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Gracepoint: The 10 week saga of UTTER DISAPPOINTMENT

(First off, I’d like to apologize for like a YEAR of no posts. I sort of… forgot. I’m very sorry. However, recently, someone liked one of my posts and I remembered ‘oh hey!’. Originally, I made this blog for a college class and after that class ended, things died down. For that I apologize sincerely. However! I have a need to revive and revitalize this blog and I’ll start with this and see where it goes.)

(The Gracepoint promo photo is at least better than Broadchurch’s, huh?)

If you’re like me, you watched the beautiful, riveting BBC drama Broadchurch illegally (woops, sorry FBI!) and thought it was AMAZING!

Because of how incredible the acting, characterization, cinematography, and writing was in Broadchurch, I was appalled to hear that there was going to be an American knockoff remake called Gracepoint airing on Fox. When I found out David Tennant and his terrible American accent were going to be on the show playing the SAME character but with a different name, I actually head desked (my forehead was never the same).

However, I did watch the show. And the first few episodes were almost the exact same. The same blocking, the same cinematography, the same lines, the same direction… everything was the SAME! …Only not as good. The middle portion of Gracepoint got good. I won’t lie to you guys. It got different in the middle and it was a very good show as long as you don’t compare the two. And I tried my hardest the WHOLE season to not compare it to Broadchurch. I’m good at the ‘apples and oranges’ approach to adaptations in general. The problem with that, however, is that to start out, Gracepoint wasn’t based on Broadchurch, it was like a carbon copy. After a while, it got better. It was easier to NOT see how Gracepoint didn’t get it quite as right as Broadchurch and focus on what Gracepoint DID get right.

The biggest plus for Gracepoint is that Mark and Chloe were much more likeable characters than the Mark and Chloe in Broadchurch. I just find that I enjoyed Michael Peña as Mark Solano and Madalyn Horcher as Chloe Solano better than Andrew Buchan and Charlotte Beaumont as Mark and Chloe Latimer. Other than that, all of the characters were less emotionally impacting on Gracepoint. I don’t know if it was the acting or the writing or the pacing or what, but Gracepoint, while good, didn’t CONNECT the way I wanted it to.

So on it’s own, it wasn’t a BAD show. It just wasn’t a NECESSARY show. There are plot holes that they opened and didn’t close (like what the hell was Vince doing with Danny without Mark and Beth knowing?! Why was Tom lost in the woods?!) because they were busy trying to make the EXACT SAME show as Broadchurch but with a different format (10 episodes of 42 minutes rather than 8 episodes of 50 minutes).

But the main reason I’m so freaking BUMMED is simple:

The only reason I decided to watch this show is because of what a Fox Executive said: “We have a different ending than they have, so there will be something to stay tuned for with a twist.”

… and after 10 weeks of what started the exact same, got better and different in the middle, and SEEMED like it was going to end differently?

THE ENDING WAS BASICALLY THE SAME! The only ‘twist’ was that he wasn’t the killer by ‘technicality’, and not even a good technicality, a boring one that was so not shocking at all.

Seriously, Fox. Great way to TANK what could have been a good ending. If they had chosen an ACTUAL different killer, it would’ve blown our minds probably.

But it wasn’t.

It was the same but more boring.

God Bless America, huh?

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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Road To The Oscars: Her

As we count down the road to the Oscars, I must be honest… I don’t usually watch or like Oscar Nominated films. It’s not uncommon for there to be a year I didn’t even see a single movie on the nominees list before the Oscars. Some years I don’t even WANT to see a single movie nominated for an Oscar. This year, however, of the films nominated for Best Picture I’ve seen two and plan to see at least two more, if not three. That will put me seeing five of the nine nominees, which is an all-time record, so I decided that, leading up to the Oscars, I’d post about each one I see and why I think they should or shouldn’t win the awards they are all nominated for.

We’ll start with the first one I saw and that is Her.

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I wanted to see Her since I saw the previews for it, so when I started taking classes in a city that actually HAD it (my small town cinema often skips more ‘artsy’ films that they won’t sell a lot of tickets to) I decided to go see it my very first day after class. When I told people I wanted to see it, a lot of people went, “That movie about a dude in love with his computer? That looks so pathetic and dumb.”

