Speaking of the dubious politics of Joss Whedon, and from a link in the previous post:
Lastly and perhaps most ominously [The Avengers] felt to me in some ways an ideological call to arms for a new period of world war. The threat faced by the U.S. is clearly not just a terrorist one. Loki the villain is a crazed lone terrorist figure however it is the alien army that poses the real threat to humanity. Since 2011 the Obama Presidency and U.S. military have been openly following a policy of a “pivot” to Asia to aggressively tackle the rise of Chinese influence and power. The U.S. is boosting its military presence and security alliances with countries all around the Asia Pacific including Australia which is now home to a permanent presence of marines. The U.S. recently announced it will have 60% of its military might based in the Asia Pacific by 2020. This policy is clearly designed to contain China and threatens the outbreak of a cold or even hot war between these two nuclear armed nations. Perhaps just as in the science fiction of the 1950’s and 60’s where the aliens so often represented Communism , in this new era of major power rivalry China has become the new aliens. I was disturbed by the way that ultimate victory against the aliens in the Avengers was secured when their mother ship was blown up by a nuclear bomb. For me this echoes too closely how the U.S.A. won the last great war in the Asia Pacific.
I have to confess–while I do loves me an effects-and-explosions film–that The Avengers was the first nail in the coffin for my ability to enjoy the modern Hollywood blockbuster. The final nail was Pacific Rim, which was, when it came down to it, a US appropriation of a Japanese cultural product endorsing nuclear genocide. There’s some sort of uncomfortable irony there that just doesn’t sit right.
(The abject awfulness of the so-called “Australian” characters in the film–neither of whom were Australian, sounded Australian, or even acted Australian–didn’t exactly help, either. The entire cinema cringed every time they came on screen, and the jolt broke immersion from the explosions enough to think more critically about the film’s other problematic elements.)
The politics of superhero comics and action have never been particularly progressive. Sometimes it’s ignorable in the face of just wanting to watch things explode. Other times? Not so much.