Open Thread: Superhero Movies I'm Annoyed With

...pretty much all of them. In the last twelve months we've watched Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, and I'm sure several others and I've been peeved at all of them.

I'm pretty sure Thor had one black character in the whole movie. Green Lantern had two. All three characters were victims. Captain America, I can't even recall. Maybe one of the army buddies who were Less Awesome Than Him.

The love interests have been pretty uniformly awful. Thor has Nathalie Portman looking like the wooden romance writing in Star Wars wasn't quite awkward enough and, as a two-fer, the one gal on Thor's elite team makes moon eyes at him every so often. Captain America had its gal shooting off guns in crowded rooms. ("Bob! Noooooo! He was two days from retirement!") Green Lantern had the movie standard Fighter Pilot + CEO Mogul + Biochemist (I'm guessing for the last one, because why not?) who is competent but really more of a trophy than anything else.

All three movies felt the need to reinforce the concept that bad people are naturally ugly. Thanks, Hollywood.

But, no, what I'm really annoyed with is that every superhero movie these days is an origin story. Speaking for myself, I'm tired of origin stories. The new Conan did that too, and I see no reason why. I don't care about Conan's childhood, honestly. He had, like, eight billion adventures in the comics, right? Just do one of those and save money on child actors.

Is it just me?



Izzy said...

Ah, I liked Thor, but I interpreted the Sif thing differently: hey, there are two women who are attracted to the same guy, and they don't do the stupid jealous pseudo-catfight thing! YAY! And that's one of my personal instant-upgrade buttons. (Also blanking on the ugly=evil there, because I don't remember much in the way of evil other than Loki, who is objectively the hottest person ever, and a giant robot, and some ice giants, who didn't strike me as ugly or not, But I could be blanking or misremembering.)

Captain America I mostly liked, but had the same reaction you did. Sorry, physical violence is never an okay response to infidelity ( guys WEREN'T EVEN INVOLVED. You'd danced, like once. This is not sixth grade) and shooting a gun in a crowded room? Guh.

GL just sucked. Which is sad, because I really love the comic mythos.

I kinda like origin stories myself, and they seem like a good place to start: the transformation arc is nice. That said, I really don't need things like the Conan movie, where there's an origin-within-the-origin-within-the-goddammit-I-did-not-need-to-SEE-that. And I felt like GL spent way too much time establishing Hal's backstory: like, yes, he has Daddy Issues, we get it. Bring on the glowy aliens, dammit! If I wanted to know more about guys with Daddy Issues, I could go on eHarmony!

Michael Mock said...

Oh, gods, yes. I'm pretty sure I ranted about this myself a good two years ago, but - Hollywood, are you listening? - NO MORE ORIGIN STORIES. Look, if the property is popular enough to build movies around, you don't need to explain the back story. You especially don't need to explain the entire origin every. single. time. that you make a movie about that character. People already know it, and the ones who don't shouldn't need to if you're doing even a halfway competent job of telling the *current* story.

Green Lantern... check out GL: First Flight. Or GL: Emerald Knights. They're both animated, and First Flight is a rather similar plot to the live action film, but the animated movies are (IMHO) *worlds* better than the live action one.

I still haven't seen Thor or Captain America.

Will Wildman said...

But, no, what I'm really annoyed with is that ever superhero movie these days is an origin story. Speaking for for myself, I'm tired of origin stories. The new Conan did that too, and I see no reason why.

I can see why superhero movies would start with an origin story - the comics pretty much always do, and when you've got someone like Spider-man leaping around, obsessed with using his power for maximum good despite minimal personal gain and lots of liability, there's a lot of character revealed in his first (selfish) exploration of his powers and the death of Uncle Ben. In the case of Conan, though, it's just... there is a super-strong and fairly clever (or at least he was in the books) vagabond swordfighter in the ancient magic land. I don't think there's a lot of people whose most burning question is 'how did he get there?', especially when it doesn't really define his career thereafter.

There are, of course, some cases where the origin story has already been told so many times that yet another run-through would be redundant (although I don't doubt we'll get it in the next one anyway because it's just traditional at this point).

"He was sent here from the heavens by his father, gifted with miraculous powers, to inspire us to live virtuous lives and to bear the failings of humanity."
"Yeah, yeah, Superman, we know."
"No, Jesus. Wait, what movie are we seeing?"

Launcifer said...

Actually, I rather assumed that the reasoning behind the full-movie origins we tend to get now is because, well, cash cows. The film companies aren't thinking about making one decent superhero film anymore, they're figuring on making at least three and so the first one's always a two-hour info-dump (or eleventy info-dumps, if it's a run-up to the friggin Avengers, which will probably have its own origin story, just in case we needed another one). Then again, if some loon works out that even a Watchmen origin comic will sell, regardless of its actual quality, I'm not entirely sure I can fault film companies for taking the lazy option and just regurgitating XXXX's first day on the job.

hapax said...

Yeah, but if you DON'T do origin stories, then you get crap like SUPERMAN RETURNS, which, gaaaah.

I loved THOR and X-MEN FIRST CLASS and CAPTAIN AMERICA, because eye-candy and explosions and slashy-slashy-goodness, and I'm shallow like that. To be honest, I was only vaguely aware that there *were* (female) love interests in the films; I was much more interested in the ones who showed up briefly. Like Darcy in THOR; and why didn't they do more with Moira (besides have her prance about in her underwear) in X-MEN?

(And am I the only rabid Agent Coulson fangirl in the room? I thought so)

Ana Mardoll said...

Ah, I liked Thor, but I interpreted the Sif thing differently: hey, there are two women who are attracted to the same guy, and they don't do the stupid jealous pseudo-catfight thing! YAY!

Ah, I didn't think to give points for that. I was mostly peeved by the "I'ma stare moonily at him while he pines after his earth girlfriend." And Loki wasn't ugly, but his "true form" was (apparently?) blue frost-giant with red eyes, so maybe instead of "ugly" I mean "non-standardly white and pretty"?


This this this this this this.

If I wanted to know more about guys with Daddy Issues, I could go on eHarmony!


Ana Mardoll said...

To be honest, I was only vaguely aware that there *were* (female) love interests in the films

For X-Men First Class, I was convinced that the love story was between Xavier and Eric...

Ana Mardoll said...

The Conan origin particularly annoyed me because there was all this stuff about him being "battle born" and the last of his tribe and stuff and it just didn't add anything to the story except the usual layer of Super Special Chosen One and... bleh.

Lonespark said...

I like origin stories, as long as they're allowed to be unique and interesting. I especially liked the first two X-Men movies, because there were a bunch of stories, some origins, some hinting at past or future hero origins. The first had aspects of that an FAIL. First Class sounds like a giant pile of racism, sexism and unnecessary rebooting of characters we'd come to know.

I'm mostly fine with the way the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been doing it. Start with an origin, then make sequels with more adventures. Except sometimes they try to cram in too many villains, and there are still plenty of things I haaaaate, but they're not the same things from film to film.

Lonespark said...

Yeah, Loki is the prettiest thing that ever was pretty. Which is also potentially bad, if he's too effeminately pretty, but dude gave birth to a horse in related myths, so... And he made a pretty Frost Giant, too, I thought.

