4 Movie Characters Who Got Super Angry Over The Wrong Issues
Sometimes a movie will want to say something very Important, and so they have earnest characters care about a cause very deeply. Only problem is, whatever message they're trying to push on us makes zero sense in the world the blockbuster has set up. Like, if the gang in the next Star Trek movie suddenly start screaming about the dangers of plastic straws, even though all their trash is broken down and recycled by replicators, that would be weird right? Probably, but not as weird as the following movies.
The Avengers Are SHOCKED That A Defense Organization Is Building Weapons
In The Avengers, Tony and Steve poke around the helicarrier and find something sinister is afoot. It turns out S.H.I.E.L.D. is using the Tesseract to research ... weapons. Our heroes are outraged to learn that this defense organization, with "homeland" in its name, which employs a bunch of soldiers, and has a fully stocked armory and fighter jets, is looking into ... weapons. Keep in mind, the Avengers have no idea that Hydra has a finger in S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point. As far as they're concerned, it's a pro-America organization, the good guys defending what's right, an agency several of them currently work or fight for, and they are shocked to learn that this group is making ... WEAPONS.
Thor, who brings down a gigajoule with each star-born hammer lightning strike, says he thought humans were more evolved than this. Tony's mad too. Tony of course recently stopped selling arms to the government for fear that they'd get into terrorists' hands (and refuses to give the government Iron Man tech, because it's his), but this is the first we've heard that he believes defense agencies shouldn't have weapons period. Like, this movie ends with him throwing a missile into space out of necessity, but I don't think there was an Iron Man IV: The Quest for Peace in which he rids all governments of their nukes.
Also expressing disapproval: Steve. We see Steve disapproving of many things during the series, almost always with good reason. In The Winter Soldier, for instance, he frowns when he learns S.H.I.E.L.D. is building kill satellites, but that's because he objects to targeting every individual and to preemptive attacks. Does he also think military branches shouldn't make weapons at all? Hopefully not, since he's a military man himself. He even witnessed personally what Tesseract weapons can do, and it turns out they're very strong for firearms, but nowhere near as strong as the bigger stuff his own military was using in WW2. In fact, Tesseract weapons aren't even the final threat in his movie. That would be some unconnected random nukes.
Yeah, nukes. I just mentioned nukes twice in two paragraphs because you know what it turns out S.H.I.E.L.D. has had all along, with or without Tesseract research? Nukes. They're armed in planes in open view on the deck. No Avenger objects to these, even after investigating the place and discovering "every dirty secret S.H.I.E.L.D. has tried to hide." So they already had WMDs, but the Avengers think the agency's now crossed the line? By using magic to build ... really powerful machine guns?
See, the filmmakers wanted something disturbing, and it felt easy to argue "green energy good, weapons bad!" But that's nonsense when the organization doing the research is a defense agency. A few scenes later, the script in fact counts on us forgetting this argument even happened, when Agent Coulson fires an unrelated alien supertech gun at Loki and it's portrayed as awesome. Really, the Avengers should have kept weapons research going a few days longer on the Tesseract, just enough to maybe give Iron Man a Captain Marvel-level laser for emergencies. Could have saved the world the next time aliens attacked.
The Jurassic World Crew Are Anguished Over The Impending Death Of Dinosaurs, Who Can Be Brought Back Anytime
The Jurassic Park movies have always been about the natural world vs man-made intervention. So it seemed appropriate Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom should address it head-on with a conservation message. The dinosaurs on Isla Nubar are facing a volcanic eruption, and activists have bound together to save them. They have to act now, else the dinosaurs may become extinct!
Of course, dinosaurs already went extinct 65 million years ago. And then we brought them back because post-Jurassic Park, we have that technology. We can clone dinos back anytime we like if the current crop get wiped out and in fact can bring back any species (though whether we should is another matter). Saving species from imminent extinction, a crucial campaign in the real world, shouldn't be an issue in Jurassic World at all, so dropping it into this movie means everyone forgot the premise of the whole film series. It's like someone made a new Fast and Furious sequel, which starts with the characters sad because traveling on horseback's too slow and no one's invented a better alternative.
