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The Avengers [movie]

We finally saw this! Helluva movie, innit? I am not going to do much of a plot + critique writeup because it seems that everyone all over the Intarwebs has already done so, week ago.

In a nutshell, Loki (yes, that Loki) steals a strange, powerful McGuffin artifact from a secret lab on Earth and plans to trade it for an invasion force of aggressive aliens. Nick Fury of the spy organization SHIELD assembles a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits response team consisting of the Black Widow, Captain America, the Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye (eventually), and Thor (who is, as you may recall, Loki's brother, or half-brother, or adopted brother). Major mayhem and hundreds of explosions ensue.

One striking thing that many have noted is the lack of classic intrusive male gaze in the movie. There are a number of fan service-y, shots, but the men get them as often as the women. And among the women, the usual camera target is Fury's deputy, Agent Maria Hill, rather than the Black Widow, who gets to play as one of the team to a degree that made me very happy. No, it's not perfect in that regard (as has been noted, despite several named female characters, the movie does not pass the Bechdel Test), but what is?

  • Have I somehow missed the discussion of how Natasha (Black Widow) hijacks one of the alien sky-scooters in the huge fight at the end? I really loved that: as many have noted, she is just an "ordinary" human with special training, and she gets to play just as hard as the guys. Also, shades of Revy in Black Lagoon, her pistols seem to have bottomless magazines.
  • I've got super-duper slash goggles (and have been dinged for it, too), but none of the potential slash pairings are really doing it for me. The only ship that's starting to dock at my place is Natasha and Clint (Hawkeye). But this may just be the difference between being an old married person and a young free agent on the field of love. (More below ... )
  • Specifically, the Tony Stark (Iron Man)/Bruce Banner (the Hulk) lab scenes did not strike me as sexual chemistry. I wanted to pop Tony several times, because he was being a jerk (which is what he does), and I felt tired and aggravated on Bruce's behalf. Snarky stuff does not always equal Kiss Kiss Slap, folks. Finally, Tony has a canon SO, and it works for me.
  • I really, really liked Mark Ruffalo's Bruce. I think Ruffalo did the best job as a pure actor in the film. Johansson's Natasha was pretty awesome too.
  • I hated the alien destroyer ships, with their primitive fish form and motion (the way their fins casually chopped holes out of buildings) and their boney exoskeletons. They really freaked me out: well, done, effects folks and designers! Some of my sensitivity may be due to my mental pictures of the possible consequences of Friday's tornado watch at my office building: we have a 10-story-high wall of glass on the front, opening onto an atrium that extends upward for the full height of the structure.
  • Random bits I really liked: Natasha pwning Loki at his own mind-fuck game; Hulk punching Thor into the middle of next week, just because; Steve taking charge tactically, first with the cops, then with the Avengers themselves; Clint's cool and calm during the climax; Tony intercepting the missile and taking what should have been a one-way trip with it; virtually everything Nick does.

Main thing I didn't like:

  • Women and minority invisibiity among non-victim extras. There were a few female and non-white crew on the SHIELD sky carrier, but I would have liked to see more among the police, the security personnel doing the evacuation at the beginning (instead of being herded away like vulnerable sheep), and the National Guard unit that shows up near the end.

There's probably more, but that's enough for now.

This entry is also posted at Dreamwidth. Comment at either location, as you prefer.


Jun. 4th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
I would have assumed Tony/Steve was the biggest Iron Man slash pairing and Tony/Bruce was almost nonexistent. How curious!

So, Tony/Steve was a pairing going into the movie, post-Captain America, I think largely because of their mutual admiration society in the comics and the hypothesized way the characters might play off each other given differing ideologies and worldviews (since they didn't actually meet in CA). Like, mutual admiration to the point where in the continuity that has Natasha Stark as Iron Woman, they get married. In canon. (Natasha wears her Iron Woman suit and a veil. There are images online. It's very comics.)

A lot of people came out of Avengers still shipping Tony/Steve, but sizable minorities came out shipping either Tony/Pepper + one (either Steve or Bruce) or Tony/Bruce, the latter at least partially because of their science friend bonding. (My impression so far is that there's a lot more long plotty Tony/Steve, though.)

And then some of us came out of it willing to read almost anything well-written because we're ready to be convinced of all the pairings. :-P
Jun. 5th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
And Tony/Pepper was canon in the earlier Iron Man films, yes? (I have not seen them myself and am only dimly aware of it because of the amusingly ridiculous ship name.) I haven't seen the Captain America film either, so I didn't realize any of the talk of Steve/Tony stuff was partially going back to that.

(I'm generally pretty terminally out of the Marvel loop, for both comics and films. I only bothered to see Thor because I did want to support Branagh for having the stones to cast Idris Elba and Tadanobu Asano, plus I had a major Wardrobe Malfunction when out running errands and it was the most appealing thing currently playing at the theater that was the closest place with a bathroom...)
Jun. 6th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Tony and Pepper got together at the end of Iron Man 2, yeah. Tony wasn't in Captain America, but I think movie fans saw it and took their BFF relationship in the comics plus the obvious contrasts between their movie characters and ran with it to some degree even before they actually showed up on-screen together (you can often tell which stories were written before Avengers by how Steve and Tony get along better initially). And I'd say fan reactions to Tony/Pepper have been mixed, some for the "ew, gets in the way of the slash" reasons and some for the "Pepper deserves better than, well, Tony Stark" (which I go back and forth on, personally. I really liked their relationship in Avengers, but I also wonder if long-term Pepper as the most normal person in the entire movieverse bar Darcy is really up to dating a still slightly self-destructive superhero, no matter how hard he's trying to be a grown-up for her).

I think Hogun has been Asian (well, SPACE ALIEN Asian like the Asgardians are SPACE ALIEN Vikings) in the comics for quite some time (there's one cover floating around from 2007 where he's dressed up all pseudo-Mongol), if not always, but Idris Elba was definitely taking the risk of fanboy outcry. (Also, wow, I did not realize that was Tadanobu Asano! He looks different when he doesn't have Temudgin hair or acting to do. :-/ ).

(I would not call myself in the Marvel loop, but I had a lot more Avengers feelings than I ever expected to have.)


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