Monday, October 24, 2022

Black Adam movie's screenplay builds on left-wing metaphors

Overrated wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson's new Black Adam movie, last time I looked, fell to 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' approval ratings. But that aside, when I looked at the reviews so far, Vanity Fair had quite an eye-opener for the political metaphors turning up in screenplay, which surely were to be as expected as what turned up in Wonder Woman 1984. First:
Kahndaq, you see, is a stand-in for not-Iraq/not-Afghanistan under longtime occupation by not-America, but a band of villainous swine called Intergang who plunder the nation’s resources and make the people wait at long checkpoints. They also zoom around on sci-fi skiffs that glow blue (just like Eternium!) and really want that crown.

Soon Adrianna summons the trapped hero, Teth-Adam, who is the gargantuan Johnson wearing a superhero suit and a scowl. Bullets and missiles and grenades can’t stop him, and a mere touch of his hand can turn someone into a skeleton. He goes on a wild PG-13-style kill spree, flinging bodies thousands of yards in the air and ripping off limbs, but without any blood, terror, or agony. [...]
Ah, so that's there excuse for the violence: they didn't add any blood spilling out of severed limbs. Sorry, but doesn't make it any more acceptable, and children shouldn't have to be subject to this kind of mayhem any more than what you see in a Mortal Kombat game. Whether the film lacks terror and agony, however, doesn't really matter when disgust and insult could sum up the proceedings much better. According to the UK Independent, the filmmakers had to remove at least 5 scenes to avoid an R-rating, which confirms just how blatant their vision truly is. And as for the hints given in the above regarding the leftist metaphors, here's that part of it from VF:
There’s not really much to stew on with Black Adam once you’ve left the theater, except to be somewhat amazed at how the story comments-but-doesn’t-comment on the actual political situation in the Middle East. An early checkpoint sequence is clearly meant to mirror the struggles of everyday people crossing from the Palestinian Territories into Israel, and Adrianna’s fed-up line about world powers not doing much for the people after a decades-long presence could be about Iraq or Afghanistan or both. And while there is much reverent talk of Khandaq’s indigenous cultural heritage, there are no Muslim signifiers center stage throughout the picture. Indeed, the Hollywood staple of the muezzin call to prayer is nowhere on the soundtrack, probably a first for a movie set in this part of the world, even when it’s a fictional country. One must marvel at how this massive international project goes out of its way to be even remotely apolitical, taking its cue, perhaps, from the famously politically-unaffiliated Dwayne Johnson. It takes a special kind of movie where the most interesting thing is what’s not in there. During its two-hour runtime, you won’t be asked to exert yourself, either with backstory or political reads. Viewers can just sit back in their cushioned seats, silence all brain functions, and enjoy the CG fireworks.
Oh my, why am I not shocked they could resort to these kind of metaphors, building as they do upon anti-Israel propaganda to boot, with Intergang as the stand-ins? And that's something that'll have to be considered by all concerned when it comes to past and present movies based on DC properties: they may have more leftist metaphors, stealthed or out in the open, than we think. The Marvel movies too, lest we forget. One more reason they're not aging any better than the overload of special effects accompanying the "actors". I hesitate to think what'd a screenplay containing a metaphor for opposing war with Iran's brutal regime would be like, because it's not impossible for these obsessed ideologues to go that far too.

Interesting how the reviewer here seems disappointed specifically because there's little or no serious allusions to Islam, as though this movie couldn't be bad enough. The filmmakers, who should be ashamed of themselves, are already doing enough harm with the metaphors they've injected as it is. The following reviewer from Buzzfeed seems disappointed for similar reasons, and is much more blatant:
It’s too bad that Black Adam ultimately punts on most of the big questions it attempts to raise, because the movie does have something sorely lacking in much of its peers: a willingness, however slight, to engage with the world around it. It’s hard to miss the similarities between Kahndaq, a Middle Eastern country occupied by white military personnel, and a variety of real-world analogs, ranging from the American occupation of Iraq to the ongoing occupation of Palestine. [...]

