Category Archives: action

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

After enduring the abomination that was The Last Jedi, I found myself tempted to forswear the franchise along with other old school fans. Why participate in the further vandalism and degradation of a beloved cinematic mythology at the hands of people who clearly do not care about the story, have pure contempt for the core audience and are using it as a transmission vessel for their demented ideological jihad? Furthermore, a Han Solo origin story feels especially unnecessary at this juncture in the new series. After dying a very undignified death at the hands of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi’s very explicit message of “killing the past”, why try to revive the memory of Han Solo after you’ve closed out his story arc and signaled the desire to wipe the slate clean? Rogue One managed to split the difference by leveraging aspects of Episode IV while still presenting something that felt genuinely new. This film already feels like blatantly opportunistic mythological cannibalism. Just because you can make a Han Solo origin story doesn’t mean you should.

Call it masochism, nostalgia or just plain stupidity, I had to see Solo just to assess how bad the damage was. Admittedly, Kathleen Kennedy and her minions have made it eminently clear that she doesn’t give a single fuck about the core audience and is solidly intent on utilizing the franchise as a political bludgeon. That said, Solo wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It’s a serviceable, if pointless, addition to the franchise that has a couple genuinely rousing moments which approach the old Star Wars magic.

The main question surrounding Solo is why? Rogue One pulled off its central premise by fleshing out the Rebellion’s daring acquisition of the Death Star plans. You could say it was equally pointless, but it was just enough to justify its existence as a standalone Star Wars film. Whereas Solo’s existence only makes sense as an exercise in franchise vampirism since The Last Jedi nearly milked every last drop of residual goodwill from the fanbase reservoir.

Solo is essentially Smokey and the Bandit crossed with Game of Thrones set in the early years of Imperial dominion. It’s a lite heist caper set in the pre-New Hope gangland. If you don’t ask too many questions and go along for the ride, it works pretty well. As a Han Solo origin story, it’s a functional connect-the-dots which asks for relatively modest cognitive leaps. You know how things will end up, so the outcome is never really a surprise. Director Ron Howard manages to throw in enough twists to keep your attention.

In the titular role, Alden Ehrenreich has the thankless task of reimagining a beloved character whose memory is already firmly cemented through Harrison Ford’s iconic performance. Maybe there’s something to the law of diminished expectations because I didn’t think he completely sucked.

What’s perhaps most disturbing about Solo and each new installment in the Star Wars franchise is the way the films manage to make moral relativism and the brute acquisition of power seem virtuous and cool. This is, of course, entirely consistent with the progressive agenda behind them, but it’s astonishing to see increasingly overt nihilism being packaged as family entertainment. Forgoing the standard crawl that’s featured in the canonical installments, the film opens with a simple text frame which outlines the dire state of the galaxy.

It is a lawless time. Crime Syndicates compete for resources – food, medicine, and hyperfuel. On the shipbuilding planet of Corellia, the foul Lady Proxima forces runaways into a life of crime in exchange for shelter and protection. On these mean streets, a young man fights for survival, but yearns to fly among the stars…

So the Old Republic was so shitty at governance and maintaining a stable social order that the transition to empire resulted in the mass dissolution of families and the immediate rise of crime syndicates? Didn’t the Republican Senate approve Palpatine’s expanded executive power in Episode III? And these are the people we want to have returned to the seat of power? And if society deteriorates into a shitstorm of resource wars and competing crime lords so soon after the dissolution of the Old Republic, what does this say about the prevalence of ethics under the Old Republic? I’ll tell you what it suggests to me. They were incompetent and corrupt because those sympathetic to the Old Republic are in a constant state of revolution against some version of Imperial government in every film. Neither the Rebellion nor the Old Republic are capable of translating military success into stable government. Way to go, Disney. You guys are validating the existence of every The Empire Did Nothing Wrong subreddit and meme page.

Of course, our hero is the quintessential lovable outlaw, so we must understand the world that shaped him. As Darwinism and #WOKE materialism dictates, man is just a semi-conscious sack of meat who is simultaneously biologically hardwired for toxicity due to his genitals, the beneficiary of immutable social forces which accord him countless privileges and yet perpetually at war against bourgeois delusions of free will. A man whose only credo is to do what thou wilt for the highest bidder can only be understood by setting up a sociopolitical order that’s devoid of man made law. Because, after all, that’s the highest authority. What Solo presents is a sanitized variation on the type of world with which we’re presented in Game of Thrones and numerous other similar shows. In other words, the acquisition of power is the only objective. Ethics are bought and sold. Blackmail and the threat of deadly force is the only surefire way to ensure compliance, obedience or loyalty. Individual freedom and defiance of any established authority is the highest virtue.

Just as we’ve seen in all other installments, there are no real parents, no legitimate or virtuous authorities, and the universe is a seething snake pit of lawless brigands, Imperial tyrants, and ruthless slave lords. You have no organic ties to family, religion or nation. Just a collection of atomized individuals who seek either a big payday, ultimate power or salvation in revolution. In a pivotal scene in which Solo sees enlistment in the Imperial army as his only ticket to liberation, the Imperial officer asks him about his family name. “I don’t have one,” he says. Got that, kids? Your parents are useless, the world in which you live is poisoned and corrupted beyond hope and you can’t trust anyone or anything.

This is the Aeon of #SocialJustice so you know you’re going to get the SJW Catechism in one form or another. While not nearly as cringeworthy as The Last Jedi, Solo still serves up some groaners. Despite Solo being a rare new film featuring a white male hero, you know Disney isn’t just going let this film be made without swinging the wrecking ball at the male hero archetype in one way or another. Naturally, we get no insight into Solo’s childhood or parents. Like Luke and Rey, Solo is another rootless youth set adrift in a sea of galactic chaos seeking some semblance of freedom and, in this rare circumstance, a romantic connection with Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra.

He finds a paternal proxy in Woody Harrelson’s mercenary, Tobias Beckett. Through the course of the series, we’ve seen the father figure go from Jedi Knight to Jedi muppet to communist revolutionary to Jedi incel to amoral criminal degenerate in ten films. Good work, Disney.

While impersonating an Imperial officer on the front lines of a “pacification” operation, Solo discovers that he has designs on a coaxium heist. Sensing a ticket out of Imperial servitude, Solo ingratiates himself with Beckett and his team. Early on, Beckett advises Solo to “assume everyone will betray you, and you will never be disappointed.” Given that advice, it’s not difficult to guess where this story arc ends up. In a remix of the Greedo confrontation and a foreshadowing of The Force Awakens, Solo couldn’t be more explicit about Disney’s contempt for fatherhood. Besides being utterly predictable, it is by far the most malevolent subtext.

Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot droid, L3-37, can be read either as a sop to militant SJWs and transhumanists alike or it can be read as a vicious lampoon of both. Given what Jonathan Kasdan tweeted about Solo, it’s obviously intended to be read as the former but that doesn’t exempt it from Poe’s Law either. L3 joins Jar Jar Binks, Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo as one of the series’ most irritating characters because she is basically a feminist activist in the form of a droid. She is annoying, preachy, narcissistic and domineering. Her heroic moment amounts to fomenting a droid revolution at a critical moment which buys our heroes a narrow window of time to escape. The choice to have this character embodied in a droid speaks for itself.

As one would expect, the L3 character was used as a pretext for engineering an utterly idiotic revision of Lando Calrissian as “pansexual.” That’s right. The suave smooth talker who couldn’t stop putting the moves on Leia throughout The Empire Strikes Back is really “pansexual” and has the hots for an anthropomorphic SJW garbage can. An attractive human female, a blob of alien slime, a droid. It’s all good, brah. Like clockwork, the lemmings in the media heralded this #WOKE revision with the same fanfare that Rose Tico received upon the release of The Last Jedi.

Though one could make a case that the Original Trilogy had more complex politics, the blatant leftism of the new films leaves no such room for nuance. To be fair, the politics in Star Wars have always been confused so it seems pedantic to analyze them too closely. Regardless, they require some inspection because there’s no doubt that they’re meant to transmit a political message. On the positive side, Solo is pretty explicit about the fact that Crimson Dawn and other crime syndicates are the shadow masters behind the Imperium. Whether it’s the Trade Federation, the Hutts or Crimson Dawn, the economic elites are able to buy influence within the Republican and Imperial power structure. Like their real world globalist counterparts, these are the people who buy off the politicians while the utopian rubes in the #RESISTANCE continue to romanticize the idea of a #WOKE, progressive Democracy despite being in a state of endless rebellion.

Solo’s hopes for rekindled romance with his lost sweetheart, Qi’ra, are dashed upon discovering that she has sworn allegiance to Crimson Dawn. His sole motivation entering the Imperial military and making an alliance with Beckett was so that he could earn enough money to buy a ship and rescue his bae from the Corellian hellhole from which he escaped. No such luck though, pal. This is the Aeon of #SocialJustice, Solo, and you don’t get to have your heterosexual, cisnormative romance.

When Solo finally reunites with Qi’ra, she’s already in league with Crimson Dawn capo, Dryden Vos. She’s cagey about the nature of her allegiance, but she makes it clear to Solo that there’s no going back to The Way We Were. And she’s got the Crimson Dawn insignia tattooed to her forearm to prove it. I suggest that this is a revealing insight into the culture of blackmail within Hollywood. While women in Hollywood talk a big game about female empowerment and equal pay while being sanctimonious about the evils of sexual predation, the culture of silence we saw from these very same actresses around Harvey Weinstein’s transgressions speaks volumes about their true loyalties. Qi’ra’s Crimson Dawn tattoo also bears a similarity to the marks women received during branding rituals that were utilized in the NXIVM sex cult.

Solo’s bond with Chewbacca feels rushed and arbitrary. Given that this is a character whose relationship to loyalty is initially sketchy, we want to understand how he forged such a deep bond with a creature who resembles an anthropomorphic dog. It’s a strange scene and the speed with which he earns Chewbacca’s trust as well as his mysterious grasp of Kashyyykian grunting is a bit of a leap. Why he needed only to speak in Chewie’s native tongue on one occasion and speaks to him in English from that point forward is a mystery that will have to be pondered on a subreddit.

Maybe I’m seeing Star Wars through the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, but a Star Wars film used to feel special. Maybe they were fated to end up as bland corporate Product and Content from the start, but at least George Lucas made me feel like he actually gave a shit about the story he was telling. The same claim cannot be made about Kathleen Kennedy and her cohorts at Disney. Sure, Solo managed to be passable entertainment, but that still doesn’t explain why this film had to be made in the first place beyond lining the corporate coffers. Sure, Ron Howard managed to prevent this from being the turd it could have been, but is that really the best that can be done with this property? Maybe I’m asking too much from Kathleen Kennedy and the Disney Corporation.

