|If only they'd built a fat man barricade!|
It's been shown that if you try taking a fine-toothed comb to most peoples' sense of right and wrong, you'll find it's a hairy incoherent mess.
I have no idea why this might be.
|Are you on the "laugh at Stark's hubris"|
bandwagon yet? You should be!
Stark believes that if he merely continues to fly his suit around and shoot bad guys, his efforts will ultimately be futile and zillions of people will die. But he believes he can avoid those deaths by writing an ominously-named computer program that no existing hardware can run. Unlike folks in a philosophy class, he doesn't clearly know how many innocents are going to die when he switches or doesn't switch the trolley tracks. Not even Captain America actually knows when he dissents against the Ultron saying that "Every time somebody tries to win the war before it starts, an unspecific number of people -- probably some multiple of 1000 -- die. Every time!"
|See, Tony, this is what|
humility looks like!
"Forsooth!" quoth the Avengers, "A megahuman city is to be weaponized to destroy the entire world just like in (insert old testament or paleontology reference here)! To act is to kill lots but to not act is to kill all of them!"
This is certain to build suspense and catch the nuance of a moral judgment. Clock's ticking, Avengers and the Trolley is loaded with all the humans! Even the ones who are on the alternate route!
The protagonists are stalling for time, trying to avoid choosing between something horrific and something infinitely more horrific when along comes Nick Fury all messianic-like in his propeller-hoisted chariot of fire! Deus ex literal machina!
|Since when does she|
wear the Tron suit?
It's a good thing the writers spared us the burden of watching somebody choose between a single city's doom and absolute extinction! With stakes that high, the audience would be wringing their hands clean off!
I don't begrudge the Avengers movie this hilarity. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to take my wife to see it. It was more entertaining than the Agent Carter show so my expectations are met. Not everything needs to be an exploration of moral philosophy in order to be good entertainment.
|Maybe Black Widow's outfit|
glows when she's in the
This was the thing that most terrified Avatar Aang as his encounter with the king antagonist loomed. Could the kid beat his foe? Probably. If he could kick off the shining eyes-and-tattoo trick, definitely. Could he do this while also keeping the body count at zero? If it wasn't zero, would he be any better than the enemy he defeated?
Dang. Morals are hard.
This is one of the reasons that I find Avatar so compelling; Aang's moral dilemma wasn't just one of playing a game of golf-score corpse counting. He already knew that Ozai was a genocidal jerk-face. For Aang, it wasn't a matter of piling deaths on Athena's scale. Everyone he loved had already been killed by Ozai so he had a visceral understanding of the threat and yet his conscience compelled him to make a judgment above and beyond his grief. For Aang, morality was about being accountable to himself for his own actions. Where others may entrench themselves in the game of graphing the number of acceptable deliberate vs unacceptable accidental deaths, Aang deliberated over killing one man to save millions. Not because he was an indecisive or irrational kid but because he had a clearer sense of his own ethics than most people do. This is integrity.
This is also why the show ended up frustrating me so much with its ending. It was clear that the writers understood what they were doing. They'd spent 2.6 seasons building tension, setting things up for the ultimate measurement of Aang's moral fiber -- a thing far scarier than an agni kai for the fate of the world. But when the moment of the climax was supposed to come, they side-stepped the whole issue, threw in a surprise magic trick, and Aang was allowed to get away with making no decisions at all.
|You must master the Avatar state|
by letting the bad guy hit you really
hard in your lightning scar.
Some try to defend this anticlimax by saying "it's just a kids show" but I resent that kind of talk. Do we really want to teach our kids that the solution to moral dilemmas is to avoid them until a one-eyed man in a trench coat shows up on the back of a Lion Turtle and solves the problem for us?
The whole ending was a wanton betrayal of everything the show had built up to that point. We're told by Guru Pathik that mastering the Avatar state requires sacrifices that Aang ultimately never made. In fact, Aang ends up winning and getting his Raava mode back all by accident. So he can just end up marrying Katara just like he always dreamed with no heroic sacrifice, no personal growth, no real effort required.
That Avengers only wanted to joke about the existence of morals is fine by me. It never pretended to be that mature of a show in the first place. But, Bendyshow of Magic Karate, you had all the makings of greatness! It hurts to see you wield the sword of moral awareness for two years only to drop it into the ocean and watch it rust in the moment it was most needed!
Sigh. Whatever. Morals are hard. Let's go shopping.