Deadpool 2 Trailer Reaction

 

I know I’m tardy to the party on this one. Recently, I have been trying to watch fewer trailers so that I spoil less of the movie for myself, and also avoid the inevitable YouTube black hole of trailer reaction videos. With that said, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is one of the best castings in comic book film history and I couldn’t resist seeing some more of this film. If the first film is any indication, the trailers don’t actually spoil all of the funniest moments.

The first “trailer” we got for Deadpool was the “Wet on Wet” teaser, a glorious Bob Ross tribute that revealed very little about the plot, like a good teaser. I avoided looking up plot details but this trailer makes it clear Cable (Josh Brolin) serves a role as a villain in this film (or at least part of it), trying to capture a mutant child (Julian Dennison) who Wade wants to protect. Cable is likely trying to capture the mutant because of something he will do in the future, thus offering a moral conundrum for this film. The mutant’s character name doesn’t appear to have been revealed yet, although a shot in this trailer and a brief glimpse in the teaser makes it look like he has some sort of pyrokinetic power.

Cable’s face is less metallic than I am used to seeing from animated adaptations and the comics. However, I believe his arm is the result of a disease so it might progress during the film or over the four-film contract that Brolin signed. Brolin really only has two lines here and I guess I’m hoping the “I’m Cable” part sounds less hokey in context when watching the film. He is a great actor, judging by other performances, so I won’t worry too much. Unless he takes the Paul Giamatti mentality that he can “be as over-the-top hammy as possible” because he’s in a comic book movie. Let’s not have a repeat of the rhino in Amazing Spider Man 2. 

I have to say this trailer takes breaking the fourth wall to another level, with its irrelevant “From the Studio That Brought You 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada” title. I always hated this trend in marketing films and it looks like Deadpool 2 was the right film to finally poke some fun at it. I also love the slow-motion shot, followed by Wade asking if they got that in slo-mo. Obviously this is probably just a result of editing, but it is clear that at some point Wade references slo-mo. That scene also looks like we might possibly see Deadpool’s black X-Force suit.

The shot in the trailer doesn’t make it clear if Wade actually has a black or grey suit, or if something might just be covering his regular one. Either way, we now know X-Force will officially be referenced in the film, with Wade bringing his own team together. Since Wolverine was a part of this team in the comics at one point, I wonder if we’ll see Wade poking more fun at his Aussie friend again. We can only hope.

Speaking of X-Men, looks like the studio might be able to afford more characters this time. Negasonic and Colossus are back but we also see Wade swivelling in Professor X’s chair, not to mention the return of the X-Jet. Maybe we get to see some other mutants this time.

With a co-director of John Wick in the chair for this film, I’m sure the action won’t disappoint. The bigger worry for me has been the plot, the humour and the characters. They weren’t poor the first time around, but a sequel always brings the worry that it won’t live up to the first.

Deadpool 2 gives us a lot of new talent in the X-Men universe, including Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz as Domino. Before the first pic of Domino was debuted people were already complaining about a black actress in the role, which is just more proof that people only use the “best actor regardless of race” argument when roles get whitewashed. Anyway, if her performance in Atlanta is any indication, she should be good here. We only get two short lines here and not much footage so we’ll likely just have to see the movie to judge most of the new cast members.

However, there is plenty to love with Reynolds getting the biggest share of screen time and lines and I can’t wait to see his derivative team on screen.

Brief Update

I’m back to writing for Factinate so I’ll be posting any of the published articles on this site.

Also, I am now aiming to have a rough draft of my second werewolf novel, Alive: Part II completed by May.

In terms of comics, I started reading Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series and I’m loving it so far. Kill or Be Killed is still my favourite ongoing series and I’m looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up. I was reading Fables but the main conflict, the conflict that has defined the series since the beginning, came to an end halfway through. So apparently the second 75 issues of the series will focus on other subplots, so I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series.

However, the series was worth the discovery for the cover art alone. James Jean put together an impressive list of masterpieces.

