Saturday, July 23, 2011

Captain America, Clone Wars Season 4, and Cynicism

I went to see Captain America last night. It was full of fifties enthusiasm and "gee wizz" science excitement that I couldn't really get into except in the very beginning, when Our Heroes visit a World's Fair hosted by Tony Stark's father. The rest was just too earnest for me. The "beat the bad guy to the death machine" ending--and a whole lot of other elements, including the disfigured antagonist and the military-crisp female lead who turns into the high school date the hero never had at the ending-- had an appeal that I wished I could get into, but it was all far too contrived.

And I can't really argue with that, because the easy argument back is but it's Captain America. The original comic was made in an era of war and optimism colliding in a cloud of steam. There's no point in saying that I'm insulted as a feminist, because catering to my sensibilities is not what this franchise is for. I'll leave it up to less biased minds to decide whether that's a good excuse or not.

But there was this small child in the row in front of us. We sat up close, so he must have been just towered over by these massive-looking tanks and soldiers and skies. And he was so into it. He would giggle when Captain America punched Nazis. He would gasp when people narrowly escaped danger. Occasionally he would lean over and ask his dad what was going on. I think he absolutely loved that movie. And I wish I was having the experience he was having.

 And I wish the same thing about the new season of Clone Wars.

Information about the new season has been pouring in from panels at San Diego Comic-Con this Saturday. And I can't enjoy most of it, either because it's just bad or because I can't see beyond the fandom and my own biases. Maybe someone else can. Let's do a little overview.

Lux the Mandalorian Boy Scout will be back, along with a female Mando officer, and Death Watch as the main villains. I'm not even sure where to begin with what I dislike about this clip. Who exactly does Filoni think he's appealing to here? The Ahsoka/Lux shippers? The Snow Bunny fanboys? (Someone please explain that to me. It's a furry jacket. Whut.) The Fandalorians? Sorry, you drove them all away a year and a half ago. 

What we're not getting is anything about how Ahsoka learned duel-wielding.

There's also going to be more Mortis, a plot line which, from the impression that I got, just mostly confused the fans.

They're still teasing Darth Maul and Savage, which I guess is good. I would put them up there on the list of Things Megan Cares About, but...

That list is headed with "Kit Fisto". And when asked about Kit's involvement in the battles on Mon Calamari, Filoni replied with "Kit doesn’t wear his shirt, so I guess that’s like a Twilight reference for you.”


Really? 

I know that no TV show writers do what they do specifically to make me happy. But when your advertisements are mostly showcasing new and returning characters, you could at least make those characters...ones that people tend to like, and ones that have characterization besides being shirtless.  Where are Anakin and Obi-Wan, anyway? Isn't Clone Wars supposed to illuminate the central Star Wars movies?

Red vs Blue does better in seven-minute installments.

Maybe that's because it's full of self-awareness and  raunchiness and cynicism, and I just can't deal with innocence. But I can't help but feel that Clone Wars totters somewhere between the two and fails at both.

Why an I still watching this?

Why do people who disagree with the government still watch the evening news? I just have to know what decisions are made and why.

10 comments:

  1. Where is Obi-Wan, anyway? He hasn't been in ANY of the FOUR trailers released so far.
    And why they made Fisto shirtless when he could have worn the same suit as the others(minus breathing equipment)?
    Othen than those, I actually like what S4 seems to be like. Mortis is one of my favorite plots so far, despite it turning into a 'All Just A Dream' in the end.
    Then again, the episodes are almost the only SW stuff I can get a hold of these days. No books are translated and the Titan comic releases here are like a year late of the UK release. Not to mention most of Finnish SW fans seems to dislike TCW just because it's not by GL himself... (or something)

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  2. Thanks for the comment, Amy. I too was confused about the lack of Obi-Wan. He's such an important character in the saga, and he's shown up in Clone Wars so rarely that I hadn't even noticed him going missing from the trailers until I thought about it while writing this post.

