saw the avengers tonight, and, while i'm not sure the fact that it's joss will make you find it worthwhile if you're already averse to the (pg13 superhero action) genre (it's no firefly), it does mean that it's a marvelous specimen of that genre.
anyway, just felt it was worth noting the plethora of comeuppance moments (this of course glaringly obvious in a movie concerning avengers) and one in particular: having read christopher orr's atlantic review afterwards, he uses that exact word and calls out that exact moment (no real spoilers since i know you all know what happens to villains in works of this genre):
"([loki's] eventual comeuppance is one of the most crowd-pleasing onscreen moments in years.)" [parenthetical in original].
years. i think it's important to emphasize this aspect of his reaction. some hyperbole, but it was significant enough that i planned to write about it even before having read his review.
crowd-pleasing. i can't tell you the last movie i've been to which contained so many moments in which the audience around me clapped or cheered or groaned or awwwed. (laughed too, but i don't find that to be so uncommon).
and as nightspore has written so many times about observing observers, seeing it in a theater is almost worth the price of admission itself -- to witness these reactions. not only did the comeuppance please the crowd as it's supposed to do, but pleased them so much that they felt compelled to express it, en masse. (the less-than-comprehensive lj spellcheck doesn't like en masse.)
not only does the movie retract the comeuppance by cheating us once its effect has been achieved (we later see that the villain wasn't killed, merely given a sound thrashing with an implication of possible/probable death), but it teases us with a further comeuppance which never arrives (one of the heroes vows to kill the villain in a certain manner and we later see him preparing to do so, only to refrain). i felt robbed of my comeuppance, but presume that the majority of the audience will be satisfied with their comeuppance, even if, having given it deep thought, they wouldn't be satisfied with the sound thrashing as sufficient -- it's enough for them that in that moment a total defeat was implied, that is, they're sold on the momentary feeling and not an ultimate outcome. and thus the screenwriter gets to deliver his comeuppance without bloodshed and the offing of a major character in the fictional universe. alas, "art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises." (günter grass). and i don't think anyone would accuse the avengers of being art.