Okay, so ever since the teaser trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropped, I have been obsessed with Namor the Sub-Mariner. Who’s that? This guy:
I mean, how could I not? He’s a very handsome dude who has pointy ears and ankle-wings, wears Casino Royale-esque green swim trunks and a bunch of jewelry, and radiates the intensity of a thousand burning suns. What’s not to like?
What I really like about him, though, is that he just seems so highly specific.
Okay, okay, I read VICE’s article, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Not Art,” today. I mean, the title is clearly clickbait, and the whole article itself is a lot of gatekeeping. And it draws an elitist line between “art” and “content” without really telling us what art should be. It reads like the screed of an angry 40-something guy who really wanted to insult the MCU and everyone who’s ever watched one of its films. And looking at the author Patrick Marlborough’s Twitter page, it seems like he is an angry 40-something guy who wants us all to leave the MCU and Star Wars behind and…watch Mad Men? Uh, okay, Patrick.
SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange, and What If…?.
Yes, I know I still need to react to the finale of Moon Knight, but I need to talk about Multiverse of Madness first. While it’s not exactly a bad film, it’s not Character First (a phrase that Kevin Feige has said before) like MCU films usually are. Instead, the concept and the images came first, so this film felt extremely shallow compared to other recent MCU efforts. My sister said MoM is basically the Cars 2 of the MCU. And she’s right.
See, when I heard that Sam Raimi was directing this film, I was hoping we’d get Spider-Man Sam Raimi. He created the model for the 21st century superhero film. But instead, we got Evil Dead and Army of Darkness Sam Raimi, who prefers to have shallow character development that supports his pulpy horror story and images. We also got Spider-Man 3 Sam Raimi, who wants to do as many things as possible in one film and ends up barely scratching the surface of the concepts he’s trying to tackle.
Okay, so we FINALLY got a trailer for the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series. I’m so excited! Obi-Wan is one of my favorite Star Wars characters and has been since I was seven years old. I’m glad that the rest of the Star Wars fanbase is excited for this show, too. Unlike Boba Fett, Obi-Wan is a major supporting character with an established personality, so he has an actual character to explore, especially when he’s now in the throes of defeat while the Empire is at its height.
However, I’m confused about the quote that most online Star Wars fans associate with Obi-Wan: “Hello, there!” …That’s it? Obi-Wan is the blueprint for most mentor characters in live-action speculative fiction, and the quote the fanbase most associates with him is a simple greeting?
What about “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” or “Mos Eisley: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious”? Or my very favorite: “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
Okay, so the finale of The Book of Boba Fett was fun, but that’s mainly because of the other characters in the story. Boba’s actual character arc still left a lot to be desired, and the finale helped me figure out what the story was missing.
Here’s what would have made The Book of Boba Fett a much stronger narrative:
SPOILERS for Episodes 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett.
Before I start writing this, I need to say that this post is not a knock on Temuera Morrison or his performance in this show. It’s about the limitations of Boba Fett’s character, and those limitations probably hinder the performance that Temuera can give. I think he’s doing his best with the writing he’s given!
Okay, so I was going to blog about how boring and surface-level The Book of Boba Fett. I made myself watch the first four episodes of this show, and they were so dull! When I was watching those episodes, my sister would occasionally poke her head in and say, “NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS!”
And she’s partly right. Most Star Wars fans did not ask for The Book of Boba Fett. But Boba has this weird cult following of people who REALLY want to watch and/or read about Boba having various adventures. Those people read a bunch of novels about Boba during the ’80s and ’90s, and they’ve been clamoring for a Boba Fett movie. So this show exists to placate them. I hope they enjoy it.
The thing is, Boba’s not meant to be a main character. He works best as a flashy visiting character because that’s what he’s always been. Boba shows up, looks cool, and does badass stuff. Then he leaves or falls into a Sarlacc pit. I think Boba should show up every so often in things like The Mandalorian, but he doesn’t have enough of an interior (or exterior) struggle to warrant an entire show about him.