…. even if I had EVER thought that, I can assure you, Her is NOT pathetic and dumb.

If you don’t know what it is about, Her is a movie set in the future about a man named Theodore Twombly. For the sake of not forgetting anything, I’ll just give you the IMDB plot summary since I’ve seen a few movies since Her.

Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states. Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn’t, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS? (From IMDB)

Before we get into the spoiler-filled section, let’s take a look at what all Her has Oscar nominations for:

Best Picture

Her most DEFINITELY has the potential to win Best Picture, in my opinion. This film was beyond anything I have ever seen artistically, thematically, emotionally, and the acting was MIND BLOWING. Joaquin Phoenix honestly should’ve at least been nominated for Best Actor if you want my opinion. He was incredible. This film was moving and richly layered, and I honestly have seen very few movies that I walked out of feeling like it would be with me forever.

Music- Original Score

This film’s score was phenomenal. I cannot express enough how much the score to this film enriched the viewing experience. William Butler and Owen Pallett could definitely be contenders for this award.

Music- Original Song

I don’t really remember this song and honestly I think Frozen has everybody beat in this category (Sorry, Her).

Writing- Original Screenplay

A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Honestly if Spike Jonze doesn’t win this award I will call foul on the voting committee. This is the category that this film is meant to win. This story is beautiful and amazing and the writing is the WHOLE reason why it is so incredible. This is one of the most amazingly written pieces of art that has ever existed, in my opinion.

Production Design

Honestly I don’t know. I can see how this film COULD potentially win that award, but there are also several films up against it that could win it.

Trailer: 

This movie broke my heart. It was beautiful in the most original way, it was heartwarming in the most incredible way, and it was heartbreaking in the most tragic way, yet through all of that, the ending still is NOT tragic. It is bittersweet and filled with hope and you realize that Theodore is in a better place now than he probably ever has been. I won’t fully spoil the movie, but it makes you think of ‘what makes a person?’ that Samantha is so REAL. Samantha IS a person. Yet at the same time, she’s more than a person. She has no body, but she has a mind and a soul. It makes you think about what we all find in love and if we love the right way. It poses questions of judging people by things we may or may not understand the way so many judged Theodore for being in love with an AI. It shows you that love can be different in different ways. It hurts you and heals you and breaks you all over again, and honestly I’ve never seen a more artistically and philosophically wonderful film.

All in all I have to say that this movie was amazing, I would give it 9.5/10 (SERIOUSLY, it was INCREDIBLE), and I definitely say GO SEE IT!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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What Makes A Person? Exploring The Ethics of The TechnoFuture In “Almost Human”

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If you haven’t already been watching Fox’s new futuristic Sci-Fi cop drama, you should be!

Almost Human, the newest J.J. Abrams show created by J. H. Wyman, is a show about the police force of the future in 2048 in which the uncontrolled technological advances in America has risen the crime rate by over 400% and, in an effort to meet the rising crime rates, police officers are paired up with androids as partners that are combat-ready.

Detective John Kennex, played by Karl Urban, is distrustful of androids after waking up from a seventeen month coma after his android partner abandoned him in his refusal to leave a fallen human co-worker, which resulted in the man’s death and Kennex ending up having to have an android prosthetic leg. When he returns to work and destroys his first android, he is assigned a more lifelike model: A DRN

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The DRN androids are an older model. They were made to be as human as possible, meaning they have the ability to feel and understand emotions like a human. Unlike the MX model androids like the police force uses, the DRN model androids were most often decommissioned after they developed emotional problems. Kennex’s partner, nicknamed Dorian and played by Michael Ealy (above), is unlike the other police androids in that he has a personality. He has emotions. He even is offended by being called a ‘Synthetic’.

What distinguishes Man from Machine?

One theme that runs throughout the show (so far, it’s only a few episodes in admittedly) is the concept of ‘what is a person’? The MX androids are devoid of any real human characteristics other than appearance, and even that looks synthetic. Though they speak and react like they are thinking for themselves, they are clearly programed based on logic and nothing else. Kennex views them so far from ‘human’ that in the first episode he actually throws his MX android partner from a moving vehicle, facilitating its complete destruction.

