From HE reader Alan Jones, and posted in a spirit of respect for all reasonably-stated views and persuasions: “The Avengers is a bad movie. I mean it. I know it has, like, 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, but really, nerds, your super fuckin’ duper hero movie sucks. You shouldn’t be happy, you should be pissed like you were when Watchmen was unleashed on the world and it was hella lame.
“The Avengers is 60% poorly staged action and 40% superheroes bickering with each other. And LexG is right — 1.85 is no way to shoot a nlockbuster. Realistically speaking, I should have enjoyed the bickering. I enjoy it when Joss Whedon writes a script and makes his characters whine about each other. But Robert Downey Jr. has driven his wise-ass shtick into the ground, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans are both big and strong and idealistic (read: boooooring) and don’t even get me fucking started on Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johanssen, because NOBODY gives a shit, not even in the film’s admirers.
“So what we’re left with of value is Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, and yeah, I guess he’s okay. Whatever. He’s the only character with a hint of an arc (excluding Black Widow and Hawkeye, because no one gives a shit), so we’ll cut him some slack. Regardless, most of these heroes are flat. Really flat. Which leads to an obvious question:
“Where is the homoerotic subtext?
“Seriously? Where is it? There’s five male superheroes in a room, bickering with each other, talking a bunch of shit. With all the time they spend learning to work as a team for the good of the world (and the fulfillment of the plot), there’s an incredible opportunity for innuendo and sexual tension. Most of these superheroes are very muscular and good looking, and at least three of them wax their chests. It all seems pretty obvious to me that there should have been some unrequited romance between superheroes (excluding Black Widow and Hawkeye, because no one gives a shit).
“In particular a little sexual tension could have worked wonders for Thor and Captain America, both of whom (a) feel out of place on Earth in the present day, (b) are stoic and honorable, (c) wear funny costumes, and (d) have enormous (hairless) mantits.
“It’s like they’re made for each other.
“I don’t mean to say an action movie aimed at adolescent males is quote unquote “bad” if it isn’t a little gay, because that would suggest that the only merit to a blockbuster like The Avengers is its ability to trick homophobic teenage boys into unawarely getting aroused at the sight of a grown man’s muscular chest covered in oil (on the other hand, it’s pretty funny to think about 300 in that context). However, a little sexual tension in The Avengers would have been value added. Since all five characters spend most of the film bitching at each other anyways, Whedon probably should have gone ahead and filled it with double entendres and congratulatory ass-slapping.
“It’s not like this would have been the first summer blockbuster to include this sort of subtext. Since the 80’s, the action genre has gone hand-in-hand with homoerotic imagery. By now most people know there was a little extra effort put into the Maverick-Goose relationship in Top Gun, but in the past decade homoeroticism in action films has reached new heights.
“The most obvious example of this phenomenon is in Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes. Lest we forget, the conflict between Sherlock and Watson is stoked by the jealousy that Sherlock feels when Watson decides to move out and live with a woman, and then they spend the rest of the film arguing like an old married couple. I can only assume that Ritchie, instead of trying to explain why two middle-aged men would be sharing an apartment, decided it would be funnier to turn them into a gay couple. I didn’t bother watching Sherlock Holmes 2. Not because I’m not a masochist, but the trailers feature Sherlock (in drag!) and Watson literally hiding from their enemies in a contained space that may or may not resemble a closet, so go ahead and chew on that.
“My favorite example of a mainstream action film with gay subtext (or sur-text) is 2 Fast 2 Furious. In The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel fight (and bond), so in the sequel Paul Walker and Tyrese also fight (and bond)… if by ‘fight’ you actually mean ‘hold each other close and roll around in some dirt.’ This particular fight scene resembles dogs playfully jumping on each other and nipping at each other’s necks (the type of play-fighting that sometimes turns into humping). This trend continues in later Fast and Furious films. In the latest instalment, Fast Five, there is a showdown between Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, two ridiculously muscular men with bald heads and sweaty biceps who, if they weren’t action stars, could easily find a career in gay porn (depending, of course, on the size of their junk). When the event finally arrives, there’s something touching about the way they look at each other, equals on opposite sides of the law, before they go mano e mano apeshit.
“Fast Five, like The Avengers, is two and a half hours long. That’s way too long for any movie that isn’t attempting to convey something penetrating about the human condition. Fast Five does do a couple things right — it’s two hours of shitty exposition and boring ‘character development’ combined with one scene of intense homoerotic conflict and 30 minutes of well-staged car chases. The Avengers, on the other hand, is just two and half hours of bullshit. In short, The Avengers could have been, and should have been, much gayer.”