Will there ever be a more overhyped weekend that provided such underwhelming results than the first weekend of May 2015? If we're going to talk about winners and losers the only real winners were Marvel, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and the promoters behind boxing’s last iconic brawl. This small group essentially had a billion dollars handed to them by the so-called most important people in their lives; we the fans. Sadly us fans were treated to lackluster content at way too expensive a price.
Between a fight six years too late - as UFC President Dana White said of Pacquiao and Mayweather - and the colossal hype machine behind Avengers: Age of Ultron, did anyone predict that on Sunday, May 3rd the end result would be more Mayweather hugs than Pacquiao jabs and the type of super hero dialogue you'd expect from that one Spider-Man cartoon starring the skinny guy from Drake & Josh?
I don't know much about boxing other than Mike Tyson videos on YouTube, but when it comes to super hero stuff - not to be mistaken by the overpriced SuperHeroStuff.com - I know a little about what I'm talking about. It should be said Joss Whedon did an impression of what he thinks dialogue which can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike should sound like. Godamn, Age of Ultron had way too many cheesy jokes and snappy one liners. I've heard of scripts being punched up but the amount of snappiness in this movie leads me to believe they did a few too many revisions on this script.
The over-punch was cringeworthy. I get we're supposed to suspend disbelief when it comes to films about Asgardian legends but come on. That doesn't mean we have to suspend disbelief for your language too. Nobody tries to make that many jokes in such a condensed period of time. Carlos Mencia couldn't steal jokes fast enough to match what I heard from the Avengers. I thought we grew out of these sorta lines in movies after 1989. I guess not.
I could go on and on about the dialogue but humor is subjective. I'm sure there were 13-year-olds who thought it was a laugh riot. To me though, the most undeniably bad impression Whedon performed in the film is what powerful female leads should look like in super hero flicks. Look, I usually wouldn’t get on someone for this but let’s not forget this is the same guy who trashed Chris Pratt for the Jurassic World exchange between he and female co-star Bryce Dallas Howard. Whedon wrote on Twitter:
“...and I'm too busy wishing this clip wasn't 70's era sexist. She's a stiff, he's a life-force - really? Still?”
Whedon went on to say he “regretted” saying it was sexist in a public forum but let’s be real here. He absolutely meant what he was saying, because, you know, he’s the guy who created Buffy. He's the authority on how this female lead stuff works. At least that's what he says.
Turns out he’s no different than the rest of the Hollywood he critiques. During what was supposed to be the grandest showdown since Arjuna was billed to go one-on-one with his cousin in the Bhagavad Gita, the Black Widow became a sheepish damsel in distress. You know the type. The ones From stereotypically sexist 70's movie with weak female leads.
Before the big fight she contemplated hightailing it with Hulk. She finally did agree it was a good idea for her and Brucey to join the fight but when they finally took off for the battlefield she amounted to nothing nothing more than a backpack and a living IPod filled with lullabies in case the Hulk gets mad (again).
This is bothersome on a few levels. For one, it wasn't the dreamy Edward Norton Hulk she was smitten for. I would totally get it if it was Norty. The word dreamy can't be used enough with him! It was instead out of shape, too-democratic-for-his-own-good-just-be-hulk-and-shut-up Mark Ruffalo Hulk.
Then you have the fact that Black Widow has been built up as this independent woman for almost a decade now and in one fell swoop Whedon put her in the Drew Barrymore Fever Pitch role. You can't make Jimmy Fallon pay more attention to you when the Red Sox play just like you can't make the Hulk not be the Hulk. They're not going to stop because you said.
If this was a side mission for Widow I'd be fine with that. You gotta have some lovin'. The thing is, in Age of Ultron, almost every scene Scarlett Johansson is in she's practically sulking over Hulk. Like, Come on Wedon… You suck your own dick about how you revolutionized female leads because of Buffy and you’ve done nothing to change that. He didn't even have to do much with her either. The table was set. Make her shoot guns and beat everyone up. That's it.
What started as her being an anchor to a team now solidified her on this codependent quest to find the perfect man. We left the movie thinking if her and Brucey will be together again. Fuck that! I want to know how she'll make it out of a Gulag with Captain America. Leave it on that note. That's cool. Hell, Whedon ripped off Cabin in the Woods he may as well stolen the Lara Croft concept. Give her two guns and a cave and let's see what happens.
If Whedon is really leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe then maybe this is a good thing. When the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers team up he'd probably make Gamora miss the fight with Thanos because she's on a date with Magneto. (Not even anything cool like missing your World Series parade because you were doing crack in an apartment like Doc Gooden. You respect that level of debauchery) By the end of the movie he'll have Starlord singing Gold Digger to her and the first thing Groot says other than “I am Groot” is how he thinks his teammate is a “trifling friend indeed.”
My favorite part of the Whedon Woman Hero impression comes at the end when the Scarlet Witch stands over a broken Ultron. Finally she gets her revenge on the android monster that killed her brother by opening his chest up, ripping out his heart and dismantling it right before his eyes.
I see right through what he was attempting to do here. It was less an empowering scene showing a chick doing something the guys couldn’t and more Whedon saying these bitches will rip your heart out and crush your dreams. It doesn’t matter if those dreams include genocide. Bitches ruin EVERYTHING according to Whedon.
I’m not exactly a shining beacon of feminism – and I don’t think I ever will be - but I feel like if you’re going to call out others for being sexist, you probably shouldn’t be just as bad, if not worse, than your creative counterparts. (With that said I think Pratt will be AWESOME in Jurassic World!!) I wanted to love the Avengers. I really, really did. It's just, the more I think about it the angrier I get at Whedon. Every time I see a positive I think of what he said about Pratt and how he followed that up by creating an unabashed stereotypical female in his movie.
Who wants to be caught in the midst of raging whirlpool whooshing through a confused man's mind while you're watching the Avengers? A Marvel movie is supposed to be the one of the few times you can escape that. You expect a giant fight where six heroes face a million aliens and then end up on top after vaporizing a part of a continent because they have the god of thunder on their side. This amazing action scene filled with mythic lore is sadly overshadowed by this dude's identity crisis.
If there is one thing I got from this beautiful spring sunday it's that I now have more of an appreciation for the UFC and Guardians of the Galaxy. The closest thing to a friendly Mayweather embrace in the Octagon is a guillotine passed down by the Gracie family. Then, on the Guardians side of things, you have a movie with unknown characters in Starlord, Rocket Racoon, Gamora, Groot and Dave Bautista telling a more compelling story about teamwork and chemistry by the A-List Avengers.