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Wish Fulfillment And The Mary Sue - Page 5

post #201 of 480
At least Bucho's rage is entertaining.

The "ideal" version of TFA that I've built up in my head during all these endless conversations about it more or less maintains Solo's arc. So I guess I'm just against everything the OT stood for.
post #202 of 480
Thread Starter 

I think the familial arc they gave Han is some fine dramatic material and a perfectly valid route to take the character.  But the movie also wants to give us good ol' scoundrel Han, and it ignores what a bad look that really is in the context of the family drama.  The desire to delight in every scene impedes the ability to resonate in the bigger picture, which is the issue at the heart of the MS trope.  

 

Not that this makes Han one, mind you.  I'm just saying that there's a reason why TFA felt more like fanfic than Fury Road or STID or Crystal Skull, and it's an approach that infects Han's depiction as well.  The movie knows it needs to push Han forward, but it's too much of a fanboy to resist pulling him back at the same time.

post #203 of 480
That'd be my argument as well. Han always had that 'scoundrel' aspect to him, even though he was fully committed to the cause. The smuggler reset in TFA was another meta case of MAKE IT LIKE THE FIRST ONE AGAIN, except we're in the seventh entry. I think Han would've been written the same way, regardless of how Rey was introduced.
post #204 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I think the familial arc they gave Han is some fine dramatic material and a perfectly valid route to take the character.  But the movie also wants to give us good ol' scoundrel Han, and it ignores what a bad look that really is in the context of the family drama.  The desire to delight in every scene impedes the ability to resonate in the bigger picture, which is the issue at the heart of the MS trope.  

Not that this makes Han one, mind you.  I'm just saying that there's a reason why TFA felt more like fanfic than Fury Road or STID or Crystal Skull, and it's an approach that infects Han's depiction as well.  The movie knows it needs to push Han forward, but it's too much of a fanboy to resist pulling him back at the same time.

Part of the problem regarding the character is they eject a fundamental element of the OT (his arc) in skipping over the difficult, and actually far more dramatically fertile, bit (Han's fall) because they're in such a misguided hurry to get to the easy bit (just re-heat the OT thing).

In a cack-handed way it can be pretend-justified by their misguided "We'll just make Han the new Obi-Wan" attempt, but that never comes close to clicking since 1. Han comes with waaaaaaaaaaaay too much prior baggage, 2. they also want to re-heat Han's OT arc (Obi-Wan has no arc) and 3. he has nothing to teach MaRey Sue because she's already better than him, and everyone else, at everything.
post #205 of 480
I actually like the "there was a trilogy between trilogies that you didn't see" notion. They just didn't do a good job of capitalizing on that structure.
post #206 of 480
 
Quote:
I actually like the "there was a trilogy between trilogies that you didn't see" notion. They just didn't do a good job of capitalizing on that structure.
 
 
I'm going massively off-topic and this should be in the TFA thread. 
 
 
I'm not opposed to the 'unseen skipped trilogy', but I feel it was used entirely for the sake of creating a perpetual Imperial vs Rebel war circa A New Hope status quo. Around TFA's release there was a lot of talk from Abrams and Kasdan about how great the original was in dumping you into the middle of a context and you had to orient yourself, but in retrospect it seems a little cynical. 
 
 
Officially the First Order are a gathering, still vulnerable remnant of the Empire, but, post-opening crawl, The Force Awakens wants you to think that they're exactly what the Empire was in A New Hope. It feels as though a 10 minute longer version of the film exists, and that the final cut has been carefully edited to make the war seem as much like the original one as possible. This is noticable in the five minutes before and after the First Order blow up the Republic capital, and massively so in any bit where Starkiller is priming to fire on not-Yavin. 
 
I'd like to know who gave the 'make this as much like ANH as possible order', and when they did it - despite my moaning about TFA, I do like the film, but I feel that there are a lot of missed opportunities, and most of them stem from the weird opinion Abrams, Kennedy, and Kasdan had that for a film to feel like Star Wars the goodies had to be rebels, the hero had to come from a desert planet and have ambiguous parents, there had to be a death star, there had to be a cantina, and Han had to have an Obi-wan-evoking death. 
 
 
 

Edited by RexBanner - 1/6/17 at 1:07pm
post #207 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBanner View Post

... there was a lot of talk from Abrams and Kasdan about how great the original was in dumping you into the middle of a context and you had to orient yourself ...

