07 May 2012 @ 00:23
I swear this is my last post about The Avengers  
So I ended up articulating this better in a comment on someone else's LJ than I had in my own LJ. So I'm reposting it here.

My issue with fridging Coulson is that it takes a character and flattens them out into a symbol, a banner to be waved. And it just always feels cheap to me. Killing a fan favourite gets a reaction from the audience that isn't earned. And what's more, he didn't have to die. Loki stabbing him and Fury lying about it to give the team the push they needed would have done the exact same thing. Achieved the exact same story goals, and would have actually been a great meta-comment on the practice of killing a beloved character for a) shock value and b) to motivate other characters to action.

I get twitchy. Very, very twitchy. It may come from a lifetime of comics reading, and just anger and laziness at the trope. Particularly in Whedon's work, tho I have since learnt it was Marvel's call--not his. I was furious about it in Angel when it happened to Fred, who went from being a real live girl to an object to be fought over by two dudes, to a banner to be waved to galvanise Team Angel. But at least Amy Acker didn't lose her job over it as she got to play Illyria. I was beyond angry about it in Dr Horrible because it wasn't an ironic commentary on the practice. It was a straight-up fridging for no reason except he couldn't think of anything better. And Wash... Wash was the first time I really became angry, because it really was more about shock value than telling a story. And that bothered me so much as a fan AND as a writer.

And so I kept thinking the SMART thing was to play with audiences expectations that Joss would kill a character just because he has that rep, and that we'd get a reveal. Because killing Coulson only has an impact on the minority of hardcore fans who have seen all the movies multiple times and fanboy Clark Gregg. And that didn't feel like an adequate trade-off for erasing the character and the actor from that universe, to tell us something we already know: that Loki is a bad guy.

And the thing was... Loki could give a fuck. Coulson was just a dude who got in his way. Coulson's death was no different from the S.H.I.E.L.D. folks he killed at Project PEGASUS in Act I. They meant nothing to him. So, in terms of Loki as a character, the beat fell completely flat for me. Because had it been about killing Coulson because Thor cared about Coulson and was witnessing it? That I'd have bought. But not the way it actually played out on film.

I just tend to mourn lost opportunities.
 
 
( 9 comments — comment )
lucdarling: Avengers: BW explosionlucdarling on 7th May 2012 06:09 (UTC)
I don't think he's dead, not the least because of this sort-of meta post in conjunction with this post from comicbookmovie.

Honestly, I'm waiting for another Coulson-centric one-shot. Maybe that's what CGregg is directing.
Lori: Rome Maecenas readingtanz_fanatika on 7th May 2012 06:09 (UTC)
Wash's death reminded me of Tara's. I don't see them as shock value, but as reflections on how sometimes crazy shit happens out of nowhere. We see it on the news all the time. Recently, there have been a bunch of teenagers in my area killed by drunk drivers. One second someone is there and the next they're gone. No one is safe. You're doing something you do all the time and then bam, you're done. I actually find these deaths a lot more realistic and heart-wrenching than "I sacrificed myself for her," "the bad guy kills someone simply to piss off the good guys," "the captain goes down with the ship," or other such scripted deaths. I don't read or watch interviews with people, so I don't know what Joss has said about these, but that's how I see them. I don't agree with every choice he's made, but just wanted to offer another opinion, since you mentioned Wash.

Haven't seen Avengers yet, so I don't have an opinion on this particular death. But I knew about it from a friend and I only try to avoid spoilers on a few things, so I felt safe reading these posts. I have to say though, I'm not surprised Marvel decided to off him. He's not a major character and they probably felt it was time to off someone. We're lucky it wasn't Pepper or Darcy.
Laura Shapirolaurashapiro on 7th May 2012 06:13 (UTC)
What amused me, though, was how he hung a lampshade on it by having Coulson as he was dying, explain why he had to die. The meta, it ate itself.
digitalwavedigitalwave on 7th May 2012 08:15 (UTC)
I'm definitely in the 'he's not dead' camp. Because it's done off screen and Maria directly calls Nick on the fact that the trading cards were in Phil's locker not in his pocket. Why do that unless you meant to cast doubt on what Nick was telling them?
living every week like it's shark week: question everythingboosette on 7th May 2012 12:57 (UTC)
It's cowardly storytelling -- Loki had the staff ... why not turn Coulson, instead? It's tactically a smarter move, and gives Loki reason to be in the helicarrier, if he wants a mole in the center of the action. Or hell, not even turn him -- bespell him, assuming he's half as all powerful as he says he is, and it's a harder corner to write out of.

(My feelings about the death as a death are mixed, more today than Saturday. Because this is a story about war, both on its own terms and as a continuation of Captain America -- Steve woke up to two weeks' leave and stepped right back onto the battlefield, and the thing is: People die. People we care about and love die.

So it's not the death that irritates me: It's that he manner and context in which the death occurred were stupid, and that it either shouldn't have been just the one death, or no deaths at all.)


I'm still holding judgment until we have final casting for Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2, though.
Weeping Naiad: AV: clint-coulsonweepingnaiad on 7th May 2012 13:29 (UTC)
So, I'm a big Phil Coulson fan (ship Phil/Clint SO HARD) and I cried when he died and was terribly upset they'd do that.

BUT, my son and hubby have seen it twice and they both believe (and I agree) that Phil is NOT dead. He got immediate medical aid AND they both swear that he was the guy walking in behind Fury at the end with a sling on. I thought so, too. Plus, if he was actually dead, why bother with having Maria point out that his Cap trading cards weren't in his pocket?

Anyway, I know Joss has this tendency to kill of characters (and do it badly, from what I've heard), but this time I don't believe that he is actually dead. He was a symbol, came up with the idea himself, and will go back to being his happy BA self. Plus, Black Widow and Hawkeye, his two closest friends didn't seem as enraged as Tony, et al. So I'm feeling that they know something that the others don't.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and that's my head!canon for what happened.
circ_bamboocirc_bamboo on 7th May 2012 17:16 (UTC)
I was beyond angry about it in Dr Horrible because it wasn't an ironic commentary on the practice. It was a straight-up fridging for no reason except he couldn't think of anything better.

And that's one of the things that keeps ruining Whedon for me: He thinks things are ironic commentaries when really they're just either bad storytelling or flat-out glorification of the practice he's claiming to critique.

Which is a random tangent, but yes, to what you said above.
seawenchseawench on 8th May 2012 00:52 (UTC)
I definitely agree about the storytelling, but I think if he was actually dead, they'd have had the Avengers leave from his funeral at the end instead of from Central Park. There's an interview flying around about how it was Marvel's call, and you know Marvel ALWAYS keeps people dead, right?

Also, there are now plot bunnies exploding in my head for Darcy essentially taking over all the non-political aspects of his job (with some help from Maria) because she's the only one at this point who knows what he does all day and dealing with the stress of being one of the only people who knows he's alive and not being able to tell her boyfriend.
Reading is life... :): Avengers - Team2monicaop on 10th May 2012 02:11 (UTC)
Hi :D, I came here 'cause I wanted to let check if you had something else around avengers related, specially Simple, Not Easy related 'cause I loved the story so much and I want a sequel, but I have to say I feel like you do, I hate the fact that Coulson is dead!! I hope, I really do that he's alive and well and that is all a scam, I have been checking the Iron Man 3 page a lot to see if the character's name shows up, but who knows!!

You said it, I believe it, lets make a petition online ;) hugs!!
( 9 comments — comment )