I liked the treatment of Sif. I thought she really got to be a comrade who held her own and called Thor on his shit and had her own complex interactions with Loki. For a superhero movie I thought the Asgardians, at least, got to do some decent acting. Plus also you left out Frigga, who, granted, should be in more scenes being awesome, but didn't suck while she was there.

Darcy is made of snarky awesome. Colson is kind of a nice by-the-book hero. Female gaze, female gaze, female gaze.

Yes, kind of terrible on POC representation, but I still came out of the movie as a massive Heimdall fangirl. And I kind of think many, many superhero movies have a lot less excuse than one about a norse-god-type superhero. (And here I speak of Green Lantern, to some degree Captain America, and...various others. Where they could have chosen a non-white person who has worn the mask and they explicitly did not.) They still could have made Jane, or Darcy, Latina or Native American or something. There are a lot things that could have been different/better, but I felt overall it was an alright movie that would be an ok addition to a much more progressive universe.

Lonespark said...

Ha! Hapax, I didn't notice you mentioned Colson, too. I also want more Fury.

Izzy said...

@Lonespark: Hee! Yeah, I like the female gaze--and I admit that part of the reason Sif didn't bug was partly "...dude, have you *seen* those abs? You'd have to be like a negative sixty-seven on the Kinsey scale not to at least *appreciate* that shit." Which, some canonical lesbians would *also* be nice. But I can't fault any girl with a molecule of straightness for drooling at least a little bit over the Hemsworth.

@Ana: Yeah, I'm not sure why the secret frost-giant backstory was necessary either.

And Lord, does the NOT EVEN INVOLVED bug me, as a general rule. Like, are you sleeping with a dude/chick regularly? Has he or she made you any promises re: exclusivity?'ve got no claim, so back off, go apply ice and Scotch to your bruised ego, and deal.

And also, thank you. ;)

hapax said...

Well, yes. And for THOR, I was surprised that the subtitle wasn't "SORRY, LOKI, HE JUST ISN'T THAT INTO YOU."

But even CAPTAIN AMERICA had more chemistry between Steve and Buddy (which ick, if you know the comic book canon*) then between Steve and his ostensible love interest.

GREEN LANTERN -- I didn't see it, don't wanna, but if it's true to the comic characters (which by all accounts it is), the chief love story is the passionate, turbulent, intermittently-requited love affair between Hal and Hal.

(Although it would have been cool to have a Lantern / Arrow matchup consistent to the comics -- it's sort of like the old SNL version of Point / Counterpoint)

*TOP TEN (the comic) actually made this work non-ickily, but it took some fancy tap-dancing.

hapax said...

I'm not sure why the secret frost-giant backstory was necessary either.

Well, that's not comic-canon, that's Edda-canon (although Laufey was his *mother*, not his father). Except it wasn't exactly secret -- the rest of the AEsir are perfectly happy to point it out to Loki when they are ticked off at him.

And Loki being so pretty-pretty is also canon; that's why Odin got the big man-crush on him in the first place.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Haven't seen Conan reboot, but I am not impressed if they made it an origin story. Robert E. Howard never felt the need to give Conan an "origin"; he was just this wandering barbarian mercenary who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, so to speak. Not unlike a few historical characters. No super-special reason for Conan to be a wandering mercenary any more than there was for the old Norse and Danes to go a-viking--just the general reason that back home was poor and tough living and pickings were better down south.

Haven't seen the GL movie yet, so no comment. As for all the origin stories: I think Marvel is getting the origin stories out of the way with the individual character movies, so that the Avengers movie doesn't have to be 90% origin stories, which would suck.

Did we watch the same Thor movie? Loki was hot, not ugly, and Heimdall was anything but a victim. He was a major badass who made it possible for Thor to stop Loki at all. Frankly, the only reason he didn't stop Loki's plot himself was that the movie was titled "Thor", not "Heimdall".

The secret frost giant baby history for Loki is straight from mythology, and I thought it worked in giving Loki something to be petulant about. I thought they did a good job of making Loki a very complex, almost sympathetic villain, rather than a one-note "doing evil for the evilz" villain.

Captain America: yes, the villain was ugly. Marvel has generally been using each hero's most iconic villain for the movie villain, possibly because they are more likely to be recognizable. Red Skull is Captain America's antithesis and classic enemy, and Hugo Weaving was pretty damn scary in the part of one of Marvel's vilest villains. Sadly, Red Skull is a very old villain, from when comics did simple tropes like "Evil is Ugly/Good is Beautiful"--and it may have been a Comics Code thing, like "evil must not be shown to be desirable in any way". Oddly, it's always been possible to have good-looking "femme fatale" villains, just not good-looking male villains back in the day.

You know, we could have an interesting discussion about how the Hayes Code (for movies) and the Comics Code resulted some rather twisted ideas becoming internalized as accepted wisdom. "Ugly means Evil" is one; the other is the concept that people are either Good or Evil, and can never go from one to the other and back again.

Omskivar said...

Agent Coulson is the best. He needs his own movie, though I don't know what exactly he'd be doing other than his current job, which seems to be herding super-powered cats.

Was Moira supposed to be a love interest? To be honest, I didn't catch her full name until the end of the movie, and then I was really confused because I thought Moira McTaggart was supposed to be Scottish.

Divya Jagadeesan said...

of course it was ... wasn't it :)

Ana Mardoll said...

Loki was hot, not ugly, and Heimdall was anything but a victim. He was a major badass who made it possible for Thor to stop Loki at all. Frankly, the only reason he didn't stop Loki's plot himself was that the movie was titled "Thor", not "Heimdall".

Guess I'm the only one who thought the red eyes / blue skin / crinkles was supposed to be Other and unattractive.

As for Heimdall... I don't consider getting instantly 'fridged the moment you decide to openly defy the Bad Guy to be "badass", but it was definitely the most effective I've seen a black character be in a superhero movie this year. So... yay? I just don't see that as a "win". :(

Ana Mardoll said...

Captain America: yes, the villain was ugly. Marvel has generally been using each hero's most iconic villain for the movie villain, possibly because they are more likely to be recognizable.

Well, I mean, if the Race Fail, Gender Fail, Body Fail, and Fail Fail is CANON, then who am I to complain on a Friday Open Thread? :P

Makabit said...

@Izzy--much agree, Loki was pretty easy on the eyes. And I'm sure frost giants look nice to other frost giants. (They don't look that bad to me, just, you know, blue and fangy.)

Actually, I was willing to give "Thor" a pass on some things simply because even though the movie was short on people of color, white supremacists were having heart attacks over Heimdall being played by Idris Elba. Stormfront went nuts. There was hand-wringing. So, since that was fun, I was inclined to favor the movie.

@Dragoness--Loki is a Jotunn in mythology, but the whole secret-adoption-by-abduction thing is specific to the comic-book series, IIRC.

And by the by, a little parenting tip for Odin: If you are going to tell your adult child that he is not only adopted, but also a frost giant, please do not immediately go into a random coma of BS etiology upon delivering the news, leaving said now-traumatized son temporary king. At least sign him up for some therapy sessions before lapsing into said coma. Thank you!

Makabit said...

@Ana--yes, I guess the Frost Giants are supposed to be 'other', and the idea is to make them weird-looking, but I thought it was fairly ambiguous how 'evil' they were supposed to be. Odin is not exactly a model of moral behavior. They're just 'the other dudes'.

