Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by KraytKing » 2019-04-30 09:39am

We saw some obviously shady people looking around before they entered the bunker. That whole bunker was the Hydra base, wasn't it?
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-04-30 09:41am

KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 09:39am
We saw some obviously shady people looking around before they entered the bunker. That whole bunker was the Hydra base, wasn't it?
No. It was a SHIELD Base. There's I recall that indicated they were in a secret Hydra section.

Neither Stark nor Pym are affiliated with the Hydra faction.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Civil War Man » 2019-04-30 09:52am

KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 09:25am
Did anyone else notice that Howard Stark is a committed Nazi? Was that confirmed somewhere else and I just missed it? Because he was definitely in the secret Hydra lab and looking for a secretly alive Hydr scientist.
He was in the secret SHIELD lab (which had been infiltrated by Hydra, to be fair) looking for the secretly alive Hydra scientist who had been recruited into SHIELD through Project Paperclip. Do you think everyone in NASA is a committed Nazi?
I liked the movie, but time travel fucks with stuff. They did it well, but that isn't good enough. They can bring back Tony by going to another timeline and grabbing him ten seconds before he snaps. That timeline is fucked, but who in this one cares? Same with Black WIdow and anyone who may ever die. It fucks with stuff. Ever need something you can't get? Hop into a different timeline and grab it.
1. They don't do that because they are good guys who care about more than themselves.
2. The people they bring back are not the same as the ones they lost (see Nebula, Gamora).
3. What guarantee do you have that the new alternate timeline you create won't come back and bite you in the ass? For example, grab Tony before his snap so you don't lose yours, and now you have an alternate timeline where Thanos wins. How long do you think it's going to be before you have to fight that Thanos, too?
4. Good luck convincing Hank Pym to make you the Pym Particles you need to fulfill your selfish goals.
I thought the fight with Thanos at the end was very impressive visually. I was hoping that Thanos would pick up Mjolnir, as his intentions are noble even if his goals are not.
That is the absolute worst possible thing that they could have done. Thanos is the opposite of worthy. His intentions have the thinnest veneer of nobility, but he cares infinitely more about proving himself right than he does about actually helping people. Having Thanos able to wield Mjolnir would put Endgame at the top of future "Good movies that were completely ruined by one awful decision" lists.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by KraytKing » 2019-04-30 10:47am

Civil War Man wrote:
2019-04-30 09:52am
KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 09:25am
Did anyone else notice that Howard Stark is a committed Nazi? Was that confirmed somewhere else and I just missed it? Because he was definitely in the secret Hydra lab and looking for a secretly alive Hydr scientist.
He was in the secret SHIELD lab (which had been infiltrated by Hydra, to be fair) looking for the secretly alive Hydra scientist who had been recruited into SHIELD through Project Paperclip. Do you think everyone in NASA is a committed Nazi?
I thought the bunker was suggested to be purely Hydra, and that the whole wider area was openly SHIELD. In Winter Soldier, Rogers treats it as such. The only thing he finds down there is a Nazi scientist he thought was dead.
I liked the movie, but time travel fucks with stuff. They did it well, but that isn't good enough. They can bring back Tony by going to another timeline and grabbing him ten seconds before he snaps. That timeline is fucked, but who in this one cares? Same with Black WIdow and anyone who may ever die. It fucks with stuff. Ever need something you can't get? Hop into a different timeline and grab it.
1. They don't do that because they are good guys who care about more than themselves.
That can never be the justification. Someone will. Not every single one of these people is a paragon of virtue. Gamora, for example. Corrupted Thor who wants to see his mother again. Clint Barton, who went on a murder spree because he was sad. You can't rely on all of them. But even if you could, time travel is now possible so someone will corrupt it.

2. The people they bring back are not the same as the ones they lost (see Nebula, Gamora).
No, those two are different because they came from a different point in the timeline. Five years short of experiences. If you grabbed Stark moments before he grabbed the stones, he would be the same.
3. What guarantee do you have that the new alternate timeline you create won't come back and bite you in the ass? For example, grab Tony before his snap so you don't lose yours, and now you have an alternate timeline where Thanos wins. How long do you think it's going to be before you have to fight that Thanos, too?
Alright, fair point. But that isn't the only option. Now that they have all the Pym particles they could want, they can do all sorts of other crazy shit. They want Tony back? Go to another timeline in full force and beat Thanos the regular way. Make sure he never comes close to the gauntlet, then give it to Hulk and have him do the wishing. Everyone lives and the timeline survives.
4. Good luck convincing Hank Pym to make you the Pym Particles you need to fulfill your selfish goals.
Well, if you phrase it how I did just above, he'll go for it. Or you just make him do it. Everything can be taken away. His will is hardly a concern if the rest are determined enough.

