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Avengers Movies: the Monsters and the Tumblr critics
black widow
Recently, I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron for a second time. It was less than twenty-four hours before that I had seen The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you must) on television, there being very little else to watch that evening, and Ina being busy knitting.

I ended up changing some of my views on the former*, and feeling sorry for Joss Whedon, who ended up being vilified because that scene between Bruce and Natasha wasn't seen not just in the context surrounding their conversation or that of A:AoU (of which more in a moment) but in the context of the major themes of both movies.

It is acknowledged by just about everyone that a major theme of 'The Avengers' is 'found family' and another is 'what is a hero?' These are carried through into A:AoU but the major theme of that can be summed up as 'monster or hero'? (And that is a minor theme in Avengers.)

It is easy to miss in a movie so chock full of incident and plot that I probably only think I have it straight, but just listen to the characters...

Tony: We're monsters, buddy. We're mad scientists.

Vision: Maybe I am a monster.

Cap: Ultron thinks we're monsters. It's about whether he's right.

(Not to mention Cap's reaction to Hill's "According to our intel, the twins volunteered for Stucker's experiments. That's insane."

"Yeah, what kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on them in order to protect their country?")

And this sets Natasha's "... it makes everything easier. Even killing. You sure you're not the only monster on the team?" in a different context. (The actual 'Graduation' is about killing the helpless, hooded man, the sterilization is the 'ceremony' which tries to cut some possible emotional ties, though considering Natatsha's relationship with Clint and Laura's kids – which we have just seen – this has not worked. Bruce and Natasha are talking about settling down (another theme of the movie) and having kids. Hell, when Bruce says, "Do the math. I physically can't," he gestures at the toys lying on the floor, and there is real pain in his voice.

Of course Nat's comeback has to be: "Neither can I."

Bruce is sterile from the gamma radiation; Natasha has been sterilized. It made Bruce the Hulk and Natasha a better assassin. Both might be regarded as monsters not because they are sterile, but because they destroy.

And the first meeting between Natasha and Bruce in The Avengers is full of foreshadowing. Bruce is rocking the cradle, looking at it as he says, "I don't every time get what I want."

It is that that started the train of thought in Whedon's mind, but there is also Natasha's use of the child, her answer to Bruce's question: "Is she a spy too? They start that young."

"I did."

But, above all, Bruce's, "So Fury isn't after the monster?"

To which Natasha is truthful, but not reassuring. Fury hasn't said, one way or the other.

In Avengers Natasha is plainly scared of the Hulk; it's in her reaction to Coulson's "You've got the Big Guy," in her fast draw when Bruce challenges her in India, and when Bruce begins to change into the Hulk as Loki's minions attack. But she also seems to feel a connection with him. But she pleads with "Bruce" to hold on, not to change. (And I think she's the first person in the movie to call him "Bruce.") And she isn't scared of anyone else, not even Loki.

By A:AofU she's the person who calms the Hulk, brings him back to being Banner.

Later in that movie, Natasha will tell the Hulk to "Go be a hero." It's very interesting that, at this point, Bruce was suggesting leaving, and it is Hulk Natasha turns to because we she "needs" a hero. Of course, Natasha is probably the most pragmatic of the Avengers, even more so than Tony.

Each of the Avengers (with the exception of Thor and Hawkeye) is referred to as a monster, sometimes by others, sometimes by themselves.

This also a theme carried through into the semi-serious contest to lift Thor's hammer. Thor is the only one of them with the assurance that he is 'worthy' to have the power he uses. He's the only one of them with power who knows, because he can lift the hammer, that he is a hero rather than a monster.

And Hawkeye, who is the only completely badass normal person in the Avengers, and the only one with a normal life, is someone who also does not have to face that choice, though he does face the choice between saving a child and returning to his own children.

And finally, is it only obvious to me that Thanos's "do it myself" implies that he was the one who, through the Mind Gem, created Ultron?

*Of course the movie has too any damn characters, and a plot that is too damn complicated.

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Yes, that all makes sense to me. I need to watch both movies again - we're running around like maniacs still, trying to get the house finished (7am builders are exhausting!) and make space for Penny's stuff - she has now sold the Brigg house, all being well, which gives us a deadline! - and help her sort out her stuff, and run around after Avril (who has been diagnosed with the Embuggerance) and ... well, we barely get time to watch anything at all!!

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