Matthew Belinkie, Josh McNeil, and Matthew Wrather overthink the failure of institutions in the current crop of summer blockbusters.
Ed. Note: This was a live recording and we had a little trouble with the settings on the microphone. Stick with us. The audio sets itself right after about 12 minutes.
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It’s been a while since I saw Iron Man 2, but wasn’t that movie ANTI-drone, in that the Justin Hammer-designed Iron Knockoffs, aided by Mickey Rourke’s tech, were remotely controlled, but taken down by Iron Man and War Machine, who were piloted by Stark and Rhodes?
Also, I interpreted Starks Iron Army to be extensions of himself, so it might be difficult for the military to appropriate that technology like they did War Machine/Iron Patriot. It was for that reason that I was slightly bummed that the movie didn’t go the route of the comics, where Stark incorporates Extremis into the Iron Man tech, and allows for the suit to dwell within him (as it is meant to, based on one interpretation of the character).
I do believe Uma Thurman’s snake was the Black Mamba. I know that’s the snake that bites Budd, and it is the snake that sort of became known after those movies. It’s also the self-appointed nickname of Kobe Bryant. More importantly, it led to three-point specialist Matt Bonner getting the nickname Red Mamba. Kobe also nicknamed himself “Vino” because he’s getting better with age. This is not true, and it is also dumb.
I find it kind of odd that you figured “kill” was a bit too much for your podcast, and that you simply didn’t use some sort of euphemism for intercourse. I mean, that’d keep it within the realms of PG-13. Have you seen a PG-13 movie? As long as nobody was smoking, you would have been fine. Also, you played that game really oddly. Generally speaking, aren’t you supposed to simply choose three names, and then you have to give one of the designations to each. That’s sort of the point of the thing. Also, I may have only been paying half-attention early on, but weren’t your choices to be limited to Disney princesses? Also, Jessica Rabbit isn’t a Disney character. Also, that game is really dumb, but you turned it into something at least vaguely entertaining to listen to. Kudos!
I had recently rewatched — and shown to Matt and Josh for the first time — This Film is Not Yet Rated, which probably had us overly conservative on the PG-13 front.
The distinction between Iron Man and Tony Stark’s relationships with governmental authority allow the movie series to bring out a double overthinking. As depicted by the television media of Iron Man 2, the government seems primarily interested in acquiring the suit, and not necessarily working with the man. Of course, in all three IM movies and Avengers, governmental authority is secretly trying to work with Stark the man through Agent Coulson and Fury. Perhaps these movies have the idea that in order to move beyond the suit, institutions need intermediary ‘agents’ to eschew official, publicly accessible channels (senate hearings) and get to Stark himself through donut shop talks with Fury and combat circumstances with the War Patriot guy.
So, does the Iron Man movies require an intermediary, a real member of an institution willing to bend the rules and do what is necessary? Maybe?
Actually, Channing Tatum wasn’t a Secret Service agent in WHD. He was APPLYING to be a Secret Service agent, but the interview scene implied that, had the titular White House not gone down, Channing Tatum wouldn’t have got the job. He was definitely portrayed in the movie as John McClaine-esque; you’re average law enforcement officer who’s different and looked down on, but when the chips are down he is the only one with the skills to pay the metaphorical bills.
Also, it’s important to note that WHD is buddy cop movie where Channing Tatum’s partner is THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And this isn’t just any stereotypical Generic President; Jamie Foxx is clearly Barack Obama in WHD, right down to the fact that he’s trying to quit smoking. In that sense, the movie is a peculiar mix of Die Hard’s “The rouge cowboy-type that works outside the system can save us” and WWZ’s “A member of the system (in this case the person “in charge” of the system) can save us from this chaos.”
In Joss Whedon’s work, you definitely see the “outsider hero” idea at work. Throughout his series and movies, institutions are at best ineffectual and at worst corrupt and corrupting of the people in them. What solves problems is small, loosely organized groups of diverse individuals (the Scoobies, Angel Investigations, the crew of Serenity, the Avengers).
You could make an argument that without a group, loner heroes slide into arrogance, and need a group to keep from their worst instincts. You could also see the Operative in “Serenity” is an extreme example of the outsider hero ideology, who serves, by any means necessary, a society he knows he has no part in. (“Serenity” = Han Solo vs. Jack Bauer)
That’s why Whedon seemed to be an odd choice to develop “Agents of SHIELD”, given his anti-authoritarian and anti-institutional slants. OTOH, in the Marvel Universe, SHIELD seems to be both ineffectual (if it was doing its job, would superheroes be necessary?) and corrupt (plenty of stories revolve around rogue SHIELD officers or discovering SHIELD black ops).
So… that prof’s class was about Cassandra…? ;)
So have you given any thought to children’s movies? A lot of them totally do the “only one [insert pronoun] can save the day” thing, be it a singular or plural stand-in for the rag-tam team.
The disabled people are being controlled by the able-bodied, plus a leader that was formerly disabled, too. Read: Ableism, i.e. the subordination of disability.
Gadget, not Gidget. Gadget Hackwrench. Just sayin’.
I didn’t wait long enough.
When it’s all said and done movies reflect the times that they’re made in. Everyone is depressed. The economy sucks. Both government and institutions keep showing that they can’t be trusted.
That means our heroes are independent — whether that means rich or indifferent to their economic status — and very anti-authoritarian. They don’t take sh!t from nobody. It will be interesting to see how this changes as the economy improves. Will the current crop die off? Change (and probably recast) to better fit with the times?
Would you watch a Tony Stark that’s co-operative? An Avengers team that is openly government sponsored? A popular Batman? A DHS that works and doesn’t need a maverick to save the day? Do tell.