Regardless, I'm just saying it's a possibility that now has to be addressed.
I thought the fight with Thanos at the end was very impressive visually. I was hoping that Thanos would pick up Mjolnir, as his intentions are noble even if his goals are not.
That is the absolute worst possible thing that they could have done. Thanos is the opposite of worthy. His intentions have the thinnest veneer of nobility, but he cares infinitely more about proving himself right than he does about actually helping people. Having Thanos able to wield Mjolnir would put Endgame at the top of future "Good movies that were completely ruined by one awful decision" lists.
You're right, I suppose. The Thanos from the previous movie was a different beast.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-04-30 11:22am

KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 10:47am
Civil War Man wrote:
2019-04-30 09:52am
KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 09:25am
Did anyone else notice that Howard Stark is a committed Nazi? Was that confirmed somewhere else and I just missed it? Because he was definitely in the secret Hydra lab and looking for a secretly alive Hydr scientist.
He was in the secret SHIELD lab (which had been infiltrated by Hydra, to be fair) looking for the secretly alive Hydra scientist who had been recruited into SHIELD through Project Paperclip. Do you think everyone in NASA is a committed Nazi?
I thought the bunker was suggested to be purely Hydra, and that the whole wider area was openly SHIELD. In Winter Soldier, Rogers treats it as such. The only thing he finds down there is a Nazi scientist he thought was dead.
Zola's room was double secret remember? In Winter Soldier, they go into the ammo depot which was in the wrong place which is SHIELD and then further into Zola's bit. I'm not even sure it's the same base in Endgame but if so they only go in the first secret level, not the double one.

It would make no sense for Stark and Pym to be revealed as secret nazis without the other characters realising and reacting to it.

Though that said, when did Zola say he got taped in Winter Soldier? Was it mid-70s?
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by KraytKing » 2019-04-30 11:56am

You see, I thought Tony's reaction WAS to his dad being a Nazi, at least at first. And I thought Pym was in another part of the base, aboveground. I'm going to go see it again, but my perception was that Stark went to some basement and Rogers went upwards.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Civil War Man » 2019-04-30 12:57pm

KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 10:47am
I thought the bunker was suggested to be purely Hydra, and that the whole wider area was openly SHIELD. In Winter Soldier, Rogers treats it as such. The only thing he finds down there is a Nazi scientist he thought was dead.
The area outside the bunker is the US Army. As Crazedwraith put it, there were multiple levels inside. Plus, some of the levels may have only become Hydra-only after SHIELD moved to different headquarters, Pym quit, and/or Howard was murdered.
That can never be the justification. Someone will. Not every single one of these people is a paragon of virtue. Gamora, for example. Corrupted Thor who wants to see his mother again. Clint Barton, who went on a murder spree because he was sad. You can't rely on all of them. But even if you could, time travel is now possible so someone will corrupt it.
There are major barriers in the way, though. At minimum, you need to convince/force Banner (and good luck getting the Hulk to do something he doesn't want to do) and Hank Pym. The former because, without Tony, he's the only one we know for a fact can build what's needed for the time machine, and the latter because he's the only one who knows how to make Pym particles. And you're going to have every living superhero who opposes your plan on your ass if they catch even the faintest whiff of it.
No, those two are different because they came from a different point in the timeline. Five years short of experiences. If you grabbed Stark moments before he grabbed the stones, he would be the same.
At which point, unless you are explicitly trading one life for another, you run into the third problem of creating a timeline where Thanos wins.
Alright, fair point. But that isn't the only option. Now that they have all the Pym particles they could want, they can do all sorts of other crazy shit. They want Tony back? Go to another timeline in full force and beat Thanos the regular way. Make sure he never comes close to the gauntlet, then give it to Hulk and have him do the wishing. Everyone lives and the timeline survives.
That is just an example. The whole point is that creating alternate timelines is extremely dangerous, because you have absolutely zero control over how that timeline will turn out. If it spawns something horrible, you either have to undo it (at which point, in our hypothetical case, Tony is dead again), or try to "fix" it with further time meddling, so instead of one alternate timeline where things went horribly wrong, you now have two more where things could go even more horribly wrong.
Well, if you phrase it how I did just above, he'll go for it. Or you just make him do it. Everything can be taken away. His will is hardly a concern if the rest are determined enough.

