The Avengers: ‘Romantic’ Tension?

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Hello, Very Special Agent DiNozzo,

Did you get a chance to go to the theater last year?  I’m sure you got there to see Skyfall, whenever that movie came out.  Hey, don’t get mad at me!  It’s three months and sixteen days into the new year, with other interesting movies coming to the big screen; of course I’m going to forget when some of them come out!  Besides which, I have never really enjoyed James Bond.

Yes, I really don’t enjoy James Bond all that much.  Stop rolling your eyes!

Anyway, what I did see last year was Marvel’s The Avengers.  I loved every minute of it – except the part about Loki needing that guy’s eye –

Right, you had that in a case a few years ago.  No more details on that then.

So, whether you saw the movie or not, you’ve probably seen the clips for it, and know about the Black Widow – yeah, I thought you would!  Pay attention, or I’ll call Gibbs, DiNozzo.

I would too dare.

Since you know about her, you know that some people have said that the relationship she shares with another character in the movie, Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner), is a romantic one.  The thing is, I disagree.

Why?  Well the ‘tension’ between Black Widow and Hawkeye may at first viewing give the audience the impression of romance, and this is easily reinforced to those who know the two characters’ history from the original comics, but it’s actually different.  One might even say entirely different.

Hawkeye sees very little screen time as an Avenger in the film.  Since he spends most of the story as Loki’s chief marionette, this means that the audience knows very little about him.  Therefore, it is hard to know his major character traits or motivations from viewing the movie alone.  Heck, there’s never even a hint of whether he has any romantic inclinations for anyone, let alone Black Widow, though she is the obvious choice.

What can easily be deduced about Hawkeye during the part of the movie where he is present as a ‘good guy’ is his fury and horror at being used as a tool to kill people on his own side.  You can empathize with that, Tony.  After all, your job is pretty similar in some respects to his.

Black Widow is the only character in the film shown to have known him well for a long period of time.  Not only that, she hinted to Loki at one point that she had been similarly used at one time in her life.  This would indicate that she would know how being used would probably affect him.

One other interesting thing that is made known through dialogue between Widow and Loki is that Hawkeye will not blindly follow his commander’s orders.  Black Widow suggests that her very presence is proof of this when she says, “I got on SHIELD’s radar in a bad way.  Clint was sent to kill me.  He made a different call.”  By rights, as you can guess, it is doubtful that he had the authority to back this call up.  The risk to his own position in SHIELD, then, would have been just as great as the risk to her life.  But he did it anyway.

And so we come back to his actions when Loki was pulling the strings.  How would a man like the one described by Widow react to the knowledge that he had killed men who did not even realize they were in the middle of a war?  Pretty badly, all things considered, and he shows it later on.  But he shows it only to the Black Widow.

Why?  Because she has been there, too.  She knows the pain and horror that this causes, knows that nothing anyone, even her, can say or do will alleviate the pain he is going through.  She cannot bring back the men he killed; no one can.  And so she has to watch her friend, or ‘battle brother’ if you will, get a grip on himself through that pain.  And it hurts to watch him endure that while at the same time being unable to really and truly help him.

I’m sure that you can relate to that, too, DiNozzo.  I’m sure you can.

So this is what I believe the aforementioned ‘tension’ really is, and this is what makes the scene so powerful.  Hawkeye and Widow are both vulnerable in their own ways: Hawkeye as he deals with a treachery of trust he cannot undo, and Widow as she is forced to watch him fight through it alone since she has no power to change it.  Both are at their weakest, both lean on each other emotionally, but lightly, while both are still hurt with the great weight of Loki’s machinations on their minds.

Then they pick themselves up to do the one thing that can redeem them in some manner: Go out and stop Loki; Hawkeye to find solace for being turned against his fellow soldiers, Widow for a “red ledger” the audience has yet to get a real glimpse of.

This is what makes the characters hero and heroine, or more simply, Avengers.  They will never stop hurting.  Their respective wounds are too deep and the consequences too high for any human relief.  But they still get up, take up their weapons and fight.  They carry on despite the pain.

That, I believe, is what the true tension between the two is.

Time for me to sign off.  Catch you later, Tony!

Well, of course I’m writing you again.  Who else would I speak to about this sort of story stuff?  Sheesh!

Later,

Mithril

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About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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