Cypher Drives the Action in Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost 3

By Drew Baumgartner

Hunt for Wolverine Weapon Lost 3

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of my favorite insights in film criticism is that a shot can only have one subject. The subject can be (and often is) an individual, but the fascinating thing about a two-shot or group shot is that the individuals can’t be the subjects of those shots, so instead, the subject is their relationship. That is, when two characters are occupying a single shot, the subject of the shot isn’t either one of them, but their relationship to one another, whether it’s familial, antagonistic, friendly, or romantic. And I think we might be able to say something similar about ensemble stories. Or, at least, that the subject of an ensemble story can’t be several individuals. The subject can be anything from a character to a relationship to a theme, but there can be only one. So what is the subject if Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost? Is it Daredevil, our narrator (and most recognizable character)? Is it Frank McGee and Misty Knight’s budding romance? Is it the group dynamics of this makeshift team? With issue three, Charles Soule and Matteo Buffagni seem to have settled on an unexpected option as their subject: Cypher.

You’ll notice that I couched that claim with “seem” — it’s not yet clear if Cypher himself is the subject, or if it’s his internet addiction, or some idea related to his internet addiction, but the events of issue 3 are so dependent on Cypher, he’s definitely close to the subject. His grave (but not quite mortal) wounds drive the action at the start of the issue (and his teammates frustration at his wounds point us back to his addiction, which drew him out of the safety of the Skycharger in the first place, he delivers the coup de grâce to Albert, and he discovers their next lead (which is actually one of their dead leads from the previous issue). He’s certainly driving the plot in a way that no other character is.

But does that make him the subject? It might be foolish to attempt to identify that before the end of this miniseries, but it might also be foolish to identify anything other than the central mystery. Mysteries tend to frame either the mystery itself (or its charismatic detective) as the subject, which could still scan for this series (even if we replace “detective” with “team of detectives”), but I still think Cypher is the odd one out here. Does that make him the subject, or just a driving/complicating force of the drama? I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out, but I’m excited to see where Soule and Buffagni are going.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

14 comments on “Cypher Drives the Action in Hunt for Wolverine: Weapon Lost 3

  1. So, I went to the movies on Friday to see the two latest superhero movies. And given that this quasi event is the most appropriate place to post given you aren’t reading Waid’s terrible Ant Man and Wasp book, it has been some time since the latest issue of Marvel Two-in-One , and Fnatastic FOur nor Unbeatable Wasp have been launched yet (I can’t believe Unbeatable Wasp is returning!), let’s use this thread to discuss Incredibles 2 and Ant Man and Wasp.

    First, without spoilers. Incredibles 2 is a disaster. It honestly feels like a movie that only exists because Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland was a failure. More proof that just because 2018 begun with Black Panther doesn’t mean that it is a good year for superhero movies. It is quite simply missing lots of stuff that should be in the movie, while failing dramatically on what should be a relatively easy premise (Elastigirl publicly campaigning to restore superhero’s legality). I’d almost compare it to Infinity War, but Incredibles 2 actually has a couple of spectacular sequences that offer a small glimmer of redemption that Infinity War lacks. At least the short in front of it is beautiful.
    Although even if Incredibles 2 was a good movie, fuck Incredibles 2. I don’t think I have ever gone to a movie and seen so many signs up warning about the movie being inappropriate for people with epilepsy. Including in front of the movie itself. I don’t think it is too much to ask for movies not to require such warnings. If you are making a blockbuster kids movie for everyone, the barest minimum you should be able to do is make a movie everyone can watch. I can just imagine a young kid who loves the first movie and can’t wait for Incredibles 2, unable to go because it could cause a fit. That should be the bare minimum.expected from a movie.

    Meanwhile, Ant Man and Wasp is a good return to form after Infinity War. It may be one of the best paced superhero movies, being a great thrill ride from start to finish. They have fun with the whole ‘on the run’ aspect to create a new, unique vibe and the strong focus on car chases (most of the climax is one large car chase) really works to make a movie that feels constantly moving forward. It is a bit lacking in emotional stakes, despite having all the right pieces in play, but a great, fun time. And Hope van Dyne becoming the Wasp is a revelation, a female superhero unlike anything we’ve got before and a character I want to see get big. I’d love Ant Man and Wasp to be better than it was, because we should all want every Marvel movie to be as good as Black Panther, Thor Ragnarok, Iron Man Three or the Guardians movies. But honestly, the most important thing this movie could do is restore faith in Marvel Studios. And it did.

