Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘trilogies

White Male Critic Asks Why If Wonder Woman Is Really So Great Why Didn’t She Prevent the Holocaust

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As I mentioned on Twitter earlier this morning, the hype turns out to be right: Wonder Woman is really pretty good, especially by the poor standards of the DC Cinematic Universe. DC would be absolutely crazy not to use Wonder Woman as the model for production going forward rather than Batman v. Superman or (god forbid) Suicide Squad; it’s the only one in the DCCU that has been remotely successful from either a political or artistic point of view. (A Twitter friend even suggested that this might be (another) way the film might replicate Captain America, beyond the obvious, templating future entries in the shared universe and becoming the new franchise anchor after a somewhat slow start.) It gives me hope that Wonder Woman (and, soon, Batgirl) can show DC there’s real money in female-oriented superheroes.

I’ll admit I did have some trouble with how obviously the film was cloning Captain America, and I don’t think this is mere pushing-up-your-glasses nerdery: World War II, and the Holocaust especially, hangs over the film in a really direct way, I think, and not only because of Gal Gadot’s Jewish ancestry and its place in the strange debate over whether or not this Wonder Woman qualifies as a woman of color. WWI vs WWII is not a situation where you can just change the dates and tell the same sort of triumphalist story; WWI is simply a very different sort of moment, and a WWI narrative mandates a sort of bitter aftertaste even at its most triumphant.

At least since Star Wars SF and fantasy trilogies have tended to follow a particular template:

  1. optimism
  2. disillusionment
  3. recuperation

The historical existence of World War II is the original and ultimate dark, gritty sequel, a nightmare that like so many filmic sequels was made possible by the conditions of victory of the first one. The choice to set Wonder Woman during WWI thus makes both WWII and WW2 its necessary extension, a situation the film itself even nods at by having its poison-gas-themed villainous Dr. Poison spared by Diana and escape at the end (presumably to help develop Zyklon-B somewhere down the line). Our foreknowledge of the Holocaust — and Wonder Woman’s own retrospective knowledge of it in the film’s unexpectedly quiet frame narrative — haunts the film’s apparently victorious climax, telling us immediately that there is something off or incomplete about her apparent defeat of the God of War: that in some way it was deceptive or incomplete, perhaps, or potentially that her seemingly liberatory victory over Ares only made things worse. The obligatory Empire-Strikes-Back dark turn of Wonder Woman 2 is built into the historical logic of the film’s WWI setting from the jump — and similarly makes any sort of final recuperative turn in WW3/WW3 somewhat hard to imagine. (Perhaps a temporarily pacifistic Diana Price using the spy look from the 1970s comic stops nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I’m just spitballing.)

Another Twitter friend had an idea for WW2 I thought was great, and wrote this longer post more or less entirely to popularize: a Wonder Woman film that sidesteps the stale supercharged-Nazi-demons angle in favor of street-level resistance in a Warsaw ghetto:

Depowered or in some other way hamstrung by the Spear of Destiny, perhaps, but still needing to make a difference where she can… In the same way that some MCU movies can be political thrillers and others can be heist movies, Wonder Woman 2 could be and should be a Holocaust film. Knowing nothing about screenwriting and caring nothing about money, I really think that’s the way to go.

‘I Could Have Read Past This Point in the Book in the Time It Takes Jackson to Show It’

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I spent that time pondering what it would have been like if earlier movies had so stingily dealt out their adventure stories: If Star Wars ended with Obi-Wan Kenobi saying, “That’s no moon — it’s a space station.” If Raiders of the Lost Ark closed will Salah shouting, “Indy! I can see the map room!” If Gremlins ended at 11:59 p.m.

How Much of The Hobbit Can You Read During the Running Time of The Hobbit?

Written by gerrycanavan

December 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

Links

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Seriously, I have pink eye. That’s just absurd. Here are some links.

* Utopia is now: curing cancer by virus.

* Dystopia is now: New York is talking about taxing Internet porn. What’s 4% of free?

* How the Crash will reshape America.

* Debt: The First Five Thousand Years. Via American Stranger.

* Salute to British comic creators.

* Is Final Crisis “the death knell of the ‘mad ideas’ school of comics writing”?

* Nate Silver tries to statisticize the Oscars.

* Goodbye, Dubai.

* And Candleblog directs us to the official Trilogy Meter. Pretty good, but they got Back to the Future 2 wrong; it’s not only better than the original, it’s the greatest cinematic achievement of all time.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm