The Surprise Hits That Are Changing a Genre

The Surprise Hits That Are Changing a Genre

Logan and Wonder Woman are surprisingly well-received - so how is that going to affect superhero movies?
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The superhero/comic book genre in film is probably the biggest money-maker for Hollywood right now. With huge successes like The Avengers, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, and television programs such as The Walking Dead, it's not going anywhere. However, due to the several films released a year, the genre is running the very high risk of becoming stale. So far, 2017 has seen the release of three major movies – Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Wonder Woman, with three more (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League) by the end of the year. Of the three so far, Logan and Wonder Woman have almost changed the game entirely. One uses a combination of the superhero and Western genres to create a realistic, solemn film, the other focuses on a female hero while never making it “a big deal.” So with that in mind, what is going to keep the genre alive?

Logan takes the iconic Wolverine character, who had not seen a lot of success in his solo films, and gives us something we haven't seen much of in this kind of film – character development like an early 1970s drama. Hugh Jackman, the actor behind the adamantium claws for seventeen years, made this film his last, and made sure the film would be properly made, taking a pay cut to guarantee an R-rating. Now, even though Logan is R-rated, it isn't not good because they are given an “adult rating.” Logan is good because it doesn't do what many of these films do and simply a hack-and-slash action movie. One of the defining moments in the film is the scene in which Logan, Professor Xavier, and Laura sit down to have dinner with a family they met on the road. There is no mention of past adventures, no bad “Wolverine's claws come out when they aren't supposed to” joke, nor is there any trait of the superhero genre beyond the mutants at the table. It also does not use the name “Wolverine” in the title, contrasting with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine. He is no longer an X-Men member, he is a shadow of his former self – something we haven't seen in such a way in a superhero film. The story is small, the action contained, and only one explosion occurs in the entire film. It is the antithesis of the modern blockbuster – a story of an old man who just wants to get away from the action and violence.

The semi-opposite would be the first film this year released by DC Comics. Wonder Woman is the first modern (read: post-Iron Man) superhero movie to have a female lead, and after the box office and long-time audience reaction to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, was a massive gamble. However, unlike Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman is not a movie about a perfect, do-no-wrong woman and a crew of bumbling male sidekicks. Instead, the male characters, such as Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), are major aspects in their own right – they're for the most part soldiers, who know what World War I is like from their own experiences. This makes a contrast with Wonder Woman herself, who is unaware of the true horrors of war, but is still willing to walk across No Man's Land to save the people of a local village – which itself has some metaphor, as while none of the soldiers on either side will cross, Wonder Woman will. Despite this one major moment, much of the movie portrays her team as highly-skilled operatives, just as capable as the hero is. What this signals is a minority-led film (the title character is portrayed by Israeli actress Gal Gadot) that doesn't make the lead a token minority, and makes the supporting cast just as well-developed as she is.

So beyond making their individual films good, what do these two mean in the grand scheme of things when it comes to superhero movies? First off, the critical and audience reception shows that people want to see new things and experimentation within the tried and true genre, breaking away from the cut-and-paste formula. Scenes like the previously mentioned dinner scene and No Man's Land scenes are already being hailed as some of the best in the genre – a collection that includes the iconic “I've got you, miss”/ “You've got me...who's got you?!” and “Can You Read My Mind” scenes from Superman: The Movie all the way back in 1978. Logan does not use the name of the hero, and uses the freedom of its R-rating to, as stated above, portray a man at the end of the rope, and Wonder Woman is both an inspiring story and shows the entire cast as strong – giving everybody something to like. Compare that to what was also considered a game changer, Deadpool. That film really just uses the same old formula of comic book movies, but with a lot of dirty jokes and a lack of a fourth wall. And while that does work for that single film, in the long-run, that will grow tiresome and leaves no room to try something new and different – which is exactly what Logan did. Wonder Woman is also the most well-received of the DCEU movies, and many are already suggesting making that film the standard to which DC must work to. Maybe it was because of the unfamiliar territory they were getting into, or maybe they finally learned. Either way, the same can be said for Logan. Guess the two companies aren't that different after all.

But there is a limit of course. If the genre goes too far away from some form, then it starts to lose the aspects that originally brought people into the theaters. Things like well-made action scenes, character work, heroes doing what they do best, a cast giving their all – those are what makes the genre work. When that all is accomplished, then they can try something new. Go too far, and you get Amazing Spider-Man 2. Do it just right, and you get Captain America: Civil War. There is plenty of room to move around and try a different approach, as there is in the comics themselves. As we've seen so far with the two surprise hits, as long as the happy medium can be found, then we're in for a new age of superhero movies. Maybe that will be how they'll save themselves following the already hyped Avengers: Infinity War. Change and different takes are great, it just depends on how they handle said take.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Brothers/DC Comics

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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The 2020 Election: The Democratic Party Part 1

We all have the duty of becoming politically conscious in order to wisely act on the crucial decision that lies ahead of us in the very near future. In this unbiased, multi-part series you'll be able to get a brief look into both the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

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The race for the 2020 presidential election is on the rise as 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans have been officially confirmed as potential candidates. Ranging from California to New York, we may recognize "big names" such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, however, it's important to get to know all the candidates in order to have a clear idea as to who you want to be leading the country for the next four years.