    Below the line is my spoiler comments for Incredibles 2, followed by Ant Man and Wasp under the second line

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    Incredibles 2 ends with a goofy scene of the Parr family interacting, settled into their family dynamics, before bad guys appear and they suddenly, united, make the choice to suit up as a family to fight crime. If this sounds like the first movie, that’s kind of the problem. The characters end up in the same place, because this movie doesn’t exactly have a story for any of the characters.

    Hell, I’d always assumed that saving the day from Syndrome had turned the world around on superheroes, and the laws were repealed five minutes after. Though I can’t fault the movie for wanting to instead dramatise this. The premise is a good one. Elastigirl having to suit up again as a superhero in an explicit attempt to change the laws, while Mr Incredible has to be the stay at home father to make things work. Except the movie isn’t really interested in that.

    For example, Elastigirl never meets meaningful opposition to being a superhero, with the exception of the incoherent villain whose anti superhero stance is a twist. Everyone in the streets loves her. When Elastigirl meets political figures, they love her. So do journalists. On a mission to change hearts and minds, she never changes anyone’s minds. Because everyone is pro superhero.

    Meanwhile, Mr Incredible’s plotline is just missing stuff. He initially feels overwhelmed. In one of the great sequences, he gets out of bed, teaches himself New Maths to help with Dash’s homework and basically sorts everything out. And then they skip the scene where, having thought he sorted it all out, an escalation occurs that screws the equilibrium he thought he had. Instead, the movie just forgets that he found a balance and pretends that fantastic sequence never happened.

    This idea of things just missing are throughout this movie. For example, when we are first properly introduced to Winston Deavor, a key element is his nostalgia. Frozone tells us he’s nostalgic. We then see he’s nostalgic. And then, when Elastigirl takes the job, we see her putting on her brand new costume, with a dated joke about how modern superheroes are dark and edgy (ten years ago, this would work. But this isn’t the era of Nolan, bu the era of Marvel). But they never have the scene that explains why the nostalgic guy wants Elastigirl in a suit that the movie has Elastigirl tell us is sufficiently new and different from what came before.

    Though that’s not the only problem with the plan. Two key elements are identified as problems that need to be overcome before superheroes can be legalised. Perception, and the cost of collateral damage. Perception is bullshit, as everyone in the movie loves superheroes. But the magic solution to collateral damage is… insurance. Which is a massive problem, because we have already had a scene that stated explicitly that the reason that the world doesn’t need superheroes is because of… insurance! In the world of Incredibles 2, supervillains like the Underminer are so expected that there are already systems in place to deal with them, which makes the quest to legalise superheroes a solution looking for a problem.

    But the Elastigirl sections do lead to most of the spectacular sequences that almost redeem this disaster. Her action sequences in the middle are amazing, both in how imaginative they are (the Incredibles mix of superheroes and 60s spy tropes have never worked better) and in how the discussions, as hollow and flawed as they are, about collateral damage make every action scene more engaging by making you utterly aware of every piece of damage done. Breaking someone’s windshield isn’t just an incidental detail, but an impact you truly feel because reducing collateral damage is supposed to be an important part of changing everyone’s perception. It is the polar opposite of Man of Steel expecting you to ignore Metropolis’ destruction. IT would work better if the rest of the movie properly set up the conflict so that Elastigirl’s quest felt like it mattered, instead of just putting strain on a system that had already found another solution, but it works.

    Outside of the basic failures of the basic set up, there is the fact that no one really gets arcs. Violet basically repeats last movie, thanks to mind erasing tech. Dash has nothing. Mr Incredible doesn’t really have anything. The first movie used the Island to great effect, to provide the crossing of the threshold required to ensure the characters go through their arcs. Here, the family are mostly static, not being pushed out of their comfort zone or doing anything for two thirds of the movie.