The movie was my first exposure to the comic-book mythos, and I had a certain amount of trouble keeping up with it, but it was...pleasant to watch. Goofy. Never made that much sense.

Of course, I would have had a lot more fun if the movie had exploited Loki's fairly notorious tendency (from the Edda material) to shift gender and insult the hell out of people more. OK, the actor is pretty, but the character has so much more to offer...

Patrick said...

You know what, Hollywood? Fuck Canon. Take a look at why the person.., who am I kidding? why the dude you're making a film about is loved, and then tailor a story around these issues. Chances are the beloved comic was crappy anyway, or unfilmable, or...

The one thing Captain America did right was giving Cap a multinational team.

And then you can cast whomever you like. Women, poc, glbt, people with disabilities... hey, stop laughing. I'm serious, Hollywood. Stop!

Lorien said...

*Almost* sympathetic? Oh man I found Loki to be the most symapthetic character in the movie. Thor was funny, but also a huge emotionally unstable racist douchebro until he magically becomes less stupid through the Power of Love. Which, okay, fine, but I still like petulent Loki better. And the Warriors Three were also huge jackwagons to Loki for no discernable reason that I could tell, and Odin is a reeeeeeeeeally crappy dad throughout the movie.

... Um, I guess I have really strong feelings about that movie that I didn't realize until I started typing. Ahahaha.

As far as the other movies go, I enjoyed Captain America, and I *really* liked Peggy on her own, partly because she was so attractive and partly because she never needed any Epic Saving goddamn. But yeah, shooting in a crowded room = uncool. >:

Will Wildman said...

And then you can cast whomever you like. Women, poc, glbt, people with disabilities... hey, stop laughing. I'm serious, Hollywood. Stop!

I have heard reference today to someone wanting to do a remake of Ghostbusters with an all-female, multi-racial cast, and also heard that there is apparently a Captain Planet and the Planeteers live-action movie in the works.

And then I was sad because the first one won't happen and the second one will be so much less than it could be.

I can has a cynicism. CHRIS I THINK WE SHOULD FORM A SUPER TEAM but we will probably have difficulty motivating ourselves as most of the world's problems are unresolvable through standard hero powers and we'd probably just make it worse.

Well, I mean, if all the latest Race Fail, Gender Fail, Body Fail, and Fail Fail in superhero movies is CANON, then who am I to complain on a Friday Open Thread? :P

Wait, what's Fail Fail? Is that when someone tries to tackle a Fail concept and yet does so in a further Faily way, like when Sexism gets addressed by Strong Female Characters who are themselves misogynist?

Izzy said...

So agreed on Conan. Both movie versions did the origin-story thing, and I don't see why: the Man With No Name did not need an angsty backstory, and he did okay for himself.

Although the 1980s Conan at least had a love interest whose death made me sad, as opposed to one whose death I was actually rooting for. And WTF was that business with the mask and Marilyn Manson's Girlfriend and her Incestuous Bekilted Father? Do we need that? I don't think so.

I do want Peggy's hair. Which is why this weekend will involve the Pincurl Experiments, Part I.

Ana Mardoll said...

Re: Fail Fail, I think I meant it as just Fail so bad that it needed twice mentioning, but I really like your example. :D

@Izzy, THANK YOU. I totes said that the Daughter/Father thing was obvs incest. People disagreed.

Arresi said...

I haven't seen any of them but Captain America. Which did not have a black main character, but did have Nick Fury at the end, and two racial minorities in Captain America's squad (black and Japanese-American). And while they had some definite problems, I liked that they came out and said that the immigrant and the non-white characters were Americans too, in the scenes with Dr. Erskine ("Where are you from?" "Brooklyn") and Morita ("I'm from San Francisco"). And the shooting scene was the only scene of Peggy's I really didn't like.

icecoldblank said...

I actually spent an extensive amount of time while watching this movie thinking that I had missed something fundamentally important in X-men: First Class. There seemed to be a Really Obvious Unspoken Attraction between Xavier and Eric.

I know exactly enough about the X-men to have felt really disconcerted when I thought that I had just MISSED a really obvious backstory element. Plus, I'll admit, I felt a little cheated, like maybe my comic-book loving first husband had left something really interesting out of his explanation of x-men.

I won't lie. I think it would have been a much better story if they just explored their unspoken love for each other, and still ended up on opposite sides of the Good/Evil line.

MaryKaye said...

I kind of liked Thor, but only for Loki. Thor does nothing for me personally either as eye candy or as character.

I thought the movie's big problem was focus. It is trying to tell a fish-out-of-water story about Thor and a family drama about Loki and a buddy movie about Thor's team and a romance about Thor and the human has nothing like the chops to do all four of those, and so most of them are failures. For me personally, the lines with Loki worked, but everything else was pretty much an annoying distraction. I didn't want Thor's love affair to work out--he's a thug, she's a scientist, beyond physical attraction what does this have going for it? Sif and the others got so little screen time they were ciphers. The fish out of water was developed a little but it's a very tired old storyline.

I would pay good money to see a version of Thor analogous to The Phantom Edit, which is to say a much shorter, tighter movie with extraneous elements simply cropped out. There's a halfway decent story about father and brothers in there. (Or maybe I am swayed by Loki. I hardly ever think people in movies are hot, but Loki is the standout exception.)

Thor was a lot better than Iron Man, at least--that one set my teeth on edge. I haven't seen most of the others.

chris the cynic said...

I found Loki to be intensely sympathetic and I still want him to turn to the side of good in the end. Thor did it, why not Loki?


I did not like X-Men: First Class one bit. (Spoilers, I suppose, but it's not like you couldn't see it coming.) Eric was presented as being evil his entire adult life with the only thing that vaguely resembled a redeeming quality being that he was taking his mass murder related urges out on Nazis who are considered acceptable targets. At the end when he explains that he actually completely agrees with the guy who wanted to start World War Three on every conceivable point but his desire for revenge makes it so he's willing to delay nuclear annihilation a little bit to squeeze in one more murder, it should come as a surprise to no one.

And yet... somehow it apparently surprised everyone. Charles was pretty clearly smitten with Eric, but having been in Eric's head you'd think even with that influencing his thinking he should have had some inkling that in this incarnation there is nothing whatsoever to suggest Eric has ever so much as considered joining the side of good.

Of course, the entire movie seemed to me to run on a foundation of stupidity (especially on the parts of Charles and the US government) with, as I recall, the occasional bit of sexism played for laughs thrown in.


I don't have too much problem with origin stories, but I would like to see some stuff done after people get there stuff sorted out. I'd like to seem movies with the hero who isn't tripping over himself/herself having already gotten a reasonable handle on the whole hero thing. I'd like to see movies about the team that's already managed to get it's inner drama to an acceptable level and do the job. I'd like to see movies with people who are already in a healthy relationship and maintain that while dealing with whatever external problems the plot presents.

I don't have a problem with origin stories, I do have a problem with the lack of non-origin stories. And it isn't just superhero movies. It's always how this person found confidence/learned their powers/whatever, how this couple got together, how these people came together, how this team was formed, how [whatever] thing happened, but never what happens afterward. Does everyone just stop being interesting after their first adventure/outing/whatever?

