Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Avengers

We went to see The Avengers on Saturday night. For those not yet aware (perhaps because they are under a rock, or have zero interest in superhero movies), The Avengers is an ensemble movie with The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow teaming up to save the world. Oops, sorry, Hawk Eye was there too. The awesome thing about this particular superhero movie? It was written and directed by Joss Whedon. That's right, a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster with the man responsible for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly at the helm.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts on the movie:

  • Joss Whedon is one of the funniest scriptwriters around. This is one seriously funny movie, with many laugh-out-loud moments. And, wonders upon wonders, they weren't all in the trailer!
  • As a non-American, I don't generally identify with Captain America. But a guy lost in a totally different time period and not understanding the world he now lives in? I could almost sympathise with that guy, if he wasn't an Aryan male wearing an American flag.
  • It doesn't bother me that Thor is also of the Aryan male stereotype. Because he is a Viking, and Vikings are cool.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you, Joss, for not making the woman be totally kick-ass right up until she suddenly wasn't and had to be saved by the male hero (Tron: Legacy, I'm looking at you in particular). Instead, Black Widow got to be kick-ass right to the end of the movie. And tricksy. So tricksy.
  • Speaking of Black Widow, I'm not a huge fan of Scarlett Johanssen, but I like her work in this movie.
  • And speaking of strong female characters, I like how the kick-ass woman is not the only example of strength in a female character in this movie. We also have the strong professional woman (the agent - I think her name is Maria?). And of course, we have Gwyneth Paltrow's rendition of Pepper Potts. In The Avengers, even though Pepper Potts has nothing even approaching a combative role, she comes across just as strong as the other women. Anyone who can manage Tony Stark so well, while simultaneously pulling most of the weight in his company, and remain true to herself while doing it (i.e. not just being the unquestioning female assistant) has some serious strength of character.
  • Despite all the examples of strong women, I'm disappointed that this Joss Whedon project technically fails the Bechdel Test. Because even though there are multiple strong female characters, they never get around to talking to one another, let alone about something other than a man. Hopefully this will be rectified in The Avengers 2.
  • Hulk? Smash!
  • Kill the Mothership and all the aliens fall down? Seriously? It was silly when it happened in Independence Day. This, and a computer virus being transmitted by arrow, were my two main problems with the plot.
  • Thor didn't visit Jane while he was on Earth! I guess Natalie Portman was too expensive to hire for a scene or two only. But, still. Thor, you naughty boy.
  • I still don't want to see the Captain America movie.
  • I can't wait to see what Joss Whedon will do with his new blockbuster-director clout. Seriously, looking at the numbers, this movie is going to be one of the biggest of all time. It will challenge Avatar. Which means that now Joss can do whatever he wants and the studios will line up to back him. To me, that is the most exciting thing about The Avengers.
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