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
"Strangely fitting in a grotesque fashion."
11944 members | you are not logged in | 21 August 2014




Tweet







September 27 2012

Nine fun facts from Joss Whedon's Avengers commentary. For starters, we find out which epic scene nearly didn't make the cut.

Among the aspects of the film he isn't wild about is how the nuclear bomb Tony Stark hurls into space singlehandedly shuts down the entire Chitauri threat. He didn't love the "kill the queen bee, kill the drones" play, but felt it was necessary so that the Avengers could go on to enjoy their moment of triumph.

Interesting. I've seen quite a few disgruntled comments about this, but it's not something that bothered me at all during the film. Why shouldn't that be the way these particular aliens happen to work? It's not as if we can point to real world Chitauri and say "see, when you kill their mothership, they actually keep on fighting!"
I wanna hug Yoink right now! Thank you!!!

There's no particular rules to how the Chitauri work!!!

Also, I can not WAIT to watch this with the commentary! :D
I think people mostly wanted some sort of set-up for it, Yoink. Without that, it seems a little cheap and convenient. Sort of the inverse of Chekhov's Gun.
The only thing that annoyed me about the Chitauri is how Thor knew about them. Loki never told him about them. As for the nuke macguffin, I think having a set-up would have really slowed the movie down at the end.
I don't necessarily disagree, Simon, and it seems that Joss probably was confronted with the same problem--expending yet more screentime on explaining how this is gonna work vs. the risk of making things seem very convenient for our heroes--and I don't disagree with his decision. But I do think it leaves the lingering feeling of being just a tad too "easy."
I think people mostly wanted some sort of set-up for it, Yoink.

I'm not sure about "most" but obviously some did. I don't really see why, though. It's not as if there was any question that the Avengers would win once the portal was closed: clearly they could beat a finite number of Chitauri; they were only under threat if more and more and more kept pouring through the portal. So Iron Man's trick with the nuke is more about saving the earth from the nuke and delivering a bit of sweet revenge than it is about defeating the Chitauri, per se. The fact that it actually wipes out the Chitauri who have crossed the portal seems more in the way of a nice extra, not a crucial plot point without which the Avengers would never have triumphed.

I mean, it would have been perfectly easy to have the nuke go off and then run a little 2-minute montage of the Avengers doing alien mop-up on the remaining Chitauri: and that wouldn't meaningfully alter anything about the film's plot, would it? It would just read a little anticlimactically--hence the decision to cut straight to VICTORY!

[ edited by Yoink on 2012-09-27 23:42 ]
Sorry, "most" was referring to people who disliked that aspect of it, not most viewers in general--most of them seemed pretty pleased with it.

(Note: for this paragraph I'm going to take the position of someone adamantly against the Chitauri-hive-thing; I am fairly indifferent in reality)

I don't think the answer to the issue is to show the Avengers handily taking care of the remainder. I think the answer is slipping in a moment earlier when we find out that this is how they work--for example, maybe the Queen Bee gets momentarily hurt and we see all the Chitauri on Earth flinch, or something stupid like that. Then the audience gets it: ohhh, there's a connection here.

The problem with the lack of set-up is that regardless of if it actually is or not, it feels like something done for the convenience of the running time, not because it's how the story would organically unfold.

When we're watching movies, I've always felt that there's a degree to which we sort of start watching them as if they're being made up as they go along (even though that's obviously not the case). So when there's a reveal that hasn't been established, it feels as though the screenwriter just made something up on the spot, even though pretty much every movie ever made has been through many, many drafts and revisions and it's obviously not the case that he just kinda made something up and threw it in there. And as I said to Simon, I think Joss probably made the right choice between having to do a cumbersome set-up vs. risking the appearance of a narrative cheat, but it doesn't change the mildly negative impact of the latter.

...also, I loved Avengers. Sorry, I just have to say it because I feel really bad having spent that much time trying to take apart a small moment in it. Truly, I adored it.

[ edited by Jobo on 2012-09-27 23:53 ]
I don't think the answer to the issue is to show the Avengers handily taking care of the remainder. I think the answer is slipping in a moment earlier when we find out that this is how they work--for example, maybe the Queen Bee gets momentarily hurt and we see all the Chitauri on Earth flinch, or something stupid like that. Then the audience gets it: ohhh, there's a connection here.

