The Crimes of Grindelwald include a serious lack of wokeness

Where is the wokeness? Where’s that same woke energy you bring to Twitter and changing the OG HP books JK Rowling? WHERE?

*Not spoiler free, but no massive twists revealed either

By now it’s likely you’ve heard at least a few of the lukewarm reviews of The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second instalment of the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts.

I definitely fall in the category of reviewers who found this film lacking something much needed, but I don’t think the universe needs yet another review about that. I’ve also already done a podcast with What I Watched Tonight all about those feelings so if you’re interested in my opinion on that then you can listen here.

Instead, I’m interested in fleshing out the films lack of “wokeness” – for lack of a better word. Now, obviously I take issue with most films lack of wokeness, but this feels especially important for one main reason:

Since discovering her wokeness, and experiencing a tirade of displeasure from Twitter, JK Rowling has made it her mission to go back and retrospectively add representation into her books when it isn’t there.

I am someone who is a huge advocate for representation in media, however when JK Rowling does this, it feels an awful lot like a cop out. I personally understand that when she wrote the books she didn’t have the understanding about representation she does now, so I understand why it was lacking in the Harry Potter series. I personally feel that a better way for her to approach the situation would have been to say “Listen, I fucked up, but I’ll try better in future.”

But the many Crimes of Grindelwald are that she then goes back on that and we’re pretty much at original Harry Potter levels of representation once again.

#1. Where’s my gay Dumbledore?


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Probably the first and most noteworthy change, or “announcement” she made in her new wokeness, was that Dumbledore was gay the whole time and was in love with Grindelwald so…. Prove it? Where was that in this film? I love me some Jude Law but boy was he so very not the gay Dumbledore we all know and love. And on that note, why suddenly is the reason Dumbledore took so long to fight Grindelwald because of some random, unmentioned blood pact instead of GAY PINING LOVE??? Missed opportunityand massive cop out.

#2. Why were the two female leads from the first film sidelined, and the other female lead FRIDGED?

giphy.gifI believe I’ve expressed my feelings about fridging before, but if not, fridging is essentially where writers kill of female characters in order to give emotional gravitas to a male characters storyline and give them a “push”. You can read more about it here, but Leta Lestrange DESERVED BETTER.

Tina also deserved better. Like, bitch where was you this whole film? Gone AF pining over Newt. Queenie also deserved better. She is NOT as dumb as this film makes her out to be. She is a strong woman who loves fiercely but she is full of common sense and I don’t believe the Queenie in the first movie would do this shit.

#3. So somehow in the 6 months between the first and second films Newt Scamander became a lady killer?


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What’s up with every female needing to be in love with male leads? I hate that trope. If they start turning him into a know-it-all Sherlock type I’m walking out. I don’t know quite where I’m going with this point but fuck this.

Ok so that’s how I feel. Actually there are a whole lot more emotions but fuck it, this film has had enough of my attention. Basically, JK IF YOU’RE GONNA DO BETTER, ACTUALLY DO BETTER WITH THE SOURCE MATERIAL YOU ARE CREATING.

A few sidenotes:

Theseuss hot AF

Dumbledore big dick energy

Nifflers ftw

Leta deserved better

Ocean’s 8 proves why we should do all-female reboots of everything

We got that Harvey Specter, Han Solo, Danny Ocean feeling and we aren’t letting it go

*SPOILER FREE*

I’m a feminist.

I’m a cold-blooded feminist killjoy who loves to explain to men (and everybody) why representation is important in media.

Hell, I started a blog all about it.

(hi)

But something I always find difficult to articulate to (white) men, is why representation is important. Women and other minorities know all too well why it’s so important to see yourself reflected in diverse roles.

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But men who see themselves in every single possible role, often don’t understand why it’s hard to imagine a world where you can be an astronaut, a CEO, a mathematician, or anything else when you aren’t represented as being able to do those roles – even in fantasy worlds.

I’ve thought long and hard on how best to explain this to even just my partner, without going on a crazy rant yet again. But watching Ocean’s 8 made it so so so clear exactly why, and in terms that men can probably understand.

