Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF #13 Political Conflict in Marvel and DC

 

I’m back with the second part of my long conversation with my friend Pete Spiliakos. We talked about girls becoming women in despite of society in ’80s movies last time. In the most surprising way, Pete picked horror movies to show social and psychological realism. Well, he hit it out of the park there, but then our conversation veered to the aesthetic, dramatic art and the political implications of the new business model of sequels and franchises. Like it or not, in an age of sequels and franchises, it’s no longer feasible to ignore the problem of sucky sequels.

You get a bit of Hollywood history of the last two generations. You get Pete’s “margin of suckitude” theory. You get commentary that moves from plot to philosophy and backwards to show what’s going on in popular entertainment. You get Pete’s “first Avenger test” to assess the worth of superhero movies. And you get my ideas about how critics should help writers improve their work. 

By the way: What movie sequels are superior to the originals? I know Wrath of Khan. What else?

There are 37 comments.

  1. Percival Thatcher

    The Godfather II, which took some doing because was so good.

    • #1
    • September 8, 2017, at 6:09 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Judge Mental Member

    Earliest example… Bride of Frankenstein.

    • #2
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:15 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Both good examples. Telling, too, that Percy goes with the somber, not to say impressive, & Judge goes with the–hey, Judge, are we talmbout the Boris Karloff movie?

    • #3
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:41 PM PST
    • Like
  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    I think a consensus opinion is, The empire strikes back is superior to the first Star Wars movie. Probably right. I think the third Iron man was better than the previous or inevitably subsequent–probably not the consensus view.

    • #4
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:45 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Judge Mental Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Both good examples. Telling, too, that Percy goes with the somber, not to say impressive, & Judge goes with the–hey, Judge, are we talmbout the Boris Karloff movie?

    Is there another Bride of Frankenstein? I’m talking about the Universal horror classic, better in every way than the original, starting with production quality and moving on to casting, story line and the meaning behind it. It’s even far more faithful to the original novel in explaining the motivations of the fiend.

    • #5
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Judge Mental Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    I think a consensus opinion is, The empire strikes back is superior to the first Star Wars movie. Probably right. I think the third Iron man was better than the previous or inevitably subsequent–probably not the consensus view.

    No, it’s not. The first one is better, up until the evil corporate villain at the end, but that’s the least important part of it. It’s Stark’s journey up until then that makes it interesting.

    • #6
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Judge Mental Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    I think a consensus opinion is, The empire strikes back is superior to the first Star Wars movie. Probably right. I think the third Iron man was better than the previous or inevitably subsequent–probably not the consensus view.

    No, it’s not. The first one is better, up until the evil corporate villain at the end, but that’s the least important part of it. It’s Stark’s journey up until then that makes it interesting.

    Okay, I just hit the part of the podcast where you guys sort of agree with what is above. Although I wouldn’t say his story is done when he leaves Afghanistan, but with what he does with that experience after he comes back. It ends when he transforms himself into Iron Man. He doesn’t need the fight at the end.

    • #7
    • September 8, 2017, at 7:59 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Percival Thatcher

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    I think a consensus opinion is, The empire strikes back is superior to the first Star Wars movie. Probably right. I think the third Iron man was better than the previous or inevitably subsequent–probably not the consensus view.

    No, it’s not. The first one is better, up until the evil corporate villain at the end, but that’s the least important part of it. It’s Stark’s journey up until then that makes it interesting.

    The evil corporate villain at the end of The Empire Strikes Back was Lucasfilm.

    • #8
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:12 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Judge Mental Member

    I hate these players. I tried to pause it and it decided I was done listening. It won’t let me skip to the part I want, so if I want to hear the last 15 minutes I have to listen to the first 40 again.

    Sigh.

    • #9
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:12 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I hate these players. I tried to pause it and it decided I was done listening. It won’t let me skip to the part I want, so if I want to hear the last 15 minutes I have to listen to the first 40 again.

    Sigh.

    Hit the Download symbol (the arrow pointing at the horizontal line) and then load it in whatever player you like and you can bounce all over the place.

    • #10
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:14 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Judge Mental Member

    I wanted to include the one redeeming scene from Iron Man 2.

    • #11
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:16 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Judge Mental Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I hate these players. I tried to pause it and it decided I was done listening. It won’t let me skip to the part I want, so if I want to hear the last 15 minutes I have to listen to the first 40 again.

    Sigh.

    Hit the Download symbol (the arrow pointing at the horizontal line) and then load it in whatever player you like and you can bounce all over the place.

    Danke.

    • #12
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:19 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. BThompson Inactive

    Rocky II and Terminator 2 were both solid sequels. Not as good as the originals, but very worthy companions that still had a lot of heart and well drawn character arcs. Successfully humanizing the Terminator in T2 was a great way to follow up the original, and Rocky’s struggles to handle his new fame and success was an interesting and well depicted theme in Rocky II.

    • #13
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Judge Mental Member

    The Avengers will never be a cohesive group, because of the four real members (setting aside Hawkeye and Black Widow, who are useless without the rest), one of them only cares about problems that start and end on Asgard, and another is… let’s just say, profoundly unreliable.

    • #14
    • September 8, 2017, at 8:40 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):I think the third Iron man was better than the previous or inevitably subsequent–probably not the consensus view.

    No, it’s not. The first one is better, up until the evil corporate villain at the end, but that’s the least important part of it. It’s Stark’s journey up until then that makes it interesting.

