I wrote this thing at 4 am on Sunday, and I want to make sure it gets in front of your eyeboawlls, tumblrers! This is mostly a reblog of that, with some edits. Fair warning!
First, read this really long article about the screenplay of The Avengers. Read it, then read what I thought. Or not, it’s your life.
Okay, up top: “Natasha’s power=feminine wiles” (LIZ LEMON STYLE EXTREME ROLLEYES) Seriously? I can’t even with this. I understand that Natasha beats up a bunch of dudes, and manipulates some others, but she’s a soldier-spy. Why are her powers framed by her gender? Oh, because of misogyny? Great. I guess Hawkguy’s arrows should be framed as his little penises, because gender determines powers, right??
Moving on, I think the author wildly misunderstands Tony and Loki’s characters. Loki and Tony are both deeply self-loathing characters that cover that shit up GOOD. Deep down, they desperately want to be loved and accepted for themselves, but they constantly FUCK UP.
If you watch all the current Iron Man movies and don’t see a high-functioning addict, joking and smirking over his profound pain, I think maybe you rented Batman by accident? Tony Stark was given a second birth, a chance to redeem his destructive inheritance by Yinsen’s exhortation and ultimate sacrifice. He’s constantly trying to prove that he’s worthy of being alive, that he deserved to survive and THRIVE despite the shrapnel constantly trying to kill him. And, because he’s Tony, he needs to prove it to everyone every where by making the ENTIRE WORLD BETTER. That’s pretty fucking codependent, dude!
Loki is full of blind, terrible rage at the betrayal of his parents, and his true nature. His entire life has been a lie. He desperately hates his true self, and is constantly trying to convince everyone else (and therefore himself) that he is worthy of being a true Asgardian King (the one thing he can never be). He introduces himself as Loki of Asgard like 5 fucking times. He’s not an Asgardian at all! He’s a fucking Frost Giant! He hates that truth so much that he cannot even speak it. And then suddenly his brother, who is everything Loki can never be, shows up. And Thor’s only motivation is love! He loves Loki, and the moment Loki appeared on a Realm that Asgard could see, he was there, landing on jet carriers with a fucking hammer. Not to kill Loki for destroying half of Asgard and generally being a butt, but to bring him HOME—perhaps ostensibly for ‘punishment’, but it’s pretty clear Thor just wants his brother home and his family restored. And in the face of this pure, deep love, Loki is enraged, of COURSE. He sees what he can never be in Thor’s love. He hates himself, so how can anyone love him that much? The thought is anathema to him, and spurns him on in his desperation, and fuels his willingness to join forces Thanos and the Chitauri, even as those plans become increasingly preposterous. Loki might not be the ultimate villain of The Avengers, but he is one of the very few believable, relate-able villains in any action film. His pain is known to us, and so even as we watch him spiral away into enthralling people and murdering them and mass destruction, we understand him.
I don’t think these are silly, ‘jerk’ characters. Their behavior might be petty and reactionary, but their pain is real. One of the triumphs of the Avengers was a cast who could deftly deliver such a delicate, intense emotional performances.
And I can’t understand missing the point of Tony’s willingness to sacrifice himself in the final act. Steve, off-put and angered by Tony’s antics with Bruce, accuses him of not being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice—accusing Tony of being Tony, essentially, WHICH IS WHAT TONY HATES. At least Batman has the luxury of knowing that the Bruce Wayne playboy character is a character. Tony has to be Tony Stark all the time, even though the ‘Tony Stark’ persona is the thing which constantly prevents him from redeeming himself, and assuaging his guilt for surviving. In the final act, Tony willingly does the thing that is counter to his very being—make the ‘sacrifice play’ with no clever back up plan, no quips, no gadgets. Totally selfless. The thing that Steve Rogers did without thinking before he had superpowers. POWERFUL FUCKING STUFF YOU GUYS.
Oh, and don’t think I’ve forgotten about Steve. I mean, yeah, BUTTS, but the rage and pain he feels for missing the end of the war, and the guilt he feels for coming back to everything and everyone he knew gone (to him, destroyed and unattainable)… yeah, in a film with the HULK, ‘dorky’ Captain America is the one with the most rage.
Ultimately, I think this article’s reading of the movie and its characters misses a vital point: that this group of hyper-powerful but ultimately broken super heroes need each other. Tony wants to need Bruce (someone whose brain he has always admired, and whose pain is his own—someone to save, which will therefore help erase the red from his ledger, proving his second life worthwhile), Bruce needs someone who isn’t The Other Guy (i.e. Iron Man, who is the ‘safe’ Hulk), Thor needs Loki, Natasha needs Barton and Barton needs Natasha and Steve needs all of them—he needs to be someone’s Captain. They’re human and they need each other. Together, they are more than the sum of their parts.
Still read the article, it is great. Especially if you’re trying to write stories of any stripe.
I HAVE A LOT OF OPINIONS ABOUT THIS MOVIE, AND APPARENTLY EVEN ABOUT ARTICLES ABOUT THIS MOVIE!