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Cautionary Tale: Netflix’s Iron Fist

Man, it’s rough when an entertainment company you love breaks their winning streak.

Marvel’s been cranking out consistently good material both in the cinematic universe and in the television universe for years now, and I think maybe we all got so used to it that we forgot it’s possible to completely miss the mark. To me, that’s what their latest venture, Iron Fist, is in essence: a swing and a miss.

To be frank, I rage quit the pilot to Iron Fist twice. Keep in mind, I wasn’t one of the naysayers who hated it before it came out and I actually didn’t listen to the early negative reviews because I knew there were people who wanted to hate it right out of the gate and nothing was going to change their minds. I saw the trailer and felt underwhelmed, but with Marvel’s excellent track record, I was willing to give it a try. This is not to say that I haven’t had problems with a few Marvel properties before. For instance, I didn’t finish Jessica Jones—not because it wasn’t good, but rather because I was not the key demographic for that show. Being an urban fantasy author, I have seen the exact same archetype that Jessica Jones is about a million times and so I was already burned out on the “inexplicably attractive but perpetually rude and standoffish private detective with super special powers” trope long before the show came around. Plus, the pacing was too slow and I wasn’t a fan of the gratuitous sex scenes with the far superior character of Luke Cage.

So why did I rage quit Iron Fist?

In order to understand why I’ve included Iron Fist in the cautionary tales catalog on my blog, let’s take a look at just what made me quit watching the pilot twice in the same day. Let’s do a comparison between the first fifteen minutes of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, and see if you can understand my utter frustration with this new show.

In the first fifteen minutes of Daredevil, here is what is established:

-How Matt Murdock lost his eyesight as a child and gained his powers saving an old man’s life

-Matt’s devout Catholicism and conflicted conscious because of how he misses his father and realizes how much they are alike in having “the devil” in them

-Matt goes down to the docks and stops a bunch a human traffickers from kidnapping innocent women

-Gives us that unforgettable opening sequence of blood over the city

-Introduces the unbelievably perfect Foggy Nelson and what he does for a living with Matt as well as the friend they have on the police force

-Introduces Karen Page and her predicament

-Introduces the dynamic between Karen, Matt, and Foggy

In the first fifteen minutes of Luke Cage, here is what is established:

-That funky, colorful opening sequence

-Introduces Pops and his shop members as well as Luke’s overall cool-as-a-cucumber-but-don’t-push-your-luck-fool attitude

-Introduces a minor character and her son who will impact the plot later on

-Establishes the relationship between Luke and Pops and hints at Luke’s powers

-Hints at Luke’s backstory and shows us his daily struggles to find rent money and his desire to stay under the radar even though he could do more if he wanted to

-Introduces Harlem’s Paradise as well as the first two main villains, Cottonmouth and Mariah

And in the first fifteen minutes of Iron Fist, here is what is established:

-A bland, forgettable afterthought of an opening sequence

-Danny thinks he owns a building

-Danny thinks people he knew over a decade ago still work at his father’s company

-Danny thinks he can talk to the CEO of a company with no appointment and zero proof that he is the founder’s son who was believed to have died in a plane crash a decade ago

-Danny thinks that two people he knew when he was a kid would recognize him as an adult and after he was presumed dead as a child

-Danny presumably has no money and no shoes and just sleeps in the park after meeting a bum who ends up not contributing to the narrative whatsoever

-Danny, still looking homeless, starts speaking Mandarin to the Asian girl hanging up dojo fliers

-Danny breaks into his old house and walks around like it’s not big deal

-Danny’s relationship with Ward is revealed as abusive

Do you see the stark difference between these shows? How is it that Daredevil and Luke Cage can establish that much story in a quarter of the runtime and yet Iron Fist establishes almost nothing in the same amount of time? This is exactly why I couldn’t get through Iron Fist’s pilot in one sitting. First of all, Danny is characterized like an entitled douchebag. We don’t know anything about him other than he’s woefully naïve and just assumes that everything will fall into place for him without concrete evidence towards his claims. We don’t know why he came back to the city or what his mission is, whereas with both of our other examples, we are quickly shown the character’s personalities and what they are working towards. All we know is that Danny thinks he owns the company, but yet we see no skillset that suggests he even could run it when he doesn’t even have the good sense to wear shoes while walking through New York or to find some kind of proof that he is in fact Danny Rand.

