Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ONSTORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: THE AVENGERS Is A Joss Whedon Movie

Hulk love-smashes THE AVENGERS and Joss Whedon. 

Film Crit Hulk Smash: THE AVENGERS Is A Joss Whedon Movie

FOR FAR TOO LONG, HULK WAS AN OUTSIDER.

FOR FAR TOO LONG, THE NAME JOSS WHEDON ELICITED NOTHING MORE THAN A SHRUG. SURE, HULK KNEW PEOPLE ABSOLUTELY LOVED HIS SHOW, BUT HULK WAS IN THIS WEIRD PARTICULAR AGE BRACKET WHERE ON THE SURFACE BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEEMED A LITTLE "YOUNG" FOR HULK'S SENSIBILITIES. AND THERE WAS THIS WEIRD DYNAMIC WHERE EVERYONE WHO WAS WATCHING BUFFY ONLY SEEMED TO LIKE BUFFY. THE FANDOM SEEMED INSULAR, WHICH RESULTED IN HULK ASSUMING THE SHOW DIDN'T HAVE A BROADER SCOPE OR SOMETHING. AND SO IT WAS SOMEHOW IN THIS PREDICAMENT THAT THE BUFFYNERD ZONE THAT DIDN'T OVERLAP HULK'S OTHER NERD ZONES. AND SADLY, HULK BASICALLY OUT OF THE WHOLE "JOSS WHEDON THING" UNTIL ABOUT 2006. AND ALL THAT WHILE, HULK JUST ASSUMED THERE WERE BETTER WAYS TO SPEND HULK'S TIME.

WELL FOLKS... HULK WAS DEAD FUCKING WRONG.

IT STARTED LIKE MANY GOOD THINGS DO, WITH SOMEONE'S INSISTENCE.(1) HULK WAS POLITELY SAT DOWN AND MADE TO WATCH THE FIRST SEASON OF BUFFY. THE FIRST SEASON IS ADMITTEDLY A LITTLE ROUGH. IT HITS THE RIGHT NOTE EVERYFEW EPISODES AND THEN SORT OF COMES TOGETHER NICELY BY THE SEASON FINALE. HONESTLY, A LOT OF THE BEST QUALITIES ARE CHARACTERIZATION AND LATE 90'S NOSTALGIA. BUT THERE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH GOOD STUFF TO STICK AROUND. AND BY THE END OF SEASON 2 HULKWAS KNEE-DEEP IN SOMETHING DOWNRIGHT FUCKING AMAZING. THE HIGHS ONE EXPERIENCES OVER SEVEN SEASONS OF THAT SHOW ARE ESSENTIALLYUNPARALLELED. SO MUCH SO THAT HULK HAS TO SAY THAT BUFFY IS QUITE POSSIBLY, NAY, QUITE PROBABLY ONEOF THE BEST TELEVISION SHOWS OF ALL TIME. AND IF YOU NEED ANY CORROBORATION, WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT DAVID SIMON (CREATOR OF THE WIRE A.K.A. ANOTHER SHOW THAT GETS BANDIED ABOUT AS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME) AGREES WITH THAT SENTIMENT.

SO HULK DID THE ONLY HONORABLE THING AND FOLLOWED UP IMMEDIATELY WITH ANGEL (PRETTY GOOD), FIREFLY (DOWNRIGHT IMPECCABLE), AND EVEN DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG (PERFECT. YES. HULK THINKS IT'S PERFECT). THROW IN THE FACT HE WAS ONE OF THE WRITERS ON TOY STORY AND YOU REALIZE JOSS WHEDON'S COLLECTIVE OUTPUT IS PRETTY AMAZING.(2) PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT ALL OF HIS WORK IS FAR FROM FLAWLESS; IT IS ABOUT THE WILLINGNESS TO CONSTANTLY PUSH THE MATERIAL. MEANING HULK LOVES WHEDON'S WORK THE SAME WAY THATHULK LOVES COMMUNITY. IT IS ABOUT THE SHEER AUDACITY OF EFFORT AND GUTS. HIS SHOWS REACHED DIZZYING HIGHS BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS AND FAIL. WHEDON VALUES MODES OF STORYTELLING INVERSION AND SURPRISE THAT THAT FEW SHOWS EVEN BOTHER WITH. BUFFY WAS ONE OF THE ONLY TELEVISION SHOWS THAT COULD EVER GET HULK TOGASP OUT LOUD. BUT THE REASON THIS HAPPENED IS BECAUSE IT NEVER FELT LIKE A WRITER JUST DICKING PEOPLE AROUND (UNLIKEMOST NETWORK TELEVISION). HULK GASPED BECAUSE HE GROUNDED THAT SURPRISE AND INVERSION DIRECTLY INTO CHARACTER. THEREWAS ALWAYS A PURPOSE TO IT (WHICH IS DOUBLE AMAZING CONSIDERING THAT HULK COULDN'T SEE IT COMING). EVERYTHING HAD MEANING BECAUSE HE SO WONDERFULLY UNDERSTOOD THE WEIGHT ON CONSEQUENCE. AND THAT CONSEQUENCE HAD TRUE RESONANCE BECAUSE HE COULD ALWAYSGROUND THEM IN HUMOR AND LOVE. AND ON TOP OF ALLLLLLLLL THAT, HE BALANCED SHORT AND LONG-FORM STORYTELLING BETTER THAN ANY TELEVISION WRITER HULK HAS EVER SEEN (ALONG WITH THE WORK OF AN INCREDIBLE STAFF WHO HAVE GONE ON TO DO GREAT THINGS BY THE WAY).

AND YET THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT WHEDON'S CAREER THAT HAS ALWAYS FELT HAMSTRUNG. HE WAS BATTERED AROUND HOLLYWOOD AND SUBJECTED TO A LOT OF CRAZINESS BEFORE ENDING UP IN TELEVISION. WHICH SEEMED TO GO WELL FOR A WHILE DESPITE THE WHOLE NETWORK SWITCHING THING. BUT REALLY IT WAS THE PREMATURE CANCELLATION OF FIREFLY THAT STARTED THE DARK TIMES. HEHAD A WONDER WOMAN FILM THAT FAILED TO GET OFF THE GROUND (DESPITE THE FACT THE SCRIPT WAS PRETTY GOOD) AND EVEN THE NEAT SUCCESS OF DR. HORRIBLE CLASHED UP AGAINST THE NUANCED PROBLEMS OF DOLLHOUSE, WHICH REALLY ARE WORTHY OF THEIR OWN COLUMN. (3) HE THEN HAD ANOTHER FILM GET CAUGHT IN BANKRUPTCY DISTRIBUTION HELL. REALLY, THINGS WEREN'T LOOKING ALL THAT GOOD FOR THE GUY WHO MADE ONE OF THE BEST TELEVISION SHOWS OF ALL TIME.

