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What Happened with Superman vs Batman (and some other movies)

Just on impulse, I went back and watched the Superman vs Batman movie. This time, I was looking at it in terms of what I would have done to make it better, or try to discern what was being attempted here. In this, I think I found what the problem with this movie- and others- are.

I think the main problem is that they are no longer really trying to tell stories.

Behind a movie there are a number of interests involved. Each of these interests- for one reason or another (mostly funding)- get's a say in what goes into the movie. The Military is a huge financier of movies. This is why you will often see a wholesome or supportive image of the military represented in movies receiving that funding.

I just realized that this is also true for groups like the NYPD- which is why in movies like The Dark Knight Rises or Bright, you get absurd moments (like that NYPD Braveheart scene in The Dark Knight Rises...ugh) that seem nothing short of worshipful or apologetic of the role of police.

If you read one of my posts, you know I have gripes with these things, but there's a point to it. You see, Batman and Superman have stopped being their own characters. Instead, they have become metaphors for the armed factions or agents of force in the world. This could be police and the military, or things like government in general or those groups aligned to it. In all of Batman's movies, the tone has usually been "vigilante justice". Justice outside of the law. Back when this new movies first started coming out, the government was being pressed on it's use of torture, it's erroneous selling of the Iraq War, and so forth. Batman and the Government's response is synonymous. We do what's needed to keep our citizens safe, whether they like it or not. The movies all explore the negative sentiments of the public and ultimately excuse and ultimately end up exhorting Batman for his role. We are no longer the White Knights of America-Past that we claimed to be. Now, it's by any means necessary​.

It's harder to make this point about Batman, however, but much easier when you wonder just why Superman became "dark" in the recent movies. Part of it is this current "realism" and "grit" fanaticism of Hollywood (that they seem to be edging out of now). But examine what Superman is being told in the movies. Examine his experiences in the movies. You have his father giving him questionable advice about maintaining his secrecy even at the expense of innocents around him that could be saved. You have his mother saying that he doesn't owe the world a thing...which is actually true...but given the broader implications of the film, you realize that Superman has become another metaphor for the "forces of good" in the world. The superfluous scenes with both Batman and Superman in the Middle East both place them in the shoes of the government killing people overseas. Everything is a terrorist and killing terrorists is good. We don't need to question the actions of the government against terrorists. It's a Blank Check. Kind of like Russia or North Korea. Anything in the name of security. Blah blah.

Both are held to account for this in the movie by some ridiculous government review board and, Superman is even being directly pursued by a victim of one of Superman's actions. All of this is resolved in the end, of course, as Superman being totally innocent of charges as well as the mother of the victim being misunderstood in her emotional condemnation. Now this has nothing to do with the actual movie as, of course, he will be innocent there. But Superman is not really Superman. He's the Government overseas and around the world, and they display him as being unfairly maligned by public criticism for his violent acts leading to the deaths of innocent people. In this, I think the movie is making political statements about why we should accept the role of the forces for good in the world and in our own country and reject criticism of them as being wrong or misguided.

People loved Wonder Women, and I already made my thoughts clear on the political messaging of that movie. Not only the Yay-Females aspect, but the deeper problem of it's bent philosophical themes. I'm sure the Transformer's franchise speaks for itself.

I think the problem with some of these movies is that they've become too socially conscious and their integrity is being destroyed because the movie is being split up between so many different interests all trying to sell something through a popular title. In terms of some of the Batman and Superman ones, this was the most obvious or prolific...to me.

Most of this came from a sort of...rethinking...brought on by Jodie Fosters comment about today's common media being destructive. It's an interesting comment because it first makes you question..."what is art" as well as it's role in society. Without a doubt movies are persuasive venues. The massive amount of money and attention given to them is astounding. You wouldn't believe how much psychology goes into making them. And, as I'm just figuring out, the enormous amount of interests who have been sort of slipping mickeys into it for quite some time. The Force Awakens was more along the lines of social suggestionings rather than political ones. But I'm more in tune with Jodie Foster in that I think these movies would be much, much better if they could somehow be divorced from appeasing their donors and allowed to write a pure story rather than a subtle- or not-so-subtle- advertisement. That's probably obvious at this day, but I'm hoping the internet offers venues where more individual, unique, uncompromised, and ungated artists can get their work out to the broader public- a hopeful renaissance where we kind of reclaim the word art from corporate and political entanglement. The Arab Spring of the Arts so to speak.

* this isn't about every movie, just some of the recent superhero movies. I feel that potential blockbusters like this have a load of interests piling around them because, like the Super Bowl, it's a good way to get your messaging across. I give the Super Hero movies attention because they target kids. And kids are highly impressionable and practical idiots when processing morality. Look at the Logan Paul situation and how his fans defend him against what should be a pretty clear example of low-class exhibitionism. For me, I do think there is something to the argument of the integrity of our art diminishing overtime. This argument was also made about music. This is not just controversy, it's pretty scientific when you look into it. I wish I was a bit more academic in my writing style to properly convey it, however. Either way, that's my 50 cents on the matter. A scary world. Reminds me of how they we produce more food than ever, but that the food has lost a substantial amount of it's nutritional value. Fun times...

Comments

I'd also make complaints about those police / military scenes, but from the angle that they don't fit. They don't belong. They're out of place. As far as them presenting the police and military in a positive way, I have no issue with that.

I'd also be careful about saying that the new Star Wars movies have only been promoting "social suggestions". Look behind the scenes at the hiring practices that go on and I think the implication extends a lot farther than that.

You're right that a lot of psychology goes into making movies, for lack of better phrasing. So the dangerous part is - malevolent people aside - when you have a bunch of morally bankrupt, ignorant, and scientifically uninformed people making them.

There are many examples of things being presented in a different light in our media. Remember the recent dystopian wave? Doesn't seem all too fond of the government. The X-Files is back and that's not exactly pro-government in my opinion. I recall District 9 being unforgiving of the government and military / police, although that had some apartheid undertones that I'm not going to get into. Wasn't Avatar also anti-government / military? I'm sure I could think of more if I took the time.

It's there. I think Transformers and the super-hero movies are low-hanging fruit, but maybe part of that is because I don't really like them besides a few exceptions. They're mainstream garbage to me and shouldn't be taken seriously.

I definitely agree with you that we need to be aware of what we subject kids to. But I'm not sure subjecting them to Moana, Frozen, the Lego movies, and The Emoji Movie are much better.

If I have children, I'll introduce them to the classics. Aladdin, Treasure Planet, Pinocchio, Robin Hood, The Lion King. All that good shit. Not that those are completely flawless and completely purified of any sort of cultural or political influence, but I'm not going to be one of those parents who are just mortified at the thought of my child being "corrupted".

I thought Zootopia was decent (one out of ten isn't bad for Disney nowadays) but I'm a sucker for foxes. A lot of Japanese anime is good; plenty of high-calibre, kid friendly stuff. The original Avatar series was great (although the Legend of Korra series was (is?) so retarded that I'm not going to bother checking if I spelled it right).

I grew up watching Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, and I turned out fine if I do say so myself. The job of art (using the word loosely) is not always to present things in a grey, wishy-washy way -- and thank God for that after how disastrous The Last Jedi was, and how poorly they handled any fucking particle of nuance. The job of a good parent is always to show their kids how to question things, to be curious, and cultivate independent thought. That's the best thing you can do for their mental immune system.

The asinine amount of competing interests from investors and everybody involved is certainly a huge problem, you're right about that Kamino. Most movies are just cesspools full of irrelevant, obnoxious marketing.
 

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