No one in the progressive establishment will ever acknowledge it, but Han Solo is a kind of Randian √ľbermensch. In the materialist dialectic, he has opted for individualistic self-interest over revolutionary collectivism. At least in this stage of his character development. In the final scene, he’s offered the opportunity to join the #RESISTANCE, but he opts to fly to Tatooine so he can score some cheddar smuggling for Jabba the Hutt. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo was the lovable wiseass in contrast to Luke’s overly earnest farmboy romanticism and Kenobi’s stoic mysticism. His character made sense within that story arc and his development felt heroic. Whereas using Solo as a subject for a heroic arc of his own feels like thin gruel for a standalone story. Why do you want to see a man become a narcissistic loner outlaw who has issues with honesty, debt, and commitment? Sadly, the only answer that’s apparent is that this is exactly the message Kathleen Kennedy and the Disney Corporation want to send with the Star Wars franchise.

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Black Panther (2018)

Similar to the prejudices I harbored going into The Last Jedi, I went into Black Panther fully expecting to hate the film simply because it was being pushed so hard by the progressive establishment. While it is certainly filled to the brim with all of the requisite SJW talking points and orthodoxies, it is also another surprisingly entertaining addition to the MCU franchise. As is the case with every other Marvel installment, there are a lot of esoteric symbols, religious archetypes and geopolitical themes which warrant a deeper look.

We Wuz Kangz!

The fact that Stan Lee, Marvel and Disney are in the business of manufacturing myths that are designed to subvert and supplant any conventional real world religious or cultural history should be self-evident to everyone. When examining the significance of Black Panther from the perspective of symbolism, one must not forget that Black Panther was aimed primarily at black Americans and white progressives who desperately want to virtue signal their solidarity with blacks.

Since the black community has been so mercilessly politicized and exploited by the progressive establishment, a black superhero archetype fills a spiritual void that has been eclipsed by a neverending mantra of oppression and subjugation at the hands of the evil white man. So what kind of archetype do Stan Lee and company serve up? A genetically engineered KANG, muthafuckas!

That’s right! When the mythmakers of Hollywood want to conjure a fantasy of black technological might, cultural solidarity and national unity, they go all Old Testament and give us T’Challa, King of Wakanda. Long live the king! In the age of democratic triumphalism, Black Panther presents a fantastical, isolationist, racially homogeneous hereditary monarchy as the ideal socio-political order. Given the prevalence of illegitimacy and fatherlessness in the black community, I suspect this myth taps into a primal psychological and spiritual yearning. It’s a society in which competition for the throne is settled by male on male combat rituals. It is, in essence, a patriarchal monarchy. Since the film has a politically correct vision of black empowerment which includes an elite all female praetorian guard, a female scientific genius and a cat goddess, you won’t hear a peep of dissent from feminists about this portrait of a patriarchy. Besides, it was enough that they “leaked” about the deleted lesbian love affair between two members of the Dora Milaje. We’ll have our black, non-binary, differently abled Disney princess yet! More on this later.

Needless to say, you don’t have to look very far to find people who are convinced that Black Panther reveals some actual hidden history that’s been suppressed by the white man.

Wakanda Forever!

Besides being an Afrofuturist spin on the Masonic myth of El Dorado and the latest black power meme, Wakanda represents something even deeper. Home. Since the black American identity is so tightly wound up with slavery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement and Africa remains a country rife with corruption, poverty and political instability, the search for a historical narrative which elicits pride might seem elusive. So let Marvel create one for you! Blacks have always asserted a collective cultural identity, but Wakanda is probably the first large scale pan-African mythological homeland. It has different tribal factions, but everyone swears allegiance to Wakanda and calls it home.

W’Kabi: You would kill me my love?

Okoye: For Wakanda? Without Question.

Herein lies one of the numerous absurdities in the ever changing Catechism of progressive racial pieties. Blacks are always permitted to express different visions of leftist black nationalism. With the release of this film, it can now include sci-fi black nationalism for a country that doesn’t even exist. Cuz Institutional Racism and Historical Oppression and shit. Or something. Who can keep up with the latest #WOKE protocols anyway? Whereas a white, middle class person wearing a MAGA hat is basically worse than a KKK Grand Wizard and a dude in a SS uniform combined.

But what a grand vision of fantasy nationalism it is! When we’re introduced to Wakanda, we see it from the cockpit of T’Challa’s hovercraft as it swoops through the idyllic plains. As the ship penetrates the cloaking system and careens through the neo-Babylonian spires of the utopian futurescape, the music ratchets up the drama and you can easily imagine fists being pumped in IMAX theaters all over the world. “This never gets old,” proclaims T’Challa as he beams with pride. It’s a scene that tugs at the heartstrings in a manner that’s reminiscent of the scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture when Kirk is reunited with the Enterprise.

Also like Star Trek, the Wakandan origin story is a very clever and daft mixture of sci-fi esotericism and bonkers economics that’s common of both the Trek and Marvel universes. 2.5 million years ago, a vibranium asteroid crashed to earth somewhere in East Africa where Wakanda is located and remains hidden from the surrounding world. The vibranium infected the flora and fauna and imbued certain plants with mutagenic properties. Guided by a vision from the panther goddess, Bast, a warrior named Bashenga was guided to a special herb which gave him supernatural strength when ingested. Transformed into the first Black Panther/King David, Bashenga proceeds to unite four out of five tribes of Wakanda. Sitting atop the most valuable resource known to man, the Wakandans proceed to build a society of unimaginable technological innovation and economic prosperity.

It’s easy enough to suspend disbelief when being presented with the origins of superhero powers, but the ascendancy of Wakanda as an economic and technological superpower just beggars belief. We’re to believe that Wakanda developed itself into a technological behemoth by maintaining a completely homogeneous population and an isolationist economic policy while simultaneously maintaining ancient tribal rituals and traditions. With no visibly adverse effects on the environment and not a trace of economic inequality. Right. Besides withholding this technological might from the world, they don’t even make an effort to improve the lot of the remainder of the African continent! What a bunch of bigots.

The fact that Wakanda Forever has become a cultural meme shouldn’t surprise anyone. Every Avengers film henceforth which features Black Panther is going to have some rousing scene in which the phrase is uttered. It’s the new May the Force Be With You. The larger question is over the true provenance of the Wakandan salute and what it may represent.

Glory to Aiwass!

Black Panther is rife with pagan, occultic and esoteric religious overtones. The majority of the Wakandan population swear allegiance to the panther goddess, Bast, while the dissident Jabari tribe worship an ape god, Hanuman. Bast is a twist on the Egyptian goddess Bastet, but was portrayed as a male god in the original Marvel canon. Since we live in the Aeon of #SocialJustice, Bast is made into a goddess. This inversion and connection to Egyptian mythology casts the overall theology in close proximity to all of the expected associations with Masonry, Thelema, Theosophy and all other related occult traditions.

Aside from the Wakandan ceremonial combat, there is also ritual magick. The victor ingests the mutagenic vibranium herb as he is buried in red soil. He enters a supernatural realm called Djalia and communes with ancestral spirits. It’s roughly similar to Aleister Crowley’s communion with the entity Aiwass which allegedly inspired The Book of the Law.

Speaking of Crowley, I think the true origin of the Wakandan/Wonder Woman/Wolverine/Deadpool salute is not quite what the media would lead you to believe.

Wakandan Spooks or Marvel Spooks?

It is supremely ironic that “spook” is both a racial slur and a slang term for people who work in clandestine services because Black Panther is loaded with geopolitical espionage subtext.

For starters, the presumed villain Erik Killmonger, is T’Challa’s first cousin. His father, N’Jobu, was Wakandan deep state. While on assignment in the oppressive, racist world of the white man, he becomes embittered by the subjugation of his people at the hands of the white devil.

N’Jobu: I observed for as long as I could. Their leaders have been assassinated. Communities flooded with drugs and weapons. They are overly policed and incarcerated. All over the planet, our people suffer because they don’t have the tools to fight back. With vibranium weapons they can overthrow all countries, and Wakanda can rule them all, the right way!

He tries to redress these inequalities by hiring another unscrupulous white man, Ulysses Klaue, to steal vibranium from Wakanda. He is discovered by King T’Chaka and killed for his act of treason. His death is hidden from his son, Erik, and he grows up with nothing but hatred and animosity for the evil white man. Imagine my surprise.

So what does angry Erik Killmonger do? He ends up working with the CIA! This is the part of the film where they’re actually telling you the truth. As we learn from token white CIA hero, Everett K. Ross, Erik worked with the CIA on destabilizing foreign governments during election cycles! Remember, everyone. Election meddling is fine when we do it. But if Trump wins against Hillary, the progressive establishment will get apoplectic and manufacture a story about how this is the worst possible crime imaginable.

Everett K. Ross: He

[Erik Killmonger]

Everett K. Ross: worked with our CIA to destabilize foreign governments… during election cycles.

They’d never do that here though, right? Nah!

After all, Black Panther was first published in 1966, and the Black Panther Party, a radical Marxist, black nationalist party also surfaced in 1966. I’m sure it’s just a strange coincidence. It’s not like Marvel is working with the Pentagon and the CIA or anything.

This is also where the movie tries to have it both ways. The film wants you to believe that Erik Killmonger is Black Hitler. In reality, his rhetoric mirrors the radical BLM/socialist element of the progressive Left very closely.

Erik Killmonger: I’ve waited my whole life for this. The world’s going to start over. I’MA BURN IT ALL!

How many amongst the black demographic actually found Erik Killmonger’s rhetoric distasteful or disturbing? Much like Avengers: Infinity War sparked the Thanos Did Nothing Wrong meme, Black Panther inspired a Killmonger Did Nothing Wrong campaign. Of course, the progressive establishment doesn’t want to own up to the hatred and division it has actively cultivated, so they deployed their minions to attempt to tamp down the flames. Erik is the archetypal broken, angry black man who’s been ground up by the system and dispossessed of his family, country and past. They want you to believe that Erik is light years apart from T’Challa, but the system thrives by cultivating Erik Killmongers every day.

Erik Killmonger: I lived my entire life waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed just to get here. I killed in America, Afghanistan, Iraq… I took life from my own brothers and sisters right here on this continent! And all this death just so I could kill you.

Wakandan SJW shit is this?

As I expected, Black Panther is chock full of SJW bullshit. With one notable exception, the characters and the story are sufficiently engaging that it doesn’t derail the movie. Of course, we have the powerful warrior womyn archetype. Somehow, being a member of the all female Dora Milaje and swearing an oath to protect its male monarch is super empowering and #WOKE for some reason. Apparently, women have to be portrayed as asexual badasses in EVERY GODDAMN MOVIE these days.

Not only that, just like Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman, they refuse to use guns. Got that, guntards? The Dora Milaje don’t need no guns, coloniser! They have vibranium spears, really bitchen outfits that don’t turn them into sex objects and the best CGI money can buy, so give up your constitutional rights already!

But you can tell that Coogler and company don’t really believe the horseshit they’re serving up. Early in the film, T’Challa sets out to rescue Nakia and a group of burqa-clad women from a Boko Haram-style group of militants. Yeah, sure. Okoye shows up to help T’Challa out of a jam, but this group of women were pretty ordinary in that they had neither super strength nor combat skills. It was a welcome bit of realism from a film that’s very high on its own helium.

What sci-fi film would be complete without the requisite female scientific genius? Hollywood actresses and their feminist foot soldiers love to talk about smashing stereotypes and subverting gender roles, but they seem blissfully ignorant of the degree to which they’ve mainstreamed a handful of absolutely predictable and idiotic SJW stereotypes. Right behind the asexual ass kicking warrior womyn is the scientific super genius. How many times do we need a character whose sole purpose is to hammer home the idea that MORE WOMYN SHOULD BE IN STEM FIELDS? Besides being an irritating bigot, Letitia Wright’s Princess Shuri has no real flaws or weaknesses. This isn’t a real character. She’s just a progressive virtue checklist who is given some sassy lines of dialogue while being Q to T’Challa’s Bond.

Rounding out this collection of dumb clich√©s is a shout out to veganism. We already got a generous helping of racial politics and feminism, so that pretty much leaves us with climate change and veganism. It amounts to one wisecrack, but it’s extraordinarily stupid and contrived. Upon discovering that T’Challa had survived his confrontation with Killmonger and was convalescing among the Jabari tribe IN THE FUCKING MOUNTAINS OF WAKANDA, our heroes attempt to negotiate his return. M’Baku threatens to feed the party to his kids. After a pregnant pause, he breaks the tension and confesses that the Jabari are VEGETARIANS. Hardy har har.

Now remember, the Jabari have REJECTED technology and LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS. They’re big and physically imposing dudes who wear ANIMAL FURS. But we’re expected to believe that they’re VEGETARIANS. Give me a fucking break, Ryan Coogler. This is what happens when ideological correctness overrides basic storytelling common sense.

The entire issue of immigration was so hot, I’m not surprised they completely bulldozed over it by the film’s end. To my surprise, they allowed a moment of honesty. Because W’Kabi sides with Killmonger, his argument is not meant to be taken seriously. After all, he sided with the self-proclaimed Black Hitler, so pay him no mind.

W’Kabi: You let the refugees in, they bring their problems with them, and then Wakanda is like everywhere else.

This is the issue progressives refuse to confront. Culture is something that’s nurtured and cultivated over centuries within a homogeneous society. Cultural traditions exist for the purpose of affirming a unitary identity. When you have a minority population within a largely homogeneous population, the minority are naturally going to gravitate towards their own just to have a sense of shared cultural solidarity. Ideally, the minority population will assimilate to the culture and traditions of the host country because they actually want to be citizens. If there’s no incentive to adopt the customs of the host country, they’re going to assert the identity they already possess. But when you’ve got a class of elites who despise the native population and are intent on inculcating the notion that national identity and pride is the sole province of non-European cultures, then multiculturalism isn’t really about affirming all cultures equally. It’s about hating whitey.

In light of everything happening in South Africa right now, the entire post-apartheid biracial dream of unity is unraveling. Even under the SJW definition of racism, we’re seeing a white minority being dispossessed of their property under a black majority government. But progressives don’t care. They’re too invested in pushing their one sided narrative.

T’Challa the Globalist sings Kumbaya

By the film’s conclusion, Black Panther sidesteps the entire immigration question. T’Challa’s renounces isolationism and joins the United Nations, but we never learn whether he alters Wakanda’s immigration policy. We just see him turn into another milquetoast political hack mouthing the same idiotic, braindead appeals to Brotherhood and Unity we hear all the time. Sure, he sets up Wakandan CIA field offices from which to conduct psychological warfare…I mean….EMBASSIES in which inner city youth will get Wakandan iPads and learn sassy wisecracks from Princess Shuri. But it never addresses the question of whether Wakanda will be multicultural and #DIVERSE henceforth. I have a hunch I already know the answer.

Despite all my gripes, I enjoyed it way more than I expected. The template for the MCU franchise is well established, and for the time being, the Marvel team are able to crank out new additions to the Avengers saga that manage to be slick, stylish and entertaining. Yes, indeed. Black Panther is a clever, Afrocentric spin on the superhero archetype. Chadwick Boseman is quite likable in the role and he plays it with a slow burn charm that really works. I even bought the phony accent. Lupita Nyong’o is equally appealing as T’Challa’s lover, Nakia. It’s also nice to see a bit of romance at the end. Aside from Wright, the only other off key performance was an overwrought turn from Angela Bassett. Too bad Bobbi Kristina isn’t around to weigh in.

Is Black Panther also a wildly manipulative and cleverly deceptive piece of globalist propaganda? Absolutely. Anyone who isn’t drinking the #SocialJustice Koolaid knows this film is little more than a multi-million dollar virtue signal and a long running targeted psychological operation. It’s a chance for the black target demographic to flood social media with fist emojis and Wakanda Forever gifs while white progressives wring their hands and get hyper self-conscious about asserting too much white privilege in a moment that’s about “uplifting POC voices” or some shit. Like everything in the progressive movement, it’s a collection of platitudes that has the aura of unassailable righteousness but masks unpleasant realities and inconvenient facts. But progressives don’t care. You too will learn to say Wakanda Forever and mean it, coloniser.

Or else.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two (2015)

In contrast to classic dystopian sci-fi like Orwell and Huxley, there’s something really dishonest about The Hunger Games franchise. That’s not saying it’s devoid of revelation, but the fact that it’s sugar coating its true intentions and the nature of armed revolution makes this an especially pernicious piece of filmmaking. Despite its surprisingly pro-life conclusion, Mockingjay Part 2 is burdened by stilted performances, dumb PC cliches, a leaden tone and an absence of any real tension or adrenaline rush.

Mockingjay Part 2 finds our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, in the midst of an armed and surprisingly well supplied District 13 insurrection against President Snow and the Capitol. Peeta Mellark is still recovering from the MK Ultra mind control program to which he was subjected. Jilted former lover, Gale Hawthorne, is bummed about Katniss’s torn affections, but remains loyal to her, the revolution and Primrose regardless. President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee are still running psychological warfare operations and propaganda campaigns from the cushy confines of the District 13 centcom.

The power of propaganda and psychological warfare is the overriding theme of Mockingjay. By the final film, Katniss’s status as Victor Tribute morphs into Revolutionary Messiah. Katniss was exploited as goddess-like heroine through the Games, but the Resistance have simply capitalized on her cult of personality to galvanize the masses for their revolutionary goals. She defies Coin’s orders to make propaganda videos from the secure confines of District 13’s Lookout Mountain Airforce Station and takes it upon herself to personally assassinate Snow. Like their real world globalist counterparts, Coin and Heavensbee resign themselves to her decision and resolve to make her moves seem controlled by the Resistance. When she arrives at the Resistance military compound, Katniss is greeted by a mass display of cultish obeisance. Upon being recognized, everyone stops whatever they were doing and huddles around her hoisting the three fingered salute that was used throughout Panem while she was a Tribute. Once the command forces accept that she can’t be controlled by Coin, they place her with what’s essentially a high tech special forces bomb squad for the express purpose of diffusing traps and weapons in between propaganda videos. Both sides are utilizing psyops and see it as essential to demoralizing the opposition.

The Hunger Games is doing the same thing every action/sci-fi/superhero franchise is doing when it comes to presenting what was once a relatively clear delineation between good and evil. It’s trying to eke out a grey area of Greater Good in a corrupted world of perpetual violence that sees the acquisition of “democratic” power as the highest goal. While the Resistance tries to carry out its carefully laid military plans, Katniss gets to be the voice of would be moral authority by pointing out that civilians and children will be killed along with Capitol Peacekeepers. Tough shit, honey. This is war, Katniss. Of course, Katniss can claim the moral high ground cuz she’s female and she’s the Mockingjay. Or something.

Of course, once they undertake their mission, they don’t hesitate to use deadly force. The film gets to sidestep this moral conundrum by making their enemies Peacekeepers or mutants. The Peacekeepers are just faceless goons in military regalia and the mutants are anonymous monsters whose existence is never explained to my knowledge. Perhaps they’re just the Capitol’s genetically engineered super soldiers.

The film is also showing the rank duplicity of the Left’s relationship to authority and hierarchy. In yet another resemblance to their real world globalist analogues, the District 13 shadow government is highly resourced and safely secluded while the rubes who fight in the trenches are kept compliant with propaganda videos and braindead promises of democracy. They exploit Katniss’s image by presenting her as mythical, quasi-divine icon just like every other pop culture heroine. The entire Resistance is no less hierarchical or authoritarian than the Capitol. They display total deference to Coin’s leadership and military command structures. Katniss is, however, the notable exception. Her journey began as an act of selflessness to protect Primrose, but her entire character arc since then has been defined by defiance. Herein lies the absurdity. Progressives have built an entire philosophy that’s designed around a posture of rebellion wrapped in flowery rhetoric while simultaneously seeking total domination and control. The film wants to have it both ways by showing that Katniss’s acts of defiance bring about #EQUALITY and #SocialJustice while ignoring that everyone else is required to fall in line.

It also sidesteps the bloodlust and hatred that had been stoked amongst the proles by both the Capitol and most especially the Resistance. Though Suzanne Collins really wants you to think that her story wasn’t just a retread of Animal Farm, it ends up being that anyway. By taking out Coin, Collins undoubtedly wanted to show that Katniss knew that she was just as corrupt as Snow. By removing him, she’d presumably forestalled a new dictatorship to replace the old. But assassinating Coin only unleashed the desire to exact bloody revenge on Snow. The proles essentially tore him to pieces. You can’t unleash that kind of revolutionary bloodlust and expect to control it. The Resistance would have had to resort to the same iron fisted military force that their deposed enemies did. The idea that everything just worked out peacefully after Snow’s death is ludicrous.

One theme that seemed curiously absent was the actual presence of food and hunger. Hunger was a more prominent theme in the first film, but by the final film, it seems to have diminished in significance. The first film did a good job of showing how food deprivation was used as a control mechanism and the excess of the Capitol was seen as decadence. If anything, the only hunger was a desire for vengeance. The one time there is an overt reference to food is when the remaining Capitol civilians are being herded to safety after the Resistance forces had infiltrated the city walls. The citizens walk in a zombified trance as the promise of medicine and food is looped over the PA.

The Hunger Games is a sad commentary on the world of perpetual revolution and panopticism that all of the post-Boomer generations have inherited. The very act of revolution becomes the final Hunger Game. Even in their final attempt to depose the despotic Snow, they submit completely to the very media driven bloodsports that were used to keep the population under control. The spectre of totalitarianism and dystopia in cinema isn’t presented as a warning anymore. At this point, it’s just telling you what’s coming. Siberia already has their own real life version of The Hunger Games in production. That’s ultimately what the entire social media experiment seems geared towards producing. It’s merely a giant psyop that’s designed to engender hostility and pit people against one another. It appears to be succeeding.