    I would presume that Kit goes shirtless to match his appearance in the Tartakovsky series.

    Even in the US, I feel like we're in a dry period for Star Wars right now. There aren't many exciting new books coming out.

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  3. Portal 2 did fifties enthusiasm and science excitement right. And by that I mean they lampooned it.

    It's nice to know at least someone enjoyed that movie.

    ...Nem, may I confide in you? I really wish they would stop making superhero movies. I understand they're the equivalent of what comics were back in the days when comic book art was more convincing than special effects, but...I just want it to stop.

    Nem isn't it obvious that shirtlessness is all the characterization needed nowadays? I'm...aghast at Filoni's statement actually. I really can't believe he said that. That he went there. You know, I used to suspect that Clone Wars gave fanservice priority over good writing...but now I KNOW.



    Maybe the absence of Anakin and Obi-Wan is supposed to make up for how saturated the first three seasons were with them. I don't know.

    That's probably as good a reason as any, Nem. That, or masochism.

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  4. Oops. That blank space there in the middle of my comment was supposed to be a "dismay" end tag, but I guess Blogspot doesn't like fake HTML.

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  5. Alas, that would have been a good use of fake HTML too.

    Good point about Portal 2. They also had a healthy dose of ruthelessness. Captain America made me feel very much of two minds: 1) I'm still looking forward to The Avengers if and only if it's very Joss Whedon-y, and 2.) that's it for superheroes for me. They're all the same and I just can't get into them. If I have to start watching chick flicks for decent female characters...nah, I'm not that desperate.

    Are they the equivalent of comics? I don't feel that I can say much about that since I wasn't into to comics, but the idea that movies are now where it's most convincing to make fantasy art is plausible.

    His statement just made me laugh. I mean, I could be all like "dude plz did you just compare female Star Wars fans to people who watch Twilight for shirtless men", but that would really be controversial. That, and I didn't actually see the panel. I may be taking it all out of context. You can see the context I found it in in the link.

    On the other, even more jaded hand, TCW hasn't failed to pander to adult male fans. Should it even be a separate issue that they see Kit here as doing the same for females?

    Ehh, the first three season were pretty saturated but they still didn't establish the friendship the way the Tartakovsky series did.

    Maybe there's a little masochism in there.

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  6. I don't know if chick flicks would serve you any better in that department. Let's just make our own movies.

    I'm not into comics either, but it just seems to me like that's what's happening.

    I don't think it should be a separate issue, but it's an issue that I'm tired of nonetheless. Stop with the pandering already, TCW. Give us characters people can like outside of physical appeal.

    The Tartakovsky series did most everything better, really.

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  7. Yeah, to tell the truth, there hasn't be a lot of stuff that has interested me about season 4, at least in terms of what they have in stories. You are right, where is Obi-Wan anyway? I was hoping that they would at least show him a little, at least I know of an Anaking centric episode where he fights Dooku, again. And I honestly don't like the Lux/Ahsoka thing going on, because I don't think Ahsoka needs to have a love interest.
    The female mandalorian, well I think it's nice that they finally show another mandalorian with a similar level of threat and power as Pre Vizla, but I don't like the voice of her, doesn't sound very threatening or cool.
    But I'll still be whaching it, just to see what they can accomplish.

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  8. Thanks for the comment, Raikoh. Yeah, Obi is oddly MIA. Like I said before, I feel like the show is divorcing itself from the Star Wars movies in all the wrong ways.

    Wait, don't you ship Ahsoka and Barriss?

    I'm reserving judgement on the Mando until she actually, you know, has character. If that happens.

    Yep. They do accomplish some things, so it's always suspenseful,,,even if not in the ways they intend. XD

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  9. Yeah, I admit I do ship them, because I'm a fan of Yuri, or femmeslash if that's what's also called. But I know that, realistically speaking, that they would never make them a couple.

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  10. I'm just stuck on how that jives with the "Ahoska doesn't need a love interest" comment.

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