‘The Avengers’ Alternate Opening and the Costs of Superhero Battles

Yahoo’s got an alternate look at what could have been the beginning of The Avengers, and what would have been a striking, and fascinatingly, different movie:

One of the most underdeveloped elements of The Avengers—or one of the most interesting pieces of setup for a future film, depending on how it’s played—was Nick Fury’s relationship with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Council, a shadowy, multi-national organization that apparently has access to nuclear weapons, and has some power to oversee his work. It wasn’t clear who they were or what authority they had, or what ability they have now to call The Avengers to account. Those tensions are all fascinating story engines that Fury essentially blew off or ignored simply by acting as he wished in the face of great danger. It’s one of the reasons that an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show would be so interesting—it could fill in all the spaces between the big battles with smaller bureaucratic fights and the consequences that follow a throwdown like the one between Loki and his forces and the men and woman at Fury’s command.

And it would be a nice way to reckon with the actual costs of superhero throwdowns. The Avengers skips straight from the fear and devastation and the near-nuking of New York to a world where the city is restored and there’s a vigorous debate underway about what it means that superheroes exist. But so much of superheroism is about destroying the world to save it. That’s a terrible tension, and accepting it, and not just the prospect of people with abilities, is part of what living in a world with superheroes would relaly mean.