With the possible exception of Donald Sutherland’s President Snow and Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch Abernathy, the remaining cast and characters are forgettable and devoid of charm. Jena Malone’s portrait of shaved head smack addict, Johanna Mason, struck me as the archetype on which Emma Gonzalez was based when the CIA and FBI were seeking poster children for the Marjory Stoneman gun confiscation movement. Once again, the filmmakers are at pains to present the Resistance as colorblind, multicultural gender egalitarians where women don’t just occupy military and government leadership roles, but they’re completely proficient with firearms and combat. It’s so boring, stupid, and unrealistic, but anyone who isn’t drinking Hollywood SJW Koolaid already knows it at this point.

Like many others, I was smitten by Jennifer Lawrence’s gritty turn in Winter’s Bone. I liked Katniss at the beginning of the series, but just as I’ve grown weary of Lawrence’s hollow preening in real life, the character and the performance became increasingly intolerable. It seemed like a mirror image of her J Law persona. In other words, someone who was once probably really down to earth and likable but has put herself in a position in which she has to play her own version of Mockingjay: Young, Powerful Hollywood Womyn. To my great astonishment, Katniss ends up marrying Peeta and becoming a mother. It’s such a rarity to see that in film these days, and it feels weird to praise the film for portraying something that used to be quite normal and commonplace. Given Hollywood’s pathological obsession with feminism and the entire array of items on the SJW agenda checklist, heterosexual romance and marriage takes a backseat. But Katniss and Peeta both played the role of being media puppets in the service of globalist shadow government. Perhaps the film is telling us that the life of domestic bliss is only reserved for the elite. For the rest of you….may the odds be ever in your favor.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Widely perceived as throwaway 70’s kitsch, Smokey and the Bandit deserves a second look for numerous reasons. Not the least of which is how far Hollywood has moved the PC threshold. Smokey and the Bandit is a mere 41 years old and it already feels wildly transgressive with its unabashed glorification of the the Southern rebel archetype, fast muscle cars, heterosexual romance, unforced biracial harmony and the sweet glory of black market Coors. Admittedly, it was also a seminal entry into a subgenre of trucker-themed 70’s films that canonized the mythology of the modern outlaw in his 18-wheel stagecoach. Smokey and the Bandit is properly viewed as a contemporary Western with cars and trucks instead of horses. Where classic Westerns glorified law and order, this film inverts those classical conventions and places your sympathies solidly with the outlaws. With a plot that amounts to an interstate beer run set in motion by a couple of oligarchs, Smokey and the Bandit sanctifies the presumed American virtue of profit and glory for its own sake.

Bandit: For the good old American life: For the money, for the glory, and for the fun… mostly for the money.

Featuring a star making turn as the Bandit, Burt Reynolds’ character is the kind of leading man Hollywood once served up regularly without reservations. A handsome, lovable rogue who was a brash, reckless show off, but had a romantic heart and sweet side underneath it all. Unequivocally masculine, charming, and tough, but unpretentious and easygoing at the same time. Intentionally written as his diametric opposite, Sally Field’s Carrie is neurotic, artsy, cosmopolitan and flaky. After a hasty roadside introduction, Carrie hurls herself into the Bandit’s caper after fleeing marriage to the son of the film’s villain, Sherriff Buford T. Justice.

As Justice, Jackie Gleason absolutely dominates the film with an outrageous performance. Spewing vitriol and contempt in every line, Gleason is a veritable supernova of politically incorrect piss and vinegar. Besides setting the template for Rosco P. Coltrane in the Dukes of Hazzard, Gleason’s character is also the bumbling, racist caricature of Southern law enforcement that will repeat itself in countless subsequent films. Seething with rage over the Bandit’s consistent ability to outmaneuver him, Justice is Ahab to Reynolds’ Moby Dick. Ironically, in our age of revolutionary orthodoxy, Gleason’s character has come full circle. While there’s never any doubt that the film wants you to root for the Bandit, the overwhelming prevalence of the outlaw antihero casts Justice’s most famous line as a perfectly valid commentary on the present.

Buford T. Justice: What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.

Smokey and the Bandit is also noteworthy from a predictive programming perspective because it is unequivocally a film designed to mainstream the subversive nature of the CB radio. The Bandit and Cledus are consistently able to outfox law enforcement by tapping into the CB radio underground. The film portrays a perfectly coordinated #RESISTANCE whose allegiance to the Bandit and his mission are never in question. The Bandit was just trying to give the people what they wanted! It’s just plain un-American to deny Coors, dammit! I suggest that this was a precursor to the smartphone revolution and a critical building block towards the larger goal of global digital panopticism.

Most of all, Smokey and the Bandit succeeds because all it wants is to make you smile, laugh and cheer. While Hollywood seems increasingly reliant on CGI driven sci-fi and superhero franchises, Smokey and the Bandit feels downright organic and tactile by comparison. Films like Fast and Furious certainly lay claim to this film’s legacy, but there’s something refreshingly simple about Smokey and the Bandit. The car chases nowadays may be more outrageous and the actors more ripped, but the self-conscious multiculturalism feels forced and the cool, sophisticated outlaw is now a boring clich√©. Perhaps it’s the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, but this film feels like a pop culture high water mark. It may have been a harbinger of a deluge of SJW degeneracy to come, but it had a joyful, old fashioned spirit that’s sadly absent from any contemporary film you can name.

James Cameron’s Avatar: Cinematic Sci-fi Classic or SJW Cringefest Supreme?

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If James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic weren’t so masterfully made and deeply entertaining, it would be very easy to hate for its obnoxious political editorial. Admittedly, there are people who already do, but I’m a sucker for a well crafted story and epic world building and Avatar has both in spades. Sadly, few films rival the heavy handed political messaging of Avatar. In fact, the sheer quantity of SJW subtext is equaled only by its towering achievements as pure cinema. It pains me to admit it because I actually still really like this film. Even if I completely disengage from what the movie is saying, there’s nothing I’d criticize. It’s about as well made a sci-fi blockbuster as you could hope for. It has an inventive sci-fi premise, relatable characters, a high stakes dramatic conflict, a love story, breathtaking action sequences, and of course, outrageously cool visuals. In contrast to the never-ending conveyor belt of cookie cutter superheroes and franchise properties, Avatar is also the rarest of breeds in cinematic sci-fi: an original story. As historians look back on this period of ideological division and examine the degree to which Hollywood shaped the culture war, I’m willing to wager that Avatar will be regarded as a landmark film not just for its cinematic bravura, but for its near fanatical commitment to every article of faith in contemporary PC orthodoxy.

Environmentalism

There are many reasons that Hollywood is using sci-fi, fantasy and superhero stories as the primary delivery systems for reinforcing PC orthodoxy. Not the least of which is that these genres lend themselves to the construction of mythic archetypes and imparting of moral lessons divorced from any religious framework. Sci-fi in particular has the added benefit of extrapolating from some kind of scientific premise which has the subsequent effect of reinforcing the belief in unbounded human progress driven by science itself. Or in Avatar’s case, the twin belief that the pursuit of science in and of itself is intrinsically good and the power of science must be trained toward some utopian dream of an earthly eco-paradise.

Pandora is an idyllic and verdant jungle paradise which also happens to be the richest supply of the universe’s most coveted resource, Unobtainium. The Na’vi live harmoniously with their environment and all of the biodiversity on Pandora. Meanwhile, the dirty, evil, soulless capitalists of the RDA just want to bulldoze the planet and strip mine its resources. The only thing standing between them and their ruinous objective are the scientists on their own payroll overseeing the Avatar project.

Sigourney Weaver’s Dr. Grace Augustine and her #WOKE, multicultural team are not only experts at Na’vi and human genetic engineering, neuroscience, biology, and botany, but cultural anthropology as well. There’s nothing inherently wrong with making scientists the film’s superheroes since that’s a longstanding feature of the sci-fi genre, but it’s an awful lot of scientific expertise in one team. Just sayin’.

As the film reaches its conclusion, Augustine tries to persuade the morally ambiguous corporate director, Parker Selfridge, that destroying the Tree of Souls will be devastating to the entire Na’vi race. Through her research, she discovered that the entire species communicates with their ancestors and the planet’s biodiversity through a vast quasi-neural network that’s barely understood by our brutish and greedy human minds.

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This is one of Avatar’s cleverest sleights of hand. The Na’vi have a spiritual tradition centered around an entity called Eywa; an amalgamation of genetic ancestral memory and a supposedly quasi-mystical spirit of life. Rather than writing a completely atheist scientist who is hostile towards the very idea of spirituality, Cameron has Augustine arguing against the destruction of the sacred Tree on PURELY SCIENTIFIC grounds. He didn’t just make Eywa some flying spaghetti monster, he grounded their spirituality in a specific feature of Pandoran biology and botany. This way, Cameron has his environmentalist cake and eats it, too. The harmonious communion with nature that is the centrepiece of Na’vi morality and spirituality is just PURE SCIENCE, MAN! And if it wasn’t for Grace Augustine’s tireless scientific research, the monsters of the RDA would not have had an opportunity for a moral awakening.

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Trans-identitarianism

I realize it might seem a stretch to argue that Avatar is tacitly pro-trans identity, but in the near decade that has elapsed since the film’s release, what seems like a really cool sci-fi premise is starting to seem a lot like a metaphor for the anything goes trans-identitarianism that’s now a staple on the Left. As a genre, science fiction earned its name because the authors were taking a scientific idea or premise and building a human drama by spinning out its ramifications in a possible far future or alien civilization. Avatar is a classic example since the core conceit builds off a premise that’s already a partially realized real world phenomenon through the VR imaging technology. In the film, Grace Augustine’s team had developed a way to merge a human consciousness with a Na’vi body. It’s a leap of imagination for sure, but not so far a leap that you had to completely check your skepticism at the door.

Sam Worthington plays the paraplegic veteran, Jake Sully, who is given an opportunity to replace his twin brother in the Avatar project due to his brother’s untimely demise. His job is to infiltrate the Na’vi and relay intelligence back to RDA while Grace and team simply hope to restore the broken trust between the two societies. As Jake is pulled deeper into the world of the Na’vi, he begins to have a moral and identity crisis. He begins to think his life inside his Na’vi avatar is real life while his life as a soulless grunt for a bunch of predatory humans is the fake. You could say it’s Pandoran body dysphoria. Because progressive orthodoxy accords inherent moral superiority to immutable characteristics belonging to people on the bottom of the oppression hierarchy, Jake’s Na’vi manifestation is on the side of #SocialJustice. So what does Jake do? He comes out as trans-Na’vi, that’s what.

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You don’t have to look very far to find that this is increasingly commonplace here on earth. Whether it’s Rachel Dolezal, Shaun King, Martina Big, or Elizabeth Warren, identifying as transracial has been accorded the progressive seal of #WOKENESS.

