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Saturday, August 03, 2019 

Black Widow film screenwriter doesn't want to please fans of the comic material

The left-leaning Inverse spoke with one of the writers of the upcoming Black Widow movie, and she's another of the PC crowd now clogging Marvel's movieverse soon after Stan Lee's passing who disrespects fans of the better material from years past:
Schaeffer has a bold vision for superhero movies of the coming decade: more sympathetic villains, less glamorization of weaponry, and stronger representation of marginalized voices. To comic book movie fans who prefer ultra-violent shoot-outs, 100 percent-evil villains, and casts that look like they did a decade or two ago, Schaeffer says, “I’m not interested in adhering to comic canon that is discriminatory in any way or that violates my values system.”

Even if her stance makes Black Widow a target for sabotage on sites like Rotten Tomatoes à la the response to Captain Marvel, don’t expect Schaeffer to budge from her passion for positive change by even an inch. “When people react with hate, it saddens me. I think it’s a shame,” she says, “But that’s not where I want to put my energy. I’m not interested in the loud, sour-grapes voices.”
It's not even clear what she means by "discriminatory". But IMO, it is clear she's got a troubling viewpoint when it comes to villains. There's been too many examples in comics already of tales sympathetic to villains (and let's not forget what DC and Marvel both have in store this year), and not enough emphasis on heroism, if at all, recalling Civil War from 13 years ago was one of the worst, most overrated examples of superheroes fighting each other. Sure, the Sandman did reform in the early-to-mid 80s, and villains reforming, depending on the severity of their records, is an impressive idea. But if it's supervillains with a murderous record like the Joker, that's where the whole notion of sympathetic portrayal becomes revolting, and this can even apply to villains who don't count as costumed. If Schaeffer's going to depict any of Marvel's grimiest villains in a sympathetic light, that's reason to worry. Is that what she thinks of as "positive"? Oh, and if it matters, she was already involved with another dreadful project that debuted a few months ago:
Schaeffer’s work for Marvel also includes contributing writing to 2019’s Captain Marvel and showrunning the Disney+ series WandaVision, scheduled for a spring 2021 release.

“I wasn’t a huge superhero movie fan before starting to work [at Marvel], but now that I’m doing it, there’s just so much opportunity to make big, positive statements,” Schaeffer says. “Especially something like Captain Marvel and Black Widow, to have these female-centered stories — I just can’t not be involved in that.”
And she also can't resist filling it with propaganda like "toxic masculinity", I presume? Or any kind of message that men are all bad unless they adhere to a privileged status mindset? I do wonder what we're to expect here. If the CM film could be as bad as it was, why should we expect much different from this new flick? They also bring up a TV project she's working on, and note:
Of the eight writers staffed on WandaVision, four of them are women. When accounting for the executives, assistants, and Schaeffer herself, the show’s writers’ room is majority female.

Hiring a writers’ room of that makeup was “incredibly intentional, and it was very much supported by Marvel,” she says. “I felt incredibly strongly that we needed women and people of color and people of all backgrounds and perspectives in the room. I believe — I think it is fact — that stories are better the more perspectives you have.”
No kidding! I'm sure no conservatives are included or allowed, however, not even women and POC of all backgrounds. So what's her point if they shun according to politics? Besides, more perspectives doesn't always equal better stories, despite what she says.
It’s clear Schaeffer is psyched about the action sequences in Black Widow. She does, however, pose this challenge to creators of superhero projects: “I would like to see alternatives to violence in superhero movies.” She added, “Maybe I would qualify that by saying, alternatives to glamorizing guns and weaponry. That’s one of the reasons that I love Captain Marvel — it’s all about inner power. And the destruction is not at the expense of human life.”
Now isn't that funny. Marvel may have done something like that back in the comics already, at the expense of the action, and even the adventure. All for the sake of leftist politics and ideology preaching. Does she also love how Carol Danvers is reduced to a Mary Sue and a cypher in the finished product?

As for destruction not coming at the expense of human life, well, there was a time when this idea was cherished in comics, but not anymore. Or at least, not since company wide crossovers became the norm by the early 90s, and you'd see DC for starters kill off easy target characters for publicity stunts, an approach even Marvel wasn't immune to. I do think violence needs to be toned down in entertainment if it's overly nihilistic, but people like her are hardly qualified to argue about it. Especially when she makes a statement that sounds like she favors gun control at the expense of self-defense for innocents.
Something else Schaeffer would like to see more of in superhero projects in the 2020s — which she says Marvel already excels at — is villains with more complexity. She points to Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther. He’s a good example of a villainous character whose motive and emotions displays shades of gray.