LUCKILY, THINGS CAN CHANGE.

A MONTH AGO HULK TWEETED THE FOLLOWING:  "2012 WILL BE THE YEAR NON-WHEDON FANS FINALLY 'GET IT.'"

HULK SAID THIS NOT PRETENDING TO BE SOME "ORIGINAL FAN" OR SOME NONSENSE LIKE THAT. HULK SAID THAT AS SOMEONE WHO FINALLY CAMEAROUND TOO. SOMEONE WHO TOOK OFF THE PRECONCEPTIONS AND RECOGNIZED THE OUTRAGEOUS TALENT OF A GREAT WRITER WHO WAS HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. AND THIS YEAR THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO BE SEEN THAN WITH TWO HIGH-PROFILE FILMS. THE FIRST?  THE AFOREMENTIONED DISTRIBUTION HELL MOVIE CABIN IN THE WOODS, WHICH WAS RELEASED TO ROUSING CRITICAL AND SOLID FINANCIAL SUCCESS. WHEDON CO-WROTE WITH BUFFY/ANGEL ALUM DREW GODDARD AND HULK THINKS IT'S, QUITE SIMPLY, ONE OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES EVER MADE. FUN. SMART. INVENTIVE. HILARIOUS. AND FULL OF ALL THE EXACT KINDS OF GREAT MOMENTS ONE LOVES TO SEE. AND IT'S NOT LIKE IT ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES A "HORROR BRAIN" TO LOVE IT (HULK DOESN'T HAVE ONE). IF YOU'VE EVEN SEEN A HANDFUL OF HORROR MOVIES (AND YOU'RE JUST GAME FOR WHERE THIS GOES), THEN THEMOVIE IS A PROVERBIAL HOOT. YOU COULD ACTUALLY HOOT IF YOU WANTED TO THOUGH.

AND THEN THERE'S THIS OTHER LITTLE THING CALLED THE AVENGERS.

HULK DOESN'T KNOW WHO THE PERSON IS WHO JUST SAID "YES" TO HIRING JOSS BUT HULK WANTS TO BUY THEM ALL THE BEERS.AFTER THE BIGGEST OPENING WEEKEND OF ALL TIME AND NEARLY-UNIVERSAL CRITICAL ACCLAIM, IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT JOSS WHEDON IS FINALLY BEING APPRECIATED BY THE MASSES RIGHT NOW. AND HULK PERSONALLY THOUGHT THE FILM WAS REALLY, REALLY GREAT. FLAWLESS? HECKNO. BUT LIKE MOST WHEDON PROJECTS IT USES ITS FLAWS TO BUILD TOWARD THE WAYS IT SUCCEEDS. BUT RATHER THAN JUST SLOBBER ALL OVER THE FILM, HULK THOUGHT HULK SHOULD DO SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT.

HERE ARE:

THE 12 WAYS THE AVENGERS IS ABSOLUTELY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY A JOSS WHEDON FILM:

(OH AND SINCE THIS ARTICLE IS COMING TWO WEEKS AFTER RELEASE THERE ARE MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS AND STUFF, BUT WE ARE FINALLY FREE TO TALK ABOUT THEM!)

1. IT'S ACTUALLY FUN

LET'S THINK ABOUT THIS ONE. THE LAST FEW YEARS WE HAVE BEEN BUILDING TOWARD THIS IDEA OF VALUING OVERT SERIOUSNESS IN OURMOVIES. THE DARK KNIGHT IS A GREAT MOVIE, BUT ITS SUCCESS SEEMED TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK THAT IT WAS "THE RIGHT DIRECTION" FOR SUPERHERO MOVIES IN GENERAL.(4) AND THAT'S JUST NOT THE CASE. FOR ONE, THAT LEVEL OF SERIOUSNESS IS PRETTY MUCH ONLY BATMAN-APPROPRIATE. FOR TWO, ADDING A RELENTLESSLY "GRITTY" TONE TO A NUMBER OF CERTAIN MOVIES THAT WILLGO UNNAMED MADE THEM COMPLETELY DOUR AND BORING. FOR THREE, WHY DOES SOMETHING BEING FUN AS OPPOSED TO SERIOUS SOMEHOW INHERENTLY MEAN "NOT AS GOOD?" SERIOUSLY, HULK FINDS THIS CONCEPT RIDICULOUS. YET IT TAPS INTO THE SAME PART OF OUR BRAINS THAT PREVENTS COMEDIES FROM GETTING NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE. WE ALWAYS EQUATE "SERIOUS" WITH "BETTER" AND THAT MAKES HULK EXTRA SMASHY.NOT JUST BECAUSE FUN MOVIES MAKE HULK'S HEART/SOUL/MIND/BODY FEEL GOOD, BUT BECAUSE GUESS WHAT? IT'S WAYYYYYYYYYY HARDER TO MAKE A FUN MOVIE THAN IT IS TO MAKE SERIOUS MOVIES. YOU HEARD THAT CORRECT. WAY HARDER.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON IS THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU MAKE A FUN MOVIE DOESN'T MEAN IT CAN'T BE EMOTIONALLY ENTHRALLING TOO. UNSURPRISING FACT: PEOPLE BEING FUNNY TENDS TO MAKES US LIKE THEM MORE. HULK DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT HULK WOULD LAYDOWN LIFE AND LIMB FOR GUYS LIKE STEVE RODGERS, TONY STARK, AGENT COULSON AND THOR. AND THE TRUTH IS THAT ON A COMPLETELY PERSONAL LEVEL, HULK COULDN'T GIVE TWO CRAPS ABOUT BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN. JUST THINK ABOUT IT. THIS NOT A SHOT AT BATMAN OR HIS VALUE. HULK TALKING ABOUT THE SENSE OF EMPATHY. AGAIN, HULK THINK THE DARK KNIGHT IS GREAT. HULK JUST TALKING ABOUT THE CHARACTER. COOL? COOL.

ANYCRAP, THE LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENTS CAN ACTUALLY INFORM AND GIVE WEIGHT TO THE DRAMATIC PARTS.

IN CASE YOU'RE CURIOUS, WE DISCOVERED THIS COMPONENT OF STORYTELLING SOMEWHERE AROUND 700 B.C.

