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05 May 2012 @ 20:07
So that happened.  
So I saw I saw The Avengers today.

Things that made me GLEE:

Black Widow. Hands down, my favourite. We got to see her be smart, and tough, and human, and a hero. And it's not about who has super powers or super tech. it's about doing what needs doing. I LOVED her, start to finish.

Cap! I loved seeing Steve lead. We lost a lot of that, in Captain America, because it was all in montages. I loved seeing Steve as the tactician, and holding this group of people together. I adored that.

Maria Hill, what little we had of her, was also awesome and added a whole new dimension to S.H.I.E.L.D..

I actually ADORED Tony. I'd been prepared for him being angry and self-destructive, and instead we got a genuinely fabulous Tony who while still mouthy and arrogant was also smart, capable, and a genuine team player. I loved seeing Tony actually playing well with others. It really made his journey of the first two films feel like he had a destination in a way that IM2 didn't, for me.

Also, OMG PEPPER! So much of what I loved about Tony in this movie was also how Pepper is in his life. I love that we saw her without the suit and 5 inch stilettos. I love that we see how much more stable Tony is, with her.

Oh, Clint. Clint, Clint, Clint. You taking guys out with a bow and arrows and sometimes without even looking at them and being all spooky ninja is AWESOME. I really hope we get to see more of you. But having him and Tasha paired up was a great way to develop both characters, even if he doesn't really get to shine til the last third of the film.

You guys all know how much I ADORED Ed Norton's Bruce. But I really like Ruffalo in the role. The Bruce in my head, the entire time I was writing "Simple, Not Easy" was Norton. But I like this Bruce lots. I especially loved him and Stark. Let the Bromance commence!

And speaking of bros... I really really really loved Thor and Loki's continually evolving relationship. I had been fully expecting Loki to do an about face and double-cross the Chitauri. But having him follow through til the end is SO HIM. He knows he's making bad choices, but he commits to them. And weirdly, that works so well for me. And for him as a character.

I also really do love that Loki was not just a damaged woobie, but a genuinely frightening baddie. Go Hiddles! You rocked it.

OH HAI NICK MOTHERFUCKING FURY. You are badass incarnate. Please continue to be awesome, Sir.

Thing that made me go WTF?

Would it have killed them to have Phil say "Jane and Darcy" instead of just "Jane" when he was talking about relocating Dr Foster for her own safety? Darcy was just as much a friend to Thor as Eric. Leaving her out made me twitch.

Thing that made me genuinely angry that I am not getting over any time soon:

Fridging Phil Coulson.

I spent every moment after his final scene waiting for the reveal that Fury was lying and Phil was alive. That they weren't in fact taking the cheapest and easiest route to getting a reaction from both the characters and the audience by killing off a fan favourite. It made me angry, because it gets a reaction from the audience that isn't earned, it literally fridges Phil in order to motivate the rest of the team, turning a character into a symbol and taking a three dimensional character and flattening them out into a banner to be waved.

Unless Marvel shoots a new short with Steve finding out Coulson is in the medbay, waiting for his autograph, I will hold this against the franchise for a long, long time.

What made me angriest was that, structurally, it wasn't required for Phil to die. The effect would have been the same, had Maria Hill gone up to Fury and confronted him about Phil pulling through surgery, instead of Nick taking the trading cards from the locker. BOTH would have shown Fury is a fucking manipulative song of a bitch who will do what he believes needs to be done, to get the job done. Having Phil wounded and near death ACHIEVES THE EXACT SAME GOAL, without removing the character from the story, and removing the actor from future projects. I get angry when someone loses work over stupid storytelling choices.

It's cheap. It's stupid. And it's one of the main reasons why I have ALWAYS had issues with Joss Whedon's work as a writer (that and the dialogue being so pithy and stylised that it removes me as a viewer from the emotion of the story due to being aware that everyone is talking like a Whedon character). Because it's like using a tactical nuke to swat a damned fly, for the sake of a nice wide shot of the mushroom cloud. It's all flash, no substance, and it actually turned the movie from one I was genuinely enjoying--even loving at times--into yet another fandom I loved until one movie killed my joy.