Regardless, I'm just saying it's a possibility that now has to be addressed.
You seriously underestimate Pym's unwillingness to go along with that if you think he would be convinced by that argument. For starters, one of his defining characterizations is his fear of others misusing his work, to the point where he is well-established as being willing to die to make sure no one can replicate it at all. Had he not been snapped, I'm not fully convinced that he would have willingly supported the time heist even to bring back Janet and Hope. Doing another one just to bring back a Stark? Forget it. Minimal to no upside, unthinkable levels of potential catastrophic downside.
You're right, I suppose. The Thanos from the previous movie was a different beast.
I actually don't agree. Thanos was always like that. Endgame only revealed the full extent of how hollow his "good intentions" really were.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Mr Bean » 2019-04-30 01:17pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2019-04-30 12:57pm
KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 10:47am
You're right, I suppose. The Thanos from the previous movie was a different beast.
I actually don't agree. Thanos was always like that. Endgame only revealed the full extent of how hollow his "good intentions" really were.
I also don't agree, the Thanos that won had been humbled he had won but he had seen the cost it winning and admitted himself the Stones were a temptation there were hints that he was in fact second guessing himself and trying to convince himself that yes the snap had been worth it. When directly challenged he goes full arrogance but when they let him talk at the Farm he's hesitant.

He says he destroyed the stones to prevent anyone from using them to undo the snap but only after saying that they were a temptation to him.
Endgame Thanos the 2014 Thanos is convinced of his rightness because he sees himself winning without understanding what it cost him.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2019-04-30 01:37pm

Meanwhile, Hulk gets a "Nice Job breaking it, Hero" moment when in effect, 3.5 billion people are sent 5 years into the future. You'd think that with all the time travel shenanigans, going back in time to when the snap first happened would have been trivial with the time and space stones. Mind you, considering the set also included the mind and soul stones, wiping out not just half the people in the universe but all knowledge of them should also have been a possibility.
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Just because you have the attention span of a fruit fly doesn't mean the rest of us are so encumbered.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by streetad » 2019-04-30 01:59pm

Yeah, Zola was openly operating in Shield Operation Paperclip style. Presumably recruited for his knowledge of the Tesseract specifically.

Thanos was yelling about wrecking Earth just out of spite by that point. He's definitely not picking up Mjolnir.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2019-04-30 02:44pm

streetad wrote:
2019-04-30 01:59pm
Yeah, Zola was openly operating in Shield Operation Paperclip style. Presumably recruited for his knowledge of the Tesseract specifically.

Thanos was yelling about wrecking Earth just out of spite by that point. He's definitely not picking up Mjolnir.
It should be pointed out that not only was Cap able to lift Mjolnir as Vision did, he could get it to fly into his hand like Thor.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

Just because you have the attention span of a fruit fly doesn't mean the rest of us are so encumbered.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-04-30 02:45pm

EnterpriseSovereign wrote:
2019-04-30 02:44pm
streetad wrote:
2019-04-30 01:59pm
Yeah, Zola was openly operating in Shield Operation Paperclip style. Presumably recruited for his knowledge of the Tesseract specifically.

Thanos was yelling about wrecking Earth just out of spite by that point. He's definitely not picking up Mjolnir.
It should be pointed out that not only was Cap able to lift Mjolnir as Vision did, he could get it to fly into his hand like Thor.
And use lightning powers as well.

Makes you wonder if Vision really could lift it owing to being a machine.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by NeoGoomba » 2019-04-30 02:49pm

So the Russos have hinted that Cap went back and married Peggy in an alternate timeline, doing a wink and a nod that how he returned to the "Prime" one. with a shield for Sam, is a story for another time.

So much for closure, I guess. Gotta get material for the "What if?" to generate them dollars
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Civil War Man » 2019-04-30 03:42pm

Mr Bean wrote:
2019-04-30 01:17pm
Civil War Man wrote:
2019-04-30 12:57pm
KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 10:47am
You're right, I suppose. The Thanos from the previous movie was a different beast.
I actually don't agree. Thanos was always like that. Endgame only revealed the full extent of how hollow his "good intentions" really were.
I also don't agree, the Thanos that won had been humbled he had won but he had seen the cost it winning and admitted himself the Stones were a temptation there were hints that he was in fact second guessing himself and trying to convince himself that yes the snap had been worth it. When directly challenged he goes full arrogance but when they let him talk at the Farm he's hesitant.