“My kids are really obsessed with ‘good guys vs. bad guys,’” Schaeffer said of her two preschool-age children. “Sometimes I explain [to them], ‘Every good guy can be a bad guy’ and vice versa. It’s complicated, but that’s sort of lost on them. That’s one thing that I think can be explored more in the future — I would hope that there are ever-increasing moves toward the gray and toward complexity.”
This is another problem with modern writing - everybody's making such a big dopey deal over "complexity", at the expense of entertainment value. To the point where villains can't be written in simple terms anymore, and the heroes are often more neglected because the villains are somehow more interesting in every way. It's even led to the horrific notion of turning goodies into baddies, and that's where things get really offensive. Today's PC/SJW crowd cannot appreciate the basic meaning of heroism, not even anti-heroes with flaws. At the end of the article, she said:
Wherever her career takes her, Schaeffer has a few guiding principles:

“I choose to be a part of projects that are about positive representation. We need to see women, we need to see people of color, we need to see nuanced experiences, and we need to see different perspectives on screen,” she says. “I choose to work with people who are interested in changing perspectives for the better, and putting a world on screen that is something we can aspire to and have conversations about, and moving in a direction that will create a world I hope will be better for my children.”
And here I thought all these decades, that's just what was done! As a result, she's erasing the accomplishments of earlier stars, including Sidney Poitier, Michelle Pfeiffer, and goodness knows who else in showbiz. Even the anti-Comicsgate bunch have done stuff like that, and as a result, obscured even the work of people like Laurie S. Sutton, who worked in comics in the 80s and 90s, and whose credits include several Adam Strange backup stories in Green Lantern during 1980-81. This is just plain hilarious how these know-it-alls make calls for stuff that's been commonplace ever since the dawn of cinema. Some commenters on Newsarama, which linked to this article, stated:
When film is no longer an escape from the real world it's truly sad. Hollywood has abandoned entertainment for activism.
This is why I've lost faith in Marvel. They've decided to change the characters at their core. These are comic characters in name only. I'm fine with changing a story but don't change a characters core or elements of what makes them who they are. At least for the characters with Significant history.

Sorry but Thor in Endgame is no longer the Thor from the comics in any capacity. Same goes for the Hulk. Captain Marvel is only remotely like the comic but that's a good thing she's intolerable in the comics. I can stand her onscreen version a little.
While taking liberties with original setups is fine in itself, everything's diluted when laughable activism becomes the basis of the project. Especially when the filmmakers begin spouting unintentionally funny calls for things that were already done before, and have been painfully obvious since. And true success is measured on scripting merit, not identity politics. Marvel must've really had this in store to make use of after Stan Lee passed on, and it's little more than an insult to his legacy, which they never respected to begin with. Will people begin to wake up now and realize the current wave of films is going to be considerably less worthy than the last? I'd like to hope so, but chances are it'll still be a long time before they do.

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One of Stan Lee's strengths was that his villains had depth and complexity; he often made them sympathetic characters. Dr Doom was given an origin that explained how he became a villain; We saw how the Red Skull went from a picked-upon nobody to a schemer to rival Hitler. His villains had reasons for doing evil. Dormammu was a danger to earth but a protector of e people he ruled. Characters like Galactus, Pluto, Ego, had their own kind of dignity and nobility. Many of his villains became heroes, like the Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Complexity and entertainment aren't opposites. You want to read a story with some meat in it.

Technically, Red Skull getting depth was more around the 1990s, and I'm not entirely sure that's a good example to use. Before then, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon specifically created him as a stand-in for Nazi Germany and "exaggerated" their crimes (though ironically enough he actually came across as exceedingly realistic despite that, and if anything was more of an understatement regarding the Nazis' depravity). Not to mention Stan Lee never actually created Red Skull, so there's that to be considered, and I'm doubtful using Red Skull as a mouthpiece for supporting the border simply to promote the writer's borderless society philosophy, or using him to condemn Walmart or universal healthcare is a good example of giving depth to a character. I'll give you Dr. Doom, though, that guy actually WAS created by Stan Lee. Though I think a key difference is that under Stan Lee, they at least made an effort to make clear that, while they may have had more human and sympathetic traits, they are still first and foremost villains and should NOT be rooted for.

Besides, while in theory they aren't necessarily opposites, and if done right, a complex gray character can be a very good character (Noah Bennet is one of Heroes' best characters, for example), more often than not, making the villains complex or making grays for the heroes just ruins them. Take the 2014 Maleficent movie, for example. They tried to make the titular villain more like Darth Vader, and that just resulted in her essentially being a good guy despite being Satan incarnate and utterly ruining her character as a result, and don't get me started on how it utterly ruined many other characters, like Prince Phillip or even King Stefan [basically turned one of Disney's best fathers into an utter monster]. And don't get me started on the Prequel Trilogy or Return of the Jedi, where they utterly ruined the Jedi by adding grays by making them about as bad as the Sith they were fighting against, and arguably being even WORSE due to it being heavily implied that the Jedi don't even believe in absolute standards and that everything was relative. Heck, most of the Metal Gear characters are written extremely horribly, many times not having any real consistency and many times coming across as self-serving nihilistic hypocrites, and many times tend to regress in development, or if they truly develop, just develop in a way that comes across as character assassination.

Simon and Kirby created the Red Skull; but Lee and Kirby gave him an origin in Tales of Suspense 66, and that story gave him depth as a character without making him sympathetic. Not sure about giving him depth in the 90s; sounds like they gave him shallowness around then! But the theme of political demagogues turning Americans against each other by exacerbating racial and religious divisions for heir own ends, only to turn out to be doing it for a foreign power, was one Stan Lee returned to often; with the Hatemonger, with the Sons of the Serpent.

The Red Skull wanted an Aryan America without the 'inferior races', so he probably would have been for a wall on the border, if only as a symbol. He might have been in favor of universal health care, since Germany had a system like that since the time of Bismarck; it was seen by Bismarck as a way of pre-empting a communist revolution and securing their loyalty to Germany, by giving the people some of the benefits of socialism within a nationalist framework. The Skull might have been pro-Walmart; the Nazis were always willing to work with big soulless corporations, and government that involved big business was part of fascist thinking.

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