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Not Impressed
Really, The Avengers is nothing epic. It works as a group superhero movie, but it's mostly rehashed cliches with no originality. There's little tension present: we all know that in the end, the heroes will defeat the bad guy. And they do, almost effortlessly, largely remaining confident to the point of smugness.

We've all seen the invincible force invading from a portal to another dimension before, i.e. Hellboy 2, Transformers 3, and Ghostbusters 2.

As mentioned elsewhere, Loki is suddenly cartoonishly evil for some contrived reasons; he used to be coolly and subtly menacing, and now he's compared to Hitler several times and written as a quasi-rapist. It's as though the writers realized he was popular and tried as hard as they could to write him as unlikeable. Very frustrating and disappointing, most of all because Loki had so much opportunity as a villain. Loki's sudden Butt Monkey status only emphasizes the Avengers' lack of challenge.

Black Widow is astoundingly generic and very, very American as the token woman to a team of white American superheroes (there's a token alien/god as well). She features in a very odd scene with Loki that's clearly intended to be feminist, but it doesn't work in a number of ways. Whatever girl-power to be found there is somewhat negated by all the ass shots of Fury's main two female subordinates.

Still, Widow's completely platonic relationship with Hawkeye is refreshing after several lackluster Marvel romances that suffer from the lead having much more chemistry with the other main male character than his love interest, which occurs both here and in Thor.

Also, apparently it's routine for those who are adopted children to be murderers. Good to know.

On a brighter note, despite some of the dumb humor and pointless dialogue, most of the characterization is done pretty well, though Tony Stark is sometimes mouthy till he's being an unlikeable jackass.

The Avengers isn't brilliant or particularly inspired, though it can be a escape into a world where the lines between hero and villain are extremely visible and morality is always black and white, where the villain is clearly malevolent with absolutely no redeeming qualities, and the heroes are unshakeable. It can be mindlessly fun, but it falls short of being anything masterful.
Careful, there- if you're not going to worship at Joss's alter, then the Cult of Whedon will use you as their sacrifice.

(P.S.: Basically, people are going to rage at you through CAPSLOCK and exclamation!!!! points!!!! for not liking this movie. They'll tell you to STFU and watch Nolan's Batman if you don't humor (because not liking slapstick means you're super-serious all of time, duh), that you shouldn't have bothered to see the movie if you didn't like the character banter because comics!Avengers do that all the time, that your expectations were too high, that Loki's descent into insanity was natural character development (LOL) and following up on any part of his previous characterization would be redundant (LOLOLOLOL), that you're just jealous you're not as talented as Joss Whedon, and so on. Be prepared. And don't give trolls any satisfaction. You'll see a few diehard Whedon fans out there.)
comment #15564 CasualBanshee 28th Jul 12
Thanks, and yeah, I know- I've read all of the other reviews and comments.

Seriously, I'm not worried about what any Troo says to me. I'm not really to respond to any comment. If it's a well-worded, civil question, then maybe. But I'm not replying to crap like, "OMG, u suck and ur just a jellus hater and ur jellus that Black Widow is hotter than u, so there!!!!11"

Diehards don't really mean much to me beyond being drones. But I appreciate the warning.
comment #15565 Gemini13 28th Jul 12
Sure is strawman in here.

I have to agree that The Avengers doesn't hold a particularly deep message and is just mindless fun, but I feel it accomplishes that really well. The characters are fun, the conflict isn't intricate but is enough to keep you engaged, and the fights are well-done, which is most of what I expect from a good superhero movie.

And on the matter of Loki apparently being derailed, which seems to always come up, I feel that the complaint's greatly exaggerated. Loki does succeed at some points or at least come close to it, but at the same time, it's not as if he should be expected to be as successful a villain as he was in Thor. There, he was only facing Thor, who had up to that point mostly held trust in him, but here, he's facing an entire team that includes Thor, who is now well-aware of his subterfuge.
comment #15568 MFM 28th Jul 12
On the contrary I found Loki far more menacing here than in Thor. There he didn't feel convincing as a villain, just an unhappy boy who was being written to do dark things. There were a lot of character problems in Thor. Here he had far more screen presence, the Butt Monkey-ness just alleviating it once in a while. Things like his Kubrick Glare entrance, his nasty speech to Fury while captive, his attack in Germany, his capture of Selvig and Hawkeye, and his killing of Coulson kept him threatening for me. He didn't start turning Butt Monkey until near the end of the movie, where it should be.

I also found Black Widow to be very improved over her empty appearance in Iron Man 2. Basically her reveal as The Atoner lifted a little corner hinting at a lot more depth. Surprised me considered I also had previously disliked Scarlett Johansson's acting. Also, Whedon had plenty of fanservice shots of the male heroes too, you know. I hardly counted any of the heroines, actually. Just two, I recall.

Overall what I expect The Avengers to be was the most a "comic book movie" could be, versus something like The Dark Knight'', which was more "drama with roots in a comic book". And it was that to me, and well.
comment #15570 Tuckerscreator 28th Jul 12
We've all seen the invincible force invading from a portal to another dimension before, i.e. Hellboy 2, Transformers 2, and Ghostbusters 2.