EMETA: Okay, so I am less specifically angry at Whedon now that I have listened to the Kevin Feige interview where he said that it was Marvel's call, not Whedon's. But as far as I'm concerned, it's still a bad call. It's still cheap, it's still sloppy, and it still makes me angry. The explanation that we needed to see Loki do something truly horrible to buy him as the big bad? IS LAME. We already know that. He killed his birth father, and tried to kill his brother. We saw that movie.

All of my issues with the movie are structural, storytelling choices ones.

Loki's reason for allowing himself to be captured is a weak one, and felt like a cheap plot device. Revealing the aliens and Loki's plan in the first sequence (and having Thor reveal what the audience already knew to the Avengers as a cheap throwaway line that also makes NO LOGICAL SENSE) robbed the film of a lot of much-needed narrative cohesion for me. It would have made MUCH more sense, had Tasha got out of him that he was the scout for an alien invasion, than him targeting the Hulk. Particularly as LOKI DOESN'T KNOW THE HULK FROM ADAM and having Banner Hulk out doesn't achieve anything beyond some minor structural damage to the Hellicarrier.

It doesn't even truly divide the team. Getting captured on purpose explicitly to divide the team AFTER he knew who he was fighting? THAT makes sense, from both a storytelling POV, and tactical. That I would expect from Loki. That would have actually made his story make more sense.

I have kinda had it up to here with sloppy plotting, and I am still mystified as to how no-one during the entire long process from treatment to screen ever said "This needs some work..." and us getting a better story as a result.

Seriously. A few minor changes to the existing scenes would have resulted in a movie I would have clasped to my bosom with joy and love, and watched over and over again like the fangirl I am deep in my heart.

At the moment, I can't even really bask in the stuff I DID genuinely enjoy, because I am still angry over those structural choices.

ETA: For the record, I'm not just angry that they killed Phil off because I am invested in Coulson as a character. If they'd done the same thing with another character, I'd have been just as furious. Because it genuinely wasn't necessary and detracted rather than added to the story, for me as a viewer.
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i'd like to teach the world to sing: Apocalypseizzyfics on 6th May 2012 01:13 (UTC)
Agree with you on all counts. I hate the idea of killing of people just because you can and not because it is necessary, especially such a cool character like Phil. Also, I didn't even catch the line about Jane so am also angry on behalf of the Darcy omission.

But Clint/Natasha was AWESOME. I seriously love her in a way I never thought I would before seeing this movie. I could stand to read well, anything, with her in it now.
ljc: avengers (widow)taraljc on 6th May 2012 01:48 (UTC)
I want so much to share everyone's glee, and I am not over being angry yet.


and I 'shipped her and Phil, which was another reason for me lack-of-glee.
lizbee on 6th May 2012 01:15 (UTC)

Though apparently the actor is signed for IM3? IDK, my seatmate has already decided dead!Phil was a Skrull.
ljc: avengers (coulson is a spooky ninja)taraljc on 6th May 2012 01:48 (UTC)
I'm onboard with Phil being alive. I just will be angry until they tell us he is alive.
circ_bamboo: avengerscirc_bamboo on 6th May 2012 01:20 (UTC)
Thing that made me genuinely angry that I am not getting over any time soon:

Fridging Phil Coulson.

That. Jesus fuck. urbancate is convinced that Phil isn't actually dead for a list of reasons, but I'm just as convinced that he is because of Wash-ke-bab. Also, it would have probably made Fury's character more Fury (what you said above only moreso) to have Phil survive. (I mean, yes, there are future movies, but they should have hinted at it in the after-the-credits bit, rather than showing us the next Big Bad.)

And the stupid freaking part is that I didn't actually cry when he did die (and trust me, I might have) because I was dead convinced until the end of the last reel that he just might come back. And then I realized, Joss Whedon. So no. Which fucking annoys me unto death, because it made me walk out of the movie mad instead of gleeful.