2. IT'S GREAT IN THE WAY IT NEEDS TO BE

HULK KNOW A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WALKED OUT OF THE AVENGERS AND COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT WASSO GREAT. THEY SAID "SURE IT HAD GOOD MOMENTS!" AND THEN POINTED TO A VAST NUMBER OF FLAWS WHICH PREVENTED THE FILM FROM BEINGWHAT THEY CONSIDERED TO BE "A GOOD MOVIE." AND YOU KNOW WHAT? HULK WOULD ABSOLUTELY AGREE THEM THAT ALL THOSE FLAWS EXIST. FORINSTANCE, THE FILM HAS VERY LITTLE NARRATIVE PROPULSION. MEANING SCENES SEGUE INTO THE NEXT WITHOUT MUCH TENSION. THE ENTIRE FIRST TWENTY MINUTES OR SO IS JUST INFORMATION. HECK, PRETTY MUCH THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF OF THE FILM IS JUST PUTTING THINGS INTO PLACE SO THAT THEY CAN JUST GET ON WITH IT. AND YUP, NARRATIVE PROPULSION IS USUALLY A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT PART OF MOVIES, ESPECIALLY BLOCKBUSTERS. AND IF YOU KNOW HULK, YOU KNOW HULK LOOOOOVES NARRATIVE PROPULSION.(5)

BUT GUESS WHAT? THERE ARE INDEED THE RARE FILMS WHERE NARRATIVE PROPULSION JUST DOESN'T MATTER AS MUCH. JOSS TOOK HIS TIMEWITH THE FILM AND WAS UTTERLY RIGHT TO DO SO. IT'S ALL IN SERVICE OF BUILDING TO SOMETHING WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE. LET'S LOOK AT THE FACTS: THIS FILM REQUIRES SIX GOOD GUYS, THREE PEOPLE HELPING THOSE GOOD GUYS, AND ONE BAD GUY WORKING IN THE SERVICE OF SOME OTHER NEBULOUS BAD GUYS. AN OUTSIDER MAY ARGUE, WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED ALL THOSE CHARACTERS? AND AN AVENGERS FANWOULD SIMPLY REPLY "YOU JUST DO. THOSE ARE THE CHARACTERS."

AND SO IF THEY ARE REQUIRED, THEN HOW DO WE JUSTIFY ALL THOSE CHARACTERS BEING THERE? THE ANSWER IS THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO SPEND TIME WITH EACH CHARACTER. WE HAVE TO BUILD THE RELATIONSHIPS. ONE ON ONE. ONE AT TIME. ALL WITH EACH OTHER. SO JOSS MADE A GAMBLE AND IN PLACE OF NARRATIVE PROPULSION HE DECIDED TO RELY ON CHARM AND THE SLOW BUILD OF INTERACTION. AND IN THE END HE WASENTIRELY RIGHT TO DO SO. EVEN THOUGH IT MAY SEEM "UNECONOMICAL," IT'S ABSOLUTELY ADDING TO SOMETHING NEEDED FOR THE FINALRESULT.

BECAUSE WHEN THAT INFAMOUS CIRCLE PAN OCCURS AROUND OUR SIX HEROES, THE AUDIENCE STANDS UP AND CHEERS, NOT BECAUSE THEY'RESIMPLY THE AVENGERS COMING TOGETHER, BUT BECAUSE IT'S THESE AVENGERS COMING TOGETHER. THERE'S A HUGEDIFFERENCE. BECAUSE AT THAT POINT WE'VE GOTTEN TO SEE HOW THEY ALL GOT THERE. TOGETHER. IN THAT SINGULAR MOMENT. IF YOU DOUBT HULK, THINK ABOUT HOW MANY TIMES THAT SAME EXACT SHOT WAS USED IN THE ADVERTISING AND HOW LITTLE EFFECT IT HAD BEYOND "HEY,IT'S THE AVENGERS ALL TOGETHER IN A CLICHE SHOT!" BUT COMING AFTER TWO HOURS OF MOVIE WHERE WE'VE SEEN THEM REALLY SUSS OUT THEIR STUFF? COMING AFTER THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT OF SETTING UP THE BATTLE?

IT'S COMES OFF GLORIOUSLY. BOTH TIMES HULK'S SEEN IT, THE AUDIENCE HAS STOOD AND CHEERED. THAT'S WHAT THE ENTIRE FILM IS TRULY ABOUT: MAKING THIS SINGULAR MOMENT WORK.

AND TO DO THAT? THEY NEEDED EVERY SINGLE THING THAT CAME BEFORE IT.

A PART OF HULK LIKES TO THINK THAT THIS WAS A LESSON THAT JOSS BEST LEARNED IN TELEVISION, WHERE ALL HIS SEASONS WOULD BUILD BEAUTIFULLY TO ONE CENTRAL POINT. AND EVEN IF THE RANDOM EPISODE WAS A BIT OF DISTRACTION OR A COMIC INVERSION, IT WAS ALWAYS INSERVICE OF THE NEEDED CHARACTER WORK TO HELP MAKE THOSE BIG FINALES ALL THE MORE RESONANT.

3. IT'S AN ACTOR'S SHOWCASE

IT'S NOT MUCH OF A STRETCH TO SAY THAT JOSS WHEDON IS PRETTY GOOD AT CRAFTING CHARACTERS. HE DOES ALL THAT STUFF YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO: BACKSTORY. TEXTURE. RANGE. AND ESPECIALLY ARC. HECK, HULK WOULD ARGUE THAT THE ARC OF SPIKE ON BUFFY IS NOT ONLY JAW-DROPPING WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHERE HE STARTED, BUT ONE OF THE BEST ONGOING TRANSFORMATIONS HULK'S EVER SEEN (HE WAS DIFFERENT EVERY. SINGLE. SEASON. MAYBE EVEN EVERY EPISODE). BUT ONE OF JOSS'S BEST TRAITS IS THAT HE LOVES TO CUT LOOSE AND LET HIS ACTORS SHOW THEIR STUFF.

ON EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS SHOWS HE WAS CONSTANTLY COMING UP WITH SCENARIOS TO MAKE THEM A "FISH OUT OF WATER" AND INVERT THEIR PERSONALITIES. USUALLY FOR COMEDIC PURPOSES, BUT ALSO FOR REALLY GNARLY DRAMATIC PURPOSES. HE LOVED TO LET HIS ACTORS STRETCHTHEIR WINGS AND EMBODY ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES. HE LOVED TO PUT UNCOMMON CHARACTERS UP AGAINST ONE ANOTHER AND SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. HE WAS NEVER AFRAID TO MIX HIGH COMEDY AND HIGH DRAMA.