I'm not sure that would make much of a difference, though, would it? I mean, isn't the objection that the Avengers didn't know that there was a connection of that kind, and that therefore Iron Man's attack is too much of a stroke of luck? I mean, even if the audience gets to see in advance that the connection is there, I don't see how it mitigates this being a lucky blow.

My argument is that the fact of it being a lucky blow doesn't matter. It would matter if the nuke was, in fact, the decisive element in the battle (our heroes shouldn't win because of mere luck, unless you're telling a rather different kind of story). But because it's just a bit of bonus alien killage, I don't see the problem.

Think of it this way. If you came to the climax of a western and you have a big duel-scene between the hero and the villain. The two men draw and fire simultaneously and both miss their targets. But the good guy's bullet carries on past the bad guy, hits what looks like a harmless barrel outside a store: the barrel turns out to be full of gunpowder; it explodes and a piece of wood from the barrel slams into the bad guy's head and kills him. Now, that would be a sucky ending (unless it was a comedy western). You'd think "hey, that's just a piece of crappy luck! There's no way the hero knew that hitting that barrel could do that!"

But play the scene again. Have your hero outdraw the bad guy and shoot him plumb between the eyes. Yay! Goodness triumphs! Victory is ours! And as the bad guy falls to the ground, he clutches convulsively at his gun and fires off a round that--oh irony--kills one of his evil henchmen. That seems to me analogous to the situation in The Avengers. It's not as if the killing or not killing of the evil henchman is crucial to the plot. We knew that once our hero won the duel the contest was over and that the evil henchman would be dealt with one way or the other. It's just a bonus piece of "take that, ya bastards!" for the audience to enjoy.

Truly, I adored it.

All right. We'll let you live. This time.
The only thing that bothered me about that scene was the gravity in space. By bothered I mean I grinned and then ate some popcorn.
I assumed the "gravity" was actually Earth's gravity passing through the portal.
Yep, still more bothered about the wormhole/gravity stuff than the mothership - I felt the huge flying dragon ship things were reasonable grounds to believe that chitauri have emotional or psychic links to their big beasty vehicles.
Different laws of physics in the other dimension meant the wormhole could do what Joss wanted. Probably.
I assumed Iron Man was pushed back toward the Earth by the force of the nuclear blast, and then when he passed through the portal, Earth's gravity grabbed him.
Well if we're going to get fussy about logic, why not bring up Bruce Banner's Magic Expanding Pants? You know, those ones that get shredded in the legs, but always seem to still fit the Hulk's waistline.
Well, I'm totally fine with the whole explosion-conveniently-kills-big-bads thing - bring on the shawarma! And I'm so happy that Joss' favourite scene is my favourite scene...
How about Black Widow saying "It's about to get very hard to breathe" before the helicarrier lifts off, presumably referring to altitude, and then everyone being able to breathe quite happily after the hull is breached, in a big way, during the battle? And Fury being able to walk out the door with a rocket launcher.

So many plot holes. No wonder the film only made $1.5 billion....
Nick Fury doesn't need oxygen! Just a gun and something to point it at.
Being hard to breathe does not mean that it is impossible to breathe. No plot hole there. (Realism is another matter...) Also, Iron Man pushes against the missile when he lets go of it, thus creating backwards momentum taking him to and through the portal. But it can seem as churlish to respond to such criticisms as it can seem to make them. (Note the 'seem'! No criticism intended!) The kind of criticisms that genuinely makes me cross (and not just of films that I like) are those that say something of the form 'They didn't explicitly explain point X, therefore there is a plot hole or incoherence'. There should be no 'therefore' there.

Not having heard the commentary, I loved reading this article. Wonderful titbits, and I love Joss's choices of favourite scene and shot. Myself, I would fervently desire to be Black Widow if she didn't have that red in her ledger. Sadly, I look more like the Hulk's gone to seed sibling.

[ edited by Maclay on 2012-09-28 16:39 ]
zz9 wrote:

How about Black Widow saying "It's about to get very hard to breathe" before the helicarrier lifts off, presumably referring to altitude, and then everyone being able to breathe quite happily after the hull is breached, in a big way, during the battle? And Fury being able to walk out the door with a rocket launcher.

So many plot holes. No wonder the film only made $1.5 billion....


Well...I was thinking when I watched the movie was, in all the "Oh shit! We're badly damaged and having problems with keeping the Helicarrier under control!" frou-feraw, they actually brought the ship to a lower altitude so they might be able to crash land easier if need be. Or to effect repairs. Or allow SHIELD troops to fight on the deck outside if needed.

;P

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