This raises the question to the viewers that, if the other androids are just machines, what is Dorian? Is he just another machine even though he has a character and a personality?

In the episode “Skin”, the police force is sent into the world of IRCs – Intimate Robot Companions – which are basically ‘sexbots’. They are a legal trade since IRCs are reported to have decreased the rate of sexual violence significantly, and the IRCs (mostly females) are sold in showrooms like cars. In the course of the episode, one of the IRCs, named Vanessa, asks where her ‘friend’ (another IRC) Vanessa is and if she can see her. Dorian realizes that Vanessa is designed to form a bond with people and to miss them (presumably so that the owner of the IRC will feel wanted). When Vanessa has to be deactivated, she asks Dorian where she’s going and he tells her “to a better place” (something he had learned earlier in the episode from Kennex). Dorian then witnesses her being deactivated.

What Does Understanding Do to a DRN?

The problem with the DRNs was explained as “emotional problems” that made them “volatile”, but it’s easy to understand why this might be so. Dorian, unlike the other androids at the police station, is aware that he is not real. He feels like a person, he has emotions like a person, and he has a personality that is distinctly developed from his ability to understand and process human thoughts and emotions. But he still knows that he’s not a “real person”.

Like with Vanessa, he knows that he too will one day cease to be useful and be deactivated. He says at one point, “I may not have had a childhood, I may not have been born, but I act out of free will, and my memories mean something to me.”

It isn’t hard to understand why the DRNs would have emotional problems when they are aware that, though they feel like a person, they’re not. It is the truest form of dehumanization, to literally not be a human being, but to feel the same as one.

What Other Questions of Ethics Will Almost Human give us?

I’m very interested to find out, actually! The most recent episode touched on the idea of human cloning, which is another TechnoFuturistic ethical debate waiting to be had. I’m very excited to see what other questions of ethics Almost Human will make the audience think about, because so far it has been extremely thought provoking.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THEY ARE CHILDREN: Defending The Alpha Twins

This post contains SPOILERS!

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Everyone with any form of social media account has discovered that for some unknown reason MTV’s Teen Wolf has an EXTREMELY active fan following. In this past summer’s Season 3a (3b will be coming in January), the main ‘bad guys’ are a group called the Alpha Pack and a ‘dark druid’ called the Darach. In the Alpha Pack, there is a set of identical twin Alphas (who combine into a really freaky looking mega!wolf sometimes) named Aiden and Ethan.

In all my years as a fan of television shows that have dedicated fan presences online I have never come across a more vastly divided set of fan opinions than those around the twin Alphas. From sympathizers to haters there are so many opinions on Ethan and Aiden. However, recently I came across an anonymous tumblr ‘ask’ a friend replied to (that I won’t link in respect for her privacy) in which the anonymous person expressed their opinion that “The Murder Twins are pure evil and they should have killed them, not let them stick around.

I’ve been meaning to make a post like this for a while now, and this incident has given me a perfect opportunity to force myself to do so. As we know, here at Modern Minutia we have a soft spot for sympathetic villains. As such I feel like it’s about time someone argues the much less popular opinion that they deserve so much more sympathy than this person seems to think.

To start with, let’s look at their biggest ‘crimes’:

  • We meet them as they are trying to get Isaac and his mystery rescuer. (They later help fight her and their leader, Deucalion, kills her.)
  • They later attack Isaac and Scott and then frame Isaac for attacking them.
  • We find out that Ethan and Aiden got close to Danny and Lydia because their leader thinks they will need to kill one of them.
  • They attack most of the pack at some point.
  • Worst of all of these, the twins help kill Boyd.

(The one thing that fans seem to find the MOST unforgivable is their part in Boyd’s death. The most often used line is ‘Are we forgetting they KILLED BOYD?!’ really.)

Yes. They are part of a pack that does unspeakable things and commits horrible acts. There is no denying what the Alpha twins have to be held responsible for. I do agree with the less dramatic and angry fans who simply say that they would like to see them show remorse for what they have done (Though with this show’s seeming phobia to character development, I’m not holding my breath). However, to the fans who feel that they don’t deserve to be forgiven, and ESPECIALLY those who feel they deserve to die, allow me (with the help of a friend who helped me organize these arguments that has no real online presence so will remain anonymous) to outline all of the reasons they deserve sympathy.