    What little arcs there are a weird. Like how they have the big moment where Mr Incredible tells Elastigirl to go off and stop the villain, as they’re fine, which doesn’t exactly work. Yeah, that has been Mr Incredible’s struggle all movie. Except since he has always been supportive of making it work and never tells Elastigirl to come home, the line only works if it is the climax to Mr Incredible learning how to be a househusband. Except, everyone is doing superhero shit and this is the stuff that Mr Incredible is supposed to be good at

    Or Violet’s weird arc, that takes place entirely in the prologue and final act. Which makes no sense and is a little sexist. In the prologue, Dash and Violet argue over who has to look after Jack Jack while they fight crime. THen, in the midpoint, Violet tells Dash to look after Jack Jack while she does reconnaissance. Then the end of this arc is Violet saying that she should stay behind and look after Jack Jack because she can protect him with her shields. But the problem with this is that while both Violet and Dash were irresponsible at the beginning, Dash never has to learn that lesson of responsibility while Violet does, despite the fact that her actions at the mid point were responsible. Violet is the better choice for reconnaissance and it is perfectly reasonable for her to make the choices she does, especially without enough context showing that she’s doing so for irresponsible reasons. Dash is the irresponsible one but Violet is the one who needs to learn to look after Jack Jack, because she’s a woman, I guess?

    Ultimately, what arcs this movie has are really poorly constructed and essentially nonexistent.

    And then there are the other problems. Like the awful first fight scene, that can’t decide what it is about. It feels like it never comes up with an idea about what it is. Is it about Mr Incredible as an almost solo hero, to contrast with the fact that Elastigirl gets to be the main hero this movie? Is it about the family dynamics as a superhero team? Is it about showign how Elastigirl is actually a better hero that Mr Incredible? It never actually decides. Nor does the final climax fight really work wither, largely because there are no arcs to pay off, except Void’s (Void would be a great new addition to the Increidbles universe were she not wasted. A great character with a dynamci that really adds to the movie in the brief moments she gets and probably the only character with a functional, if underwritten arc. Also, her portal powers are more proof that her powers, no disrespect to every artist who has done fantastic work drawing characters like Blink in comics, is truly made for cinema. Now that Marvel officially have Fox, they should do an Exiles movie just so we can have Blink as a lead).

    And the villain is incoherent, which is a shame because (massive spoilers) I do love Evelyn from a design perspective. She is one of the best animated characters in the movie thanks to her interesting clothign choices creating actual animation challenges. But as a character, she’s incoherent. Biggest problem being that her plot feels kind of meaningless considering superheroes are already in hiding and illegal. All she does for most of the movie by creating the Screenslaver is push superheroes closer to legalisation. But her reasons are poorly dramatised, especially with her backstory being so poorly dramatised. Honestly, her father didn’t appear to die because he relied on superheroes. They appeared to die because he was stupid. The geography of the sequence made it unlikely that they would be able to save him in time. But if we assume that they could, then the ultimate problem was the law banning superheroes. WHich makes her motive “Superheroes should be banned because they didn’t save my father when they were banned!”

    The movie feels like it exists because Brad Bird fucked up big and he needed a big success to make up for Tomorrowland. It didn’t feel like he had a story, and creates a mess of a movie. Some great sequences – it is Brad BIrd, after all. But a mess on almost every dramatic level.

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    Ant Man and Wasp takes advantage of the ANt Man franchise’s caper style to great effect. Even before Hope suits up as the Wasp, it is fantastic seeing how she has shifted from being essentially a Pepper Potts clone to something wonderfully weirder as the operative of a rogue superscience cell. Hank and Hope feel like they run a smaller, heroic version of AIM, and it is awesome.

    The great thing about the caper style is that it also lets the FBI be used to great effect, creating a new set of unique consequences, with Scott having to pretend to be under house arrest (because of his actions in Civil War) for the last three days of his sentence while helping out Hank and Hope find Janet before their chance expires. Jimmy Woo ends up being a unique antagonist in Marvel movies because he is a good guy, yet an obstacle.

    Paul Rudd brings such humanity to Scott Lang, which works so well. I love the opening, with him building an elaborate playhouse around his house for Cassie where they pretend to be shrunken an don a heist, effortlessly reminding you that heart is the thing that makes Marvel movies work. Scott doesn’t get to grapple with much of an arc, but Cassie constantly grounds him and makes him more than just a funny guy. THough he is very fun.

    Paul Rudd also does a great job of playing Janet Van Dyne. He so successfully balances the inherent comedy of the situation with the fact that ultimately the scene is supposed to be sweet, getting the balance between being both honest/sincere and funny. Guardians level tone control. Michelle Pfeiffer is fine when she gets to play Janet, but she quite simply isn’t given the material Paul Rudd does.

