Monday, May 9, 2016

Currently Watching 5.9.16



I have been thinking a lot about the conflict of superheroes recently. Not the conflict of their existence as one of the most iconic figures in fiction of all time, but the conflict that superheroes have with each other. Why is it that three mainstream superhero films, from three different studios, are coming out/have come this year that deal with climatic tensions amongst superheroes? I am of course talking about –Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and the least recognizable of the three, X-men: Apocalypse, which will have heroic figures forcibly pitted against one another. Why is it that Daredevil’s Season 2 focuses on the central conflicts of Daredevil v. The Punisher and Daredevil v. Elektra? Why now? And why in general? What draws an audience of tens of millions to be so seduced that they would roar in approval to seeing the gladiators of their childhoods rise up against each other? What is so special about conflict?

Conflict is certain.

Conflict is a reality we (a super generic we, as I do not even know who will read this) can feel very….conflicted…about. It’s hard to accept that things are hard. It’s hard when the hardest conflicts we are given come not from enemies in opposition, but from those whom we consider colleagues, friends…brothers and sisters.  We don’t always agree as “normal” people. Why should our heroes?

This is an election year. Something so ironic iconic should unify a country to make a decision – yet look at how it tears apart. The establishment as a whole is in shreds, parties are anything but fun, and even in our small-established groups of people whom we deem safe, many cower from speaking not their minds, but their hearts. And that’s just politics – 75% of the people who even care about that right now will go back to not caring nearly as much come second week in November.

On Saturday I saw Captain America: Civil War. I will need to see it two more times to make a judgment call, but this has potential to be my favorite movie of all time – up there with The Lion King, The Dark Knight, Remember the Titans, The Incredibles, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Avengers (my top 100 list is way more random). The action is classic Russo Brothers at it’s finest, the performances are some of the best considering some of the acting in these movies can be hit or miss, the writing (for the most part) is actually fantastic, and the story is…beautiful. It's tragedy and it’s beautiful. This isn’t just an emotionally invested battle between Steve Rogers AKA Captain America and Tony Stark AKA Ironman, nor is it just a matter of conflicting ideologies. It’s all that and more. It’s people with real stakes, and despite being superheroes, these people are asked to make a choice whether to be bound by government restrictions or not. They’re asked to compromise their ideology, morality AND identity. And these two friends, who have led a team of do-gooders for years now, fall on opposite spectrums in this decision-making. It is a rough battle from there as the team is completely divided, and without spoiling anything, it is super messy. Just like life…conflict equals messy in this movie.

I don't know, maybe it’s topic of conversations that I’ve been having as of late. Maybe it’s the movie’s tagline – “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Or maybe this is a blog and it’s late night and I’m pouring words out my fingers like the sky has been spewing out rain this past week.

Whatever it is, I will share this. Captain America: Civil War has given me hope for conflict in the level of maturity of which it handles conflict. It doesn’t give a complete resolution to war, but it does give an alternative to the hopelessness that war has given many in the past few years.  It’s a 10/10 – go see it if you have any interest at all in conflicting ideology or superheroes or good movies or just want to celebrate the end of the semester.


If I end up not blogging next week, I want to wish everyone a blessed and beautiful summer. And stay golden everybody.

Mike

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