...That didn't happen in Transformers 2. That was the one with the sun-killing Doomsday Machine that they had to blow up.
comment #15588 Scardoll 30th Jul 12
^ Thank you; sorry, all Michael Bay movies blend together for me after awhile. It's fixed now.
comment #15635 Gemini13 2nd Aug 12
That was painfully rude, Casual Banshee. It seems as though you are saying that if people doesn't share in your exact opinion, or at least thought the movie was better than you did, then they're nothing more than a diehard Whedon fan. Sorry if we don't share your extremely negative view of the film but some people (nay, most people) find the movie very well done. That you're in the minority of opinion doesn't make you "wrong", but it does mean that those that disagree are more than "Whedon fans"., unless you put yorself on that high of a pedestal.
comment #16048 sims796 9th Sep 12
Whedon has, in the past, added gratuitous and dubious scenes/characters to his work to directly critique sexism (Ah, Caleb, yes, hello there; Heart of Gold, I see you too), but I don't think Widow versus Loki was one of them. Why single out Natasha in particular? Why not Maria Hill, serving a role that could be argued as superfluous just so there's another female character?
comment #16132 NanoMoose 15th Sep 12
From the looks of things, Maria in the film is kinda The Artifact. Deleted scenes suggest she was supposed to be narrating the film, but those got cut out and she just ended being some kind of mix between The Watson and Communications Officer. Ah well.
comment #16134 Tuckerscreator 15th Sep 12
^^

What I meant to express in that statement is that Whedon clearly intended for the scene in be empowering for women, but it relies on several problematic elements, such as writing a male character as a chauvinist when he had never specifically conveyed such views before, solely to emphasize his villainy, therefore allowing a woman to gain the upper hand in a mind game not really because of her espionage skills, but because of her gender. (Which means that Whedon has changed a character to impose his personal agenda, which I don't really like. He did the same thing to Kitty Pryde once.)

I think feminism is necessary, but I don't think it needs to involve women being automatically better than men. I think it should show equality between genders, because if not, it borders on Positive Discrimination, and it still boils down to different treatment of characters due to gender.

And yet, in that scene, Natasha outfoxes Loki by playing to typical female stereotypes, and then subverting them. It bothers me that typical female stereotypes needed to be invoked in the first place rather than just ignored. It's as though we couldn't just see for ourselves that Natasha is a badass. We had to see her outsmarting the evil misogynist villain to prove that she's a badass. This handling of Natasha is frustrating, because it seems to be more evidence that women always must go the extra the length to prove themselves.

Basically, it seemed to be saying this: "The female character has to be shown overcoming adversity due to her gender, because she's a woman, which means her character automatically revolves around being a woman, so we have to include at least one scene emphasizing her struggles due to her being a woman, got that? And then she proves to the villainous chauvinist that because she's a woman, she can outsmart him at his own game by acting like a woman. Because she's a woman."

When a writer presents something as "female empowerment", I always try to look at it from the perspective of both genders. Without changing the scenario, could this also be empowerment for a male character, or would it need to be changed for the male gender? Could a male character play the same role, or does the role directly pertain to the gender of the character?

I don't think that had their roles been reversed, Clint would have been able to pull off the same act. The dialogue definitely would have needed to be changed in order for the scene to be plausible.

Also, I was trying to indicate that Natasha doesn't seem to be her aloof and mysterious self, but instead rather humanized, and how her Russian background was only mentioned in passing, so she's basically now just another American.
comment #16152 Gemini13 16th Sep 12
I had the same problem in that it felt forced, but I assumed it was just forced so it could be another one of those establishing Loki as evil scenes. Tries to kill an old man, misogynistic to women, superior race lines etc. I assumed they were just trying to load him up with bad person traits. Now you say it, having it as a duel purpose seems more likely.

I still think a lot of the scene would work with her as guy though, most of the film was/should be about proving that everyones a badass and they were just continuing to show a skill they'd set up earlier on. (Now I was more uncomfortable about the first interrogation scene wit the crime ppl but no-one else really seems to be the same on that, so I reckon it was oversensitivity)
comment #16154 Tomwithnonumbers 16th Sep 12
Invoking female stereotypes deliberately is still a mindgame. Personally, I rather liked it - it's not that she is weak due to her femininity, but men are very willing to assume she is, and she can use that, while also being perfectly capable of kicking your ass on other terms. (Watch her during the final battle - is she "playing into stereotypes" there? Nope. She's just killing things, like everybody else.) And of course the dialogue would have to be changed for Clint. He's not a hero of guile like Natasha, he's just really really good at shooting. That's not a criticism, that just means they're different characters. If Clint was a hero of guile trying to rescue Natasha, I do think it would be similar. Natasha speaks to Loki in terms of why she would like Clint returned to her; because she owes him for sparing her life and allowing her a shot at redemption. Were it a man in that position, Loki would rip into him just the way he does to Natasha, insults and all.

I wonder a little if he chose the specific and vile gendered insult simply because it would hurt Natasha more than a non-gendered one, because she's so comfortable with it normally. Honestly, I'm not sure you can separate Black Widow from her gender, as a character. Even her name has connotations of sex and death specifically linked to women. And what's wrong with humanising her? I suppose I'll grant you the Russian thing - with the caveat Thor and Loki are Scandinavian alien princes who sound like snooty Americans.

Finally, I'll point out that Loki has made chauvinistic comments before, in passing - he made a veiled threat to Thor (in Thor) about harming Jane. Not Selvig, not the town, not humanity. Jane. And I find all the defence of him a little strange. Certainly, he's tragic and sympathetic, but he was never innocent - he was getting people killed for a prank right from the beginning of Thor. He demonstrates his power in nasty ways in The Avengers because he has no other means of doing so - the Other and the Chitauri would tear him to shreds if he tried throwing his weight around with them and no one else wants anything to do with him. He's almost frantic in asserting his dominance, really, because it's a fašade. He's neck-deep in a hell of his own making, too far in to go back, so he takes shelter in the one thing he knows he can do better than anything else, and plays a role - villain and conqueror. Coulson's right in telling him he lacks conviction, because Loki doesn't believe the rhetoric he spouts at all.
comment #16162 NanoMoose 16th Sep 12
Because all movies must have deep messages, right? Movies designed to merely entertain people after a hard day's work are never going to be good movies, right?

