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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Avengers (Spoilers within) (Page 2)

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Author Topic: The Avengers (Spoilers within)
AchillesHeel
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A movie, that Joss Whedon directed and wrote the screen play for is now the highest grossing opening in U.S. history.

Don't bother with the golf clap, geeks should be slow clapping Whedon's well deserved success.

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Rakeesh
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I v much enjoyed it in quite a few ways. Even the unavoidable-in-this-kind-of-film dumbness (quick! Let's recuse one building of civilians instead of stopping the Earth-threatening constantly-growing invasion ASAP!) wasn't too bad, which is saying something for my liking of the film. Many of the individual moments were great-Hulk stole the screen, as well as Banner in fact:) The action was rock-solid, and right now I can think only of two glaringly-absurd moments that I remember that were central not just to the overall story or a whole fight, but that were absurd in and of themselves:

One, Black Widow is able to successfully lie to Loki, in a case where he has obviously studied her and in which it's vitally important he game her. Throw on some quick breathing, some fear-stricken eyes, and some tears, though, and the God of Mischief is successfully conned? Now it could be said he really gamed HER given what happened, but if so they should've thrown in a sneer as she walked away or something-instead of his baffled, disbelieving expression.

Two, the scene repairing one of the engines, where Cap is held off for, man, like five minutes? By a single goon with an assault rifle. Now I could possibly buy that if he was disarmed, even then it's a stretch, but not after he got a gun, too.

They did what I felt was a great job characterizing quite a few people, impressive to me given how many characters there were. Even knowing Colson would be a red shirt in this one, it still had some oomph. Liked how Fury motivated everyone. Oh-and it was v peculiar that SHIELD'S plan to get Hulk on board centered around...Black Widow and a human strike team-THAT hasn't been tried dozens of times, right?

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AchillesHeel
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I generally ignored most of Johanson's performance, she only impressed me twice despite my low expectations. First was when she pulled the gun on Banner, and when she was being chased by Hulk. I don't really remember anything else she did of any note, but that woman whose red wig was always covering her face was awesome.
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Raymond Arnold
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I actually thought Black Widow was one of the better developed characters in the movie, (which surprised me, given that she was completely irrelevant in Iron Man 2)
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Armoth
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I also really liked Black Widow, and I thought the scene with her and Loki was very well done. Considering that I didn't know very much about her, and not a ton about Loki - Whedon only needed to fool me - and when he did, the fact that she was playing him was pretty awesome.
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Jeff C.
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Black Widow's reverse interrogations were interesting. She showed that she isn't as worthless as the trailers made her out to be.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Armoth:
I also really liked Black Widow, and I thought the scene with her and Loki was very well done. Considering that I didn't know very much about her, and not a ton about Loki - Whedon only needed to fool me - and when he did, the fact that she was playing him was pretty awesome.

Agreed.
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Bella Bee
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With the Whedon connection and the two actress's similar tone of voice and attitudes, Black Widow really reminded me of a grown-up Faith.
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Rakeesh
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*nod* Aside from the silliness mentioned above, I also really enjoyed her portrayal. The whole 'red on my ledger' bit, although it does tie in with some tellings of Black Widow, just smacked of Whedon.
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Tarrsk
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The Black Widow/ Loki scene worked for me, and it's because what I took away from it wasn't a diminishment of Loki, but a payoff for the development of Black Widow, who enters the film as something of a cypher. It's telling that a lot of folks, myself included, were openly wondering why she's even included as one of the main Avengers, before seeing the film.

We see in the opening scenes that Black Widow is an expert manipulator, but up until her confrontation with Loki, she's been manipulating humans (and not particularly clever ones, for the most part). On the other hand, we've already spent a full film, as well as the first act of Avengers, establishing that Loki himself is powerful, intelligent, ruthless, and of course, as the Trickster (demi)God, one hell of a manipulator in his own right. As his confrontation with Black Widow begins, we already understand the power Loki brings to the table - that's WHY we believe that he's "turning" Black Widow during the confrontation in the first place.