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Of course, trans-identitarianism doesn’t stop there. Maybe you feel that you’re a different age that doesn’t correspond to the number of years you’ve actually been alive on this  planet. No problem. Just follow the example of Stefonknee Wolscht. Or perhaps you feel that you too were born the wrong species. You can be trans-species, too. Everything is a social construct, you #BIGOT.

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Feminism

James Cameron has a well established track record of writing strong female leads which, in contrast to the numerous cartoonish feminist power fantasies to which we’re routinely subjected, are actually pretty believable by comparison. Besides being one of the best sequels in modern cinematic history, his contribution to the saga of Ellen Ripley should have been lauded as a feminist classic. The same could be said of Sarah Connor in the first two Terminator films. The three lead female characters in Avatar follow the precedent of his earlier films in that they embody his unique spin on the Tough, Smart Yet Tender Hearted Badass archetype. Most importantly, just as the Holy Church of Feminism mandates, each character is a paragon of virtue. Taken together, they form the moral conscience of the film.

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As Dr. Grace Augustine, Sigourney Weaver’s character is modeled very closely on Frances Sternhagen’s lovably grumpy performance of Dr. Lazarus from the 1981 classic, Outland. Augustine is an appealing mixture of passionate dedication, steely resolve, no nonsense bluntness and bleeding heart compassion. Whether acting as a mentor to Jake Sully or upbraiding the villainous Colonel Quaritch, Augustine risks everything to prevent the extinction of the Na’vi.

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Even though Jennette Goldstein’s Private Vasquez in Aliens was more entertaining, Michelle Rodriguez’ Trudy Chac√≥n is the Latina Badass of Avatar. When the RDA goons launch an aerial bombardment of the Na’vi Hometree, Chac√≥n has a crisis of conscience and goes AWOL just as the missiles start launching. After that mission, Chac√≥n goes completely rogue and devotes herself exclusively to helping Augustine, Sully and the Na’vi.

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And of course, rounding out this trifecta of feminine moral purity is Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri. Neytiri combines the virtues of both Augustine and Chac√≥n in that she is proficient in combat, physically strong, fully attuned to her natural environment, and willing to defy the tribal elders. Between the three of them, we are presented with a fully rendered portrait of Divine Feminist Perfection. Smart, tough, capable, defiant, sexy and maternal. Cameron gets away with it because the characters are appealing and he doesn’t completely jettison heterosexual romance or female biological reality. Needless to say, actual feminists spend more time wearing pussy hats and blogging on Tumblr than learning the kinds of skills these characters possess, but the Church of Feminism commands its subjects to write female characters which portray women as morally pure, infinitely capable saviors, redeemers and didacts. Though I’m sure there are plenty of women in the police, military and athletics who can handle firearms, engage in hand to hand combat and pilot advanced military vehicles, these abilities are still primarily male skill sets. Giving them to the women is just a way to  appease the male audience.

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The Church of Feminism also mandates that male characters follow Feminist Law and be cursed with the Original Sin of Toxic Masculinity. Naturally, no one embodies it more than the film’s unequivocally wicked Colonel Miles Quaritch. In another era, Quaritch would be a hero. He’s tough as nails and lives by a soldier’s code of honor. He’s so badass, he can forego a respirator in Pandoran atmosphere and unload two weapons’ worth of rounds and won’t even feel a thing. Since this is the Age of #SocialJustice, Cameron has taken a classically heroic male archetype and made him a cold blooded mercenary who lives only to kill for the highest bidder. Even The Magnificent Seven had a moral code, but Cameron won’t even grant him that much.

Jake is simply the wounded and crippled version of Quaritch. He wanted to serve a heroic ideal by being in the service, but only ended up losing his ability to walk by fighting a pointless imperialist war. Jake’s longing for a courageous ideal and sense of purpose also serves as a metaphor for the yearning experienced by vast number of young men growing up in the West who’ve largely been stripped of their historical roles as protectors and guardians.

Jake Sully: I became a Marine for the hardship. Told myself that I can pass any test a man can pass. All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.

Despite finding the ideal and sense of purpose he originally sought by becoming his Na’vi avatar, he still required salvation from his female guardian. Male ideals and archetypes are just toxic delusions which lead to dangerous consequences. Take that, manhood!

Scientism

Like Interstellar, Gravity, The Martian and Europa Report, Avatar is part of a newer tradition of sci-fi films that are attempting to bring some semblance of scientific realism to the story. While I reject pedantic cunts like Neil DeGrasse Tyson who think that fact checking art somehow instills a deeper appreciation of science or improves art, films like Avatar which inject just enough scientific realism to make you think about real world possibilities are doing it right. Besides the few grains of scientific plausibility in Avatar, Cameron is presenting something a bit less appealing: Scientism.

The RDA just want to harvest Unobtainium, but the scientists just want to learn and understand the Na’vi, brah. Avatar canonizes a secular article of faith that goes back to Thomas Paine and finds modem expression in figures ranging from Roddenberry to Sagan to Hawking to Dawkins. The pursuit of science all by itself is inherently Good. #SCYENCE will guide humanity back to a primeval state of brotherly harmony and Oneness with Gaia.

Anti-capitalism

There are few things in the world quite as galling as multimillionaire entrepreneurial elites in the creative class selling a Marxist, anti-capitalist narrative, and this is among Cameron’s greatest sins in the messaging of Avatar. It’s understandably self-serving, but it’s more about anesthetizing people with a cynical and simplistic narrative of how the world works rather than provoking new thought. There is literally nothing controversial about presenting a fictitious intergalactic corporate conglomerate as amoral, predatory, and greedy.

This isn’t to say that corporations and entrepreneurs are above reproach or have no moral failures. This isn’t to say that a strictly scientific and materialistic view of the world hasn’t produced some adverse social problems, but Avatar is presenting capitalism in the same Manichean binary that’s the defining feature of Marxism. The lesson of Avatar is that capitalism by definition is exploitative and compels people to dominate and pillage. It’s also very loudly proclaiming that private military armies won’t have any moral compass. There’s no attempt to distinguish between crony capitalist wards of the State versus the entrepreneur who has no protection or special dispensation from the government. We don’t really know anything about the RDA’s connections to the State, but if we’re to treat them as a far future Halliburton, then it follows that they’re being awarded very handsome government contracts. If one wanted to be pedantic, one would question the economic feasibility of colonizing a distant planet, transporting military grade aircraft and armaments over interstellar distances, deploying and maintaining state of the art technology while employing scientists, technical staff, and private security.  The market demand and market price for Unobtainium must be pretty high. Just sayin’.

Once again, Cameron wants to have his anti-capitalist cake and eat it too. He’s denigrating the very system which allowed him to become a world renowned filmmaker. He profits from the very resource intensive technology which allows him to make his art.

Anti-colonialism/Marxist historicism

Sci-fi, fantasy and superhero franchises have the critically important feature of being completely unmoored from actual history while very subtly affecting the way you perceive history.  Avatar is a work of science fiction, but it serves as a proxy for the colonization of America and the West in general.

By today’s standards of #WOKE progressivism, all the dirty, evil white man has ever done is rape, pillage and conquer. This is essentially an article of faith for anyone on the progressive Left. Beginning with the works of Howard Zinn and Gore Vidal, the progressive Left increasingly views the advancement of the West as nothing more than a series of horrific oppressions while consistently downplaying or ignoring the ideas that differentiate it from other cultures.

Noble savage/Anti-white racism

Avatar rehashes the so called “noble savage” myth that was arguably made into an article of faith by Rousseau. In his famous “Discourse on Inequality“, Rousseau romanticizes premodern man before the instantiation of property rights. In this state of primeval and harmonious bliss, we were untainted by greed, violence and envy.

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.

This is, in effect, the entire subtext of Avatar and the ideal of premodern moral purity that the Na’vi represent. He isn’t even trying to hide the message either. You too can learn how to live like the selfless, spiritually #WOKE Na’vi simply by using the home computing device that you bought in the marketplace and accessing the Avatar homepage using software developed by a tech company over networks built and maintained by a telecommunications corporation. Because you know you should and capitalism is totes evil, brah. Bernie said so.

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But it’s even worse than that. Cameron portrays Jake’s defection as a betrayal of his race. By extension, we’re to view Quaritch’s final dig at Jake as a wickedness that’s intrinsic to his white racial consciousness. Whereas Jake’s willingness to relinquish his broken and morally compromised Caucasian body in order to live as Na’vi is evidence of his Christlike resurrection.

Col. Quaritch: Hey Sully… how does it feel to betray your own race? You think you’re one of them? Time to wake up!

In this Age of #SocialJustice, it is increasingly taken as an article of faith that the White M*n and everything produced by him is inherently evil and corrupt. In the materialist mindset of the progressive Left, morality is attributed to material phenomena by default. If it’s not physical privation resulting from inequality, it’s the sin of white racial consciousness. And what better way to reinforce that lesson by making the heroes of your sci-fi epic a fictional race of aliens who live in an ethnically homogeneous premodern, hereditary tribal order with no technology, democratic institutions, or even written language. Just face it, proles. Your civilization sucks. And it’s because you’re WHITE.

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Conclusion

Despite the very dubious and heavy handed preaching in Avatar, I still believe it retains its place as a supremely entertaining 21st century sci-fi classic. I also believe it helped canonize several articles of faith in the contemporary #SocialJustice bible. And that’s too bad. Because when art limits itself to the confines of political ideology, it stops being good art and it turns into propaganda.

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Since we’re living in the Age of the Reboot and the number of films made from existing properties outpaces the number made from original scripts, some important questions need to be answered. To what degree does the artist’s or author’s original intention matter when doing a remake? Given that every writer tells a story using a specific set of characters, themes and ideas to make a general point, can a remake which repurposes those ideas to conform to contemporary sensibilities legitimately call itself by the work’s original name? At what point do those themes and ideas become so different, that the reboot has become a different story altogether? Where is the line between respectful homage and outright sacrilege? Most importantly, at what point do the thematic reinventions have a deleterious effect? I don’t have definitive answers to all of these questions, but GITS 2017 certainly has me inclined to believe that the law of diminishing dramatic returns holds true more often than not when it comes to these reboots. This is not to say that GITS 2017 is a complete disaster because the deviations from GITS 1995 are indeed handled very cleverly. However, this does mean that the various changeups don’t add up to a better final product even when accounting for the ramped up production values.

The broad strokes of GITS 2017 are basically the same as GITS 1995, but the changes to those original themes alter the overall message of the film in significant ways. Scarlett Johansson plays The Major, and in contrast to GITS 1995, the film is setting up an entirely different dramatic conflict by emphasizing how she was created and by whom.

In the future, the line between human and machine is disappearing. Advancements in the technology allow humans to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. Hanka robotics, funded by the government, is developing a military operative that will blur the line even further. By transplanting a human brain into a fully synthetic body, they will combine the strongest attributes of human and robot.

