Filmmaker Joss Whedon is among the greatest feminist talents of our time, “Dollhouse” notwithstanding. I don’t usually go for action flicks but this was Joss, on the big screen – so I had to see “The Avengers.” I paid double for the 3-D.
My husband and I arrived early and got plum seats towards the back. The theater filled up. Once the movie started there was no chance of switching seats had we wanted to. And the time came when we really, really wanted to.
I never saw their faces, the women who spoiled Joss’s big-budget extravaganza for me. There was no need to see them to know that they were cinematic barbarians, seemingly convinced that the movie would benefit from a Greek chorus and inaudible dialogue. They took it upon themselves to remedy these omissions.
But you just don’t mess with the master. You shut up and revel in the brilliance and humor of his art. And for goodness’ sake, you never, ever add a Greek chorus to a movie featuring the Nordic gods Thor and Loki. Let’s get our mythology straight, people.
Their confusion didn’t end there. “What does she mean, she has red in her ledger?” one of them demanded. Oh Lord, who graduated this crew out of the G rating?
Then there was the seat-kicking. There was narrating. There was actual giggling. They were screaming, they were howling, they were gabbing inanely.
Now, Joss knows how to get a reaction. There were moments when the whole theater laughed, or screamed just a little – strictly involuntarily, you understand. But these women shrieked and hooted at every excuse of an opportunity, as though public movie viewing were a competitive vocalizing sport or a platform for personal self-expression. They kibitzed like they were in Starbucks doing the post-mortem. And they did it louder than the movie, no mean feat in these days of ear-bleeding surround sound. I longed for closed captions so they wouldn’t be able to steal another word from me.
Don’t tell me that watching violence doesn’t make people want to wreak some. Awash in nearly non-stop CGI-assisted glorified mayhem, I longed for Thor’s hammer and the guts to turn around and take every one of the cretins down. Or even for the guts to say “shhh.” But that would only lead to more and louder vocalizing, probably directed at me, which would make me miss more of Joss’s brilliance. Muscles tensed for battle, I fumed silently.
I never saw their faces. They left while I stayed for the credits. As I walked out minutes later, in the din of the theater, I let out one primal scream to answer the noise they had inflicted on me (my apologies to the startled usher sweeping the aisle nearby). They were gone but they will always be a part of that screenplay for me, as will a rise in my blood pressure and an unattractive sneer.
Joss, save me from your novice followers.
Photo credit: world of andrew woodyatt