He says he destroyed the stones to prevent anyone from using them to undo the snap but only after saying that they were a temptation to him.
Endgame Thanos the 2014 Thanos is convinced of his rightness because he sees himself winning without understanding what it cost him.
I had the standard interpretation that he was convinced of his rightness, and that he destroyed the stones because he felt that as long as they existed people would be fixated on using them to undo his work, while removing that hope would force everyone to accept what he did and then they'd all realize that he was right and thank him for his genius foresight.

The idea that he was starting to doubt himself, and that he destroyed the stones in order to convince himself that he was right, is an interesting one, though. It would also serve as an explanation for why he waited a while before destroying them, too.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by AniThyng » 2019-04-30 07:12pm

EnterpriseSovereign wrote:
2019-04-30 01:37pm
Meanwhile, Hulk gets a "Nice Job breaking it, Hero" moment when in effect, 3.5 billion people are sent 5 years into the future. You'd think that with all the time travel shenanigans, going back in time to when the snap first happened would have been trivial with the time and space stones. Mind you, considering the set also included the mind and soul stones, wiping out not just half the people in the universe but all knowledge of them should also have been a possibility.
Tony explicitly did not want to do that either though, since that would have unexisted his daughter. Which is actually a pretty good hint at the true horror of even undoing a great tragedy. You could prevent 9/11 and save thousands, hundreds of thousands even, but you will erase the existence of everyone born since then as the cascade of minor changes rolls down.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Gandalf » 2019-04-30 10:02pm

KraytKing wrote:
2019-04-30 11:56am
You see, I thought Tony's reaction WAS to his dad being a Nazi, at least at first. And I thought Pym was in another part of the base, aboveground. I'm going to go see it again, but my perception was that Stark went to some basement and Rogers went upwards.
Stark Sr wasn't a Nazi, but he was really keen to work with Nazis in varied patriotic and money making enterprises.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by GuppyShark » 2019-05-01 07:22am

After all, the Nazis were defeated, there's no chance their sick ideologies would make a resurgence, right? Sigh.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by GuppyShark » 2019-05-01 07:42am

Ghetto edit: s/Nazis/Hydra just to keep it ontopic

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by NeoGoomba » 2019-05-01 07:54am

Am I the only one that liked that the MCU's version of the Infinity Gauntlet wasn't a (basically) wish granting artifact? Like, you could do some pretty cool shit with it, sure, but to affect the universe on a grand scale one would have to pay an extremely high price. Thanos and Hulk were probably the only non-Celestials we know of that could have survived using it that way, let alone multiple times.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by Bedlam » 2019-05-01 01:40pm

NeoGoomba wrote:
2019-05-01 07:54am
Am I the only one that liked that the MCU's version of the Infinity Gauntlet wasn't a (basically) wish granting artifact? Like, you could do some pretty cool shit with it, sure, but to affect the universe on a grand scale one would have to pay an extremely high price. Thanos and Hulk were probably the only non-Celestials we know of that could have survived using it that way, let alone multiple times.
I guess your first wish should always be to be immune to the effects of using the Gauntlet.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 12:48am

So, I just got back from the movie. I was pretty heavily spoilered despite my efforts, but the same was true for Infinity War, and overall I was very impressed by it, despite strong complaints about a couple of thematic issues and the Gamora death scene. And I tried to go in with an open mind as much as possible.

I was underwhelmed, to put it mildly. I don't really feel like dissecting the whole thing right now, but, I'll just re-post something I put up on Facebook (I decided to give them a second chance after they tightened their anti-violence and hate speech rules and banned some of the most high profile offenders, though sadly not the Rapist In Chief):



There was a lot I liked, like the new Hulk, and Tony and Nebula in space and the focus on Nebula's character, and showing that no, Thanos wasn't right, he was just a narcisisitic asshole, and Cap wielding Thor's hammer, and Cap's happy ending. There was a lot that I didn't like, like the confusing, badly-explained, contradictory time travel plot, and the overdone and often out of place humour, or the fact that the Gamora we got back isn't really the same Gamora as the one we've lost, and I'm worried they won't adequately acknowledge that.

