After writing for most of yesterday and staying warm while the rain and wind battered the house I decided to spend the evening on a movie binge. Guardians of the Galaxy was on followed by Avengers — Ultron. Boy is Guardians a _much_ better movie than Ultron. There was a seed of a good movie in among all the endless and often pointless action sequences in Ultron, but it gasped and died under the weight of the CGI action.
I noticed something else. When Whedon thinks something is going off the rails he has a tendency to just tell you in the dialog. It happened back in a later episode of ANGEL. Angel and some of his Scooby gang have gone into a magical bookstore, and Angel is asking the proprietor a question. I don’t remember the details, just that there was a lot of hand waving and nonsense being spouted and Angel then says, “You’re just making this shit up now, aren’t you?” Or words to that effect. That was at a time when the series was really flailing and floundering.
And Whedon did it again in Ultron when he gives Hawkeye the line to the Scarlet Witch. “We’re fighting an army of robots — and I have a bow and arrow.” He then goes on to add, “None of this makes sense.” You were so right Clint.
Contrast all that frenzied action with Guardians. Yes, there is action in the movie, but we learn more about the characters in everyone of those scenes — Rocket wants the guy’s leg because it would be funny, Gamora’s resigned statement “I’m going to die with the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” How Peter will try to fast talk his way out of situations before resorting to fighting. How Drax is so literal minded that he can’t understand a metaphor. That apparently everyone in the galaxy apart from Peter, Rocket and the Ravagers are irony impaired.
What the two films do have in common is that at their heart is an ordinary man — Hawkeye in Avengers, Peter in Guardians. Maybe that’s why I like to write about “nats” in the Wild Cards universe. Ordinary people who can still be heroes. There was exemplified in that underwhelming Superman Returns reboot back in 2006. The one thing that worked in that movie was the role of Lois’s boyfriend, Richard White. He proved to be just as heroic as the Man of Steel as he fought to save the life of the woman he loved and her child. That was the most emotionally satisfying moment in the film.
Maybe it’s because there are just too damn many characters that have to be serviced in the Avengers films. Which seems to be the case because the smaller movies are working better — Ant Man, Guardians, the Captain America films, the first Iron Man, Thor.
I point out these problems in the hope they find a way to address them before the next big blockbuster hits the screen. I love these superhero franchises. I watch Agents of SHIELD, and The Flash, and Arrow, and Legends, etc. etc. I’ve enjoyed many of the movies, but I hope there aren’t too many more Ultrons in the pipeline.