him doing SHIELD Agent stuff, but it's the short film Marvel One-Shots that got included as dvd special features that really made the fanbase fall in love with him, I think. "The Consultant" established just how personally invested he was in the idea of the Avengers Initiative, and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer" gave him a chance to establish himself as a apex Badass Normal (warning: TVTropes link), even when he's not dealing with world-threatening superhumans.

(on preview, running order squabble fest has provided handy links.)
posted by radwolf76 at 5:29 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW, oh yeah!, you are definitely NOT the only one speculating Coulson may be alive. The most popular rumor right now is that he may come back as Vision -- his first name was Agent, he dated a cellist (the Scarlet Witch), and the actor playing Coulson has talked about appearing in Iron Man 3. So I am right there with you!!!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:20 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And it'd be almost poetic for Fury's "One Good Eye" to become Vision.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:44 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No.
The Vision is EITHER a re-built Human Torch, or made from the Torch's spare parts.
by ULTRON.

I will accept no substitute.
posted by Mezentian at 4:35 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


But whose brain patterns are used to give life to that synthezoid's body, Mezentian?!

I think so. Coulson's death isn't the fakeout there

Oh come on. There's no shot of Coulson's body. One minute he's talking to Fury, the next minute Fury is on the phone claiming that the medics (who we also don't see) have declared him dead. I don't know how much more obvious they could be about it.

If you actually read that scene in a comic book, a little caption at the bottom saying "DON'T WORRY, COULSON'S NOT ACTUALLY DEAD! — SOOTHING STAN" would be completely superfluous.
posted by straight at 11:42 AM on May 29, 2012


Of course there's a shot of Coulson's body. We watch him expire in that actory "head tilt to side, eyes stare into distance" kind of way. Maybe he'll get resurrected, maybe not, but he is definitely and visibly dead on screen.
posted by Errant at 3:35 PM on May 29, 2012


Oh come on. There's no shot of Coulson's body. One minute he's talking to Fury, the next minute Fury is on the phone claiming that the medics (who we also don't see) have declared him dead. I don't know how much more obvious they could be about it.

True... but we do see the tail off in mid-sentence and the eyes going expressionless. In the real world, that could certainly just be fainting due to blood loss, but in movies it generally means dead. You could bring him back... but it would be a bit of a chiz, in narrative terms.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:20 PM on May 29, 2012


Oh. Right. What he said.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:20 PM on May 29, 2012


But whose brain patterns are used to give life to that synthezoid's body, Mezentian?!

Wonder Man. Obviously. When they do the Avengers 3, and they bring in the Masters of Evil.
Maybe they can do the Under Siege story line.
posted by Mezentian at 7:06 PM on May 29, 2012


I think Avengers 3 is slated to be Triathlon-centric.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:24 AM on May 30, 2012


straight: "Oh come on. There's no shot of Coulson's body. One minute he's talking to Fury, the next minute Fury is on the phone claiming that the medics (who we also don't see) have declared him dead. I don't know how much more obvious they could be about it. "

Actually, I think I did see a couple of medics push past Fury when he stood up to talk on his earpiece; they just dropped off the bottom of the screen pretty quickly and were never in focus. (people in blue coats=medics, right?)

I've been reading a lot of "fix it" fanfics that save Coulson's life, and none of it requires actually contradicting anything we see on screen. If he lived long enough to have a fairly extended, lucid conversation, then from a "realism" perspective, absolutely emergency care might have been able to save him. From a narrative standpoint, though, I think it would undermine too much of the emotional arc. Bringing him *back*, via copying brainwaves (or via Loki leaning on his daughter, who rules the underworld, to send Coulson back as part of some manipulation - that seems to be the second most common "fix-it") would be less jarring.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:44 AM on May 30, 2012


I detected some caring, but only in the sort of

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,


Like in the X-Men?
posted by homunculus at 8:18 PM on May 30, 2012


but in movies it generally means dead

Movies?! I'm talking about the rules of comic books here.
posted by straight at 8:24 PM on May 30, 2012


Wonder Man. Obviously.

Ah, but whose almost-dead body will MODOC (sic) restore to life with an infusion of ionic energy in order to pit him tragically against the Avengers until they defeat and redeem him?

(I'm actually only making this comment as an excuse to link to my very favorite moment in the recent Avengers cartoon: Thor meeting MODOC.)
posted by straight at 8:38 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Mentalbolt must have changed the algorithm.
posted by homunculus at 9:42 PM on May 30, 2012


In the comics, Rogue took out half the Avengers single-handedly. Sookie could probably do the same in Avengers vs. X-men, especially with Eric on her side, since he auditioned for Thor and probably wants payback against Hemsworth.
posted by homunculus at 9:56 PM on May 30, 2012


Goddamn bold tag.
posted by homunculus at 9:57 PM on May 30, 2012


No that really should've been bold.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2012


Fortuna favours the bold.
posted by homunculus at 10:20 PM on May 30, 2012


(I'm actually only making this comment as an excuse to link to my very favorite moment in the recent Avengers cartoon: Thor meeting MODOC.)

Perfectly acceptable.
posted by Artw at 12:16 AM on May 31, 2012


(I'm actually only making this comment as an excuse to link to my very favorite moment in the recent Avengers cartoon: Thor meeting MODOC.)

No one ever needs to make an excuse for posting A:EMH. It's a bloody awesome cartoon.
I eagerly await season 2 starting here so I can see that scene between Hulk and The Thing.
posted by Mezentian at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2012


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