AND THE TRUTH IS THAT IN A MUCH SMALLER WAY, EVERYONE IN THE AVENGERS REALLY GETS TO DO THAT TOO. GOOVER THE FILM. EACH ONE GETS TO BE HEARTBROKEN, AND FUNNY, AND ANGRY, AND SELFISH, AND SACRIFICING, AND KIND, AND SILLY... EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

NAME ANOTHER BLOCKBUSTER THAT DOES THAT.

4. HE UNDERSTOOD THE MATERIAL HE WAS WRITING

JOSS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ACUTELY AWARE OF GENRE/FORM/ARCHETYPE. IT SHAPED EVERYTHING HE WROTE. HE WOULD KEEP ONE FOOT IN CONVENTION AND ANOTHER FOOT IN THE HIS OWN PARTICULAR STORY AND NEVER LOST SIGHT OF EITHER. AND SO THE GENRE ISN'T JUST ADVENTURE HERE, THE GENRE IS MICRO-SPECIFIC. THE GENRE IS "THE AVENGERS." SO TO GET THAT MATERIAL YOU BETTER HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHARACTERS. SO LET'S GET SPECIFIC HERE.

A. HE UNDERSTANDS CAPTAIN AMERICA

LUCKILY FOR AUDIENCES, MOST OF THE GROUND WORK ON STEVE ROGERS WAS WONDERFULLY HANDLED IN HIS STAND-ALONE FILM (WHICH JOSS DIDAN UNCREDITED POLISH ON, BY THE WAY). SO BY THE TIME CAP GETS TO THIS FILM HIS JOB IS MORE TO REFLECT THE SENSE OF DUTY AND INTEGRITY THE ENTIRE TEAM IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE. HE IS, ESSENTIALLY, THEIR LEADER. AND IT'S HIS ABILITY TO LEAD, TO STAND AS EXAMPLE, AND TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT THAT DEFINES HIM. IT'S LESS ABOUT CAP'S JOURNEY (THERE'S VERY LITTLE "FISH OUT OFWATER" STUFF FOR THE MOST PART, WHICH IS GOOD IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE) AND MORE ABOUT THE WAY HIS PERSONALITY AFFECTS THE OTHER CHARACTERS. HIS CLASHES WITH TONY'S EGO:

"Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?"

"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."

"I know guys with none of that worth ten of you."

AND THEN THERE ARE HIS GREAT SCENES WITH COULSON, WHICH RUMINATE ON THE POWER OF BELIEF AND EVERYTHING THEY WILL ALL NEED GOING FORWARD. CAPTAIN AMERICA ISN'T JUST A SYMBOL. HE'S A MAN WHO HAS TO BE ABLE TO EMBODY A SYMBOL.

AND FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, THERE'S A BRILLIANT CHARACTER SCENE THAT WAS CUT FROM AN EARLIER WHEDON DRAFT. HOPEFULLY IT WILL END UP IN CAPTAIN AMERICA 2.

B. HE UNDERSTANDS TONY STARK SURE TONY'S FUNNY IN THE FILM. WE ALL KNEW HE WOULD BE FUNNY. BUT DID THEY GET TOO CAUGHT UPIN ANY OF HIS DRAMATICS? NOPE. THIS TONY ISN'T WHINY AND OBSESSED WITH HIS OWN PROBLEMS (COUGH COUGH IRON MAN 2). INSTEAD THEY DO THAT VERY SMART THING YOU DO WITH EVERY SELF-ABSORBED FUNNY ANTI-HERO: YOU PUT THEM IN A SITUATION OF SACRIFICE. TONY BASICALLY HAS TWO BIG "HAN SOLO SWEEPS IN" MOMENTS (SAVING THE ENGINE AND THEN THE MISSILE). BOTH ARE GREAT MOMENTS, BUT THEY SPEAK TO THE VERY CONVENTIONS OF DRAMA WE INTRINSICALLY UNDERSTAND.

WE ALL KNOW THAT IRON MAN IS TECHNICALLY THE MOST POPULAR CHARACTER OF THIS BUNCH (IN LARGE PART TO ROBERT DOWNEY JR.'S TRULY OWNING THIS ROLE), BUT WHEDON KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT TO DO WITH HIM HERE. HE GETS TO BE THE ROCK STAR. THE SHOWMAN. HE GETS THEBIG MOMENTS OF EVERYTHING WE NEVER HAD. BUT HE NEVER FEELS TOO BIG FOR THE MOVIE, IF THAT MAKES SENSE. THEY NEVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF SECRETLY MAKING HIM THE LEADER. AS WE CLARIFIED ABOVE, THAT'S CAP'S JOB. AND NOTHING COULD BE MORE CATHARTIC TO THAT PURPOSE THAN TONY YELLING, "CALL IT CAPTAIN!"

C. HE UNDERSTANDS THOR

THOR IS A BIGGER KEY TO THIS MOVIE THAN SOME PEOPLE REALIZE. AND THAT'S BECAUSE HE GROUNDS LOKI'S VILLAINY IN A KIND OF HUMANITY, OR DARE HULK SAY IT, BROTHERLY LOVE. HE'S ESSENTIALLY THE EMOTIONAL ANCHOR. WITHOUT HIM? THERE'S NO SHADESOF GRAY. BUT BETTER YET, JOSS SMARTLY GROUNDS HIS CHARACTER IN MOST OF THE INTER-AVENGERS CONFLICT. HIS WILLINGNESS TO HELP HISBROTHER RUNS COMPLETELY COUNTER TO THE AVENGERS MISSION (SOMETIMES HILARIOUSLY: "And he's my brother!" / "He killed eightypeople in two days." / "He's adopted."). BUT BETTER YET, HIS ENTIRE PRESENCE IS A CONFLICT TO THE SAFETY OF EARTH AND THEAVENGERS MISSION WITH THE MACGUFFIN. WHETHER IT'S THE EXISTENCE OF GODS, THEIR THREAT TO HUMANITY AND THE VERY IDEA OF DWARFING OUR SENSE OF THE UNIVERSE, THOR IS ALWAYS THE ULTIMATE OUTSIDER. AND IT SETS HIM APART FROM HIS TEAM. IT CREATES THE DISTANCE AND CONFLICT THAT WE ULTIMATELY NEED TO BRIDGE.

THOR ALSO TAKES A MAJOR BEATING OVER THE COURSE OF THIS FILM. ESPECIALLY WITH A GIANT SUCKER PUNCH FROM NONE OTHER THAN...

D. HE UNDERSTANDS THE FUCKING HULK

HULK ALREADY WROTE ALLLLLLLL ABOUT THIS CHARACTER RIGHT HERE... HERE BEING A MAGAZINE HULK WAS HONORED TO WRITE FOR. SHORT VERSION: JOSS DID AN AMAZING JOB.

