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Oh ... grr. ARGH.

Or, How I Pissed Off My Entire FList (Except One And I Know Who You Are)

Yeah, so ... I saw The Avengers. Um. It was ... okay, mostly?

(This is not a joke. This is not a test. Sorry everyone. I didn't want to bring the Debbie Downer to the squee party, she just sat there on my shoulder the whole time and made really good points that I couldn't dismiss. So, I'ma write some down and try to get to grips with the whole thing. But you don't have to read it! Avert your eyes! Run – run while you still can so that you'll still like me! SAVE YOURSELVES!!!)

There will be spoilers for the movie below. Obviously.

First up, I will say the good: it wasn't bad. It was shiny and kaboomy and, uh, shiny, and it got the job done, picked us up at A and delivered us firmly to B. There were moments, genuine moments of oh hey, that worked amidst the flow of so, hey, that happened.

Second up, I will make disclaimers: I fully recognise that it's a prerequisite to Turn Off Brain, Munch Popcorn with these kinds of things. I likewise recognise that my failure to do so is mine alone, and not the fault of the shiny, shiny screen. Furthermore, this is the result of a single watching, and subsequent conversation with my brother and sister-in-law, who I saw it with. I'm sure I missed Things.

Also, and this is important: I love every single one of you who loved it and have already squeed all over the place about it. Love. You all. I don't want to be some elitist killjoy shouting smugly that the emperor has no clothes just to be that guy. Besides, I suspect the emperor is wearing spandex ... he's just not quite pulling it off. This is – I'm frustrated. I wanted to love it. I didn't. This is me working through that, and any thoughts anyone who's actually reading this has are welcome (as long as it doesn't boil down to, "Just turn your brain off and enjoy it," because that ship has sailed). Also, a lot of this may simply come down to personal taste, and that's okay. Because everyone else appears to be off their nut about it. It's not that I don't understand why (or at least I think I understand why), but clearly I don't quite share everyone else's criteria. I'm trying not to just react against the overwhelming glee that's radiating off the internet like midsummer noon off asphalt, but if there's an occasional petty push-back in this, that's probably what it is, because I'm contrary that way.

Third up, I will talk some more about the good: by and large, I liked the Hulk. I actually never bothered to watch either previous Hulk incarnation, but I have yet to see Mark Ruffalo ever be a bad casting choice. (He even pulled off the Token Angst Moment of I tried to kill myself with dignity – which is more than I can say for its inclusion. See next section*.) The rapport which formed between him and Tony worked for me, the pathos and the humour and the shared intellectual and emotional language they spoke. (This also laid the groundwork and emotional logic (aka "motivation") for the one single choice of action that I can remember that made in-story character sense to me.) The two Hulk-on-demigod physical humour gags were amusing, too; I appreciated that. Especially by that point in the runtime.

Other than that – Thor had a moment or two where I sensed the gravitas of a maturing demigod. The hammer felt heavy and integral to his character, rather than silly, as it did have the potential to be. Loki had charisma and woobieness enough to smooth over most of the glitches on his end of things. Their connection didn't feel contrived (I haven't seen Thor, either, although I'm guessing that contributed to their relationship this time around). (And the meta for it is phenomenal, and on that note, the fandom as a whole is incredible. Overwrought and epic and fervid and darkly whimsical, everything the concept has the potential for and that the movie aped, and by far the best thing I've got out of this whole encounter. I may never revisit the movie, but I'll stick around the fandom for a while.)

There were a few team moments that found the sweetspot. And everyone was very pretty. The effects were accomplished. There were some cool things. As I said, the movie got the story from A to B, in a reasonably workmanlike and not-unpleasant manner; I was never on the edge of my seat, but I wasn't being dragged along by my nostrils either. And, um – oh! Victor got to show off his New Yawk cop accent, whee! Hi Victor! Thanks for making Dollhouse more watchable! And, well ... everyone was pretty? Yeah, okay, this is where I run out of Funtrain. So.