But I hated Natasha's death. There have been character deaths that hurt more. There have been character deaths that surprised me more. But I don't think there has ever been one, ever, in any story, that made me this angry. She deserved more than for her only contribution to defeating Thanos to be a contrived death by suicide half-way through the film. And it poisoned the whole rest of the movie for me.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 01:37am

I'm not the only person pissed about Black Widow:

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/5/2/18 ... lack-widow
Avengers: Endgame would like you to think of it as a woke movie. Feminist, even. Not feminist in any way that might be annoying or challenging or alienating to its audience, but in a fun, empowering way.

At one point, all the super ladies take a moment to team up and fight together! Captain Marvel’s out there being more powerful than anyone else on the squad! Valkyrie gets textual acknowledgment as the most competent person in Asgard! Girl power!

But there’s one big problem that keeps Endgame’s user-friendly version of feminism from landing, and that’s what happens to Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow.

Black Widow was the second Avenger to be introduced onscreen when she made her debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2, and the only woman in the Avengers’ original lineup. For years, she was the only woman superhero in the Avengers franchise, full stop, until Gamora finally made her appearance in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy — and Black Widow doesn’t even have superpowers.

Yet Marvel has consistently wasted Black Widow. It has sidelined her, saddled her with weak storylines, and failed to give her the kind of star billing it has bestowed on the men of the original Avengers.

And her fate in Endgame feels like the biggest waste yet.

Black Widow’s Endgame arc plays into one of the oldest and grossest tropes in comics

Endgame kind of quasi-fridges Black Widow.

When I say “fridging,” I’m referring to the infamous comic book trope of the woman in the refrigerator. The term was coined by comic book writer Gail Simone in 1999, after Green Lantern’s girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt was murdered and stuffed into a literal refrigerator, but it describes more than just that specific comic book death. Its broader meaning refers to the frequency with which women in comic books are killed in order to motivate the men in their life to achieve some grand act of heroism: think Gwen Stacy dying so that Spider-Man feels real bad, or Elektra dying so that Daredevil has something new to brood about.

Aja Romano and Alex Abad-Santos explained why the woman in the refrigerator is such a troubling trope for Vox last year:

The viewpoint of the Women in Refrigerators trope is that women are essentially ... not fully human. That is, they don’t actually do anything; they don’t make choices of their own, or do their own things or have their own lives. Everything we see them do onscreen is in relation to the men around them; their actions are most often about influencing or impacting a man’s actions or behavior.

Essentially, when we say that a female character has been “fridged,” we’re saying that she has been treated like an object who has less human worth than the men around her. She is valuable to the extent that her pain can motivate them.

In Endgame, Black Widow sacrifices her life so that Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, can retrieve the Soul Stone, which will grant the rest of the Avengers the power to bring back everyone who died when Thanos snapped his fingers during Infinity War. Black Widow, however, will remain dead.

Black Widow’s death isn’t exactly a classic fridging, which is why I’m qualifying it with “quasi.” For one thing, she is not the only person who dies in Endgame. She’s also a fully fledged character, not just a wife or a girlfriend who was only written into the story in the first place so that she could die and make everyone else sad. And she dies of her own free will, sacrificing herself in pursuit of the Soul Stone in one last blazing display of competence, not because she’s killed by a bad guy who wants to use her as a tool to hurt the men around her.

But Black Widow dies before any of Endgame’s other main characters. While Iron Man’s death overshadows the entire end of the film, and he gets a long, lingering funeral sequence, Black Widow’s death comes halfway through, and it’s primarily used to give the remainder of the now all-male team of original Avengers something to be sad about as they gear up for the movie’s final battle. Basically, she dies in order to motivate a group of men. And after her death, she’s mentioned only briefly, as though she’s been all but forgotten. Those are the same storytelling dynamics that make a classic fridging so damaging.

Marvel’s track record with Black Widow — and women characters more generally — means it doesn’t get much benefit of the doubt with Endgame

Black Widow’s quasi-fridging is borderline enough that it might not feel as gross as it does if it weren’t for what had already happened to Black Widow. But her death in Endgame is weirdly linked to her controversial arc from 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was so despised that it almost single-handedly destroyed Joss Whedon’s reputation as feminist. (Okay, fine, that’s an exaggeration; Whedon’s feminism had come under heightened scrutiny after Dollhouse, and after Ultron, in 2017, his ex-wife would call him a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.” Ultron didn’t help, though.)

