This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Carrots! Medicinal carrots! Personal use medicinal carrots that were here when I moved in and I'm holding it for a friend!"
11943 members | you are not logged in | 17 April 2014












May 07 2012

Pentagon quit The Avengers because of its 'unreality'. It would seem that there were issues over S.H.I.E.L.D.. Mild plot spoilers in the article.

This is the best thing I've ever seen. Well, pretty much!
It's like UNIT in Doctor Who, it always get fudged. As a child, SHIELD didn't make that much sense to me either.

In contrast, Warren Ellis' Stormwatch was very well handled in terms of realpolitik.
And yet NASA had no problem with it. Must have been that otherworldly aspect of it.
They have gotten reasonably spoiled by other movies. As crappy as the Transformers movies could be, as bad as Battleship might be, all the "unreality" of those is external to the military depiction. Bay, for instance, got such access because the weapons and tactics shown on film were pretty much a straight 'this is what the US military would do confronted by giant robots' in terms of realism.

"The Avengers" is amazing but it, and the Marvel Universe in general, are completely divorced from that approach. There really wouldn't have been much for the Pentagon to consult on, really. The inverse-square abuse alone should be enough to make clear that Marvel wasn't interested in much that the 'real' military might have contributed :)
I remember reading some interview with National Guard members who said they were impressed with the way Joss took on board their advice about how soldiers would react.
I hadn't realised the US military gladly provides jets and such to US movies. I wonder if they would do that to a movie where they lost.
I don't think any country's military does that. Unless their soldiers are provided as extras but CGI more or less killed that off. The Soviet Union lent 17,000 of its troops for Waterloo back in 1970.
@gossi - for the US military to provide any resources to a film they must be portrayed in a positive light. I don't know that they would have to come out on top, but they couldn't be presented as doing anything "villainous"

[ edited by QingTing on 2012-05-07 20:14 ]
"Turns out the secret to ridiculous box office success is not actual U.S. military hardware but judicious use of Harry Dean Stanton." Tweet of the day.
I think the "Avengers" is far more realistic than the Pentagon's assessment of the 'definite' existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq years ago.....*sigh*
I suspect the real thing that bothered the Pentagon was that in the movie, the nuclear strike on US soil was ordered by the Council running SHIELD, and it is not clear whether the POTUS had any say in it.
Pity that because of Fox holding the X-Men licence Joss ironically had to use NASA instead of SWORD...
No doubt what alarmed the bureaucratic militarists was no the unreality but the fact that the climax of the film has Iron Man stopping a nuclear strike on Manhattan issued by the powers above SHIELD who override Fury's horror at the idea. Joss may not have had it in mind, but certainly it was far too real a representation of the complete inhumanity of the men who order drone strikes from remote locations.
I agree 100% jettamesis, they were afraid it would look like the military would ever/could ever agree to nuke NYC (who was flying that plane armed with a nuke?) so they didn't want to be associated with the film. Just as well, Joss likes his ambiguity.

And I agree w/you too bluegrrl, I think Joss would subscribe to that interpretation (JMOPO of course).
He might; flyover America would not. About the best way to let the air out of the US box office for this flick, in fact, would be for him to give an interview saying that he pictured the last minute attempt to nuke one of the world's largest urban centers as prophylactic to an alien invasion as being an allegory for a Predator drone strike. He could also field dress a kitten while he's on the good PR bus.

Actually, I don't think a theoretical nuclear attack on NYC, though, is likely to have made the Pentagon poo-poo; "Fail-Safe" was released in 1964, if they were going to get all wadded about it, they would have then.

Eh, the column is pretty straightforward and candid in explaining their difficulty, and doesn't really seek to ridicule the Pentagon for its perspective, or the movie for its fantastic elements, so not sure why the thread needs a villain.
My point was that the Pentagon may have been disturbed at how the chain of command in the movie led to SHIELD's Council instead of the President of the United States, especially when it came to giving the order to nuke a US city filled with American citizens.

[ edited by jettamesis on 2012-05-08 04:05 ]
Good point, bluegrrl!

Actually, I don't think a theoretical nuclear attack on NYC, though, is likely to have made the Pentagon poo-poo; "Fail-Safe" was released in 1964, if they were going to get all wadded about it, they would have then.

Eh, the column is pretty straightforward and candid in explaining their difficulty, and doesn't really seek to ridicule the Pentagon for its perspective, or the movie for its fantastic elements, so not sure why the thread needs a villain.

KingofCretins | May 08, 03:30 CET


I'm not sure anyone's really trying to take the Department of Defence on as a villain per se, KingofCretins...I personally see this thread as a interactive observational humour monologue. OK, one about the Pentagon deciding The Avengers has not enough clarity on how SHIELD works (and who has oversight over its actions when it comes to tactical nuclear strikes on American soil), meaning they won't provide aid to something that could be interpreted as the United States abrogating the responsibility of stopping an attacking threat to an organization which the United States might have no involvement with. Which they didn't get upset over when Mike Bay had extraterrestrial cybernetic organisms using Earth as a battlefield and trashing multiple Earth landmarks and cities, while the initial power put in charge of protecting Earth was a MIB analogue authorized by an American president.

Which I find kinda funny, since I think you could infer that the US and the United Kingdom were represented on SHIELD's oversight council by the characters played by Powers Booth and Jenny Agutter (the main council members who spoke to Nick Fury during the film).
He might; flyover America would not. About the best way to let the air out of the US box office for this flick, in fact, would be for him to give an interview saying that he pictured the last minute attempt to nuke one of the world's largest urban centers as prophylactic to an alien invasion as being an allegory for a Predator drone strike. He could also field dress a kitten while he's on the good PR bus.

Actually, I don't think a theoretical nuclear attack on NYC, though, is likely to have made the Pentagon poo-poo; "Fail-Safe" was released in 1964, if they were going to get all wadded about it, they would have then.
Eh, the column is pretty straig

I find the whole deal to be a bit ridiculous, to be honest. the pentagon is upset they don't get to be in charge for once? It's like a kid saying 'If I don't get what I want I'm taking my toys and going home'

[ edited by okelay on 2012-05-08 15:17 ]
The article really doesn't say anything about them having wanted to be "in charge", either in, or out, of the story. They didn't understand where they fit in with SHIELD, that doesn't rule out an unwillingness to be presented as subordinate. Personally, I would have guessed they would have had a bigger problem playing along with the helicarrier than with the heirarchy, though.

BTW, I can't remember, did they establish which helicarrier that was?

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home