    Meanwhile, Evangeline Lilly is a revelation as Hope. Hope isn’t in the comics (well, she kinda is. Nadia is Russian for hope, but Nadia is a very different character), which means she is not like any other Wasp we have had. And while Whitley has made me fans of both Nadia and Janet in the comics, the fact that neither of them are in this movie doesn’t matter (the Janet of the movie is not the Janet of the comics. Very different characters, even accounting for the age up).
    Hope is like no other female superhero we have ever seen in cinemas. It isn’t just that she wears a costume closer in style to Captain America or Black Panther than the sexiness of Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Scarlet Witch, Harley Quinn or any other hero you care to name. Or that they had Evangeline Lilly grow out her hair from her more practical bob cut specifically so they could then have her spend most of the movie with the worl’ds most practical, I mean business, ponytail ever. Though this is all important.
    It is her fighting style, that never lets her be compromised by the need to be pretty. I talked to a friend some time ago about how great it was that we are getting a shift where characters like Rey and, to a lesser degree, Wonder WOman can be ugly in fights. Release anguished cries and other thigns that aren’t attractive. Hope is the ultimate example of this. I had to message my friend about Hope as soon as possible.
    Hope is like a goddamn commando, and feels totally unique because of it. The mid credits scene makes clear that she will have a minor role in Avengers 4, which is probably a good thing for her character (watching Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther recently isn’t as satisfying now that I know that their next movie will shit all over their beautiful climaxes. I’m scared to rewatch Guardians v2). But she is a character I want to see as a breakout hit. Let her be a major character in this all female Avengers movie that is being discussed (if, as she suggested, Karen Gillan directs it, all dressed up in her Nebula makeup, I will laugh so hard)

    On the villain side, we have some great characters let down by the fact that the movie prioritises fun over emotional climaxes, despite having villains built for this. Marvel have made a real commitment in Phase Three, Doctor Strange aside, to deepening their villains and creating compelling threats. Which means Phase Three has the best villains of all the Marvel movies (the fact that this commitment also led to Thanos, the worst villain in modern cinema is an unfortunate side effect). And the villains of Ant Man and Wasp are built from the same process. Walton Goggins’ Sonny Burch is boring, existing merely as an obstacle. But it is the other villains that are interesting

    As much as I love the comics’ Ghost as a paranoid, anti capitalist saboteur, the protagonist from Mr RObot if Mr RObot actually had a degree of self awareness and wasn’t so stupid; the Ghost we have is fantastic. A classic villain trope, but one I can’t remember the last time we saw in a superhero movie. We may never have. She’s the victim of a tragic accident, in desperate need of help, and her attempts to fix her life threatening problem, combined with her exploitation from SHIELD, push her to desperate, horrific measures. She isn’t a bad person so much as she is hurt

    Meanwhile, Bill Foster is great both because of his relationship with Hank Pym and how that informs the story, and because Lawrence Fishburne gives him such a simple human decency. ANd yet he’s the bad guy, backstabbing Hank Pym.

    Which leads to the fact that the villain of this movie, like last movie and like the comics, is the ultiamte Ant Man villain. Hank Pym. Janet is lost, because of him. Ava became Ghost, because he couldn’t stop being an arsehole. Bil FOster betrayed him to fix Hank’s mistakes, and because Hank is an arsehole. It all leads to a fantastic opportunity for the story.

    Which is a shame that it isn’t fully capitalised. The climax is amazing fun, great action and great comedy. But it would be better if it had some emotional climaxes. When Scott has to make one last choice to break out of his house, after his talk with Cassie, wouldn’t it be more interesting if he actually has to make the choice to break out. It would be easy. Jimmy Woo turns up early and goes ‘You’ve got three hours before you are allowed to be free, but I though I’d come early so you can show me how you do that magic trick’. And then, when Scott escapes, he does so knowing the FBI will know for certain and he is heading for jail for breaking his house arrest. That would matter (and then you could have, when he returns to Jimmy to be arrested, Jimmy could then pretend not to have notice because he understands that Scott was ultimately doing good things)

    And after Janet has escaped, instead of using her space magic powers to help Ghost, which felt like an unsatisfying deus ex machina because it didn’t work dramatically, have GHost start doing her thing which, because Janet is still connected to the Quantum Realm, starts killing her and Hank has to persuade Ghost to stop. Have Ghost not believe him when he says he will help her, forcing Hnak to admit his fault. Admit that he was wrong to fire Bill, he was wrong to fire Ava’s father and that he is sorry. Imagine the line. “I was wrong. I was wrong. Ava, you are my mistake and I am sorry. Everything that happened to you is my fault. But Janet, she is also my fault. Let me fix Janet. I want to fix my mistakes”. First draft nature of the line aside, I think it would be powerful. Hank Pym actually shows contrition, and so Ghost actually is willing to believe him. And by comparing Janet and Ghost, you give both Ghost the emotional reason to want to spare Janet and a broader thematic climax. Also, Michael Douglas would kill with material like that.