This review simply smacks of the pretentious drivel that is the main reason why people dislike film snobs in the first place.

Personally, if you ask me, if you have the brainpower left after a hard week's work to engage a movie on an intellectual level instead of simply sitting back and enjoying a fun flick, then you need to work more. That brainpower should be put to better use.
comment #16163 gameragodzilla 16th Sep 12
Hey. Anti-intellectualism isn't helpful. If we weren't willing to think deeply about things like this, we wouldn't be on TV Tropes.
comment #16164 NanoMoose 16th Sep 12
Casual Banshee

Dude stop bitching and whining already, geez.
comment #16172 marcellX 17th Sep 12
@Nanomoose I've found it hard to intellectualise why I defend Loki too. I always end up putting it down to his actor being too good, he ends up to persuasive because whenever Loki does bad stuff, I don't think of it being Loki bad stuff but as the script making Loki do bad stuff to prove he's bad. Which means none of the other evil stuff he does will fit in with my character interpretation, so it feels like it's been put in because script wanted to make a point.

I think it was understandable in Thor, they humanised him quite a bit, he had a lot of crud happen in his life and a lot of the conditions weren't his fault and the film wasn't quite intellectually deep enough to keep up with the characterisation, so the evil stuff was a bit skimped on.

But in The Avengers? I clearly carried some of it over from Thor, but I think the sheer plottiness (can I call it lazy? It is lazy, like Mal having his frickin' nerve cluster removed, if you know it's a silly obvious story point, you should change it rather than just winking at the audience) with the really silly obvious Unobtanium and faceless mooks, with unexplained behind the scene badguys and the plot that was a plot but then they just had a fight instead ... and the 'I just installed a backdoor whilst mindcontrolled'... etc. Okay the Avengers was a fantastic film and character focused with some frickin' amazing character parts, but it didn't not include the rubbish plot, it didn't have a bare minimum plot so you could focus on the characters, instead it had an excuse plot and unfortunately that means the villain becomes an excuse villain, which leads to weakening the feeling of him actually being evil and doing evil things.

It's like, when everyone is chasing after a Device That Could Destroy The World type of obvious Mac Guffin, and the villain has a ridiculous thick german accent, or is pale and socially inept, whatever, then despite justification he feels like Designated Villain, even thoguh they actually gave him a brilliant well thought out character
comment #16175 Tomwithnonumbers 17th Sep 12
I was trying to think of the difference between shallow plot and an excuse plot and I think the difference between Thor and the Avengers was an example. Thor had a shallow plot (comedy and character focused also) and it was a bit trite and cliche, but it was also earnest and what was their was all perfectly acceptable. The Avengers however, even the film doesn't treat the Unobtanium seriously. The film knows that it's a ridiculously weak plot generator, it just hasn't bothered to fix it.

The plot in Thor is forgettable, it doesn't get in the way, it's all low key and doesn't distract, whereas the plot in the Avengers is highlighted at points and draws attention to itself (not for the whole film, but the parts where it's there), even though it knows it's weak
comment #16176 Tomwithnonumbers 17th Sep 12
Actually we've discussed this to death before, I shouldn't have brought it up again
comment #16177 Tomwithnonumbers 17th Sep 12
Hmmm. Loki's supposed to be charismatic and persuasive. I wouldn't cast anyone else, that's for certain. I shot through all the movies one after another, and I found it fairly simple to rationalise his characterisation whenever I saw him. I have a certain perverse love for going "oh no you poor stupid asshole you are going to make things worse for absolutely everybody" at a character and loving them regardless. But still, I do think that sometimes people give him too much rope, and do the character a disservice - if one says Loki only does bad things because the script says he has to, doesn't that make him kind of a paperweight? Isn't he more interesting if he acts under his own not-entirely-scrupulous or -scrutable motives? He's the God of Lies. Putting one over on everyone, including the audience by making them over-sympathise, would be entirely within his sphere. Just my two cents.

I have a slight issue with complaining about the contrived nature of the plot, personally, and it is that writing a movie with six heroes under the full glare of a comic publishing monolith after, what, five movies worth of set-up? ...That's going to be a toughie for anyone. They already had the glowy magic cube and Nazis and sparkly aliens. And a bunch of execs actually came up to Whedon and mandated a bunch of things that had to happen in the film. The guy worked with what he had. I felt the pace was nice and brisk and it kept my attention and things exploded in pleasing ways; it was everything I wanted plus a few bonuses. But then, my plot-radar is a bit iffy and I am definitely not a fan of mainstream comics.

"Backdoor while mind-controlled" worked well enough for me - a person is more likely to obey a command, any command, that is in line with their basic nature, but will rebel against one that conflicts with it. Clint's a long-range assassin, so it probably wouldn't be that hard to break past his internal IFF so he would shoot at SHIELD agents; Selvig's a scientist, though, and obviously a cautious and skeptical one who believes in safety measures. Loki orders him to build a machine that creates a portal with the Tesseract, and simply out of habit, Selvig adds a way to cut the juice, because that's what anyone does with any machine, especially one designed to let an alien invasion. They obey without question, but not without fine print. If that makes sense.
comment #16178 NanoMoose 17th Sep 12
Typed all that up and then your comment appeared after a posted. Welp.
comment #16179 NanoMoose 17th Sep 12
Since you posted and I mainly don't disagree with what you've said, I hope people don't mind if I respond.