I’ve been describing Iron Fist’s script as “something that was written the night before it was due and was never revised.” Now that the whole show is up on Netflix, we’re starting to get stories that fill in why this show is falling flat on its face, such as the fact that Finn Jones, the titular Danny, only trained three weeks before shooting a show about martial arts. That’s unheard of. If you check the backgrounds of most actors who are cast as superheroes, they train for literal months at a time—not only so that they are physically intimidating, but so that the fight choreography is nuanced, believable, and a joy to watch. For example, one of my favorite modern fight scenes is Captain America (Chris Evans) versus Batroc (Georges St. Pierre) because Chris Evans trained for months to be able to do a majority of the shots in that amazing fight scene since he is in fact opposite a real UFC fighter. It is painfully obvious when Danny Rand fights that he isn’t a martial artist, and it would be different if it were like Daredevil when you have the complicated routines performed by an amazing stunt double. I didn’t make it past the pilot, but I’ve heard that Iron Fist’s fight choreography centered around Finn Jones is underwhelming at best, and it’s impossible not to make a comparison to either Daredevil or Luke Cage, which had intense fight scenes that were both unique and engrossing.

Furthermore, even if you forget the sloppy fighting, the dialogue is wooden and poorly done. Dialogue is about moving the plot forward, making complications between characters, or solving a problem, and none of that is included in the pilot episode of Iron Fist. It is so obvious that they are dumping exposition on your head. They don’t even try to hide it. Hell, the two main villains basically have a meeting where absolutely nothing gets done. They just meet to show the audience that they’re evil and in cahootz with each other. They don’t solve the problem at hand; they instead regurgitate rancid dialogue to establish their relationship.

Lastly, it also doesn’t help that Danny comes across as a pretentious college kid who spent one summer abroad and thinks he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Buddhist martial artist. He once again finds the Asian girl and starts condescendingly telling her that she should teach kung fu if she wants more students, mansplains that he’s supposed to “fight the master of the dojo” now that he has entered their city, and asserts that she should just give him a job even though he still looks like a crazy hobo. Understandably, she tells him to get lost, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that he’s so arrogant. The troublesome part is that arrogance is a normal thing in certain heroes like Tony Stark or Thor, but even in those movies, we are immediately shown that both of them have a heart and are just spoiled rather than truly being douchebags. Danny doesn’t give us a moment of humanity in the pilot. He doesn’t give us a reason to care about him, and at the end of the day, if you don’t do that in the first episode of your show, odds are that you are doomed to fail.

In the end, even though I can’t fully judge the show since I won’t be finishing it, I think this is a product of Marvel rushing to put something out so that they have time to work on the Defenders instead. Danny Rand is an afterthought. This whole show feels like an afterthought. It doesn’t have a flavor. It doesn’t have the careful writing or beautiful cinematography of any of its siblings. If nothing else, then Iron Fist teaches us caution—that even when you’re on a winning streak you can still bomb out if you don’t take your time and tell a story worth telling. Even the mighty Marvel can trip and fall. No one is above that.

Let’s just hope they try harder with the upcoming Defenders show.

The Slippery Slope (Part 3)

Agents of Dramatic Posing!

Agents of Dramatic Posing!

The story of how I came to watch ABC/Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is rather brief and simple. Like everyone, I adored The Avengers, and I was devastated when Coulson died, so the notion that this adorable, balding, unassuming but still badass man would be the lead of his own show sounded right up my alley. Plus, as soon as I heard Ming Na Wen (Mulan, in case you didn’t know) would be a regular cast member, I was all but fired up to give it a shot.

Let’s just say as of now, two seasons into the show, I have very mixed feelings about it. Needless to say, major spoilers ahead.

Agents of SHIELD started out slow. Most fans note that the first season drags because it’s still trying to establish a lot, and I also think that because the show decided that Coulson isn’t quite the main focus and instead picked Skye, the little hacker chick/orphan, there was a lot of milling around not moving forward. However, the show’s strength wasn’t in its pacing, but rather that it established our little team really well and made you like almost everyone on it. After all, everyone had their own roles as part of the team: Skye was the hacker/heart, Fitzsimmons was the brains, May and Ward were the muscle, Coulson was the leader, and Trip switched his roles here and there between being extra muscle and providing awesome weapons to help fight. You didn’t have to love each character (I seriously did not like Skye or Ward in season one, for different reasons: Skye was a borderline Mary Sue and Ward was as bland as they come before he revealed he was Hydra) but you did know enough about them to feel comfortable and want them to succeed.

The momentum really kicked up once the Winter Soldier happened and we found out Ward was Hydra, and that Hydra had been lurking inside SHIELD all along. From there, for the most part, the show got a lot better and built up to a finale that I personally think singlehandedly saved the show. It gave us everything we wanted, like it was an apology for how slow the rest of the season had been. I remember telling a couple of my friends that the finale was the best episode by far and made me excited for season two since the team was already established so there was no need to have such teeth-grinding pacing.

