Summer Movie Blockbusters Don’t Equal Equality

Sometimes. Sometimes.

la_ca_0220_xmen_days_of_future_past
See? These main characters make for one totally diverse film.

There, now that my preface is over, let’s get started, shall we?

My summer movie blockbuster viewing has been pretty lucky, so far. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to see the last three movies on the big screen as advanced screenings. (Go to GoFobo.com if you’d like to experience this phenomenon yourself.) I love movies and I especially enjoy a good free movie.

But I have to say, Hollywood, I am disappoint. I guess I expect progress too much, but I just hoped, foolishly, that there would be a bit more diversity and a bit more equality this time around. It being, you know, 2014 and all.

With the onslaught of blogging and social media and websites like The Mary Sue (it’s listed in the links menu on this site), I thought we would start to finally get it. And, I should say, we are. But slowly. I guess it’s the millennial side of my teeter totter between being Millennial and Gen Y, but I’m a bit impatient.

It's this one. This is the one I choose.
It’s this one. This is the one I choose.

So, the last three movies I’ve seen were Belle, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and A Million Ways to Die in the West. I’m sure it won’t be hard to guess which of these were one of my favorite movies so far (and the most progressive). I’ll give a bit of my opinion on each down below:

Belle

Everyone should go see Belle. And I mean it. It was like a socially progressive Jane Austen Movie. And a Jane Austen movie I actually wanted to see. (Sorry, she’s just never quite struck my fancy.) It was beautiful. I’m buying it as soon as it comes out. Seriously. Amazing.

Malfoy’s still a jerk, by the way.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

So, I’m still sorting out my feelings on this X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Empire-Photo-Mystiquemovie. It was decent. Like, how all X-Men 
movies have been decent, but haven’t really struck me since X2 (the best one in my opinion). A strength in this film is that Mystique is a powerful female character and she’s a force to reckon with. And SPOILERS:
Xavier learns that trying to control her, instead of letting her be her own person, is what made her angry and slightly evil in the first place. Kind of like the patriarchy tries to do every day. But then, unfortunately, none of the other female characters have much agency other than doing cool battle things. So, there’s really only one woman with agency and importance and I’m not sure it actually passes the Bechdel test. (EDIT: Just checked the site, and it doesn’t.) With so many cool ladies in this film, it’s kind of disappointing to see that they really weren’t important to the story.

I have other, non-feminist frustrations with this film, but that’s a thought for another day. Or, ask me in the comments section and I’ll let ya know!

A Million Ways to Die in the West

millioncharlizefinalUGH. UUUUUUGH. Why do I expect more out of Seth MacFarlane? I don’t know. I only wind up disappointing myself. I can enjoy Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. I even like the obvious irony in American Dad! But there are obvious issues in all of these shows. It’s only when I pay attention to them that I disappoint myself. Plus, look at how awesome he is with bringing Cosmos back into the world. These are good things.

And then I saw his latest film. It wasn’t the jokes – I get the jokes. This isn’t me being another feminist getting up in arms and overly sensitive about misogynist jokes. I couldn’t care less and I tend to think that, if we can’t joke about something, then that means that we can’t get passed the issue itself.

But it’s the actions that upset me. The general idea is pretty good. The cameos in the film are awesome and as a film geek, the throwback to classic westerns makes me tip my hat in his general direction. But I was hoping that he would turn the story around. That it wouldn’t be just another film about the white man saving the world. He gave so much agency to Charlize Theron’s character – so I guess I did a dumb thing and got my hopes up. Silly me.

Instead, the white man saves the world. Again.

#EndRant

So, there is some progress. I should point that out. That’s the kind of thing I had to learn while writing this. But there’s still so far to go. Why is it that there’s a Comic Book movie, based on a comic with so many female characters with personality, and only one gets portrayed? How is it that Seth MacFarlane can seriously portray some interesting, diverse thinking, only to create a movie that makes himself the hero?

I’m waiting, Hollywood.

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. gynocrat says:

    What killed me about X-Men was that the original comic was so much more gender balanced than the film. I was furious at the changes (Kitty Pride is the one that went back in time–not Wolverine!) -Kitty was the hero in Days of Future Past. My other quibble? Not only are we still robbed of a Mystique with some substance, we’re given a spiteful angry Mystique who’s the way she is because of what ‘men’ did to her. :/ Instead of being masturbatory-fodder like she was in the first films, she’s now a lesson that men must learn–“treat them right or they end up wrong”. >_<.

    1. sotuachair says:

      That’s an excellent point about Mystique! No matter what, the definition of her being is based on the men around her, rather than about what she can do and who she is as a person/mutant. Her definition isn’t even her’s.

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