As far as plot goes, its not helped by my Whedon grudge, I don't know if you've seen Serenity, but it's one of my favourite all time films, still there's this paralysing thing the badguy does, and he uses it on the hero in the last battle, but for some reason it doesn't work and the hero defeats him and then says 'I had that nerve cluster moved' which is pretty darn BS. I think Whedon loves narrative enough that he doesn't care if things are very film like and not particularly good plot devices and I considered the weaknesses to be pretty much that. The Tesseract could have been fine it's just he didn't really try to make it anything more than a Mac Guffin.

But you're mostly right with Loki, I'm not being rational and I know I'm not and you're completely right that it's his part of God of Lies to falsely gain our sympathy, which is why he's just too darn good at it :D And the whole point of the cross continuity was that Whedon wouldn't have to spend time establishing Loki's character, because we know it already, so it's unreasonable for me to ask more of an arc for Loki. In the end, I'm lost, Loki has stolen my heart and there's really nothing they can do now but eventually have him do a Heel Face Turn =D
comment #16180 Tomwithnonumbers 17th Sep 12
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon, and I will be the first to admit his biggest weakness is plotting. It's been his undoing since Buffy. Whedon instead works really well with character, and crafts most of his stories as character-driven pieces. This works really well for individual TV episodes, because they're short enough that you can get away with simply putting characters into a situation and letting them do their thing. The best parts of Buffy were always the single episodes, and the worst parts were always the season-long story arcs. I think The Avengers was juuuust too long for Whedon to get away with it, it required too much plot. So, we ended up with this really enjoyable character piece with a lackluster plot. IMO, the plot is just good enough that you honestly defend it (by which I mean it's not terrible), but you have to admit it's easily the weakest part of the movie.
comment #16744 badassbookworm92 2nd Nov 12
"On the contrary I found Loki far more menacing here than in Thor. There he didn't feel convincing as a villain, just an unhappy boy who was being written to do dark things."

He was a complex character in Thor, who had genuinely realistic, believable motives for his actions and a convincing, sympathetic slide off the deep end. He was an elegant, intelligent antagonist who was a lot more interesting as a character because he wasn't just a villain but someone who was capable of going either way. He's completely right in his convictions for almost half the film (he's still cavalier and lacking in compassion, don't get me wrong), it isn't until he's given the throne that his psyche really unravels (you can actually see it happen on his face in the deleted scene).

In The Avengers, he's made totally ridiculous. Maybe it's a hang-up of mine, but I absolutely hate to see a classy, master-manipulator, sympathetic villain made silly. I like slap-stick, I would have been fine with one of the slapstick beatdowns he gets, as long as it was after he was basically defeated. But he just keeps getting slapped around, mocked, and out-smarted at every turn by characters who should not stand a chance of so doing. He's not just no longer sympathetic and well-rounded, he ceases to be an effective villain on the most basic level. It's funny to break the mystique of a stylish antagonist ONCE for effect, but if you do it all the time the antagonist isn't cool any more. He becomes a joke.

Natasha's easily out-thinking and manipulating the God of Lies with the most amateur gambit in the book doesn't make me cheer her on, it makes me think "that was stupid and you are writing this badly".

Loki should have been a very credible threat requiring all these people to work together, he's a god and able to take any of them in a physical fight, he's a sorcerer, a brilliant manipulator, silver-tongued, and charismatic; any thing they have, he has a skill to counter it. But he isn't a believable villain because the script keeps taking potshots at him that make him look silly and not threatening. He was far scarier as a woobie with a screw loose than as a slavering psycho.

Also, that 'mewling quim' thing... no. Nothing about that speech was in character. Joss Whedon just be bearing his issues again.
comment #17156 LlamaRamaDingDong 9th Dec 12
"I suppose I'll grant you the Russian thing - with the caveat Thor and Loki are Scandinavian alien princes who sound like snooty Americans."

Also: What? They sound English. It's an English actor and an Australian actor doing an English accent. Almost all of the Asgardians have (various) British accents.
comment #17157 LlamaRamaDingDong 9th Dec 12
The thing, I feel, is that as of the end of Thor Loki was no longer masterful, sympathetic, or classy. He's pitiful, but that's all (he was going to kill his brother and four of his good friends along with dozens of humans who got in his way, just to keep the throne, just to abstractly please his father). It was his choice alone to fall into that abyss - and it was his choice to ally with the Chitauri. Odin's not going to win Father of the Year, ever, but Loki still has free will.

Allying with the Chitauri in order to conquer Earth was a crazy, stupid thing to do. He is not bargaining with them from strength. The very best thing he can hope for in his deal is ruling Earth as a slave-state in the backwaters of a massive interdimensional empire where he is still subject to the leadership of Thanos. Oh, and he's shown up Thor. Nyer. That's success. If he fails, he's promised unimaginable agony, separated from anyone who might ever have taken pity on him. Even if he actually won, he might well have been executed for his instability and clear lack of loyalty. "There is no throne." "You lack conviction." Without even knowing the specifics, Tony and Coulson see right through him (which is quite logical for them both; Tony is Loki's bright reflection and Coulson's a brilliant judge of character) - he's made a desperate deal out of childish, petty denial; for all his strengths, he doesn't believe in what he's doing, deep down, but he can't go back any more. That's pretty tragic.

