signe_chan: (Stress-free)
[personal profile] signe_chan
So, most of the Marvel movies are thematically pretty simple. Manufacturing Weapons is bad. working together is good. Compassion for other human beings is good. AOU is a bit of a mess. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed this film. I loved Nat getting more screen time an an actual textual character arc and a love interest who was there to back up her plot instead of having to play the love interest without a lot of their own as woman in action movies so often do. I think I actually ship Bruce/Natasha and a het canon ship is a rare thing for me to jump on. I dislike all my Clint headcanons being Jossed but I love that my baby got to be the stable one and also a sarcastic little shit and I did actually kind of like his family despite myself. It’s kind of all I ever wanted for him though I wanted it from Phil. I loved Wanda and Pierto too. And Ultron as a villain. He was great.

There were, obviously, plot holes so big you can fall down them (where the fuck had Fury been keeping that hellicarrier?) and the usual problems with the usual isms but that’s honestly kind of expected, as sad as that is, and not what nagged at me about the movie. This movie is thematically a mess. It doesn’t have a clear and obvious theme to me that ties back to all the character arcs.

At first I thought it was mostly about making life and we had some Frankenstein themes. Right from the start Ultron’s talking about children and how he doesn’t understand them. We have Clint’s family set up as the foil to Ultron, their ‘right’ way of making life to his ‘wrong’ way with the cradle. And I think that’s definitely a theme in there. In this reading when Nat and Bruce are talking about their infertility it becomes how the fact that their ability to create life in the right way has made them monsters and it’s all very heteronormative and a bit disrespectful to people who can’t have children and it’s probably why I kind of ship Bruce and Nat actually. I want then to have a beautiful non-traditional relationship with a gaggle of adopted children where she can be the Black Widow and a mother (which she clearly wants to do, look at her with Clint’s daughter) and he can…support her? Find some peace. Learn that his one big mistake doesn’t mean people can’t even love him and he has no value.

Anyway, I think that’s difinitley a theme in there but I’ve been puzzling through the “You are monsters” “Let’s prove him wrong” thing and I think this idea of being monstrous is more to do with the main theme. Because they don’t prove him wrong. I think the real message in there is that for them to be Avengers what they need to do it find a balance between the human and the monsters in them. I’d actually really love to see the first script before production and shit as I’m wondering if there’s a subtle movie under here that’s got lost in the need to make a box office hit.

So, okay, we have the scene with Thor’s hammer and at first that just seems like a laugh and the set-up for them trusting Vision but then think about monsters. The reason none of them can life it is that they’re all a little monstrous. Even Steve, who comes closest, doesn’t quite know how to live without a fight (never has, the skinny little guy from Brooklyn still picked fights. It was a theme in Winter soldier, Steve’s focus on SHIELD and missions because he didn’t know how to be a normal guy any more). So there’s something in all of them that’s monstrous. I don’t think Steve appreciates that yet but most of them do. Think about Clint in a tac vest and focused compared to Clint in a plaid shirt playing with his kids. Bruce’s is obvious and I think he’s the only one other that Tony who rejects a balance. He chooses to only be the monster - once Wanda brings out the Hulk he declares that it’s all he can be. He chooses to run. To reject the balance the Avengers offer him and that’s why we get the Hulk flying away at the end, because that’s what Bruce has decided to be. The monster and only the monster.

In this narrative, Natasha is considering rejecting her monster entirely. For her, the monster is the thing the red room made. Where Bruce running would be accepting his monster (the need to hide), her running would be rejecting hers, and that’s why their running together is never really going to work out for them. She’s running away from the monstrous to normal, he’s running away from the normal to monstrous. But she finds the balance. She realises that in order to save these people she needs both the monster (the killing machine) and the human (the compassion to care about saving civilians). She strikes a balance and truly becomes an Avenger (standing at Steve’s side in front of the others in that last scene).

And this kind of explains the Vision and Ultron. The problem with the creating life narrative is that the vision doesn’t fit. He does here. Ultron is Tony’s monster. Tony keeps creating monsters because he keeps externalizing the part of himself that is afraid. Ultron is Tony’s fear. He’s the part of Tony that screams about preemptive strikes and the burden of protecting everyone. That tries too hard. Vision is Tony’s human. He’s the part of Tony that’s good. That wants to help. That is doing all this not through fear but because he genuinely wants the world to be a better place. Sees the wonder in it and wants to preserve as much of it as he can. This is why he can pick up the hammer. He is worthy as he it all in Tony that is pure and good. So Tony’s struggle is externalized in Ultron and the Vision. And ultimately the human in Tony wins and then he leaves the Avengers. Because his monster, the thing that drove him to Avenge, is gone. That’s why Tony being ‘not an Avenger any more, bye’ is a little abrupt. Because his fight was literally external to himself then we have to apply it back to him.
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