Sunday, December 01, 2013

CWE: "The Avengers" (2012)

Not sure how much I'll have to say here. This is a movie that I actually do watch somewhat regularly. Actually, maybe that means that I'll have more to say, since maybe I've thought about things more deeply...

Skipped: "Angels In America," "Archer: Season One" and all of "Arrested Development."
  • I love superhero movies. I know, they're overdone lately. And my love isn't across the board and indiscriminate. But I'll happily watch most superhero movies (if not pay to see them in a theater).
  • I also love Joss Whedon, of course, so this is like a match made in heaven. A little surprised at the amount of overlap that the Alien movies are continuing to create. Especially interesting since I just got those movies right before I started this project.
  • I've been having a discussion with several people lately about thoughts that I've had on why I like particular characters, and I think it can be expanded to types of movies. I like characters who are broken, who are struggling to do better, who are outsiders, who have secrets. (These aren't the only types of characters I like, but it seems to be a common theme.) I want to understand why they do what they do and how their brokenness affects their lives. Characters with superpowers are typically your outsiders, and of course they have secrets. Some are broken, some not. Plus snarky bastards -- love them too.
  • Also, I haven't seen the new Thor movie. I will eventually, probably on DVD (or Netflix). I hear that it's good, but I'm not willing to pay for it. I did pay to see Iron Man 3 when it came out, though (broken character!). And I saw this one in the theater.
  • Oh, hi, I should be talking about the actual movie. Tom Hiddleston is an attractive guy (and he seems to have a sense of humor and be game for anything, which is a huge plus in my book), but I do not like long hair on most guys. I hate it on him.
  • Sorry, distracted by a discussion of this movie on http://bechdeltest.com/view/3205/the_avengers/ (and the linked post, http://ladybrainreviews.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-avengers-and-lokis-suspicious.html -- some great points! And I think that many of the comments are missing the point re: stereotypes.)
  • Hey! Bruce Banner. I can't remember really liking any of the Hulk films. Mark Ruffalo was a great choice for this series.
  • I do confess that, despite my love for superhero movies -- and my owing/reading some graphic novels -- I actually know very little about Marvel comics in general or these individual characters, with the exception of what I've learned in the movies and Wikipedia.
  • I'm also a hair's breadth away from giving up on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
  • Crap, I keep getting sucked into online conversations about the Bechdel Test.
  • I seem to find myself incapable of not loving Robert Downey Jr.
  • Grr ... now I'm thinking about going to see Thor: The Dark World. Oh, discount showing at 11:10 am ...
  • Oh, narrative tropes. We have to tear the group apart before they can come together as a team.
  • This movie is by no means perfect, but man do the little things make me giggle. "It seems to run on some form of electricity." Heh.
  • I keep thinking about the blogspot post I linked above and, specifically, the issues of masculinity in this movie. It's not something that I really looked at when watching previously. I don't agree with all of that author's points -- although I do think she makes some very, very good ones -- but it's definitely making me think as I watch, which is a hugely valuable thing.
  • Slightly off topic, but related: A great look at roles of masculinity in Hunger Games: Catching Fire -- http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/11/25/247146164/what-really-makes-katniss-stand-out-peeta-her-movie-girlfriend
  • I also love the damage people cause when the fall/hit things in this movie. That sounds strange, and I don't mean that I actually love the damage -- I love *seeing* that things actually get damaged in a vaguely realistic way, as opposed to the various characters touching down lightly or essentially bouncing on the ground.
  • The little buckle on the back of Fury's head seems like it would be uncomfortable. 
  • Hey, it's !
  • So, the Loki/Hulk scene. I have mixed feelings here, because I'm sure that my initial response was much like everyone else's -- it's a scene designed to be funny and I know that I laughed. However, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the idea that pain -- anyone's pain, even the villain's --  is something to laugh at. Generally, I don't find bloopers or clips of people getting hit or falling off things funny in any way at all, and I've been told that I need to get a sense of humor because of it. I think what makes the scene work for me anyway is less that it's a statement on how physical strength is more valuable/important/valued than mental ability (i.e. the smart guy gets beat up by the giant green monster) -- although I can see that as a part of the text -- but rather that it's a confrontation of the idea that Loki feels that he's above everyone, that they *shouldn't* be fighting back but just accepting that he's better/stronger/smarter than they are and bowing down. The idea that this group of people will fight back and that they are, combined and individually, able to effectively challenge Loki's beliefs is important. In the scene right before, Hawkeye (not really a superhero at all, just a guy) gets the better of him too with an exploding arrow. Again, I'm not saying that the power over intelligence element isn't there, but that it's not the only thing going on.
  • Plus, you know, this is an action movie. Which kinda always suggests that fighting/shooting/killing are OK in certain circumstances.
  • So, does the guy who shoots the nuclear missile at Manhattan get in trouble for it? Or is he just following orders?
  • I understand why, for simplicity's sake, destroying the main ship through the wormhole means that all the soldiers die (so much easier narratively than having to keep fighting), but it still feels like a cheat.
  • Nick Fury aside, we could really use more superheros who aren't white men. (Completely original thought, I know!)
  • The one set of comics that I have read is Stormwatch/The Authority, which is hugely problematic in a lot of ways, but which introduces an idea that I like. In The Avengers, we have the struggle between Fury (and the team) and the council that's making decisions that aren't agreed with. The same thing comes up in a way that's both more and less challenging in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." -- the idea that the authorities know best and those "under" them should shut up and do as they're told. While lip service is paid to this a little in the series, it's a far more authoritarian world there, where the agents are all serving a greater master, who they are more or less told not to argue with. In this movie, there's more of a rebellious spirit, which is understandable given who the main characters are. In The Authority especially, however, the idea is taken to an extreme -- what if the superheroes said no and decided to make the decisions themselves. What if they challenged all governments and councils and the like and fought those battles they felt they needed to fight, and handled the aftermath themselves -- as in, they keep the technology and the weapons and keep it away from any government. The series doesn't always work, and it's hugely violent, and there were whole storylines that I deeply disliked, but I do find that to be a very interesting concept.
  • OK. Movie over. Guess I need to eat then go see Thor.

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