Yep. Welcome to the London Graphic Novel Network Film Club’s 2021 in Review.
(Sound of cheering and applause).
Oh. Thank you.
For those of you who haven’t played before – Here are the rules:
1. Yes. You can talk about any film you like
It doesn’t need to have come out this year. It doesn’t even have to be something that you liked. If there was a film that you really hated then you can talk about that. Or maybe you felt massively lukewarm about it. The only real requirement is that it’s something that you’ve seen in this past year and there’s something you want to say about it. (You’re also welcome to lobby for any particular film that you feel like the LGNN Film Club should do in the future if you feel like it…).
2. Name the film in bold at the start of what you write
That way if someone wants to see it and they don’t wanna get spoiled then they can just skip over it with no harm done. (Also if you can find some images from the film and include them – then that would be cool too).
3. Please don’t just recount the plot instead: tell us what you think
Instead of just writing a synopsis (yawn) try this – Talk about what you liked (or didn’t like) about it. But grabbed you / what left you cold. What it did well / what it could have done better. How it made you feel. What kind of things it made you think about. All that good stuff.
4. If someone else has already mentioned a film then don’t worry – that’s ok
This isn’t a first come / first served thing. If someone else has mentioned a film then it’s not off the table – you can still write about it all you want. Ideally we don’t just want lots of solipsistic thoughts floating separately from each other so yeah – if someone mentions a film and you have a differing view please feel free to share (just you know obviously – try to play nice).
5. If you want to talk about a film that the LGNN Film Club has already done then that’s cool too
I’ve often been told that three weeks is never long enough. So if we talked about a particular film at some point in the past and you felt like there was stuff you wanted to say about it that you didn’t get a chance to say – then now’s the time… Go crazy.
If you’re still a little unsure how it works please feel free to look at how we’ve done it in the past:
So. I think that’s it. Hopefully should be fun and interesting and a cool time for everyone (that’s the idea anyway).
The rest is up to you.
Home Alone 2
Directed by Chris Columbus
Two boring opinions about Home Alone 2 are firstly that it is horrifically violent – these sentiments were made by the original reviews back in 1992 – and that Kevin Mccallister is a sadistic sociopath and is in fact the real bad guy of the film.
What is more interesting is that Kevin is not a sociopath, it is just that the movie goes out of its way to make space to legitimise his violence. The movie strains to stack up the odds. As the title implies Kevin is alone, and by the third act he is also technically on the run from the police. He is no longer subject to home invasion but instead in the big bad city. The armed criminals already have a pre-established grudge against him and not only are they out to get him, but they are on the run from prison, and are going to rob a children’s toy shop, on Christmas, and the profits from the toy shop we’re going to a children’s hospital. Lastly they don’t have to walk in to his many traps. At any point they could have just gone about their business.
Having established the righteous cause of white middle class suburbia versus the New York underclass the movie proceeds to have the boy cheerfully bludgeon, electrocute, and set fire to these functionally invincible villains before letting the fall off a roof on to the sidewalk below in a manner that would not be out of place in a movie about brutal gangland killings. The result of this vigilante punishment is that Kevin ends the movie in a luxury hotel surrounded by his grateful family and a mountain of presents, while the victims of his extra-judicial Saw-esque schemes are returned to prison.
It is worth noting at this point that despite all the heavy lifting it is clear that Kevin is far from alone. His mother is yards away during the entire third act, he has the help of the police and a toy store owner and a bird lady. The house he uses belongs to friends of his. It also be noted that he had already forced the Criminals to attack him by taking pictures of them committing the robbery. He is not a sociopath, he is just convinced of his position as the righteous victim even as he wields his social capital to devastating effect.
Looking at the era it was made Home Alone 2 is responding to 2 weird fantasies. Firstly, in 1992, New York was still recovering from a brutal attack on a white female jogger in Central Park. The accused perpetrators were unsupervised black teenage boys and during their prosecution they were compelled to confess under police interrogation while Donald Trump (who famously cameos in this movie) joined fellow liberals in calling for the harshest penalties in the media, amid stories of “feral” youth. It took over 20 years for these scapegoats to see some form of justice as the NYPD escalated their permanent war against black youth.
Home Alone provides much-needed reassurance as the white teenage boy faces his final showdown with the criminals in Central Park. Alone, vulnerable, but undaunted he finally teaches the criminals the error of their ways, before the police intervene. It’s OK good people, you too can win against the underclass if you stand your ground. Go back to bed America.
