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Dolph Lundgren once played Frank Castle in a god-awful The Punisher movie, so clearly, he an expert on all things Marvel. Which sort of explains why the once-mighty action star took a few swipes at Joss Whedon’s The Avengers for its deceptive use of on-screen violence.
While talking with the L.A. Times on behalf of The Package (now out on DVD), Lundgren guaranteed himself a few headlines by going after the highest-grossing movie of 2012, claiming that its PG-13 approach to guns and violence does more harm to an audience than good:
There will always be an exploration of new technology in things like The Avengers -- that was a great movie, by the way -- but I think certainly for part of the audience, if you fire a thousand bullets and there’s not a drop of blood, there’s something wrong with that. Part of the audience wants to see real explosions and real fights and that kind of real machismo.”
Like in the Expendables movies, which trade in their fair share of blood and guts. Lundgren doesn’t elaborate on his point, and for once, I really wish he had given us a little more insight into this thought process, because realism isn’t necessarily something I think people are looking for in a superhero movie. But in today’s culture, the conversation about on-screen violence and excessive gun use has several avenues that need to be explored. I’m just not sure that Lundgren connected the right dots if he was expecting buckets of blood in a Marvel movie about Norse gods, frozen World War II soldiers and a gamma-ray-enhanced hulk of a man.
Lundgren’s smart enough to couch his opinion by saying “part” of the audience, and he’s probably right. But going after The Avengers in this moment seems like the wrong approach. Do you agree?