Point #1: THEY ARE KIDS!

Apparently this escapes some people’s notice, but these are CHILDREN. Yes, there is the hint that they may not actually be the age they are pretending to be to fit in at the school, but they are clearly somewhere in the range of sixteen to twenty and even if they are legal adults, they’re still KIDS. Even if they are full out evil why would you want to see CHILDREN die?! Who is heartless enough they wish to see children die for their ‘sins’ instead of be given a chance to atone for them?

Point #2: They are ABUSED kids!

Ethan reveals to Scott and Stiles in “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” that they were from a pack of ‘monsters’ who were the type of werewolves that gave the reputation of mindless killing machines to all werewolves. They were the Omegas of that pack, meaning that they were beaten and abused by their brutal pack. They were only able to rise up and kill their abusers when Deucalion came to them and helped out. From this we can infer that, most likely, the twins either are orphans or their parents were part of the group abusing then. They have probably been abused and mistreated from a very young age. They faced so much daily and inescapable torment until Deucalion came and saved them.

Point #3: Deucalion gave them power.

When Derek became Alpha the surge of power made him seek out and turn three teenagers who he knew wouldn’t say no just because he could. Those three teens were all overcome with their new found power as betas. They all displayed their new found power in extreme ways to prove that they were no longer invisible like they were before becoming werewolves. Yes, these four people all had pretty poor lives and were given power. However, Ethan and Aiden went from suffering even worse abuse than Isaac and less attention than Boyd or Erica to suddenly being powerful Alphas in an extremely powerful pack where they were no longer the victims. It is a proven psychological fact that “Even the smallest dose of power can change a person.” Now we look at the sudden transference from ‘powerless’ to ‘powerful’ and who gave this to them? Deucalion. Who gives them their orders? Deucalion. Why does this matter?

Point #4: Loyalty

Obviously, anyone who is saved by another person expresses gratitude towards that person. Anyone who is given power by someone else also has gratitude for that as well. Hand in hand with gratitude comes loyalty. If they challenge his orders, they are challenging the loyalty they feel to the person who saved them. Think of someone who did something for you that changed your life for the better. Now imagine that being the ONLY person who has EVER shown did anything that changed your life for the better EVER. The pull to pay them back would be tremendous. This is the type of pull that Ethan and Aiden face. They owe everything to Deucalion. They owe their power to Deucalion. They owe their very lives to Deucalion. That brings us to…

Point #5: Fear

While Deucalion saved them, and they are loyal to him, they also fear him. He may not abuse them the way their old pack did, but he does discipline them. We saw him strike them across the faces and cut their cheeks, so there is at least a measure of discipline. Beyond that, however, is the knowledge of how strong he is and what he could do to them if he chose to. They have been under his command long enough to see him kill people. If not Deucalion, the others in the pack are loyal to him and wouldn’t hesitate to do his bidding. While many fans would argue here that ‘I would chose death over committing murder’, there is another thing to remember.

Point #5 continued: Fear for each other

They are the Alpha twins. It is possible that if there was only one of them, they might would chose death over being forced to kill. Many people would die for other people. Many of us would sacrifice ourselves for perfect strangers, even. It’s different, though, when it’s someone you care about that is threatened. Ethan and Aiden know that if they question Deucalion, he can hurt the other twin. It’s likely they have suffered watching their brother hurt before in their days of being abused children. Anybody with a close sibling knows that you would do anything to save them. How many times have we said, “I would kill for my family”? Only identical twins can really understand the bond between them. Aiden and Ethan are all each other has. They are part of each other. They are (literally) two halves of a whole. They are both well aware that, “If I anger Deucalion he won’t hurt me, he’ll hurt my brother and it will be my fault.” So they know they are on their own with only each other to trust.

Point #6: They have NO REASON to trust the Beacon Hills pack.

