Originally Posted by Webfoot Hero
You start sticking deeper social and political stuff in there and it could really bog down the plot and character development.
Yes, when it's done incorrectly, it will.
When anything's done incorrectly it will bog down a film.
When done effectively and with talent, subtextual messages shouldn't interrupt or interfer with the main storyline at all. It should be so innately intertwined with the story and characters that it's just a singular organic piece that doesn't need lines like "you didn't ask, I didn't tell" to make its point (yes, I'm criticizing FC too).
The problem most filmmakers seem to have, is they think everything has to be conveyed through dialogue and/or story beats...when you don't - and shouldn't - use those vehicles to achieve your subtext at all.
Instead, it should be done through secondary actions and subtle tells in the actors' performances, things that - if you didn't know what to look for - you'd never see. For instance, my favorite example of truly brilliant and masterfully done subtext comes from BR, as explained here:
"Batman changes in the second movie. He starts out as the same character in the beginning of Returns (although "[Tim and Michael] still saw him as a wounded soul" - Daniel Waters Fangoria 1992), he's in his study, sitting alone in the dark and there is only deafening silence. And then the bat-signal turns on and he has found his one and only purpose in life. That simple dialog free scene conveys a very important message about the character. At the end of Batman, Batman killed The Joker for revenge and in Batman Returns he becomes more consumed by the monster within himself as he took more pleasure killing criminals in the beginning of the film where he burns that guy in devil suit, straps the bomb around the strongman and shoots the spear gun into the clowns head."
So ALL of that characterization about Batman came from a 15 second scene of him sitting in the dark, and a few moments of violence that you'd never even notice if you were just purely absorbed into the plot.
That's what I'd do with Avengers. Don't have Cap go on some diatribe about American foreign policy, but have meaningful structures built into every character. Have Cap's personality - not his words - echo the American ideal. Or actually give more insight and resolution into shield's whole shadowy leadership, and their resonance in the film. Little things like that would've improved the film greatly, IMO.