It’s pretty jarring to see a major superhero movie that even gestures at treating America as the bad guys in anything beyond a “there are a few bad apples in the military” sense. After all, the genre entered its modern era with 2008’s Iron Man, where a weapons contractor is kidnapped by terrorists and escapes captivity in Afghanistan. Black Adam isn’t the movie that’s going to continue exploring that territory, but it’s refreshing to see it try.
So here, the writer is much more hostile to Israel in the sense he won't even mention the country, replacing it as he does with the Roman era name for Israel that's been distorted in modern times for the sake of delegitimizing Israel's claim to Judea/Samaria, by fabricating the lie that there was ever an Islamic/Arabic country there? Now that's even sicker, as is the strong hint his opinions on the USA are extraordinarily hostile too. (Interestingly, the Boston Herald says movie co-star Mohammed Amer is a "Palestinian-American". Could such casting have been intentional, coinciding with the filmmakers' politics?)

I also noticed this review by NPR's terrible writer Glen Weldon, who surprisingly enough actually panned the movie, but, he really screwed up on just who reintroduced Black Adam:
In the early 2000s, writers Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer — with art by Stephen Sadowski and many others — introduced to the comics pages a new version of Black Adam. The character had been around since the 1940s as a supervillain who dogged the family of superheroes that, like him, had been given powers by the wizard Shazam. As such, he came factory-installed with the basic supervillain-threats package: I'll destroy you, I'll rule the world, etc.
Man, is this sloppy, but to be fully expected from such a charlatan who's not a comics fan, no matter how much he insists otherwise. Black Adam was first reintroduced to the DCU proper in 1994, in Jerry Ordway's GN, The Power of Shazam, which later led to an ongoing monthly series for Billy Batson that ran at least a few years. And reprehensible Weldon would rather rob Ordway of the credit, and bestow it upon some of the least deserving of DC's overrated modern writers, Johns and Goyer, instead. As disappointing as I find Ordway's leftism these days, this is still too much. So shame on far-left Weldon for this deception as well.

Now, one more review I checked is from Midwest Film Journal, and in addition to panning the movie, they also make an eyebrow raising note regarding a certain 2013 movie whose star is brought back in this new movie as a special guest for Teth-Adam to clash with:
Man of Steel, which launched the whole misbegotten DCEU in 2013, introduced the world to a darker and more “grounded” take on these heroes. It had its flaws but feels like a masterpiece compared to Black Adam. The two have some very direct points of comparison, too, as supposed launching points for future films. Zack Snyder’s Steel, for example, featured a breathlessly cool prologue on Krypton whereas Adam features an extended sequence narrated by an annoying child. In Snyder’s film, the violence of two Kryptonians battling is destructive and purposely reminiscent (however wrongheadedly so) of 9/11. Here, Adam’s supposed brutal fighting is nowhere near as destructive and, 10 years later, considerably worse-looking. Steel’s fights still inspire awe; Adam‘s are nauseating at best.

Of course, Adam also invites comparison because it delivers on what “fans” have been supposedly clamoring for — the return of Henry Cavill to the role of Superman, a half-decade after his experience filming Justice League turned him off the role and turned Warners off of the franchise he headlined. Bringing Cavill in for a post-credits tease is a Hail Mary by a studio desperate to garner interest in a movie that they clearly know has no interest to any sort of general audience. It’s kind of pathetic, particularly because there’s a blatant joke about Superman being an empty role early on in this film. I’m a fan of Cavill in that role, but there’s no part of me that thinks he deserves to be thrown into more shitty iterations of the character, if Black Adam is any indication of where it will go from here.
Well, like I said, if this new DC movie could be so blatant in its political metaphors, chances are there'd be earlier ones going that route too, and looks like Man of Steel had one that was bound to be troubling. If Batman vs. Superman could boast a scene alluding to protests against illegal immigrants in real life that was insulting to the intellect, we can't be shocked if any 9-11 metaphors Snyder's Man of Steel attached to its screenplay could be just as tasteless. That's why I for one am not pleading for Cavill to resume the role, even in a stand-alone movie for Superman proper, because what if more blatant leftist metaphors seep in? This whole "franchise" of the past decade was decidedly never worth looking forward to in the first place, and the dark angle didn't help matters.

So now, if the above descriptions say anything, I have far less reason to admire Johnson, whom I recall was among several far-leftists who created controversy for the sake of attacking podcaster Joe Rogan over distorted reasons (and Johnson himself wrote extremely crude comments years earlier). And recalling Rogan was just as critical of Hollywood for romanticizing violence as Bill Maher was, he might want to take issue with the Black Adam movie next, because physical/sexual violence has tragically been glorified in Hollywood too over past decades, and this new film is no improvement with its portrayal of Teth-Adam. A most shameless embarrassment it decidedly is, and I wish WB would stop making superhero movies already if this is what it's all coming down to.