I actually had addressed this exact thing in my previous post (it's kind of where the "Obi-Wan has no arc" comment came from) but chopped it before posting because I figured it was distracting from the main point, but now that you bring it up ... What ANH did do was drop you in the middle of the political conflict. What it didn't do was drop you in the middle of a character's arc.

For TFA they essentially decided to drop in on Han (and Luke for that matter) at the end of the second act of a Rise-Fall-Rise Again arc. We saw his 1st Act Rise dramatized in the OT, and we saw his 3rd Act Rise Again dramatized in TFA, but the 2nd Act Fall isn't dramatized at all, so his story isn't even close to satisfying. Meanwhile in ANH, we meet Luke and Han at the beginnings of their arcs and Leia and Obi-Wan don't have meaningful arcs to speak of, so there's never that sense of meeting them in the middle of some major personal development.

Kind of makes you wonder what effect this cockamamie idea will have when Rey's past is revealed.
post #208 of 480
Yeah, but I don't mind that, at least in concept. Kinda interesting to do a flash-forward to a time where all these characters have changed and then gradually start revealing all the stuff that happened to explain the changes. It's like all those time travel movies where characters see the future and they have to figure out what the hell went wrong.

But to sell that, you can't restore the OT status quo. You actually have to set up a contrast with the OT status quo. Could have been really compelling if they sold Han's characterization.
post #209 of 480

I didn't really have any problem buying that having his kid turn into a mass murderer would send Han on his version of a bender. It never felt to me like they reverted him to ANH-Han, as he was clearly more empathetic and didn't really need to be convinced to reunite w/ Leia or try to save his son. ANH-Han would've probably dumped Rey and Finn on the nearest rock, and at least bitched, moaned and temporarily fled rather than face his grief and failure.

 

And knowing Harrison Ford's previous desire to have Han offed, it wouldn't surprise me if he was only willing to sign for one film.

post #210 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Yeah, but I don't mind that, at least in concept. Kinda interesting to do a flash-forward to a time where all these characters have changed and then gradually start revealing all the stuff that happened to explain the changes. It's like all those time travel movies where characters see the future and they have to figure out what the hell went wrong.

But to sell that, you can't restore the OT status quo. You actually have to set up a contrast with the OT status quo. Could have been really compelling if they sold Han's characterization.

If there's no contraction back to the OT status quo? I may be able to dig that. In concept.

Anything but the lazy, stinking-of-fanfic notion of having him back to being a smuggler on the run.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post

I didn't really have any problem buying that having his kid turn into a mass murderer would send Han on his version of a bender. It never felt to me like they reverted him to ANH-Han, as he was clearly more empathetic and didn't really need to be convinced to reunite w/ Leia or try to save his son. ANH-Han would've probably dumped Rey and Finn on the nearest rock, and at least bitched, moaned and temporarily fled rather than face his grief and failure.

And knowing Harrison Ford's previous desire to have Han offed, it wouldn't surprise me if he was only willing to sign for one film.

It's not that it's difficult to buy him going back to being a smuggling scoundrel on the run, it's that it's the most lazy, boring, unadventurous, boring, uncreative, boring, unsatisfying, boring and depressing route they could've taken with that character.

And to be clear, I've never had any problem with the decision to kill him off. There was zero choice involved in that one.
post #211 of 480

So much of the character backstory stuff had me feeling like I missed an episode in between Jedi and TFA.  The state of the universe as a whole still makes no sense.  I have no idea of what the relation between the 'Republic' and the 'Resistance' is supposed to be.  And the Galaxy wide Republic fleet all being parked in the same system...(it's that fleet on maneuvers in the Laurentian System b.s. again)...I'm starting to wonder if JJ Abrams had a bad encounter with an astronomer when he was younger, and this is all some sort of slow burn payback.

post #212 of 480

So on one hand, Rey is a new character inserted into an existing property and instantly beloved or respected by the legacy characters. Pro Mary Sue.

 

On the other, Rey was not written by a teen-age girl as a wish-fulfilling self-portrait, consciously or otherwise. Con Mary Sue.

 

Do I have this right?

post #213 of 480
Thread Starter 

In the most technical sense, I suppose.  But I take the "walks like a duck, talks like a duck, brainwashes stormtroopers out of nowhere like duck..." view of things.

post #214 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

 

Rocky beat Apollo in the second movie. What's wrong with saying he won again, especially if he's talking to a complete stranger he just met? 