Secondly this is also in the era of the Gulf War, another story of a righteous and weary American reluctantly intervening because a villain did not know his place. Again the narrative is that a horrible torturous dictator is invading another country and has not realised the terrible justice that they must face for stepping out of line. The justice of the Gulf War is unimpeachable because even the smart missiles only hurt bad guys, and as far as history is concerned not a single innocent person was harmed. Saddam gets his comeuppance, but is not killed, and normalcy is restored, so that Americans can return to their families surrounded by gifts from a grateful world.
Kevin, like the American state, only resorts to horrifying and irresistible violence when all other avenues are explored, and even then it is clear that the baddies could simply have given up at any time. Their monopoly on the legitimate use of violence to keep less enlightened people in line is their burden, and their vast wealth is the meagre wages for carrying this load.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Directed by Jon Watts
*MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR NO WAY HOME FOLLOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*
The secret sauce of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is actually pretty simple: actors from one movie appearing in another movie.
On the face of it this seems very obvious and not really the sort of thing which appears that difficult to replicate. Part of the trick lies in making sure that you’re actually making movies that people want to see (sorry Universal Dark Universe) and making movies that don’t end up giving the majority of people who see them a headache (sorry Zack Snyder).
But yeah I won’t deny that there is a sick, beautiful and twisted thrill (I believe it’s spelt “Squee“?) seeing famous actors from other Spider-Man films show up in the new Spider-Man film. OMG! It’s Alfred Molina as Doc Ock! It’s Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin! (Whoever decided to get him to smash his stupid mask in his first scene has my undying admiration btw even if was a total no-brainer. LET THE MAN COOK). And Jamie Foxx as… Jamie Foxx. And some CGI that looks vaguely like Thomas Haden Church! Oh boy. It’s the magic of movies!
And then of course Andrew Garfield rocks up (looking vaguely embarrassed) and OMFG Tobey Maguire (looking incredibly worn out) and there’s whooping in the cinema as if the prodigal sons have returned. Except it’s just – rich actors playing dress up. Like: if you want to see Andrew Garfied and Tobey Maguire in a movie – there’s lots of options to choose from. Under the Silver Lake is like 5 hours long. Fill your boots.
Except that’s not quite it is it? We don’t really care about the actors. It’s not Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. It’s what they represent. It’s the idea.
(In this case the idea is that they’re all Spider-Man).
I was actually incredibly pleasantly surprised how much No Way Home appears to be a movie that’s very obsessed by the idea of ideas. I mean most of the time superhero movies tend to go for some subtle variation of “How do we Kill the Bad Guys?” and yet hats off to the filmmakers for making a movie that pays more than lip service to the idea of “How do we Help the Bad Guys?” (or as they so beautifully put it: “Let’s Cure Some Ass”).
(Was this included on the official soundtrack? I didn’t get a chance to check).
One interesting aspect of the metaphysics that the movie obviously glosses over is – what is the ontological state of the Spider-Man Bad Guys that Peter Parker, Peter Parker and Peter Parker spend some much time and energy trying to help? That is to say – on what level of reality do the Spider-Man Bad Guys exist?
The first option is that due to the Wizard’s magic each Spider-Man Bad Guy was somehow pulled into the No Way Home Reality (technically I think it’s called Earth 199999? but whatever) at the very instant before their death? Which erm means that the whole struggle of the Peter Parkers to cure / fix them was ultimately pointless because it means as soon as they get sent back to their original realities – they die. (Oh dear).
Although the second option is that due to the Wizard’s magic each Spider-Man Bad Guy is actually a manifestation of the idea of each Bad Guy (which would help to explain why Doc Ock looks so fresh faced and why the Green Goblin looks like… well… looks like Willem Dafoe (no offence dude!)). That is to say Doctor Strange’s magic has simply pulled in the platonic forms of each character. Which yeah ok might be a little bit deep for a Marvel movie but totally fits with the information we’re given (and helps it to make more sense in my head).
The only problem with this second option tho is that erm it kinda means that… (coughs) the whole struggle of the Peter Parkers to cure / fix them was ultimately pointless because it means they’re not really dealing with real human beings – they’re just dealing with the idea of real human beings. You know erm like – (what would be a good metaphor?) like… well – characters in a movie!