And, in more amusing and less serious criticism, here's Mr. Bamboo's words of wisdom: "It kinda felt like Whedon was masturbating on screen, because frankly, like half the movie was what comic book nerds do on Friday nights: discuss whether Thor could take the Hulk, or Iron Man could take Thor, et cetera."

tl;dr: AGREE.
ljc: avengers (cap salutes you)taraljc on 6th May 2012 01:49 (UTC)
I've never been Cult of Joss, but I had at least hoped he'd learnt from past experience that FRIDGING IS BAD STORYTELLING. Alas.... *sigh*

ETA: Okay, Kevin Feige interview has redirected my anger. But the anger, it is still there.

Edited at 2012-05-06 02:39 (UTC)
(no subject) - cmdr_zoom on 6th May 2012 18:45 (UTC) (Expand)
Gale: CC v.2.0 (newspaper)iphignia939 on 6th May 2012 01:40 (UTC)
The current rumor is that they're gonna use Coulson's brain engrams for the Vision come Avengers 2, but--yeah, that whole part was unsurprising (because, you know, Joss) *and* sucky all at once.

Also, the nerd in me was like, "...Nick Fury, you did *not* just get blood on those trading cards THEY WERE ALMOST VINTAGE." Because I am awful.
ljc: avengers (maria)taraljc on 6th May 2012 01:50 (UTC)
What pisses me off is that I'd genuinely hoped he'd become a better writer, and went into the movie really believing that. Silly me.

ETA: Okay, my rage is now directed at Marvel (who made the call on Phil's fate) rather than solely at Whedon. But It's still rage.

Edited at 2012-05-06 02:41 (UTC)
(no subject) - taraljc on 6th May 2012 02:06 (UTC) (Expand)
sinkwriter: Castle & Beckett - Huddlesinkwriter on 6th May 2012 01:40 (UTC)
*squeezes eyes shut so I don't see the spoilers*

Just one quick question for now, until I've seen the movie: did you see the 3D version or the regular version? (In other words, which one should I see? I was leaning toward non-3D because I don't need the extra flash and glitter. I just want a good story told and maybe some kick-ass action.)
ljc: avengers (hawkeye arm)taraljc on 6th May 2012 01:47 (UTC)
3-D gives me migraines. I saw it in 2-D.
(no subject) - sinkwriter on 6th May 2012 01:53 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - boosette on 6th May 2012 01:56 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sinkwriter on 6th May 2012 02:19 (UTC) (Expand)
boosette on 6th May 2012 01:55 (UTC)
Darcy may have security through obscurity, I think?

Otherwise I am not going to share any of my feels cause you have herd them all, but I will share with you this tortoise:

ljc: avengers (hawkeye)taraljc on 6th May 2012 02:00 (UTC)

I am sorry I harshed your squee. I will try and find my squee again! I promise.
(no subject) - boosette on 6th May 2012 02:09 (UTC) (Expand)
Dave Van Domelen: Davandvandom on 6th May 2012 02:16 (UTC)
At first I accepted the fridging, until someone asked me if I thought he was dead...at which point I realized that about half of everything Fury said to the Avengers in the movie was a lie for the greater good.

And then I was thinking, given how much blood was flying around in that sequence in general, why didn't any get on the spear? The LMD mention may have been pure invention on Tony's part, or maybe the tech exists. (Mind you, given how crappy the Hammeroids were, probably not, but you never know.)

In any case, Coulson may well be alive somewhere.
lilacsigil: black widowlilacsigil on 6th May 2012 02:28 (UTC)
While I agree it was stupid and predictable, I don't think there's any reason to think Coulson's actually dead - if Joss was in charge of the franchise, yes, but he's not. And the actor has already shot scenes for IM3, so there's still something in the works.
ljc: avengers (widow)taraljc on 6th May 2012 02:43 (UTC)
I'll believe it when I see it. The Kevin Feige interview where he explained that Phil's fate was at Marvel's request, to up the stakes going into final battle and make the audience hate Loki makes me now want to sit Feige down and explain why fridging is sloppy storytelling. Because it is. And I am still angry.
(no subject) - cmdr_zoom on 6th May 2012 18:47 (UTC) (Expand)
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner Hawkeye slidehiddencait on 6th May 2012 03:54 (UTC)
I can honestly say I agree on pretty damned much everything here - everyone was awesome and wow the ladies added so freaking much: Pepper BAREFOOT *boggles* was so fun, and Hill was a badass extroidinaire while still feeling like a soldier as opposed to Tasha who was just asskickery extroidinaire while still being so much more human than I thought they'd manage for her.