Consider Ghostbusters. It's an origin story. It was how the team got together. Consider Ghostbusters II, it was a story of how the team got back together. (And the origin story of the fifth Ghostbuster.) Why can't we have a "The team is already together" story? Surely the apocalypse still needs averting when the team is up and running.

Rikalous said...

re: superhero origin stories: I like the way Hulk had his origin in the opening credits sequence. I realize I'm in the comic geek bubble, but I figure most of the target audience is going to already know about Krypton's destruction and the rocket landing by the Kent farm, or whatever. You don't need to spend much time on "Here's my ring, go be a space cop." Even things like the coming of great responsibility can be made clear with narration at the beginning, and then you've got the whole rest of the movie for whatever story you want.

re: black superheroes: The second Iron Man had War Machine being appropriately badass, and much less of a tool than Tony. Dark Knight has Lucius Fox, who may not be a superhero, but does get to be awesome. Green-Lantern-the-comic has a canon black ringslinger in John Stewert, and it's a shame he'll probably never show up in the movies.

re: Professor X and Magneto: I am disappointed to hear what chris says about Magneto in First Class. I like my sympathetic archenemy supervillains, dang it. As far as the pair's chemistry goes, X-3 opens with them essentially adopting a child together. :)

Makabit said...

Hmmm. Romance between Magneto and Professor Xavier? Never saw it, myself, but I only saw the first three movies, and have no other exposure to the World Of. I love their relationship, because I grew up surrounded by Holocaust survivors, and the core of their argument: "Can we assimilate, or will they always want to kill us?" rings very very familiar. Throwing in that short flashback scene at the beginning of the first movie placed Magneto for me, and the character makes sense, no matter how over-the-top-crazy-bad-guy he gets.

Regarding superheroes and their usefulness in society, I may have brought it up before, but I would like to recommend to all a short graphic novel called "The Pro", in which a single mother, working double shifts as a waitress and prostitute, is given superpowers. Her relationship with the team of superheroes who take her in is an interesting one. She's skeptical about them, to say the least, and specifically wants to know why they didn't prevent 9/11. (They say they were fighting the Ovulator that day, IIRC.) Intense, very offbeat story.

chris the cynic said...

I'm not sure if we were meant to see him as evil from the start, but the only thing he had going for him was that his original opponents were Nazis. He was a force of hatred, revenge and murder and there really didn't seem to be much of anything else, the only exception being the way he pretty clearly bonded with Charles.

Maybe Charles was banking on saving him through the power of love, but there didn't seem to be much of anything left to save. He'd embraced the dark side pretty fully already. Since the story does go all the way back to the concentration camp you definitely see why he went evil, but the change basically occurred off screen. You see him as a child who is put through incredibly traumatic events, and then as an adult who is a murderer. I think he's supposed to be see as sympathetic while in his murderer phase because the people he's murdering are Nazis and his motivations are completely understandable.


Mostly changing gears,

CHRIS I THINK WE SHOULD FORM A SUPER TEAM but we will probably have difficulty motivating ourselves as most of the world's problems are unresolvable through standard hero powers and we'd probably just make it worse.

Much as I might like them, me with superpowers would probably be a bad idea. I imagine that I'd use them for personal gain and try to keep my head down for the most part for fear that if I did get involved I'd end up losing my cool and reenacting the movie Carrie.

There is probably a reason that I imagine people with super powers using them for non-super things. (Consider the woman with the power of teleportation who runs a shipping company. Profits are much higher when one doesn't have to pay for the fuel or wear and tear usually required to get something from point A to point B. Now you know what I thought about after seeing the movie Jumper.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Chris, I like this comment so much. I was also sort of shocked at the "shocked-ness" at the end of XMFC. I mean, he never made any bones about who he was or what he wanted to do, but Xavier thought the Power Of Love would change him? Doesn't work that way.

And COMPLETELY agree on the lack of non-origin stories. I was so sad that the FF4 reboot didn't just start with Sue and Richards married because they're one of the few comic characters I can think of with a stable, egalitarian, happy relationship. (At least as it's portrayed in the later comics; I realize they didn't start out married and the older comics have a LOT of issues to the point where Richards was mentioned in a article for being a crap husband.)

@Rikalous, good point on the most recent Hulk movie with Ed Norton. I liked that one.

Ana Mardoll said...

(They say they were fighting the Ovulator that day, IIRC.)

What. o.O

Makabit said...

Their opponents all have extremely stupid names. They also go up against a team that's named after parts of speech. The Noun! The Verb! The Adjective! All in supervillian spandex.

Ana Mardoll said...

The Noun! The Verb! The Adjective!

Well, that sold me. :D

GeniusLemur said...

Well, the "always good or evil, never changes" thing cuts both ways. A lot of modern characters have switched sides so many times their character arc looks like a tennis match.

Divya Jagadeesan said...

I never saw GL but liked Thor and X-Men. I love costume dramas and Thor pretty much played out as one. I expected to hate the bratty Thor but ended up liking him quite a lot. Also Chris Hemsworth as Thor was soooooo Pretty :) . I found the romance angle uninspiring but I liked that Jane pretty much drools over him. Its unusual for a heroine who is presented as a Serious Person to enjoy eye candy. I loved the Asgard portions, it was very melodramatic and emotional.
As for X-men, I guess I am in the minority when I say I liked James MacAvoy's Xavier more than Fassbender's Eric. Sure he was entitled and oblivious but he genuinely tried hard and I have always liked goody two shoes over dark, broody, angsty anti-heroes :). I also loved Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique.
I could not believe it when Darwin died first. Really movie ...its 2010, can we please lay the trope to rest.

Asha said...

I really enjoyed Captain America just because it showed a person who had been bullied all his life not become bitter about it and strive to do the right thing later. That just... I was overjoyed by that. I also liked that while the times were racist and sexist, they tried to portray the main characters as being accepting. So while yes, fail, not as fail-y as it could have been?

I thought Heimdall had his CMOA when he was frozen because being frozen had killed everyone else before him. He survived it.

I also liked XMFC- it took a superhero story and turned it into a semi-spy thriller.

As for the origin story told all over again? In comics, you often have multiple origins and to go forward, I always thought you needed to know where to start. It's why I liked the Dark Knight stories. Batman, we know, is awesome and can breathe in space. But how did he get there? So, yeah, I'm fine with origin stories unless it's something so iconic like Superman's that we know it by heart already.

Though I am hoping that this spate of origin stories will lead to bigger, better movies later on.

As for GL? Massive disappointment. A friend of mine asked why they didn't use Jon Stewart. I kinda wish they had used him- I never liked Hal Jordan. I tried to defend the casting choice, realized how I sounded, and apologized. They keep trying to refocus the GL story on Hal Jordan... and he's dull. Just not as interesting as later GLs. They tried to retell the Iron Man story and it failed, big time.

Launcifer said...

There's a highly specific problem with Iron Man's continuity though, in that he gets kidnapped/captured/injured in the middle of a war. Since the war is always a genuine historical event, it serves to date him in a way that isn't a problem for most other superheroes. Sure, as science marches on things get tweaked, or dates get changed to keep whomever it is "current", but Stark actually needs rebooting every couple of decades because he's involved in stuff that actually happened in real life. If Marvel would only invent a war somewhere and have that happen to himm instead, they'd probably solve the probem straight off.

Mime_Paradox said...

