Dear Joss Whedon,
A young Crepé LaBouche first discovered you when you were the headwriter/showrunner for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Style, smarts and wit were, and still are, some of my favorite parts of a super hero. It is something that I have seen lacking in a lot of super hero movies, where they concentrate on the super without acknowledging that there is a person beneath all that. I enjoy busting up bad guys and still having to make it to Prom. There’s a sense of completeness there.
When I found out you were writing and directing for the Avengers I got excited about Super Hero movies for the first time in a long time. (Sorry, X-men). You brought a breath of fresh air to the genre. You had heroes who were once again delightfully multi-faceted and clever in the use of their powers instead of just being bam bam bam bam bam bam bam (Not going to sleep yet, are ya?). Even the ones that are get so much more dimension. I may be disappointed that Thor doesn’t take his shirt off very often, but I enjoy him most under your expert care.
I am a person with a deep dark past. I don’t turn into a huge green rage monster. I’m not an assassin like my favorite Avenger ever, Black Widow. I get her, though. Ah, Black Widow. You have a lot of fun with goofy buff guys. Anyone who has seen any of your work knows that you truly delight in powerful and witty women. You opened the first Avengers movie with Black Widow getting interrogated by a Russian. She gets a phone call, and the exchange, followed by the look she gives the general, sets the tone for the entire movie in a really glorious way. The entire first Avengers movie was made for me because of Black Widow. She stole every scene she was in.
I was very excited for the second movie. I made strange mouth noises all day because I couldn’t put into words the excitement I was feeling. I was confused at first when she was flirting with the Hulk. The confusion comes from a place where I would probably be throwing myself upon Thor any chance I got. Or maybe throwing myself into traffic so he was constantly saving me. He would hold me close and I would pull out some chloroform so I could take off all of his armor, then probe his insides. A little speculum action never hurt no one. I know that Black Widow and I aren’t the same person but I was confused that this feeling for Thor wasn’t a globally held belief.
When Black Widow was flirting with Hulk over cocktails, I got it. This was a girl who was going to get what she wanted. She was awesome and in charge. I’ve had to talk to a guy about the secrets that I don’t tell anybody. He talked to me about the same thing. He didn’t judge me for it and I didn’t judge him. That was comfortable. For however tumultuous life could be, that moment made a lot of things comfortable. To be able to share that with someone who gets it. That’s a choice she made.
I’ve read about how some people think that you have mishandled the character. How being in a relationship somehow made her less of a woman to be respected. I think that using her relationship to describe whether or not she should be revered as a strong and powerful female trivializes the depth of character that you built. A depth that encompasses her dark past, her understanding of what she wants, and why she is one of the most badass super heroes on the team. That has got to be super frustrating.
Black Widow is a person who understands herself. That’s not really a weakness. That’s a strength. I say person instead of woman, because introspection and the ability to understand it is impressive for anyone. I’m going to assume that the people giving you crap have never had to have that moment with someone where they share a part of themselves they hate bringing to the light of day. You know… what Black Widow and Banner did.
As the only human on the team who gets up close and personal with the bad guys, she uses what she has to help coordinate the team. She gets flung off shields. Directs the team’s tank. Gets right into the thick of battle right next to the big boys. The entire time with her own strength that wasn’t a gift or experiment. She is about the job and she is powerful.
Banner doesn’t like transforming into the hulk. She knows it. It is his deep dark place. He doesn’t like going back there. She still loves that part of him too. For the world and for the team she has him go back there so that he can be a hero. He isn’t defined by his deep dark place. He is amazing because of it. She knows that. He does not.
She didn’t melt down into a pint of ice cream at the end of it. She was sad. As sad as someone can be when they might have pushed a lover and friend too far. As emotional as someone can be when they’ve lost a confidant who they thought understood them. She gathered herself up and started to train for the next time the world needed to be saved. She is the epitome of a badass.
Maybe she is not the ideal feminist super hero. She is, however, a strong woman who makes her decisions and forms the relationships that she wants. She is powerful and she is human. So, maybe she isn’t everything a hero should be to them.
For me. She is a Super Hero.
A lifetime of love,
PS: This is my formal request for naked Thor.
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