Re: Things I Say
Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:21 pm
So, about the Atlantic article about "Trigger Warnings," which literally depicts a college student as a baby sitting in class. And a similar article at the New York Times. These articles are super offensive and stupid, treating college students as literal babies.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... nd/399356/
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opini ... ideas.html
"The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma."
It is part of the mindset of an abuser to imply that people who are legally adults [or even teenagers] have lived as infants with no "true" life experiences as an adult. This dehumanizes the young. It opens the door to treating them as less than human, less worthy of their rights as a person.
Let's not forget that other races and sexualities - and even the female majority - have so often been referred to in a lot of little ways as a little less than human, or not the "default." This was and is done as a justification to discriminate against them. That was true in the past, and people still find ways to do it in the present.
Look, I can take or leave trigger warnings. I don’t need them. But their presence isn’t hurting me at all, and can help those who want them. Their presence also makes a strong point about what should and shouldn’t be acceptable as speech in 2015. Free speech has never meant that no one is allowed to be offended by what other people say.
"Trigger warnings" are not to coddle [legal adults] as babies, and protect their widdle minds from ever having to deal with ideas that might challenge their worldview. Trigger warnings are the EXACT OPPOSITE of that. Trigger warnings come about because these people HAVE life experiences. They have had negative life experiences, dealing with abusers. They have been raped, beaten, gaslighted, discriminated against, and so on, and do not wish to relive those experiences constantly.
If someone has a trigger, it came from somewhere. [In the film Wreck-It Ralph, the female lead is triggered by being called a "dynamite gal," because her boyfriend often said that to her before being killed at their wedding.] Being triggered can, for a start, ruin someone's entire day and make it difficult to learn. Men need to be told - for example - that rape jokes simply aren't funny, and they will dredge up bad memories for a percentage of people listening. A place of learning should feel safe, to an extent -- that is, to the point where a rape survivor shouldn't feel surrounded by people who find the concept of rape super hilarious, or where someone of a different race, sexuality or gender expression does not feel surrounded by racists and LGBT-phobes.
When hateful speech is allowed, students can feel very unsafe, and rightly so. If college is a place of learning, it's also a place where students need to learn not to be complete assholes who are making other students feel unsafe, like they're going to be jumped in an alley after class for being anything but a white male dudebro. You are not a complete person until you've learned how to get along with people and not make them feel threatened. And that can be a long learning process.
"I’m old enough to remember a time when ..."
Pretty much sums up this crapshow of an article.
"Why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame."
This writer is awful.
"Today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. 'Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,' he wrote. But 'if college students are children, then they should be protected like children.'"
This writer has zero credibility and can safely be ignored. But this way of thinking is very common in the media now. Your parents are probably watching cable news and daytime talk shows which depict anyone younger [their own adult children] as an infant, incapable of taking responsibility. "Millennials" are blamed for all the world's problems - “millennial” being loosely defined as anyone under forty - and we should be much more concerned about this type of propaganda than we are. Younger people - this affects how older people see you. It's a fair bet that if any societal trend is associated with young people, or especially young women, it's going to be mocked as frivolous and infantile, and the sign of the complete collapse of all civilization. Whether it's women taking selfies, or women having "vocal fry," or women wanting their professors to not joke about rape or be inappropriately sexual to their students ... wait, I'm seeing a pattern here.
Young people happily join in the mockery, not fully aware that their generation is being mocked. They must have missed all those magazine cover stories about Millennials being called the "me me me" generation, the worst generation. The thoughts and feelings of millennials are simply being discarded. They're referred to as engineered robots, or eternal children who will be children until they're fifty. And the definition of what a "millennial" is keeps growing. It used to be those born around the time of the millennium, so today's teenagers. Now it's anyone under forty or so, spanning more than one generation. My generation was called Generation Y, but that's been discarded now. If you're under forty, the media is scapegoating and making fun of you, and focusing on "trigger warnings" is part of that.
Generation X is older than that now, but you won't hear much about Generation X either - many pieces will pretend the generation doesn't exist, having skipped from now-ancient "Baby Boomers" to "literal children if they're under forty" "Millennials." This is because Generation X and Generation Y have come of age, and are more powerful than the older power structure is comfortable with.
So what about trigger warnings anyway? If I see -- for example -- a trigger warning for extreme racism and sexism, that the words being linked to are by a horrible person, I will defend the trigger warning, and am concerned that people attacking trigger warnings are defending the hate speech. Racism and sexism are as common as mud in the United States and far too many people want to keep spewing their nonsense unchecked. What some call "embracing victimhood" can actually be a way of moving the world forward to a point where it's not okay to say terrible things anymore, without consequences anyway. Words hurt people. Any fight for civil rights comes from saying, this is 2015 and this should no longer be acceptable. In a world where Donald Trump can run for President on an entirely racist platform, we should be saying "this is not acceptable" a lot more than we are.
There is no world where people are being coddled and live without being exposed to offensive speech and ideas. If someone has a trigger, it's because they've been exposed to too much of that. People are asking for “safe spaces” only because the world is so unsafe. The culture in most places online is constantly toxic in a way I would have thought unthinkable growing up. We live in a world where people are gross, bigoted and terrible, and are socialized to believe they're not doing anything wrong. The true "coddling" takes place in wealthy or middle-class suburbs like the one I grew up in, where I basically never had to even realize that racism was still a thing. It was a happy upbringing, but also one where I never saw how common and damaging bigotry still is in America. People grow up in an atmosphere like that, and never have to question that their words might hurt somebody.
I think it's very important, when someone makes fun of "trigger warnings" and so on, to ask, what are they actually defending? What do they want to be allowed to say without any sort of warning or qualification? Because when this article, which is making fun of trigger warnings, provides examples, it's all of stuff that's offensive garbage. And most of our media, like TV and movies, come with a rating system and content warnings to begin with.
https://41.media.tumblr.com/4edc56eb88e ... 1_1280.png
Yes, I'm mixing trigger warnings [which I can take or leave] up with a lot of other things here. This has been a year where racism and sexism have exploded on the internet and in real life even more than usual. The Black Lives Matter protests when unarmed young people are being shot by police -- and the full military force the cops bring down on the protesters. The Gatorgolf and Pissing Puppies, where sexism, racism and LGBT hate [especially transphobia] exploded in the world of video games and science fiction, making women in particular feel very unsafe. Super-racist corners of R*ddit going unchallenged, and the usual channing. People have a reason to feel unsafe, and colleges should try to do better than that!
I'm a million miles from perfect. I've said in the past that if I'm being offensive I can usually get it "right" on the second or third try. I have friends who keep me from being too centrist. I try to be open to new ideas. I actually learned a lot from meeting - let's face it - some of the weirder fandoms on the internet, and seeing what we had in common.
Too much of comedy - and I was part of this problem starting out - is about saying something "offensive" that isn't actually offensive to a white dudebro. [Think Seth MacFarlane.] Is it funny to joke about rape? To do a gay voice, to do transphobic jokes, racist jokes? These jokes assume that everyone watching is also a white dudebro who has never had to deal with being discriminated against or made to feel unsafe because they're not a white dudebro. So everyone who isn't a dudebro gradually learns to stop listening to Seth MacFarlane. Or even if they have any damned self-respect. So many people go their whole lives without flipping the script and thinking about what their words would mean to other people. There is a serious lack of empathy in this world, and unchecked privilege is a hell of a drug.
