Thursday, August 07, 2008

Superhero movies

I honestly think I'm maybe a little bit too much of an analytical machine to watch superhero movies anymore. The subtext just gets to me. Recently the last two movies I've seen in the theater were Iron Man and The Dark Knight. I really disliked Iron Man, mostly on the grounds of class antagonism, the protagonist is a rich, immature, selfish bastard who has had everything handed to him. He has one setback and then supposedly reforms.

I also objected to the whole setup on racial grounds, hell, he even had a noble savage helping him out who predictably sacrifices himself so that our hero can live. The day that ethnic characters no longer have to sacrifice themselves for the white protagonist is a day I'll die happy.

There's also the dubious message of stopping violence by um, blowing more shit up. If it was supposed to be an anti war movie, it really failed. Although like the time I watched the Transformers movie, it was interesting to see the presence of Iraq in the film. There's a paper waiting to be written there.

The Dark Knight is a much better movie. Although thematically, I think it also gets a little murky. The idea of the righteous vigilante as well as the incorruptible Batman get a little muddled. Batman definitely does bend the law, kidnaps and tortures people. Works outside the law and is only accountable to a higher authority, yet somehow he's assumed to have limits. Does he really? It seemed like the movie was attempting to have its cake and eat it too.

I'll admit it, I enjoyed the film, but these things really bothered me. However, the cast was remarkably ethnically balanced even if most of the main leads were white. At least the HK gangster spoke good English, although he also spoke in Mandarin. Which isn't very believeable in HK. But that's a minor quibble.

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