Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Our Lovely, Lovely Violence

So here's a thought exercise, one that arises from my complete lack of interest in seeing the recent Marvel film Deadpool.

Deadpool has done rather well in theaters, bringing in well over $300 million.  Such a take pretty much guarantees that it will be added to the rotation of the Superhero Industrial Complex.  The schtick: your protagonist isn't just some hero, or even really a hero with emotional complexity or dark side.  He's a full throttle antihero, who thoroughly enjoys killing people in creative ways whilst making witty quips in an insouciant sort of way.  

I watched the five minute preview/trailer, and it was enough to convince me that I had no interest at all in seeing the movie.  The brutal not-really-a-hero thing's been done already, and I had no interest in seeing Kickass, either.   

But it got me to thinking a little about Deadpool.  I mean, here you've got a guy who's basically a nihilist, Alex DeLarge in spandex.  He thoroughly enjoys violence, which we allow ourselves to enjoy right along with him because we know the people he's killing--brutally, horrifically--are bad people.  

They deserve it, and so we roll along gleefully.

To which I found myself imagining that there's a clip left on the cutting room floor, or the Avid Media Composer equivalent.

Imagine, if you will, that amongst the many terrible human beings Deadpool kills there is a woman.  She is horrible, which we know because she's a dark mercenary ninja or something like that.  Hey, you saw the movie, not me.

Anyhoo, in the midst of the mayhem, as he's killing terrible people right and left, Deadpool gets into a fight with the aforementioned evil ninja mercenary.  He beats the crap out of her, joking as he goes, and then...because he's a nihilist...briefly rapes her.  And then shoots her in the head, with some off the cuff quip.

Why would that make the film any different ethically?  I mean, rape is entirely about violence, power, and control.  

And she'd be a bad person, not an innocent at all.  So she'd have it coming.  Given the moral calculus of the film she'd be an entirely legitimate target for violence, correct?  Why would sexual assault be worse than slowly grinding another human being to death with a zamboni?   Violence is violence is violence.

Given how much positive spin the pansexuality of our wisecracking brutalist was given, I suppose one could have him rape another man instead.  That'd be funnier, right, in the way that prison rape is just such a funny thing?


It'd be nice if, just once, it didn't feel like I was a bit-part extra in a dystopian movie.