 

But really, you've got to admit it's completely up to interpretation. If Rocky is lying, the language of cinema (a lingering close-up on his face, a musical cue) doesn't communicate it.

Because this young black kid who's clearly a boxing fan clearly idolizes black boxing icon Apollo Creed.  For Rocky to say "I was the better man and I beat him 2 out of 3 times" is not something that Rocky(a sweatheart) would do to a young fan.  I dunno.  Makes sense.  

post #215 of 480
Ehhh
post #216 of 480
Thread Starter 

Is it really so hard to believe that in general, Apollo was the better boxer?  I don't think the series, even at is cartooniest commie-bashing height, ever suggested that Rocky was just better, all day every day.  If anything, the series establishes that Rocky only really brings it when the world is on the line and he can spend a month with "Eye Of The Tiger" on repeat.  I have no problem imagining that Apollo regularly danced circles around Rocky when sparring.

post #217 of 480

I only watched Creed.  

post #218 of 480
I can see why someone would want to read it as Rocky lying... but I am certain he's being straight with Adonis.

And Schwartz is right about Rocky only being at his best when everything is on the line.
post #219 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

Is it really so hard to believe that in general, Apollo was the better boxer?  I don't think the series, even at is cartooniest commie-bashing height, ever suggested that Rocky was just better, all day every day. 

 

Well, its cartooniest commie-bashing height did pit them against the same fighter, who killed one of them and lost to the other.

 

But I think the first 4 films pretty clearly established that Rocky and Apollo were supposed to be equals.

post #220 of 480
I could actually see Rocky letting Apollo win, or at least not giving that fight his absolute all. Or maybe the sanctity of their bond precludes that.
post #221 of 480

My initial point being, despite the fact that Rocky probably just told the truth there, there is speculative room for doubt if you want to believe that.  The fun of not knowing after all is...  Well, fun.  

post #222 of 480

I agree, there is room to speculate due to Rocky's character. The possibilities of him having lost legitimately, having let Apollo win or having won but then lying to Adonis, they're all valid. But the movie itself presents it rather bluntly and isn't all that concerned with it; otherwise, it would come up again as a plot point, perhaps related to Adonis's confidence or something.

 

As for Rocky vs. Apollo: in the first movie Apollo is arrogant and hasn't trained. He's also older. Advantage Rocky. In the second movie Rocky's advantage is stamina and willpower, something that always benefits him. Apollo is determined to take Rocky out quick, so when he doesn't it's a war of attrition at that point. Mickey also teaches him footwork and how to jab with both hands.

 

Where I really wonder about their second rematch is Apollo in the third movie has taken Rocky, who up until that point isn't actually very skilled, and given him speed and agility. You know, taught him how to "fight black". So if Rocky, who always had the strength and stamina, now has the skills it would be an impressive fight. The only thing is I can't imagine it being much more than a sparring match, like neither man really tries to hurt the other (we see Rocky at the beginning of IV has some bruises, that's it), and there's the wildcard of Apollo claiming he didn't teach Rocky everything he knows.

 

As for Rocky IV, we don't really see Apollo training. It could be another instance of arrogance, thinking he can take on this rookie Russian no problem. 

 

Also, it depends on how Stallone is feeling when he writes the script.

 

Which is what makes Creed fascinating, in that it's the only one that isn't written by Stallone but does stay very respectful. But what I said before is it always seemed like Apollo was a highly revered boxer, but in Creed it positions him as basically the greatest of all time. But Rocky Balboa had already done the same with Rocky a decade earlier. So which is it in-universe?

 

It's hard to say, because Apollo is supposed to be a little older circa 1976, so he would have been a contemporary of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and would have fought a younger George Foreman presumably. So when Joe Frazier cameos in the first Rocky, are we supposed to think the gentle ribbing between he and Apollo is because Apollo is an Ali stand-in? Or is Apollo the one that finally took Ali's title?

 

I do like that this series has somehow managed to stay tightly consistent over the years. All except for Robert's fluctuating age in those mid-movies, hah.

post #223 of 480
do the rocky movies ever actually refer to Ali?
post #224 of 480

I don't...think so. I suppose Apollo is supposed to have the same role as Ali, although not the same circumstances.

 

Apollo, for instance, seems to be both politicizing and downplaying the politics of the fight in the first Rocky. When someone asks him about a black white man fighting a white man for the bicentennial, he just brushes it off. But then his presentation, with the American flag shorts and everything, seems to be implying he's the future of America in the face of white Rocky. Although he was going to fight a black man before Rocky became the late-in-the-game opponent.

