My friend Dan caused a bit of Twitter scandal ("twandal"?) this week by issuing the following statement:
Dan's was the first kind-of-negative take on The Avengers I'd seen, and at first I thought he may have been stirring. Dan often likes to be a figure of controversy. His optional use of "pants" in our improvised stage shows once savagely divided audiences.
Even I thought The Avengers ticked all the boxes, and I'm one of the seven geeks left on Planet Earth who doesn't slavishly salivate over everything Joss Whedon does. My primary objection was that Thor didn't appear shirtless once. Frankly that was a massive oversight. They managed to shoot several minutes of Scarlett Johannson, from behind, in an ass-caressing catsuit - but Chris Hemsworth did all those sit-ups for nothing.
But Dan's entitled to his opinion, and maybe he has a point. Maybe there wasn't enough "story". So I've decided to pitch my mad screen-writing skillz against His Jossness', and pack more punch, but less "punch", into an Avengers story.
Here is my "treatment" for the inevitable The Avengers 2: Reassemble.
I don't think I'm really giving anything away about the movie here, but I should issue a SPOILER WARNING just in case.
|"Guys, has anyone seen Hawkeye?"|
The movie opens with Tony Stark facing a congressional hearing on his Arc Light power generation system. The US government has been unable to shut down the billionaire engineering genius through a series of punishing IRS audits, and so is trying to co-opt the technology through a show of public shaming, in the name of the national interest.
Stark's usual good humour is on display as he whips out the portable Iron Man suit, plays AC/DC to accompany a dramatic, jet-blasty exit, then quips "So much for Mr Stark Goes to Washington" to Pepper Potts, who promptly slaps him in the junk.
But the confrontation puts him on a collision course with a friend; for, like another famous American who worked in showbiz during World War Two, Captain America has finally accepted his destiny as a Republican presidential candidate. His campaign suffered a slight setback when a printing error saw the comma left off posters featuring his catchphrase "Rogers, Everyone!", but he's still polling better than Newt Gingrich.
Hawkeye is particularly peeved about this development, as having survived Loki's spooky trance, thought he'd never again have to share the same room with someone who wanted to bend his will to their own. It's lucky he has Olympic selection trials coming up to distract him. Not in archery, that would be too easy. He's prepping for fencing.
Luckily, S.H.I.E.L.D's Asgardian contractor is ready to mediate the group dynamic. Now host of the MSNBC discussion program "Thor Spot", everyone's famous demi-god challenges the Avengers group to appear live on prime-time TV to
Unfortunately Bruce Banner can't make it, as he's dealing with a diagnosis of inoperable bowel cancer. It's not the cancer itself that's inoperable, it's just every time doctors attempt surgery, the Hulk explodes into action and crushes the skull of the nearest medico. The colonoscopy alone levelled a city.
|"I guess you could call that a colonic irritation."|
Nick Fury declares enough is enough, and once again shuts down the Avengers initiative, telling the heroes he's lost faith in all of them. Natasha Romanov decides regaining some faith is precisely what she needs to help reduce the guilt she feels in having murdered so many people. She feels this guilt because she is a woman character; male characters don't have to worry about such trivial matters when there are
The Black Widow journeys to the wilds of Tibet, where she spends days meditating and trying to achieve inner peace, and nights kicking ass for cash as part of the Shaolin Monks show.
But then she learns about a mysterious plague sweeping the continent, leaving whole cities crumbling out of civilisation. It turns out a former Roman emperor, Dayus Massheena, has risen from the dead, and is using a combined supernatural army of Christians AND lions to raze factories producing high-end electronics and other luxury items for the American market.
Ditching her comfy gi pants for that catsuit once more, Romanov calls up the others one-by-one, begging them to join her in the wilderness of remote south-western China (population only 300 million). Stark and Rogers cannot refuse the call to help save capitalist enterprise; and Thor hopes to pick up a few cheap iPhones with universal roaming. Hawkeye had some frequent flyer points.
They all show up at the monastic fortress at the same time, which proves VERY awkward. But it's all part of Natasha's plan - by getting them to just
Meanwhile a depressed Dr Banner fears his friends will face more danger without him there to "help". But he's struggling with radiation treatment, which just doesn't seem to take. In a climactic scene, his rage at his disease overcomes him, and the Hulk is released. After smashing several burns ward victims onto the streets of New York, the Big Guy shoves his fist down his throat and punches the tumour out of his own bowel. The whole incident is declared a medical marvel and documented in The Lancet.
The Avengers assemble on a field outside the ancient temple of Ho Lee Chit, where Natasha offers up a prayer for assistance. But oh no! Dayus Massheena has summoned an army of terracotta warriors to take them on.
Battle commences, and it's a brutal affair. A massed army of felines, God-botherers and rejected pot plant holders is a challenging enemy. Natasha's gun runs out of bullets, but she realises the faith she needed came not from religion, but the sharp martial arts techniques of the Shaolin Monks. Rogers, knowing a victory will mean generous campaign donations, drives the team forward, cutting through the ranks of the warriors. Stark fires up Pat Benatar and gets stuck in with his lasers, burning up the enemy like popcorn in a kiln. Thor
Eventually it's Hawkeye who manages to foil Dayus Massheena - literally stabbing him in the eye with his fencing sword. With that, the supernatural soldiers revert to mere statue form.
The Avengers are all patting themselves on the back when the Hulk shows up. Full of rage at missing the smashing, the Big Guy crushes the inanimate remains of the army. "Puny statues," he mutters. Everyone laughs, because they're too scared not too, even though it's not really a very good witticism. The Hulk knows they're just pandering to him, and is about to get even more furious, when Natasha gives him a kiss, because she's the only girl there, and it seems like that might be nice. With that, Dr Banner's human form re-emerges, and the Avengers all re-assemble and
It's a happy ending - but Rogers still has a campaign to run, Stark can't keep getting away with pissing off the government, Thor has ratings to maintain and Hawkeye needs to win the gold. There are all the classic hallmarks of yet another sequel.
Oh wait... I forgot to kill someone off. You always need someone to die. Umm, let's see. OK - Pepper Potts. Maybe not dies. But she falls into a mysterious coma around 40 minutes in, and Dayus Masshena has the formula to save her, and Iron Man gets it off him during the battle, then they give it to Pepper in the form of a new Baskin Robbins flavour, and she wakes up, and Iron Man says "Watch out, she'll be STARK RAVING MAD!" and Pepper slugs him in the penis.