I tend to like comedy which pushes boundaries a little. But so often that's just a cover for writers pushing sexist/bigoted rhetoric, and thinking it's fine because it's not attacking them specifically. They are not pushing their own boundaries - they're pushing other people's boundaries, and pushing them away so they don't watch the show anymore. Making other people feel unsafe, and ensuring that whatever audience remains are as closed-minded as they are. We will never have a shortage of "offensive content." There's no need to defend that. All of our entertainment does things that would have never passed the censors ten years ago, yet we think that censorship is a problem? Family Guy's Quagmire raped and murdered Marge and the rest of The Simpsons. A huge number of Americans say incredibly racist and bigoted things behind closed doors. Donald Trump has a fanbase. People who kill people also have fans. This is a problem.
With warning or no, there are things in 2015 that you can’t say without consequences, because they show the world that you’re a complete bigoted asshole. You’re not being prevented from saying them, but they have consequences in that they show the world who you are. But we also have a toxic internet culture where teenagers and even children are being taught - as a hivemind - to build their entire culture around saying offensive things, anonymously, that they would never say in a work environment.
Racism, sexism, and anti-LGBT bigotry become the entire language of many channers and r*dditors. They’re young and desperate to show they can “take a joke.” But that joke isn’t on them. They can bring back Hitler-era images of anti-semitism and reconstruction-era racism because they’re white dudebros and the joke is not on them. And it feels great to be accepted - to be part of the group. They think this means they’re hilarious and have a thick skin and aren’t offended by anything. But if they’re criticized in any way, they freak out. They actually have a super thin skin. “Offensive” language doesn’t affect them only because it’s not targeted at them [the white dudebro trying to seem more adult than he is].
Dudes. If you think black people/Hispanic people/Asian people/Jewish people/gay people/trans people/women/etc are hilarious [or The Entire Problem With America] - that's because you haven't spent enough time with them as real people. You're saying "offensive" stuff because they're not in the room. You're the coward looking both ways before saying something bigoted. People lean on stereotypes because they have no real information about the people who make up a majority of the world's population. Or worse, know exactly what they're saying but want to be part of the group and are playing to a culture which expects a certain amount of grossness and bigotry.
Racism and bigotry comes from the man and the woman so poor or so unhappy or so scared that they just need to feel better than somebody else. They can be happy with life as long as they know there’s another group of people they can blame and believe they're better than. It keeps them from having to look at their own lives, or deal with any real problems. To the point that I even have empathy for trolls and bullies, it would be because they're deeply unhappy with their own lives and looking for a target wherever they think they see weakness. Someone who can't fight back, or isn't in the room to fight back.
It's no secret that people hate in other people what they hate about themselves. Poor white people who are dependent on food stamps are much more likely to attack black people for supposedly being dependent on food stamps. People who attack others for being "weak" are ashamed of their own weakness. Those who put down others and promote an idealized view of masculinity - that all men are strong, superior warriors - never, ever live up to that stereotype themselves. They are ashamed of themselves for not living up to some phony ideal of masculinity, and bullying others instead.
And if you think the entire concept of trigger warnings is hilarious, you’re the one who needs education. Say something which is funny because it’s offensive. Type it. Bask in it. Now think about the fact that it’s not offensive to you, because of who you are and how you grew up. Now think about how someone else from a different background would react to that. Flip the script. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a moment. Learn something, sometime. Otherwise these college students aren’t the coddled babies - you are.
Re: Things I Say
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:27 am
The Democratic candidates who have won the Presidency in recent memory - that is, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - appealed to young people and minorities with a certain sense of energy and fun. By politician standards, they were hip.
Bill Clinton played the saxophone on Arsenio Hall. Barack Obama's campaign spoke of "Hope" with a poster by street artist Shepard Fairey, and a hip-hop music video by will.i.am (and featuring celebs like John Legend and Scarlett Johansson) said "Yes we can." The slogan recalled the words of Cesar Chavez, and gave Americans hope that the inequalities of the past could be rectified. Yes, a black man could be elected President - but there was more to it than that.
Howard Dean, though not the most exciting candidate, had some of that energy and youth appeal in 2004, until the media decided to bring him down, focusing on a clip of him yelling excitedly at a rally. The candidacy went to John Kerry, who had once been a principled war hero standing up against the lies of the Vietnam war, but who in 2004 was not an exciting candidate. He felt like a default choice, more of the same.
Al Gore was also depicted by the media as unexciting in his 2000 run, and he lacked the drive and purpose here that he would later display in his popular 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth. Gore chose deeply unpopular East-Coast conservative troll Joseph Lieberman as his running mate, sending a very bad sign to, well, anyone who had heard of Lieberman. Despite Gore's liberal credentials as an environmentalist his campaign was toothless and small-c conservative.
Yes, George W. Bush's campaigns were full of vote-stealing shenanigans, with Jeb Bush doing whatever he could in Florida to ensure his brother's election. And in 2004, there were similar shenanigans in Ohio. But the fact that these elections were even close enough to be easily swayed either way shows that there was a lack of fire behind the Gore and Kerry runs. Republicans do turn out in great numbers and the GOP fights tooth and nail. Democrats need to fight harder.
But they're a corrupt, toothless party without much fire in their bellies. They're content to enforce a certain status quo rather than fight for the Progressive causes that many or most of their voters believe in. They are small-c conservative. Not the extremist party that the GOP has become, but centrist. They support and give power to those who already have it, fighting for corporations and the wealthy.
In a party like that, Barack Obama is actually an anomaly. He fought and got things done, despite almost complete opposition from the GOP. He was relatively new to Washington as a senator, not entrenched in existing power structures and "hip" in a way that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are not. Sanders is, at least, a true old-school liberal. The concern is only whether or not he can get elected in this climate. Hillary, sometimes mocked as the sellout candidate, has decades of experience in and out of The White House and the support of the Democratic machine. She can raise the money - and unfortunately in this political climate, a candidate needs to raise record amounts of money to make it. The GOP won't be messing around, and the Democrats can't either.
Neither Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders are "boring" candidates, as the media made Gore and Kerry out to be. The media generally hate both of them, which is at least more interesting than indifference. "Hip" they're not, though, and they've struggled to connect with young and minority voters.
The GOP has been criticized for its extremist views which seek to halt progress and take America backward. That is, to evoke nostalgia for a mythical past which never existed, while making things worse for anyone who isn't a very wealthy white straight male. What the GOP is doing now started with Reagan and becomes more extremist and less small-c conservative every year. A small-c conservative is slow with progress and tries to be frugal with money and maintain existing power structures as they are. The GOP as they were under Bush burn trillions of taxpayer money for laughs and radically redistribute wealth from the poor to the wealthy, asking for little or no taxation to be paid by the largest corporations in return. Those who crashed Wall Street got massive payouts. None of this is small-c conservative. It's spending money like there's no tomorrow while stripping and looting America for parts. They also stood in the way of literally everything Obama attempted to achieve in his second term. If Obama was for it, they had to stop it, regardless of what it was.
That's a way of halting progress, but it's not conservative, it's radical.
In the face of those who would halt progress, the Democratic party needs to be progressive. It needs to be hip, and young. It needs to be liberal again. I don't see that happening anytime soon. But doing otherwise is a losing strategy.