This isn’t a departure from the basic premise of the original, but it marks a distinct shift in emphasis. Where the original was positing the idea of a fully sentient digital being, GITS 2017 is giving us a variation on Robocop. Instead of OCP, we have Hanka robotics which has contracted with the government to build a cyborg super soldier. The opening of the film shows us a fatally injured Mira Killian being carted into an operating room in which her brain is ultimately salvaged and inserted into her cybernetic shell. There are flashes of some violent fiery trauma which may or may not be flashbacks to the incident which left her fatally injured.

Upon being fully regenerated into her new cybernetic shell, the CEO of Hanka and her designer Dr. Ouelet have a debate over her future assignment. CEO Cutter wants her assigned to the elite anti-terrorism unit, Section 9, while Dr. Ouelet insists that Mira isn’t ready for that kind of duty. This is one of the points of departure from the original and where the film goes off the rails a bit. As Dr. Ouelet, Juliette Binoche is presumably an elite robotics engineer working for the most prestigious robotics company and instead of treating her like a professional doing the job she was hired to do, the film has her projecting maternal attachment to her new creation. So not only is the film trying to get feminist booster points by having a female character in a STEM role, they portray her exercising her female biological instincts on her cybernetic newborn. Way to smash gender stereotypes, folks.

While I’m generally cool with suspension of disbelief in sci-fi, I can’t help but to nitpick the scientific premise they’re putting forward since Rupert Sanders and company have chosen to make the Major’s creation story the center of gravity. Hanka is presumably a sophisticated and well resourced for-profit robotics company. Albeit one that’s in bed with the government. They want to build a super soldier by taking the human mind of a young woman with no combat experience whatsoever and place her in a cybernetic shell. So Hanka believes that Mira’s human reflexes, spatial recognition, muscle memory, emotional disposition, neurological and biological proclivities will be a sufficient foundation for a super soldier once outfitted with a cybernetic shell. It made sense in Robocop because Murphy was a cop in the first place. I know this is sci-fi and everything, but good sci-fi generally starts with at least a generally plausible scientific premise and extrapolates. This is saying that the all of the attributes which are either biologically hardwired or psychologically imprinted into the young female mind are simultaneously the most valuable attributes for a cyborg super soldier and can be sublimated once paired with cybernetic musculature. Alrighty then.

In the scene following Mira’s cybernetic birth, the film tips its hand by more explicitly revealing the film’s progressive editorial in what is otherwise a visually stunning reinvention of the original opening. Now operating as the fully functional cyborg super cop she was designed to be, the Major scans a meeting taking place between a Hanka executive and the African ambassador. Instead of a generic foreign diplomat negotiating a Megatech programmer defection, they give us a Hanka executive making a pitch to an African politician. Cuz multiculturalism and shit or something. Against the orders of Section 9 leader, Aramaki, the Major dons her invisibility cloak and storms the room just as a geisha-bots begin attacking the Hanka executive. Right before the Major shoots the hacked geisha-bot, it utters a warning: “Commit to the will of Hanka and be destroyed.” Where GITS 1995 left us to puzzle out the Puppet Master’s ultimate motivations, this one is telling us that this new mind hacker has it in for Hanka. The big, bad corporation. Imagine my surprise.

The Major and her multicultural team of Section 9 cyborgs spend the remainder of the film trying to identify the new mind hacker, Kuze. At the same time, the Major becomes increasingly curious about her past since her flashbacks become more vivid and frequent.

The film is making an important point about the nature of memory and the structure of human cognition, but it’s approaching the topic from a Marxist angle. By giving the Major a false memory which sharpened her killing instincts, the film is saying she had, in effect, committed to the will of the bourgeoisie. Which, in this case, was the Hanka corporation. Naturally, the false memory portrayed her as an immigrant whose parents were killed by terrorists because, after all, you need to gin up that antipathy towards terrorists artificially. To the film’s credit, the writers portrayed the Major’s natural genetic memory as the force which compelled her to discover her birth mother and know her own story more fully. As it turns out, her ghost belonged to Motoko Kusanagi, a young Japanese radical who campaigned against cybernetic enhancements. So Hanka figures it can fulfill the ghost requirements of its super soldier program by culling the ranks of anti-cyber-enhancement dissidents. Alrighty then.

Like many other Hollywood films, it’s trying to have it both ways by making Cutter and Hanka the bad guys. Cutter is yet another two-dimensional cardboard cutout who is all calculating menace and cartoonish malevolence. He also happens to be….you’ll never believe it….a white male. It’s as though there’s an overriding narrative.

Kuze threatens to destroy those who “commit to the will of Hanka”, but Hanka contracts with the government. Whose will is truly being carried out here? Section 9 is clearly some kind of special forces/homeland security unit which needed an elite cyborg and Hanka delivered. Again, one detects the distinct whiff of an agenda.

Of course, there are some pretty obvious sops to PC sensibilities. The film takes place in future Japan, and naturally, multicultural harmony and gender equality reign supreme. Besides the addition of another female cyborg to the Section 9 roster, the team speaks to Aramaki in English while he speaks to them in Japanese. This doesn’t make any goddamn sense, people. Also, if the Major’s ghost was Japanese, why is she speaking English? As long as there are nation states, there will be a dominant culture and language that will be upheld. The Japanese have proven themselves pretty protective of their culture and language. There’s no way Section 9 is multilingual. Sorry.

The film emphasizes the Major’s sentience by having her verbally consent to the administration of a serum or being jacked into a digital network. It’s an interesting twist and it reminds us that the Major is still human, but once again, the aroma of a certain highly politicized issue wafts about this piece of the story. One could certainly extend the question of consent to a wide variety of federal policies, but I don’t think that’s what the filmmakers had in mind.

The look of the film is spectacular, and it takes the arthouse cyberpunk noir of the original to another level. This is another take on the hybrid of squalid urban sprawl and holographic commercial overstimulation that we’ve been getting since Blade Runner. ScarJo has been raked over the coals for a number of aspects of this role, but she and the rest of the cast are enjoyable enough. The complaints of “whitewashing” from the #SocialJustice crowd are painfully stupid and tiresome given that these jackasses tend to be the most vocal cheerleaders for immigration and multiculturalism.

Since both GITS films have addressed very specifically the role of memory in determining selfhood, I can’t help but to think that what Sanders and company have done here is exactly analogous to what Hanka did to the Major. By rewriting the story, they want to hack the minds of the public and implant a new memory of GITS that will supersede the memory of the original. At some level, all of this remixing of the past is saying that there is no sanctity to a any artist’s original vision. Everything must be tailored to the prevailing political winds.

While I found it enjoyable enough, I still came away thinking that this remake failed to add anything new to the original and ultimately detracted from themes and ideas that were more provocative and original. By insisting that all films conform to progressive orthodoxy, films are increasingly taking on an aura of bland globalist cosmopolitanism. Where the original asked you to contemplate the nature of selfhood, the transmission of genetic memory, speciation and the possibility of a post-human being, this film ends up rehashing ideas that were already explored in films like Total Recall, Robocop, and Minority Report. The Major is haunted by her past, but only achieves peace after discovering the truth of who she was and from where she came. Ultimately, the film is affirming the importance of familial and cultural bonds while simultaneously affirming that one can only fulfill the process of individuation through self-discovery. Contrary to the claims of contemporary social scientists and gender “scholars”, the human being does not come into the world as a blank slate. Every person possesses an a priori cognitive structure through which the experiences of the world occur. The process of defining selfhood requires that one distinguish between whether you are the author of your own existence or a player in a drama that’s been written for you. While I can acknowledge that this is the common thread that binds the films together, I don’t know that this film is Ghost in the Shell. Or if it’s a different ghost in the shell of its predecessor.

The Major: You are not defined by your past, but for your actions…

Damnation Alley (1977)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jack Smight’s adaptation of the Roger Zelazny novel, Damnation Alley, is an unsung classic of post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Following the precedent set by the similarly themed television show, Ark II, Damnation Alley is the story of a group of WWIII nuclear holocaust survivors traversing the radioactive wastelands of a blasted out America in search of the remnants of humanity. Its cheeseball B-movie reputation is not without some validity, but I maintain that its virtues outweigh its demerits. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi is roughly analogous to the Western. In other words, it’s a post-flood Biblical allegory. How do you rebuild civilization after all has been destroyed?

Laying out the prototype for his role as Colonel Hannibal Smith in The A-Team, George Peppard is pitch perfect as grizzled hard ass, Major Eugene Denton. Jan-Michael Vincent plays his subordinate, Tanner, who’s just a little too uppity for Denton. Rounding out the cast of heroes are Paul Winfield as Keegan, a young Jackie Earle Haley as Billy and token female, Dominique Sanda as Jackie. The film opens at a nuclear missile facility at which our two main heroes are stationed as missile combat officers. What begins as a training exercise ends up as a Defcon 1 scramble to fire defensive strikes at an incoming volley of warheads from the other side of the globe. The spectre of nuclear war was a theme found throughout lots of film and television made throughout the Cold War era, but there’s something genuinely harrowing about the nuclear cataclysm in Damnation Alley. In a scene that surely provided the inspiration for the arcade game, Missile Command, the commanding officers listen in stunned silence as the technical officer reads off the names of American cities while we watch blips of the electronic map signal each warhead strike. A montage of actual mushroom cloud atomic explosions follows as most life on earth is extinguished.

After the conflict, the globe is an irradiated hellscape and natural weather patterns have been disrupted as a consequence of the bombing. Using techniques that made sci-fi films from the 70’s so great, color filters and effects transform the skies into a roiling cauldron of psychedelic radiation and are accompanied by ominous analog synth howls. A short text frame sets up the appropriate vibe.

The Third World War left the planet shrouded in a pall of radioactive dust, under skies lurid and angry, in a climate gone insane. Tilted on its axis as a result of the nuclear holocaust the Earth lived through a reign of terror, with storms and floods of unprecedented severity. When this epoch began to wind down, the remnants of life once more ventured forth to commence the struggle for survival and dominance. This is the story of some of them.

After surviving yet another catastrophe resulting from a porno mag that caught fire next to some explosive materials, our heroes set out to find what remains of civilization in the other star of the film, the Landmaster. Designed as a fully functional all-terrain military vehicle, the Landmaster is a glorious 12-wheel feat of vehicular badassery. Most people probably consider the Mad Max films ground zero for futuristic car porn, but Damnation Alley clearly set the precedent. The various location shots of the Landmaster barreling through the canyons and desert plains of American southwest are indeed pretty righteous.

In contrast to just about anything made today, this vision of post-apocalyptic earth retains a remarkable amount of civility, respect for military order, and concern for the welfare of the one woman and teenage boy. There is some heartwarming paternalism exhibited by both Peppard and Vincent towards the young Haley. Even the run-in with hillbilly mutants is remarkably civil. For all the pedants bemoaning the lack of realism, it’s important to bear in mind that this was made during a time when traditional heroic archetypes and acts of patriarchal chivalry were still considered worthy of canonization in cinema. It’s not the story that Zelazny told, but it’s worthwhile on its own terms.