In Age of Ultron, Natasha is pursuing a romantic relationship with Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, a love story that received little foreshadowing and which later MCU entries would almost entirely abandon. Bruce is reluctant to go along with the idea, though, on account of how he periodically turns into a giant green rage monster, and he doesn’t think he should inflict his monstrousness on someone else.

But, Natasha says, she’s a monster too. She was made a monster by the people who turned her into a superspy:

They sterilize you. It’s efficient. One less thing to worry about, the one thing that might matter more than a mission. It makes everything easier — even killing. You still think you’re the only monster on the team?

As Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in 2015, in the context of Black Widow’s larger arc, Natasha is probably saying that the mysterious awful things she did in the past as a superspy are what made her a monster. But in the context of the scene, it sure does sound like she’s saying she’s a monster because she can’t have children.

“Black Widow is barren and therefore dead inside,” summarized Meredith Woerner and Katharine Trendacosta at i09. “Poor, empty-nested Mommy Widow, who even loses her love interest and pseudo-baby in one fell swoop at the end of the movie. The Hulk vanishes, to have more solo adventures later. Meanwhile, Black Widow is what? Captain America’s number two in The Avengers: The New Class. Sigh.”

To be fair, Mark Ruffalo’s version of the Hulk never did get a standalone movie either after the flop of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. But the idea that Natasha’s infertility somehow makes her monstrous — not a real woman, potentially less than human — was weirdly embedded into Ultron.

And in Endgame, it rears its head subtextually when Black Widow sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone.

In that sequence, either Black Widow or Hawkeye can die to bring the stone back, and both of them are fighting to be the one who gets to make the ultimate sacrifice and keep the other alive. But Natasha is especially determined to be the one who dies because Clint has a family — a wife and three children, all of whom died at the end of Infinity War — and Natasha doesn’t.

And sure, it’s reasonable for Natasha to make the calculation that Clint’s kids deserve to have a dad when they come back to life after the Avengers complete their “time heist.” But because of that Ultron plot, there’s also an insidious implication that Natasha’s infertility renders Black Widow just a little bit more disposable than the rest of her teammates.

As Alex Leadbeater wrote at ScreenRant, “To have Hawkeye survive explicitly because of his family, it makes the Avengers: Age of Ultron reveal that Black Widow is infertile (and, in Whedon’s parlance, a ‘monster’) feel even dirtier.”

That’s a little bit gross. Combined with the way Endgame uses Black Widow’s death to motivate the male Avengers, it kind of feels like the franchise is saying that Natasha isn’t quite worthy of living because she can’t fulfill her primary purpose as a woman and have kids, but luckily, she’s valuable in death because she can motivate everyone else to avenge her death. And while I don’t mean to suggest that Marvel is putting that message together intentionally, for it to come through so clearly suggests a consistent carelessness in creating Black Widow’s storyline, a laziness that falls back on stereotype-ridden clichés for women characters.

Black Widow’s death gets even grosser when you take into account Marvel’s terrible track record with women characters more generally. Black Widow was the only woman in the original Avengers lineup, and she still hasn’t gotten her own movie. (There’s one in the works for next year, coming about five years after anyone was really excited about the idea of a Black Widow solo outing, and presumably it’s now a prequel.) Marvel didn’t let a woman headline one of its movies until 2018’s Ant-Man and Wasp, in which Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp shared equal billing with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man.

(If you want to nitpick, you could say that 2012’s Avengers is the first movie to do this since technically Black Widow, as an Avenger, is in the movie title, but I am taking a stand here and saying that movies named after a big group that contains a single token woman don’t count. That goes for you too, Guardians.)

Marvel didn’t let a woman headline one of its movies alone, without a man sharing the spotlight with her, until this year’s Captain Marvel. That’s two out of 22 Marvel movies, made over the course of 10 years.

Those numbers are damning. They’re suggestive of a storytelling culture in which women’s stories are considered to be less valuable than men’s.

And that storytelling culture is not just a Marvel problem. As the “woman in the refrigerator” trope attests, it’s a problem for comic book storytelling more broadly — and it’s a problem for all of Hollywood, from the gender disparities behind the scenes (women made up just 4 percent of 2018’s directors) to what see on our screens, where women and their stories are consistently devalued.