And yet, while pitiful, he is still a threat. He destroys an entire SHIELD base in minutes and murders dozens. His appearance sees the heroes immediately pulled out of whatever missions they were on and assembled despite that plan originally being scrapped, because they simply have no other way to fight him. He gets them at each other's throats, successfully breaks Black Widow's calm (they were playing each other but she's useless to him, so he simply throws extremely vicious and cutting insults), forces the heroes into making risky moves and falling back on doubtful contingencies, orchestrates several very personal anguish-soaked battles amongst the team. And I recall two moments of slapstick (Tony versus Sceptre, the Hulk), and one where someone who is not Tony Stark takes a silly shot at his mwa-ha-ha posturing ("Guy's brain is a bag of cats..."), in amongst pretty constant jabs at the heroes' competence, mental stability, knowledge and control by everyone, including themselves. He still came off as a clever and painfully sad character, to me - one who was revelling in what power he had, in the role that he played, because it was that all he thought he had left. "Woobie with a screw loose"? That's a protagonist. "Victim of the Sunk Cost Fallacy with a horrible amount of power; a newly, thoroughly personal disregard for mortal life borne out of his previously minor issues; and an army of bloodthirsty aliens who probably wouldn't stop killing if he ordered them to", that's a scary, complex villain - because there may well be the desire to return home and be Thor's brother and Odinson again, but he's trapped himself in blind hatred even if he does give up the pride that led him there.

By the way, hoo boy, am I ever sick of any moment that a female character dares appear to one-up a male villain inevitably leading somebody to either claim it's badly written or blame Joss Whedon baring his "issues". Remember when Thor got taken down by a tranquiliser? God of Thunder, even semi-mortal, knocked out by a mere human chemical? Does Branagh have something to prove? Why else would mighty Thor ever fail a test of strength? (Because he's confused, in denial, emotionally messed-up, trapped, alone, and terrified, that's why. Like his sibling is, in the moments where his mask slips.)

I stand corrected. Scandinavian aliens who sound like snooty British people. That doesn't really devalue my point.
comment #17165 NanoMoose 10th Dec 12
"It can be mindlessly fun, but it falls short of being anything masterful."

Because any monkey with a keyboard could write up and direct something that is genuinely fun, right? Nothing that doesn't have multiple layers of meaning could possibly be considered masterful in any way shape or form?

Hate this attitude. Just because a movie isn't intellectually deep doesn't mean it was easy to make and it definitely doesn't disqualify it from being masterful in it's own way.
comment #17167 McSomeguy 10th Dec 12
Just dropped in to comment, whenever a reviewer dislikes a movie, why do they suddenly start throwing the word cliche around like it's a loaded weapon? I really had to raise my eyebrow at 'token alien god.' Come on, movies don't work like that. Do you mean you saw similar ideas executed and somehow this was some 'smug' plagiarizer? Because that's still a bit nonsensical.

Also, everything you said about Loki's characterization..... just.... watching the same movie, I have to disagree. :/ Why does everything Black Widow do have to be feminist? To be perfectly honest, the whole script seemed like it focused on the characters rather than ideals or whatnot, I'm not sure every story has to have some deep takeaway from the plot and don't understand why people have to insist on having one. I bet if the writers had to insert one, there would have been a lot of complaints that way. Avengers is a pretty actually good movie, pacing-wise, character-wise, and plot-wise. I just don't understand your grading scale, so I can't even properly disagree.
comment #17169 Starburstia 10th Dec 12
Boy, someone didn't pay attention at all.

Loki's motivation was spelled out right there in the film, blatantly stated by Thor. He wanted to hurt Thor. He wanted revenge because he perceived Thor to be their father's favorite. Everything he did, attacking Earth, was but a means to that end. Thor cared about Earth and it's people, hence attacking Earth hurt his brother. He wanted to punish Thor for imagined slights against him. He didn't even care about Earth except where it related to Thor.

His 'sexism' towards Black Widow was blatantly shown to be an attempt at playing a mind game on her, as he did with everyone else, an attempt at undermining her abilities and confidence. It failed because he was over-confident, he did not understand his enemy nearly as well as he thought he did.

As to that, well, that leads into the nonsense about Loki being easily defeated. Yes, he is a god. Which comes with it a pride, an arrogance, and a belief in his own superiority. He got so overconfident in his plans and his abilities, that he underestimated his opponents. Furthermore, his mind games to turn the Avengers away from each other and fracture them as a group almost worked. He actually came close to achieving his goals, but for one mistake: Killing Coulson. His arrogance in that action hurt him, as it served as a rallying call for the Avengers, united them against him in a way that would not have happened otherwise. His own over-confidence and belief in his own superiority are his undoing. He actually does a very good job of dividing, distracting, and manipulating the Avengers up until then, and had he not made that single mistake, he would have succeeded. He manipulated the team into bringing them onto the Helicarrier, so that he could destroy it and unleash the Hulk. That's Chessmaster stuff right there, and pretty damn badass. Again, it all fell apart because of that one action, which pissed of the Avengers enough to pull united them against him. Classic 'pride goeth before a fall' situation.