    Ant Man and Wasp is a lesser Marvel entry, but jsut what the Marvel movies needed. Yeah, this is not what Marvel does at its best, but this is proof that Marvel can still make movies like this, despite the fact that I went into this movie is a massive loss of faith in Marvel Studios. The movie is hilarious and with massive heart, and while the climax could be strogner emotionally it is such an amazingly good time that is doesn’t matter.

    At the end of the day, Marvel’s secret weapon was the characters and the heart. And after both being so absent in Infinity War, they return in a movie that despite its flaws, is overflowing with heart. Honestly, Ant Man and Wasp may have some of the most heart in the MCU. And that’s all you need

    • Well to be fair when I watch the incredibles ii I didn’t get any epilepsy but I suppose it’s something to concern about. The short movie before it its sweet in my opinion.

      And Unbeatable Wasp returns? Well the fans would be happy about it while I sitting here watching my favourite characters facing their “death” (if it that happens for real).

      • I’m glad you were able to watch the movie without problems. Even though I don’t like the movie, I think people should have the chance to watch it without harm, so glad that it wasn’t a problem. I just feel bad for the person who it does cause a problem to, or to the person who wants to go but chooses not because of the threat. The fact that they could miss a chance to watch a movie they may love (despite my low opinion of it) is sad, to me. And yeah, the short was amazing.

        And I still suspect there is more to Death of the Inhumans than just death. Hell, if you are reading Marvel Rising Squirrel Girl/Ms Marvel, you can see that Inhuman concepts are key to the story.
        I still believe that if Marvel wanted to stop making Inhuman books, they would just stop. No reason to kill the characters off for no reason. And considering they were made by Lee and Kirby back in 65, those are the characters that you never get rid of. I’m sure that there is something else to Death of the Inhumans, and as dark as this story is, it isn’t supposed to be as final as you fear

    • “Although even if Incredibles 2 was a good movie, fuck Incredibles 2. I don’t think I have ever gone to a movie and seen so many signs up warning about the movie being inappropriate for people with epilepsy. Including in front of the movie itself. I don’t think it is too much to ask for movies not to require such warnings. If you are making a blockbuster kids movie for everyone, the barest minimum you should be able to do is make a movie everyone can watch. I can just imagine a young kid who loves the first movie and can’t wait for Incredibles 2, unable to go because it could cause a fit. That should be the bare minimum.expected from a movie.”

      I really can’t disagree with this sentiment more. I know people with photosensitive epilepsy, and just like folks with PTSD asking for trigger warnings, NOBODY is asking for filmmakers to change their films, just that they be properly warned that content in the film might trigger a psychological/neurological response. That’s the responsible thing to do, and that’s exactly what Incredibles 2 did (and it sounds like those warnings were effective). Artists shouldn’t be bound by the needs of people with medical conditions — if they want/need a jump-scare, they shouldn’t limit themselves for fear of someone in the audience having a heart condition, and if they want/need a gunfight, they shouldn’t limit themselves for fear of someone in the audience having PTSD. What they should do is offer adequate warnings to people with those conditions so that they can make informed decisions about whether or not they can watch it. If nothing else, Incredibles 2 did that effectively, and I think they should be praised for that.