Well, SHIELD unfortunately didn’t take that left turn at Albuquerque.

And that’s why they’ve reached the slippery slope.

Season two’s main issue is that they threw the core group out the window and instead introduced a bunch of new characters who took up all the original group’s screentime for no real reason. My personal point of anger was finding out Lucy freaking Lawless, Xena Warrior Princess herself, was in the opening episode only to die ten minutes in. Who does that? Who books kick ass Wonder Woman-lite and kills her off? And the most insulting part is that they killed her off and left us with by far the most irritating character on the show’s entire run, Hunter. But we’ll get to him later.

That aside, over the course of season two we were introduced to Hunter, Mac, Bobbi Morse, Raina (sort of, she was in season one but we get to know her better in two), Cal, Jiaying, Lincoln, Gordon, the “real” SHIELD, and Agent 33. That is a TON of new characters, and it would be different if they just had some cameos here and there, but no. All of them appear in multiple episodes and take the attention away from May, Ward, and Fitzsimmons. (And don’t get me started on the fact that they killed off Trip. I will Hulk Out.) The only people who pretty much kept their screentime from season one are Coulson and Skye. Everyone else is downsized into the background, and it’s frustrating as hell because we actually liked their dynamics and their friendships. Sure, we’re happy Coulson and Skye have explicitly become father and daughter because, let’s face it, it’s adorable, but it’s not fair that they have booted everyone else out of the spotlight when we spent the entire first season getting to know them.

The worst part is that the new characters are all either annoying, not that interesting, or not developed enough. I admit this is personal taste, but I want to light Hunter on fire and watch him scream and die slowly. He’s introduced as this mouthy mercenary, and spends the entire first few episodes either making every single conversation about him or making insulting comments about his ex-wife. Guess what? Said ex-wife, the incomparable Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird, shows up a few episodes later and joins the team. You’d think this would mean we get some introspection into what went wrong or why he’s so bitter, but no. He blames her for everything. Constantly. He insults her to her face, in front of the team, to anyone with ears, and how does she respond to his rude behavior? By sleeping with him. Ah, yes. Feminism at its best. We must always reward selfish, ungrateful, misogynistic, verbally abusive men with sex. Why wouldn’t we do that?

The sad part is Bobbi Morse is actually a fleshed out, relatively interesting character if you ignore the fact that she’s somehow in love with the accumulation of British rubbish known as Hunter. She’s deadly, she’s got her own beliefs about SHIELD, she’s quite friendly and amicable to her team, and unlike Hunter, she’s useful. Add on the fact that’s she’s simply stunning and she was almost my favorite female character aside from Melinda May. Bobbi had some great moments in season two, but ultimately, the show misuses her by introducing “the real SHIELD”, which is a bunch of rude, short-sighted, prejudiced assholes who instead of simply talking to Coulson about his behavior decide to invade his base and take it over and try to dethrone him as director. To their credit, the show points out that Bobbi disagrees with a lot of what the “real” SHIELD does, but she still is a swing-and-a-miss character because she is weighed down so much by being in love with a complete asshole who doesn’t deserve her and doesn’t contribute anything to the team other than a guy with an accent who never shuts up.

Speaking of never shutting up, Grant Ward. Oh God. Where do I begin discussing Grant “Human Trash” Ward? As mentioned above, I didn’t like Ward when he was still pretending to be a good guy in season one because he was just bland: bland looks, bland acting, bland motivations, bland romance with Skye, and bland position on the team. Before Hydra, he felt like a placeholder character, like the kind of guy you play through a video game with because he leaves zero impression and you can just pretend you’re him no problem. Then the Hydra bomb was dropped and I went from disliking Ward to wanting May to use that nail gun on his head instead of his foot (though to be fair, May beating Ward’s ass is the best scene in the entire show, bar none. I rewound it about twelve times.) I think I’d hate Ward less if he had a decent backstory, but he doesn’t. It’s so lazy. “Oh, gee, my older brother made me do bad things and my parents were mean to me, so it’s totally fine to become a Neo Nazi and slaughter innocent agents and betray my teammates and kill people over and over again.” What’s more is that Ward actually believes that he’s just a victim of a bad home life and he wears that excuse like armor. He kills and manipulates and refuses to take any responsibility for trying to kill every single person on the core team but Skye, and that was only because his creeper ass has a crush on her.