Is 'Avengers' a perfect film? No, of course not. There is no such thing. However, this 'review' comes off as being written by someone who either failed to pay attention, or went into the film with a preconceived opinion, and intentionally ignored any element that contradicts said opinion.
comment #17181 Obsidian 11th Dec 12
He was pitiful, but his plan very nearly worked. His logic behind it was childish, but the execution was not. That's why he remained a credible threat. I know he's got free will, and I'm not trying to excuse him even a little bit, I just like that his motivations are clear enough that I can believe a normal person could fall that far that quickly. He's never /evil/ in Thor, he's a fucked up person doing bad things, but he genuinely doesn't quite see where the line is and when he crossed it- and we know how he got that way, how his thinking fractured. That's always awesome in a villain. Not that cackling, just plain evil villains aren't fun, too, that just not who he was. The jump to sadism for its own sake and a kind of feral pleasure in madness was just a trifle jarring. Joss basically says on the commentary that he wanted to write a completely different interpretation of Loki, more like the comic, and decided to just do it and blame it on his falling into an abyss and going even more bananas.

If you have to make an off-screen excuse for it, it seems like the characterisation doesn't really follow.

In addition to Tony vs the sceptre and the Hulk, there's also him geting blasted off screen in mid-sentence by Coulson, man-handled and then totally forgotten by Thor (not that Thor shouldn't be able to man-handle him, it's just ridiculous that they completely forget about him while they fight each other and don't question the fact that he didn't even wander off or mess with them- I understand why, but I feel like there should be a line in there acknowledging they notice it), knocked over by Cap and Iron Man every time he was making some big I Am So Evil speech (he should have taken some hits without going flying, just so it's clear he can take /some/ of them in a fight), I can't remember specifics, I just felt like he went flying /a lot/. He gets humiliated every time he has a conversation with someone. Shouldn't he be at least as good at banter as Tony? It's freaking Loki. I haven't read any comics with him in, but honestly. The supposed silvertongue has got nothing but threats and insults?

"By the way, hoo boy, am I ever sick of any moment that a female character dares appear to one-up a male villain inevitably leading somebody to either claim it's badly written "

Well, thanks for the assumptions, but Natasha is one of the only characters about whom I've actually read a significant amount of comics and I just think she should be a lot more badass than that. The film shouldn't have to turn Loki into an unobservant bully for her to beat him. It just feels like she can't win without us dragging up the fact that she's a girl and making it specifically about a girl winning using male ignorance rather than just Natasha kicking ass on her own merits. A male character could not have done that, and that's really the problem with it. It's the film that's making it about some supposed feminist point, but it's just reducing Natasha to her gender in a slightly different way. I was kind of hoping for an actual battle of wits.

I had a really, really good time with the movie. It's very entertaining. It's just that seeing it again after I saw Thor a second time, I didn't like that Loki in T.A. has pretty much nothing at all to do with Loki in Thor. Prior to that, I already felt like he didn't have nearly enough dignity as a villain in T.A. and that he should have been a little more untouchable for more of the run-time. It's just more dramatic. The way it is, it feels a lot messier than it could have been because he seems so pathetic that the threat doesn't crystalise and build to the climax. He's just kind of in there and there's aliens and oh, he's beaten, but there's still aliens. He seems so incidental.
comment #17184 LlamaRamaDingDong 11th Dec 12
I didn't know that Joss Whedon stuff, it makes it worse. How is it that one of the best writers of our generation is also the same guy who keeps sticking in this really weirdly unnecessary lampshades?

I was still more wanting to see Loki be a really effective threat as my problem, his plan nearly worked but it really really shouldn't have (since it was very obvious he wanted to be caught) and it was a bit skin-of-the-teeth and less well-thought-out. There just wasn't a moment in the film (apart from maybe the beginning) where it felt like Loki was winning. Even when his plan almost paid off, we were simulataneously seeing the Avengers get it together and win stuff. It would have been fine if Loki was worse because the film focused on the protagonists, but Loki was someone we knew who was a big player but the film had no space for him to be a big player in it
comment #17185 TomWithNoNumbers 11th Dec 12
But yeah, I should clarify that you're right about his broad motivations still working, still being perfectly in continuity and his still being a fairly tragic character (though it's a lot less obvious). It's more his actual behaviour that seems totally wrong to me. It could have worked fine to use him for this exact plot, but the way he's written is hugely wrong IMO. As I said, I don't think bloodthirsty sadism and full on foaming madness follow and Joss Whedon admits that. And I completely agree with @Tom With No Numbers. He's not cunning or intimidating.

"I stand corrected. Scandinavian aliens who sound like snooty British people. That doesn't really devalue my point."

Wasn't trying to, just pointing out.
comment #17187 LlamaRamaDingDong 11th Dec 12
Natasha kicks plenty of other ass - and I would figure that a character with the name "Black Widow" would take advantage of the assumptions that come with her femininity. (I'm not familiar with the character in comics.) But, honestly, the way she played Loki could have been pulled off by a man: a cool-headed, morally dubious assassin noted to have an extremely strong bond with another character requesting Loki not harm this kidnapped character, because he owes that person a debt, and feels that if he protects this single person, he can make a little way towards making up for his deeds of the past. Seeming vulnerable, letting Loki tear into that "weakness", and taking note of his words. Take out the gendered insult (maybe replace it - "whimpering hundr"?) and it could be pretty well fitted to a male character with Natasha's traits. (I apologise for the assumption. After a while in fandom you're willing to assume someone will grope for any semi-justification for denigrating a female character's triumph without even being aware that they wouldn't if it was the other way around.)

Loki does get to swap insults with Cap and the old German man. And, well, I like that he could rarely make a grandiose speech without somebody knocking him down. The way Thor can't. It seems to be something about Asgardian culture.