And here is what I found really interesting about No Way Home is that regardless of whether you think Option one or Option 2 is correct the movie seems to be putting forward the idea that it matters very much how you treat other people. Even if they’re going to die. Even if they’re not really people at all.
I realise that maybe this is a bit of a reach but No Way Home seems like it’s making the point that actually if you want to be a Good Guy then that means you need to try and do the difficult thing and try and help evil Willem Dafoe even as he’s spitting insults in your face and trying to stab you. Which yeah I don’t know – feels like the sort of morality that I can get behind. And works as a nice bit of counter programming to the usual “How do we Kill the Bad Guys?” thing (thank you Disney Corporation!)
(As Aunt May so nicely puts it “With great power there must also come great responsibility” which is another nice idea. And hey – maybe superheroes aren’t the only people who have great power? Like – how much power do you have? Maybe the power to be kind is greater than you think?).
The final part of the beauty of No Way Home I think lies in the ending and Peter Parker’s (the baby faced one) decision to have the idea of himself wiped from everyone’s memory which yeah is mostly done to set us up for the next Spider-Man movie obviously but also kinda touches on something a little bit terrifying and hardcore. Namely – oh wow: maybe we’re just ideas too? In that – maybe the idea that people have of you is an incredibly important part of who we are? The movie kinda nudges this a little in the scene by Aunt May’s gravestone where Mike from Swingers talks about whether the ideas that we represent last after we die. (“If you help someone, you help everyone” is a beautiful sentiment no?)
(The power is in your hands etc).
I’ve gotta say it feels strangely reassuring to see such a large-scale big budget Marvel superhero movie touch upon these questions and these ideas. And yeah ok – maybe this is all just a consequence of large-scale multinational franchise logic but I still think it’s kinda beautiful (you can almost see the business meeting where Kevin Feige clicked his fingers and said “Hey – what about if we started getting in actors from other movies?” The point where we finally see Star Wars meets the Marvel Universe gets closer every day. Phase 6 I’m guessing?). But yeah – be kind. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s a good idea. Not just for other people.
But also for the idea of yourself.
West Side Story 2021
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Massive spoilers for Romeo and Juliet!!
One of my many worrying habits is I like to walk while listening to soundtracks, and I find when I do this it makes everything seem more meaningful. I used to work in Westminster and commuting there while listening to the Dark Knight music was a big mood, but a little too like goose-stepping to Wagner for me to be completely comfortable with. Much more healthy to stare out of a bus window on a rainy day listening to Vangelis’ amazing Bladerunner score.
However if you want music just for doing the chores then I can highly recommend the incidental music from West Side Story, it is just peculiarly uplifting and positive, while maintaining that orchestral significance. It’s hard to appreciate because many of the songs are trying so hard to be entertaining that they get in their own way, but it really is a great soundtrack. Even *America* which feels a little on the nose for me has some amazing little flourishes.
And this is part of the problem with Spielberg’s West Side Story – every scene has some nice flourishes, but it just doesn’t hang together as a movie. It is more like if someone gave you £10m to produce a school play, it’s still just showing off for a very specific audience who would have been happy anyway. Spielberg says the original was one of the films that inspired him to become a film-maker and my first reaction is “really, that film?” I mean it was fine, but hardly a groundbreaking piece of cinema. But I think what it is hard to appreciate is the ubiquity of musicals during a certain time and their status that is probably occupied by superhero films now. Therefore anything that stands out may well have seemed revolutionary.
The scope of musicals was often very ambitious, given that on the face of it, it was just some people jumping around. Singing in the Rain is a satire of Hollywood; Mary Poppins is about childlike delight and imagination; and Top Hat is the under-acknowledged prequel to Top Gun. West Side Story is influential not just because of the great score and dense lyrics but because it takes on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and tries to make it socially relevant at the same time. It’s just a shame that it is not very good at doing that.
To get in to this issue of contemporary relevance for a moment, I understand that it must be hard to get 15 year olds, who don’t like reading anything, to read Shakespeare, and to care about the plot. Like many before and since I was forced to watch Westside Story at school, ignoring the fact that the only thing that makes 50s America more relevant to me than medieval Venice is that I’ve seen the show Happy Days, it was used to demonstrate how I, as a dumb teenager, could relate to Shakespeare’s themes and characters. Teachers were obsessed with this, which is why we had to read Othello to show that he understood racism, and probably Midsummer Night’s Dream to show he understood about crazy fairy magic. Even in Politics degree you have to read Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte essay because it gets in to what the state is and lecturers assume undergrads can’t tell the difference between politics and government. By building a bridge to Shakespeare through the medium of song and dance, English teachers everywhere are grateful to Sondheim and Bernstein for their work.
