Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Avengers -- decadent and sexist? Ooh, read on

Let me get this out of the way:  The Avengers doesn't suck.  At all.  It's easily the most fun I've had in a theater since Return of the King, and the ending was even more satisfying.  It was so good on so many levels, and like I've heard a lot of other reviewers saying, I hope this finally propels Joss Whedon to the superstardom that an artist of his caliber deserves.  He nailed it.  I've also seen smart people rip on the movie a bit.  To them, I say to each their own.  It probably won't get best picture, okay sure.  But if you have something against the genre, you're probably not the right person to review it.  Just saying.

Of course, panel people coming out of seeing "The Artist" alongside people coming out of "The Avengers" and see who had a better time.  Who was more satisfied.

Now, on to what I really want to talk about.  While the NYT has been trashing The Avengers for being "decadent" and whatnot, another camp has been criticizing it for a fairly decent reason:  There's only one female.  Who, incidentally, doesn't have any super powers.  Who kicks a ton of ass.  She's perhaps the most capable of all of them -- at one point she discerns what's going on while everyone else is having a dick-measuring contest.  She happens to look great while she's doing it.  But still, there's only one of her.  One out of six.  I'm responding primarily to Margot Magowan's blog post.  Not because I disagree or because I think she has a shallow interpretation of the evidence.  Quite the contrary.  I think she has valuable insights and a perspective that needs to be shared.  The comments on her post were left by idiots, though.  And I don't want to register to share my long-winded response.  I hate registering.  I commit to nothing.

First off, this blog post is good.  I agree.  Women are often objectified and overly sexualized in their poses for comic books and the movies inspired by them.  I think this is based on the assumption that the predominant readers and viewers of these are adolescent boys with only one thing on their minds, ergo the best way to sell their stuff is to show a lot of tits and ass.  It's disgusting, really.  I really wish the industry would change.  And to that degree, this poster doesn't do the movie credit.  I much prefer this one:

She's cleaving out a bit, but at least she looks somewhat intimidating.

To the next post, I would just like to say that talk has exploded around the internet about what characters should be in Avengers 2.  There's talk about Dr. Strange and Namor, for example.  Mr. Whedon has cryptically said that managing six characters was really hard, and he's not sure he would want to do even more.  But I'm going to wait and see.  There are a bunch of characters that would keep a sequel fresh.  For me, the first would be Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel.  She's being set up as Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman, and she'd be an awesome addition to the team, even if she replaces someone.  Before
Ms. Marvel, there was Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk.  She's cool because she's a bit more reluctant to be a hero, and everyone around her is expecting her to lash out like her cousin and she has to continually win their trust.  Then there's Janet Van Dyne the Wasp, Jessica Drew Spider-Woman, Bobbi Morse Mockingbird, Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch, etc.  There are also black superheroes like Luke Cage and Black Panther.  There are others like The Falcon, Patriot, Bishop ...

Sorry.  I kind of got off track a little.  Anyway, I have two points to make.  The first is that there are plenty of super heroes out there to add more diversity, along both gender and racial lines, to a sequel to this already amazing movie.  The second point is as long as Joss Whedon stays at the helm, I'm willing to bet cold hard cash that more strong, capable, believable female super heroes will appear in the sequel.  He had only one to work with in this movie, and she was awesome.  I'd love to see what he would do with a few more.

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