While the viewers know that Scott and his friends would likely help Ethan and Aiden defect, they have no reason to trust them. They have no reason to trust anyone. They have only ever known being either used or abused. They have likely never known kindness in their whole lives. They grew up knowing that they can only trust each other and, when Deucalion saved them, he only did so to use them for his own devices. They have no reason to suspect that, if they defected from Deucalion, they wouldn’t have two packs after their blood, not just one. Even though we see Ethan at least showing the beginnings of remorse for what they have done, Ethan and Aiden both know that their options are to stick with Deucalion and survive even if it means doing bad things, or run away and try to survive with even more people wanting them dead.

Point #7-infinity: THEY ARE ABUSED CHILDREN WHO HAVE NO REASON TO THINK THERE IS ANY CHOICE FOR THEM BESIDES ‘DO WHAT DEUCALION SAYS’!

We get at least some idea that they didn’t want to kill Boyd. There is no denying that there was reluctance in their part. However, Kali’s order to hold Derek’s claws so she could drop Boyd on them is still an order. They knew that saying no would mean turning their backs on their pack with no other pack to run to for protection. They are CHILDREN who have MOST LIKELY never known any kindness before Deucalion’s semblance of compassion, who have no reason to think they will find anything but threats from anywhere else, who fear for their lives and the lives of each other, and who have a reluctant loyalty tying them to Deucalion and his orders.

I don’t mean to get belligerent, but I really just fail to understand how anyone can say ‘they deserve to die’. I understand those who wish to see them show remorse and atone for their actions, I too want to see this. The way this show is written, we often don’t GET that sort of character development, so I generally just infer that it’s there. I can understand if a fan can’t accept that because most shows aren’t so lacking in the character moments, but ‘they should have killed them’?

I really don’t think so.

(Opinions are welcome, but please don’t argue with each other in the comments. Logical and calm explanations only, please!)

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Doctor Who: Countdown To “The Day Of The Doctor”

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While I make no claims to be a Doctor Who expert, I AM a big fan. I’m sure all of us can agree that when it comes to Doctor Who, you are either a big fan or have no idea what’s going on in Doctor Who. Trying to understand Doctor Who from an outsider perspective is nearly impossible. As one of the most often heard lines shared by fans claims:

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But for those of us who ARE Whovians (as the fans are called), one of the biggest television events of the year, if not the decade, or possibly even our lives (if you want to be dramatic) is coming up fast. The 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who, “The Day of the Doctor” is not only airing November 23, 2013, but it’s also going to be simulcast across the entire freaking world so that nobody has to avoid spoilers like the plague in the hours leading up until their region’s air-time. (For those of us in the US, that time is 2:50pm EST) You still don’t think it seems like THAT big of a deal? Try the fact that the entire week leading up to the 50th Anniversary Special, BBC America has a scheduled full week of nothing but the “Doctor Who Takeover Special”.

For many people, no matter how long you have been a fan, The Doctor is an important part of your life, not because it’s just a television show you enjoy greatly, but because the characters are some that you hold in your heart. Doctor Who is such an overwhelmingly well done undertaking that creates characters that viewers learn to know as if they were friends, not fiction. And sadly for everyone, there comes a time that no matter who they are, your favorite character must leave. The Doctor himself is no exception.

Every fan can tell you who their Doctor is. Not everyone has a favorite companion, but everyone has their favorite Doctor. The one person who is THE Doctor to them in a way no other shall be. Fans go into “The Day of the Doctor” with heavy hearts beneath their excitement because we all know that that time is fast approaching and Matt Smith’s run as The Eleventh Doctor has to end to make way for Peter Capaldi‘s Twelve. However, while the 50th Anniversary Special marks one last hurrah before a passing of the torch, so to speak, in the Christmas Special, it also marks a wonderful chance for one last hurrah with some of Whovians’ favorite characters they have long since bid farewell to.

In this trailer we see that, though Eleven is leaving us soon, seeing him interact with his previous regeneration (David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor) and his old companion Rose Tyler once again shows exactly how the Doctor has grown and changed as a character through his eleventh regeneration.

