Sunday, May 31, 2015

Super-Hero Movies, Cultural Genocide, And Fr. Zuhlsdorf's Mistake

Given the latest media backlash, I guess you can have too much of a good thing. Super-hero movies are coming under an odd assortment of criticisms lately. Well, odd until you consider the sources, I suppose. As a Catholic, amateur film critic, and promoter of comic book literature, I feel I have to respond to some of these.

First, there's the outrage over Black Widow's treatment in Age of Ultron.


I had trouble finding articles that were somewhat family friendly about this topic. This one is the best I could do. Has anyone noticed that so many of these secularist hipster darlings can't write about anything without f-bombs and such? Anyways, people are mad at Joss Whedon (the same guy who gave us Buffy, Faith, and Firefly) mainly because of two things:

1. He portrays Natasha Romanov as being willing to fall in love.
2. He portrays Natasha Romanov as sad over the fact that she can't have children.

These set her up as a natural contrast to her friend Hawkeye who has done both of these things. But yes, this is why so many people now hate Joss Whedon and the Avengers. They dared to show a woman who wanted to have a family.

This is what our reality has come to. A woman who wants these things is considered boring, weak, and worthless.


Second, you have guys like Simon Pegg, a fan of the genre and one of my favorite actors, accusing super-hero movies, sci-fi, and the like of "infantilizing" and "dumbing down" the population. In his mind, these things are distracting us from "real world issues," and he specifically desires more "amoral" movies to help with that.

Worse than that, you have Alejandro Inarritu, who just won the Oscar as director of Birdman (which won a whole bunch of other Oscars too), saying stuff like this:

They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn't mean nothing about the experience of being human.

He also makes the claim that such movies are about "killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be." Let's just ignore the fact that most super-heroes are bitterly opposed to killing anyone. It's also quite plain from his language here that Alejandro is extremely tolerant of opposing views.

Finally, you've got Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who has discovered that Daredevil is Catholic in the Netflix show, just as he is in the comic books. Fr. Z comments thusly:

As with any “comic book”, for that’s what this is, don’t expect depth.

I've got bad news for Fr. Z. If you go to the local Benedict Option Cinema, it's pretty much super-hero movies making up about 1/2 of the releases of the last decade. Look at what the secularist mavens are worried about with these films. They teach a concrete and traditional moral message, and a lot of people are going to see them.

What do the secularists want? Movies that lack this and show no moral compass at all. I daresay that super-hero movies are the only consistent productions nowadays that have any true depth at all. What currently passes for such is usually a banal relativism or simple nihilism. Which is deeper, the struggle for virtue against all odds or the white flag of surrender wherein the feature concludes, "Eh, who cares about that crap? We all die in the end anyway."

On a side note, I'm sure if someone made a movie about any of the exponentially proliferating homosexual super-heroes (Really DC/Marvel? Alan Scott? Iceman? Really?) that the above critics would be raving about how fantastic it was.

Wake up, Father. The war is being fought in this very arena, and our best weapons are coming under attack.

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