 

Point being, Ali wouldn't have been so sly about his politicking. 

post #225 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

I don't...think so. I suppose Apollo is supposed to have the same role as Ali, although not the same circumstances.

 

This is very true for the first couple of films, but Apollo sort of morphs into something else by III.

post #226 of 480
Apollo is supposed to be the better fighter. Rocky's greatness is that he never gives up. If you watch most of his fights, it's not so much his skill but how he can keep getting punched in the head and keep going.
post #227 of 480
Apollo says, "You fight great, but I'm a great fighter." That seems to sum it up for me.
post #228 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by User_32 View Post

Apollo is supposed to be the better fighter. Rocky's greatness is that he never gives up. If you watch most of his fights, it's not so much his skill but how he can keep getting punched in the head and keep going.

Yeah, like how in Rocky II they spend the whole training montage setting Rocky up to trick Apollo by fighting with his other hand...but then he decides to not do that because it's cheap. Similarly in Rocky III he gets all these new skills...only to on the fly come up with a strategy of making Clubber Lang mad so he'll wear himself out.

 

Haha, man I love these movies.

post #229 of 480

It's a great series!

 

With fantastic highs and lows that all still add to its greatness!

 

I even like the fifth movie!

post #230 of 480
Thread Starter 

I was going to say that this has gotten way off topic, but actually tying it back to the star war debate, it goes to show that character "power levels" is a vital narrative aspect in ways that go beyond the specific mythologies of the Force or Hogwarts or whatever.  Even in a sports movie context, it's important to establish who the best is and what people's weaknesses are, as it colors how we feel about all their struggles.

post #231 of 480
The great thing about Creed is that it legitimizes Rocky as a boxer. Where as the previous movies had fights basically between superheroes determined by who punches and can get punched the hardest, Creed shows Rocky bestowing training tips and actual strategy to use in the ring.

Like the final fight Donnie's opponent has long arms. So get under them and work the body! If Rocky fought him back in 1981 he would have just kept taking punches until he landed a solid uppercut.
post #232 of 480

I'll go so far as to say CREED is the best Rocky movie.

post #233 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

The great thing about Creed is that it legitimizes Rocky as a boxer. Where as the previous movies had fights basically between superheroes determined by who punches and can get punched the hardest, Creed shows Rocky bestowing training tips and actual strategy to use in the ring.

Like the final fight Donnie's opponent has long arms. So get under them and work the body! If Rocky fought him back in 1981 he would have just kept taking punches until he landed a solid uppercut.

 

What I ended up loving about Rocky V was that it became about how Rocky wasn't ready to become Mickey at that point, because that movie was about how the dire diagnosis of his brain locked him out of fighting.  So he tried to live vicariously through training Tommy Gunn.  But that movie makes it clear that he's trying to train Tommy as Mickey instead of himself ("ey yo, Mickey used to say this... Mickey used to say that!").  And the movie became about the fight still in him that ROCKY BALBOA ended up giving closure to (intentionally or not).

 

And CREED only enriches it for me by giving Rocky a chance to finally be Mickey but in his own way... while still focusing on Adonis' journey as the main story.

 

WHAT A GREAT SERIES!

post #234 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

I'll go so far as to say CREED is the best Rocky movie.

Let's not get too crazy here.

post #235 of 480

Are there two movies after IV? I saw IV, and Creed. No desire at all to see whatever came between. IV was pretty bad if enjoyable.

post #236 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

What I ended up loving about Rocky V was that it became about how Rocky wasn't ready to become Mickey at that point, because that movie was about how the dire diagnosis of his brain locked him out of fighting.  So he tried to live vicariously through training Tommy Gunn.  But that movie makes it clear that he's trying to train Tommy as Mickey instead of himself ("ey yo, Mickey used to say this... Mickey used to say that!").  And the movie became about the fight still in him that ROCKY BALBOA ended up giving closure to (intentionally or not).

And CREED only enriches it for me by giving Rocky a chance to finally be Mickey but in his own way... while still focusing on Adonis' journey as the main story.

WHAT A GREAT SERIES!

So good.
post #237 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtomTastic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

I'll go so far as to say CREED is the best Rocky movie.

Let's not get too crazy here.