As a big fan of both super-heroes and comic books, I've mostly come to the conclusion that film is just not a terribly good medium for adaptations. They've got the budget, sure, but given how super-hero stories are now designed almost exclusively as serials, requiring the characters to share a history in order for most stories to have impact. Books like Spider-Man, in particular, drew a lot of their appeal from the absolutely massive supporting cast it accrued over the years, which even a movie trilogy can't really replicate. Good adaptations have mostly occurred in cartoons, I feel, even if those have their own specific problems (such as a complete lack of openly queer characters, but that's a subject for another time).

As to diversity, the problem isn't limited to movies themselves; the books themselves have been a big pile of fail lately, from the elimination of DC's most prominent disabled character (former Batgirl Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. super-hacker Oracle); the transformation of DC's Amanda Waller into yet another super-model; Marvel's cancellation of all books with female leads; the erasure of all but one Batgirl from continuity, while all Robins remain despite how implausible it now is. There are some bright spots, to be sure--Batwoman, which stars Kate Kane, a lesbian, is now out and features excellent art--but on the whole it's been five steps back for every step forward.

Ironically, the one mainstream company that appears to be making an honest attempt at increasing diversity is the one that's traditionally been the most conservative...Archie. This week I bought the first issue of "Kevin Keller", whose eponymous star is openly gay. While the story is a standard, inoffensive one--Kevin is nervous about the prospect of going on his very first date--the very fact that it's standard and inoffensive makes it feel incredibly transgressive, because it gets to the core of what the goal of QUILTBAG's advocates advocate work for: a world in which QUILTBAG people are considered as normal and unremarkable as the next person. Equally as impressive, last month's issue of Life With Archie--an ongoing book that takes a look at the Archie gang some ten years in the future, as seen in two different timelines, one where Archie marries Betty, and one in which he marries Veronica--featured future Kevin's wedding(s) to his boyfriend, and a future issue of Archie will feature a look into a third future timeline in which Archie has married Josie and the Pussycat's Valerie (whom Archie has been romantically connected to in recent years), and has a bi-racial kid. It's not super-heroes, but it's all been rather awesome, and it's made me all the more impatient with the Big Two's shenanigans. [/plug]

Silver Adept said...

I realized that I have actually seen most of these movies...and that I didn't really like any of them for different reasons.

Thor: Canonically, Thor's pretty dumb, but why can't we get the story where Thor gets the cross-dressing on to get the hammer back, instead of what we got? That way you get clever sexy Loki and Thor smash and the frost giants and everything,

Captain America: The Super Soldier program is a success! We'll put its a stage show to sell war bonds. Even though he's dumber than a box of bricks, one would think that he would spend forever in a lab while they try to recreate the serum.

Green Lantern: I didn't like Tony Stark as a hotshot asshole that needed to learn humility and other virtues. Why would I like Hal Jordan as one?

X-Men: I'd been tipped off about the women, and who dies first, and I saw, and it was so, and I went, "Oh, for..." Without slash goggles, I'm not sure that movie would be quite as good. No, scratch that, Mystique was wonderful, and thoroughly abused by everyone.

So yeah, very annoyed with the superhero movies, for choices of bad plots, bad characterizations, and all sorts of other Bad Things.

Kat said...

Heh, you're not the only one. I have fantacies of poofing to/from work and getting into disneyland without paying for it. The dream thingy in inception? I wondered why they didn't use it in schools to get people to learn more information faster.

Rikalous said...

Knowing human nature, one of the first things the Inception thing would have been used for is new and exciting forms of porn.

Vardulon said...

I don't know how fancy the tap-dancing really was in Top Ten - I actually liked how frankly the whole story with Jetlad and (fake Blackhawk whose name I forget) was treated. Yes, Jetlad was 16, but nothing about the relationship seemed particularly exploitative, and they certainly made it work for the next fifty years.

Vardulon said...

Best part of Man with No Name? His angsty backstory is one line long.

Unless you count Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West as essentially the same character...

Vardulon said...

One of the things that bother me most (from a storytelling standpoint) about the Marvel movies is the lack of good/threatening villains. It's like the producers are afraid if their villains ever succeed at anything they'll jeopardize the PG rating. Iron Man 2's villain is dispatched early on, The Red Skull spends most of the movie fleeing from Captain America, just like Kevin Bacon in X-Men - even Loki, the most interesting villain in the bunch, had a plan that depended entirely on Thor not being willing to go on a journey of self-discovery. It's like he doesn't even know what kind of movie he's in.

depizan said...

I've got to agree with you about the WTF shooting in a crowded room scene in Captain America - that doesn't make her tough, that makes her disturbed. Which is too bad, because they didn't do a bad job with her otherwise. Maybe if they'd just dropped the romance angle entirely. Also, I have a basic issue with the idea that heroes come in one flavor. Sure Steve had the heart on a hero, but he can only be one if we give him the body to match. Because there's nothing heroic a skinny guy with asthma can do. Ever. Never mind that he's tough enough to shrug off regular beat downs. And supposedly is smart, as well. I'm probably about pre-serum Steve size, and I kind of resent being told I'm inherently unheroic. (Not a message intended, but it's kind of an inescapable one.)

In Thor, Loki was the most sympathetic character, unless we're supposed to believe everything of him was a con job. And, again, not having a romance angle might have improved the movie. Though I didn't see Heimdall (sp?) as a victim. He did his job, and well, and survived the freeze ray.

Ana Mardoll said...

I'm increasingly of the suspicion that I must have been in the Worst Mood Ever the night I watched Thor if so many of y'all liked it. Intriguing.

Course, another problem is that, to me, Loki is the guy who got Baldur killed, so it honestly didn't occur to me to see him as sympathetic. How odd of me.

Izzy said...

Whereas I was all ", I'm the only person in the world who liked the romance plot, I guess." :) Different tastes: to me, it came off as understated rather than wooden. I liked that there *wasn't* a whole lot of romance plot per se: like, there was fish-out-of-water stuff, and getting to know/like each other, and then a few moments of connection before Hey, Giant Robot. I also kinda loved that each of them had other interests first and foremost--she wanted to find out what was up, and then she wanted her research back, and he wanted to get back to Asgard--and that, at the Girl-Or-World choice, Thor did the sensible thing without even hesitating.

On the other hand, I'm pretty willing to like romance plots if they don't have uber-emo moments, stupid jealousy subplots/scenes, or pathetic stalking ickiness as a basis. It's possible that I just benefit from lowered expectations. ;)

chris the cynic said...

One of the things I remember most from Thor, and I've mentioned this elsewhere, is when Thor is trying to convince everyone to go:

Thor: Fandral, Hogun, who led you into the glorious of battles?
Hogun: You did.
Thor: And, Volstagg, who introduced you to delicacies so succulent you thought you'd died and gone to Valhalla?
Volstagg: You did.
Thor: And who proved wrong all who scoffed at the idea that a young maiden could be one of the fiercest warriors this realm has ever known?
Sif: I did.
Thor: True. *beat* But I supported you.

Sif claims and gets the credit she deserves, Thor's part is identified as a mere supporting role. And as Lori points out Thor's not at all a jerk about it when she points out that she deserves the credit. She's right, and that's and that's the end of it.