Power structures in America are now heavily weighted toward the "Baby Boomers" - a "generation" (actually several generations born between 1946 and 1964) who are now senior citizens. We used to hear a lot about "Generation X" and even "Generation Y," my generation. But now Generations X and Y are in their prime and should be in full control of the country. Due to the economic boom of the postwar era, "Baby Boomers" generally have a fair amount of money and power that they're not in any rush to give up. You hear less about "Generation X" now, as if it doesn't exist, and "Generation Y" has been lumped in with "Millennials." That used to be a term for those who are now teenagers, born around the time of the millennium. It's a means of dismissing the young entirely, as spoiled babies not worth taking seriously as people. And which now includes pretty much anybody under forty. That shrinks Generation X to those in their forties now. All of these generational labels are idiotic, and usually designed so that it's easy for older people to make fun of anyone younger, and keep younger people from recognizing their political and economic power.
Money is power, and anyone in their thirties or younger was robbed of that power at a very key time by the Bush-era economic collapse. "Generation Y" are old enough to remember a time when the economy worked, and got a glimpse of middle-class prosperity that they were not allowed to have. Those in their forties and fifties may be bitter about losing what they had, but they had a chance to have it. Those in their twenties and younger grew up without that chance. And those in their sixties and older have often been able to hold on to saved wealth and not have to deal with the economic realities of an America which the Bush presidency destroyed. They are running on fumes, yes, and not as prosperous as they were, but it's still a protective bubble.
The rich, and especially the super-rich, in America, live in a bubble through which not even air can get in and out. They still believe that America works exactly as it should. They have no idea how the poor are struggling. They can't conceive it. Even if they think they understand, they don't.
The rich and powerful are the friends of both parties. There will always be more power on offer for those who already have it.
But my theory remains, that to win, a Democratic candidate must be hip and energetic, and appeal to minorities and the young.
I'm not sure we've seen that yet.
Re: Things I Say
Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:39 am
A Complete Guide to Disney/Marvel's The Avengers:
Black Widow: Bitten by a radioactive Black Widow spider, Natasha Romanoff developed the ability to be Scarlett Johansson. She's a Russian super-spy with a deadly past that's kept vague because it's not the 60s anymore and the Cold War ended in 1991 (see also: Nick Fury, Steve Rogers, every single villain, etc). A master manipulator, she can disappear into any situation and feel like part of the group, debuting a new hairstyle, backstory and personality in every single film to better support the men who the movies are actually about, even when it makes no sense and conflicts with her appearances in every other film. As a super-spy she is so successful at avoiding detection that Disney and Marvel have not yet realized she's in any Marvel movie, and she's successfully avoided appearing on merchandise or getting her own film, a situation that's not expected to change anytime soon, even though Phil Coulson got a TV show and Rocket Raccoon got a movie franchise. She has successfully battled Hydra's plans for total world domination, and successfully been destroyed entirely by Disney's plans for total market gender segregation. Considered the most interesting character on the team by people who are addicted to disappointment.
Hawkeye: Bitten in the eye by a radioactive hawk, Jeremy Renner came to earth with archery skills so unbelievable they would be considered superpowers if he wasn't on a team with Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. But he is, so why is he here again? Valiantly fighting advanced superpowered foes with a primitive bow and arrow, he will eventually become a truly valuable member of the team when he realizes that guns have been invented. Spending the first film brainwashed by Loki, and the second film complaining even though he's dating Linda Cardellini, Hawkeye is the most human member of the Avengers, by which we mean the most likely to come off as a jerk in interviews. In the comics Hawkeye is 80% deaf, lovably sarcastic, and was married to Mockingbird (played by 'Wonder Woman' star Adrianne Palicki). In the movies, which one is Hawkeye again?
Captain America: Bitten by a radioactive Fantastic Four franchise, the superhero once known as The Human Torch vowed he would never star in a mediocre comic book film again. He was brought out of retirement by SHIELD director Kevin Fury in order to form a team of super-powered white blond men named Chris whose combined powers would cause young girls all across the world to suddenly achieve puberty, along with gay men and men who thought they were straight until now. A shining symbol of everything just, decent and right about America today, Captain America is fictional and does not exist. Frozen in World War II and resurrected in 1964/2011/last Tuesday, supersoldier Steve Rogers valiantly struggles to fight a global conspiracy of 1940s Nazis, while the writers valiantly struggle to come up with reasons why there are still so many 1940s Nazis running around in 2015. Oh, like, one of them turned himself into a computer or something. And one was a skullman. Also we're not allowed to say "Nazi" or show a swastika, usually. We get one or two per movie. Captain America's films are known for their very grown-up and adult action and military realism, if you ignore all the stuff about Nazis turning themselves into computers and skullmen. Bearded actor Chris Evans, usually drunk in interviews, is charming, charismatic and humble, with shaking hands and a look of fear in his eyes that suggests if Marvel wasn't paying him a whole lot of money to make these movies, he would run off into the forest like a deer and never be seen again. The most purely heroic Avenger, in the comics he's an old man right now so sorry about that girls. If his fans have any say in the matter, Captain America will always fight for truth, justice and the American way. That was Superman's slogan but he's not using it right now. And if his fans have any say in the matter, Captain America will continue to have sex with Bucky, Sam, Tony and the other male Avengers in every single piece of fanart on the internet. You'll find Captain America's solo films on Netflix in the Romantic Comedy section.
Nick Fury: Bitten by a radioactive dinosaur, Samuel L. Jackson survived with all the powers of a 66-year-old man who starred in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, such as saying "motherfucker" a lot. Nick Fury served in World War II opposite the Howling Commandos, back when that type of comic book was popular, and was a Cold War super-spy in the 60s, when that sort of story was popular. In 1998 he starred in his own film as David Hasselhoff, who astoundingly was considered popular then. But being played by a radioactive David Hasselhoff eventually made him a laughing-stock as director of SHIELD, and so after a particularly harrowing adventure in 2002, Nick Fury collapsed on the floor of his TARDIS and regenerated into the form of motherfuckin Samuel L. Jackson, who is motherfuckin popular now. Jackson has appeared in many of the most successful motherfuckin films ever made and is worth 150 million motherfuckin dollars. While it's easy to draw a comic character as Samuel L. motherfuckin Jackson, his presence in an actual motherfuckin Marvel movie was wishful thinking at the time. Let's not forget that the first theatrical Marvel movie was Howard the motherfuckin Duck. Followed by The Punisher - the motherfuckin Dolph Lundgren one. And Captain America - the motherfuckin Matt Salinger one. And Fantastic Four - the motherfuckin Roger Corman one. Anyway he showed up in Iron Man after the motherfuckin credits. His presence as motherfuckin director of SHIELD brought The motherfuckin Avengers together, because even Iron Man doesn't say no to Samuel L. motherfuckin Jackson. More importantly for Disney, he helps provide a reason for black audiences to even watch these motherfuckin movies, because even though Marvel's first hit film was motherfuckin Blade in 1998, it would take another twenty years for motherfuckin Marvel to make another film starring a black actor (Black Panther, 2018, not counting the Luke Cage TV series, 2016). Nick Fury's authority and guidance, and ability to keep a straight face during the motherfuckin Hulk/Black Widow romantic subplot, has made him key to the motherfuckin Marvel universe, because only if it's motherfuckin Samuel L. Jackson does no one ask why you're writing action scenes and stunts for a man born in 1948.