 

I'll grant maybe the first one is the best, but I've never really loved it. Personal preference, not a knock on the film. 

post #238 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

Are there two movies after IV? I saw IV, and Creed. No desire at all to see whatever came between. IV was pretty bad if enjoyable.

After Rocky IV, there is V and BALBOA.

 

As I said above, I really appreciate what V tries to do (it tries SO hard to take Rocky back to his underdog roots after the ridiculousness of IV).  Keep in mind that I saw that film only very recently and my response is certainly colored by the intensely negative opinion it's held in.

 

And then BALBOA does a better job of it.  And I love that one, as odd a movie as it is (a final lap remake of the original ROCKY, but such an odd structure!  a series of motivational speeches back to back and then a training montage than FINAL FIGHT!).

post #239 of 480

Does Creed do some retconning, then? I thought (and you mention it above) that BALBOA gave Rocky dementia or something.

post #240 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I was going to say that this has gotten way off topic, but actually tying it back to the star war debate, it goes to show that character "power levels" is a vital narrative aspect in ways that go beyond the specific mythologies of the Force or Hogwarts or whatever.  Even in a sports movie context, it's important to establish who the best is and what people's weaknesses are, as it colors how we feel about all their struggles.

I suppose there's a middle ground, where Apollo and Rocky are each the best of their respective eras, in a field where long successful careers are very rare. By Rocky III, they're no longer competitors. The sun is shining on Rocky the way it used to shine on Apollo, and Apollo's training of Rocky is Apollo officially passing the torch. By Rocky IV, Apollo's fighting career is long over, and he signs on for what he thinks is going to be a fun and harmless exhibition bout against a man who's willing to cross lines to establish himself.
post #241 of 480
I would posit that Rocky is the best unplanned franchise ever. Seven movies that build upon each other, maintain the cast (except for Robert as he grows up), stay internally consistent and even the bad ones count. Retroactively entries like Creed make the lesser ones like IV and V look better and matter, and what other series dips in quality only to go out on two high notes?
post #242 of 480
V had him with brain damage, Balboa kind of turned a blind eye to that plot development.

The Rocky series is wish fulfilment in that it fulfills wishes for a world in which anything can be achieved with heart and by going the distance.
post #243 of 480

I must maintain that the lead character can only be a Mary Sue if the film is a 'side story' to an established property.

 

Now, if you want to talk about wish-fulfillment, I invite you to re-appraise The Fly II.

post #244 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post

Does Creed do some retconning, then? I thought (and you mention it above) that BALBOA gave Rocky dementia or something.

V establishes Rocky has to retire due to brain damage, but Rocky Balboa kind of ignores that aspect but not the movie as a whole.
post #245 of 480

The most important part of the brain damage in V is that it results in Rocky suddenly talking like he did in the original film.

 

Because he dropped that aspect of the character SO HARD in IV.

post #246 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post



The Rocky series is wish fulfilment in it fulfills wishes for a world in which anything can be achieved with enough heart and by going the distance.

SO TRUE!

post #247 of 480
Yeah, IV isn't really a Rocky movie, it's more of a Rambo entry with its fixation on revenge. It's more like Sylvester Stallone vs. Russia.

The only truly Rocky moment is Paulie's bizarre speech about wanting to unzip his skin and have Rocky step out. Awkward, weird but truly heartfelt.
post #248 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post

I must maintain that the lead character can only be a Mary Sue if the film is a 'side story' to an established property.

Now, if you want to talk about wish-fulfillment, I invite you to re-appraise The Fly II.

From Eric Stolz mercy-killing his anatomically inverted dog, to the moral complications of Daphne Zuniga making sexy time with a five year old, let us not re-appraise The Fly II. Return of the Fly, maybe.
post #249 of 480

Oh, let's! Let's!

 

He's a kid with no control over his life, surrounded by grownups who fear his potential and make all the rules. And then he achieves his potential, gets big and strong and scary and hairy, and just slaughters everyone but the pretty girl! And he's the hero! Total grade-school fantasy.

post #250 of 480
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
 

I must maintain that the lead character can only be a Mary Sue if the film is a 'side story' to an established property.

 

 

I'd split hairs and say that it can be a proper sequel/entry in the series, but there does have to be an established series in order to fit the profile.  

 

Of course, an original work can be just as masturbatory.  But a MS is by definition; it's the difference between masturbating and doing The Stranger so you can pretend that Mr. Spock is the one jerking you off.  I'm not saying one is worse than the other, but in the latter case it's harder to deny what you're doing.

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