      • Except there is a big difference between trigger warnings and epilepsy warnings. Trigger warnings are supposed to make things more inclusive. Make it easier for more people to engage with something. Epilepsy warnings just sign post who has been excluded

        The whole point of a trigger warning isn’t to tell you who shouldn’t read/watch something, but so that people with triggers can ensure they are adequately prepared to engage in the content.
        The discussions around Trigger Warnings in a university context, for example, isn’t about students not doing the work. It is about giving the students with triggers the warning so that they can ensure that they adequately prepare themselves for facing their triggers.
        An essay on sexual assault isn’t excluding survivors of sexual assault when it starts with trigger warnings. In fact, these essays are generally an attempt to ensure sexual assault survivors are a part of the conversation.
        And when a TV show like Impulse starts with a trigger warning, it isn’t telling trying to push sexual assault survivors away from the show. And in fact, the response to Jessica Jones proves that many sexual assault survivors get a lot out of shows that meaningfully engage in their experiences as a survivor. The warning just lets them be prepared for a show (I have friends who have had to watch Jessica Jones’ first season very slowly because while they find it powerful, it takes a lot out of them. Which is why it is great that Impulse warns them up front).

        All art will be, to some degree, exclusive. I couldn’t get any friends to join me to go see Hereditary, because it looked too scary. But I think it is worth asking who is being excluded by a particular piece of media
        Hereditary excludes people who don’t like scary movies, which isn’t a problem because that is a taste thing.
        Art films exclude people who want to turn their brains off, but that isn’t a problem as they want to provide a different sort of experience
        ‘SJW’ media excludes people who are misogynist, racist, homophobic or all of the above, but that isn’t a problem because they are arseholes.
        Meanwhile, DC Rebirth excludes women, PoC and queer people, which is bad because that is being an arsehole.
        And Incredibles 2 excludes people who have epilepsy. And that is sad. Nothing wrong with excluding people because it isn’t to their taste, or because you aren’t providing the experience they are looking for. Nothing wrong with excluding people because they’re bad people. But to exclude someone because they are a PoC, or because they are a woman, or intrinsic characteristics is really bad. And that’s what Incredibles 2 does. It is excluding people because they have a disability. And that may be the director’s vision, but that’s still a bad thing. Still crappy to exclude someone for being disabled.

        Especially as part of the joy of blockbusters is their inclusivity. Part of what makes them so valuable and important is the fact that they are designed for everyone. While both are great movies, Manchester by the Sea has deeper things to say about death than Coco. But everyone watched Coco. The joy of a blockbuster like Coco is that it can impact everyone. That’s part of the reason why I love Last Jedi and Black Panther so much. They are movies intimately aware about that fact. A strong meta reading of the movies is that they are about the struggle to use such a large stage responsibly.
        If blockbusters are a chance for culture to at large to all share a similar experience, why are we excluding people from having the chance to join that experience by disability?

        Your anecdotes aside, a big part of disability activism in the arts in on ensuring that art is more accessible. That we aren’t excluding people because of disability. With film, this is primarily seen through the wish to make sure the cinemas themselves are accessible, and the availability of closed captioned screenings for people with hearing difficulties. Meanwhile, video games have been a major point of focus with respect to disability activism in the arts. Celeste, for example, was highly praised as the example of accessibility in games. A very hard game that requires both great skill and great dexterity. A game where you are expected to die 1000 times. A game that requires careful dexterity to get through its difficult platforming challenges. One where the developers have stated that difficulty is essential to the experience. And yet, it has a powerful accessibility mode in order to make it more accessible. To let people of all skill levels and, most importantly, people with disabilities to play the game and fully experience it.
        In every medium, there have been pushes to make sure art is more accessible, and that disability is not an obstacle to those watching it.

        Ultimately, the question is why? The scene in question is probably the best in the movie. And despite my thought of the movie, that is high praise because the great sequences, though rare, were great.

        But is it really that hard to see a version of that sequence that isn’t so exclusionary? The smallest change would barely impact the sequence, if not improve it. And make sure that everyone could watch it. Create a movie that is actually for everyone.

        This isn’t like trigger warnings. Those increase accessibility.

        And the fact is that every little kid should be able to watch a Disney movie. And Incredibles 2 is the least accessible movie I have seen in a long time

        • Waitaminute though, the warning at the top of the movie DOES give people the tools to prepare for how to take in the art. My girlfriend doesn’t suffer from epilepsy, but she does get panic attacks in overwhelming audio/visual experience – fucking Dunkin was really tough for her on a physical level, and there was nothing encouraging her to just duck out when it got to rough to hack. On the flipside, she went to Increds 2 last night and just shut her eyes during the strobey sequences. I think it’s totally fair to say “hey, some of this might become intense enough to trigger physical responses, so please protect yourself.” That can be looking away, that can be waiting to see it on a small screen or waiting for an environment where you can control when it starts and stops.