By flipping the scene on its head at the end, Whedon is now establishing what makes Black Widow a worthy Avenger in her own right - that despite her lack of physical superpowers, she brings something every bit as remarkable as Hulk's strength or Iron Man's technology to the team. She's the one with the acting skills and the ability to hone in on an opponent's mindset and exploit every tiny mental misstep he or she makes. She's the one human who can trick the freaking Trickster God himself.

That's how the scene came off for me, and is why Black Widow ended up being one of my favorite characters in the movie. It's something I sort of wish we'd gotten to see for Hawkeye, as he remains the biggest cypher of the bunch, IMO.

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Rakeesh
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Now, see, that's the thing that soured that scene for me. It would be as if, I don't know it's tough to find an analogue, Banner were able to out-science the god of science or something. Bad example, because I can't think of another one, but however extraordinary BW's ability at mindgames is, even if we're to take it as a super-power, it still doesn't fit.

And it didn't, as it turns out: even with a bit of his plan still known, Loki's deception still worked, to the extent that several of the Avengers were directly antagonizing Bruce Banner, hardly a wise decision in any event. And even her deception, while brilliantly acted, was still pretty straightforward. I just don't believe that the God of Lies would be deceived even by a superhuman deceit from someone he was watching carefully and had been briefed on by one of the people who knew her best. It just doesn't fit, and they used it as, like you say, a way to highlight her skills and utility.

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lem
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It worked for me because I saw her working off of Loki's arrogance.
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Xavier
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It didn't bother me much, but I did have a "yeah right" go through my head when that scene unfolded. There's a reason Loki is Thor's main villain, despite him not being a tenth as strong or powerful. It's because he's the manipulator of all manipulator's.

But it wasn't something I got hung up on, for whatever reason.

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Raymond Arnold
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Bear in mind that this is not the "real" Loki from Norse mythology. He's a powerful being from another dimension, but not a literal God. (As far as we can tell, the Asgardians are near-invulnerable to human weapons and have some magic powers, but mentally they're not much different from humans)

So I saw the scene as a) establishing that Black Widow is meant to a powerful manipulator in her own right, but also b) taking Loki down a peg, showing us that he's not actually omniscient. He has psychological flaws (as lem says, arrogance), that can be taken advantage of. Even if he's still a master by human standards.

quote:
Hawkeye
I was pretty sold on his awesomeness when he fired an arrow into the wind, and it swooped around, clicked neatly into a socket, and then installed a virus onto the helicarrier's computer system.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I just don't believe that the God of Lies would be deceived even by a superhuman deceit from someone he was watching carefully and had been briefed on by one of the people who knew her best. It just doesn't fit, and they used it as, like you say, a way to highlight her skills and utility.

Could it be that we're giving Loki too much credit? Yes, he's a trickster god. But until recently, who has he been tricking? Thor and friends? Not exactly the peak of mental prowess.

It makes me think of a line (I will paraphrase) from Doctor Who -

Rory: He's a Time Lord. He can handle it!
Amy: You know that's just what they're called, right? It doesn't actually mean he knows what he's doing.

Sure, Loki is the Norse god of tricks. But if you look at it another way...he's just a very intelligent extra-terrestrial who thinks too highly of himself for his own good. Which is demonstrated in his interactions with Black Widow, but also Hawkeye and the Hulk.

Very intelligent and dangerous? Yes. Infallibly so? Certainly not.

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AchillesHeel
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Something that really caught my interest was Banner saying "I'm always angry." A big part of the Bruce/Hulk dynamic in comparison to the other gamma infected characters of the Hulk franchise, is that Hulk is a wild monster while all the others keep complete control. Since they started expanding the gamma powered characters fans have been theorizing on the exact reason why Hulk is a rage monster and Banner is perpetually overcome by it. It seems as if the rage of the Hulk comes from a part of Banner that was always there, he hates that part of himself and refuses to accept it. It comes out through his powers so he lets it become a second identity on which he blames all of his problems.

In this line of thought, the idea of Banner admitting that he is perpetually angry and then showing a profound level of control when hours before he had attacked Thor after recognizing he was not an enemy, Banner would have a greater than normal level of personal growth and ability. Word is they already have Ruffalo on contract for a bunch of Hulk stuff, I'm very interested in seeing how they play him after that.

