Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sitting with individuals and given them their due attention, while they contrive ways to leave full presumption to the woman in charge, in "Justice League"



There are some fine things about Justice League. Batman giving Flash, who's never been in battle, some good advice on how to engage -- save one person, just save one person -- is one, for it's true that without some perfectly aimed advice -- and this seemed like that, and the pleasure was in finding it so well pointed -- it might be difficult for someone with all the ability in the world but without acclimatization to supernatural, sure-of-themselves, deadly foes, to not humiliatingly quail in their ability to usefully harness any of it, the fight with Superman -- especially his moments vis-a-vis Flash, with Superman's surprising him with his ability to mostly -- but strangely satisfyingly, not exactly quite -- keep up with him, is another, and the considerable respect given each member of the team, like the film's a progressive teacher making sure everyone is heard from, is another. (Why is the fight with Superman overall... satisfying?: perhaps because, as their isn't in the battles with Steppenwolf, a sense of a foe who has some moral authority: not just physical power, but justification... wind behind him, makes it interesting. Steppenwolf is like the horned villain in "Thor," kind of a joke in being somehow akin to a white male basement-dweller loser without any friends... right now, it's easy to mock him to his face, as his opponents readily do [some of this in "Last Jedi," with Kylo Ren, as well?).


Movies have changed: in this sense, for the better... or seemingly for the better. If a character appears in the film, you'll be introduced to them, have coffee with them, room around their preferred domicile a bit with them, come to know a bit about their past with them. Even if they're young, they'll be allowed to have been shown responsible for constructing their own damn costume, thank you! And it'll be constructed well! (Admittedly, I wondered what it would have been like if the heroes just suddenly appeared, without introductions, and ready to play... would it feel a bit like they weren't so much being refused their due fleshing out but instead, refusing us... keeping themselves a bit undue, private?) Lastly, the audience I was with clapped at the end, which is nice. 

Wonder Woman takes the lead at one point, and she uses her leadership to direct the League to attend to the forlorn, ever-alone Batman... that is, motherly. Kevin Costner (the person who used his own leadership of his family to do what Batman intended to do, and alone, sacrificed himself) as father gets dimmed out -- not in this one -- and mothers/matriarchs (Amazon queen, mermaid queen, villain trying not to make himself king but bring back the mother as Queen and serve as one of her minions, Superman's mother and wife as strong team) really emerge into the foreground in this story. Men are more second-tier, being edged-out, clipped, set-up and caught out, all over the place (Batman's orchestrated battle plan is subverted by Wonder Woman, Batman is angrily assaulted by Wonder Woman [supernatural being vs. human without any powers: complete chastisement], Cyborg is caught out in his voyeurism by Wonder Woman, Aquaman is tricked into humiliating himself through unwilling self-exposure by Wonder Woman, Flash finds himself pressed against Wonder Woman, but not romantically, and certainly not predatorily, but as a hapless kid diminished by being in an ostensibly sexual position with someone overwhelmingly beyond him, someone he'd never be up to servicing in that manner -- gulp!). Even happens to already-pretty-deferential Alfred [though not by Wonder Woman, but by a fellow mate, Cyborg... pity on the old man servant, I guess]). Flash is a loner, Batman is a loner, Aquaman hides in small village life... is a loner, Cyborg is a loner. Superman is the exception, but his life is about commitment to the proud women in it. We'll see a lot more of this... of "Batmans" saying," I'm the opposite of what you should be looking to in a leader: I'm a recluse who doesn't nurse anybody" (though in this film, with the Flash, he actually does... and also in his saving Superman's home by thinking to buy the bank that now owns it: both nice moments). Strange, or rather, noticeable, that the movie chastises Wonder Woman for ostensibly hiding out (for a century), which Batman is permitted to do it seems for it's for the purpose of submitting himself to her future leadership, but gives the okay to Aquaman to be a pub man and legendary drinker... these are allotments allowed men when they have no pretensions to leadership but aim to be loyal servicemen; Flash and Cyborg get to have their goofy fun, apparently for the same reason. Batman's lame jokes to Aquaman that he talks to fishes, seems almost like someone who was once "Don" relenting to being, with his un-agile humour, slow now on the upkeep... passé. Which would seem to allow him some similar permissions as well... the barbs Alfred casts at him, will carry less sting, as they do in fact do in this movie: "I've gotten old and my life is pretty much set; lay off a bit man." We also notice he's seeming quick to disarm himself of this secret-identity thing... as if he and it are sort of somehow past relevant. 

It was strangely interesting to watch what the movie does when Superman appears to assist the League in battle, when he's clearly way beyond the villain's ability to handle -- the minute he's reborn in the film, which isn't even half way in, the villain's done for... it's like a professional team just invaded a minor league one. The way it does work is that the villain wasn't really of much interest anyway (which he presaged himself by advertising himself as only acting to bring mom onto the scene and be first-amongst-equals of her minions), so you don't mind that he served mainly as excuse for the heroes to orient themselves vis-a-vis one another... to learn how their skill-sets looked when combined with others in battle. And the easing of tensions, the sense of mopping up, relaxes you to just observe that. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are pleasing working together as the team's co-equal muscle; Flash is good for clearing away a whole field of minor villains... for mopping up, so the playing field is less complicated (important with a million ghastlies to deal with); Batman's good for a lot of grab-bag assistance (and seems sometimes with his gymnastics and his sending out projectile ropes, almost like Spiderman in battle... and a bit, in his anonymity in battle -- he's not the heavy-hitter and he knows it -- like Spiderman in "Civil War" as well); Cyborg -- who could have been muscle -- is good as projectile-fireer and systems-overload man.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My books at Amazon.com

Essays on the Lord of the Rings Draining the Amazon's Swamp Wendy and Lucy, Star Trek, and The Lord of the Rings (and free at scribd...