Forum > Media and Inspiration

Is Woke media always dreary?

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Stephen Tannhauser:

--- Quote from: S'mon on January 25, 2022, 04:08:57 AM ---I was thinking of a possible contrast between the Black Widow and Captain Marvel MCU films. Black Widow to my mind has basically no redeeming features. Lazy Feminist writing, an incredibly boring Harvey Weinstein-expy villain - played by great character actor Ray Winstone - active discarding of everything that made Black Widow a cool character. It's Woke and it's drek.  ...But I find (Captain Marvel) much better done. This is not a 'lazy' film; the philosophy may be vile, but to my mind it's presented with skill and heaps of enthusiasm, a Totalitarian Left film almost reminiscent of a John Milius film from the Libertarian Right - Conan the Barbarian, say, or Red Dawn. The protagonist is dour, humourless, unpleasant, arrogant, and even sadistic. The scripting and Direction I thought were highly competent. The action is decent. Technically, it is a 'good' superhero film.
--- End quote ---

Interestingly, my reaction was completely the other way around: Captain Marvel felt like the lazier film by far to me, where the absolute minimum effort necessary was invested at every step to create a product felt necessary by marketing perceptions rather than narrative relevance to the MCU's whole arc. (When your movie is never really clear on who your actual Big Bad is meant to be until the final ten minutes or so and the most important relationship the character has is with a friend she doesn't remember for most of the film, you're not getting anything like worthwhile catharsis out of your story.)

By contrast, Black Widow, while still feeling like a waste of potential (especially given its placement in Natasha's already established plot arc), felt much more like the writers and actors had thought seriously about the emotional dynamics of family vs. loyalty, and gone out of their way to create both internal and external conflicts. Natasha's free fall dive to rescue Yelena, clunkily as it was executed in the film, felt more emotionally moving than anything in Captain Marvel. (It also helps that Scarlett Johansson is a better actress than Brie Larson -- Larson is good when given good material, but she hasn't got the knack of being watchable even in a bad script the way Johansson does.)  I thought it was a crime how they wasted David Harbour, but Rachel Weisz's scenes with Johansson pretty much made up for everything.

S'mon:

--- Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser on January 25, 2022, 03:48:06 PM ---(When your movie is never really clear on who your actual Big Bad is meant to be until the final ten minutes or so and the most important relationship the character has is with a friend she doesn't remember for most of the film, you're not getting anything like worthwhile catharsis out of your story.)

--- End quote ---

I thought that was all intentional and necessary to the narrative - her arc is realising she is being held down by the Patriarchy, and is already perfect in every way. She doesn't need anyone, including friends.
Maybe it helped I watched a Sargon/Carl Benjamin video analysing the dialectic in the film.  ;D

Pat:

--- Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser on January 25, 2022, 03:48:06 PM ---
--- Quote from: S'mon on January 25, 2022, 04:08:57 AM ---I was thinking of a possible contrast between the Black Widow and Captain Marvel MCU films. Black Widow to my mind has basically no redeeming features. Lazy Feminist writing, an incredibly boring Harvey Weinstein-expy villain - played by great character actor Ray Winstone - active discarding of everything that made Black Widow a cool character. It's Woke and it's drek.  ...But I find (Captain Marvel) much better done. This is not a 'lazy' film; the philosophy may be vile, but to my mind it's presented with skill and heaps of enthusiasm, a Totalitarian Left film almost reminiscent of a John Milius film from the Libertarian Right - Conan the Barbarian, say, or Red Dawn. The protagonist is dour, humourless, unpleasant, arrogant, and even sadistic. The scripting and Direction I thought were highly competent. The action is decent. Technically, it is a 'good' superhero film.
--- End quote ---

Interestingly, my reaction was completely the other way around: Captain Marvel felt like the lazier film by far to me, where the absolute minimum effort necessary was invested at every step to create a product felt necessary by marketing perceptions rather than narrative relevance to the MCU's whole arc. (When your movie is never really clear on who your actual Big Bad is meant to be until the final ten minutes or so and the most important relationship the character has is with a friend she doesn't remember for most of the film, you're not getting anything like worthwhile catharsis out of your story.)

By contrast, Black Widow, while still feeling like a waste of potential (especially given its placement in Natasha's already established plot arc), felt much more like the writers and actors had thought seriously about the emotional dynamics of family vs. loyalty, and gone out of their way to create both internal and external conflicts. Natasha's free fall dive to rescue Yelena, clunkily as it was executed in the film, felt more emotionally moving than anything in Captain Marvel. (It also helps that Scarlett Johansson is a better actress than Brie Larson -- Larson is good when given good material, but she hasn't got the knack of being watchable even in a bad script the way Johansson does.)  I thought it was a crime how they wasted David Harbour, but Rachel Weisz's scenes with Johansson pretty much made up for everything.

--- End quote ---
Agree with the best overture of all time on this topic. Black Window was oddly paced, the rest of the Widows outside the artificial nuclear family were nonentities, turning men into jokes or one dimensional villains ended up hurting the story, and they completely failed to exploit the looming knowledge of her fate for pathos, but there was a family dynamic and some emotional stakes. All Captain Marvel had was a really amazing skrull actor and easter eggs.

Trond:
That reminds me:
A friend of ours saved money for a kind of festival and rented a hall owned by the Church of Scientology (he probably got it for free).
We had to sit through half an hour of Scientology propaganda films. Pretty awful.......but it was well made :D

For me, it's the same with woke stuff; there are degrees of course, but at a certain level there's no saving it.

Stephen Tannhauser:

--- Quote from: S'mon on January 25, 2022, 04:39:33 PM ---Maybe it helped I watched a Sargon/Carl Benjamin video analysing the dialectic in the film.  ;D

--- End quote ---

I'd be interested in seeing that if you happen to have the link handy.

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