So what happens to Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame isn’t the worst feminist travesty in cinema. But that doesn’t make the circumstances surrounding her death any easier to take. Black Widow was the MCU’s first first-string superheroine — and no matter how much girl power Marvel decides to invest in (and market) going forward, its poor treatment of her is telling.
Now, I actually think that people were probably too hard on the whole sterilization plot in Age of Ultron-I'm not surprised it bothers people, and I'm not a huge fan of that plot myself, and Whedon is certainly not the paragon of feminism that he made himself out to be, but I don't think that the intent was to say that Natasha WAS a monster, or that "women only have value as baby-makers" or something, as some people seemed to take it. I think it was meant to symbolize the various ways that Black Widow was dehumanized by her training and time as an assassin, and reflect how she views herself, not what she really is or how the audience is supposed to view here. Badly executed, maybe, but I think that more was probably made of it than it warranted.

And I'm not sure that her death technically counts as "stuffed in the fridge", since the key thing there is that a female character is killed or suffers simply to motivate or develop a male character. In Black Widow's case, her sacrifice does tie into her own characterization, both her sense of self-loathing and owing a debt, and her loyalty to Hawkeye.

But the focus was certainly more heavily on how it affected the male characters, who got to do the lion's share of the heroic deeds in this film, and especially in the final fight with Thanos. It feels like a fridging, and it's definitely sidelining her. Its contrived (Really, the stones can dust and recreate an entire universe with a finger snap, but they can't bring one person back to life? And there's no way to bring her back, because Red Fucking Skull* is such a credible source of information?), and it fits a pattern of making female characters superficially "bad ass" while ultimately sidelining them in the plot (the sole exception in Endgame was Nebula**, who's central role in the plot and character development is probably the only reason I hesitate to decry Endgame as a blatantly misogynistic film). Ultimately, it only allows Natasha to contribute to Thanos's defeat by dying, and now that I think about it, it does (subtly and probably unintentionally) suggest that she is less valuable because of her inability to have a family, when placed in context with the AoU characterization and Hawkeye's family.

It also doesn't help that it echoed Gamora's death, which I already hated for seeming to validate Thanos's view that you could only win by sacrificing those you loved, and by killing off another prominent female character after reducing her to a helpless victim who's life and actions are futile, and then trying to tell us how this was some great tragic sacrifice for the man who abducted, tortured, and murdered her for his own ambition and narcissism.

The only thing I did like about Natasha's death was how it reversed Thanos's killing of Gamora- while he murdered her for his own selfish purposes, Natasha and Clint fought each other so that the other wouldn't have to die.

I'm usually not one to call for retconning another director's work. By and large, I consider it pandering and unprofessional. But the waste of Natasha is bad enough that I could probably forgive it in this case, if someone figured out a way to plausibly do it.



*On that note, I wish Cap had been on that team, just so we could get Cap meeting Red Skull again. Plus that would have kept Natasha alive, because Captain "We don't trade lives" America would not have allowed anyone to go over that cliff but him.

**It occurred to me almost immediately that since Natasha and Clint didn't seem to know about the trade, then either Nebula didn't have a clue why Gamora died... or she deliberately kept her mouth shut, misleading either Clint or Natasha to their death.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-04 02:03am

I call it Black Widow's best moment in the franchise. It's true, Black Widow has been a sidelined character for most of the movies. And her arc in Age of Ultron was mishandled. Probably mostly because Black Widow isn't really a character you can make a normal Marvel movie about just as much as it's because she's a woman. (Can you picture a spy movie and the ambiguity that would be involved? It goes against the standard Marvel formula) But, and this is key here, her story in Endgame is rather good. She's the one who took the reign of the Avengers while everyone else was falling apart, and we finally got to see some compelling scenes from Black Widow. The weight of the world is on her shoulders, and it's crushing her. We finally got a compelling character with Black Widow. To paraphrase the villain of Green Lantern, all it took was the end of the world. How wonderful

Her fight against Clint on who would be sacrificed was showing how deep their friendship ran, and that she won. From a narrative standpoint, it makes sense, as it's her journey of both balancing the ledger, doing what's needed to be done, and making sure Clint gets his family back. It's a heroic sacrifice. Choosing to have any woman's death viewed as fridgeing due to her being a woman makes it to where only men can die in such stories, Because in fiction, men are viewed as the expendable gender. What this is saying is that a woman can't go through the same stories as men, because they have to be protected. That's just as insulting, and makes it to where writers can never win when trying to appease their audience, so they'll take the attitude that they shouldn't even try.