On the other hand, even if we can bring species back, wouldn't conservationists still call a thousand majestic beasts dying a major loss? Because of the sanctity of life -- cloned dinosaurs still have value, just as that cloned little girl has value, right? Wrong. Conservationists can't mourn random animal deaths when species health isn't the issue, because that way lies madness. Thousands of animals die every day, that's just nature. Or rather, quintillions of animals die every day, that's just nature. Sorry I can't get more specific numbers than that, but if more precise data's out there, it's crowded out by the numbers conservationists actually care about -- how many whole species die out irreparably, and how many animals humans kill.
"Okay," you might say. "But maybe these activists just like these particular dinos? If a volcano's about to incinerate my dog, I'd step in, even his species would continue and a billion newts die every day." Sounds reasonable. And yet we saw Bryce Dallas Howard's character in the previous movie indifferent to these particular dinos. New character Franklin doesn't even want to meet any. Other new character Zia says she never dreamed she'd be able to see dinosaurs in person, so that tells you how close she got to these animals. The only character who liked these dinos personally is Chris Pratt, and he's the only one not involved in the conservation effort.
Anyway, these dinosaurs were supposed to have died out by now. Even apart from their never having supposed to be alive in the current age, InGen made them with a bunch of kinks to ensure they wouldn't survive without a special artificial diet and couldn't reproduce, remember? Maybe life found a way, but now with this volcano, life has found a way out. God creates man, man destroys God, man creates dinosaurs, dinosaurs eat man, God kills dinosaurs. The end.
Incredibles 2's Millionaires Furiously Blame Superheroes/not Superheroes For Their Stupid Dad's Death
We've written plenty on how superheroes are ultimately a terrible idea, and shows like The Boys and Watchmen now back us up on this. So hearing that a recent movie character holds superheroes responsible for her parents' deaths, we can easily imagine all the ways this might go down. Maybe the parents died as collateral damage during a superhero rescue. Maybe the hero tried to save them but failed. Maybe a hero killed them because he mistook them for evil. Maybe a hero killed them because the hero turned evil.
Here's what actually happened in The Incredibles 2. When Evelyn Deavor was a girl, her dad really liked superheroes. So one day, when robbers broke in, he didn't run to the panic room he'd set up in his mansion. He phoned superheroes for help instead. They failed to arrive, and the robbers killed him (his wife died soon after of a broken heart, because this is a cartoon). And so Evelyn blames superheroes for their deaths. Her brother Winston, however, notes that supers had recently been banned, so he continues to worship heroes and blames the ban for those deaths. Two siblings, two very different takeaways on what happened, and what do you know, both are completely wrong.
Whether or not a superhero ban was in place, superheroes never could have arrived in time. Robbers were breaking in, the heroes were across town, and no one had the power of teleportation. ("When every second counts, the police are just minutes away," is how gun owners sum up this predicament.) The moment their dad decided to mess around with the phones instead of going to his safe room, he was doomed.
But, see, why did he have to choose between calling superheroes and going into his safe room? He should have called from inside the safe room. That's what a safe room is -- a secure room you lock yourself in while you call the authorities for help. The phone is the single essential item in a safe room; all safe rooms come with one (a landline -- we concede that the ambiguous time period of The Incredibles has no cell phones). Whether dad's plan involved calling superheroes or calling cops, he should have set up the phone in his panic room and was boneheaded not to.
In general, Evelyn now blames superheroes for keeping people from acting for themselves. But while her dad should have acted and gone to the safe room (with or without superheroes; we've established that), most people don't have safe rooms. Only millionaires do. So, what actions against villains is she angry people aren't taking for themselves? Is she angry people aren't fighting villains themselves? Is she angry that superheroes are keeping people from ... turning into superheroes?
Of course, Evelyn turns out to be a villain herself, so we aren't supposed to leave the film thinking she was right. But both siblings are wrong about their parents' deaths, and no one ever sits them down and explains this to them. Apparently, it's "insensitive" to tell someone, "Your parents' tragic deaths were entirely your father's fault." Only the most uncompromising among us have the courage to say this.