        • Considering this is a site who frequently discuss how the visual elements of visual media are essential parts of the experience, I don’t feel like ‘they can just look away’ is a good argument.

          Even the most dialogue driven scene is best experienced by watching the scene and not merely hearing it. So you can see the effect of cinematography, blocking and acting choices and how they impact the scene. And dialogue sequences are often where the script has the most impact.

          The scene we are talking about? The script has essentially nothing to do with why the scene is good. And that’s not an insult to the script, as much as I don’t like the movie. This is an action sequence, and what makes the scene impactful is how well the sequence is told visually. In fact, I would say that the visual storytelling in the problem shots are essential to the impact of the scene. The camera’s location, the use of shape, of colour. The velocity of action. The bombardment of lights.
          It establishes the stakes so powerfully that it invests us in the rest of a sequence and creates an expectation in our mind so that we interpret what happens after as Bird intends, letting him surprise us with the twist at the end of the sequence that it isn’t the real Screenslaver.

          The idea that people can just turn away from the screen at the right point is a terrible argument. The visuals are essential to the experience. We shouldn’t expect anyone to have to read a comic where the art of a page is just removed and all they have is the script, and we shouldn’t have to have people not watch the screen during a movie.

          Someone I was once a classmate of starred in a Reality TV celebrity dancing show. She had her leg amputated when she was young. Thanks to a prosthesis, she was able to dance. But one thing that was brought up was the fact that despite the prosthesis, walking down stairs is very hard. The part of her routines that was most intimidating to her were not a specific dance move, or the judges or anything else. It was the real risk that she could fall over climbing down the few stairs to reach the main stage. Something that no one else in the competition had to deal with. They could have made the stage more accessible, with ramps to make it easy for her. And instead, she was given a greater burden than everyone else, a challenge she had to face that no one else did. Which didn’t strike me as fair.

          And this speaks to a greater discussion in the disability community about accessibility. Many places, when asked about how accessible they are, say they are because they only have one or two steps. Except, that’s not accessible. Disability advocates greatly reject this idea that one or two steps is accessible enough. For many, one or two steps can be enough to force someone to stay home.

          And I think it is important for media to to be thinking of the same things. There was a controversy when the first season of Daredevil came out, because many blind people were excited to watch Daredevil only to be disappointed when they heard that there was no version of the show with audio descriptions – despite being the perfect show to have it. Thankfully, Netflix added audio descriptions to Daredevil, and many other of their shows now have audio descriptions. And that’s better.
          But we should do more. Like have captioned screenings of movies at the cinema. But one of the basic things we should be able to do is not make things notably worse than they already are.

          And Incredibles 2 is worse. And that is sad

          __________________________________________________

          Anonymous, I haven’t read the new Catwoman series, and kind of tired of another example of a female character only getting a book after spinning out of a misogynist disaster. There is only so much awfulness I can take. But what little I have seen doesn’t look flash. Going in dull and unimaginative directions that just bore.

          And I hate the new Catwoman redesign. If you are going to do a minor redesign, you really do have to make sure the redesign is better. And this one just lessens everything. The perfect balance that Darwyn Cooke found that gave Selina a sense of practicality and competency she’d never really had visually (other than Batman TAS) before while keeping the sexuality that is part of her character is gone by adding the massive gaps to hr costume. From a strict realism perspective, I believe the new costume or more practical. But realism isn’t important, and on a semiotic level it looks like once again, we are prioritising sexuality and ignoring competency. And semiotics will always be more important than realism, especially in the world of walking metaphors that are superheroes.
          And removing the goggles for a cowl that looks like she stole it off one of the Batgirls is just as bad as an idea. The goggles were important. Because they didn’t look like anything the Batfamily had and asserted her independence from the Batfamily, which used to be the most important thing until the recent character assassination

  2. This is weird. I agree with Matt on… well, almost everything.

    My wife and I left Incredibles 2 dumbfounded. We couldn’t believe the lack of stakes in the movie. Elastigirl had some cool fight scenes and… that was it. The kids had nothing to work with, Matt’s right on point with the lack of direction of Mr. Incredible, the villain plan was dumb AND obvious and at no point did we really think anything exciting was happening except for 15 minutes of Elastifights. I was really disappointed.

