This week in the week that Joss;
Someone in Hollywood might be sexist,
The internet doesn’t handle difference of opinion very well,
People jump to conclusions,
All of this and more in the week that Joss
In the past few weeks we have seen the launch of the latest Marvel mega-pic and now that most people have had a chance to see it, people are deciding to talk about. One of those people is me. Now some people are being overly enthusiastic, some are being a bit more dour but some are riding to the rescue of one ‘Black Widow’ tortured by the evil villain Captain Sexism. Needless to say if you haven’t seen the movie yet, then caution is advised. In other words……..
Okay, so trying to keep this as light as possible in the spoiler front, Black widow around about the middle of the movie reveals her tragic backstory and attempts to shack up with another member of the superhero community. Now enough beating around the bush it’s Bruce Banner and one of the things that supposedly unites them is that they are both the monsters of the team. Bruce because he well turns into a monster and Black Widow due to her background. The thing is the wording of the scene makes it seem less like she’s a monster because of her background as an assassin and hitman for the red army but because she is sterile.
Back to the facts at hand, people objected to both these plot points and like rational human beings took to shouting obscenities on twitter to express their disapproval. Shortly there after Joss left Twitter altogether leaving us with only first hand witnesses to report the events. However the problem is it turns out Whedon wasn’t chased off twitter at all but left in order to get some peace so he could start work on his next project.
So let’s try breaking some of this down shall we. Was Joss being sexist when he wrote this and was he chased of twitter?
Well to answer the first question, like in most circumstances you have to first define whether sexism requires intent. Because like a lot of the time I don’t think this is, instead it’s our old dynamic duo of laziness and bad writing. See one of the high points of the first Avengers movie for many was that despite such high profile stars and such a large cast Avengers had a role for everyone. Every single member of the Avengers was required to make the movie work. Well except for Hawkeye, which is why he was brainwashed and taken out of action for three quarters of the movie. This annoyed a few people, not least Hawkeye himself and thus Joss knew that when it came to the second movie he needed to find something for everyone to do, especially Hawkeye. Those who have seen the movie know this didn’t really work. Oh Hawkeye has something important to do, even if it is a bit out of left field and Stark is defiantly important and so is Cap to a lesser extent, Bruce pads out the middle section with a fight scene that you have probably seen in the sixty-five trailers. This doesn’t stop Joss from trying though. Thor wonders off for a bit on a walkabout that makes no sense and is just foreshadowing for the next movie, but it gives him something to do. In the meantime Blackwidow does what any woman in Hollywood does when she wants some screen time and latches herself onto a man. This makes sense from a writing point of view. He has Black Widow who has nothing to do or say, he has Bruce Banner who has nothing new to say or do why not make them kiss. The problem is that the two have shared almost no screen time across all the Marvel movies and have almost nothing in common so to get people to buy into this we need to establish some common ground between the two. Hence the Monster similarity.
Now I like to think that Joss intended Black Widows murdering and stuff to be the connection but even bearing that in mind it does look like the scene in question is focusing on her sterility. All of which comes not from some inherent sexism from Joss but, I would argue, from lousy writing. Maybe this apparent three and a half hour cut can fix it, along with a few of the other problems knocking around the movie. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t a bad movie and far from the worst Marvel has put out in its new collective universe but it is a bit of a jumble and lacking some of the shine of the first Avengers pic.
Now a few things, first is that Joss might regret calling Jurassic World out on one clip it released to the internet after this. The second is that none of this excuses the behaviour of people attacking him over a plot point in a movie though I suppose we should be grateful that nobody called in a bomb threat or S.W.A.T this time around. Now sure I don’t get the twitter generation, I only have a facebook and use it to stalk exs’ and promote posts from my blog that nobody ever reads. But even I can see this is going too far.
And finally, did Joss leave twitter over this? Well he says he didn’t and he’s more of an expert on him than I am but it seems odd that he would just close his account like that without a goodbye or anything. I like to imagine that the comments hit home though not perhaps in the way people intended. He realised this was far from his best work in terms of characterisation and plot and felt not only ashamed of this but also decided to get away from it all so that he can do better next time.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to show a little C.L.a.S.S