Fourth up, I will get personal nitpicks out of the way: I know this is comic!verse with comic!physics, but there's a point at which my suspension of disbelief is shattered beyond my capacity to hold it together. Most likely not so for all those who successfully switched off their brains, but in my family the people who don't think like engineers think like chemists (among other things), and that backingtrack is really, really hard to shout down. So it doesn't matter how spectacular the water streaming from your hover-aircraft-carrier is, the immediate questions are "what?" and "but why?", which means the instinctive response is not "WOW!" but "uh, sure, whatever, I paid cashmoney to watch this. *cough*bullshit*cough*" It also means that the response to watching a squishy, normal human inside a metal suit get repeatedly clobbered by colossal forces is not "Haha, neato!"; it's an uncomfortable smirk, eventually culminating in a shared eyeroll, a derisive aside of "He does it with science!" and a whispered flurry of conversation about really, really perfecting those "intertial dampeners". (And that's not to mention the other two squishy, squishy humans' capacity to absorb damage, but, bleh, whatever, that's hardly just this movie.)

– Yes. I get that this is a superhero movie, and that there's an allure to just being able to let loose and revel in the invulnerableness of your characters, do the whole wish-fulfilment thing, and yes, this is definitely a suspension of disbelief issue. I was able to notice and yet not be derailed by the suit issues in the Iron Man movies. I didn't even have a problem with the electric whip thingies. But there were mitigating factors there, and I'll leave that for the part about my real issues with the whole thing.

Also, was it just me, or did the invading army of whosamits feel very Underverse/Necromongerish? I would have so lolzed (for the only time in the movie) if the redface guy at the end had turned around and been Vin Diesel. Also much more excited to watch the sequel. Because damn, I would watch that.

On a related note, Germany. Really? I mean, really? In a script that was a veritable smorgasboard of the cliché and the gobsmackingly obvious, I think Germany could be the pièce de résistance. I mean, maybe this is a staple of Cap's story, maybe it was a brilliant call-back/shout-out for those who have read the comics or seen the movie(s). I haven't. It came off quite breathtakingly smug, not to mention arrogant and condescending and slightly nauseating. Not on Cap's part, I hasten to add (he was relatively gentlemanly about it), but on the story's. I'm going for the benefit of the doubt here (which is, in my experience, usually warranted when dealing with American jingoism) and call it strikingly misjudged rather than active hubris, because in lieu of any other persuasive reason to stick around, it's enough to make me not.

And, a small thing comparatively, probably the most personal and irrelevant of the nitpicks – if you're going to bring the bro!angst, there's a fairly high bar for that sort of thing around these here parts. I mean, it worked for what it was, I quite liked how it played, but it was simply unfortunate that one of the few relationships onscreen that seemed to get any traction at all was one that I am predisposed to judge most critically. So, yeah.

*Oh, right, and Bruce's suicide thing. First, I'll be clear that I don't have trigger issues with suicide stuff. I don't have an objection to it being used as a character note, if justified. Also, I'm not saying it's not a justifiable character note for him. And like I said, Ruffalo made it work. So what's my problem? I wouldn't have one if it didn't feel manipulative. If it didn't feel like it was being used cheaply, to extract a "Whoa, dark, man," reaction rather than a genuine character insight, a respect for the tragedy of the character himself. It's a subtle thing, I guess, and it's also part and parcel with my issues with the script itself, and, well – Joss's storytelling.

I'm – well, let's just say that I'm, um, sensitive to manipulative storytelling. Storytelling that engineers – seeks to control – audience response, rather than allow the viewer to interact with the story in a way that is spontaneous and organic and individual. (Clearly, this is not a problem for everyone, but it's the quickest way to wake my brain up and boot me out of the story. The surest way to make me distrust the storyteller and disbelieve the story. *Insert side-eyeing of irony of Joss's stories' rhetoric with the way he treats his audiences here.*) For the most part it just left me cold, but using the prospect of suicide in that, however minorly, crosses some kind of line, and took me into distaste territory.

With that, I may as well get on to –

Fifth up, discussing my substantive objections: I was bored.