Getting “Offended Over Nothing”

Yet again, I was sucked into the social media black hole, scrolling through a feed of memes when I came across this post from one of my “friends”. I met this person once at a party and genuinely loved talking to them, but this post brings up a lot of questions I wanted to direct to them. I considered typing a response in the comments but figured it wasn’t worth the hassle. This person has far more Facebook friends than I do. I had no doubt a sea of people sharing his views would rush to defend him if I tried to start any form of debate, probably responding before they even fully read my post. However, I still have this blog.

Just like the infamous “triggered’ accusation, complaints about people being “offended by everything” or being “too coddled”, “sensitive” etc. all assume that the people making the accusation don’t have any issues they get worked up about.  So let’s look at the post. Basically, the idea is that people used to have real issues and they still didn’t complain as much as we did e.g lack of child labour laws, wars, friends dying. Today we still have some of these issues, e.g Syrian Civil War, poverty. So the idea is that we need to get over minor issues like “microaggressions”, stereotypes, minority representation in film etc.

Okay, that sounds fair enough. One thing though. Generally, these posts have a target in mind: the “libtards”, “social justice warriors” and so on. Posts like this, in my experience, typically come from the same people who complain about the influence of liberals, in everything from politics to TV. So the people using these posts to make a point also have their own set of issues that you could consider minor ones, relative to wars, famine etc. The guy who thinks society is crumbling because a transsexual could possibly use the same public bathroom and see his penis (for a few minutes at a time) has as much right to hear that he’s “triggered” or “offended by everything”- at least if we follow the logic of this Facebook post. This Facebook post is one of hundreds you can find online that uses the same logic, the logic that collapses on itself because it is built on a double standard that ignores context.

This reminds me of the post I did on the old advertisements, where a series of sexist and racist ads from the mid 1900s are now being embraced by viewers as an ideal that we should strive toward e.g “I wish people could take jokes like they used to.” The reaction that I had was “wow it’s good to see society has progressed since this time”, and there was the odd person who shared my view. For the most part though, people just demonstrated a wish to go back to the social and political mores of an older time.

People who use these type of Facebook posts to make a point also forget that people might just pay attention to more issues as society develops. Yes, we can still be concerned about wars and worldwide catastrophes. Society has also evolved to care about minorities more than it used to, which some people view as an unfortunate thing. Yes, we should all take moments to appreciate the good things in life, like a roof over our head. That doesn’t mean that as long as we have food and shelter, we’re not allowed to care about any other issues. Some people don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, they’re more worried about seeing gay people in their favourite movies or TV show. You can also tell them not to be “offended by everything”. Being “offended by everything” is not just a liberal issue, it is a human issue. Don’t try to hide behind the principle of “I don’t get offended” to silence the discussion of issues you don’t care about. Discuss the issue itself. This argumentative technique reminds me of the people who say they don’t like it when actors “discuss politics”. As I’ve discussed before, this is usually just their way of saying “I don’t like it when actors express political views I don’t agree with.” If the same actors they criticize were to preach views they believe in, I doubt people would say actors should stay out of politics. Hypocrisy doesn’t help the debate or create a better society. Hypocrisy is the true cause of our divided society.

Blogs= “Previously Published”

As I mentioned in my last post, I am now working on trying to get an extended version of The Doctor published, likely in a magazine. As writers, a lot of conventional wisdom tells us to create a blog so that we can try to build an audience for ourselves and so that we simply exercise our writing muscles. What a lot of the conventional wisdom does not tell you is that posting early versions or excerpts of your work can make publishing outlets consider it “previously published”. This principle can apply if you have a blog with millions of readers, or a blog with virtually none.

The simple presence of a page with a work that matches something else in title, in part or in whole, is enough to disqualify you from publication. I had this experience before with The Artifice. I created an article, and received a list of suggested edits. At the time, The Artifice’s own guidelines said the article would not be published once a certain amount of edits were suggested. So I simply posted the article on my site since I didn’t hear anything back for a few days.