You know that feeling you get when you see Han Solo weave through meteors that no Empire pilot could navigate, and do it all with a smirk and a one liner?

You know that moment Harvey Specter lays down the evidence and wins a case that seemed unbeatable, adjusts his cuff links, and walks off to a badass song?

Or what about Raymond Reddington, finessing yet another whatever it is he does that white men love so much?

More to the point, it’s that moment when Danny Ocean pulls off the grandest heist in history with all his buddies by his side and in a fantastic suit and some amazing cars.

These men who we idolise, because they are witty, and smart, and do things we wish we could do, while dressing like we wish we dressed, and absolutely crushing every moment and never failing? We want to be them even though maybe they live lives we don’t actually want, but God they do it well and with so much style.

Except we don’t – because we’re women. As women, we see these men and we like them, but it’s just another white man in a position, role, or life we already knew white men could have. We don’t want to be them and hijack their jokes and style.

Where’s our Han? Our Harvey? Our Raymond? Our Danny? They’re starting to arrive, and it feels oh so good to see someone like you who is badass, witty, intelligent, and absolutely winning at whatever they do.

Ocean’s 8 was that – and a million times more. I wasn’t relating to these characters because I would never be these characters – but boy did I want to.

Our fast cars and alcohol references were switched with fashion and art, and it was glorious.

The stakes were high, the jokes were sly, and yes, it’s all just one big vapid heist movie. But it means so much on a larger scale and I absolutely love it.

The whole movie impressed so much the fact that females are each other’s strengths, and that men are wholly unnecessary to reach our goals. That women can come from all corners of life and absolutely slay a project to death.

It also featured a high level of female songs, largely focussed on the art about women in the MET, and showed that high fashion is just as sexy and ex

citing and suitable for heist movies as fast cars and cigars.

And fuck, it had Rihanna so ????

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On a final note, if you still aren’t convinced as to why representation matters, in the words of Debbie Ocean:

“Remember, you’re not doing this for me. You’re not doing this for you. Somewhere out there, there is an 8-year-old girl who dreams of one day being a criminal. You’re doing it for her.”

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The Last Jedi: A review for which I can’t think of a good name for

The Last Jedi – something I needed to immediately review after going to a midnight screening. God I’m trash for this franchise.

Obviously this will be 100% packed with spoilers – you have been warned.

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SO.

FIRST OF ALL.

I just wanna say, WHY THE FUCK AM I NOW A REYLO SHIPPER????

I expected a lot of things to come from The Last Jedi, but a complete 180 on my extreme hate of Reylo these past 2 years was not one of them!

Bitch I’m mad. Mostly at myself.

Outwardly I vilify media that glorifies, romanticises, and sexualises the male psychopath/villain. It’s an overdone trope, and ultimately harmful to our conceptions of violent and abusive men/relationships.

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And yet inwardly, they give me this dark, brooding fellow who has a connection with Rey and stands so close to her and I’m like – “colour me a fuckin moron cus my hormones have done did it again!”.

I’m a heterosexual piece of shit. Reylo is trash and therefore so am I.

On the topic of relationships in this film – what’s up with the weak-but-present attempt at a love triangle between Rose-Finn-Rey? Not here for that. Not here for anybody’s love triangles.

And while I loved Finn and Rose, I’ll be a FinnxPoe for life.

OKAY. ENOUGH ABOUT ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS.

What did I actually think about The Last Jedi?

In an overarching and simplified run-on sentence, I would say: I really, thoroughly enjoyed the visuals of the film, as well as the new characters introduced, however I found the storyline to be somewhat lacking for the length of the film, and many of the new aliens to be a weird fit within the universe aesthetic.

If you were looking for a TL;DR then that was it, but as ever, I have more to say!

 

In terms of storyline, all I really have to say is that for 2 and a half hours, nothing very important seemed to happen? Of course, there were branch off storylines of significance, but the core of this entire film seemed to revolve around the Rebel ship running out of fuel and being unable to outrun the Star Destroyer. I mean, important, but not necessarily the plot accelerator I expect from the second film of a trio, nor the lengthiest instalment from the franchise.

