Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cap 2

Well, now I have seen Captain America 2. I think I have used up a month's supply of adrenaline. Thus far, my favorite Marvel movies are Thor 1 and Captain America 1. But this movie is a fine mix of violence, paranoia and cynicism. I will say no more, for fear of spoiling the story for the two or three people who haven't seen CA # 2 yet.

Note: Cap is never cynical, nor is he treated with cynicism. But the world that poor guy has found himself in. You can understand why he longs for WWII.

I did nothing after Captain America, except lie on the couch and read. I am going through Quiet a second time. According to the book, introverts need to limit their input. Well, I certainly exceeded my limit at CA # 2. That's okay, so long as I have down time after. Now I am thinking about the movie, trying to understand what it says. Not that it's hard to figure out, but I need to distance myself from all the crashing and banging. It occurs to me that good writing -- writing that is obviously skillful and thoughtful -- can put a barrier between the reader and the experience: a kind of glass wall. Action flicks smash right through that wall. The noise and the adrenaline removes a layer of protection. Remember that American torturers use noise -- especially rock music -- to break their victims down. I am not saying that the noise of an action flick is torture, but it makes the audience vulnerable. You can't maintain an intellectual and emotional distance in an action flick. Of course, there is evidence that this kind of adrenaline high also protects people from the reality of what's happening. But I guess I am inclined to think that the crudeness and rawness of an action flick is closer to life in contemporary America than is intelligence and grace.

An action flick says, "Civilization? You think we have a civilization here? The more fool you!"

There are a lot of ways that writing -- and movies and art -- can break through the glass wall which I don't like. I am kind of a wimp, and there is a limit to how much ugliness I can handle. I didn't like The Avengers, except for the bit at the end when they are in the shawarma joint. It's almost the only part of the movie I remember. Too much violence. Not enough plot. And the villains were all external. The problem for me is -- how do you break the glass wall without being way too nasty? And is disgust an adequate way to break the wall?

I think I am trying to be profound and failing. Ah well.


Blogger Steven said...

I think you did a pretty good job of being profound. I find that I have limited tolerance for ugliness as I've gotten older and more empathetic. I see teenagers killed, and I think of their parents, and though I'm a fairly cynical guy, movies like No Country for Old Men just leave me depressed and somewhat upset.

6:24 AM  

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