Objectively, in medical calculus, Clint does have a family, Natasha doesn't, so he should survive. It's the same sort of cold decision making someone like Natasha would make.
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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 02:27am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-05-04 02:03am
I call it Black Widow's best moment in the franchise.
Nah, that was when she conned a trickster god in an interrogation.
It's true, Black Widow has been a sidelined character for most of the movies. And her arc in Age of Ultron was mishandled. Probably mostly because Black Widow isn't really a character you can make a normal Marvel movie about just as much as it's because she's a woman. (Can you picture a spy movie and the ambiguity that would be involved? It goes against the standard Marvel formula)
I actually disagree quite strongly with this. Why can't she? Because she doesn't have powers? Tell that to Batman. :)

You can do a straight up spy drama.

You can do a story about her fighting lower-tier street-level bad guys.

You can do a tie-in with Agents of SHIELD to bring Coulson back into the films in the process.

You can show her being out of her depth dealing with Superpowered villains and having to win through cunning and intelligence and technology.

And frankly, Marvel's best films tend to be when ones where they stray from the formula a bit (GotG, Winter Soldier, and Infinity War top the list for me). The franchise probably would have benefited from being outside the box a bit more.
But, and this is key here, her story in Endgame is rather good. She's the one who took the reign of the Avengers while everyone else was falling apart, and we finally got to see some compelling scenes from Black Widow. The weight of the world is on her shoulders, and it's crushing her. We finally got a compelling character with Black Widow. To paraphrase the villain of Green Lantern, all it took was the end of the world. How wonderful
Oh, I agree that her characterization and leadership role at the start of the film were good. Its just that the pay off for that is that the only contribution to Thanos's defeat that she's allowed to make is killing herself half-way through the film, with an undercurrent of "she has to die to atone for her past mistakes", and possibly (likely unintentionally) of "she's less valuable because she's sterile". And that this is done in a film which gave Captain Marvel a minimized role as well after all the build-up to her being in Endgame (and all the whining from Alt. Reichists about how she was ruining the franchise). And all sorts of other stuff, like Hawkeye's family being basically fridged to motivate his character development in the very first scene.
Her fight against Clint on who would be sacrificed was showing how deep their friendship ran, and that she won. From a narrative standpoint, it makes sense, as it's her journey of both balancing the ledger, doing what's needed to be done, and making sure Clint gets his family back. It's a heroic sacrifice. Choosing to have any woman's death viewed as fridgeing due to her being a woman makes it to where only men can die in such stories, Because in fiction, men are viewed as the expendable gender.
I did not say that only men can be allowed to die, or that any woman's death is fridging. In fact I explicitly noted that Black Widow's arguably wasn't, technically, because fridging has a specific meaning. Please don't straw man my arguments so you can play the male persecution card. Whether you agree with them or not, I have specific reasons for my objections to this particular scene, both from a political/gender equality perspective and from a general writing perspective, which I have tried to lay out.
What this is saying is that a woman can't go through the same stories as men, because they have to be protected. That's just as insulting, and makes it to where writers can never win when trying to appease their audience, so they'll take the attitude that they shouldn't even try.
I absolutely agree, but I don't really feel that its germane to my objections, which is how Natasha's death was handled and the context in which it occurred.
Objectively, in medical calculus, Clint does have a family, Natasha doesn't, so he should survive. It's the same sort of cold decision making someone like Natasha would make.
I suppose. It probably wouldn't bother me so much if that article hadn't pointed out the AoU context.

And to be clear, I absolutely agree that it was in-character for Natasha. Of course she would have done that. So would probably any of the Avengers have laid down their life for a team mate, for that matter. I just wish she hadn't been put in a position by the story where she had to.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


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Re: Avengers: Endgame release thread (spoilers)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-04 02:29am

Basically, what I'm saying is that that scene would have probably 90% worked in a different context, but that it carries some really unfortunate implications, and compounds the prior waste of a good character, in the context that its in.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals Sherman and Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"They are nearer to me than the other side, in thought and sentiment, though bitterly hostile personally. They are utterly lawless - the unhandiest devils in the world to deal with - but after all their faces are set Zion-wards."- Lincoln on radical Abolitionists.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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