    Ant-Man and Wasp: In the past year, Marvel has had three of the best villains in superhero cinema – Vulture, Killmonger, and Ghost. All of them had human reasons for doing what they did and it mattered. It mattered to them, it mattered to the heroes, and it mattered to the audience. I won’t rehash too much of it, but I really liked this and thought it was fun. I wasn’t a fan of the first Ant-Man movie, but I thought this was pretty great.

    Iron Man 3 is still at the bottom of my list of superhero movies. I’d rather watch Ben Affleck be Daredevil than watch Iron Man 3 again. Shoot, I’d rather watch Elektra than watch Iron Man 3 again. You know, it’s interesting. I don’t like Iron Man. I’ve tried comics by all of my favorite authors. Yuck. Iron Man 2 was bad, Iron Man 3 was worse. The first Iron Man movie – one of my favorite movies ever, let alone superhero movie. Anyway, I thought Iron Man 1 by Slott was boring and man, Tony Stark just isn’t a character I care about.

    • I didn’t see Increds 2, and I don’t plan to. The previews looked like they were singularly focused on the joke “how funny is it that dad can’t parent LOL!” And like, come on, it’s 2018. That’s not funny, it’s just sad.

      • The previews were a bit misleading in this sense. The “dad can’t parent LOL” jokes are pretty much contained to a single montage when Helen first leaves to work, and almost all of the jokes in this montage make it into the previews. By the end of the montage Bob has got Dash under control and is making headway with Violet; his big challenge for the rest of the movie is specifically handling Jack-Jack, and the challenge with him isn’t “parenting” so much as it’s “trying to keep a baby with a million new super abilities that it has absolutely zero control over from accidentally killing itself or someone else.” And when Bob can’t handle that alone, he reaches out to others for help, without ever expecting that Helen will come home to fix everything. I’m not going to say that this movie has revolutionary, or even above-average, gender politics or anything, but the message isn’t “haha dads can’t parent,” it’s “Bob isn’t used to being the sole/primary caregiver for his kids, and when he’s put into that position finds himself over his head, but he tries his hardest and puts real work into it and becomes good at it rather quickly and never once acts like this shouldn’t be his job or that he isn’t capable of doing it,” and I’m cool with that.

        Incredibles 2 isn’t even close to being as good as the first, but it’s got nice animation, fun action sequences, and tons of laughs, and is worth checking out at some point. There’s a “fight” sequence with Jack-Jack that’s worth the price of admission alone.

        • Yeah, I agree that it was a pretty positive “dad can be stay at home, it just takes work”.

          The Elastigirl chase scene and “strobemaycauseseizures” scene were both excellent. I just never got actually invested in the actual story of it.

          I didn’t like the movie much, but at least it wasn’t sexist!

        • I’d say that Mr. Incredible has some latent sexist assumptions (he assumes he can handle solo parenting, but struggles with it; he assumes he’ll be the poster child for the supers campaign and is surprised when he isn’t), which can read as “bumbling dad,” but I’ll give the movie credit for not endorsing those assumptions. He’s not as good at those things as his privilege allows him to believe, but the plot here forces him to reconcile with reality. And Elastigirl’s hyper-competence drives that home. She was a competent homemaker, sure, but she’s also an accomplished crimefighter, detective, and one-woman rescue team. She works incredibly hard while he never really had to. I get why “hey, women can be good at stuff, too” might seem like a condescending moral, but it’s one that’s directed at Mr. Incredible, not the audience as a whole.

        • Some of the initial aspects do feel a bit ‘dad parenting is weird’, made worse by the fact that the movie is poor enough that it can’t really dig deeper. You could have made it a story about Bob having to learn to get over himself and sacrifice for his family. Bob learning to find fulfilment in supporting his wife instead of doing the ‘cool’ part itself. But the movie doesn’t really have enough depth to go for that.
          While I think there is a sexism issue around Violet’s story, and little around Helen (the final beat of her arc is kind of ‘I can do men’s work, but I find it much more fulfilling to step back a bit so I can be closer to my family’, and in 2018, we should be able to conclude such stories with women being able to find an actual work life balance instead of the something as binary as we got), I don’t think there is with Bob. As a feminist story, it is dated and I wouldn’t call it a good feminist subplot because we should be going further in 2018. But it isn’t sexist. Just losing any chance to be deeper by being in a movie that feels made on autopilot (I disagree with Spencer that this is a movie worth seeing at some time. It isn’t as bad as Infinity War, but it lacks even the cultural importance element that would make watching it anything more than a forgettable evening)

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