Jessica Jones season 2: classic case of season 2 fatigue, but what happened to the feminism?

Jessica Jones season 2 is finally here – so what does my feminist ass think about it?

It’s an undeniable fact that I loved season 1 of Jessica Jones – in fact, it was the first blog I wrote.


Jessica Jones season 2

So it was with a lot of jumping up and down, squealing, and Jim Beam pouring that I sat down to watch season 2 on Friday. I love film noir. I love superheroes. I love feminism. I love ladies kicking ass. I love Jessica Jones.

I was a bit nervous though – Kilgrave was a hard act to follow, and I was worried the show would suffer from the same season 2 fatigue that Daredevil did. In some ways I was right, and in some ways, I was wrong.

It was still much better than season 2 of Daredevil, but the narrative was a little bit all over the place. It kept changing pace and you felt a little bit exhausted by all the changes in direction. All the characters were heading off in different directions, and they never seemed to come back together again – and in fact they never did. Ending a season on a cliffhanger is by no means a bad thing (see: Westworld, Dirk Gently, every season of B99, you get the picture). But when I season ends with a feeling of dissatisfaction and a question of what did we even achieve here, it becomes very… meh.

It was still really interesting, but it wasn’t anything to write home about – or on my blog about.

What I found really interesting was this season’s approach to feminism. Or its many approaches. Or its lack of approaches.

The basis of season 1 feminism was easy:

  • Badass female kicking butt
  • An anti-rape narrative supporting victim experiences
  • Intersectional
  • Showing off the many ways women can be cool
  • Fuck you rapists

Pretty basic stuff, but all very good.

Season 2 didn’t seem to see things that way, and in fact already in the first episode things became difficult – it started with Jeri.

She’s just won her award and her co-workers continue to berate her because she’s only just won a case against her ex-assistant for sexual assault. Jeri argues back that her assistant was a consenting adult and it shouldn’t matter anyway because “you’ve seen the way she dressed.”Jessica Jones season 2

Um. Jeri. Sweetie, no.

Of course, victim blaming happens, and it can happen from women. I don’t mind that this interaction happened – I just wish it had been acknowledged and Jeri had been corrected.

The show acknowledged gross undertones when men said them, such as Pryce’s “I never take no for an answer” being shot down as “rapey”, so why not Jeri’s?

The show further fails to fully acknowledge or call out other sexist behaviours and tropes, by continuing to have Jeri use vulnerable women to her advantage. Yes, Jeri is a bad person, we all know this. But why doesn’t Jessica call her out on it? Or anyone else? The longstanding idea that showing bad behaviour is enough to help audiences understand that it is morally wrong – but any conversation with a dudebro whose favourite film is Fight Club could tell you it rarely works out that way.

One of the more disturbing parts of the shows sexist narratives that didn’t come to a satisfying end was that of Maximilian’s sexual abuse of Trish when she was 15. Yes, he does get thoroughly shaken up by Jessica, but nothing felt resolved. They got what they wanted out of him and that was it. Has Trish dealt with her pain? Will Maximilian be publicly shamed and removed from Hollywood despite them promising they would keep quiet if he helped them? Where’s the #MeToo movement solidarity here? Jessica didn’t even rip one of his limbs off so what the hell?!

Do these issues make the show overtly sexist? Absolutely not, in fact it’s still an inherently feminist show, but it sure does take something away from the message.

I come to Jessica Jones for retribution. For a violent, unforgiving takedown of the patriarchy – where was that? This season was muddy, unfocussed, and lacking direction at many points, and because of this, so many narrative points seem lost and unresolved.

It wasn’t horrible, but for season 3 I hope to God it involves the group coming back together again, fighting a single bad guy (who is a Sexist Dickbag (also no more bad guy switcheroos, I’m tired Netflix, I’m tired)), and for Maximilian to have his nuts chopped off and hung where the whole world can see.

I want blood.

Jessica Jones season 2

Wonder Woman; and why it doesn’t matter if it’s any good (but don’t worry, it is)

Wonder Woman has singlehandedly saved the DC Cinematic Universe – but what has she done for feminism?

Praise be to whichever stars aligned above to grace us with the first female-led superhero film since the God awful ‘Elektra’ in 2005.

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Before I watched the film, I, and plenty of other people, were very worried that it would be terrible.

 

Not only does it come from the DC Cinematic franchise which is…. Let’s be real here: shit. But female superhero films tend to be made as an afterthought, with none of the same effort or money put into them as with their male counterparts.

 

And for many women, there seemed to be a lot riding on ‘Wonder Woman’ being good – in the broad sense of the word – and it’s not really surprising why.

 

There’s something called a “stereotype threat” which is a situation where a minority (or even, I suppose, a majority) feels that if they fail at something then they are confirming a common stereotype about their community.

 

This could be, an Asian woman who worries that her bad driving will be perceived as a confirmation of the stereotype of all Asian women.

 

Or a gay man, who enjoys skin care and fashion, who is afraid it will be perceived as a confirmation that all gay men are feminine.

