redbeanbun goes to the movies: THE AVENGERS with a few lady friends

So, this was incredibly dramatic, actually, because my friend S and her friend M accidentally purchased tickets for Saturday instead of Friday night, and then there was a whole dramatic exchange of texts, involving things like "STAIRS STAIRS STAIRS, DO YOU COPY, STAIRS."


We watched it and then went to the greatest place ever, 99 Miles to Philly, and got cheesy waffle fries and ate them with wing sauce while discussing the movie.

Analysis after the jump, for anybody avoiding spoilers.

First, let me give some context:
Four of us went, me, E, S, and M.
E and I are both huuuuuuuuuge Whedon fangirls.
S is... not... to be generous (to Whedon).
M isn't even a nerd. She didn't even cheer at the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.
So, we got the full span of reactions, I do believe.

On Whedon-ness:
E, S and I all agreed that it was INCREDIBLY Whedon-y. S didn't like that, because she likes her movies with serious themes to have a serious affect. E and I FLIPPED OUT because it was just like, OMG THAT PLANE CRASHING LOOKED STRAIGHT OUT OF FIREFLY! AND OMG DID YOU SEE THAT GUY FROM DOLLHOUSE? VICTOR! VICTOR WAS A COP! AND OMG THE FIGHT SCENES WERE SOOOOOOO WHEDON.

Basically, the fight scenes went a little comical, and very heavy in hand-to-hand combat. A lot of the fight scenes, especially the ones with Black Widow (ScarJo), felt so much like Buffy I was surprised that Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't in there. There were a lot of great humor touches in the fights, like the Hulk destroying a giant metal dragon plane... thing... and then abruptly punching Thor once the fighting stopped (that's a terrible description, but it was really very funny).

On Loki:
Loki was incredibly creepy, and slimy. I definitely read more into some of the things he did/said - for instance, he was weirdly fixated on the Hulk, and I thought there was more to it than him hoping the Hulk would HULK SMASH the flying air carrier thing. E and S thought I was overreaching, but WE'LL SEE in the inevitable sequel. We'll see.

On Thor:
Thor managed to be a lot funnier than I thought he would be, since he's like a God or whatever. There was some great slapsticky stuff with his hammer, including one scene where he's just sitting and waiting for it for a solid minute, and I was like, whaaaat is happeningggggg. Also, at one point he hits Captain America's shield and there's a giant gong noise and it flattens all these trees and they all sort of stare around, stunned. Awesome.

On Black Widow:
Okay, so, here is one place where I think this movie really benefited from the Whedoning.

Sure, her costume WAS fairly tight and low-cut, and she WAS put into some compromising situations where she looked weak and it was almost an erotic sort of subversion of the power dynamic, BUT. Aside from all that, she was a huge badass.

"I think," E expounded around a waffle fry, "that it's actually really great that Black Widow, if she has to be the only woman, isn't a superhero. She's just an incredible assassin."

She's right - perhaps the best thing about Black Widow is that though a lot of her interactions are based on playing up her feminine wiles, she holds her own with a band of superheroes, even though she's "just" human. She extricates herself from any number of life-threatening, creepily rape-y situations, all by her badass self. She doesn't need anyone to help her out, and she's in control of pretty much literally every single interaction she's in.

Her character plays everything pretty close to the chest, and she's the one that I think has the most backstory to work with, given that none of it is known or obvious at this point. Assuming, of course, the director of the sequel has the same respect for and obsession with strong women that Whedon does.

On Iron Man:
His relationship with Pepper Pots is used excellently, and Robert Downey, Jr. performs exactly the way you'd want him to. He has a surprisingly earnest relationship with Banner (Hulk, for those of you who are completely lacking in geekdom, to a weird degree, because who doesn't know that Bruce Banner is the Hulk?) and a GREAT antagonist-but-also-friend relationship with Captain America. It's amazing.

Also, he's legitimately the perfect foil to Loki, as they're both egomaniacal genius weirdos.

Oh, speaking of, there's an AMAZING line between America and Iron Man:

Captain: Take off that suit, and what do you have left?
Stark: Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist.

Of course, Downey throws that line in a way that only he could. It's hilarious and awesome.

On Captain America:
Oh my god, you guys, this makes me so sad. So Agent Coulson is a HUGE Captain America fanboy, and he's so excited, because he has original Captain America trading cards - "near mint!" he proudly exclaims - and then [LITERALLY BIGGEST SPOILER OF THE MOVIE] he totally gets murdered! BEFORE CAPTAIN AMERICA CAN SIGN HIS CARDS FOR HIM. OH MY GOD IT IS SO SAD. IT'S THE SADDEST. IT'S LIKE, HELLO, CHECK OUT ALL THIS HUBRIS, YOU CAN'T EVEN DEAL, IT'S THE DEATH OF SOMEONE WHO HAD THE INNOCENCE OF A CHILD IN A WAY, BUT HE WAS AN ADULT WORKING FOR THE RIGHT SIDE, AND OOOOOH MYYYYYY GOOOOODDDDDD IT MADE ME SOOOOO SAAAAAAAAAAAAAD.

Okay so anyway, other stuff about Captain America - I liked him. This is making me reconsider not having gone to see Captain America, The Movie About Captain America's Backstory or whatever it was called. He was amazingly likable, and he has one of the most adorable lines in the movie -

Fury (or someone): I did not do blah blah blah to see blah turned into his personal flying monkeys.
Thor (I think): I don't get it.
Captain: I DO!
[Everyone silently stares at him.]
Captain: I got that reference! [beaming.]

IT WAS SO CUTE. It's surprising how much I liked Captain America.

On Hawkeye:
Ah, the Avenger whose name none remember. Which is REALLY surprising, because Jeremy Renner is CRAZY HOT in this. Oh my god, so attractive. And the archery! There's little I love more than someone shooting perfectly behind-the-back, WHICH I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW UNTIL I WATCHED THIS MOVIE.

But, he spends a large part of the movie in a trance, and then he spends the rest of it being as willfully obscure as Black Widow, so all I really know to feel about him so far is that he's hot and excellent with a bow and arrow.

On the Hulk:
I spent a lot of time before seeing this movie thinking, REALLY? MARK RUFFALO. REALLY. MARK RUFFALO! REALLY?!?!?!?!

But seriously guys, I honestly think Mark Ruffalo was the best Hulk. Of all the Hulks. Maybe.

He's incredibly relateable, he's believable, he's 'shippable - as S said at some point, "That is one thing I really admire about Joss Whedon - he cares so much about the audience, and he knows so intimately what they want;" that is to say, that he'll create the basis for a relationship (Hawkeye and Black Widow, anyone?) and build the tension and even throw in a lingering glance or two, but he won't consummate it. He leaves that to the fan community (who, as we all know, as we are all fanboys and -girls here, love almost nothing more than writing slash).

Anyway, back to the Hulk. Banner and Hulk are separate characters, with different personalities, which is great. And Banner has one really great line, which I won't even spoil here, because I think it's too awesome (and E and S agreed).

On Fury:
Samuel L. Jackson, being Samuel L. Jackson. 'Nuff said.