My Summer 2015 Movie Thoughts

I’ve watched a lot of movies this summer and many of them were interesting enough for me to write full articles on. Unfortunately, since I have no desire to write that much, I’d like to just put out my quick thoughts for each of the movies I saw in the order that I watched them. Voice your disagreements if you’d like, but these thoughts of mine have to be known!

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Avengers and Why the Ultron Humour Works

A good villain has the power to elevate any story they’re in. They drive the plot obviously, but more important is the fact that they challenge the hero. Beyond physical confrontation, their goals are in direct opposition to whatever ideal the heroes are striving for, and because of that writers are given a wonderful opportunity to say something interesting about a specific subject. For example, Syndrome from Pixar’s The Incredibles argues that only people’s perception is of value while the rest is irrelevant, but he is proven wrong by the heroes when they demonstrate that the substance and not just the appearance of being a hero matters more than anything else. Sometimes, the villain will carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and if the audience doesn’t connect with them, the story will have an enormous gap. There are many ways to connect a villain to the audience, some of which include sympathy, fear-factor, and relatability. In the case of Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular Ultron is written to connect with the audience using humour.

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The Answer is Suffering

“You go to the movies to see people you love suffer-that’s why you go to the movies.”

This is a quote from Joss Whedon, a writer, director, composer, and the crowned “Lord of the Nerds”. He is behind some of the biggest movie and TV franchises of all time (he directed The Avengers and created Buffy the Vampire Slayer), with several of his works developing dedicated cult followings. This is a striking quote that caused a lot of fans anticipating The Avenger‘s sequel to raise an eyebrow, and anyone whose watched Buffy, Angel, or some of his other shows should already have had some inclination that this was his mindset when it comes to creating stories. He kills character we love, he builds up hope for a certain thing to happen with the sole intent of shattering it, and he does not always provide us with happy endings. The most common criticism against Whedon is that he ventures too often into dark territory. That he relishes in cruelty for cruelty’s sake, and loves to punish his audience for loving his characters. I would argue that Whedon is doing the opposite of that, and that suffering is the key element in every story. By forcing characters to go through despair, he connects us with their world. Whedon isn’t punishing us for liking his characters, he is connecting the audience to their lives by sharing the most intimate thing they have: Their pain.

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