War Machine: Bitten by a radioactive war machine, James "Rhodey" Rhodes developed the amazing ability to get paid a lot more money than the actual star of the Iron Man films. Longtime best friend of Tony Stark, who was paid half a million for Iron Man , Rhodey heroically offered his services for Iron Man 2 at his now-standard price of 8 million dollars. Seeing the heroism of his friend, Tony Stark heroically informed him that the film is not called "Rhodey" and heroically offered to take that money instead. Taking the name "The Iron Patriot," Rhodey collapsed on the floor of his TARDIS and regenerated from the form of Terrence Howard to the much more famous and eight times cheaper form of Don Cheadle. Heroically offered one million dollars, Rhodey heroically said "great" and heroically appeared in several more films as the character. When informed that none of these films is called "War Machine," and that actually Brad Pitt is making an unrelated comedy for Netflix called "War Machine," Rhodey reportedly said "It's fine. It's okay. I'm fine." In Avengers: Age of Ultron, War Machine's fame has grown, and he's full of stories and the most popular guy in any room - until that room includes Iron Man and Thor. "Yeah," said Rhodey, "that sounds about right."
Iron Man: Bitten by a radioactive career during the 1990s and 2000s, troubled actor Robert Downey Jr. was happy to star in Iron Man , never going back to starring in such classics as Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree . Downey was happy to be an A-List star again - at least until he saw how much costar Terrence Howard was making. But Downey struggled playing Tony Stark, the brilliant, troubled, charismatic, flamboyant, egotistical, hard-partying, substance-abusing inventor, showman, billionaire and PTSD victim. Downey had to work extra hard at his acting so that the character wouldn't be TOO believable. After five films as the character Downey finally requested to be given a script, and that the character always be referred to as "Tony Stark" rather than Robert or Bobby. As Tony Stark, Downey had the good fortune to work with the smartest and funniest writers and directors in Hollywood, including Jon Favreau, Shane Black, Joss Whedon, and Adam Kesher. The wit and wisdom of these legendary minds made Marvel Studios what it is today, and they have a permanent home at Marvel Studios, who ground them up into a fine paste and now stores them in jars in the basement. A brilliant inventor, Tony Stark's superpowers include the ability to somehow upstage and steal every scene from a team that includes Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson. Scientists aren't sure how he does it, but when asked, Downey said, "Would you like a blueberry?" After an injury during Iron Man 3, Downey graciously allowed his character to be played by stand-ins for awhile so that other actors could get a word in edgewise. While there's no Iron Man 4 on the horizon, he'll be taking the wrong side in Captain Avengers: Civil War. So don't worry - we'll be seeing a lot more of this lovable alcoholic war criminal whose hubris constantly results in the deaths of millions.
Loki: Bitten by a radioactive Cumberbatch, Marvel Studios realized that when a pale, sneering British actor with an eerie, lizardlike face dyes his hair from a goofy, curly blonde to a wet-looking jet black, he develops the strange super power to drop the panties of any woman in the vicinity. Curly-haired, scrawny Tom Hiddleston was spotted at Marvel rescuing kittens, holding doors open for people and apologizing for things he hadn't done. He was called in to test for the part of Thor, apologizing constantly before, after and during the audition. Marvel had forgotten about him entirely, until an accident with radioactive hair dye left him apologizing to several hundred women who had followed him home and were clawing at his clothes. Upon being told by Marvel that he was to audition for the film's villain, Hiddleston apologized and said he hoped that didn't mean he'd have to do anything rude or naughty. He then offered Marvel some tea, biscuits and a kitten, his blue eyes sparkling like diamonds in the sun. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was powerless to resist him. Unable to contain Hiddleston's power, Marvel cast him instead, pitting him against the largest and most powerful blond white guy named Chris that they had. This was the Chris of Legend, a Chris whose coming had been foretold for centuries, with arms like tree trunks and pectorals like ripe pumpkins. "Give this Loki to me," said the Chris of Legend. "Have him face me in a 150 million dollar Movie of Marvel. Then we shall see whom the women of Midgard consider more mighty."
Thor: Who? Is Loki in this one? Rachel says she'll see it if Thor takes his shirt off.
Jane Foster: The current Thor in the comics, Jane Foster had a difficult childhood growing up as Queen of Naboo. Acting against greenscreen to a nonexistent Jar Jar Binks, she learned to fear and feel shame, and as she grew and was taught to dislike sand, we learned to fear and feel shame along with her. Bitten by a radioactive Star Wars franchise, the talented child actress of The Professional grew into someone who sure is an actress of some kind appearing in a certain amount of movies. Romance with Thor of Asgard seemed unlikely, as they were from two different worlds and he could well have preferred the warrior Sif. But Jane Foster of Midgard would not accept second best. So she starred in Thor, a franchise not as popular as Iron Man or Captain America, starring a hero less popular than his villainous brother Loki. She played the beautiful female lead in the films, which also starred the beautiful Kat Dennings, the beautiful Jaimie Alexander, the beautiful Rene Russo, and the beautiful Idris Elba. The film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who followed in the footsteps of Lawrence Olivier to become perhaps cinema's second most popular Hamlet. The sequel was directed by Alan Taylor after the studio's first choice dropped out. It featured lead villain Christopher Eccleston, a truly great actor and the least popular Doctor Who in recent history, who is completely upstaged in the film by Loki again. The staggering success of the Thor franchise has made Chris Hemsworth a star, and Marvel's third most popular muscley white blond guy named Chris. No, there's no second best for the Thor franchise. With Thor: Ragnarok on the horizon, Hollywood box office experts say "Thor is silver! It's pure box-office silver!" As for Jane Foster, while absent from the Avengers films I'm told she's in the Thor movies somewhere.
Bucky Barnes: Before Steve Rogers was Captain America, James Buchanan Barnes was his friend. His totally heterosexual non-romantic friend. They went on dates. With girls. Double-dates where there were the two of them but also two girls and stuff. Look, it's the one girl from Doctor Who. They were always there for one another. Steve was scrawny and small, and Bucky was big and popular and forceful but soft and yielding, but despite their differences the two of them were great, totally heterosexual non-romantic guy pals who had great fun trying out new things and exploring all the possibilities the 1930s and 40s had to offer. When Steve was transformed into the pectoral superhero Captain America, Bucky accompanied him on all his adventures, as the Robin to his Batman. But so did actual romantic woman Peggy Carter. Look, we gave her a TV show and everything. It's super heterosexual. And Peggy and Angie are just great friends like Steve and Bucky were. But sadly, Steve was frozen in ice until revived in 1964/2011/last tuesday, a very long time to be asleep. Steve missed out on Woodstock and the disco era, as well as a battle for LGBT rights which has made many advances and continues today, completely separate to and unrelated to the completely heterosexual adventures of Captain America. As an Avenger, Steve made many friends, such as Sam Wilson, alias The Falcon, with whom Steve likes to go jogging every morning. In the comics, Sam and Bucky have both been happy to wear Steve's clothes and become Captain America. And though Steve and Tony Stark may fight a lot, at the end of the day they have a very deep and lasting heterosexual respect for one another. As for Bucky, he fell from a train in the snow and died or something. Staggering into his TARDIS with the help of that one girl from Doctor Who, Bucky became The Winter Soldier. His mind erased by Hydra, he became an evil assassin, killing all the best Kennedies and several Joss Whedon television series. This went on and on for many decades as he was constantly taken in and out of frozen storage to remain forever young, because it takes a lot of weird narrative leaps to have any recurring characters in a story where the lead character was frozen for 65 years. Hydra are, of course, 1940s Nazis, because read the previous sentence. After this shocking twist, The Winter Bucky could barely remember Steve Rogers and the heterosexual friendship they had together. But just enough memory remained, and over the decades, The Winter Bucky made several attempts to find him. First he met a young Robert Redford, who never played Captain America although that would have been really cool. Then he met Reb Brown, star of Space Mutiny and Yor Hunter From the Future. Then he met J.D. Salinger's son Matt. But none of them were Captain America. Finally, Bucky and Steve were reunited in a great explosive eruption of violence. Steve was willing to die for his old friend, saying they would stay together forever, until the end. He hoped that whatever Bucky had gone through, he could cure him with the power of his love, defined here as completely non-romantic heterosexual friendship. Steve bet his life on that hope, and despite Bucky's apparent death the two would not be apart for long. And Captain America knew he'd saved the day, and nothing homosexual had happened. Although all of the fanfic is filthy.
