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Marvel Vs. Comics


So, have we all seen The Winter Solider?  Of course we have.  Marvel Movies as a franchise are probably this generation’s Star Wars, only better: more than three of them are really good.  Also?  No Jar Jar.

It’s been astonishing not only the popularity but the turnaround of the “comic book movie.”  Up until the early 2000’s, comic book hits were a fluke.  Superman and Superman 2 were the only sensible entries in their series. Batman (1991) and (arguably) Batman Returns were the only two from their franchise to be solid, watchable films.  Same can be said for the first TMNT, and the breakout popularity of Blade can only really be attributed to its lead actor.  Beyond that, the history of films based on comics was one painful misstep after another, rising and falling based on studio whims and divided vision.

It was Spider-Man and X-Men that pointed the way, though oddly neither of them being under Marvel’s direct control (Sony and Fox, respectively).  Sam Raimi is most likely the father of the modern comic book film.  He changed as little as possible.  He stuck by the essence of the character.  He tried to tell the most important story in Peter Parker’s history.  And he took it seriously, with the love of someone who read comics and wanted to see it done right.  X-Men took the same route, also finding that great middle ground that is a successful adaptation.  But when sequels came and creative control was swung around like a trailer park in a tornado, the crash and burn was inevitable.

When Marvel got its feet under it with the breakout success of Iron Man, that’s when everything changed … and sadly, that’s when comic books ended.

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In the end, Captain America does not make the heroic sacrifice, thus further proving that Black Widow can handle the emotional weight of being a lead character. As if anyone could really forget the most quoted line in “The Avengers” — “I’ve got red in my ledger; I’d like to wipe it out” — it helps to have that line fresh in your mind when deconstructing what Widow does in the final act of what’s billed as a Captain America movie. Black Widow doesn’t wipe out the red in her ledger. No, she blasts her ledger out to the world, like it was the grisliest email forward of all time. We know from her heart to heart with Hawkeye that the shame she feels about what she’s done is real, and she hesitates when she realizes that taking down the bad guys means revealing her secrets. But she does it anyway, because she’s not just a spy anymore; she’s a super hero, and she makes a super hero’s sacrifice.
x (via jediemma)

In other words: Political money and hence influence at the top levels is disproportionately white, male, and with almost no social context that includes significant numbers of African Americans and other people of color.

This is why money isn’t speech. Freedom of speech as a functional element in democratic life assumes that such freedom can be meaningfully deployed. But the unleashing of yet more money into politics allows a very limited class of people to drown out the money “speech” of everyone else—but especially those with a deep, overwhelmingly well documented history of being denied voice and presence in American political life.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on John Roberts and the color of money. (via ruckawriter)
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