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Raymond Arnold
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Short interview with Ruffalo:

http://collider.com/mark-ruffalo-the-avengers-hulk-movie-interview/160722/

Not sure what I think about the deleted scene, since it may ruin my current interpretation: That Banner was deliberately living in destitute, warn torn areas as part of a "perpetual anger" strategy, adjusting the baseline for when his body goes into flight-or-flight mode and activates the hulk.

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Tarrsk
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Bear in mind that this is not the "real" Loki from Norse mythology. He's a powerful being from another dimension, but not a literal God. (As far as we can tell, the Asgardians are near-invulnerable to human weapons and have some magic powers, but mentally they're not much different from humans)

So I saw the scene as a) establishing that Black Widow is meant to a powerful manipulator in her own right, but also b) taking Loki down a peg, showing us that he's not actually omniscient. He has psychological flaws (as lem says, arrogance), that can be taken advantage of. Even if he's still a master by human standards.

Yeah, exactly. As a non-comics reader, this was my big takeaway from the "Thor" film (which I really enjoyed) - in this universe, the Norse gods are aliens from another world whose powers came off as godlike to the primitive humans they first met. Beneath the superpowers, though, they're still people, with all the emotional and mental frailties that entails. Loki and Thor are exceptional even among the Asgardians, but Thor's defining trait early on in his movie is not his strength, but his recklessness - which is only matched by Loki's arrogance and massive inferiority complex. The difference between the two, at the end of "Thor," is that Thor overcomes his weakness, while Loki embraces his.

What brings Loki down in his confrontation with Black Widow isn't a lack of preparation; as Rakeesh pointed out, he clearly got the full dossier on Romanov from Hawkeye. It's Black Widow's understanding of Loki's nature. He can't help but put himself on a pedestal above the humans - it's why he spends the whole movie demanding that they kneel before him, even as he gets the crap smacked out of him afterward each time. And he tries to do the same thing to Black Widow, because as deeply as he knows her history, he simply cannot conceive that he would not be able to frighten and intimidate her into submission. It is simply how the universe should work, in his mind. She's just a puny human, after all.

(Also, I don't think Black Widow was 100% acting during her quiet breakdown in front of Loki. I think he hit her where it hurt, but she subsumes that pain and turns it into the steel she needs to turn the manipulation back upon Loki.)

quote:
I was pretty sold on his awesomeness when he fired an arrow into the wind, and it swooped around, clicked neatly into a socket, and then installed a virus onto the helicarrier's computer system. [/QB]
Oh, I totally bought Hawkeye's badassfulness, to borrow a phrase from "Mass Effect 3." Every one of his action beats was fantastic. But I didn't get the full sense of him as a person that we got with virtually every other character.

That being said, sketchily-drawn Hawkeye (no pun intended) from Joss Whedon still has more depth of character than 99% of the title heroes in other summer blockbusters.

[ May 07, 2012, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Tarrsk ]

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Jeff C.
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Definitely. The highlight characters were The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, Black Widow, and Thor. In that order. I only put Thor last because he just didn't do much in the way of character development. I'm sure that will change in Thor 2, however.
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Xavier
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I figure Thor got less of the spotlight because its his villain that is showcased. When examining the movies that would be considered recommended viewing to understand this movie (Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor), the main one you shouldn't miss is Thor. Not just because you won't know who Thor is, but because you won't know who Loki is.
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Jeff C.
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They all sort of provide necessary information, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk. But yes, Thor was definitely something you'd want to watch.

Captain America also provided backstory for the cube (tesseract), too. And Iron Man 1 and 2 gave insight into SHIELD and Black Widow.

I think this movie could have been another 30 minutes in length, honestly. They should have shown how Thor came to Earth again, at least. I would have also liked to see Captain America living in the real world for at least one or two scenes. Apparently there was another 30 minutes originally and it mostly involved Captain America doing exactly that, but all of it was cut (after it was shot) because they didn't want to focus too much on one character. Apparently this 30 minutes of footage will be bonus material on the DVD.

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stacey
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I didn't understand why Hulk was so out of control in the scene on the aircraft with Black Widow but so much more in control in the main fight scene? Is it because the first time he changed, it wasn't on his terms and the second time he was in control right from the start?
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aeolusdallas
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Spoiler
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You're sure that's Thanos and not a skrull?