Sam Wilson/The Falcon: Bitten by a radioactive falcon, Sam Wilson first became part of the Marvel Universe when he answered a personals ad placed in the newspaper: "Comic superheroes seeking a cool black friend to make their movies less white. No superpowers. Characters without flaws preferred. Must have advanced technology to fly through the heavens and mock the cruel mistress Gravity. No Chrises." It's believed that Heimdall, Nick Fury and both Rhodeys answered the same personals ad. Sam Wilson first met Captain America when the two were jogging around Washington. Said Wilson, "He turned around and smiled at me. You get the picture?" Yes, we see. These accidental meetings were followed by accidentally meeting at a veteran's support group, accidentally meeting at Sam's house when hiding from Hydra, accidentally catching a screening of "Sleepless in Seattle" together, and so on. A former Armed Forces paratrooper with a flawless military record, Wilson had been part of an experimental weapons project sponsored by Red Bull. Donning mechanical wings and soaring through the sky with incredible skill, "The Falcon" joined Hawkeye in being the sort of Avenger where you say, "He's got no powers. They're shooting him and he's got no powers. How is he not dead? He should be dead by now. Is this a cartoon? I'm watching a cartoon." Charming and likeable, but not the sort of charming and likeable where he costs 10 million dollars a movie, Sam Wilson was the perfect sidekick to Captain America, who already has like thirty sidekicks. Sam also turned up in Ant-Man, because he was free that day. At the end of Captain America 2, Sam and Steve vowed to search for The Winter Soldier, and not to give up on that very important plotline. Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon was quoted as saying, "What? Cap 2? I don't know. No, we're not doing that." As of press time Whedon hadn't watched Iron Man 3 either. The Falcon appears in Age of Ultron's ending for about a second, but to be fair it's a really impressive second.
Phil Coulson: A no-nonsense intelligence agent and minor supporting player in four films, Phil Coulson spun off into his own Marvel short films by virtue of being cheaper than Robert Downey Jr. But he truly became a star when Joss Whedon asked Marvel, "So … who am I allowed to kill?" It's said that lightning flashed outside as Whedon typed furiously at an antique typewriter, cackling in sadistic glee. Yes, Whedon would make the audience like Phil Coulson, right before he killed him. Bitten by a radioactive Joss Whedon, this minor player became a firm fan favorite. But taking a supporting character and spinning him off into his own TV series, that would be a bit much. Probably a bad idea. Probably not going to work. But hey, Marvel. We're not the boss. Do what you like. You keep on doing you.
Agents of SHIELD: Well, it kind of gets good when Bill Paxton shows up. And season 2's got new characters. Look, I know it's a hard slog, but we've watched how many Marvel movies by now? You're watching this. You know it, I know it. We're here now. Even if we die here. We're in this for the long haul.
Peggy Carter: Captain America's ex-girlfriend takes on Hydra and her own employers at the SSR because she's not just Captain America's ex-girlfriend, she's a Strong Independent Woman Who Doesn't Need A Man. But she does wear a blonde wig and a low-cut dress in the first episode because she's an Attractive Actress Who Does Need the Ratings. Poor Peggy is surrounded by Men, who are Dumb, but doesn't want to hang out with Women, because the show is still all about men somehow and keeps her lonely. Fighting evil and striking a blow for Feminism in the Forties, Peggy, as played by the charming Hayley Atwell, is such a heroic action figure that in real life she would have zero friends. She also has zero friends on the show, with the exception of Angie Martinelli, local waitress and Peggy's non-romantic heterosexual gal pal. Angie has a relatively small role in the series but is fondly remembered for her catchphrase, "Wow Peggy! I can't wait to read the fanfic they're going to write about us!" Peggy sneaks out on her own to clear the name of Howard Stark, who's a lot like Tony Stark but doesn't cost ten million dollars. She helps a man she doesn't even trust, and I don't trust him either because how the hell does a guy who looks like Dominic Cooper turn into John Slattery? Pick an actor and stick with him. Do I have to do the TARDIS joke again? Peggy fights back against Hydra assassins and character actors from other TV series, while honoring the memory of Captain America, who is now the subject of a radio show that Peggy finds very inaccurate. Wait until she reads the fanfic. After double-crossing her employers at the SSR for months, she's shocked when they turn on her, calling her an enemy spy and saying she's "already better than Agents of SHIELD but not as good as Daredevil." But Peggy proves she's not an enemy agent by acting exactly like an enemy agent. After several shootouts and tense standoffs Peggy and the SSR agents find common ground when Peggy says, "You were great in Dollhouse and Boardwalk Empire, respectively." But beneath her cool British exterior is a chillier British interior, and she has the most chemistry with Edwin Jarvis, who is stuffy and British in a completely different way, and who makes her seem like a ton of fun by comparison. But enemy agents have infiltrated the SSR and time and budget are rapidly running out. The last two episodes take place in one room. The actors wear modern t-shirts and read directly from their scripts while seated. Instead of special effects we use the power of imagination. Fans loved Agent Carter, and due to its positive reception and acceptable budget, it's been picked up for a second season. Says Marvel President Kevin Feige, "We are confident that the second season of Agent Carter will be even cheaper than the first!" Peggy also appeared in The Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, achieving her goal of giving young women unrealistic standards for what they should look like at ages 68 and 92.
Pepper Potts: Gwyneth Paltrow is an Oscar-winning actress whose net worth is estimated at 140 million dollars. But she and that Coldplay guy have split up, so I think if I met her, I'd have a chance. Do you know her? Can you introduce us? She was pretty good in Shakespeare In Love. I mean, she's not amazing or anything but she's pretty good. Classy, right? She's a classy type. She's got poise. Bitten by the radioactive Extremis virus, Pepper Potts gets her own superpowers at the end of Iron Man 3. Tony promises to cure her, and destroys all his Iron Man suits in a spectacular display, to which Joss Whedon paid zero attention while writing The Avengers 2.
