Posts Tagged ‘superheroes’

So I got just back from seeing The Avengers with a couple of friends.

There’s an equation that I think about a lot, actually: it basically states that satisfaction=reality/expectation. I use this equation all the time: basically, I find that if you don’t expect too much from something, the satisfaction you derive from it goes up immensely.

I had incredibly high expectations for this movie.

Considering how satisfied I was with it, that just goes to show you what the reality was like.

OKAY. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE GO SEE IT RIGHT NOW. I’M NOT KIDDING. DO IT. DO IT NOW WAAAAGLBLAGLAGLAGLAGL

For one thing, it’s directed by Joss Whedon. And this movie is distinctly a Whedon film. It’s got snark. It’s got funny one-liners. The dialogue sparkles– and there’s humor all throughout this movie.

But what made Whedon such an incredible choice for The Avengers was the fact that it’s an ensemble cast. And if Whedon can do something well, then it’s write ensemble casts.

I mean, think about it. All the movies leading up to this one were basically one-man shows. You get a movie called Iron Man, you expect Iron Man to be running the whole plot. There’s not much to it. He’s the main character. He’s the star of the show.

There was no main character in The Avengers. It was completely and utterly an ensemble cast.

And if you think that’s easy to do, then you haven’t tried.

Look at Whedon’s previous filmography. Like FireflyFirefly would never work if it had just one main character. The interactions of the characters drive the plot entirely. Or Buffy. Granted, there’s a main character in Buffy, but all the other characters are just as critical to the plot as Buffy is.

So it is with this movie. It would be easy to have Captain America or Iron Man run the whole show here. I mean, Captain America is the leader of the Avengers, and Iron Man is played by Robert Downey Jr., so any other writer would have probably made them the main character.

That’s not how Joss Whedon wrote the The Avengers, though. The story is entirely driven by the interactions of the characters. And (without going into too many spoilers) the Avengers are almost totally dysfunctional. You have six strong, powerful personalities clashing here. The interpersonal conflicts between the main characters are just as interesting as (if not more than) the “main” conflict against Loki and a shit-ton of aliens.

But what I think I love the most from The Avengers is the fact that Black Widow is as interesting and well-drawn a character as any of the boys. If you look at the typical female characters in superhero movies, you get love interests, victims, and eye-candy window-dressing types. Black Widow is none of those things (although, don’t get me wrong– Scarlett Johansson is totally easy on the eyes). She’s a female character who contributes as much to the plot as any other member of The Avengers. Even moreso, in fact, than other members of the team (I’m thinking specifically of Thor here).

To see a complex, interesting female character in a Joss Whedon production is hardly a shock, of course. But to see it in a superhero film, in a genre that’s at best pandering and at worst blatantly misogynist… it’s incredible. I wish more screenwriters and comics writers could take a page from Whedon’s book.

So yeah. The Avengers. It’s everything I hoped for and more.

Go see it. You’ll love it.

final score: five aerodynamically-improbable flying aircraft carriers out of five

~ Ian

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There was a sudden short burst of blogging activity earlier this month, when it seemed like I had something new to say every couple of hours. Well, this week, that well has run dry. I haven’t got too much to say, really. Maybe working on “Cassandra” has made my writing gears kick into overdrive, and this means that my cup runneth over with creative fluid (ew) when I’m working on “Cassandra”. But I’ve reached a point in “Cassandra” where I’ve gotten stuck. I know how the story ends, and I know the basic path that I’m going to use to get there. But I’ve hit all the big scenes that I wanted to hit when I made a basic mental outline of the story in my head: the mud wrestling scene, and the underwater Westside Story dance fight scene,* and all the other important ones that I wanted to do. So I’m kind of at a point where the clear path is lost. And because of that, I haven’t been updating my lame blog as much. I’m sorry, to all my followers (all nine of you!).

But I’ve had a good week. So I think I’ll tell you some vignettes from the week that I’ve had:

1

After I finish with “Cassandra”, and work some on Dance of the Dragon: The Erotic Cyberpunk Re-imagining of A Song of Ice and Fire**, I’m considering working on a superhero-related story. Maybe watching some of the Avengers-related stuff online has made me want to do this. I dunno. Whatever the reason, my mind is in a superheroic place.

But there are really only two ways you can go with a superhero story and not make it suck: you can write a dark, postmodern deconstruction of the superhero genre, or you can go so far as to making the story really damn stupid– so stupid that it goes beyond parody, and becomes something brilliant. I’m talking about having a story with a superhero whose power is fart-propelled flight.

The problem with writing the first kind of superhero story is… well… it’s already been written. Alan Moore wrote it in 1985. So you can’t have two stories like that around, because the second is superfluous. You can’t write Watchmen again. It done been wrote.

So I may take the story in a ridiculous direction.

If I ever actually write it.

We’ll see.

2

I have been watching a LOT of LoadingReadyRun lately.

A LOT.

So I’ve found that I have gained a slight Canadian accent as a result.

Not enough to be completely noticeable by others. But I notice it.

So that’s a little weird.

7

It is incredibly hot outside.

I have been forced to don shorts.

never wear shorts. You know those people who wear shorts ALL THE TIME, no matter how cold out it is? Well, I’m the opposite. I love jeans. I’m a jean-loving man. So I am annoyed at the fact that I have been forced to let my hairy pale legs be exposed to the elements.

For a picture of me wearing goddamn stupid shorts, look below:

So that my existential rage at having to wear shorts can be appropriately conveyed, I have created the below picture:

And, solely for my own amusement, here I am making my Mythbuster bobbleheads make out:

Where was I…?

…Oh yeah. Vignettes.

Pickles!

I watched Serenity last night.

Now, here’s the thing about Serenity: I don’t usually cry at movies. I understand why people do, but I tend to be emotionally detached from the whole process: I don’t see the characters as people so much as storytelling elements. Or the movie is so bad that I just laugh at their misery. (Witness my reaction to most romantic comedies.)

Whenever I watch Serenity, I cry like a tiny child.

So much so that this shameful scene once occurred (last year, when I had a roommate):

INT: Room 203 in Stevenson House 1.

ROOMMATE enters as IAN is watching Serenity on his computer.

ROOMMATE: What’re you watching?

IAN: Serenity.

KAYLEE (on-screen): Wait– Wash! Where’s Wash? 

ZOE (on-screen): He didn’t make it.

IAN: *sniff*

ROOMMATE: …Are you crying?

IAN: …yes.

Anyway, I think that’s enough self-humiliation for one night. Have a wonderful evening, wherever you are, and if you’re in one of those time zones where it’s morning already, then… well…

…damn you. You messed up my outro.

~ Ian

* Note: there are no mud wrestling scenes OR underwater dance fights in “Cassandra”. But I don’t feel ready to talk about what happens in the story yet, so I am lying to you. NEVER TRUST A WORD I SAY.

** Not the project’s actual title. But I don’t want to tell you what the project’s actual title is yet. So there.