5. THE "BIG BAD" IS PSYCHOLOGICAL

HULK IS GOING TO SAY THIS AND TRY TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR: LOKI IS THE REASON THE AVENGERS WORKS.

THINK ABOUT IT. HIS THREAT HAS TO BE CLEAR AND EXECUTED WITH REAL MENACE. HE MUST BE COMPELLING EVEN IF HE IS NOT LIKABLE. BUTTHOSE ARE JUST THE CONCERNS TO MAKING HIS OWN MOTIVES WORK. WHAT ELSE DOES HE NEED TO DO? THINK ABOUT ALL THE SCENESLOKI HAS IN THIS MOVIE. WHY DOES JOSS HAVE HIM TALK TO BASICALLY EVERY CHARACTER? BECAUSE HE PROVIDES EACH ONE WITH INNER CONFLICT.

AND THAT MEANS THAT TRULY, LOKI HAS TO PSYCHOLOGICALLY BALANCE OFF SEVEN DIFFERENT CHARACTERS: HE HAS TO INDOCTRINATE CLINT. HE HAS TO CLASH WITH CAP'S EARNESTNESS. HE HAS TO ANTAGONIZE TONY AND ENGORGE HIS EGO. HE HAS TO SPURN THE ETHOS OF HIS BROTHER AND AVOID HIS OWN HUMANITY AT ALL COSTS (WHETHER IT BE FOR HIS OWN LUST OF POWER OR THE GRAVE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEAL HE HAS MADE). HE HAS TO LET NICK FURY'S SEVERE THREATS BOUNCE OFF OF HIM. HE HAS TO TURN THINGS AROUND IN AN INCREDIBLE INTERROGATION SCENE WITH BLACK WIDOW. HE HAS TO ENRAGE BANNER. AND THEN HE HAS TO GO AHEAD AND TAUNT THE HULK.(6)

THE POINT IS THAT LOKI HAS A HECK OF A LOT TO DO WITH ACCENTUATING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR MAIN CAST. AND GIVEN WHAT HULK SAID EARLIER, FLESHING OUT THE CHARACTERS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THIS MOVIE (IN SERVICE OF THE CIRCLE PAN MOMENT). SO WITHOUT LOKI, AND EVERYTHING TOM HIDDLESTON BRINGS IN HIS GREAT PERFORMANCE, THE FILM ABSOLUTELY DOESN'T WORK.

HE'S NOT JUST THE LYNCHPIN. HE'S A SERIES OF LYNCHPINS.

6. BLACK WIDOW ISN'T JUST BOOBS FIGHTING THINGS

"At least Black Widow will be good." THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE SAID THE MOMENT THEY HIRED JOSS WHEDON.

AND THE FUNNY THING ABOUT EVERYONE WHO MADE THAT BLIND ASSUMPTION IS THAT THEY WERE ULTIMATELY RIGHT. AFTER ALL, JOSS WHEDON HAS HAD HIS FAIR SHARE OF FEMALE ASS-KICKING HEROES, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY HE ALWAYS HAD A PENCHANT FOR MAKING THEM COMPELLING PEOPLE. IN HER PREVIOUS ROLE IN IRON MAN 2, BOTH SCARLET AND THE BLACK WIDOW CHARACTER WERE, WELL, FINE. BUT THERE IS NO DENYING SHE WAS PRETTY MUCH ONLY REQUIRED TO ALTERNATE BETWEEN SEXY/PROFESSIONAL AND KICK-ASS/PROFESSIONAL. THIS IS HOW MOST WOMEN'S ACTION ROLES ARE WRITTEN.(6B)

SO HOW DOES JOSS GO BEYOND THAT?

LOOK PEOPLE, IT'S NOT MAGIC. IT'S NOT EVEN THAT HARD. IT ALL COMES FROM A PLACE OF RESPECT. YOU BASICALLY SIT THERE ASA WRITER AND SAY THE FOLLOWING: "I will not take the easy route because I assume that is all that is expected of me. I will make this character a fully-realized person. I will give her a range of emotions. I will give her capacities beyond being sexy and kicking ass. I will give her great moments. I will not make her fight the other woman. I will give her the same stuff I'mrequired to give all the other characters." THAT'S IT.

AND THAT'S HOW WE GOT A BLACK WIDOW WHO HAS GREAT MOMENTS, A SENSE OF HISTORY, A SENSE OF EMOTIONAL GRAVITAS, A RANGE OF EMOTIONS, AND HEY, WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT? ALSO HAPPENS TO BE SEXY AND ASS-KICKING TOO. WHODATHUNK?

7. THE "MEWLING QUIM" THING

SO THERE'S THREE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THIS ONE.

A) THE REASON THIS MOMENT STICKS OUT IN EVERYONE'S MIND IS BECAUSE IT IS TRULY A GREAT EMOTIONAL MOMENT. LOKI SLOWLY DRAWS BLACK WIDOW INTO HIS STORY. HE TRAVERSES HER MIND AND DIGS UP HER HISTORY BEFORE UNLEASHING THE GRAVEST OF INSULTS UPON HER AT THE HEIGHT OF ANGER. HONESTLY, THE MOMENT IS TRULY REMINISCENT OF THE "All the way to the F... B... I." LINE DELIVERED BY HANNIBAL LECTER. AND JUST AS ALL SEEMS HORRIBLE AND TENSE, WITH AN AUDIENCE ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS, BLACK WIDOW TURNSIT RIGHT BACK AROUND ON HIM. SHE GOT WHAT SHE WAS AFTER. ALL HIS WORDS, WHICH AFFECTED US AND MADE US UNCOMFORTABLE, SHE WAS STILL ABLE TO RISE ABOVE (THAT'S HOW DRAMATIC HEROISM WORKS BY THE WAY). SO THE WHOLE SCENE AND IN PARTICULAR THAT LINE IS A MOMENT THAT WORKS WELL WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE ENTIRE FILM. AND THAT'S REALLY WHY WE REMEMBER IT.

B) AND ON THE SECOND LEVEL, THIS MOMENT WAS A COUP. JOSS WHEDON, BEING A BIT OF WORDSMITH AND LITERARY AFICIONADO, SNUCK IN ONE OF THE MOST SEVERE INSULTS WE HAVE SEEN INTO A PG-13 MOVIE. OKAY IT HAPPENED BECAUSE MOST AMERICANS DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANT, BUT THERE IS A PUNK-ROCK ELEMENT HULK CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE. AND REALLY BECAUSE THE MOMENT ITSELF WORKS SO WELL IT JUSTMAKES THE PENCHANT FOR GETTING AWAY WITH THIS WORD CHOICE (HULK'S JAW LITERALLY DROPPED) ALL THE MORE "WOW." THE INTENSITYOF THE WORD ONLY HELPS SELL THE TRUE INTENSITY OF THE SCENE.