Ward is a big sign that the writers are scrambling because he felt like such an afterthought in season two. He only pops up here and there to mug the camera and monologue and pretend like he’s some big scary badass when he’s basically a less attractive, less interesting, less powerful, less grounded version of Loki. To their credit, though, the SHIELD writers absolutely skewer Grant Ward twice before the end of the season. First, they have the core team tell him they wish Skye had shot him in the head and that none of his whining about what his family or Garrett did to him is an excuse for being a psychopath, and second, morphing Agent 33 into a Stand With Ward fangirl (yes, that is what his fangirls call themselves online) and then promptly having Ward murder her by accident. Both scenes were immensely satisfying, and it’s reassuring to know that the writers acknowledged that they screwed up the writing for him and are self-aware about the delusional fanbase he seems to have accumulated. That being said, the show seriously needs to decide what to do with this pain in the ass. He’s directionless, and so it feels like he’s here out of obligation to please his irritating in-denial fangirls. If he wasn’t the most popular character behind Coulson, it’s clear that he would have died this season, but since the show has to keep their ratings up, he’s not going anywhere. He’s an evil sack of slime, and that’s good because we just lost two of our main villains in the season two finale, but they need to give him something to do other than just hovering around and twirling his mustache.

Another major issue is that season two broke up Philinda (Phil Coulson + Melinda May = Philinda, in case that’s unclear.) Since the show started, Coulson and May have been the Mom and Dad of Team SHIELD. It worked. They had chemistry, whether viewers see it as romantic or not, and a powerful friendship that really made it easy to love each character. They had a falling out towards the end of season one since May was reporting in secret to Fury about Coulson’s actions, and it made him feel like she didn’t trust or respect him after all they’d been through, but they managed to bury the hatchet. Unfortunately, season two created unnecessary conflict between them by having Coulson keep things from May, namely Theta Protocol and the fact that he was seeing her psychiatrist ex-husband Andrew, and that led her to distance herself from him. She also seemed to blame Skye’s powers being activated on him and that further caused a rift, and the season ends with her absconding to an unknown vacation, possibly with her ex. May is a cornerstone to the group. She offers not only excellent tactical advice and badass pilot skills but also unmatched combat moves. May is the atomic bomb of the SHIELD group. You drop her in there and everything is flattened within minutes. But what is so compelling about May is she seems so cold on the outside, but now that we’ve seen her through Coulson’s eyes, we know she is just as courageous and caring as he is. We see how and why they need each other, and so breaking them up removes an extremely important human element to the show.

Sadly, Philinda wasn’t the only pairing (romantic or friendship-wise) to suffer. At the end of season one, Fitz finally confessed that he loved Simmons before sacrificing himself to get her out of the bottom of the ocean. He suffered permanent brain damage as a result, and Simmons was so crushed by both his confession and what happened to him that she volunteered for an assignment to try and give him space. The Fitzsimmons relationship was another truly adorable thing from season one that made it easier to connect with the team, so choosing to sideline them in order to give Skye more screentime and then fracturing their relationship just made everything worse. For a while, we almost had something enjoyable with the relationship between Mac and Fitz, who became buddies bonding over tech, but then Mac’s storyline pretty much derails after the mid-season finale, and Fitzsimmons essentially vanishes from the story for big chunks of time.

Are you seeing the pattern here? SHIELD’s main issues are ripping apart all the relationships that matter and then not knowing what to do with its own cast, aside from Skye and Coulson. Skye may have the most interesting origin story, but season two makes it clear that she can’t carry the entire show. She doesn’t have a rich enough background or personality to do it on her own, so scaling back on everyone else was a major mistake that could possibly lose this show some viewers, myself included. I honestly have gotten to the point of apathy, where I have the show on in the background while I’m doing other things online and glancing up every few minutes with no real stake in what’s happening. SHIELD has been weighed down heavily by too many clichés this season, from Skye’s “SHE! CAN! DO! AMAZING! THINGS!” Mary Sue powers and super special awesome relationship with Coulson to the real SHIELD being a replacement for the annoying World Security Council from The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. The writers need to clear the table and map out where this show is going. As of right now, it’s highly unclear, and even though they are being bankrolled by the most profitable entertainment company on the planet, they cannot expect to survive in the long run if they keep wandering around aimlessly throwing random images at us instead of focusing on what made us care about Agents of SHIELD in the first season.