Happy Hogan: Bitten by a radioactive Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck, and I bet you'd forgotten he was even in that, Swingers star Jon Favreau swore on that movie's grave that there would never be another terrible Marvel movie ever again. He directed Iron Man and Iron Man 2, kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it today. When asked if he was proud of what he created, and how much the Marvel Cinematic Universe succeeded, he began to weep, and spoke of other Marvel movies. Hulk, Elektra, Blade Trinity. Two Ghost Rider movies. Two of The Amazing Spider-Man. Three of the Fantastic Four. Twenty-nine X-Men films of varying quality. "No," he said. "I swore I would protect this world from terrible Marvel movies. You look out at this world and say I have succeeded. All I see is how much I have failed." With that, Jon Favreau jumped out of his office window, shattering the glass and falling fifty feet to the concrete below. He then dusted himself off and walked away without a scratch on him. "This is my curse," he was heard to say. "As long as there are bad Marvel movies I will not be permitted to die. This is my contract with Stan Lee." When reached for comment, former Marvel writer Stan Lee laughed and said, "That Favreau, what a kidder. Yeah, they all sign that contract."
Bruce Banner/The Hulk: Bitten by a radioactive explosion, Dr. Bruce Banner went through an incredible transformation that has been both blessing and curse for him and for the world. Transforming first into Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk became a pretty decent television show. I mean, for its time. You've got to look at it in the spirit of the time when it was made. The world learned to both love and fear The Incredible Hulk, as both savior and monster. Under the guidance of Ang Lee, The Hulk transformed into a bizarre 2003 film. Millions ran away in fear. There were riots in the streets. "They don't understand," said Lee, shaking his head sadly. "They always fear what they don't understand." Some said the film was a monster, a warped and evil thing that should never have been allowed to exist. "No!" said actress Jennifer Connelly, standing above the mob with tears in her eyes. "There is still some good in Hulk! I've seen it! I starred in it!" The mob booed and attacked, pitchforks and torches in their hands, and Connelly and Lee ran off to safety in Mexico, where they remain to this day. The whereabouts of star Eric Bana are unknown. The 2003 film bombed so hard that the resulting gamma explosion triggered another incredible transformation, 2008's The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton. "And true to its name, it was Incredible!" said former Marvel writer Stan Lee. "Well, I mean, it was pretty good. It wasn't as weird as the other one. Not as interesting either, but good. I mean, good enough. Acceptable." For its video release, the film was titled The Acceptable Hulk, and was widely praised as "a movie," "a movie that was released in June 2008," and "a movie that cost 150 million dollars to make and has a running time of one hour, 54 minutes." As an early project by Marvel Studios, the film boasted a cameo by Robert Downey Jr., leaving Marvel fans to wonder if this movie is still canon. Because it's canon, right? It was a Marvel Hulk movie so it's in the current continuity? Except it kind of is and it kind of isn't? As part of an effort to prevent piracy in the digital age, every copy of the film erases itself after playback. The person who has just watched the film must legally retain no memory of having watched the film, and legally cannot discuss specific details of the film with others, lest they verbally violate copyright. To help, Marvel made the film to be as forgettable as possible, a solid, workmanlike film with nothing to distinguish it as particularly good or bad. To this day, Marvel fans find it difficult to remember that the film even existed, but it does, right? They brought back William Hurt's character for Civil War, and did spinoffs with Phil Coulson. So why didn't they bring back Liv Tyler? Why is the Hulk suddenly dating Black Widow? This makes no sense for either of their characters. Is it canon or not? What was I talking about? Bruce Banner underwent another Incredible change for the 2012 Avengers film, transforming from Edward Norton into a disheveled Brad Pitt. Are Fight Club jokes still relevant? I'm tired. Joss Whedon attempted to bring back Edward Norton's Bruce Banner, but an angry mob rose up to protest the casting, carrying pitchforks and torches and saying that Edward Norton was a monster and considered somewhat difficult to work with. "No!" said actress Liv Tyler, standing above the mob with tears in her eyes. "There is still some good in Edward Norton! I've seen it!" The mob booed and attacked, pitchforks and torches in their hands, and Tyler and Norton ran off to safety in Mexico, where they remain to this day. Nobel Peace Prize winner Mark Ruffalo took over the role, with a complex and likeable vulnerability which, even in a supporting role, captured the character more completely and elegantly than the previous films had. Marvel were so happy with Ruffalo's portrayal that they took Ruffalo aside and promised to him that he'd never get a Hulk movie of his own and would get saddled with an incomprehensible romantic subplot in the next Avengers. Ruffalo said nothing, but nodded slowly in understanding, his head bowed, his eyes closed. This was what he signed up for. This was the Hulk's blessing, the Hulk's curse. He would become the Hulk, but he would contain its power. Never would he unleash another monster of a film upon the world. Ruffalo's current whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be hiding in Argentina.
Maria Hill - Bitten by a radioactive hill, Nick Fury's second in command is intensely loyal to SHIELD. Pages and pages have been written about her loyalty, although admittedly every time the pages say "loyal" it clearly said "disloyal" and they crossed the "dis" out in editing because the character worked better that way. Firmly established as a loyal SHIELD agent in [the final cut of] 2012's The Avengers, Maria Hill handed all of her "dis"es out to other SHIELD agents since she wasn't using them anymore. "Hydra!" She shouted. "Who wants to be Hydra? Ward, Sitwell, come on, I know you guys want to be Hydra. Garrett, didn't you used to be Hydra?" A man resembling Bill Paxton grumbled and replied, "Yeah, didn't you used to be Latina?" Touché, Agent Garrett. Touché.
Quicksilver - Faster than a speeding bullet. So fast he can pick up and dispose of a speeding bullet. Killed by a speeding bullet. You guys, I'm starting to think Age of Ultron has some plot holes. Bitten by a radioactive bullet, Aaron Taylor-Johnson starred in the Marvel movie Kick-Ass before playing Quicksilver. But he's not to be confused with Evan Peters, who starred in the Marvel movie Kick-Ass before playing Quicksilver. Those are two completely different characters. Well, they're the exact same character, since they're both Quicksilver, but they're different because it's a rights thing. One of them is in the X-Men movies, and FOX can say he's a mutant and his father is Magneto, like the comics did sometimes. One of them is in the Avengers movies with Scarlet Witch, and uh, maybe we can say Inhuman instead of mutant, or wait, they could be regular humans who got experimented on or something. But wait, when they were Magneto's kids that clearly made them Jewish. So if they willingly sign up to be experimented on by Hydra, who are 1940s Nazis, isn't that actually super offensive and strange? You guys, I'm starting to think Age of Ultron has some plot holes. But the movies will have to create a lot more plot holes before they'll ever match the utter confusion that is the comics continuity, the X-Men comics in particular.