C)  AND FINALLY, THERE IS WHOLLY VALID ARGUMENT TO BE MADE REGARDING WHETHER OR NOT THE SCENE, AND JOSS WHEDON'S/HULK'S OWN/CULTURE AT LARGE'S PRIDE IN THE SCENE, IS SEXIST. AND THE REAL ANSWER IS THAT IT MIGHT BE. REALLY, THE SUBJECT COULD BE ITS OWN COLUMN. HULK MEAN, IS IT REALLY ALL THAT IMPORTANT TO SNEAK IN SOMEONE EFFECTIVELY CALLING THE FEMALE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE MOVIE A "WHINY C***?" AS WAS POINTED OUT, DO WE REALLY NEED MORE WAYS TO INSULT WOMEN? IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE REVEL IN THIS SCENE? ESPECIALLY FOR THE WRONG REASONS?THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

BUT TO HULK THE MOMENT WORKS OR "PASSES" IF WE COULD BE SO LAME, FOR A FEW REASONS. THE FIRST IS THAT WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE MOVIE ITSELF, AND THE CHARACTER THAT SAYS IT, IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE. AND NOT ONLY IS IT LOGICAL, BUT IT SERVES GREAT PURPOSEIN ESTABLISHING A MOMENT OF TERROR AND A LEAP IN SEVERITY. AND IT DOES SO WITHOUT EVER SEEMING EXTRANEOUS OR INCREDULOUS. ANDTHE MAIN REASON IS THAT JOSS WHEDON HAS A REAL HISTORY OF SHOWING WHAT HULK WILL SIMPLY CALL "THE OPPOSITE OF LOKI'S ATTITUDE." HE'S BEEN PROGRESSIVE, SMART, UNDERSTANDING AND WHOLLY SUPPORTIVE OF GENDER POLITICS. THERE IS NO DOUBT IN HULK'SMIND THAT JOSS MEANT THE MOMENT TO BE AS JAW-DROPPING AND UNABASHED AS IT WAS. AND HIS BODY OF WORK HAS HELPED INFORM US BOTH OF THAT INTENTION AND WHY IT IS THERE.

SO PERHAPS THE CRITICISM IS BEST LAID AT OUR OWN ENTHUSIASM. SURE JOSS WHEDON PULLED OFF SOMETHING WITH A PUNK ROCK EDGE, SHOWED LINGUISTIC ASTUTENESS AND PROVIDED A TERRIFYING MOVIE MOMENT. BUT AGAIN, DO WE HAVE TO CELEBRATE SO GLEEFULLY A VILLAIN CALLING SOMEONE A MEWLING QUIM??? ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES WITHOUT A HINT OF SEVERITY?

BUT THE FINAL TRUTH IS THAT THE WHOLE GRAY AREA ON THIS SUBJECT IS ONE OF THE OTHER REASONS THIS IS A REAL JOSS WHEDON MOMENT.FOR ALL HIS BEING LAUDED AS A FORWARD-THINKING AND PROGRESSIVE WRITER WHEN IT COMES TO GENDER/SEXUALITY, HE'S NEVER BEEN AFRAID TO COUNTER THE "POLITICAL" NOTION AND GO DARK. HE REALLY ISN'T A POLITICAL WRITER AT ALL. HE'S INTERESTED IN SURPRISE. HE'S INTERESTED IN UNCOMMON AND UNDERREPRESENTED STRENGTH. HE'S INTERESTED IN THE FULL SPECTRUM. AND THE FULL-SPECTRUM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR SURE ISN'T POLITICAL.

8. DEATH MATTERS

IF YOU'VE SEEN ANY OF JOSS WHEDON'S OUTPUT THEN YOU KNOW. CHARACTERS DIE. AND WHEN THEY DIE IT SEVERELY AFFECTS THINGS. THEIR DEATHS HAVE CONSEQUENCE. THEIR DEATHS ARE EMOTIONAL. THEIR DEATHS ARE OFTEN SHOCKING. SO TRAUMATIC ARE SOME OF THE CHARACTER DEATHS THAT A FEW FANS HAVE TAKEN TO HATING WHEDON AS MUCH AS THEY LOVE HIM. IT'S ALMOST AS IF THEY PORTRAY HIM TO BETHE VENGEFUL GOD. ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE COMMENTS WAS WHEN SOMEONE REFERRED TO HIM AS "Sadistic McKillsalot." THE TRUTH ISJOSS HAS OFFERED ONLY ONE CHARACTER DEATH OUT OF ALL OF THEM THAT HULK THOUGHT REALLY TIPPED THE SCALES TOWARD SADISM AND IT WAS MORE A PROBLEM OF EXECUTION THAN WHO SPECIFICALLY WAS KILLED OFF AND WHY.(7) AS FOR THE REST OF THEM? THEY WERE ALL SIGNIFICANT. THEY ALL HARROWED THE SOUL AND PUSHED THINGS FORWARD AS MUCH AS THEY TORE US DOWN.

AND IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT JOSS'S OWN LIFE THEN YOU KNOW THAT DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING HE TAKES LIGHTLY. HE KNOWS THE CONSEQUENCES. HE KNOWS WHAT IT STIRS IN US AND WHY. HE KNOWS WHY WE NEED IT AND WHY IT'S SO HARD. AND BECAUSE HE KNOWS ALL THOSE THINGS, HE WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SINGLE BEST DIRECTED EPISODE OF TELEVISION HULK'S EVER SEEN (BUFFY FANS, YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ONE). SO YES, JOSS WHEDON UNDERSTANDS THAT DEATH MATTERS IN STORYTELLING.

SO LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.

JOSS WHEDON DID SOMETHING HULK NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE: HE TOOK ALL OF AGENT COULSON'S APPEARANCES IN THE MOVIES BEFORE ANDTURNED THEM INTO A SURPRISINGLY BEAUTIFUL ARC, PUNCTUATED WITH SHOCKING, FUNNY AND TOUCHING MOMENTS. IN RETROSPECT, THERE WASNO OTHER WAY THIS COULD HAVE GONE. AND NOW, IT'S ABSOLUTELY THE REASON WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE HIM.

"So that's what it does."