I. Was. Bored. What's more, I was bored within the first five minutes – the first big action set piece – and nothing subsequently re-engaged me. That's a lot of 2hr20mins to be bored for. I might even be going easier on the whole thing if I'd disliked it. (At least I'd have something, other than two fleeting nitpicks about Germany and suicide lipservice, to react against.) But damnit, I paid my exorbitant ticket price, I gave up nearly three hours of my life, I kept my distance from a bunch of (probably smelly) strangers I had to sit in a darkened room with, I put my attention into the hands of Joss Whedon and his expensive spectacle and in this day and age of entertainment currency that is a damn contract. It is a contract that I will bring all these things to the table, and he will earn it.

And I'd definitely be easier-going on the whole thing if he'd aimed gloriously high and fallen short, but he didn't; he aimed moderately high and hit just within his comfort zone. There was nothing daring in this movie, nothing subversive, nothing really interesting. It gave me nothing really new, nothing I couldn't come up with from reading a short character bio on each of them. It gave me six superheroes (+ supporting roles, including teh enemy) that added up to pretty much just the sum of their parts. (For more than that sum, I've had to turn to fandom, and fandom has Delivered. Not the first time, mind you.)

(On the idea of subversiveness – I did briefly, with a sort of incorrigible hope for a silver lining, entertain the idea that it was being suggested that Loki's rhetoric, backed by the Necromonger whatsits army, was an analogue for US imperialism. Which would have been an extreme bit of subversiveness, and a very one-sided representation (apt, though, for how it's experienced from the outside, as this invasion was by Earth), but still – invading to secure a precious energy comodity? Loftily dismissing and attempting to supplant the natives' ideology – even literally winning converting hearts (and minds)? Utelising superior technology, attacking from the decidedly high ground with total shock and awe tactics? Held off by a small band of scrappy paramilitary fighters who learn use the invaders' technology against them? I mean, just sayin'. Of course, the way the whole Germany thing was handled pretty much put paid to that idea, so. No.)

Why, though? Why was I bored? Good question, and I can circle my argument sum up the answer for you thus: because I didn't care.

That's actually not me being flippant. I didn't care about any of the characters, so I had no investment in them overcoming anything they faced. Nothing they struggled with, internally, had any weight for me at all, because I couldn't empathise; I couldn't tell you why it mattered to them other than the exposition I was handed. (Add to that the physical invulnerability demonstrated by everyone important, and nothing external presented as a real threat either. Not even the hover-carrier losing the spinny things that kept it aloft. I was not, at any point, in any doubt whatsoever that they wouldn't stroll through each and every conflict and dilemma as it was presented, apart from, obviously, Joss's inevitable sacrificial lamb to give everyone Something to Fight For Avenge. Which even came with its anvil-shaped lampshade.) I wasn't given any reason to care about them, nor root for them, nor any real character motivation for why they did anything.

(Except the one – the only one I remember, that I mentioned above with the Hulk, the emotional logic for the action choice. The unique bond Tony forged with Bruce, the connection and true recognition of who and what the Hulk was, rather than the fearful rejection of the "beast" like everyone else, meant that it was staggeringly obvious that the Hulk would save Iron Man, and also why. It was laid in, and it was paid off, without any need for exposition. I could see it for myself. It was a bond, it wasn't just flat banter, and I didn't need anyone's heavy-handed tell-don't-show monologuing or throw-away look-we-totally-have-history!-Budapest comment to let me know about it. It worked. Unfortunately. Because otherwise, I would accept that the limitations of the runtime and the story and the number of equal-air-time characters and suchforth simply makes it impossible to do it any other way; I would lower my expectations and soldier quietly on. This one instance clearly demonstrates that this is not true. It can be done; you just have to go the extra mile, take the risk and trust the story, the characters, and the audience.)

