Skepchick Quickies, 5.14


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Nice reminder to not assume anything about an actor based on the characters they portray. Yet it’s still sad when you realize that an actor portraying a character you like (I only know Bialik from BBT and her character there is mostly annoying) is actually an idiot.

    1. She isn’t an idiot, though. She has a PhD in neuroscience. She is a smart lady. Which makes it worse, and also harder to reconcile. Even smart people can have wacky beliefs. It is frustrating. She should know better.

      1. I agree that it’s frustrating. She clearly understands how science works (they don’t give out PhDs in neuroscience for nothing), and yet she is letting other factors cloud her judgment on this. What’s worse, even if she doesn’t intend it this way, her reservations about vaccines will be taken as a scientific endorsement of that position just because of her background. People who view Jenny McCarthy skeptically might be more taken in by a celebrity with a PhD in science.

          1. I guess this really is the worst aspect of the whole story. Her own scientific background, combined with her celebrity for portraying a scientist, do insinuate that her position on this might have scientific merit when it doesn’t. Which makes it important to explicitly point that out, so that people can clearly see that it is a personal anecdote with no scientific basis whatsoever. Which I think your article does quite nicely.

  2. I did think that Black Widow was pretty amazing. The scene where she talks to a captive Loki was brilliantly executed, I thought (though poorly integrated with the surrounding scenes). She and the drama surrounding the Hulk really seemed to carry the movie, character-wise. I don’t know how you could miss that unless you went into the movie wanting to see Iron Man 3. (Which you got quite a bit of, but Stark didn’t dominate the whole film.) Thor is bland, Captain America is short-sighted and out-of-place, and Hawkeye is captive for most of the movie, so it’s not like there was really that much ambiguity about which characters played the most interesting roles.

    It’s sad that she’s the only female hero in this movie, but I didn’t get “token female”. I got “needs a new movie to herself”.

    (On the other hand, the science in the movies has always been kind of silly. It’s not like I had high expectations, but it’s disheartening that “gamma radiation” still hasn’t been replaced by a more technobabbly term, and that we hear things like “Ask every lab with a spectrometer to put it on the roof!” It’s one thing to use pure, meaningless technobabble, and quite another to use terms with real scientific meanings in such a silly way that anyone who understands those terms has to facepalm. Kind of like how CSI-type shows treat forensics and computers. Zoom in! Enhance!)

    1. well, if you move away from the gamma radiation thing, you are going to piss off a large part of the built in audience for this series and break continuity with the other films. There was some lip service made to Banner researching the Serum used to create Captain America, and it being activated by the radiation, but you will never get away from it as it is part of the Hulk’s lore.

      Captain America is short sighted and out of place, that was kind of the point, seems to have been more of an observation than a criticism, but I agree that Thor was rather bland, however, that’s kind of an issue with the character, the original mythic character wasn’t much better and you pretty much end up with a being with the personality of a piece of wood. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded a Hulk and Black Widow outing, I would totally be interested in a film just featuring Black Widow or a Whedon written and directed Hulk film. Looking forward to Avengers 2 for certain (there will most likely be a new female superhero added to start balancing the male to female ratio in the team up, which should be a nice addition).

      1. I’d vote for Ms. Marvel. Or She-Hulk…I’d love to see Whedon explain She-Hulk in the movie!

        1. For me, I’m leaning increasingly towards an Ultimate Universe Wasp. She’s got several things going for her, when compared to the 616-Wasp.

          1) Asian, so you have more diversity on the team.
          2) Mutant, instead of “My abusive boyfriend experimented on me to give me powers”.
          3) Skill set beyond “fashion sense”.

    2. Others have criticized Johansen’s talent and acting range; I will leave that for the theater majors to hash out. What it boils down to is that Black Widow is a spy/secret agent/assassin, in a movie about powered superheros. It works pretty well until the final battle scene. For me, that sequence suffered considerably because they tried to have ground troops engage flying aliens–both Black Widow and Captain America just didn’t seem believable (in the geek sense of the word believable, of course) in that scene. Hawkeye with his exploding arrows wasn’t much better. It would be fun to see Cap’n and Black Widow as a team infiltrating an enemy base or something in a future movie, but those two should be fighting human-ish soldiers. There’s a lot of that to be done in superhero movies, so there should be no problem putting these characters to good use.

      As for a movie of her own, the origin story that is referenced in this movie would make a good “prequel”.

    3. It’s one thing to use pure, meaningless technobabble, and quite another to use terms with real scientific meanings in such a silly way that anyone who understands those terms has to facepalm.

      In GalaxyQuest, when the leader of the Thermians said that Sarris had enslaved his people in the Gallium Arsenide mines, my father and I almost hit the floor laughing.

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