9. ACTION AS VISUAL STORY

ONE OF THE CENTRAL CONCERNS GOING INTO THE AVENGERS WAS THAT JOSS WHEDON WOULD MAKE IT "LOOK LIKE ATV SHOW." MEANING THAT IT WOULDN'T BE CINEMATIC. THAT IT WOULD BE FLAT AND OVER-LIT. ALL IMPLYING THAT IT WOULDN'T HAVECOOL ACTION.

IF THERE WAS ANY MOVIE THAT PROVES HOW USELESS "LOOKING GOOD" IS, IT'S THE AVENGERS.

BECAUSE YEAH, THE CINEMATOGRAPHY DOES NOT LOOK AS GOOD AS A LOT OF ACTION MOVIES. IT'S FLAT. IT'S OVER-LIT. IT DOESN'T LOOK HALF AS "GOOD" AS EVEN WRATH OF THE TITANS (YEAH HULK SAID IT). (8) BUT GUESS WHAT? THAT COULD NOT MATTER LESS. EVEN IF THE FILM IS NOT PRETTY, THE ACTION IS STILL WHOLLY FUNCTIONAL. WE HAVE A SENSE OF SPACE,DISTANCE, GEOGRAPHY. IT DOESN'T CUT HAPHAZARDLY OR RELY ON CHAOS CINEMA. IS THAT ALL WE REALLY NEED TO LOVE THE ACTION IN AGIVEN FILM?

YOU BET.

AND THAT'S BECAUSE THE REAL REASON WE LOVE THE ACTION IN THE AVENGERS IS BECAUSE IT TELLS VISUALSTORIES. IT IS FAR BEYOND ANYTHING MICHAEL BAY HAS EVER, AND HULK MEANS EVER,  OFFERED BECAUSE WHEDON AND HIS TEAM UNDERSTAND THAT ACTION IS ABOUT BEATS AND SEQUENCING AND MEANING (DISCUSSED AD NAUSEUM BY HULK AND TOM TOWNEND HERE, HERE AND HERE). THEY CONSTRUCT ALL THE ACTION AROUND CHARACTER DETAIL. DRAMA. JOKES. FEATS OF HEROISM. CONCERN FOR EACH OTHER. SUCKER PUNCHES.

THIS.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY TELL A STORY OVER THE COURSE OF THE BATTLE. IT IS THE STORY OF HOW THEY COME TOGETHER TO BEAT INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT FOES. HOW THEY TEAM UP. HOW THEY HELP EACH OTHER. HOW THEY SAVE EACH OTHER... AND HOW THEY CATCH EACH OTHER.

RARELY ARE THEY TRYING TO BE COOL. RARELY ARE THEY PLAYED FOR THE SEMI-INVINCIBLE BADASSES THEY ARE. THEY ARE ALWAYS VULNERABLE. THEY ARE ALWAYS IN DANGER. THEY ARE CONSTANTLY BEING HUMAN. AND FOR THAT, THEY ARE COURAGEOUS. AND IT IS ALWAYS IN THE SERVICE OF THE GREATER STORY. FOR INSTANCE, EVEN THE OBLIGATORY "LONG-TAKE SHOT" CAME OFF AS THRILLING TO HULK: THE CAMERA DARTS AROUND AND WE SEE THESE NEWLY-FORMED HEROES COMING TOGETHER IN THEIR FIRST FEAT OF TURNING THE TIDE. HULK HONESTLY CAN'T REMEMBER A SINGLE OTHER BLOCKBUSTER THAT GOT BETTER AS IT WENT ALONG. ONLY THIS ONE.

AND IN DOING ALL OF THIS, JOSS "TV DIRECTOR" WHEDON PULLS OFF ONE OF THE BEST "FINAL BATTLES" IN BLOCKBUSTER HISTORY. TAKE THAT, ACTION-CENTRIC-HOLLYWOOD. THINK ABOUT HOW MANY FINAL BATTLES ARE OBLIGATORY AND AIRLESS. HOW MANY OF THEM LACK PURPOSE BEYOND A FILMMAKER GOING FOR SCALE. HONESTLY, HOW MANY OF THEM FEEL THIS EARNED? A LOT OF PEOPLE CRITICIZED THE FOOTAGE GOING INTO THE FILM BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE "EARTH'S BIGGEST BATTLE" WAS TAKING PLACE IN A FEW CITY BLOCKS, BUT GUESS WHAT? IT DID AND IT WAS A PERFECT CHOICE. BY KEEPING GEOGRAPHY WITHIN CLOSE QUARTERS AND FAMILIAR WE WERE ABLE TO GET A SENSE OF IT.

AND INSTEAD, THEY FILLED THE "SCALE CONCERNS" WITH ALL THE ROOM OF THE HUMAN HEART.

HULK CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING MORE FULL OF ACTION THAN THAT.

10. IT'S NOT JUST FUN, IT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS.

AND HULK DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT HULK LIKES TO LAUGH IN MOVIES.

"I get that reference!"

DO WE REALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS MORE? IT GOES BACK TO THAT WHOLE "FUN" THING. IT'S NOT THAT VALUING SERIOUSNESS IS ABAD THING, IT'S JUST THAT WE'RE STARTING TO SAY "ANYTHING BUT SERIOUSNESS IS BAD." AND THAT'S WHERE HULK HAS A PROBLEM. FUN, FUNNY MOVIES CAN BE TAKEN JUST AS SERIOUSLY.

SO YEAH. LET'S TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.

OKAY THIS IS GETTING REPETITIVE, HULK MOVING ON.

11. THANOS

YESSSSSSSSSSSS. DEVIN HAS SUFFICIENTLY COVERED THE REASONS THIS IS AWESOME HERE, BUT ANOTHER THING YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT JOSS WHEDON IS THAT HE'S WRITTEN A TON OF COMICS TOO. NOT JUST WITH FRAY AND THE STUFF BASEDON HIS OWN WORK, BUT A NUMBER OF GREAT RUNS ON ASTONISHING X-MEN AND OTHER MARVEL TITLES. QUITE SIMPLY, HE'S A COMICS GEEK. AND HULK CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THIS LITTLE FIRST POST-CREDIT TEASER IS JUST AS MUCH FOR HIM AS IT WASFOR US.

12. SHAWARMA

REALLY, IT WAS THIS POST CREDITS SCENE THAT ABSOLUTELY CEMENTED THE FILM AS TRUE JOSS WHEDON. SUCH RESERVATION. SUCHCOMMITMENT. SUCH A GREAT IMAGE. SUCH A GREAT JOKE. AND THE EXACT LENGTH OF IT PLAYS BEAUTIFULLY. JOSS WHEDON'S ENTIRE BODYOF WORK IS POPULATED WITH THESE KIND OF MOMENTS. YOU'LL KNOW THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM AND HULK WOULDN'T DARE SPOIL THEM FOR YOU.