That’s why I loved Episodes 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett. Instead of focusing on the (honestly rather dull) underworld of Mos Espa, it revisits characters that we love and that have some sort of struggle going on. Our friend the Mandalorian is missing his adopted child Grogu and struggling with the fundamentalist ideas of the rather extreme Mandalorian culture he was raised in. Cobb Vanth struggles to keep his town safe on a planet that inherently attracts dangerous criminals and outlaws.
Boba Fett, on the other hand, wants to be a respectful crime lord because…why not? And he went native with the Tuskens. Okay? That’s not an interesting struggle. The only interesting things was that the Tuskens were yet again humanized after years of George Lucas treating them as a violent “other” type of people. (Newsflash: George Lucas has never been good at representation.)
SPOILERS for many works,including Star Wars, Hawkeye,Loki, and other things.
I wrote a blog in the first half of 2020 about how Rey and Captain Marvel aren’t Mary Sues. Since then, I’ve seen people call other recent female characters Mary Sues. This is particularly true for Sylvie in Loki. I think this phenomenon goes on because our society is afraid of capable women and we want to separate ourselves from fans who like those characters. Also, I think many of us just can’t wrap our heads around the concept that female characters can fulfill fantasies for women, not for men.
I began thinking about this topic again after I watched the first two episodes of Hawkeye. During those episode, I found myself really enjoying the character of Kate Bishop. She’s wealthy, pretty, clever, funny, and extremely capable in combat. All of sudden, I began to worry: Are people going to slap the term “Mary Sue” onto Kate Bishop and use that term as an excuse to dislike her?
My brother told me recently that some people on the internet believe that Carol Danvers should fight Yon-Rogg at the end of Captain Marvel. When he told me that, my immediate reaction was “NOPE. NOPENOPENOPE.”
Why did I react so negatively to that idea? Because Carol fighting Yon-Rogg (the man who manipulated and gaslit her for six years) one-on-one would completely defeat one of the movie’s major points.
And what is that point? That Carol doesn’t have to conform to Yon-Rogg’s rules or standards. She makes her rules and her own decisions. She will no longer deal with his or anyone else’s gaslighting.
Resolving Carol’s story with a one-on-one fight with her supposed mentor would only conform to straight white fanboys’ expectations for how heroes’ origin stories must resolve. But Captain Marvel is a movie that actively defies their expectations, which part of the reason that those members of the MCU fandom don’t like this movie very much. Let’s break down why Carol’s refusal to fight Yon-Rogg one-on-one is the right decision for this narrative’s conclusion.
Okay, folks. We are one month away from the election that could save or damn the United States’ soul. We just had the presidential debates. I did not watch them, though I saw some clips from it on social media. Instead, I read Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. She’s Donald Trump’s niece, and she’s a psychologist who specializes in trauma, so she has a lot of fascinating insights about her awful uncle and her family at large. (To sum up: Donald Trump and his siblings are very strange people who were raised by a sociopath and his emotionally needy wife. They don’t trust or even like each other.) Between reading this book and just paying any attention to Trump’s antics over the past four years, I realized he reminds me of several prominent fictional characters.
Before I begin, I want to point out that these character are similar to Trump, but they are not exactly like him. In fact, I plan to point out the differences between Trump and these characters as well as the similarities.
For the unititiated, “Mary Sue” is a fandom term for original female characters that pop up in fan fiction and who are too ridiculously perfect to be believable. A Mary Sue is often incredibly beautiful and talented, with an incredible singing voice, and back when I started out in online fandom (circa 2005), she often seduced Legolas or the Phantom of the Opera. Mary Sues are reviled in fandom because they are signs of bad writing. However, I have recently realized that this hatred for the Mary Sue character type is sexist, especially since I’ve seen the term applied to two mainstream aspirational heroines: Rey and Captain Marvel.