The day after I post the article on my site the editor emails me to advise that my article was in queue for publication and now cannot be published since it is already published on my site, since Google searches and SEO will lead people to my site instead of theirs. So, forgetting The Artifice’s idiotic editing system and lack of clear communication, I couldn’t get my article published on a site with thousands of readers, because I posted it on a site that doesn’t even have one hundred.

Now I may run into the same system with The Doctor because a shorter version of it has already been posted on my site. A lot of my short poetry pieces end up fueling ideas for my longer works, such as my Alive series coming from the series of poems I posted on this site. I think it makes sense for ideas to develop this way and it is counter intuitive for small steps like this to be punished. It is ridiculously tough to approach a literary agent about a novel with no previously published work (“previously published” meaning having a real writer’s credit in something other than my own blog). So I write on my blog, practicing and developing ideas. Then the fully formed idea is rejected because its predecessor is alive on this blog.

The Swap and the next publishing mission.

I have previously discussed my plan to try to get my short story, The Swap, published before I try to get any of my novels published. The idea was that having some success on a smaller scale is worth the time and effort in order to make myself more appealing to sales-minded literary agents on a bigger scale.

As expected, I have been met with some rejection but the most recent one actually gave me personalized feedback, as opposed to a generic rejection letter e.g “Thanks for sending us… We will have to pass.”

In this feedback the editor says the pacing was an issue, and then also says the writing was too “on the nose”.

Now, perhaps I have some work to do on the pacing. The comment about the writing being too one the nose interested me though. The short story was inspired by a previous blog post, where I argued that getting racists or racism apologists to swap bodies with a black person would be the only way to make people see that our world is not colour-blind.

In my story, Jason Byrd volunteers to have his mind implanted in a black man’s for six months, in return for a $200,000 payday if he doesn’t feel like his new skin gets him treated negatively. I am thinking the editor’s comments apply to Byrd’s internal monologues, where he lashes out at social justice warriors, political correctness etc.

The thing is, that is how the new breed of racists talk. They take any opportunity to share their bitterness and resentment with an audience, especially an online audience that allows them to hide behind distance and anonymity.

Look at this blog post as an example, where two videos that have nothing to do with feminism lead to some disgruntled man getting triggered and seeing an opportunity to vent.

A scene with a female character in it leads someone to give praise to the series for not having “feminazi bullshit” in it.

“Deborah Ann Woll is so beautiful and talented. The female characters in this show are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. No feminazi bullshit, no pandering, no SJW nonsense, just all normal, strong, believable women characters that didn’t make me feel like I was watching a show created by tumblr. I loved Karen and Madani in this show (Madani started off annoying until around episode 4 though.) This show is just so well done. There’s some cheesy writing here and there, some flat jokes, but shit, nothing is perfect. I’m stoked for season 2.”

Another scene with two female extras leads to a rant on woman not being good fighters.

“This is such a bullshit scene LOL I laughed out loud there’s no less than two women in that crowd. There is not a single civilian contracted mercenary group that would ever hire women for combat. Sjw’s and stupidity may have forced the US Army to allow women into combat but civilians don’t have to and most people that own their own businesses are smart enough to know simple facts of life. Simple facts such as women are ineffective in combat and if you don’t believe that look at any stats from the US military’s physical Fitness tests. Without fail the ratio of men passing these tests to women passing these tests are ten-to-one one across-the-board. They are not built for combat there’s nothing sexist about that it’s simple fact men are Fighters they are built to be that way women are not.”

As much as bigots complain about everyone being “offended by everything” nowadays, the bigots reveal their own insecurities and fears when they let small instances of minority representation get under their skin. They reveal that they are the ones whose minds are always circling with thoughts of victimhood. You can argue that online forums would give a more concentrated dose of this thought process, but anonymity just allows people to truly be themselves. It can also further polarize people since many online users seek out information that already supports their worldview (the selective exposure thesis). However, polarized online thoughts do eventually translate to polarized internal thoughts. Hence Jason Byrd’s diatribes against the world around him. On the nose? Maybe. Accurate? Definitely.