Hence the overwhelming prevalence of so, hey, that happened. And this while I was watching it. This wasn't even a later realisation. Best as I could tell, there were otherwise only two reasons why anyone did anything: one, because that is who they are, so that is what they do; they did it because that is who they are (as delightful an example of begging the question as you'll ever be privileged to find; I always like to think the question being begged is "what the f*#k is that premise doing in the proposition?!", but I actually don't think that's etymologically sound). And, okay, you can do that with your characters' motivations – but I'm left with no basis to engage them, only accept them as they are presented. (Oh, that noise? That would be my manipulation siren going off like gangbusters.) And two, because they were serving the predetermined plot.

There is a formula for this kind of thing. Set up/initial threat/source of conflict –> introduction and assemblage of characters –> initial distrust/discord/testing of each other –> midway threat, temporary banding together and success –> catalysing incident –> internal downer threatening ultimate victory –> final showdown and true forging of team. (The catalyst and the downer can be interchangeable. Otherwise, you pretty much need that order.) You may recognise this formula. It's every underdog team movie ever filmed. (My personal preference being The Mighty Ducks. Quack! Quack! Quack! Ahem. I think I just dated myself.) Which is fine, the reason they use it is because it works. Tropes are not bad. The problem is when you transparently force the characters to follow that plot, rather than have it arise from them. (That's plot-driven vs character-driven to you, Mr Whedon. And even with plot-driven, you can have the plot serve the characters, not the characters service the plot!)

Examples? One my brother gave that jumped out at him as he was watching was the argument in the lab. Why are we all yelling at each other in a quite stilted sort of way? Because we need tension! Yell at each other tensely! But don't let it actually get anywhere – quick, better be attacked in our preposterously vulnerable floating fortress designed for just such a set-piece; in 3, 2, 1.... And then, for an even more random example, Thor powering up in the field after the Inspiring Speech onboard the USS Preposterous Contraption. Did he have an earpiece, or something? Did he just go, "welp, the others will probably be getting their act together right about now, as per our proximity to the final confrontation, better get my Really Determined This Time lightning on"?

More broadly (and objectionably), every (important) character was on the exact same journey, at the same time. It was actually an impressively tandem effort, or would have been, if they'd had any choice in the matter. They were, to a man (and one woman) and with barely a variation, violently wary –> begrudging –> intrigued –> suspicious –> angry –> competent –> anguished –> inspired –> determined –> Actually In Really Dangerous Danger Now –> integrated –> triumphant –> cocky –> bonded. In fact, I begin to suspect that they were all automatons with delusions of self-determination, dangling from Nick Fury's puppet strings. When at the end he says they'll all come back "because we need them to", he is directly summing up the only reason why anything at all happened in this movie. Provided, of course, that "we" is understood to be the producers, the writer/director, the Hollywood machine, and us, the cashcow audience.

You can tell me that Joss was handed a huge, huge ask and settled on the surest way to make a movie that worked. A movie that got everyone from A to B, in a fun shiny way. That he took a working formula, and hammered everything ruthlessly into that shape, added his nifty party tricks and voilà, summer blockbuster with internet-wide squee. Yes. You can tell me that, not least because I think that's what happened. But it wasn't good; it wasn't even bad. He aimed moderately high (in taking it on in the first place), calculated his range, kept comfortably inside of it, and hit the target. But don't tell me that's the work of a Master. Only a Master of Mediocrity, Darth Joss!

Okay, well, I'm going to take my cranky, demanding self off to bed now. :/


( 41 speakses — have a speak )
May. 7th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
Sorry, babe. I tried to read this but my brain checked out halfway after you said you hadn't seen the preceding Hulk, and then checked ALL the way out when you said you hadn't seen Thor. To be fair, I also can't read people's objections about Tron Legacy when they open with the fact that they have never seen Tron. Sequels, people. Sequels.


May. 8th, 2012 10:23 am (UTC)
Heh, no worries, lovely. These things happen.

