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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Can't even shout, can't even cry, the gentlemen are coming by."
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May 23 2012

Science Bros - Tony and Bruce. Nice analysis of the relationship and friendship between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in The Avengers.

This is actually really well written. I loved this relationship in the film.
That was excellent.
I was surprised, when I saw the film, to discover that nobody had shown that relationship before. Whedon made it seem 'natural' but nobody previously had noticed it at all.

In general in the Avengers I noticed that first priority was given to friendship, over and over, just as in the rest of the Whedonverse. It's not that there are no other relationships - Wash & Zoe for example - but the primary positive relationship in the Whedonverse is friendship. Of course in a mostly-male film his options were limited (introducing a romance between, say, Nick Fury and Captain America would have been uncanonical). But it would have been easy, and even canonical, to write Black Widow and Hawkeye as a romance, but he explicitly rejects that ("love is for children") in favour of friendship. There are all sorts of scenes where the two of them could have shown romantic interest in each other (say, in the recovery room), but they do not. This was a conscious choice.

Even in the Stark/Potts relationship, the important thing is what they DO together - design and build clean energy towers. The important thing is not the relationship, but what it generates in the world. Sure, they're together; now what will they do with that?

Whedon's not interested so much in the story of two people looking at each other; he keeps coming back to the story of two people standing side by side looking out at the world, at something else - a common goal, or a common enemy. (Borrowing heavily here from C.S. Lewis' distinction between "lovers" and "friends" here - lovers look at each other; friends are both looking at the same third thing, side by side). The iconic shot of Black Widow and Hawkeye is the two of them standing side by side in Manhattan, sheltered by a half-wall, firing at the aliens together; and we saw a very similar scene, of the two of them fighting side by side (in Budapest?) playing on a monitor behind Coulson when he phoned her to say "Agent Barton's been compromised". It's not (or not only; it's unclear) her beloved that's been compromised; it's her friend and comrade in arms, and that's the relationship that matters. And it matters a lot.

Tony and Bruce both think 10 floors of gadgets is Candyland, and they both have id-management issues; of course they're friends. Black Widow and Hawkeye, both reformed assassins with re-integration issues; friends. For Whedon, the successful resolution of the Loki/Thor relationship would be if they succeeded in becoming friends again, as they were when they were young.
I really enjoyed reading this and I think lbowman that your analysis is both accurate and well written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Really enjoyed reading this.

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