With that said, I am not saying my writing is perfect. Maybe I still drive the point home too bluntly, but for now I am moving on to another short story. I’ll be turning The Doctor into a short story, aiming for about 5,000 words this time since that seems to be the lower end of the accepted spectrum. However, I’ll just write what I feel and see where it gets me.

Aziz Ansari, Consent and Rape Culture

In a sense it all began with Harvey Weinstein. He wasn’t the first man or high-powered Hollywood executive to sexually assault multiple women, but he was a part of one of the biggest scandals in the past few years, and once his actions were exposed, many more women gained the courage to report their own incidents of sexual assault. Fear of reprisals or career damage no longer shackled all the women who experienced sexual assault, in Hollywood or elsewhere.

The #Metoo movement was birthed and a slew of other film and television figures entered the headlines over the past few months, including actors such as Kevin Spacey. A particular disappointing one for me was the story of Aziz Ansari. Since the story first broke, the Ansari story appears to be one of the more divisive stories. Not only because the actor denies the allegations, but because many people don’t truly believe that the account of the alleged victim (Grace), really constitutes sexual assault.

While scrolling through Medium, I came across this article that studies the issue of consent for this case. One of the biggest issues that Grace detractors have is that there were moments when she did not clearly says she didn’t want sex. In their eyes, women should be comfortable simply saying no instead of relying on non-verbal cues, such as their body language.

I can agree that women should feel confident to simply say no. In this case, Grace is not Ansari’s employee. While Ansari is a man of some influence, it is not as if she was at a direct risk of losing her job if she simply said “I don’t want to have sex with you. I’m leaving.” However, if we read Grace’s account, we see that Ansari’s response to her saying “I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this” is to get them to put their clothes back on and “chill”. Fair enough, but then he kept trying to kiss her, stick his fingers down her throat and take her pants off. That seems to nullify the whole point of putting the clothes back on.

It finally clicks for Ansari that Grace isn’t interested when she pulls away from a kiss: that is when he agrees to call a ride for her. Just prior to that, she moves away from him and says she is calling a ride. She is then greeted with a hug and another kiss she doesn’t want. If anything, it was a non-verbal cue that finally let the message sink in. People who argue that Grace should have just said no, probably didn’t read her full account.  They read the accounts of her discomfort with Ansari’s advances and quickly rushed to the comment section.

I believe this animosity or apathy towards Grace has two main reasons.

  1. For men, it reflects a fear that they could make advances on a woman that they think are consensual (because she doesn’t explicitly say no), only to be the target of sexual assault allegations afterwards.
  2. For women, they can avoid having to empathize with Grace or put themselves in her shoes since they can think “Well I would have given him a firm no so that wouldn’t have happened to me”.

The “she should have said no” excuse has some merit. However, it also removes any responsibility for men to pick up on non-verbal cues. Anyone who is not autistic should be able to pick up on body language, such as moving away, averted eye contact etc. as signs that this woman does not seem interested. The answer is not to keep trying or offer more liquor like Ansari did. Someone like Ansari is likely used to fawning fangirls and I always wondered if this led to a form of blindness overtime. You get used to people fawning over your status so much that reluctance becomes harder to see. This is not an excuse for Ansari’s behaviour, I simply wonder if it is a factor.

Some of the Ansari defence uses slut-shaming and rape culture as their crutch, such as this comment on the Medium article.

“The best way to avoid a situation like hers was to not engage in one-night-stands. This goes for men and women. Have enough self-respect and self-control to get to know a person before you commit the most intimate act two people can.”

Basically, she was “asking for it”. Like I told this guy, this isn’t the 1950s. This antiquated idea that sex must always come from commitment or lead to it is a holdover from a time when sexuality was supposed to be the domain of a housewife and her husband. I liked to think that in 2018, a woman who is in the mood for sex, isn’t blamed for someone else’s aggressive advances. Wanting sex does not mean that you want sex from anyone, or that you are open to a potential sexual partner doing anything. As an example, if you agree to have sex with someone and then they want to do specific sexual acts that make you uncomfortable, then you have every right to say no. You were not asking for it if things get out of hand or if your partner’s true colours were not what you expected.