 

There are plenty of examples we could use here, but the fear amongst many women who are so desperate for the ‘Wonder Woman’ film to be a success, is that they’re afraid that if it isn’t, it will act to confirm the stereotype that female led superhero females just can’t make bank.

 

And this is entirely understandable. Truly, a lot rides on ‘Wonder Woman’s success unfortunately. If the film doesn’t rank well, it will only serve as ammunition for male-led board members to argue that female-led movies are a waste of time – something that they’re arguing about anyway but who cares, right?

 

And if they don’t make any more of these films well… It’s a bleak future let me tell you.

 

But in my title I clearly state that it doesn’t matter if ‘Wonder Woman’ sucks – and why’s that?

 

Well, in actual fact, that’s sort of clickbait, because as I’ve stated above, it kind of does matter for so many people.

 

What I should really put in the title is that it shouldn’t matter.

 

And to be an even more shit blogger, I’m going to roughly quote someone whose name I can’t remember (but if you know who I’m talking about please feel free to correct me so I can cite them).

 

But earlier last week I watched a video of a woman who explained that she’s looking forward to the time when it won’t matter whether a female superhero film is terrible, because we’ll just keep pumping them out one after the other regardless.

 

She wants us to get to the same point we are with male-led superhero films, and she cited ‘Batman vs. Superman’ to explain.

 

Because as we all know, nobody walked out of that shit-show of a movie and said “oh well, I guess we’re done making ____man movies”. And it has to do with the fact that for every terrible male led superhero movie, there’s another great one!

 

And it has nothing to do with gender, or even the actor (just compare ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Deadpool’) – and it has everything to do with the budget, writers, and the general production understanding of the original text.

 

So I’m here to propose that we no longer give a shit whether ‘Wonder Woman’ is good – let’s just give a shit about pumping out as many terrible female-led movies as we do male-led.

 

But hey? Didn’t I say the film was good?

 

Fuck yes it was!!!

 

In all honesty, I feel like ‘Wonder Woman’ just single-handedly saved the DC Cinematic Universe which had been making some terrible decisions since… Forever.

 

It was fast-paced, funny, emotional, and absolutely empowering!

 

It was honestly something else to watch so many women kick ass, and to see Wonder Woman in action and doing her most for humanity.

 

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Objectively it was well-made, well-written, and well-paced – even if this wasn’t such a huge step for feminism, I would still highly recommend the film to everyone, because it’s just a bloody good time!

 

But why is it such a huge step for feminism?

 

Well, for me it’s because it does a lot of subverting, and a lot of work to de-stigmatize often stereotyped “women’s roles”.

 

So what does it subvert?

First and foremost, it subverts the fridging trope. If you don’t know what fridging is, I highly recommend this Feminist Frequency video.

 

But maybe wait until you watch the film or it might spoil some stuff for you.

 

It also subverts a lot of “sexy” tropes, such as the ‘born sexy yesterday’ trope.

 

As stated by tumblr user blueincandecence:

 

“The born sexy yesterday trope is predicated on the idea that a woman falls in love with the first schlub she sees and worships him. That emphatically does not happen. In fact, it’s a running gag that Steve is trying to convince Diana that he’s above average. Only when he proves it to her – through his kindness and his bravery – does she fall for him.”

 

The film also works hard to prove that things such as ‘emotional labour’ that are typically assigned to women, aren’t bad things, and certainly don’t weaken women.

 

While the conversation around emotional labour is big, it’s difficult, and it’s not one I want to touch on heavily here – it plays a big role in all of our lives, and Diana’s is no different.

 

When she steps into the ‘real world’ she finds it cruel, untrusting, and often barren of empathy. She sees Steve struggle with empathising with war slaves, and the death of children, as he insists that the quicker they finish their mission, the quicker they can save the women and children.

 

But Diana knows. You can be logical, and you can be emotional, and neither are less useful in a state of war.

 

And because of this, Diana ignores Steve’s “orders”, and uses her emotions and empathy to go where no man has gone before – ‘No-Mans Land’ in the war trenches of course 😉 – and saves the day for so many who are suffering.

 

tenor

It’s only through her ability to empathise, and prioritise safety in the here and

now, as well as in the

long-term, that makes her such a

formidable opponent as she smashes her way through the darkest, bleakest, and most fearsome front of the war.

 

Wonder Woman’ does have its flaws, and I would never call it the most feminist movie around – but rather than spend this review dwelling on these issues, I’d rather celebrate all it does to empower women all around the world, and also show men that masculinity can come in many forms – and hopefully Steve Trevor can be a positive catalyst for change and empowerment for men all around the world too.

 

So thank you to the stars above, or perhaps Patty Jenkins for making this masterpiece happen – and long may Diana Prince reign.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 – Basically just a re-hash of vol 1

So, not to be harsh, but who wrote this plot? Because it was exactly the same as the first film – but hey, we had some laughs.

Yeah that’s right.

 

I said it.

 

So you remember the first Guardians of the Galaxy right? It was hilarious.