My bro and I enjoyed it. I thought the heroes won a bit too easily. The only time Loki was really dangerous was when he was trying to bully the Black Widow.
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The court death comment and his smile made it pretty clear it was Thanos. After all he literally courts death.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by stacey:
I didn't understand why Hulk was so out of control in the scene on the aircraft with Black Widow but so much more in control in the main fight scene? Is it because the first time he changed, it wasn't on his terms and the second time he was in control right from the start?

That's the impression I got. The inciting incident behind his transformation seems to be important to how much control he has.

Not permanently, as when he fell off the helicarrier he calmed down enough to aim himself to an empty warehouse.

There seems to be a big difference between 'losing' his temper and 'releasing' his anger, if that makes sense.

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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by stacey:
I didn't understand why Hulk was so out of control in the scene on the aircraft with Black Widow but so much more in control in the main fight scene? Is it because the first time he changed, it wasn't on his terms and the second time he was in control right from the start?

I would refer you to a post I made earlier, but I'll answer this question directly. The Hulk persona is a creation of Bruce Banner because he hates his violent and aggressive nature, so when he ended up with a power tied to his emotions he used it as an outlet for those long suppressed urges. Hulk is savage because so long as Banner doesn't accept that he is Hulk, he doesn't have to take personal responsibility for what are essentially super-powered tantrums, instead he views himself as a victim. What we see at the end of the movie was more like the very capable mind of a violent genius in control of an endless power.

Hulk is a monster, but when Banner admits that he has control he becomes the most powerful thing in the Marvel Universe.

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Foust
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quote:
Hulk is a monster, but when Banner admits that he has control he becomes the most powerful thing in the Marvel Universe.
Wow, nerd bait much?
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Hulk is a monster, but when Banner admits that he has control he becomes the most powerful thing in the Marvel Universe.
Wow, nerd bait much?
Eh. Squirrel Girl could take him out.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Hulk is a monster, but when Banner admits that he has control he becomes the most powerful thing in the Marvel Universe.
Wow, nerd bait much?
Eh. Squirrel Girl could take him out.
True story.
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T:man
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quote:
Originally posted by stacey:
I didn't understand why Hulk was so out of control in the scene on the aircraft with Black Widow but so much more in control in the main fight scene? Is it because the first time he changed, it wasn't on his terms and the second time he was in control right from the start?

I think he was in much worse shape the first time because of the stress during his transformation, and also because Loki's staff was still messing with everyone's minds.

He also wasn't in that much control in the final battle. He just seemed aimed. While he was definitely fighting the aliens, he also seemed to be just fighting. Remember when he punched thor?

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AchillesHeel
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To me that just seemed like a joke. Between saving Iron-Man's life by catching him and the fact that Hulk actually paid attention to Capt. America and smiled. He recognized friend from foe, this is not the normal Hulk.
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Xavier
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He often is that way in the comics, which of course varies by writer. It did seem to conflict with him trying to kill Natasha, but most viewers don't seem to mind coming up with their own rationale for the difference.
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Tarrsk
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Long-ass analysis of the Hulk ahead. This is one of my favorite plotlines from the movie, and I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about it since.

The read I took away from "The Avengers" - which is supported from what I've read in interviews - is that, from the start of the movie, Banner has the aptitude to control the Hulk. This stemmed from his realization sometime before the film begins that acknowledging his constant inner anger is necessary to do so. I haven't seen "The Incredible Hulk," but my impression is that film ends with him learning that lesson.

So at the beginning of "The Avengers," we have a Bruce Banner who is capable of repressing the Other Guy via his understanding of his own anger. He could Hulk out voluntarily at any moment. But what's important is that that's not something he'd ever choose to do at this point. Banner is still striving purely to repress the Hulk - hence Black Widow's line about how it's been more than year between "incidents." Banner accepts this wording because, to him, each Hulk-out is still just that - an unfortunate incident, a loss of control. For all his newfound ability to keep that part of himself under wraps, he still ultimately views the Hulk as a frightening expression of what he hates about himself - hence calling it the "Other Guy."