For Loki I felt so sorry for him, even at the end when he's on the verge of committing genocide. He absolutely needs to be stopped, and he's absolutely doing incredible evil, but when you find out he's doing it all to make his (adoptive) father proud so that he can finally be accepted and appreciated for once in his life it makes me sad.

He needs to be stopped but I so very much want to somehow be by means of untangling the twisted mass of emotion in him so that he can finally have some kind of peace. To their credit, I think both Thor and Odin want the same thing at the end. Of course if they been better family members to begin with, that would be unnecessary (and there would be no plot.)

Loki is definitely responsible for his actions, and being treated badly is no excuse for genocide, but it definitely felt to me like if he'd been treated different he wouldn't have gone evil.

And also there's a point to be made about the fact that at the beginning of the movie Thor probably would have done the same thing given the chance. When Thor wants to save the frost giants Loki is genuinely confused because that's not the Thor he knew and how the Hell did he change so much in so short a time? The single most terrible thing he's going to do is something that Thor himself probably would have done, so it's definitely a case of "not so different". Maybe Loki just needed some time in New Mexico and he could have been a hero.

depizan said...

Sympathetic doesn't mean right or good. It means I can see how he got that way, and the story doesn't give him a chance to change, though Thor gets that chance. It makes the story seem unfair. Oh, sure, Mr. Muscles gets the chance to be a better person, but his adopted brother is just hosed.

depizan said...

I'd have liked it better as a friendship plot. Same with the one in Captain America. But that may be me being since of romance plots being the only ones possible between a man and a woman.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh! I see what you and Chris are saying, that it's not fair that Thor got to go to summer camp to learn to be a better person and Loki didn't. Yeah, I can see that. Good point.

Although now that we're talking about Thor, did anyone else think that was a gratuitous rape threat when Loki tells him, mid-fight, that he'll have to visit/check out Portman's character when he wins? I wish movie makers would stop doing that. Not all Bad Guys are also rapists, and not all "Good Guys" understand consent. But it was a quick line, and I was apparently in a bad mood that night so... did I imagine that?

chris the cynic said...

It's been a while, and I'm not completely sure I'm remembering it right (I had forgotten about it until you brought it up), but I think I interpreted that as a death threat.

Futon Fighter said...

I thought all the origin stories are/were efforts to jump start franchises, plus Marvel was trying to beat DC to a multi-franchise team movie, i.e. Avengers vs. Justice League.

Given that X-Men First Class was nothing but a big shiny military advert I find the portrayal of the POC and the women even more troubling - up there with casting the CIA as the good guys, which seems to be the coming thing in movies and TV now (I wonder why?). Hollywood will keep repeating that trope that renders POC expendable - if present at all - because the straight white males that run it don't want any competition.

Chronicle isn't a pre-existing franchise and their black character still gets killed off. It really has zero to do with the source material.

I even suspect that Twilight's Breaking Dawn Part 2 will do a similar thing with it's suddenly made up 'French Coven' of which the member Henri is black. There's no French coven in the book and a complaint of the script writer was that the final 'battle' wasn't cinematic enough, I suspect this is the solution they're going with but if so, why put a black chacter in Coven Cannon Fodder? Isn't it weird enough when we've already seen Tyler disappear without trace after film 1 and Laurent get torn to pieces in film 2. I guess they had to go for a hat trick. Unfortunately it stops being an unhappy coincidence after the first two times and becomes a clear pattern.

Another case in point, the Akira manga is being made into a live action feature. It almost goes without saying that it will be relocated to the US but it also seems that all the main characters (if not all the characters), despite retaining Japanese names, are going to be cast as white. Why do this if you care even a little about portraying diversity? Answer: they don't (want the competition, they can't deal with it, and removing POC in celluloid makes them feel a little more in control).

Expect more racefail, race lifts, and self-fulfilling justifcation for this. Probably worse given that I predict more and more military 'advisement' in all movies in general.

Lorien said...

Aaaah, see, I also have "Loki as Marvel says he is" completely separated from "Loki as the Eddas say he is" in my head. And have read a lot of stuff online in neopagan communities and otherwise that posits that the whole "Loki killed Baldur" thing is a lot More Complicated Than That. So I'm *over* inclined to be sympathetic. :)

Silver Adept said...

@Ana -

We can both be grumpy together. I didn't particularly care for Thor as a movie - there were a lot of pretty people, but that was about all there was going for it. It could have been a lot better, and I was frankly a bit "And nobody can pull Excalibur out of the stone, really?" and then a lot of "Well, if the artifact can fly itself, then it should have found someone who matched the description..." and lots of argh about other bits, like why Loki would ally with the frost giants unless he already knew about his heritage...

...yeah, it wasn't a particularly well-thought out movie. Sif was pretty cool, for what chris the cynic said above, but she kind of was canceled out by the rest of that scene about the Boys Being Boys...

...I really haven't liked the comic property movies as a whole for a while now, I guess.

Makabit said...

"Chronicle isn't a pre-existing franchise and their black character still gets killed off. It really has zero to do with the source material."

Years ago, I worked with a teacher who was showing the Baz Luhrman "Romeo and Juliet" to her freshman high school students.

Mercutio is played in this version by Harold Perrineau, who is black. I had never taken particular notice of this before, having been more distracted by the fact that Mercutio is an occasional drag queen in this version, as well a smart-ass shit-disturber, as is more traditional. However, as Mercutio shouts "a plague on both your houses", blood gushing from his wound, a young, male voice says resignedly in the dark classroom, "Yep, the black guy always gets killed."

It REALLY has zero to do with the source material.

Makabit said...

Another reason I loved teaching "Much Ado About Nothing" to my freshman classes, despite INTENSE fail in the Claudio/Hero plotline, is that there is an excellent film version in which the black guy does not get killed. (Although this then leads to the usual aggravating class discussion where one kid can't figure out how Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves can be brothers.)

Although he does break my heart. Every time Denzel says to Emma Thompson, "Lady, will you have me?" I want to scream, "MARRY HIM! Benedick will cope!"

chris the cynic said...

and lots of argh about other bits, like why Loki would ally with the frost giants unless he already knew about his heritage...

He never really allied with the frost giants though. He used them as a tool to mess up the coronation, and then he used them again to make himself the hero of Asgard (by killing their leader.) He was never on their side, he was just using them, and generally using their deaths.

A lack of concern for the frost giants as people was a problem Thor and Loki shared at the start of the movie, Loki never outgrew it, even after he found out he was at least part frost giant (yes frost, no giant.) While I certainly don't approve of mass murder, I do like the fact that Loki didn't seem to think that birth equals destiny, even after he found out he was a frost giant he still wasn't on their side.

He was always an Asgardian. I like that better than the more standard, "I'm really an X by birth? I shall adopt all X beliefs as my own."

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, that definitely makes sense. I have to confess that I've never fully understood the Loki-redemption in a lot of neopagan communities -- to be perfectly honest, he's always skeezed me out a bit -- but then again I was the last person to suspect I'd like Edmund Pevensie or feel sorry for Bella Swan, so I know that one rarely has full control over their interpretation of a piece of art. :D

Ana Mardoll said...

@Silver Adept, should we get Team Grumpy shirts? :D

Ana Mardoll said...

Although he does break my heart. Every time Denzel says to Emma Thompson, "Lady, will you have me?" I want to scream, "MARRY HIM! Benedick will cope!"

