- Penny is instrumental in defeating Captain Hammer.
- Penny turns into a supervillainess in the end. Complete with white leather.
- It turns out Penny was really "Bad Horse" all along.
- Dr. Horrible inadvertently rescues Captain Hammer from something.
- Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer fall in love and wind up together. (Okay, this is over the top. But Neil Patrick Harris IS gay.)
As it is, I mostly agree with this post, which states that Joss failed to live up to his usual standards of offering strong feminist role models. Penny was in the end a pretty low-dimension character, existing only to serve as a foil for Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible to fight over in the typical triangle arrangement. It's extremely disappointing to me that, after strongly telegraphing her disillusionment with Captain Hammer throughout act 3, Penny's last words were "Captain Hammer will save us."
My comment on the actual ending: the death of Penny was the catalyst that Billy needed to stop being a villain wannabe and become an actual villain. Meanwhile, the "real" Billy -- my friend Shelley refers to him as the superego component -- gets pushed down and lost forever. Is it poignant and heart-wrenching? Sure. But I don't think I was in the mood for poignant. I was watching a comedy. I wanted a comedy ending.
Having said that... the music and comedy components were both excellent, right up through the end. Joss continued his fine tradition from the Buffy Musical, of delivering up hilarious and catchy tunes over and over again. I'm still planning to buy the DVD, and possibly the soundtrack too. If for no other reason, I think the project was a good idea, and I'd like to encourage the strategy that Joss is trying.
Quick recap of my favorite moments:
- The cowboy chorus. I can't repeat enough how awesome the cowboy chorus was.
- Nathan Fillion's first entrance. Hell, every scene with Nathan mugging, smirking, and chewing up the scenery. Again, Nathan is the real villain and a damn good one.
- "And sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, which is exactly the same as the top level."
- "Wow, what a crazy random happenstance!"
- "...The hammer is my penis."
- The last song of Act 2, starting with Neil's demented smile. Also: "I'll hand her the keys to a shiny new Australia." Also also: Giant Neil.
- Groupies! "This is his hair!"
- "I hate the homeless. ...ness problem that plagues our city."
- "Everyone's a hero in their own way. You, and you, and... mostly me! and you."
- I must report that Ben just loved seeing Captain Hammer crying and sniveling.
Maurissa Tancharoen plays one of the groupies, is married to Joss Whedon's half brother, and the two of them were apparently deeply involved with the writing and production.
Thoughts on the business model: This is going to be a raging success, probably, but I'm not sure it will prove that the business model is as game-changing as everyone hopes it would be. I mean, yeah, you can make money from releasing a movie and merchandise on the internet... IF your name is Joss Whedon, you have your own money and a huge cult following, and well-known actors who love you enough to temporarily work for free. For everyone else, maybe not so much.