The excuses that rely on slut-shaming and rape culture don’t even require the detractor to read the article, and I’m pretty sure that the guy who wrote this did not read Grace’s account or the Medium article I linked to. He just saw an opportunity to judge someone else for their sexual behaviour, which didn’t fit his idea of what a proper woman should be like. “Tye Fox” says this excuse applies to men and women but I still have to wonder if he would jump to this defence to defend a woman sexually assaulting a man.

All this to say that I agree that there were blurred lines about consent in the Ansari story, not clear consensual sex as Ansari argued. Yes, I believe Grace could have been firmer with her rejection, but I also think some responsibility for what happened falls on Ansari. I believe that Grace did enough to signal she was uninterested, and that Ansari ignored clear signs. I have to wonder what dates look like for the hordes of men who are taking Ansari’s side on this issue (if they actually read the full Grace account). Do they also ignore a women when she says she doesn’t think she wants to hook up? Do they just try to feed her more liquor and keep trying to stick their fingers down her throat?

Next Publishing Mission

Earlier this year, I committed myself to finishing my fourth book, Alive: Part II and a short story entitled The Swap.

Alive: Part II is about 3/4 complete, and The Swap is now complete.

Instead of trying to get any of my books published for the moment, I want to pursue publication for The Swap. I have submitted it to two magazines so far, with one of those submissions ultimately being a waste. I made the mistake of assuming the manuscript format was similar to what is accepted for novel submissions (you can laugh at my mistake) but short story ones are a different creature entirely. I am pretty sure the editor of the magazine didn’t bother reading the story before he rejected it, and I can’t blame him.

There aren’t that many magazines that accept science-fiction stories of my story’s length so I don’t have that many outlets to submit to. I am hoping that one of the less than 10 options I have works out, but the odds of that are very slim.

If the short story submissions don’t work out I’ll likely post it here and then try to gain some traction online through other outlets. Trying to publish a book without any previous publishing experience is almost impossible so I figure that having a real publishing credit under my belt can help (marginally) when I continue that search.

Kristen Wiig as Cheetah

Kristen Wiig was rumoured to be in talks to play Wonder Woman villain, Cheetah, for a few days before it became official yesterday.

As expected, this led to a lot of discussion online and it appears that most of the supporters of this decision were either rabid Wiig fans or people who appealed to the “Heath Ledger” argument. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker many people, myself included, were very skeptical of the decision. Ledger then went on to blow most people away and deliver my favourite portrayal of The Joker.

What people need to realize is that Ledger was the exception to the rule. He is one of the very few questionable casting decisions that turned out to be a wise choice. For every Ledger Joker, we also get Jared Leto Joker (which has not aged well in my opinion).

Sorry Leto.

Another issue is that some actors or actresses are not suited for certain roles. Colin Firth is a great actor but I don’t think he’d make a good choice for Wolverine, or Jack Reacher. Wiig may have the acting chops for a serious role but that still does not mean that this is a good role for her.

I will hold out some hope for this casting since I thought Gal Gadot would fail to carry a movie as the lead. However, I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and put blind faith in this casting decision working out perfectly.

What Does It Take for Something to be Considered Racist Nowadays?

I had another moment of weakness recently, scrolling through the scourge of YouTube’s recommended videos and watching a video from the REACT channel. Below was one of the recommended videos, and as you can guess, the title got my attention.

The video I was watching was one where millennials are basically tested on their knowledge of songs from the 90s, 80s etc. I guess the theme of “older music” related to older tv commercials with YouTube’s algorithm. Anyone who has read my previous posts might know my thoughts on the criticism of “pc culture” or “triggered snowflakes”. In short, the criticism of people who get “offended by everything” is often an argumentative tool used by outright bigots to defend their prejudice. You disagree with them saying Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the US? You’re politically correct. If a smaller issue pops up, like people complaining about whitewashing in a film, you can bet that these same bigots will be there to complain about people getting worked up over nothing. And then they’ll also be the first to complain if a character gets “blackwashed”. Sometimes, political correctness can go too far. However, the people who constantly rally against pc culture are often just bigots upset that the world no longer tolerates their bigotry the same way it used to. They want to return to the good old days.