Ah, I cannot say how relieved that I'm not the only one who yells this. Though I do love Branagh. :)

Ana Mardoll said...

He was always an Asgardian. I like that better than the more standard, "I'm really an X by birth? I shall adopt all X beliefs as my own."

That's true, good point. I do so hate that trope. I think my problem is that at that point I thought he was more out for himself than out for Asgard.

But I did feel like -- what was it up-thread? It was trying to be 4 movies in one? So that was muddled for me.

chris the cynic said...

I think my problem is that at that point I thought he was more out for himself than out for Asgard.

Oh definitely. He wanted to be the hero, he wanted to be their father's favorite, he wanted acceptance and fame and glory and whatnot. And he was willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to get it. He wasn't a good Asgardian.

As much as I felt sorry for him, he was definitely evil. It's just a kind of evil that makes me desperately want him to work things out and turn to good. A very sympathetic kind of evil.


I've never really thought about this before, but maybe realizing he was a frost giant pushed him even more in an anti-frost giant direction. How does he prove himself worthy of the throne if he's a frost giant? Maybe by personally saving his father from the king of the frost giants (who happens to be his biologial father) and then exterminating the frost giants once and for all. Maybe in his mind the genocide was an attempt to prove to those who knew the truth (which is probably just is mother and his father) that he was very definitely not on the frost giant side.

I don't know. His actions are pretty uniformly inexcusable, and yet I felt so very sorry for him.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

And by the by, a little parenting tip for Odin: If you are going to tell your adult child that he is not only adopted, but also a frost giant, please do not immediately go into a random coma of BS etiology upon delivering the news, leaving said now-traumatized son temporary king. At least sign him up for some therapy sessions before lapsing into said coma.

Yes, the fabled "Odin Sleep", otherwise known as "deus ex machina plot device so we can get Odin offstage because he'd actually fix most of the problems if he was available, leaving Thor and Loki nothing to do but play pinochle the next 20 issues..."

Lonespark said...

I liked that there *wasn't* a whole lot of romance plot per se: like, there was fish-out-of-water stuff, and getting to know/like each other, and then a few moments of connection before Hey, Giant Robot. I also kinda loved that each of them had other interests first and foremost--she wanted to find out what was up, and then she wanted her research back, and he wanted to get back to Asgard--and that, at the Girl-Or-World choice, Thor did the sensible thing without even hesitating.


Odin: Not a good example of morality. Basically you can't go wrong repeating this at any and all points.

Lonespark said...

Harold Perrineu did what now? Man, he was the best thing about Oz, and there were a lot great things about it.

Lonespark said...

Well, Ana, maybe you should do stuff with Loki-centric myths and see where you get?
(Would that be deconstruction? I'm not sure.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Possibly! I've actually read a lot of Norse mythos, but apparently the stuff I've been reading are the wrong ones for making Loki look good. 'Course, mind you, I've seen similar stuff in the Egyptian pagan communities with a lot of redemption of Set, and I don't really grok that entirely either. Maybe I just like my bad guys to stay bad? Though I've read some AWESOME redemptive fic of Lucifer, so maybe it's just poor selection on my part with Loki and Set.

Or maybe I'm just an Osiris / Baldur fan-girl but JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, JESUS. LOL.

No, I really can't say. I do like people bringing it up here -- helps me to understand why some folks may have liked the Thor movie better. :)

chris the cynic said...

I don't really know about the history of Norse myth, but I seem to remember hearing that it was edited severely by Christians and one of the things they did was to try to impose stricter good and evil roles on it, which involved changing Loki from trickster to just plain evil.

So one wonders if Loki has had some bad publicity thrown his way. That's actually a question that's around a lot for me. Like Jason. (In Greek myth.) Jason's story existed at the time of Homer but we don't have that story, and by the time we do get a story of Jason I wonder if Jason being a total ass is a result of the genres the story had to travel through to get to us. If we'd had an epic version of his relationship with Medea rather than getting it via one of Euripides' tragedies, for example, might he be a decent human being?

Ana Mardoll said...

I've heard similar, and Set suffered from retcons as well. Possibly my mental resistance is ideological? As in, if we reform the bad guy, where does the drama come from?

It seems like the bad guy vacuum is filled by Ra and Odin, which I find interesting. I'm not really a Ra girl, but I like Odin.

...and now I want to go play Age of Mythology, lol.

Rikalous said...

One thing I read about the evolution of the Loki myth is that he picked up an association with fire because his name sounds like Logi, the Norse word for fire.

I like myth!Loki since he does things like give birth to an eight-legged horse and tie a goat's beard to his genitals (he needed to make a giantess laugh) if that's what needs to be done. Regardless of whether you think he's a good guy, you gotta respect his nerve.

Brin Bellway said...

...and now I want to go play Age of Mythology, lol.

The installation disc of our copy has been lost for five years or so, and I think all the computers we'd installed it on have since died. *sigh*

(AoE 3 we've replaced (and been more careful with the second copy), the replacement copy of 1 also broke, and last I checked the original 2 is still working.)

Silver Adept said...

@Rikalous -

Loki's also the guy who interrupts the feast at Asgard and insults everyone at the table after reminding everyone that Odin promised him hospitality every time they sat down to drink. Now, most of the Asgardians bite right back with some of the other things that Loki did, but if you want nerve, there's nothing quite like insulting the entire pantheon all in one place.

@chris the cynic

Ah, you're right. He never really allied himself with the frost giants. I was confusing how he used them for various bits with an actual alliance, and that Odin wanted an alliance by having Loki be both and able to unite the kingdoms.

@Ana Mardoll

No shirt for me. For one, I'd be far too tempted to violate Disney's copyright, and for another, I'm that broke that I can't afford a shirt. It'd have to be either the "Define Cynical" one or "The economy blew up a bubble and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

In any case, Edda-Saga-Loki is waaaaay more fun than movie Loki. And I think the redemption idea might be more a general redemption of tricksters and chaotics as part of the cycle and a necessary force. You don't necessarily want to engage them unless you know exactly what you want and how to phrase it, but you have them there, rather than just thinking of them as evil characters.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ha, no, no shirt. They never fit right anyway.

Good point on the tricksters. Someone posted a great defense of trickster gods on this blog awhile back, but I can't remember who or where, just that I loved it. Was that you?

Silver Adept said...

Oh, great gods no. Not me. That said, your site's indexed by Google and I have some advanced techniques available, so the comment you were looking for is in a Narnia thread by Chris Doggett.

I knew trickster gods, and Mr. Aslan, you are no trickster.

Helps, too, that you mention that it was one of the best defenses of tricksters you've read in the comment right after, so I could be sure I got the right one.

Lonespark said...

The goat-tied-to-scrotum part of Skadi's story is left out of the nice illustrated myth book I read my kids. But that's ok, since I basically just tell the stories while using the pictures, and no picture could do that justice.

I guess I have a different take on the Baldur myths, where I just couldn't grok the story at all for a long time. Now I'm at the point where I feel like it has the potential to reveal a lot about Frigga's character, and I guess Loki's too, and Odin's, but I'm the person trying to get "What Would Frigga Do? shirts", so, She's the one I'm concentrating on... At this stage I relate to Baldur mostly as a plot device...but I think I need to learn more about different versions of the story, the better to rant about American Gods.