 

It played on the teams’ dynamic – or lack thereof.

 

It focussed on reluctantly saving the galaxy, which a villain was dead set on blowing up.

 

It also had filial themes – Gamora and Nebula’s precarious (I’m being generous here) sisterhood, and their insane daddy issues.

 

It had people hunting the entire team down (although most notably, Peter).

 

And lastly, it relied on Groot to pick up where the plot – or dialogue – fell down.

 

 

And that, my friends, essentially sums up the second film too.guardians-of-the-galaxy-angry-groot

 

There are minor changes. For instance, it’s Peters turn to have Daddy Issues™, and it’s a new villain setting out to blow up the universe (or like, drown it in a vaguely explained mysterious blue goo), and um… that’s it. Those are basically the changes.

 

Like I said. It’s essentially a re-hash. In fact, it does so little in the way of new plot, that you could remove it entirely from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you’ll find very little has changed – if anything.

 

You want some pepper with that salt guys?

 

The soundtrack lowkey sucked as well.

 

Although, if I’m being honest, it might be really good to Americans. But as a Kiwi, I was hard pressed to find songs that I actually recognise besides the one Fleetwood Mac and one Cat Stevens song.

 

Or am I just really not as into country music as I thought I was? Maybe it’s time to name and shame me.

 

 

So, after all my bitching and whining, I’d just like to come out and say:

 

I really enjoyed this film.

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Yes, it’s pretty much exactly the same as the first one.

 

Yes, the soundtrack kinda sucked.

 

But you know what? It was still fucking funny.

 

The lack of team dynamic is still cool to watch.

 

Finding out about Peters heritage was cool – even if it ended badly.

 

And yeah, it’s basically great to see all the stupid, crazy, dumb superhero stuff they get up to.

 

But why did I really like it?

 

Easy.

 

Baby Groot!

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Listen, it’s not always the best idea, but in this case it was.

 

GIVE. THE. PEOPLE. WHAT. THEY. WANT.

 

What was the biggest craze that came from the first film? People went absolutely bananas for Baby Groot. Because he is the tiniest, cutest, most comedically timed tiny plant anyone has ever seen.

 

And honestly, an entire film of him as the main character would be a dream come true for me.

 

But I will settle for him as a side (or even minor) character as he was in this film.

 

What really saved this film was that even though it was a rehash, was that it was still a bloody good time. I can’t fault lazy writing – it’s what I’ve come to expect from the comedy genre (except for you Brooklyn 99 – you’ll always stay true in my heart). All I can hope for is some good laughs, and for it please, please, please not to be racist.

 

It pretty much ticked those two menial boxes, so I’d still recommend it. Just don’t expect it to completely blow your socks off, or even add much to the expanding MCU.

 

Oh, and pro tip: It has 5 end credit scenes. Yes, FIVE.

 

Stay strong peeps.

 

One more Baby Groot just because I love him

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The LEGO Batman Movie – arguably the only canonical Batman in the DC Cinematic Universe

Finally a Batman movie that actually shows him for who he really is – and is actually a really fun time.

The LEGO Batman Movie – Actually a really fucking good time

I was honestly going to try write a blog post this month that wasn’t related to comic books/superheroes.

I swear, I really was.

But listen.
I’m not fucking around here.

I genuinely do not care for any of the other Batmen who have existed within the DC Cinematic Universe. In fact, I don’t think I ever have. Not even as a kid when the only 2 superheroes that exist in your mind are Batman and Superman.

And then I took a paper in university called ‘Comics and Narratives’ and that pretty much solidified my distaste for Batman.

This Batman though? He was everything the Batman in the comics is, and because of that, everything just comes across as a piss-take. He’s hilariously rude, unforgiving, emotionally dense, and extremely show-offy with his costumes and toys.

So basically Batman to a T (or B), only with immensely self-aware writers.

In fact, I was really impressed at how much these writers were clued up on the Cinematic Universe canon, as well as much of the comic book canon. They were referencing obscure parts of the TV shows, movies, and comic books that really showed they’d done their homework.

Although, they really tried lauding Catwoman as one of Gotham City’s biggest villains, and a big time crony of the Jokers. Now, criminal? Yes. Biggest villain? In cahoots with The Joker? I don’t know which obscure, questionably canonical comics they’re referring to, but that’s not really what Selina Kyle is.

Whatever.

Beyond that, the canon was pretty spot on, and the references were insanely hilarious to watch.

It even had a few film-geek references, like calling the plane at the beginning “MacGuffin Airlines”. Any Alfred Hitchcock fan worth their shower scenes would know what a MacGuffin is.

And right from that moment, the film was a hilarious spiral of obscurity, hilarity, and absolute shredding of the Batman Cinematic Universe.

But I have to say, what really sold me on this film as being my favourite Batman of all time? The tearing apart of Suicide Squad near-constantly.

Because fuck that movie.

#shortestblogpostever #justwantedtogivethisfilmashoutout #gonnajustcallmyblogSuperheroMediaReviews