The commercials above are a great example. I did not watch all of them. Why? The title of the video and the description (which pokes fun at present “I’m offended” era) says there was nothing wrong with these ads at the time and also implies that there is nothing wrong with them now either. In short, while people nowadays are more likely to get offended because they are “snowflakes”, the ads are not racist. The issue is the pc snowflakes, not the ads themselves. That is the point the poster and most of the commenters are making.

So, if I watch any of the ads and find any of them offensive, that means I view the poster’s point as invalid. Firstly, many of these ads were released decades ago. Some were released during times such as Jim Crow, so obviously the standards for representations of minorities were not the same. If you are watching videos from that time and your first reaction is “I wish people would tolerate commercials like this nowadays”, then you are the issue: Not social justice warriors, political correctness, feminazis, white knights etc.

This is the perfect example that many people that say they want to avoid being pc just want to be able to embrace racism and misogyny without any criticism or pushback from the society around them. One commenter after another fails to see that maybe it is a good thing that these sexist and racist ads are no longer acceptable. Yes, maybe people do get offended by nothing sometimes, but these people think these ads are a good example of “nothing”.

In this day and age, these right-wingers need to hear a racial slur or see a lynching to be convinced that something is in fact racist.

The Right is Still Triggered

Note: To anyone reading, sorry for the hiatus. Been busy sorting out a move into a new place and just got internet set up yesterday. Without further ado, back to it.

I have my moments of distraction, where I spend time in the black hole of YouTube recommendations, watching scenes from some of my favourite shows or the other random videos that pique my interest. I was watching a clip from Netflix’s The Punisher, when I came across a random right-wing comment.

“Deborah Ann Woll is so beautiful and talented. The female characters in this show are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. No feminazi bullshit, no pandering, no SJW nonsense, just all normal, strong, believable women characters that didn’t make me feel like I was watching a show created by tumblr. I loved Karen and Madani in this show (Madani started off annoying until around episode 4 though.) This show is just so well done. There’s some cheesy writing here and there, some flat jokes, but shit, nothing is perfect. I’m stoked for season 2.”

Firstly, this comment is amusing since the 20+ other comments after it didn’t mention politics at all. No one else was mentioning “feminazis” or sjws, so who is really triggered here?

Next, this post also demonstrates how intolerance is relative. This viewer commends Karen’s character and her inclusion in the series, while also saying it isn’t “feminazi bullshit”. For some people, any scene with a female lead (if she isn’t banging the male lead) is feminazi bullshit. Any strong female character becomes a Mary Sue and part of a feminist agenda.

As an example, look at this comment on this Punisher clip. In the below scene, Billy Russo is giving a speech to potential recruits of his private military contracting firm, Anvil.

Now check out this comment from a triggered right-winger who sees two female applicants.

“This is such a bullshit scene LOL I laughed out loud there’s no less than two women in that crowd. There is not a single civilian contracted mercenary group that would ever hire women for combat. Sjw’s and stupidity may have forced the US Army to allow women into combat but civilians don’t have to and most people that own their own businesses are smart enough to know simple facts of life. Simple facts such as women are ineffective in combat and if you don’t believe that look at any stats from the US military’s physical Fitness tests. Without fail the ratio of men passing these tests to women passing these tests are ten-to-one one across-the-board. They are not built for combat there’s nothing sexist about that it’s simple fact men are Fighters they are built to be that way women are not.”

So this person is obviously harping on the fact that women typically have less upper body strength than men. He says women pass these tests at a ten-to-one ratio compared to men, and that ratio of women is approximately what we see here. Maybe (emphasis on maybe) I could understand where he was coming from if the group was mostly women, but to go on a rant because two women are in a scene?

Like I said, sjw and feminazi are relative. They are not absolutes. “Feminazi bullshit” to one person can be completely overlooked by another. The more right-wing you are, the more sensitive you will be to any minority or female inclusion.