I think this is a pretty subjective argument, ultimately. Personally, I feel that a lot of what the film is being forced to be (eight very long-established comic characters, five movies and a great heaping pile of supplementary material, executives and fans glaring down at it like a germ on a slide, set-ups for a bazillion potential sequels, characters everywhere, big booms, big booms!) excuses its plot flaws and weaknesses. Maybe Loki seems less strong as a character because he's out of his element, maybe the madness was the wrong move, maybe Natasha's methods were a little on the nose because of Joss or maybe they weren't; whatever you think, there's probably no way we'll ever entirely agree. I took umbrage with those saying Whedon fans are incapable of rational discourse when someone insults their idol, as claimed in the review and early comments (because they didn't even get it right in claiming what we get upset about). And the idea that Loki "deserves" a more sympathetic viewpoint, as if he hasn't already done a whole lot of fairly deranged things in his debut film, with the only reason he didn't get one being the film-makers weren't competent enough.

We all liked the film. I guess that we can agree on that? It was lots of fun.
comment #17195 NanoMoose 11th Dec 12
I think it relies much too heavily on the idea that he's making assumptions about her based solely on her gender for that. She's playing the "all women are needy and emotional" card and he doesn't question it because he's arbitraily made that sexist and stupid in order for the scene to work. This is also the only card in her manipulative deck that she uses in the entire film, implying she doesn't have any other ones. The more I think about it, the more Unfortunate Implications it has. It's that old "use their prejudice against them" gambit, but it's just making it all about her being a girl all over again. She only succeeds because men are chauvinists, if they were operating at capacity, she wouldn't. Not awesome.

But yeah, just back again because I found someone made the list for me (though they liked it)! Here's what I'm on about:

"In order, and in rather quick succession he a) gets blasted through a wall by a dying Coulson, b) gets verbally bitchslapped by Tony c) gets made a fool of when his attempt to brainwash Tony fails ignominiously (and Tony makes a crack about having "performance issues") d) gets knocked on his ass by Tony with a And This Is for... Phil, e) gloats at Clint by catching one of his arrows, only for the arrow to explode and knock him flying, f) tries to invoke a Who Dares? and instead gets a thorough beat-down from an irate Hulk who smashes him around like a rag doll and leaves him stunned and whimpering in a crater before calling him a "Puny God", g) looks up from where he's crawling painfully on the floor to see the Avengers standing over him and glowering at him like a naughty schoolkid, with the man he mind-controlled and used to kill hundreds of people getting the honors of pointing an arrow right in his face, and h) is last seen Bound and Gagged and being escorted by Thor to face judgement in Asgard."

To me this is a bad thing both because Loki is not the kind of villain that you really hate and want to see suffer (he's too sympathetic and too stylish), and because- as I already said- there's too much of this and it starts too soon for him to remain threatening. The Hulk beatdown is funny, but it's an amazingly anti-climatic way to take out the only non-mook villain in the entire film. A big battle where they all actually fight against Loki (plus mooks to make it more even) and then the Hulk thing after if he got up again... more satifying in my book. Especially if there were an actual objective to the fight, like him protecting the portal machine or something. The fights that are there lack purpose, they're fighting just because they ran into each other.

And it's not that he "deserves" a sympathetic viewpoint, it's that making him so much more deranged that he ceases to be sympathetic is writing him out of character. And that is a flaw in the writing.

Yeah, I liked it but it's a bit overrated and I also like to complain. ;) Not that I don't appreciate how difficult it is to juggle as much stuff and people as had to be juggled in this film, but people citing it as the genre-Citizen Kane are going much too far. It's extraordinarily entertaining but, for me, the things that aren't character-interaction or snark didn't hold up well to a second viewing.
comment #17241 LlamaRamaDingDong 14th Dec 12
I've had it pointed out to me recently that the society Loki comes from is incredibly patriarchal. They have a king. The king is succeeded by a prince. They value strength and skill in battle but, judging by the Lady Sif, strongly resist the idea that any woman could exhibit those qualities until she surpasses every male warrior, and then they make her a sort of exception that proves the rule. It's not that Loki was suddenly written to be sexist. He's just exhibiting one of the less-nice Asgardian cultural traits.

Also, that's not the only trick Natasha has (see: Bruce Banner, stabbing a dude and riding on his back, beating the absolute crap out of Hawkeye with impressive brutality). It's just the one used in the most memorable scenes.

And I wasn't saying that it was you who said Loki "deserves" anything; my point was about those comments way up there. I do think expecting deep and sympathetic characterisation from Marvelverse-Loki in a film about him being beaten up by the Avengers is a little optimistic.
comment #17251 NanoMoose 14th Dec 12
Whedon says that on the commentary, but I don't buy it. Yeah, there's a king and he's succeeded by a prince, but that doesn't establish that it's not possible for a princess to succeed (since there isn't one, it doesn't come up). Sif mentions resistance and doubt, but it's clearly not hideous systematic societal oppression or they wouldn't be glib about it and she wouldn't have overcome it. Their society doesn't read as any more sexist than American society- as filtered through media- does to me. People doubted Sif could be one of the realm's fiercest warriors, they didn't beat the presumption out of her and send her back to the kitchen. Which Odin could clearly have done if she were breaking a true taboo. And Loki grew up with Sif. And he doesn't fit any of his society's masculine ideals, himself. He's really not much of a master of manipulation if he's that blind. This is still saying to me that he has to be handicapped for a girl to beat him and he's only handicapped because she is a girl.