There are, of course, some rather delightful post-apocalyptic thrills, too. Overgrown scorpions, flesh eating cockroaches, and radioactive dust storms are among the travails that our band of heroes must overcome. And no sci-fi action movie would be complete without a few lines of pure hardboiled tough guy grit. Naturally, that honor belongs to Peppard’s Denton.

Maj. Eugene Denton: There are areas of radiation we couldn’t get through. It’s not a matter of wrong turns though – “Damnation Alley” is a hundred miles wide a lot of the way.

Tanner: “Damnation Alley?” Who named it that?

Maj. Eugene Denton: I did.

The ending is a bit of a surprise, but the signal that indicates that they’ve reached civilization is the sweet sound of jazz-rock pumping through the radio transmitter. Hallelujah!

Damnation Alley is a piece of post-apocalyptic sci-fi that you just don’t see anymore; an optimistic view of humanity and its ability to reclaim civilization. As the genre progressed over the years since the release of the film, one sees an increasingly despairing and cynical view of humanity. One could say these were more realistic visions of human nature, but people sometimes forget that an occasional uplifting ending gives people a sense of hope and an ideal to which to aspire. Cynicism is the norm. Affirming positive values is a lot harder than it is to sit back and sneer at pollyanna idealism.

Despite being paired with another personal favorite from that year, Wizards, Damnation Alley tanked. Not only was the film a commercial flop, but Zelazny apparently hated it. Not even the tidal wave of Star Wars’ popularity was sufficient to boost its prospects. It won’t do anything for you if you have no taste for this kind of film in the first place, but if post-apocalyptic sci-fi is in your wheelhouse at all, the trip down Damnation Alley is worth taking.

Wonder Woman (2017)

After years in development, Wonder Woman has finally gotten her big budget Hollywood screen adaptation with a female director at the helm. Gal Gadot carries off the role with a sufficient level of likeability and physical prowess. One would not be unreasonable to ask “Have we finally reached peak cinematic feminism?” I mean,¬†it’s 2017¬†fer chrissakes! The answer is most likely a resounding No, but I’ll be damned if Wonder Woman doesn’t set a new standard in feminist pandering and wish fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong. The film definitely has entertainment value, but you are well advised to brace yourself for some serious next level Hollywood-style proselytizing for the Church of Feminism.

In contrast to the annoying trend toward gender swapping revisionism and the near ubiquity of blockbuster heroines, the feminist editorial in Wonder Woman is expected because it was written into the character’s source code from the start. In fact, not only is¬†the Wonder Woman character a pretty explicit piece of feminist mythology, this film is easily the most overt attempt to canonize feminism as a globalist secular religion. Though it eventually resolves with a respectful nod towards Wonder Woman’s origins, it is chock full of contemporary talking points, groan inducing PC orthodoxy and heavily loaded religious symbolism. ¬†I’m not an expert on every aspect of Marston’s original vision, but I know enough to know that they made some pretty dubious revisions to the original mythology in order to cater to current political narratives.

The film lays it on pretty thick right out of the gate. After delivering a voiceover in which Diana Prince confesses that her idealism had been blunted upon entering the world of mankind, a Wayne Industries armored carrier service delivers a package to our heroine working at what appears to be a cushy curator gig at the Louvre. Instead of an American patriot working from the inside of military intelligence, we have an aesthete working in a key EU member state at the world’s most renowned art museum. The package contains a WW1 photo of Wonder Woman and a note from Bruce Wayne indicating his desire to hear the story behind it. Cue the time warp back to Diana’s childhood in the matriarchal paradise of Themyscira.

If you thought the Vuvalini in¬†Mad Max: Fury Road¬†was pandering to radfem matriarchal fantasies, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen Themyscira. Presumably modeled after Marston’s vision, the Amazons of Themyscira live in a utopia of pure feminine bliss and order. The gigantic architecture resembles classical Greek design and was expertly carved from marble and stone. Young Diana is enthralled by the combat training exercises being carried out under the iron discipline of Robin Wright’s Antiope. Naturally, every Amazon possesses balletic, superhuman combat skills with and without perfectly crafted metal weapons. Young Diana pleads with her mother, Hippolyta, to begin combat training but she forbids it. ¬†“Don’t you think she should learn to defend herself?”, asks Antiope. Absolutely not, says Hippolyta. After all, she is protected by Antiope’s Amazon army of super soldiers. Right away, we’re presented with a matriarchy in which there is perfectly crafted stone architecture, expertly wrought metal weaponry, abundant resources, peace, order, beauty, art, education, military might, cultural tradition, multiracial harmony, political equality and apparently, procreation. We aren’t privy to the details of the male eugenics program which weeds out male births, but it’s safe to assume it’s fully funded by taxpayers. Of course, all of these marvels are achieved without the aid of men. I realize this is superhero mythology, but this level of pandering seems geared towards appeasing the Julie Bindels and Laurie Pennys of the world.

While putting her to bed, Hippolyta attempts to disabuse young Diana of her desire to learn combat. ¬†I mean, it’s great that you’re breaking gender stereotypes and setting an example for young girls, but you need to get #WOKE to all this war stuff, Diana. Hippolyta busts out the Amazonian Bible and lays down the origins of civilization itself. ¬†Zeus made man in his image and, at first, they lived together in peace and harmony. ¬†Ares, the God of War and a white male, filled the hearts of men with fear and suspicion which put them in conflict one another. Ares killed all the gods, but was vanquished by Zeus and doomed to roam in the world of men. Zeus then created the Amazons to protect mankind from the scourge of Ares. The only way to stop Ares is by wielding the mythical God Killer sword; a sword whose phallic nature can be used to kill Greek and Christian gods alike. Step aside King Arthur and make way for Diana of Themyscira, PYGS! So to recap,¬†a fucking white male¬†poisons the hearts of mankind and fills the world with hatred and strife, but a peaceful civilization of women descended from Zeus lies in wait to redeem and defend the world from evil Ares. ¬†In short, womyn are goddesses, saviors and redeemers, but m*n have only poisoned the world with war because of their toxic masculinity. Kneel before the Church of Feminism and repent!

Naturally, gender studies are mandatory in Themyscira so Diana is completely unencumbered by harmful gender stereotypes and pursues combat training against Hippolyta’s wishes. Diana rises to the head of the class and not only can she kick everyone’s ass, she has magical bracelet powers and shit. ¬†Clearly, Diana has a little more goddess mojo than her Amazonian counterparts.

While contemplating her supernatural abilities by the beach, a fighter plane crashes into the ocean. ¬†Its pilot is in danger, so she dives into the ocean to save this hapless dolt. Upon dragging his helpless ass on to the shore, she realizes why this mysterious being has fallen into a state of misfortune and requires the rescue of an Amazonian goddess. ¬†“You’re a m*n”, realizes Diana. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor exhibits his utter cluelessness to gender expression by saying, “Don’t I look like one?” And with this simple exchange, meme #hxstory was made.

After fending off an invasion in which the Amazons’ balletic badassery is barely sufficient to repel m*n with g*ns, Diana realizes that Ares has plunged the world into a deadly conflagration that threatens to consume all of mankind. Under inducement of the magical Lasso of Hestia, Steve Trevor reveals that he is a spy who stole plans to a deadly bioweapon being developed by….wait for it…..THE GERMANS! Because there has apparently never been a country in the history of the world which has bred genocidal and totalitarian ambitions quite like Germany. Under the command of General Ludendorff and the evil Dr. Isabel Maru, the German army will wreak destruction on countless women and children. Maybe some men, too, but who cares about them, amirite? Knowing that the lives of women and children are at stake, Diana resolves to leave Themyscira with Trevor in order to kill Ares and vanquish evil from the hearts of men. Hippolyta is saddened, but resigns herself to accepting Diana’s choice by reinforcing the valuable lessons in gender supremacy and misandry that the Amazons have cultivated for so long. ¬†“Be careful in the world of men, Diana. They do not deserve you. You have been my greatest love. Today, you are my greatest sorrow,” says a tearful Hippolyta. Determined to uphold the tenets of #SocialJustice, Diana sets out to check privilege, smash gender norms, and generally kick the patriarchy’s ass. “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves,” she promises. And just think. This was WAY before Tumblr. Watch out, fascists!

Diana and Steve set sail for London to get Dr. Poison’s plans into the hands of British military commanders. While at sea, Steve reveals himself as the patriarchal piece of shit that he is with an antiquated bit of “chivalry”; he makes a comfortable bed for Diana while confining himself to a cramped edge of the deck. She invites him to join her, but he hesitates because it’s not proper to sleep with women outside of marriage. This is an admirable amount of restraint for a rapist who doesn’t understand consent, but Diana persists. Diana reveals that she doesn’t understand why men and women get married and commit their lives to one another if they don’t keep the promise. Steve is stumped, and quite frankly, so are we. Who wants children and families or any of that patriarchal enslavement? ¬†I mean, gender scholars have pulled the veil from all this heteronormative bullshit. After raising Steve’s hopes of getting some Amazonian action, Diana leaves him blue balled by telling him that she’s read all of the works on sexuality written by Themysciran gender scholars. They concluded that m*n were necessary for reproduction but unnecessary for sexual gratification. Guess you’ll have to resort to self-service, Trevor.

Upon arriving in London, Diana is instantly appalled by rampant pollution, shitty architecture, catcalling, and m*n everywhere. In another nod to the Marston mythology, we meet Steve Trevor’s body positive secretary, Etta Candy. ¬†Diana is puzzled by the phenomenon of a secretary and asks what that entails. “Oh, well, I do everything. I go where he tells me to go, I do what he tells me to do,” she says. “Well, where I’m from that’s called slavery,” retorts Diana. Oh snap! Burned again, shitlords! EMPLOYMENT is slavery! I mean, it’s not like Themyscira had a very strict military and government hierarchy or anything! It’s not like the cultivation of resources, development of military discipline, or the building of civilization requires some level of submission to leadership or anything. It’s ALL ARBITRARY PATRIARCHAL ENSLAVEMENT.

Steve insists that Etta help Diana blend in by getting her some new clothes. ¬†Cue the montage in which we’re treated to Gal Gadot sporting early 20th century British fashion while chuckling at the high hilarity of the many patriarchal restrictions it places on her Amazonian combat capabilities. There aren’t any free bleeding-friendly yoga pants which would raise awareness of period shaming, but Diana settles on a smart corporate business suit that comes with glasses. The glasses are essential in order to forestall sexist assumptions that she’s a clueless dumbass because that’s obviously the first thought a m*n thinks when seeing a woman.

