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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'd like to test that theory."
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January 26 2017

An ode to the greatest hero yet to appear in any superhero movie. 'There are no men like me.' 'There are always men like you.'

It's easy to pop in The Avengers and watch it for the big hero moments, but it's moments like this why I absolutely LOVE this film. A perfect example of how you can still inject humanity into these tentpole films.
Boy, talk about a moment that, in relatively calm 2012, felt right on the verge of overwrought and now suddenly feels like the most important thing superhero movies have ever done.
@sumogrip: No year has ever been calm, if you think of a world as a whole. You're clearly seeing it from USA-centric point of view, but there are wars and tyranny and horrors somewhere on Earth at every time. Just saying.

For instance, I always feel a disconnect when American bloggers and posters on social networks talk about the 1990s as this funny decade of grunge and sitcoms when everything was peaceful and fine conpared to what came after - because, for my country and entire region, the 1990s were the most terrible decade since the 1940s, and talking about "the 1990s" brings up a completely different set of associations.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-01-26 21:34 ]
TTB -- of course! Don't mean to diminish the genuine horrors happening constantly throughout the world, then as now, including wherever you are from. Definitely being shorthand-y, perhaps too casually so.
I have to admit that I am rather disappointed that Joss didn't choose to give that part to a woman. There were so few female characters in the movie, and yes, we know that wasn't Joss' choice, but that makes the fact that he didn't use a moment where he did have that choice to bring in a woman the more disappointing. But also, it would have been a great way to acknowledge the often ignored role that women played in resisting Hitler (which is what the exchange, of course, was about). Women fought back against Nazism from the beginning, in many ways. They served in actual combat - check out the "Night Witches" of World War II, they served as nurses in the front lines under enemy fire, they took part in every Resistance movement under Occupation, they hid Jews and smuggled them out, and they led civil movements defying Nazification, all at risk to their lives. The role that these women played is rarely acknowledged in public eye. Having that part played as an woman would have been an acknowledgement of the courage that women, as well as men, have played in fighting back against tyranny.
That's a good scene. It's interesting how much fun Joss had writing not only a wannabe-tyrant but the tyrant's perception that the people, on some deep level, crave submission to authority. To lay down burdens and go to sleep. Freedom, life's great lie. The reason why it's effective and eerie is because it's clearly true for so many. The people who submit to demagogues, to the charisma of power, to religion, are complicit in their own demise because they have abandoned the project of self-governance.

Intriguingly in Ultron Joss shows something a little similar, but flipped to cast a shadow over the whole idea of superheroes, something Joss has recently admitted to being quite torn himself over. There's a shot of an older man, a little shabby-looking, a man who has seen a lot clearly, and in the background there's graffiti of Iron Man, defaced, armed with what looks like Kalashnikovs. The superheroes now seem like the authority and oppressors; though it may seem largely humanitarian the people, probably quite familiar with this as a beginning phase for something more pernicious, are naturally hostile and rebellious to this creeping hegemony. Like most of Joss's work the film is concerned with the people retaining their own agency in the face of overweening institutions who seek to impose an order in their lives.

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