I'm glad you had such a blast with the whole thing, your marathon day looked amazing! Say hi to the emperor (and Lil'Iron Man) for me. :p
May. 7th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
dear monkeytwin, I didn't read your post yet! but I commend you for your critical opinions. I like having opinionated people on my flist -- so after I see it I will be happy to read. :D

Here, have some Angry Rats. :D
May. 8th, 2012 10:25 am (UTC)
Well, thanks! It is helpful to have opinionated and opinion-loving people amongst ones acquaintances, is it not? Looking forward to yours after you see it. :)

Ooh, Angry Rats! :D
May. 7th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Hi! :)

I adored this movie. I've already seen it twice. Those are my disclaimers. :D

I am regretful that it didn't work for you. And it's fine. Stuff doesn't work for everyone.

Here's what you said that resonated with me, though not in this instance:

I'm – well, let's just say that I'm, um, sensitive to manipulative storytelling. Storytelling that engineers – seeks to control – audience response, rather than allow the viewer to interact with the story in a way that is spontaneous and organic and individual. (Clearly, this is not a problem for everyone, but it's the quickest way to wake my brain up and boot me out of the story. The surest way to make me distrust the storyteller and disbelieve the story.

I said pretty much the same thing, and angrily, when I walked out of my theatrical viewing of E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, and now I've dated myself! :D

From that moment, I never completely trusted Steven Speilberg, and so I have lived for decades with that little problem for the guy whom 99% of the universe thinks is God as a director.

And I have, subsequently, enjoyed some of his movies. But I do it through a distance created by that first realization of how blatantly manipulative the movie E.T. was. So I get it.

However, I loved The Avengers. I don't think I've gotten any less sensitive over the years. I can't enjoy rewatching Avatar because of a similar realization as well as others about that movie, and I like Cameron.

But for me, The Avengers worked. And I think in some ways it worked in part because Joss wrote is as a sequel, as a culmination of the story built slowly in the other movies. Including Captain America, very specifically, and Thor, so by not having seen those two movies, I think you might have done yourself a disservice when you saw this one. Because there were wonderful character threads established in them that were picked up in this movie, and you kind of gipped yourself of the opportunity to enjoy them.

With Bruce Banner, they weren't able to rely on character chemistry established previously, in part because of what Edward Norton did to his movie. Mark Ruffalo had to jump higher farther as a result and so did the writer, and he did, but it just brought that character up to the level already established by the others in their own movies.

Anyway, that's my sense of it.

I also think you're shorting Joss a bit of credit out of that empty space. His job was to succeed and he clearly did that, alas the box office is the final arbiter whether we agree or not. But he had to write a script that acknowledged all the lead up solo movies and use what they brought to the table, and he definitely did.

My sister mentioned she hadn't seen Capt. America and Thor, and I respectfully suggested she not see the Avengers until she had. Now that I've seen it, I would give that advice to anyone. It makes a difference.
May. 8th, 2012 11:29 am (UTC)
I'm glad you did adore the movie! I really do wish I had too. Thanks for taking the time to make such a thoughtful reply.

I have lived for decades with that little problem for the guy whom 99% of the universe thinks is God as a director.

Oh, that's interesting. I haven't seen ET, in fact (I know, I know – I haven't seen all of Ghostbusters, either, and I can't seem to convince anyone that this is not a major life failing), but I've never really responded to any of Spielberg's movies (apart from Last Crusade, and I think that had as much to do with Sean Connery as anything). And apart from Aliens and T2, Cameron has been as much a deterrent as a draw for me. So yeah, I hear you – once a storyteller has lost your trust, it's nigh-impossible for them to win it back again. (Unfortunately, I've been increasingly cautious with Whedon for some time now. I went into this ignoring that and hoping it wouldn't be a problem, but, well. :/)

Joss wrote is as a sequel, as a culmination of the story built slowly in the other movies.... It makes a difference.

Okay, well ... that's interesting. I appreciate the perspective, and the urging, and understand why you do so. (I also hope your sister does take your advice and benefits from it!) Unfortunately, there are a few factors which makes it problematic for me specifically, if no one else. One factor is about principle (which I recognise not everyone shares), one factor a personal quirk, and the last is specific to the movie.