    That’s also what Pete says. It’s true. But I’m for the whole movie.

    • #15
    • September 9, 2017, at 2:53 AM PST
    • Like
  16. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I hate these players. I tried to pause it and it decided I was done listening. It won’t let me skip to the part I want, so if I want to hear the last 15 minutes I have to listen to the first 40 again.

    Sigh.

    Soundcloud? No, that skips wherever you want no problem. I do it all the time!

    • #16
    • September 9, 2017, at 2:54 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Also, it doesn’t decide you’re done if you press pause. IT just has a stupid screen. There’s an x in the top right corner that gets you back to where you were…

    • #17
    • September 9, 2017, at 2:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    The Avengers will never be a cohesive group, because of the four real members (setting aside Hawkeye and Black Widow, who are useless without the rest), one of them only cares about problems that start and end on Asgard, and another is… let’s just say, profoundly unreliable.

    That’s one reason I think this could be great. I think the enmities go far deeper & I think young American men should be exposed to tech war, to the kind of Ares-like madness of Hulk, to the love of glory of a half-barbarian like Thor, & to the strange morality Americans bring to war with the Cap.

    Had someone given me a whip to take to those writers, you’d all be grumbling’bout the intellectualism now, but you’d love the varieties of manliness that can fit in an action comedy…

    Of course, the woman hero would have to go. Hawkeye would have to be a cowboy-indian. The Westerns would face up to the sci-fi era. Dunno quite how, but I’m not getting paid millions, so I don’t urgently wanna solve the problem. Is there a seventh or couldn’t they scrounge one up?

    • #18
    • September 9, 2017, at 3:04 AM PST
    • Like
  19. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I hate these players. I tried to pause it and it decided I was done listening. It won’t let me skip to the part I want, so if I want to hear the last 15 minutes I have to listen to the first 40 again.

    Sigh.

    Judge, I don’t like to download as recommended by M le chevalier, but if you use the forward and backward arrow keys on the site player, soundcloud jumps you forward or back 5 seconds.

    I also hate that soundcloud doesn’t like it when I pause… but the arrow keys make me grumble less.

    • #19
    • September 9, 2017, at 5:58 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Judge Mental Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    I also hate that soundcloud doesn’t like it when I pause… but the arrow keys make me grumble less.

    Titus’ previous comment was correct; I just tried it. The screen that comes up when you hit pause is not the main screen, just an overlay. If you close that overlay, the player screen reappears. But it’s not at all intuitive. It’s what we in the biz used to call a crappy interface.

    • #20
    • September 9, 2017, at 6:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. Profile Photo Member

    The Road Warrior.

    • #21
    • September 9, 2017, at 7:50 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    BD1 (View Comment):
    The Road Warrior.

    Good one! The original really could have just been the first act to Road Warrior… I suppose, really, it was, being such a small, tentative production. Far too long for its purposes, but effective emotionally. The mood that corresponds to desolation does sink in…

    • #22
    • September 9, 2017, at 8:49 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Spider-man 2 was the only good one, no?

    • #23
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:00 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Judge Mental Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Spider-man 2 was the only good one, no?

    I don’t know. Origin stories are considered obligatory for a reason.

    • #24
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:14 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Judge Mental Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Spider-man 2 was the only good one, no?

    I don’t know. Origin stories are considered obligatory for a reason.

    Better than original, I’ll grant.

    • #25
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Spider-man 2 was the only good one, no?

    I don’t know. Origin stories are considered obligatory for a reason.

    Better than original, I’ll grant.

    I can explain that easily. Americans are curious why some should be worshiped when most are ignored & considered purely interchangeable. Then again, there is also a desire to prove that in their origin, heroes are like anyone else. That no one is important in himself. No one really matters. It’s the anti-Hemingway attitude. The opposite of The old man & the sea.

    • #26
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Judge Mental Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Spider-man 2 was the only good one, no?

    I don’t know. Origin stories are considered obligatory for a reason.

    Better than original, I’ll grant.

    I can explain that easily. Americans are curious why some should be worshiped when most are ignored & considered purely interchangeable. Then again, there is also a desire to prove that in their origin, heroes are like anyone else. That no one is important in himself. No one really matters. It’s the anti-Hemingway attitude. The opposite of The old man & the sea.

    Or it’s just that the journey is more important than the destination. Becoming Iron Man is more interesting that being Iron Man.

    • #27
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:25 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    I think there’s something to what you say, but it is provably wrong ultimately. Americans love taking property over stories by their loyalty. They don’t care for new heroes; they obsess over a rather small number, who have a small number of origin stories…

    • #28
    • September 9, 2017, at 9:29 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Profile Photo Member

    The arc of the Toy Story movies. The movies are at their heart about Woody’s possessive love of Andy. It’s what gives those last minutes of Toy Story 3 their power. Woody first has to reconcile himself to a shared place with Buzz. Then he has the opportunity to be part of a collection but chooses to stay with Andy despite being specifically warned that Andy will outgrow him. And finally, the moment arrives for Andy to go to college and Woody has to reconcile himself. That last scene is Woody’s faith and love vindicated and it doesn’t have the heartbreaking end that came with Jessie and Emily.

    It’s why the idea of Toy Story 4 is a crime.

    • #29
    • September 9, 2017, at 1:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    You’re right about toy story.

    I’d add the obvious, it’s a pained suggestion that American kids treat their parents as though they’re toys.

    • #30
    • September 9, 2017, at 2:53 PM PST
    • Like