The Politics of The Avengers
The Avengers is amazing. I can’t even.. Here are my thoughts.. beware! spoiler-y:
1. It would have been easy for writer-director(-Buffy creator!-nerd dreammaker!) Joss Whedon to have stumbled - making this film was filled with creative challenges. But with The Avengers, Joss pulled off an incredible, unlaboured balancing act - epic without sacrificing character development, action-packed without macho douchery, hilarious without losing a sense of the gravity of the danger faced, a lot of exposition covered without a sacrifice to the film’s flow and a cast of 14 dozen without any of them being short changed. Just stunningly awesome.
2. This big Hollywood superhero blockbuster - starring Captain America no less - didn’t have me cringing at obligatory moments of American flag-waving mishegas. That’s a feat in itself! And as a non-American, it was a breath of fresh air.
3. I love the nuclear weapon metaphor. They were trying to use the cube’s power, not for sustainable energy as purported (of course not), but as a weapon. I love how they didn’t one dimensionally vilify why Fury thought harnessing the power as a weapon was necessary (to deal with newly discovered extra-terrestrial threats), but how ultimately the argument that won out was that harboring such weapons just attracts an escalation in hostility. Arms Race! Cold War!
4. The metaphor I WISH Joss latched on to was right at the end: to annihilate the threat to World peace the Council decided they needed to blow up the island of Manhattan. There was untapped potential here to make a parallel with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I would have loved it if it was a *Japanese* Council member telling the *American* (Fury) that “we need to blow up this island for the greater good of the world” and play off the idea that now the roles are reverse. It could have been so subtle but intriguing! Actually, no, never mind. I’m sure Joss has enough jerks on the net telling him how he should have rewritten his already excellent script.
5. Lastly, Joss Whedon seemed to have a bit of politics on the brain (Joss likes big government! Yay welfare state!) which he cut out:
One of the best scenes that I wrote was the beautiful and poignant scene between Steve and Peggy [Carter] that takes place in the present. And I was the one who was like, Guys, we need to lose this. It was killing the rhythm of the thing. And we did have a lot of Cap, because he really was the in for me. I really do feel a sense of loss about what’s happening in our culture, loss of the idea of community, loss of health care and welfare and all sorts of things. I was spending a lot of time having him say it, and then I cut that.