Without a whole dissertation (unless you want me to get into it, but for the moment I won't spam you any more than I already am), the principle that I personally support being that, regardless of the number of previous sources the story references/builds on, it still needs to stand on its own merits as a story. And if it can't, it's not a story. Which is actually not quite the point of the issues I'm having with this movie (because it does work as a story in itself), but it's the first problem I have when there is prerequisite viewing to not just enhance but to actually enjoy a movie.

The personal quirk is that I actually love working out what I don't know from what's on the screen. My favourite, funnest way to watch a movie has consistently been stumbling on one on tv, at least a third of the way through and with no previous knowledge of it, and picking it up as I go along. It's far more likely to engage me than the other way around.

And specifically, I have seen the Iron Man movies, whose character threads I enjoyed, and which I saw picked up in this movie – and Tony/Iron Man was the character I was overall least satisfied with. So it might go the other way for the other characters/movies, but this instance makes the others seem less likely.

Phew! Thanks for talking with me and putting up with me. I'm sorry to be such a grouch in all this.

His job was to succeed and he clearly did that.... he had to write a script that acknowledged all the lead up solo movies and use what they brought to the table, and he definitely did.

Oh, I agree. He definitely did that. I hope I made it clear that's one of the things I acknowledge, because it wasn't a shambles (as it certainly could have been), it did do the job of getting everything where it needed to be.

Thanks again for engaging this with me! :)
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May. 7th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this, even though I have no idea what you're talking about.

I mean, really? In a script that was a veritable smorgasboard of the cliché and the gobsmackingly obvious, I think Germany could be the pièce de résistance. I mean, maybe this is a staple of Cap's story, maybe it was a brilliant call-back/shout-out for those who have read the comics or seen the movie(s). I haven't. It came off quite breathtakingly smug, not to mention arrogant and condescending and slightly nauseating

What's with Germany? Please explain. I am intrigued.
May. 8th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
Ah ... okay. Well. Okay.

I'll prefix this by restating that I've only seen it once, and it's possible I was slightly in shock that they were actually going there in the story, so my recall of it may not be perfect. I'll give you the impressions it left with me as accurately as possible, though. (There's a remote possibility that these impressions may present more snarky than the filmmakers intended the sequence itself to. I make no promises as to accuracy on that account.)

Context: Loki (bad guy, inferiority-fueled-power-trip and earth's-my-brother's-favourite-toy-envy issues) has this Sceptre with a blue glowy piece of Phlebotinum, plus a metal pointy bit that he pokes people in the chest with and it converts them to his mastery (and therefore cause). (Ohnoes!) But he needs another Thing to channel the other Phlebotinum Cube's energy into a portal to the Underverse Bad Mean Dimension with the Army of Meanies of Invasion.

Where is the Portal Thing? In Germany! A concert hall, possibly, or some other fancy schmancy function place with fancy schmancy Germans attending, listening to someone drone on about the fancy schmancy function they're attending. In Germany why, you ask, since there was otherwise one, possibly two, other brief international scenes? 30 cut minutes of runtime which we can pay for in the director's cut might hold clues, but since they were cut from my $9-per-hr movie, I couldn't tell you. Unless it was specifically to set up the following scenario:

Loki swishes down the staircase (looking extremely dapper, I should make sure to acknowledge) with a smirk, and unleashes (shiny!) mayhem to get at the place the Thing is stored, retrieves it without incident, and then strides out to corral the useless fancy Germans and starts shouting at them to kneel to him. Doesn't use the Sceptre on anyone, mind you, just yells. (In English, but whatever, I'm assuming we're assuming that rich Germans will by and large be fluent. Or possibly we don't care.) And under the onslaught of the express sentiment that humans are delusional fools to try to carry the burden of freedom, that what they really want is subjugation, that all people really just want to be slaves to someone (and it's possible there was a suggestion that that is "true" freedom, I don't know, like I said I was beginning to go into shock), this 100+ crowd of spineless rich bewildered Germans kneel. All of them. Loki gloats.

Then – an older German man among the crowd (in a tan coat that was distinctly less black-tie than those around him, which I guess makes him a man of the people?) – creakily stands and says no. He will never bow to "men like you."

"There is NO man like me, muhahahah" declares Loki.