The Slacktiverse Pagan 101 got linked to in a thread a couple days ago and I went back and read through the conversation in the comments, part of which was Laiima discussing Loki and Odin. I think the whole thread is good stuff and worth a read.

I feel confusing Marvel!Movie!Loki and Myth!Loki leads to pain and distress, and the same goes for the rest of the characters. Not that this stops me from liking all the fanfic about Movie!Loki mothering monsters or Movie!Sif losing her hair in sorcery mishaps or intiation rituals or...

Izzy said...

Heh, yeah. And then there's Marvel!Comic!Loki, and Avengers!Cartoon!Loki, who...has inexplicable antennae-headgear.

I am inexplicably drawn to the idea of Earth serving for other worlds the way Narnia serves (or was meant to serve) for Earth: as a place to Learn Lessons and Improve Yourself and so forth.

...and for reasons known only to my subconscious, this leads to the *also* appealing idea of Earth serving as a kind of Blandings Castle, where all of the other worlds send their wayward offspring, or said wayward offspring come disguised to try and court other wayward offspring/steal diamond necklaces/try and hold down secretarial positions long enough to please their grumpy uncles/etc...

...dammit, I already have sixteen plot ideas.

Lonespark said...

I am inexplicably drawn to the idea of Earth serving for other worlds the way Narnia serves (or was meant to serve) for Earth: as a place to Learn Lessons and Improve Yourself and so forth.

In theory. Were it to enter actual practice, I'd probably be, Frak You, aliens! And I suppose they'd have Magical Earthling tropes in their media. And Closer To...Something.

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you!! Such a good comment.

Ana Mardoll said...

I'm pleased to learn that I'm not the only person who feels sorry for the fiance. Poor woman.

Lonespark said...

Chris's version of Twister sounds awesome. It...probably makes me even less interested in seeing what got made.

...can you fix Dante's Peak now? It so very much almost didn't suck.

chris the cynic said...

I'd have to refresh my memory on what happened in Dante's Peak before I could make an attempt.

GeniusLemur said...

Nice idea, but Hollywood will never do something like that. Skip the "romance" in favor of friendship? Heresy! Just look at the writing for "Enemy at the Gates:" one of the great, pivotal battles of history? Who cares! We have a painfully dull, zero-suspense love triangle! THAT's what's important!

Francis Dickinson said...

Course, another problem is that, to me, Loki is the guy who got Baldur killed, so it honestly didn't occur to me to see him as sympathetic. How odd of me.

One thing to remember about Loki is that he was consistently Odin's hatchetman as well as the Oathbreaker's* blood-brother. And there were several conflicting prophecies going on there.

But getting back to Thor (the movie), I think it would have been a much better film with a lot less of earth. Still, re: Heimdall, it's hardly a classic fridging when the "fridged" character manages to kick the fridge door off its hinges from the inside in response to a cry for help. And something went seriously wrong with Odin's parenting when both his children tried to commit genocide on the Frost Giants. And my reading of the parenting methods was "Of course you two are equal, my sons Thor, oh, and Loki. You are absolutely the equal of your taller more handsome brother." I had a lot of sympathy with Loki for about half the film.

* Odin

Makabit said...

I loved "Enemy At The Gates", but that is probably because I grew up surrounded by veterans of Stalingrad.

Granted, it was a terrible movie, but there are so few movies about Stalingrad I don't have to read subtitles for.

Also, I thought they did a good job with the Soviet cultural context, and the multiethnic quality of the Soviet forces.

Makabit said...

I have a very vivid image of Loki's relationship to the rest of the Aesir which appears to be loosely based on what I think may have been a BET sitcom in the early 90s. The show, if I didn't make it up entirely (I've been thinking about this since we started talking Loki, and I'm still not sure) featured a suburban black family with a typical cranky, much-put-upon dad at its head. Then there was a snide, smartass white kid who, I believe, followed the oldest son home from school, and pretty much moved in because he wanted a 'real' family. The dad both rants about how he wants this boy out of his house, and collaborates with him to drive everyone else in the family nuts.

That is how I see Odin and Loki.

The Edda material, obviously, not the movie.

The movie--I felt terrible for Loki. He's clearly second best, quiet and clever in a community that values loud and heroic. He's been lied to all his life, as part of an incredibly stupid scheme on Odin's part that doesn't even remotely make sense. He's the victim of the Terrible Genetically Bound Fallacy, where once you find out who your Real Parents were, Everything Changes, although he does manage to turn that one on his ear slightly. He's even been lied to about his body. He doesn't, apparently, really look like that, or shouldn't have.

And the most jacked-up, evil thing he tries to do is something Thor was totally into before, as people have pointed out, he got to go to Redemptive Earth Camp, but Thor gets to be the hero.

You can understand why he just lets go at the end.

Therapy. The kid needs therapy. And better parents.

(Also, have the Jotunn had absolutely no interest in finding out what happened to their leader's kid for all these years? Did I just miss that part?)

Makabit said...

"That is how I see Odin and Loki."

Clarifying, since it's three thirty in the morning, and I may not be making much sense, that I see Loki as essentially getting to sleep on the couch in Asgard for all eternity, because no one can really get him to leave, and Odin enjoys having someone around who's just as demented and wily as he is.

chris the cynic said...

We got hardly any glimpses of Loki's mother, but from what we did see I don't think she was a bad parent in herself. I'm not sure how much that counts for given that her husband was and she didn't seem to work to stop that*, but if it'd just been her raising Thor and Loki I think Loki would have had a life that sucked a whole lot less.

Also, it's worth noting that, shortly after Loki angrily concluding that his father could never allow a frost giant on the throne, Loki ends up on a throne with, it appears to me, his mother's full support.


I completely agree that what Loki needed was therapy.


*There is a strong temptation to judge her for not forcing Odin to be a less horrible father, I'm not sure how fair that temptation is. Maybe she could have if she'd really tried, but maybe she couldn't and it would have made things worse, or maybe she did really try (for better or worse) and what we saw was the result. Maybe she was as much a victim as Loki. We really don't know.

Lonespark said...

Possibly they could have made Trouble in Asgard the first movie and Redemptive Earth Camp the second? I'm glad we got Jane and Darcy right away, though. But then Sif and Hogun and Frigga and Loki's backstory could have been fleshed out more, and Heimdall could have done more amazing awesome things, and possibly we would have learned something about Laufey and Jotunheim that would have made either more or less sense.

Not that this was in doubt, but I must go on record supporting additional discussions about Myth!Frigga, Odin, Loki, Baldur, Sif, etc. (Yeah, Thor, too.)

Lonespark said...

And Skadi, Idunna, etc., etc.,

Makabit said...

@Chris--We see Frigga make far fewer mistakes (I'm assuming that's who she is) than Odin in parenting, but we also don't see her do or say much at all. She's warm toward her sons, she seems like a nice lady, but...we don't see much to tell us what her role in all of this has been, or if she has one, really,.

LaylaV said...

Also, Jetlad doesn't date his Captain America/mentor, which is a situation that tends to make me uncomfortable. He meets Wulf after the war is over, when he's been sent to Neopolis, has an apartment of his own, a job of his own, no mentor or other parental figure, and various other markers of adulthood. Plus, yeah, the fact that you read their origin story knowing they'll be together for the next 50 years helped me mentally skate over the fact that he's 16.

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