The Avatar Dude Is Bitter Over A Dystopian Earth (That's A Pretty Cool Place, Actually)
If you watched Avatar in theaters, you know it starts with protagonist Jake Sully already in space on his way to the alien world Pandora. But the movie's extended home release has a whole opening section with Jake on Earth getting recruited. Besides introducing us to the character, this aims to show his world's awful, making Pandora a blissful escape. Weird thing, though -- the Earth they show us isn't that bad at all, no matter how much they want us to think it is. We get a look at where Jake lives:
They want us to think: This is a miserable hole in the wall, and anyone stuck here has to be poor and depressed. I look at it and think: Hey, he's got a place of his own. Not bad for an unemployed vet. 2020 me envies him for that giant TV of course, but just having your own apartment, no matter how pokey or rough, can be nice. A lot better, actually, than sharing an open-air commune with 200 Pandorans and having zero chance at privacy. Jake even has his own bathroom, while over on Pandora, you can't get up in the middle of the night to poop without some Na'vi staring at you, stroking their tail.
Not to say that Jake has no contact with others here on Earth. We next see him outside:
They want us to think: This is an overpopulated world, past capacity and ready for evacuation. I look at it and think: Jake lives in a city of millions, in a world of billions. That's where I want to be. It makes sense he can't afford a bigger apartment in a peak city like this, but if that's where he chooses to live instead of sparser regions that must exist to support such a metropolis, good for him. Around him are countless people he can meet, start relationships with, learn from (while still getting to retreat to his own place when he wants to be alone). Unlike Pandora, when the 200 Na'vi he must interact with every day are also the total people he can ever interact with period.
In times of war when all of Pandora unites, that number rises to maybe 1,000 thanks to the surrounding clans, but that's still nothing compared to all the people you can choose from on Earth, and I'm not even counting the additional millions you brush up against online. Oh, and for all our talk about online bubbles, the people he'll live with on Pandora are a literal tribe, all from the same race and religion and with the exact same background. That could get old quick.
But maybe Jake's in a world of people, yet everyone's unsocial and he's always alone? Actually, no:
There's Jake getting wasted at a bar. They want us to think: What a hollow and purposeless life, for an ex-Marine who says he wants something to fight for. I look at it and think: If you wanted this to appear sad rather than a great time, maybe he should have been nursing a glass sitting lonely on a stool instead of doing shots surrounded by friends who high-five him and cheer him by name.
A guy hits his own girlfriend, and Jake's voice-over says this proves Earth's now a place where people don't take care of each other. Which is unfair; that sort of thing has happened in every kind of society, and certainly happens in tribal ones. The bar throws Jake out when he starts beating up the guy (his intervening solves nothing, and maybe that's the point of the scene), leaving him to gaze up at the city.
Is there an environmental cost to the cool urbanization we see? Surely, judging by the masks we see people wear. But masks somehow look less shocking now than 2009 -- and even back then, people wore them in some Asian countries, and that didn't mean the whole planet was worth abandoning. Plus, the humans who choose to find a new home on Pandora at the end of the movie have to wear masks to breathe there, a charming bit of symmetry that totally ruins whatever frightening point those Earth masks were supposed to make.
Also, remember that TV in Jake's room? It doesn't broadcast exposition about the environment being beyond repair. In a baffling bit of nuance from an otherwise very unsubtle movie, the news there tells us about animals being brought back after extinction, using science. They have Jurassic World tech. Hope remains!
But here's the big downer I've avoided mentioning till now: poor Jake is in a wheelchair. He must laboriously transfer himself in and out of that chair (more laboriously than is realistic, note real wheelchair users). Tech could fix him, but he can't afford it on veterans' benefits.
They want us to think: How cruel, discarding this man injured in the service of his nation. I look at this and think: How broken up am I supposed to be about someone failing to receive for free a procedure that doesn't even exist in the real world? At least he got medical care of some kind, as they were able to patch him up after his major combat injury. Unlike on Pandora, where their lack of science means an injury like that leaves you honored to receive quick euthanasia.
Jake acts like losing the use of his legs ended his meaningful life. That's crazy talk. His avatar on Pandora lets him find love, but you can totally do that legless on Earth -- and you're a lot more likely to find someone on Earth, actually, thanks to having billions to choose from. Judging by the fashion we see in those crowds, someone will even dress like a blue cat girl for you, if that's what you're into. His life on Pandora lets him become chief, and while we don't take kindly to colonizing natives on Earth anymore, you can totally become a boss or a politician from a wheelchair. If you like leaping through the air, you can skydive out of a wheelchair, and you can even fly combat missions without having legs.
At the very least, you can definitely go out and get a job and gain a sense of purpose from that. You can have my job. It requires zero lower body movement and honestly very little exertion of any kind.