"There are always men like you," says Simply Dignified German Man of the People Who Possibly Was Just Wandering Past When All This Happened and Not Part of the Crowd of Useless Rich Germans At All.

Loki pouts sneers, powers up his sceptre, and BLASTS –

KAPOOF! goes Cap's unless-otherwise-demonstrated indestructible shield as he lands in front of Man'o'People in the nick of time and deflects the blow. "NOT TODAY!" he roars in a manly, heroic, red-blooded American manner, in his Stars-and-Stripes-themed tights, and if he didn't add "DA-dada-DAH!" then it was my own head providing soundtrack. He then goes on to announce, "Last time I was in Germany with a lot of people kneeling down to someone, it didn't turn out so well for them!" or words to that effect, as he launches himself at Loki for a good old-fashioned knock-down drag-out (manly, heroic and red-blooded, too, probably).

And, iirc, with the arrival of Iron Man, Loki is trounced (ie, with American Heart and American Know-how) and carted back to SHIELD (with a detour or two).
May. 8th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
So. I. Uh. Yeah.

I'll point out again, it read in-character and not offensive on Cap's part, which, well. There's a compliment for you. Also that this was in the secion of personal nitpicks, because I may honestly be alone in how distasteful the sore winner aspect of US military successes come off.

But from a broader perspective, and not just whinging about Joss's one-note Freedom! ideology drum being beat because he doesn't know how to tell any other story and no one ever went broke pushing that down the throats of American/Western/postmodern audiences, I ping off the inherent judgement and contrast and, yes, blame it's assigning.

Jaydeyn, below, pointed out that it's not a bad idea to remind people of "Germany's legacy". Right, I completely agree – except that it is instinctively (that is, without conscious thought) popularly conceived to be Germany's legacy, rather than humanity's. Because history is depressingly clear that absolutely anyone and everyone will, given the right circumstances, slaughter on an unimaginable scale if it furthers their own goals. In every age and every sphere, there are those who can and do.

Germany is only the most recent and most public, whose opposition is still in power, and so they are the acceptable targets, the ones to point at and say, well, of course the Germans would kneel. But not us! Becuase we're good! We will fight! We will eventually come to the rescue of those who didn't kneel! Democracy! Freedom! Oil! Regional Control Stability! Why Won't You Do What We Clearly Reasonably Tell You To?!?

Uh ... yeah. Anyway. My issues with hubris, let me show you them....

Did that help/clarify/inform/alarm?
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- bitterlimetwist - May. 8th, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
- datenshiblue - May. 8th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
- bitterlimetwist - May. 8th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
- datenshiblue - May. 8th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - May. 9th, 2012 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 7th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)

I think you're absolutely right about the point A to point B story arc that Joss had to work with but that's because this is movie 6 in a series with planned sequels (Iron Man III and Thor II are either sequels directly to this (esp Thor) or somewhere around this point in the timeline) and I don't think he could've been more daring and still had the job, y'know? If you had come in on Show two eps before the end of season 4, would you have cared that Dean's going to hell beyond, oh, well that sucks for him. ? (The other movies aren't absolutely essential except for Thor I think, but the reason you're in on Show is because you went to the start and loved them).

(LOLs yes on the science, but I figure this is an alternative universe where k=1.3 or something. *handwave*).

Hee! MIGHTY DUCKS! :D Yes, it's the formula: forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning (See, I learnt something from that business degree!) - it's the formula for how any group interacts.

As for Coulson - there's a reason this guy is so popular in fandom (it's because he's made of AWESOME) and I should've known that he was the one going in. This is Joss after all. But I didn't. :( And Stark and Thor particularly have close ties with the guy as outsiders, while Hawkeye and Black Widow work directly with him and have for some time. I wanted an aftercredits scene of him waking up in sickbay going, "You did fucking WHAT to my Cap cards??"

I'm going to be taking on board as head canon all that stuff on subversiveness btw. And given that Greece just elected Neo-Nazis to a TENTH of their parliament, well, Germany's legacy is not a terrible point to be slapping people in the face with atm. (Granted, I don't think Joss actually is able to see the future. Much. Still.)