*Due to the high number of Democratic candidates, they will all be highlighted over the course of three articles throughout the coming weeks.

1. Joe Biden

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Serving as the Vice President alongside Barack Obama and former senator of Delaware, Joe Biden has already ran for president twice, making the 2020 election his third and what he considers, final time. Biden hopes to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to a more livable standard. He also hopes to restrict the purchase of guns through background checks as well as being in support of a ban on assault weapons.

2. Bernie Sanders

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Having served on both the House of Representatives and The Senate, Bernie Sanders has caught the attention of many Americans due to his push for universal healthcare with the idea that "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." As well as making public secondary-education schools tuition-free in a mission to help lower student debt. Sanders believes in the threat of climate change as his campaign includes the future of passing a Green New Deal to move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy as well as ban fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure. Bernie Sanders additionally believes in abolishing the death penalty, reforming the police system, and ending the discrimination of applicants based on criminal history

3. Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke has represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2013 - 2019. He has a noteworthy platform towards business which includes increasing federal funding towards the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid in creating competitiveness with America's small- and medium-sized manufacturers against global markets. O'Rourke also believes in the idea of increasing voter numbers no matter what the political party may be as well as help ex-convicts regain their right to vote after serving their sentences. In doing so, he plans to create more outreach to the younger generations by ensuring pre-voter registration for all 16 and 17 year olds. Moreover, Beto pushes for a change in creating new term limits for the US House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

4. Kamala Harris

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Kamila is a lawyer and has served as the junior US senator and Attorney General of California. While she is new to the presidential election process, Harris aims to increase teacher pay with the "largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history with a $13,500 raise." Moreover, using her specialization in legal matters regarding sexual assault, Kamila hopes to protect Planned Parenthood as well as women's reproductive rights. Harris states that as President, she will eliminate the wage gap between men and women as well as racial disparities involving maternal health care. Harris additionally hopes in protecting LGBTQ+ rights by not only passing an Equality Act to fight against discrimination in schools, work, and public, but appoint an Attorney General with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.


5. Elizabeth Warren

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Growing up in rural Oklahoma in a low-income home and eventually serving as a US senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is described as a progressive candidate who's campaign is working towards "universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All." Warren hopes to build the middle class up and defend unionized jobs by allowing 40% of board members to be elected through employees. Moreover, Warren is in favor of strengthening the military as well has bringing troops home from overseas, as well as banning private prisons and decriminalizing marijuana. She additionally has stated to end Washington corruption by banning lobbying along with preventing Senators and Congressman from trading stocks whilst in office.

6. Cory Booker

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Attending Stanford and later graduating from Yale Law School, Cory Booker became the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Booker's main concern is to end gun violence, ban assault weapons, and bring his battle to the attention of the NRA to create "liberty for all." His 14-part plan includes creating a more extensive process to obtain a gun, one of which would including an FBI-issued background check as well as requiring "micro-stamping" on all guns to ensure the ability to trace back the source of ammunition used in crimes. Moreover, Americans seeking a gun license would have to apply for a 5-year license after which would require renewal. Booker has also proposed the idea of providing newborns with savings accounts that would accumulate until they reached 18. He states that this plan would help settle the gap between the classes by offering lower-income households a nest-egg averaging at about $46,000. He also aims to make contraceptives employer-covered and repeal the punishment for an abortion outside of incest, rape, or for the woman's health.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand

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From New York, Kristin Gillibrand became a US Senator in 2009, becoming the youngest person in the Senate at the time. Her 2020 platform includes creating universal healthcare for all that would cover both mental and reproductive health in addition to it's regular standards. Her stance on Medicare For All also stands for reducing the price of prescription drugs as well as aiding in the process of overcoming addiction. Gillibrand also aims to introduce postal banking which would allow those without checking accounts have the opportunity to take out small loans through their local post office. Moreover, she believes in not only the legalization of both medical and recreation marijuana, but in erasing all past convictions from it. Kristin Gillibrand stands with strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, creating paid medical and parental leave for all Americans, and fighting for the right to form unions and protect worker's rights.

8. Amy Klobuchar

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Amy Klobuchar is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as a US Senator from Minnesota. Klobuchar's campaign fights for providing every household in America with high-speed internet by the year 2020 along with aiding farmers by increasing their access to loan programs as well as raising farm bankruptcy debt levels. Moreover, she hopes to better the education system by increasing teacher pay and putting more money towards public schools. As well as increasing the federal Pell Grant and tuition-free one to two year community and technical colleges. Amy Klobucher believes in re-instated the DREAM Act to grant citizenship for foreigners who immigrated to America as minors. She supports immigration reform as well as ending the cruel separation and treatment of families on the lines of the border and creating a refined pathway to gain citizenship.

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