While Whovians eagerly count the days until “The Day of The Doctor”, BBC graciously gifted us with a seven minute prequel to tide us over until the 50th Anniversary will inevitably blow our minds:

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Loki: Exploring The Development of A Sympathetic Villain

Many of you may remember the post about the Five-Part Spectrum of characters. In that, we mentioned the Sympathetic Villain and used the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Loki for that example. In celebration of the Thor 2: The Dark World being released, let’s take a closer look at what makes Loki a Sympathetic Villain throughout the three films he has been in.

Thor

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In Thor, we meet Loki as the eponymous hero’s little brother. He is very much the proverbial ‘spare’ to Thor’s ‘heir’ in their father’s eyes. Odin, the King of Asgard and their father, is not alone in showing favoritism to Thor. All of their friends seem to ‘put up’ with Loki because he is Thor’s brother.

And then the truth is revealed. In the photo above, Loki has just discovered from Odin that he is not only not REALLY Odin’s son, but he is not even the same species. Instead, he is the abandoned child of Asgard’s sworn nemesis, Laufey of Jotunheim.

Why this is important:

This is the MOST important point in Loki becoming a Villain in any form. This is the moment that pushes Loki over the edge from feeling a little left out to feeling completely betrayed. This is also a key point to him being a Sympathetic Villain because the viewer empathizes with him. You see a son learning that the reason he feels unloved is because, not only is he adopted, but he is the same ‘monster’ that his family is famed for destroying. This is a prince who was raised on the stories of Frost Giants being the most vile, horrible things in all the realms. He has lived his life hearing stories and playing games as a child in which he and his brother slayed the ‘horrible beasts’ just like their father, only to discover that he is one.

Beyond this moment:

In Thor, Loki’s ‘villainous’ deeds, while very undeniably villainous, were all actions carried out in an attempt to make his father love him as much as he loves Thor. He takes his father’s throne when his father is injured to prove to his family that he’s not worthless. He goes to Laufey – his birth father – and helps him sneak into Asgard on the pretense of murdering a bedridden Odin only to use it as an opportunity to kill the ‘horrible monsters’ in Odin’s chambers to try and prove himself. Even his attempts on Thor’s life are Loki’s way of trying to protect Asgard from an unprepared Thor taking the throne.

In conclusion:

Loki in his first MCU appearance is the villain that nobody could hate. He is essentially a prince trying to make his family love him and choosing all the wrong methods to try and do so. The viewer watches him fall to his ‘death’ and, rather than be glad the villain was defeated, mourns him.

The Avengers

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In The Avengers, Loki is our main villain. This time, he is clearly a very deranged villain who is harder to find sympathy for. Loki appears in a top secret laboratory via a magic portal he opened using the Tesseract that is being studied in this lab. He then steals the Tesseract, takes hostages, and goes on a murder spree that kills 80 people in two days.

However, from the moment he arrives, we can see that he is clearly not well. In the above photo, you can see how sickly he looks and you can see that his previously green eyes are now an eerie blue just like the Tesseract. In a scene further into the film, we see Loki going into some form of trance to discuss the plan with his co-conspirators, at the end of which, one says to him, “You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain!” 

Why this is important:

Loki is clearly not okay. We are given the idea that he fell into the ‘abyss’ between the realms and languished there for a while before Thanos and who knows what other unknown evil collected him. His appearance and this clear indication that his co-conspirators are really his masters help support the implication that he was held captive and tortured.

In conclusion:

What mental break Loki suffered in Thor has clearly been compounded with brainwashing and torture for who knows how long in The Avengers. The actions in this film are more villainous, and less excusable, but there is still this idea that this is a man who has been driven to the edge and then, quite literally, tossed off it and into the hands of torture and abuse that has driven him fully insane. His actions are less understandable, but the viewer still feels sorry for how he got to this point.

Thor 2: The Dark World

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WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THOR 2 YET THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

In Thor 2: The Dark World, we meet Loki as he is being sentenced to imprisonment. Odin makes it clear that the only reason Loki is receiving this leniency for his actions on Earth as opposed to execution is because his mother, Frigga, loves him still as her son and Odin loves his wife. We then see him in prison talking to Frigga, who asks after he denies vehemently that Odin is not his father if he also doesn’t think of her as his mother. There is a moment where his anger drains and he reaches out to touch her only to reveal to us that – surprise! – Frigga is a glamour she sent down to the cells in her absence (Odin decreed that Loki never see her again).