But here is the thing, maybe I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet for a while but the rivalry between the Montagues and Capulets and the resultant murders seems to be entirely different situations from the Jets and the Sharks. Just taking one of the most famous lines in English literature:
“Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;”
So in my non-radical interpretation basically is that there is no fucking difference between Romeo and Juliet other than the historic feud between families. Ultimately it is the families who force the tragedy as their love is forbidden and Juliet is forced it to a different marriage with Paris. The stupid rivalry of the families leads to (spoilers!), double teen suicide and mild necrophelia, as my English teacher inexplicably lingered on. These two eternal soulmates ripped apart because of small differences when ultimately what united then was infinitely larger is a textbook definition of tragedy, imitated by Maverick and Goose, Deckard and Rachel, Joker and Batman.
Tony and Maria are also in a tricky situation, but it just is not the same. The big difference is that the Jets are white and the Sharks are Puerto Rican migrants. They may both be struggling in New York and fighting over the same shrinking bit of turf even as it becomes gentrified, but they are categorically different, with different cultures, lived experiences and backgrounds. That’s not to say they should not date or that the racial hatred is justified but it’s not just about a name. Juliet says Romeo could just stop being a Montague and the material differences to his life would be marginal, but Tony cannot just call himself Puerto Rican or stop being white.
Secondly there is no inevitable force driving these deaths. There were multiple off-ramps for all the characters including Tony and Maria who have way more agency than Romeo and Juliet. Ultimately it is not Tony’s undying love that puts him in harms way but inability to stand up to his gang mates or indeed Maria who, after a lot of big talk about how much she loves him, sends him to a gangland “rumble”. This rumble was at a pre-arranged place and time, if I did not want to get caught up in one I would simply not attend.
Lastly, Tony and Maria *might* have been soulmates but that is not really established in the film. There are a couple of songs and some longing looks; but they aren’t exactly finishing each other’s sandwiches. Their love is never really tested beyond a bit of sneaking around. So when Tony dies you feel bad, but it is not a epoch defining tragedy, he doesn’t die defending Maria or turning his back on his community, he is shot because he fucking killed a guy! Meanwhile Maria doesn’t kill herself in grief or get gunned down with him, she is not star-crossed, she just has baggage.
Spielberg making a glossy imitation of an ageing musical inspired by a classic play feels like too many steps removed from whatever the point of the story was, and it shows. The best song “Something’s coming” is about Tony’s optimism for the future. It appears 10 minutes in to the runtime and then his life, much like the film, all goes rapidly downhill from there.
The Matrix Resurrections
Directed by Lana Wachowski
*MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS FOLLOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*
We open with the sound of booing.
I had such high hopes for The Matrix Resurrections. Really I did.
I read somewhere that it was the Anti-Sequel Sequel. There was something fishy about the first trailer and vague hints that the actual film was going to be pretty gonzo. Think I saw someone say that it looked like at one point in the trailer they were actually watching footage of the original Matrix. What can I say? My curiosity was piqued…
Just for the record: the original first Matrix movie is still one of the best things ever. Yes it’s weird that they’re wearing so much leather but the soundtrack covers it up so well you don’t even have to think about the fact that they probably squeak every time they walk around. Speed Racer is (hands down) one of my favourite movies ever (I tried to write about it here but don’t think I ever managed to do it any justice: if you’ve never seen already then just watch it for heaven’s sake and enjoy the candy-coloured rollercoaster ride). Oh and Cloud Atlas is… a fucking experience. I mean yeah ok it starts slow and there’s bits that makes my toes curl to watch (those poor actors) and yet in that final third when it’s doing things with editing that would make Christopher Nolan giddy is pretty much actually transcendent.
But the other hand: The Matrix sequels are godawful no matter what anyone says. Like being trapped at a party by someone who’s read lots of books about everything but has never heard of people skills (“Why do people ask you if you’re ok when they don’t really care if you’re ok?”). Jupiter Ascending had very small moments of brilliance (“Time is the single most precious commodity in the universe”) and an indelible performance from Eddie Redmayne (That voice! Those puckered lips!) but was ruined by…. well: the rest of the movie. Like dropping a diamond necklace into a pile of dogshit. And yeah I watched one episode of Sense 8 and then gave up.