Steve scandalizes the British high command by daring to bring Diana, a woman, into their top secret meeting. They’re totally triggered because of their fragile masculinity, but they listen to his plea to take the bioweapon plans and destroy the secret lab. David Thewlis’ Sir Patrick assures him it’s unnecessary because they’re on the cusp of signing an armistice deal. Diana isn’t buying it. Because she’s been educated in Themyscira University with a degree in postmodern gender theory, she can read Babylonian cuneiform and shit. She tells these clueless dumbshits that they’re risking the lives of innocent women and children. Subsequently, they should send all the men to the front to save them because what good have men ever done in the world? The commanders are too triggered by the presence of such a #STRONG womyn, but Trevor resolves to keep his promise to bring her to the front. As the enthusiasm amongst American feminists for mandatory selective service indicates, women are CLAMORING to fill combat roles and reach the heights of military command positions.

Before they undertake this dangerous mission, they need to assemble a diverse, multicultural team of men to bumble their way through the mission while marveling at Diana’s Amazonian voluptuousness. Among the mercenary heroes are an English drunkard marksman, an Arabic guy to school everyone on #RACISM, and of course, a Native American(?!?!) dude to remind everyone about the evils of colonialism perpetrated by the American white man.

With the blessing and patronage of Sir Patrick, the heroes set out to the battlefront to kick some proto-Nazi ass. Upon reaching the front, Diana is unfazed by the bullets and ordnances flying around her and can’t understand why these cowards won’t just advance their position. ¬†The lives of women and children are at stake! Steve tries to spell it out for her.

Steve Trevor: This is no man’s land, Diana! It means no man can cross it, alright? This battalion has been here for nearly a year and they’ve barely gained an inch. All right? Because on the other side there are a bunch of Germans pointing machine g*ns at every square inch of this place. This is not something you can cross. It’s not possible.

Diana Prince: So… what? So we do nothing?

Steve Trevor: No, we are doing something! We are! We just… we can’t save everyone in this war. This is not what we came here to do.

Diana Prince: No. But it’s what I’m going to do.

Checkmate, shitlords. ¬†Cue slow motion robe removal and step ladder climb on to the battlefield. ¬†It’s cheesy as hell, but it works.

In an unusual concession to patriarchal norms, Wonder Woman actually allows some romantic affection to develop between Diana and Steve. ¬†After liberating a French village from occupation, the heroes enjoy a moment of peace and celebratory revelry. Marksman Charlie attempts to entertain the crowd with some sweet piano ballads and his crude but spirited singing voice. ¬†In what is probably one of the more poignant commentaries on the true legacy of modern feminism, Steve Trevor reveals something remarkably honest about the state of manhood in 2017. It’s a confession that’s probably meant to be another indictment of the shallowness of men, but I suggest that it reveals the dearth of positive paternal examples for young men in general.

Diana Prince: What do people do when there isn’t a war?

Steve Trevor: They get a job, get married, have children.

Diana Prince: What is that like?

Steve Trevor: I… don’t know.

As much as I enjoyed Gal Gadot’s martial vision of Wonder Woman, I can’t help but think that it lacks the joyful cheeseball patriotism that Lynda Carter brought to the 70’s version of the character. Like Superman and Captain America, Wonder Woman was most definitely a patriotic superhero. ¬†Even her Israeli accent makes her seem more Euro-cosmopolitan and less American. Instead of the bright primary colors of Lynda Carter’s Old Glory-inspired two-piece, Gal Gadot sports an armor-like combat skirt which mutes the traditional blue, gold and red with dull metallic overtones. It looks cool, but it definitely says Globalist Wonder Woman instead of America’s Wonder Woman.

The film is entertaining enough, but I never felt that Wonder Woman was in danger at any point nor did I sense that she had any real weaknesses or flaws. Besides her bombshell good looks and physicality, Gadot alternates between adequate and bland on the charisma scale. Whether it’s that the role has been flattened by the necessity of fulfilling every item on the feminist checklist or that she’s not that great an actress in the first place, there’s an absence of any real personality. The responses to the film from feminist media have been predictably hilarious. ¬†If it’s not the¬†outrage of Wonder Woman’s shaved armpits, it’s the hope that one day¬†Wonder Woman will be a fat, queer, non-binary WOC. ¬†One gets the distinct impression that the more you pander to feminists, the more petty the complaints become.

Above all else, Wonder Woman is a hymn to the twin religions of Globalism and Feminism. The one plot twist in the film could easily be seen as a slam on Nigel Farage, UKIP and #Brexit. As for the feminist proselytizing, Wonder Woman represents a new high water mark for religious symbolism. In one of the early battle scenes, Wonder Woman bounds through a church steeple to take out the German snipers endangering the civilians below. ¬†After dispatching them handily, Wonder Woman emerges from the rubble of the Christian Church to bask in the glow of her devout and grateful flock. Symbolism doesn’t get more blatant than that.

The ending of the film is respectful towards the character legacy, but also rife with theological overtones.  Diana recognizes that she may never conquer the evil that lies in the hearts of humanity. As a goddess of love, they are always free to choose the salvation she provides if they just listen and believe. Praise Wonder Woman and get ready for Justice League, PYGS.

Diana Prince: I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves – something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know… that only love can truly save the world. So I stay. I fight, and I give… for the world I know can be. This is my mission now. Forever.

Hardcore Henry (2015)


Hardcore Henry is one of those films that will immediately polarize the filmgoing audience. You already know whether or not this film is for you. The filmmakers knew exactly who they were appealing to when they made it, and it delivers in spades. It is nothing short of a tour de force and will likely be viewed as a benchmark against which future efforts of its kind will be measured. Conversely, it’s also the kind of film that is reviled and pilloried by easily offended triggerkin.  It’s unrepentantly ultraviolent, it promotes gender dimorphism, has lots of sexy chicks, and it’s filmed in the style of the first person shooter video game. In other words, the very kind of game that has drawn the ire of PC scolds and Puritans like Jonathan McIntosh and Anita Sarkeesian.  

Hardcore Henry has a plot, but it mostly serves to set up the scenes of expertly choreographed mayhem and the requisite showdown between the hero and the villain. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with this approach. The filmmakers know what they’re selling and the plot, however meager and arbitrary it seems, is more than sufficient. The characters with which we’re presented are so colorful, it more than makes up for the wild leaps of the story. This is especially true of Sharlto Copley’s masterful turn in his many different iterations of Jimmy. Mr. Copley even called this film the most challenging of his acting career.

In the beginning of the film, Henry is awakened by Estelle (Haley Bennett) in a laboratory to discover he’s lost his arm, leg and voice.  He’s asked to remain calm while his cybernetic arm and leg are attached. Henry has no memory of his past self, but Estelle tries to remind him that they were formerly married. While awaiting a download for his vocal software, the laboratory is infiltrated by mercs.  The main bad guy, Akan, shows up, wreaks havoc with his telekinetic power, kills the lab technician and threatens to make an army of cyborgs using the technology implanted in Henry’s body.  Estelle and Henry manage to escape from what is apparently a laboratory dirigible, but land on a freeway only to have to fight off another set of goons who attempt to apprehend them. From there, the film basically steps on the accelerator pedal and simply does not let up.  

The action scenes are relentless, but exhilarating because they are just so physical and dangerous. This is one of those movies where you realize that the individuals who shot these performances are just made of different stuff than the rest of us. Perhaps slightly unhinged. There is an outrageous car/motorcycle chase (see link pasted above), a death defying parkour chase through the streets of Moscow, more gun fights than perhaps any other film I’ve ever seen, and some of the most insane hand to hand combat since The Raid.  

Another big plus is that it was made by Russians and filmed in Moscow. The individuals they hired to play some of mercs and goons looked every bit like they were straight out of the FSB and carried an above average aura of menace.  Perhaps I’m overstating, but the brothel full of scantily clad women is the kind of scene that rarely attempted by the increasingly PC mainstream Hollywood film. 

Hardcore Henry is a film that’s high on its own adrenaline rush.  The filmmakers know that you’re there to see next level action filmmaking and they’re more than happy to oblige. Like The Green InfernoI was delighted that they simply did not give a single fuck about appeasing any PC sensibilities.  The film gleefully revels in its refusal to kowtow to the phony standards and diktats of would-be moralists, feminist killjoys, Bechdel testers, multiculturalists and racism cops. It’s not deep and has no redeeming social message, but it’s a fast, relentless shit ton of decadent fun. And sometimes, that can be a pretty bold statement all by itself. 

Live and Let Die (1973)

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I watched this film again after many years and was supremely entertained. After it was over, I had this thought. I bet that some twat out there probably thinks this film is racist.

Sure enough, a rudimentary Google search turned up all kinds of hits. So allow me to present a counterpoint view to the racism cops and culture cops who seem intent on destroying anyone’s ability to simply enjoy a piece of pop entertainment without a cloud of guilt.

One of the standard arguments goes like this.  The villains are black.  The hero is white. Ergo, RACIST!

The plot of the film involves 007 investigating the murder of two agents who were killed by a drug lord. The film also involves an inner city crime boss and henchmen and contains some Hollywood portrayals of voodoo culture and ritual. Naturally, Bond makes it with a black woman, too. In short, Live and Let Die is loaded with Blaxploitation imagery and archetypes.

So case closed, right?  It’s just another racist piece of shit, yes?

Not so fast.

First off, films are first and foremost, entertainment. They’re generally fun. This is especially true of the entire James Bond franchise. Even if you are presenting a dramatic and serious work, you still have to have an appreciation for the fact that you are out to entertain.

If you are one of those sanctimonious assholes who think black people will be “harmed” by these portrayals, consider the possibility that you hold a condescending view of blacks and that you are the fucking racist.

Second, Bond films are well written stories with vivid characters and witty dialogue. They are stylish and sexy to boot.  Broadly speaking, these are positive qualities in art as far as I’m concerned. Furthermore, good and evil are not traits on which any race has a monopoly. The only measuring stick which should be applied is whether the character is well written and serves the dramatic arc of the story.

But if you really want to split hairs, the worst thing about this film is not the portrayals of black characters. It’s that Bond represents an absurd caricature of government excellence.

I mean, come on.  Bond lives a life of exceptional luxury. He has unlimited access to the most advanced technologies and they all generally work very well. His exploits take him all over the globe. That’s a hefty tab for the taxpayer.

The problem is not that the drug lord was black.  It’s that the government has criminalized drugs and that’s a great way to disenfranchise and demonize blacks. This film is merely portraying what the government has been doing for years in a stylized and campy way and portrays Bond as being on the “good” side of the fight.

Furthermore, this was a professional endeavor. These were professional actors who voluntarily chose to play these roles.

So basically, culture cops, it comes down to this. If it really bothers you, watch something else.  It would be preferable if you could simply seek out the art that affirms your values 100% or just admit that you are joyless fucks and you are intent on destroying fun for everyone else.

To everyone else, it’s Bond, man. And it’s the kind of film that doesn’t get made anymore.  If the culture cops succeed in their seemingly endless quest to find racism and -ism du jour in everything, we may see less of these kinds of films.

You know.  Films that are fun and entertaining.

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