Scarlet Witch - Locked in a cage during her formative years, Elizabeth Olsen was the lost third Olsen Twin that the public never got to see. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it made her a lot less weird than her sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley. But she is weird, right? "He's fast and she's weird." That's what the movie says about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. So is this a clever way of skipping over an explanation for the Scarlet Witch's powers, which are difficult to explain, or is Joss just fudging it because her powers here aren't the same as in the comics anyway? Joss wrote X-Men comics. He's not the type where someone would try to explain their powers and he'd just go, "Right, he's fast, she's weird, got it." Exactly how much pressure was Joss Whedon under during Age of Ultron? Was he locked in a cage? Were they feeding him? Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen appeared as a married couple in 2014's Godzilla, in which a radioactive Godzilla mourns the death of Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston by barely appearing in his own film. The film was praised by critics, who said, "This is technically a Godzilla film!" And "This film contains the bare minimum of Godzilla screentime to legally still be called a Godzilla film!" Olsen and Johnson played loving couple John and Jane Bland, who must stop Godzilla by becoming the most forgettable people on the planet earth. In the end Godzilla does not attack them, having mistaken them for styrofoam. The romantic tension between Olsen and Johnson was so palpable that they were then cast as brother and sister in The Avengers. Originally, Olsen would have played a dual role as both Jane Bland and Godzilla, but was replaced by a CGI creature in post. In the comics, not too long ago, Scarlet Witch wiped every mutant from existence, which could explain a lot about the Marvel Cinematic Universe [see Quicksilver entry]. Dressed in street clothes rather than the superhero tights she wore in the comics, the film's Scarlet Witch is a more everyday character. And … she's young, right? Is it just me? She looks really young. It's hard to take her as seriously when … Oh, she's 26. Yeah, I guess that's fine. She's just a young-looking 26 or … No, it's me. I'm old. I'm old now because twentysomethings look like children. No. I won't die. You can't make me! I still have so much to live for!
The Wasp - Janet Van Dyne, the fashion-conscious and popular founding member of The Avengers who gave the team its name.  Does not have her own movie and is played by no one. See Black Widow entry.
Ant-Man - Hank Pym, founding member of The Avengers  who was at one point married to Janet Van Dyne, The Wasp.  Creator of Ultron.  Part of the group that discovered the frozen Captain America.  Aliases include Ant-Man, Yellowjacket, Giant-Man and Goliath.  Hank Pym discovered the Pym particles, which allow a human being to shrink while increasing their strength, and then to return to normal size. He became the Ant-Man and Janet Van Dyne became The Wasp. [citation needed. Scott Lang is Ant-Man. Wasp character not relevant.] Pym was exposed to gases which altered his personality, becoming the dangerous and unstable Yellowjacket. [citation needed. Yellowjacket was Darren Cross. Hank Pym is not Yellowjacket.] Pym, as Yellowjacket, proposed marriage to The Wasp, Janet Van Dyne. He also became violent and hit her. This has been a mark on the character's history ever since. Fans have not forgiven Hank for hitting Janet, and his inner darkness and quest for redemption has in some ways defined the character. His mind deteriorated further, and he created the evil robot Ultron. [citation needed. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner created Ultron.] Pym gave his blessing to Scott Lang, an electronics expert turned burglar, who became the second Ant-Man. [FINALLY. Please cut everything up to this point out and start here.] The Ant-Man movie focuses on Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd. This is almost certainly due to Hank Pym still being a controversial character. Pym is considered flawed, unstable, a wife-beater with a dark past. In the film he is an older mentor to Scott, and has a daughter named Hope Van Dyne, whose mother Janet tragically died (or passed into a quantum realm) years before, while on a mission as The Wasp. [Oh. I get it now.] Arguably Janet is a more popular character than Hank and a more key member of The Avengers. As the first female Avenger she was considered for a part in the 2012 Avengers film, but it seemed too complicated to also introduce Hank and Janet in that film. The choices made for the Ant-Man film make sense - for the male characters. But the founding female Avenger gets killed so that Hank can feel sad about it, and is never even seen clearly. Hope Van Dyne could have become The Wasp, but this is only hinted at in the film as a tease. We also don't get a Black Widow movie. We are literally getting eleven Marvel movies starring blond muscular white men named Chris before we get a single one which stars a woman (2018). I don't even have a joke about this, because basically this is bullshit 
Ultron - Evil robot created by Hank Pym.  Oh my god, it's James Spader. Can I have your autograph? Why does a robot have such a flexible humanoid mouth and lips? Can we stop doing that to CGI robots? It's super weird. Is this fanfiction? Who is Ultron kissing?
The Vision - A synthetic humanoid built by Ultron and Phineas J. Horton using parts of the original Human Torch from the 40s, and the brain patterns of Wonder Man. Named by The Wasp.  Or we could just have Tony and Bruce create Ultron in like five minutes before a party, and have The Vision be created by Jarvis and the power of Thor. See what happens when you mess with comics continuity? See what happens? Other people create things that other people used to create! And that matters to some people probably! And while I didn't say that Ant-Man was bit by a radioactive ant, you can take that as assumed. Also, Paul Rudd is so funny in Wet Hot American Summer. Where is that guy during Ant-Man? If Hank Pym is Michael Douglas does that make Janet Catherine Zeta-Jones? Bitten by a radioactive gender binary, Janet Van Dyne, The Wasp (Catherine Zeta-Jones) does not exist. I spent all day typing these and my wrists hurt now.
Re: Things I Say
Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:05 pm
A Complete Guide to the Spider-Man Films:
Bitten by a radioactive man, a common household spider became Peter Palmer, the Amazing Super-Man (© Stan Lee). In the comics, Peter is wisecracking and funny, yet also depressed, stressed-out and poor because with great responsibility makes something something. Fighting his way through a hilariously awful newspaper comic strip and incomprehensible storylines involving clones, Parkers Peter eventually marries the beautiful Mary Jane Watson. Although the people who did the casting for the movies very clearly preferred Gwen Stacey, and even Betty Brant and Felicia Hardy. Yes, Peter Popular has come a long way in his long career, at least until the editors at Marvel Comics reboot him every other year, erasing his entire continuity because they think it's best to keep him a dorky teenager forever, despite over fifty years of evidence to the contrary. Spider-man remains Steve Ditko's second most famous co-creation, behind Squirrel Girl. Spider-man was most famously played on the big screen by Community star Donald Glover.
During the 1990s, Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron attempted to make a Spider-man film, until an army of brave adventurers banished him back to the shadow realm, where he still resides today.
In the early 2000s, wacky Evil Dead director Sam Raimi came to Marvel with a strange proposal - that somebody should make a Marvel movie which isn't completely terrible. "I don't know," said Marvel. "We've had a lot of success so far making the worst possible movies out of all our most famous franchises. Do we really want to risk our perfect record of failure by making something which could possibly be a success?"
But Raimi went ahead anyway, without Marvel's permission, making the 2002 film which was originally titled "Spider-Guy," for legal reasons. When Marvel saw the final film, they were startled. It was exciting, thrilling, and funny, with groundbreaking special effects. It was a blockbuster easily on the level of DC's first Superman and Batman films. Marvel was horrified, and tried to block the film's release, but it was too late. "Raimi betrayed us," said Marvel. "We didn't expect that the director of Army of Darkness would make a good Spider-man movie. We expected he'd just be screwing around with Bruce Campbell and some puppets."
Marvel had accidentally made a good film, and would be expected to keep up that level of quality with any future Marvel films that didn't star Nicholas Cage or The Fantastic Four (who have a legal exemption). Plans for fifteen Daredevil films starring Ben Affleck were put on hold the next day, and Affleck himself was eventually sold to DC Comics for five dollars and a packet of apple chips.
The Spider-Man films starred the weird faces of Tugboat Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, as well as J.K. Simmons, who won four Oscars as J. Jonah Jameson, including a 2007 special achievement Oscar. While Maguire's Spider-Man didn't have the wisecracking sense of humor he has in the comics, Sam Raimi maintained that wacky energy as director by being a certified weirdo, prone to Bruce Campbell cameos and Three Stooges-style schtick. The movies themselves did the wisecracking when Spidey couldn't.