SERIOUSLY. GO WATCH BUFFY IF YOU NEVER HAVE.

CONCLUSION!!!!

SO, WHAT'S NEXT FOR WHEDON?

WHY, HE DID THE MOST HONORABLE THING HULK CAN THINK OF AFTER DIRECTING A GIANT MEGA-GIG LIKE THIS: HE ROUNDED UP HIS FRIENDS (INCLUDING NEW FRIEND AGENT COULSON!) AND FILMED A VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE'S MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING IN... HIS BACKYARD. THIS IS TOTALLY AWESOME. ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE THINGS WAS HEARING WHEDON TALK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OFWORKING ON A BIG BUDGET MEGA FILM. SO OFTEN HE WAS PRESSED WITH THE QUESTION "THIS IS ALL NEW TO YOU! ISN'T IT AMAZING?"

THERE'S THIS COMMON MISUNDERSTANDING THAT BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALL THIS MONEY IT INHERENTLY SOLVES ALL PROBLEMS. NOTHING COULDBE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. INSTEAD OF THE PROBLEMS OF SCROUNGING TOGETHER SHOTS WITHOUT ALL THE RESOURCES INSTEAD YOU HAVE TOBATTLE THROUGH BUREAUCRATIC FILMMAKING. ALL THE ACTORS' SCHEDULES ARE CRAZY. THE SHOOTING SCHEDULE GETS INTERRUPTED CONSTANTLY. YOU'RE YELLED AT FOR GOING OVER BUDGET, BUT MAINSTREAM FILMMAKING REQUIRES YOU TO POOP AWAY MONEY ON NEEDLESS THINGS.YOU HAVE TO COMBAT CORPORATE INFLUENCE, PRODUCT PLACEMENT, STUDIO INPUT AND A HOST OF ISSUES THAT HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DOWITH TELLING YOUR STORY IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. AS JOSS SO BEAUTIFULLY SAID, "There aren't less problems, just differentones." AND THAT'S WHY HULK ADORE THE FACT HE WENT OUT AND MADE HIS TINY SHAKESPEARE ADAPTATION AS A MATTER OF COURSE CORRECTION.

FEED THE CREATIVITY, MR. WHEDON.

AND IF WE'RE ALL MORE THAN LUCKY, YOU'LL COME BACK FOR THE AVENGERS 2.

... A HULK CAN HOPE.

ENDNOTES

(1) YES HULK HAS USED THIS PHRASE BEFORE, BUT HULK MADE IT UP AND HULK LIKES IT. AND AS PROOF, HERE'S THE LIST OF THINGS PEOPLE INSISTED HULK WATCH WHEN HULK DIDN'T WANT TO AT THE GIVEN MOMENT: BUFFY, SPACED, BADLANDS, PEEPING TOM, THE BANK DICK, KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, SPIRITED AWAY, DOWNTON ABBEY, FACES, TROIS COLOURS: BLEU, STRAW DOGS AND YOUR MOM. THEY WERE ALL GREAT.

(2) WE COULD HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE ORIGINAL BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER MOVIE AND ALIEN: RESURRECTION ALL DAY. AND MAYBE EVEN TITAN A.E. AND ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE. HULK KINDA REALLY LIKES THOSE MOVIES. BUT THEY'RE ACTUALLY OFF TOPIC... SOMEHOW. IN A COLUMN ABOUTTHE WORK OF JOSS WHEDON... JUST LEAVE HULK BE, WE'LL TALK ABOUT 'EM IN THE COMMENTS.

(3) THE SERIES SHOWED FLASHES OF WHAT IT COULD BE, BUT FOR HULK, ALL THE PROBLEMS CAME DOWN TO A CASE OF MISCASTING THE LEAD.HULK KNOWS THAT WHEDON ADORES DUSHKU, AND HULK THINKS THAT SHE'S ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD AT WHAT SHE DOES. BUT SHE'S NOT A CHAMELEON. FEW ACTORS ARE. AND HULK SORRY BUT THE LEAD OF THAT SHOW REQUIRED A CHAMELEON. IT DOESN'T WORK WITHOUTONE. AND THUS DOLLHOUSE DIDN'T WORK.

(4) WE COULD GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND SAY IT WAS JUST TRYING TO REFLECT THE OVER-SERIOUSNESS PRESENT IN THE COMICS INDUSTRY, BUT HULK KEEPING IT LOCAL HERE.

(5) WHICH, TO BE CLEAR, MEANS GIVING TENSION AND MEANING FROM ONE SCENE TO THE NEXT WITH PURPOSE, NOT LIKE ACTUAL PACING.

(6) HINT: IT DOESN'T END WELL.

(6B) - A LOT OF TIMES HULK QUESTIONS WRITERS ON THIS POINT AND GET THE RESPONSE "I don't know how to write women!" WHICH IS RIDICULOUS. IF YOU SAY THAT, YOU'RE INADVERTENTLY SAYING YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO WRITE "PEOPLE." CAUSE IT'S THE SAME AS WRITING ANY OTHER CHARACTER.

(7) LET'S JUST SAY IT INVOLVED A GIANT RANDOM SPEAR.

(8) PLEASE DON'T MISTAKE THIS AS A COMMENTARY ON THE QUALITY OF WORK FROM SEAMUS MCGARVEY, WHO HAS DONE GREAT STUFF. REALLY IT'S A WHOLE OTHER CONVERSATION. PARTLY ABOUT THE ALEXA. PARTLY ABOUT THE ASPECT RATIO CHOICE (ONE HULK ULTIMATELY STANDSBY). PARTLY ABOUT THE FACT THAT ACTION DIRECTING REQUIRES A SHIT LOAD OF TIME TO MAKE IT PRETTY AND HULK KNOW FOR A FACT THATTHEY VALUED FUNCTION AND VISUAL MOMENTS OVER GETTING IT TO "LOOK RIGHT" SO HULK SALUTES THEM. AGAIN, IT'S HUGE OTHER CONVERSATION THAT KIND OF NOT IMPORTANT, BUT HULK WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT HULK WOULD NEVER CRAP ON A FILM IN THAT PARTICULAR MANNER. NEVER. HULK MEAN, IF THEY MADE ONE OF THE BEST ACTION BATTLES EVER THEN THEY MORE THAN DID THEIR JOB. THEY DID IT PERFECTLY.

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMARADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.