All the rest of the cast was awesome, and I swear Rufalo almost stole the show for me - and I was with you on really loving Norton in the roll.

Man Fury with the rocket launcher will never get old lol.

And Clint... *trails off into glassy eyed silence* Yeah, I suppose I don't need to reiterate my feelings about that man lol. What was hysterical was that I ended up sitting next to some college age guys who were almost fangirling over Hawkeye more than I was!

... I refuse to believe Coulson is dead. It just didn't happen. I didn't see it. Denial is my happy happy place lol.
StClair: oopscmdr_zoom on 6th May 2012 19:06 (UTC)
I'm afraid I can't squee over barefoot Pepper, 'cause for me it's just one more checkbox on the list.
(no subject) - profshallowness on 10th May 2012 11:17 (UTC) (Expand)
Maybe I'm the plucky comic relief...?: Avengers - Coulsonagentxpndble on 6th May 2012 04:20 (UTC)
I'm vacillating between feeling amiable about the Coulson thing and spewing vile hatred... It depends on the moment - At any given moment I can think he's out of it for good, or lying in a secret hospital room somewhere... Second time through, I'm less hopeful that they are going to pull a live Phil out of their asses in the next movie, but it's just not impossible from what I saw. Unlikely, but not impossible. And if he's really gone, I did love every second of his swan song. The real problem for me (if they killed him) is the timing. I really, really needed some time with him in place with the team all assembled to squeeze whatever might be left for me out of the character in fanfiction... And AU/fix-it fics just don't float my boat.

Anyway, THANK YOU for this post because, as usual, other people seem to be able to sort out my thoughts better than myself.
Christina K  (jackelope hunter!): Agent Awesome!butterflykiki on 6th May 2012 07:43 (UTC)
Thing to make you feel better: Luceat by Dira Sudis. New head canon works for me!

Loved the movie soooooo much, even with the fridging, because Phil seemed aware of it, and also because I have my fingers crossed for prequel movies with the Black Widow and Hawkeye, so we get more Coulson.
Christina TM: The Avengers - Captain Americachristina_tm on 6th May 2012 17:52 (UTC)
100% agreed on Tony Stark and Phil Coulson. Tony is my favorite Avenger for exactly that reason. The rest of them were all right people before they became superheroes, but Tony wasn't. He actually chose to become a better person and that makes me <3 him.

I still don't know why they offed Coulson, unless the actor wanted out of the franchise (and I don't see why he would; does he think he's gonna get a better deal somewhere else?) or they plan to use it as a plot device later on. Maybe The Avengers 2: The Search for Phil Coulson? I still didn't like it, especially since Coulson was just starting to develop into a cool character.
Terrieterrie01 on 6th May 2012 22:47 (UTC)
I assumed that Loki learned about the Hulk from Hawkeye, the same as he learned about Natasha's past. (And am I the only one who noticed the fact that they seemed to have very carefully lit ScarJo's butt in that scene?)

The Coulson thing bugs me, because, like you, I think they could have done the exact same thing if he'd been hovering at death's door. Actually, no, scratch that. I think they could have done BETTER. So poor Phil is in ICU. He might make it; he might not. No one really knows. When they ask about him, now Fury can say "It won't matter if Loki wins." Now they're not fighting to avenge Coulson. Now they're fighting for a world where it will make a difference if he lives or dies. Not to mention, it makes the line about "You made a guy named Phil angry" so much better.
redbrunja: iron man | black widowredbrunja on 7th May 2012 03:17 (UTC)
removing the actor from future projects. I get angry when someone loses work over stupid storytelling choices.

Especially because, imho, Coulson was SO PIVOTAL to tying all the marvel movies together.
Fushia Blackfushia_black on 10th May 2012 00:53 (UTC)
I squeed. I plan on seeing it again. Oddly, I was not as pissed as you when Coulton died. Almost cried, yes, but as a Whedonite, I knew, someone was gonna die. And of course, it's the one man who's grown on us for four freaking movies before this. He's a staple. We all smile when Coulton comes on screen. And it sucks hard. :(