So you know – I was very aware that Resurrections could go either way. It could be some kind of next level higher plane of consciousness genius or (uh oh) a messy confusing waste of time.
Sadly – it was the latter.
Don’t get me wrong. For a while there things seemed promising. The idea of an older Neo resigned to blue pill life is an interesting one. So is the idea of mini-Matrixes. Or the idea ever so briefly floated right at the start that The Matrix is out of date. Plus the idea that there’s a programme that’s half-Morpheus and half-Smith. Or the idea that we’re watching The original Matrix play out but that’s it some kind of trap. Or the idea that The Matrix is actually just a trauma response from a guy who couldn’t handle the real world. And god – I don’t know – about a dozen other ideas the movie throws up into the air in the first 40 minutes or so.
“Oh my god – where is this going?” I asked myself with a kinda gleeful anticipation. Here was the anti-sequel sequel I was hoping for. What if the original Matrix movie was the trap? What if it was just growing the idea of dissent in the audience in order to keep us even more trapped? What if Neo completely refused to take the red pill and instead decided to save the day by not rejecting reality? But if Morpheus was actually the bad guy all along? Leading us into a world of violence and punching when the actual solutions require more love and empathy? Or maybe everything is a Matrix and there is no good choice?
From my seat in the front row it felt like all of these questions were up in the air and the movie had the potential to go anywhere and do something really mind-expanding. The Matrix as directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Perhaps culminating in a scene like Blazing Saddles where Neo and Trinity grab hands and jump out of the screen into worlds unknown. That’s cool. I could have got on board with that kinda thing.
Instead what we get is… a kinda played out action movie? Where none of the character’s goals really feel like they make any sense and they’re just moving around the board for no real reason? Something something Trinity? And Agent Smith is good now because of erm reasons? Expect then he’s bad again? And he’s controlling The Swarm? Or is it Neil Patrick Harris? And now Trinity can fly for some reason? Oh and they’re going to paint the sky with rainbows even tho it doesn’t really make a difference to anything? In fact that really should be the tagline for the whole movie: It Doesn’t Really make a Difference to Anything expect oh my god maybe they won’t let the Wachowskis make movies anymore? (Or maybe Lilly is the talented one?)
Because let me be clear here: this is a pretty shitty movie. Even in the way it looks. God the original Matrix was over 20 years ago and had a much smaller budget and yet everything about it looked crisp and clear and clean. Every frame a painting. The camera taking it’s time and making sure every single shot was instantly iconic. I mean – what is bullet time apart from a way to make sure that you really get to enjoy and luxuriate in every single moment. Let’s make a jump last 10 seconds. Let’s take things slow. Let’s make sure you get to enjoy every single punch and twitch of the hand.
And then you have The Matrix Resurrections and everything just looks – muddy and messy and completely unclear. It felt like every single shot was taken from the wrong angle. Nothing looks nice. Nothing feels good. There’s none of that sense of kinetic joy that the first Matrix provides. Hell I mean – even The Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix Revolutions had a certain sense of sharpness to them. In comparison Resurrections just feels like someone dropped the camera in the mud and the lenses got smashed and the camera person got drunk. There’s no music to it. Just this endless leaden rolling around.
By the end there’s not much left to say apart from “I want my money back.”
Like – there was so much potential and so much they could have done with this movie. It seemed as if they had quite a lot of creative freedom and could literally say whatever they wanted and they just kinda… squandered it and made a really lacklustre and sluggish movie that’ll make your butt itch as you watch it and checking the time on your phone to see how much more time is left.
Of course the really beautiful trick that this type of movie ends up pulling on people is in making you think it’s shit on purpose. I’ve already seen a few takes here and there saying something like “oh yeah the fact that this action scene feels so muddled and borderline incoherent is because it’s showing how The Matrix has moved on” to which I can only and loudly say – bullshit. When you watch a movie it should entertain you. It should shock you and thrill you and move you and take you on an emotional and intellectual ride. And if it doesn’t do those things then it doesn’t mean that the movie was actually secretly good and you need to read a think piece to really understand it or whatever – it means you got robbed. The Matrix has taken you for a ride and the only thing it gave you in return was a headache.
