By Alicia Korenman

From All Avenging Angles

By Alicia Korenman Posted May 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

So I imagine most everyone has seen the Avengers movie by this point, judging by the fact that it had THE BEST OPENING WEEKEND EVER FOR A MOVIE and whatever other records it smashed. I hope all of you stayed through ALL the credits, because there were two extra scenes after the movie ended (one introduced a new villain, a guy named Thanos who is one of Marvel’s weirder creations: he’s in love with Death! No, seriously. His name even derives from the Greek word for Death.

And the other scene is super funny but I won’t spoil it for you). When I went to see it, the theater was almost empty when that last scene played… so go back and see the movie again, if you missed it. Or is that my perpetual love for Joss Whedon talking? (Not to mention Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth.)

Anyway, of course the movie did SO WELL that a sequel is already in the works, along with various other continuations in the series (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America). I wonder if they’ll try to get yet another Hulk movie going—third time’s the charm?

I agree with most people who were totally enamored of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, but I’m just not sure the character can anchor a two-hour movie. I mean, all that happens when he’s a superhero is that, well, Hulk smash(es). He only seems to know what’s going on half the time (or was that sloppy writing?) and judging by the first two Hulk movies, there’s only so much story you can tell about an angsty guy who sometimes turns into a big green monster (and yet there are endless Jekyll/Hyde adaptations, so who knows).

I’ve also read a few articles by people hoping for a Black Widow movie. I actually think that could work—she’s awesome in her spy persona—but doubt that it would happen anytime soon. Marvel just doesn’t seem to lean too heavily on its girl characters. I mean, the Avengers doesn’t even pass the Bechdel test.

The Bechdel test is based on a comic by Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, Dykes to Watch Out For, and the brand-new Are You My Mother?. In the comic, one character tells another that she refuses to see any movie unless
1) There are at least two female characters, who
2) Have a conversation, about
3) something besides a man.

Avengers breaks down at point two  although it has two girl characters who are both pretty awesome (Black Widow and fellow SHIELD Agent Maria Hill, played by Robin from How I Met Your Mother), I’m pretty sure they don’t interact at all (please correct me if I’m remembering wrong!). And any interaction they would have had would have been discussion their jobs/various threats against the planet, so this could easily have passed the Test.

Now, the Bechdel test is no marker of quality —I loved the Avengers— but it’s just an interesting thing to keep in mind when dealing with pop culture. I love to apply it to tv shows and books too! You’d be surprised how few things pass. Or maybe you’re cynical, and wouldn’t.

Sorry, got a bit off-topic there! I’m actually pretty intrigued by the new Marvel movie cottage industry going on, and feel kind of bad for the actors, who are contractually obligated to appear in Marvel movies through like 2020. I mean, presumably Robert Downey Jr will get tired of being quippy and making out with Gwyneth Paltrow after a while… or maybe not. 

The nice thing abuot a vehicle like the Avengers is that Marvel can keep making movies with other superheros, and if they do well, throw them into the mix (Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and the Scott Pilgrim movie, has been in theory working on an Ant-Man movie for a long time now — Ant-Man, of course, is a member of the Avengers in the comics). So the Avengers team could keep growing and evolving over time. But seriously, can we get more girls in the sequel?

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