And yes, when I reviewed The Force Awakens, I mentioned that it was essentially A New Hope, and we can see that once again in The Last Jedi as well.

Love triangles, Rebel bases on white, barren planets with AT-T upgrades, riding on tauntaun shaped creatures, a Lando-moment, and a face-off with the bad-guy and the good-guy – pretty similar to Empire Strikes Back, no?

BUT, it didn’t follow the script – albeit half to its demise, as at least a lot happens in The Empire Strikes Back – and half to its merit, if only for it not being a carbon copy like The Force Awakens was.

Visually, however, it was stunning. The camera work on this film was advanced, with a number of tracking shots and those wide-angle landscape shots I do love so much. The beauty of this film was a happy medium between classic Star Wars, and the visual success of Rogue One – even if the aliens and buildings sometimes verged on the prequels.

But what about representation? In my Force Awakens blog post, I stressed the importance of this, and how impressed I was by the inclusivity of the new series – however I knew there was a long way to go. It’s a sad, sad day when you can look at all the characters in a near-50 year franchise and say that all 4 of the female characters are white, brunette, and very, very similar looking.

And in this film, hazzuh! Rose arrived! She was fantastic, I loved her bold passion, her understanding of right or wrong and moral obligations. She was loud, brave, and not afraid to call people out – I loved it! Did I think they did her character justice? No, there are quite a few characters floating around this series now, that I almost felt they did no one justice in terms of arcs and storylines – but nonetheless she was an appreciated inclusion!

In fact, we had 4 whole female characters in ONE movie who played a significant part in the plot!! 5 or 6 if you include Billie Lourde’s character and Phasma (I don’t. Sorry, I love them, but in terms of plot they weren’t that important)!! Amazing – that’s a near smorgasboard of female representation!!!  *light sarcasm, as there were truly only 6 male characters who played a significant part in the plot *

I think in terms of plot, what they did really well was not take themselves too seriously. In fact, this film was hilarious! It knew that the force is a bit weird and magical, so that moment between Rey and Luke where he gets her to “reach out” and then tricks her – hilarious! The film was also heavily self-aware of how childish Kylo is, so when he was mocked for being an emo teenage boy I was in tears!

It also – thankfully – revealed Rey’s parentage, and I can’t express how happy I am that her parents are nobodies! Unlike the OG Reylo shippers, who were desperate for their ship not to be related (however foolish they are for shipping characters in the Star Wars universe before knowing parentage), I was desperate for someone in the fucking galaxy to not be related to the original characters. Praise – she’s nobody! Nobody from Jakku!

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A few final points that I’ll put in bullets because who the fuck is still reading:

  • Why did they make Luke such a Kenobi-esque-traditionalist? My boy wanted to recreate the new Jedi order to reflect both the dark and light within us, and acknowledge the Jedi’s emotional needs – so what the fuck was up with him doing a 180 on that with Rey?
  • There was a character who stutters! Albeit, he was a traitorous bad guy so not altogether “positive” representation, but I’m convinced he’ll have an arc in the next film
  • Leia using the force was fuckin dope. No more needed to say on that.
  • Going to midnight screenings is fucking great! Two people recreated the Vine from Force Awakens where a guy has his flash on filming the opening credits and someone goes “turn off the flash you fucking moron!”. Also when I needed to go pee halfway through I was running down the corridor and there was a guy running up it and we laughed at each other – it was great.
  • Ummmmm… that end scene? Fuckin sucked dude. Why did we end on that one kid looking into the stars with his Rebel ring? I get it, future generations, new hopes, yadda yadda yadda, but every time we hype up a young white boy to be a jedi well… Ain’t gone so great so far. Is he supposed to be an Anakin lookalike? I ain’t vibing with this.

OK I’M DONE! I regurgitated it all out, I can move on and patiently wait for the shit-show that will be the Han Solo standalone. Colour me terrified guys.

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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.

 

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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.