Oh well. I’m looking forward to the Matrix: Reboot at least.
AND ANOTHER THING!
*YES THIS STILL CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS. SORRY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED ETC*
Yes. I have more thoughts on The Matrix Resurrections. I know (oh boy).
(So erm – maybe we can call this The Matrix Resurrections Resurrection?)
For those of you who haven’t seen it (and yeah I wouldn’t recommend it) there’s a scene where Neo wakes up in the “real world” and meets the new of the new ship who erm all look exactly like you’d expect….
Kinda grungy. Very alternative. Lots of tattoos and short hair. Like refugees from late 90s Camden. Or you know in other words – they look like they’re the good guys in a Matrix movie.
And what can I say? I mean – I wasn’t particularly surprised but I was a little disappointed. After all up until that point The Matrix Resurrections had set itself up as being this whole break with tradition thing. It was the Matrix sequel that was interrogating what a Matrix sequel was supposed to do and be. I mean it even has people talking about bullet time etc.
Honest to god – there was a part of me that was expecting / hoping for Neo to wake up and be greeted by a ship full of ordinary looking people. There’s a slightly overweight guy who looks like he works in a bank. There’s a slightly nervous middle aged housewife who likes to knit. There’s a young couple who wear matching sweaters. Or something. I don’t know. I mean hell – even the original Matrix crew looked more normal when you saw them in the real world…
But maybe – amidst all of the things that The Matrix Resurrections jettisons (gripping plot, well shot action scenes, narrative clarity, a sense of seriousness, Hugo Weaving, Laurence Fishburne etc) it still has an attachment to being alternative and drawing a distinction between itself and – well – the suits.
The thing is: this cuts across in quite an inelegant way with the other things the movie is doing. Like when they get to Zion (sorry I mean “IO”) old Jada Pinkett Smith says that little thing about how “Zion was stuck in the past. Stuck in war. Stuck in a Matrix on its own. They believed it had to be us or them. This city was built by us AND them” and there’s the whole thing about how some of the machines haven’t switched sides and now they’re growing erm… strawberries (LOL).
Except while the characters in the movies are saying that diversity is important and we need to look past our old binaries the actually message that the movie is showing you is that there’s only a distinct subset of people (and a bunch of the right technology) who shall be welcomed in the promised land and everyone else shall be regarded as the enemy.
Oh – wow: it’s Liberalism!
Shit – maybe this movie is actually much more insightful than I first gave it credit for?
The other aspect that I keep returning to is that final scene where Neo and Trinity finally regain their old powers and confront the evil diabolical Analyst played by Neil Patrick Harris and erm Trinity punches him so hard that his jaw comes off (!?!?!)
To be completely reductive I can’t help but compare this to Spider-Man: No Way Home where the very unsubtle message was: “with great power there must also come great responsibility” and the best way to be a good person is to try to help those who would try to hurt people because healing is the only way to make the world a better place. While Matrix Resurrections is more “TAKE THAT YOU EVIL BASTARD.”
I already made the point that I found Matrix Resurrections aesthetically ugly and all the way at the end I couldn’t help but find it to be morally ugly too. Like I totally get the emotional pull of seeing characters getting beaten down and then rising up and managed to defeat those who held them back but erm yeah fuck it – I think I’d rather have the good guys act magnanimous in victory and appeal to higher form of morality rather than resort to the tactics and vioelnce of the bad guys. I mean – would people have cheered at the end of Return of the Jedi if Luke had The Evil Emperor stripped of his powers and then spent 5 minutes giving him a good kick in? (“Please! Stop! I’m an old man!”) I mean obviously yes – people cheer for a lot of terrible things. And then I guess that’s why I spend most of my time booing.
I mean again – this feels very much like the Liberal consensus. The people that have been victimised need to take their spot on the top of the flagpole and deliver some well deserved justice to the people who were once on top. And yeah I get that it makes sense. People need their catharsis etc. But I just feel like it’s really ugly and seeing how The Matrix (and the sequels especially) are all about going “hey look at how smart we are!” I just… expected better maybe?
But then maybe expecting movies to show us how to be better people isn’t really… realistic?
I just wanted more.
This post was created by our Film Club email list.
If you’d like to join the conversation send an email marked “Film Club” to here.