I said it was the only card in her manipulative deck, not the only thing she does. Her specialness is supposed to be in her mad skills as a spy more than her physical abilities, but her mad skills as a spy are shown to consist of her being a girl and guys not expecting her to be playing them because she is a girl. She doesn't use any other head trick and head tricks are meant to be her bag.

People do keep saying it's a character-driven film, and if they could do it in Thor... He didn't need any more screentime than he got, but either use that scene with the Other to confirm that he has indeed gone utterly crazy in the void/because of Thanos/whatever; or just write his methods as more in keeping with his established characterisation. He could have functioned in the plot the same way and stayed in character.

Heck, it almost seems like there's something to the theory people have that he's being influenced by the sceptre. I don't believe that that was the intent or that there's some elaborate explaination behind it all (especially having listened to the commentary- unless Joss is fluently lying a lot in order for there to be some shocking reveal in Thor 2 which I severely doubt), but I do wonder why he's all sickly-looking when he arrives just as Hawkeye and Erik are when they're heart tapped. The implied torture, etc. Supposedly his eyes changed colour, but I don't remember them ever being green in the actual films so whatever. It seems to suggest he might not be as willing and autonomous as is assumed, but that's not at all supported by the rest of the film or the commentary.

The fact that you can make a semi-reasonable case for it just underlines to me how much the character inexplicably changed.
comment #17346 LlamaRamaDingDong 19th Dec 12
He's really not much of a master of manipulation if he's that blind.

Ra's Al Ghul says hi, there's no connection to being a good manipulator and not thinking yourself superior to another sex, race, etc.

This is still saying to me that he has to be handicapped for a girl to beat him and he's only handicapped because she is a girl.

But as seem by Loki's character in it's entirety, he would had done the same to a human male, on the grounds that they're human and he's a God, after all, it's not the first time his superiority view over humans, even some super powered ones like Spider-man has been his downfall. That and that Loki while a master manipulator and tricksters has almost no experience of these methods being used on him, given that he comes from a place with the view of brawn over brains.
comment #17349 marcellX 19th Dec 12
In defense of the nicer Whedonites (which I hope I'm one of), not all of us will lambaste you for your opinion. While I disagree with you, I still see where you're coming from, and I respect your opinion. Personally, I think the weak plot was unavoidable, this is a character film. Too much plot would leave the characters short-changed, or make this movie so long that the general public would be turned away (Yes I know people go to see Peter Jackson's LOTR and Hobbit films, but the difference is they expect that from there, they don't expect and probably wouldn't sit through a three-hour superhero movie).
comment #17781 JamesPicard 20th Jan 13
The plot was weak indeed, but truthfully do you go to a movie called "The Avengers" for the plot? I mean, the reason this film is being so praised is because it's aware of the fact that it's not high art or anything pretentious, that it's just fun and witty. There is such a thing as "too much plot" and that's exactly why the Transformers sequels failed (alright, i liked Trannies 3, but it's a mess.). They relied too much on the humans, they forced in too many sub stories, tried to pass themselves off as Sorkinesque masterpieces. Avengers just cuts she crap and gets straight to the action which is what the fans want.

If I have one complaint, and it's a very VERY small complaint about the film, it's that Whedon seems to have gotten the impression that everyone going to see it has seen the other movies already, and I saw it three times, one of those times I had my friend asking me what is happening every few minutes though she did love the movie.
comment #17787 PropaneNightmare 20th Jan 13
I don't know if I agree that a film shouldn't always strive to be its best in every way, but I'm more likely to agree with you on that than Transformers having 'too much plot' and trying to pass themselves off as 'Sorkineque'. Transformers 2 was written in a weekend (literally. Writers strike meant they just went to a hotel and wrote it in 2 days)

But I had the opposite reaction in terms of other films. I'd seen Thor and Iron Man and it seemed more than enough. I could probably have just done with Thor (and seeing Thor does cause some slight problems although I think its by far the most vital to have seen). When people were talking about using this continued continuity thing I was expecting Avengers to lean heavily on it, but it was the genius of Joss that every character seemed to receive a proper introduction. Maybe the films pushed all the characters into popular discussion and that was enough to know their basic traits (I might not have known Captain America's fish out of water thing before the people started talking about the films). Maybe your friend wasn't involved in those conversations and it made the difference (or Thor was just that vital)
comment #17789 TomWithNoNumbers 20th Jan 13
Careful, there- if you're not going to worship at Joss's alter, then the Cult of Whedon will use you as their sacrifice. (P.S.: Basically, people are going to rage at you through CAPSLOCK and exclamation!!!! points!!!! for not liking this movie. They'll tell you to STFU and watch Nolan's Batman if you don't humor (because not liking slapstick means you're super-serious all of time, duh), that you shouldn't have bothered to see the movie if you didn't like the character banter because comics!Avengers do that all the time, that your expectations were too high, that Loki's descent into insanity was natural character development (LOL) and following up on any part of his previous characterization would be redundant (LOLOLOLOL), that you're just jealous you're not as talented as Joss Whedon, and so on. Be prepared. And don't give trolls any satisfaction. You'll see a few diehard Whedon fans out there.)

Hey hey, that's really funny coming from a guy who hates the movie because 'OMG LOKI'S NOT UBER SYMPTHETIC ANYMUREZ!!!!

Man, isn't being reduced to a straw man SO Annoying?
comment #20608 LitleWiggle 14th Aug 13
Huh, what do you know. The crazy Whedon fans didn't show up. Must've been too busy watching Firefly. :P
comment #25166 JamesPicard 9th Jul 14
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