Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who dies, Joss?

Avengers. I am looking forward to this movie. In order to not suffer the disappointment of high expectations dashed, I’m keeping my hopes as low as I can. I remind myself that Robert Downey Jr. annoys me with every line he says. His Tony Stark will doubtless frustrate me every time the cocky goober wanders on-screen. Probably they won’t give my favourites—Captain America and Hawkeye—the attention and effort they deserve. The villains will be predictably stupid and refuse to play “all-out” in order to follow the implied unwritten rules of evil, wherein fatal force is only used against secondary characters and the innocent (it’s important to get the heroes nice and worked up before a final confrontation, after all).
All of this “enforced negativity” is only being partly successful. Ultimately, I want to see the Avengers assemble. The big question is: how will Joss Whedon screw this up?
Don’t get me wrong—he’s done a lot of great TV and movies. He’s a master of advancing a plot while still managing to do realistic character development all while having humourous exchanges between Wisecracker A and Stoic B. The problem is he nearly always trips up at the finish line. If you give him a chance to see the end coming, he targets and kills precisely the wrong character, every single time.
Start with Buffy. We have seven seasons. In the very final episode he kills off Anya, and not in any particularly dramatic way, either. Virtually ANY OTHER CHARACTER would have more emotional impact for both the viewer and the other in-show characters. Pick anyone else and the plot becomes more interesting, rather than less. But he doesn’t. Anya dies, they mourn for about three seconds, and then are all relieved that the character-that-never-really-fit is gone for good. Whew. Where’s the drama there?
(I’ll give him a pass on Angel. The Wesley-Amy/Blue-skinned girl scene is one of the best in the series, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Wes dying. Besides, who else was he going to whack? Angel? It was his show. Spike? Who’d care? No, he made the right call.)
Then Serenity. Killing Wash? Pfft. By murdering the funny guy, you’ve made the entire crew even grimmer (which is pretty dang grim) and you’ve enacted this dramatic change in Wash’s wife Zoe. She changes from a stoic hard-ass to a… stoic hard-ass. Wow, what a development. Revolutionary.
So, who will face the firing squad in AA? I know it won’t be Stark, alas

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