Also, Loki's a Trickster, so I was always going to love him, but oh... oh man. The journey he's been on? (WATCH THOR, WOMAN!) Wow. ♥


May. 8th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
Hi! Thanks for coming out and playing with me. It's nice to get an outside, Australian perspective, here, too. :)

(Also, I feel like I need a Ducks icon now.)

this is movie 6 in a series with planned sequels.... The other movies aren't absolutely essential except for Thor I think

I answered the "series/sequel" issue as briefly as possible with datenshiblue's comments above, so I won't bulk out this reply by repeating it again, except to say it was pretty clear what the Thor story thread was. (Not that it was hard to pick up from what was included onscreen anyway, but it did also help that, spending the kind of time I do in internetland, I had picked up the gist of Thor's story anyhow.)

I don't think he could've been more daring and still had the job, y'know?

It's possible. Whether that's objectively true or not, at the very least it seems that he felt so. I can recognise that, but I don't have to respect it, and I'm not obliged to find its insipid calculatedness interesting, regardless of how efficiently it worked.

If you had come in on Show two eps before the end of season 4.... the reason you're in on Show is because you went to the start and loved them

Well, the reason I went to the start was because I caught, like, the last quarter of Mystery Spot (not the most accessible episode in the world), and understood enough of what was going on simply from how five minutes of it played out to be actually willing to give the show a go, whereas before that I was completely dismissive of it. However, I do very much agree with your point that at this stage I'm completely invested in the story and that pays off huge in my enjoyment of it.

I wanted an aftercredits scene of him waking up in sickbay going, "You did fucking WHAT to my Cap cards??"

Ha, it has been pointed out that even though Nick Fury told the team he died (manipulation! *cough*), there's no way to rule out his being brought back if they want. This is comic!verse afterall! You may well get your wish (or something close to it). *I* like it.

I'm going to be taking on board as head canon all that stuff on subversiveness btw.

Always glad to supply head canon. ;)

Germany's legacy

I don't disagree with the sentiment, but I'll try to address this when explaining "Germany" to bitterlimetwist, rather than WALLS'O'TEXTing you.

Also, Loki's a Trickster, so I was always going to love him, but oh... oh man. The journey he's been on? (WATCH THOR, WOMAN!) Wow. ♥

Well, sure. I got why he became such a fandom favourite while watching him in this. I was vaguely intending to watch Thor at some point anyhow, which this movie didn't change either for the good nor the bad. But since you urge me so persuasively, it might get bumped up in the queue one or two spots. :)
- jaydeyn_sitari - May. 8th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - May. 9th, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
- tahirire - May. 11th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
- themonkeytwin - May. 12th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I was equally horrified when they turned up in Germany with Captain America. :S

There was definitely a failure to underline the threat, when everyone bounces off everything. I get that too. And some formulaic storytelling.

*Sigh* I knew I shouldn't read this. I do agree with (almost) everything you say. :(

But I did enjoy it. At least for the absolutely awesome one-liners that are Whedon's bread and butter.

(sorry about the anon version, forgot to log in!)
May. 9th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
I was equally horrified when they turned up in Germany with Captain America. :S

What's interesting about it is how very differently it apparently plays to American audiences and non-American audiences – and the blindspots it reveals on both sides. I mean, I was there almost four years (and I actively want to go back), and I still haven't decoded the way their military plays into their collective sense of identity, into their sense of story, into their heart values. I can connect some of the dots (and I can tell you it's highly significant), but I still have not been able to come to grips with it.

*Sigh* I knew I shouldn't read this. I do agree with (almost) everything you say. :(

Oh no! I hope it didn't ruin anything for you too much. It's not fun to have a pretty parade rained on.

But I did enjoy it.

And I'm glad for you!

At least for the absolutely awesome one-liners

Yeah ... let's not go there. I've dug myself in deeply enough as it is! D:
May. 11th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)

May. 12th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Mm, the yodelling is quite tuneful. *nods sagely*
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