Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Justice League vs. The Punisher

There's been some ruckus in the media lately regarding the new DC movie "Justice League" and the fact that it opened to a $97 million dollar first weekend box office. Ordinarily that wouldn't be so bad, but the thing cost almost $300 million bucks. Oops.

This is not a -terrible- movie. I saw it last night, and I did not feel I had been robbed of the ticket price. It was okay. Thor Ragnarok was better. Spiderman was better. Avengers was WAY better.

The problem with it was the same problem DC comics has in general, and DC comic movies always have: they don't respect the source material. The characters are not allowed any time to solve problems in the story, to show their individual nature. The things that work in the DC comics are not in the script or the characterizations. Instead the movie writers start from a blank page and put "their spin" on the iconic characters. That this does not work, ever, seems not to deter them from doing it every single time. See Fantastic Four, Batman vs. Superman

One other issue with the movie, is that the director spends quite a bit of time with up-skirt camera angles. Gal Gadot is a fine looking woman, but the views of her undercarriage were gratuitous, wildly out of place, and -detracted- from the portrayal of the character.

This last bit is key to understanding why modern Hollywood sucks, why these huge, megabudget movies keep crashing, and why it is a really bad idea to let guys like Harvey Weinstein work in your movie company. The highly accentuated up-the-kilt shot is a pr0nz-film standard. It doesn't belong in a movie kids are going to watch, and it doesn't belong in the portrayal of a heroic character. Wonder Woman is meant to be a virtuous paladin, protector of the realm. It does not help us see her that way when we keep seeing her ass taking up a full third of the screen.

So why is it there? Not by accident, for sure. These movies are planned in excruciating detail. There's a top level meeting on every single shot. They wanted that shot there, about 5 times in the first third of the movie if memory serves. I think they are perverts, and that is what -they- want to see. They think every other man in the world is a pervert too, and will also want to see that.

Sadly for them and their box-office, they are wrong. That's why Justice League is struggling. Too many of the creative decisions in the movie are wrong, because they're being made by calculating moral degenerates based on focus group data. By which I do not mean Christian, church-y morals necessarily. I just mean artistic integrity and the refusal to treat human beings like meat at a barbecue. The Wonder Woman movie was made with some integrity, as are the Marvel Avengers/Thor/etc. so we know it is possible.

Moving on to The Punisher, that series is another example of degeneracy and lack of integrity. With this thing, the error goes all the way back to the invention of the character in 1974. The Punisher character is a negative image of a super hero, an anti-Spiderman. The character does not add anything new to the comic book creation, merely takes what has previously been done and inverts it. It is a cannibalization of the creation, not an addition to it. Laziness, when you get right down to it.

The very creation of the character being a negative act, the TV show obviously follows in that path. Season One was very violent and grimdark, without much in the way of humor or humanity to it, but the writers and producers managed to make it watchable. I saw Season One and it was pretty much meh. Okay for TV, not great, not unwatchably bad.

This new season? This is a hipster propaganda film. Every single trope and issue that matters to the latte-sipping liberal Pajama Boy twinkies that infest New York City is here.

But worse, this is also psychological torture being performed on the viewer. Scenes of extreme violence are inter-cut with scenes of the character's family lives, with children playing, affectionate talks, etc.  As a technique for getting the viewer's attention it is very effective. Used once or twice for emphasis of a plot point or to underline characterization, it would be fine. Used as a hammer to pound the viewer in episode after episode, this is not fine.

Extreme violence, long loooong scenes of physical torture, soft core pr0nz sex scenes, this TV show is a beating, not an entertainment.

Worst of all, its boring. There's no point to any of it. I'm at episode nine, and I'm quitting now because I don't care a damn what happens to any of them.

Moral degenerates and sexual perverts do not make good art.

The Phantom


paladin3001 said...

Re: The Punisher
I always saw that character as a knockoff of Mack Bolan "The Executioner". Read them a lot growing up when I was gifted the first 39 from my grandfather. Only difference really between Bolan and Castle was that Bolan was more merciful and stayed on target always.

The Phantom said...

Salutations Paladin, I think you're giving them too much credit.

Even reading what the guys who wrote the story said, Castle is like a photo-negative of a hero. Dealing with bad guys by being worse than they are. Its a tempting idea, but the older I get the dumber it looks.

Showing that to kids in comics is corrosive. Culture is something that is made of stories. If you tell the wrong stories, the culture gets damaged.