2004's Spider-man 2 was even better, though there was trouble behind the scenes as Raimi clashed with composer Danny Elfman, requesting that Elfman simply copy temp tracks from other films. "It was the worst experience I've ever had as a composer," said Elfman. "Sure, there's a lot of pressure on a big-budget film and we've all been through hell and back. But this went far beyond that. Sam changed - he became a completely different person." The Elfman vowed to never work with Raimi again until the money was right.
When Raimi was asked for comment, he said, "I should never have gone to that cabin in the woods. I should never have gone down to the basement. I should never have played that recording. I should never have opened up that book - bound in human flesh and inked in blood. Necronomicon Ex Mortis - the Book of the Dead. I should never have read the book aloud. But when I did, I couldn't remember the right words. Why couldn't I just remember the right words?"
Raimi's hubris and dabbling in mysterious dark magics had grave consequences for the Spider-Man franchise. A great and ancient evil took root in the Spider-Man films. During the making of 2007's Spider-Man 3, where Spidey would have faced The Hobgoblin, Sandman and The Vulture [Sir Ben Kingsley], Raimi clashed with Sony executives. They insisted that Raimi drop Kingsley from the film and insert a storyline about the black alien symbiote costume which becomes Venom. A weary Raimi complied, though he had little knowledge of Venom, and no nostalgia for the character. But he balked when executives began speaking in ancient tongues unheard by civilized man since before the days of Christ. The executives' notes on the film, once translated by scholars of antiquity, demanded that the symbiote sequences contain sequences so incomprehensibly strange that they would drive anyone watching past the point of madness. Raimi complied with most of the notes, but toned down the sequences after several assistant editors viewed the footage and immediately committed suicide. "I'm running out of assistants," Raimi wrote in a note to producer Davi Avad, who did not reply in any language known by man.
When the film was completed, Raimi attempted to bury it underground so that no human would ever see it. With a mighty screech, Davi Avad, who had at this point transformed into a batlike creature, stole the reels from Raimi's hands and unleashed the film upon an unsuspecting populace. Spider-Man 3 made over 336 million at the box office, but was considered less successful than its predecessors and suffering from too many competing plotlines. Sam Raimi himself was sucked back in time to medieval England, where he remains to this day.
It was several years before the film franchise continued, with the Amazing Spider-Man films in 2012 and 2014. This time the Sony executives were clearly in charge, working with director Marc Webb, who was hired because spiders make webs and that's a pretty decent pun. It was clear during Spider-man 3 that Sam Raimi and the producers had a very different vision in mind. With these new films, audiences would get to see what Sony's vision for Spider-man really was. "We wanted them to suck," said producer Davi Avad, from the safety of his plexiglass cage. "We wanted them to be weirdly boring and forgettable in a way you can't quite put your finger on. It's hard to explain. Sucking is just a feeling. You know it when you see it, you know?" Avad then made a sucking noise with one of his mouths.
For the female lead, Webb cast charming and funny "Easy A" star Emma Stone. Fanboys were overjoyed, saying Stone would be a perfect Mary Jane Watson. "No," cackled producer Davi Avad. "She's playing Gwen Stacey. The one who dies." Fanboys were a little bit confused, but decided to just go along with it. Avad, drooling from his many mouths with sadistic glee, then laid out plans that whoever played Mary Jane Watson "must never wear makeup, must always wear men's sweatshirts and pajama bottoms with holes in them, should have several mice living in her hair at all times and generally look like she's just come out of a dumpster. 'What is that smell?' Peter will ask when Mary Jane is onscreen. He'll pretend he doesn't know but he knows." Avad added that Spidey's elderly Aunt May should "get a little sexier every film. Just gradually until the audience isn't sure where these feelings are coming from. Peter Parker gets younger every film also. Does cool skateboard trix. By tenth film, Aunt May is main love interest and Spider-Man played by fetus."
In the final film, all character development for lead villain Dr. Curt Connors (aka The Lizard) was edited out. This was not done for time purposes (the film is six hours long) but rather to avoid angering the lizard people of the shadow realm, who control most American media.
As Peter Palmer, Webb cast rising star Andrew Garfield, an English actor who learned English for the role, and who gained great critical acclaim starring in movies that aren't these ones. With Garfield's casting came a series of unusual contractual demands, such as onset catering by his preferred Italian restaurant and a break for cast and crew every Monday. Both films also ended with a brief tribute to "Real Ghostbusters" voice actor Lorenzo Music, who passed away in 2001. More expensively for Marvel, for every Spider-man film made starring Garfield, Sony would have to produce a second film centered around "Orson Pig and his amazing friends on the farm at U.S. Acres," a group of characters that Garfield had apparently created himself. To get around this legal obligation, Sony spent several million dollars developing a feature franchise for Spider-man's pig equivalent, Peter Porker, The Amazing Spider-Ham. But when test marketing showed that the public were uninterested in the character, Sony passed the ball back to Marvel, which was now owned by Disney. The "Spider-Ham" development eventually resulted in Disney's feature films "The Muppets" (2011) and "Muppets Most Wanted" (2014).
Garfield got most of his contractual demands in the end, but Sony drew the line at his request that Peter Parker always speak without moving his lips. Garfield was allowed to do this only when fully suited up in the Spider-man costume. As Peter Parker, Garfield won praise from critics for being "a Spidey who keeps us guessing. Is he funny? Is he sad and tortured? Is he a complete asshole incapable of speaking in a normal way to any human being? Nobody knows! His personality is a complete mystery, and it's impossible to guess how Garfield will play the role from one scene to the next. But what's clear is, this is one funny fat orange cat who is going places!"
Indeed, Garfield was "going places" from the start, as he spent his entire tenure as Spider-man trying to get out of his contract and not have to appear in these films. It wasn't because he disliked playing Spider-man. On the contrary - Garfield had been a fan of the character since childhood, and walked around in a homemade Spider-man costume at least four days per week. "I am dedicated to the Spider-man character," he said, "and the ideal that he represents. I'm just convinced that the Spider-man movies would be better without me, somehow." To this end, Garfield created a proposal, first as an online blog and then as a published book, titled "Spider-man Minus Garfield," which detailed how much better all of the Spider-man films would be without anyone playing Spider-man at all.
Critics praised the Amazing Spider-man films as "the longest movie-going experience of my adult life" and "not exactly bad, but eerily hollow and empty in a way that I can't put my finger on or accurately describe." Actor Lawrence Fishburne, who is not in the films, was quoted as saying, "Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Amazing Spider-man is. You have to see it for yourself."
And people did! The amazing success of these films eventually led to Sony passing the Spider-man ball back to Disney, who celebrated by including Spider-man in Captain Avengers: Civil War and his own upcoming solo film. Garfield was asked to reprise his role but refused, saying "the only true Garfield is the absence of Garfield." He did, however, offer to help with development on "a television series about Orson Pig and his amazing friends on the farm at U.S. Acres," which eventually became ABC's The Muppets (2015).
My Cousin Vinny Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei has been rumored to play Aunt May in the upcoming film. Mary Jane Watson will be played by a garbage bag full of feathers, and Spider-man is played by a fetus.