The conversation Banner has with Tony Stark aboard the Hellicarrier is his first step towards realizing true control over the Hulk. Even then, we see how dedicated Banner is to repressing that part of himself, as demonstrated by his deadpan response to being zapped by Stark. Stark urges Banner to embrace the Hulk as a gift as much as a curse, implying that doing so will also help clear Banner's head in a more general sense. Banner seems unconvinced, but doesn't reject the notion outright.

Unfortunately, a few hours later, Banner is thrown into one of the most chaotic and terrifying moments of his life, as he learns that SHIELD has been lying to him and the giant flying airship he's on comes under violent attack. All of this while being psychologically warped by Loki's staff, which he picks up and seems prepared to use without even realizing it.

As the lab explodes underneath him, all of Banner's careful repression of the Other Guy disintegrates in that moment of betrayal, mental torment, and physical pain, and the Hulk emerges. Uncontrolled. Untethered. And most importantly, against Banner's will. The circumstances are beyond anything Banner had prepared himself for, and his method of controlling the monster up to this point utterly fails. The last bit of Banner we see in this scene is the horror and apology in his eyes directed at Black Widow as he is subsumed by the Other Guy.

Everyone knows the Hulk best as the id of Bruce Banner, and the following scene is the pure expression of that mode. The Other Guy is unrestrained fury, but it's not mindless - it just acts on instinct. And its instinct right now is this: "Destroy everything that is hurting me/ Banner." Nothing in this moment embodies that more than Natasha Romanov, the representative of SHIELD that recruited him into this ridiculous scheme in the first place. Hence the Hulk's single-minded pursuit of Black Widow through the corridors of the Hellicarrier... until other things start showing up that direct pain against him in an even more visceral manner. First Thor and his bloody hammer, then the fighter jet and its pilot ("TARGET ANGRY! TARGET VERY, VERY ANGRY!").

Of course, here's where the uncoordinated instinct of the id kind of fails as military strategy - if you're a landbound being, even a monster capable of jumping hundreds of feet in the air, it's not the best plan to leap onto an airplane and then proceed to demolish it. Hulk plummets out of the sky. But in our (and what will be Banner's) first hint that even the Hulk maintains some of Banner's mind, the Hulk avoids populated areas in his descent and crashes into an unoccupied warehouse.

Cut to several hours later. Bruce Banner wakes up, confused and instantly horrified. He assumes that he's had another catastrophic "incident" (which is pretty much exactly what happened). But for the first time, he's approached by someone who saw what he was and doesn't fear him it. It helps that it's Harry Dean Stanton. HDS accepts Banner with some dry humor, and informs him that even as the Hulk, he seemed to be making some effort to avoid killing innocents.

This is the most important moment of the film for the character of Bruce Banner - not, as most people seem to assume, the "I'm always angry" line (that's a defining moment for the rest of the Avengers in understanding and accepting Banner, not for Banner himself). It is here that Banner truly comes to understand what "controlling the Hulk" means - not just burying the Other Guy ever deeper, but accepting his anger as part of himself and learning to direct it in a proactive and useful way. He must choose to use his anger as a tool.

When Banner finally arrives at the battle, he exudes a sense of peace we haven't seen in him before. He's still got that wry, quiet humor, but it's missing the nervousness from earlier in the film. It reflects the epiphany that he reached during his conversation with HDS, and reaches its culmination seconds later as he finally Hulks out on purpose for the first time in his life. His acceptance of his anger finally gives him the means to control that anger - and its expression in the Hulk.

That's why the Hulk takes orders in the final battle. That's why the Hulk only goes after the bad guys (Thor suckerpunch aside). And that's why the Hulk is able to deliver the best one-liner in the whole damn movie after pulverizing Loki.

tl;dr version: Bruce Banner could have voluntarily Hulked out at any time in the movie, because he's always angry. But until the last 30 minutes of the film, it's a decision he would NEVER MAKE, because he viewed the Hulk as something bad to be repressed. Which means, when it happens against his will on the Hellicarrier, he's incapable of stopping the Hulk from trying to turn Black Widow into a fine paste.

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El JT de Spang
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Right, what he said.
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Jeff C.
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Very well put, actually, and a very interesting read.
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