And then, of course, Frigga is killed by the Big Bad of the film, Malekith. In the photo above, Thor comes down to talk to Loki about helping him defeat Malekith and when he asks him to drop his glamours, this is what he finds. In the photo, Loki has shed his nice clothes, he has destroyed his cell, he has stopped caring for his hair, he has bloody feet from walking on the broken dishes he shattered in his grief fueled rage, and he is lying in a pitiful heap as he mourns his mother.

Why this is important:

Loki isn’t THE villain of this film, but he is still clearly not a ‘good guy’. This set up gains him so much sympathy because virtually every viewer either has experienced or can imagine the complete and utter devastation of losing a mother. The viewer overlooks his past wrongs, forgets for a while that he is ‘evil’, and is left with a broken man who has lost the one person who loved him unconditionally before them.

Beyond this moment:

Loki actually doesn’t betray Thor, contrary to every expectation every viewer had. The empathy the viewer feels for him in his hopes of helping his brother kill their mother’s murderer makes the viewer almost forget he is evil, but it doesn’t erase the expectation of him betraying Thor in the end.

In conclusion:

There is some argument to be made that Loki isn’t the ‘bad guy’ in this film, but he is a Villain in general, so the sympathy the viewers feel for him at the loss of his mother will remain to be thought of later in his story as he becomes the Villain once more.

This sympathy viewers have for Loki, regardless of currently not being the main protagonist, makes him even more of a Sympathetic Villain.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ignoring The Male Victims: Are The Writers Ignoring Them or Is The Audience In Denial?

I had planned my next blog post to be about Sympathetic Villains, but this topic was brought to my attention during a discussion earlier in the week about the television show Supernatural.

In episode 9×02- “Devil May Care”, there is a scene in which the ‘big bad villain’, the demon Abaddon, has Dean caught and she threatens him with possession. In the scene, she says:

“Oh. Well… you know, I’ve loved this body since the moment I first saw it. You’re the perfect vessel, Dean. You give a girl all sorts of nasty ideas. So go ahead and play hard to get, and I’ll peel off this “no demons allowed” tattoo and blow smoke up your ass. […] It can get worse. Trust me. ‘Cause once I’m on top, I’ll make you watch. And I’ll use your body. Have you ever felt an infant’s blood drip down your chin? Or listened to a girl scream as you rip her guts out? Because you will. You and me, lover. We’ll have a grand old time.” -This scene

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During this scene, my dear friend Amber and I were absolutely left uncomfortable by everything Abaddon says. We both discussed how it made us feel that cold feeling in your gut after you see something disturbing on television, because to us that WAS disturbing. In my mind, everything she said is undeniably ‘rapist’ type language, if not a full on rape threat.

However, after this episode ended we went online and found terrifying numbers of other fans talking about how ‘the sexual tension could be cut with a knife’ or ‘OMG that was so flirty!’. In fact, a quick google search didn’t find a single post or fan discussion on how rapey that scene was.

Another example in which the writer and many of the viewers seem to either not believe a male character is the victim of rape or choose to ignore it would be Derek Hale from Teen Wolf. In the two and a half series that have been released so far, his story includes:

  • Being a victim of pedophilia (ephebophilia if you want to get technical; he was 16 and she was 22) and statutory rape at the hands of the woman who murdered his family.
  • Being the victim of what would legally be considered rape due to lack of capacity to consent by the woman who helped him home after finding him severely injured, suffering extreme blood loss, and barely conscious.
  • Many other non-sexual but non-consensual uses of his body (such as being used as an instrument of murder by having his claws held in place while someone else impales his friend on them).

This isn’t the forum for discussion on real life attitudes towards female-on-male rape/rape threats, but this isn’t an isolated incident in modern television/film/other modern media. There are numerous cases of a male character being the victim of rape/rape threats by a female character for which the scene is either played off for laughs, or entirely ignored.

The attitudes by writers and viewers alike at failing to see a male character as the victim of rape is extremely discomforting.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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