The good news is that it appears that the showrunners and writers are aware of both the fandom and the reactions people have had to them, so there is a good chance they go back to the drawing board over the summer and figure out what to do. I personally hope they get rid of the extraneous characters and get back to Team Coulson, and that they stick Ward in a role that fits his ass-hat villainy. It’s possible for this show to turn it around, but they are dangerously close to the edge. I care about what they’ve done with it enough to give season three a chance, but it’s got to show that it knows its strengths or it’ll fall into the abyss like so many others.

On Natasha Romanoff and Feminism

Natasha Romanoff (The_Avengers)

It’s official, faux-feminists. I’m-a callin’ you out. *straps on six-guns*

According to Webster.com, the definition of feminism is the following:

: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

OR

: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

So, therefore, explain to me how the depiction of Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Age of Ultron is being seen as sexist? Because it’s been over a week and I just came back from my second viewing of the film, and I am just not seeing it.

What I’m seeing it something else entirely.

In case you’re stumbling across this blog post with no prior knowledge of who and what I am, I’m a girl. A black girl. A black girl nerd, in fact, and I have been since I was old enough to watch television and realize that Batman is someone I wanted to emulate at the earliest possible moment. I wouldn’t call myself a full-blown kick-down-your-door-and-scream-in-your-face feminist, but I am one. I want my ladies, both in real life and in fiction, to be represented in every possible way and to have every single right that they have earned through blood, sweat, and tears. I want writers to push past the easy stereotypes and write women of every kind as long as said writing is not only realistic and reflective of women as a whole, but also writing that is as diverse and layered as the kind used for writing men.

If you want to talk about Natasha Romanoff, then I’m eager to begin, because this woman has been on quite a journey from her introduction in Iron Man 2. Natasha started out getting her feet wet by being gorgeous and tight-lipped for the most part, and I actually had zero opinion of her after I saw the film. I knew of her—that she was a former assassin turned good guy thanks to Nick Fury, Clint Barton, and SHIELD—and that she had some friction with Tony Stark, but otherwise, she wasn’t even a blip on my radar. After all, in Iron Man 2, she didn’t get to do quite a lot other than have some really overcomplicated takedowns that looked badass, but didn’t give me much to go on other than she looks super cool beating down bad guys.

Then The Avengers came along. Holy shitsnacks. This is precisely what I had been missing from both ScarJo and Nat in general. We see beneath the hotness in a jumpsuit. We see that she has an excellent sense of humor and a wonderfully cool poker face, but she also has a drive, a need, and a purpose not only with SHIELD, but also with the other Avengers. Furthermore, we see that Natasha is not only devoted, but cunning beyond measure. Everyone has a favorite moment from The Avengers—hell, the entire damn movie is just one continuous block of Crowning Moment of Awesome—but one of my all-time favorites scenes is still Natasha confronting Loki. It’s beautiful. How she starts off so calm and collected, and then Loki delves into her sordid, ugly past and digs up the reason why she is so determined to save her best friend, and then the entire experience is up-ended when it’s revealed that she was carefully playing on Loki’s ego and mad desire for revenge in order to find out his ultimate goal. Not one other member of that team could have done what Nat did. No one. That moment solidified the reason why Natasha is an Avenger. She may not have all the strength of Thor or Captain America, or the technological brilliance of Tony or Bruce, or the sharpshooting abilities of Hawkeye, but Nat is there for a reason. She adds something to that team, something that they most certainly needed, something that they could not have won the day without. Natasha is not a pretty accessory. Natasha has weight to her character, and that leads me into her next appearance.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the exact moment I fell in love with Natasha Romanoff. She became every single thing I’ve ever wanted in a female hero that I haven’t been able to get just yet (though I personally did really enjoy Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, and shut up, I don’t care if you don’t agree). The Avengers introduced us to Nat, but this is the film where the onion starts to peel and we see the layers beneath. I adore Nat and Steve together, as partners, as friends, and I admit I actually did see a little spark of attraction there as well, even if Nat’s intentions for Bruce come up in Age of Ultron. I love that she’s so laidback and teasing with him, but then at the same time, there is real conflict beneath her seemingly easy company. The two of them have very different approaches to saving the day, and Steve thinks everything is black and white while Nat sees only the grey. I especially loved the conversation they had in the truck on the way to New Jersey, where she asks what he wants from her, and he simply tells her the truth, and then there’s that incredible scene at Sam’s place where he says that he’d trust her with his life now that they’ve been through hell and back. I love that Steve could tell Nat was shaken by finding out that SHIELD was Hydra all along, and I think it adds something even deeper to what she goes through in Age of Ultron, which we’ll get to in a second. Nat’s “red in my ledger” comment is the baseline of her character development. She’s been trying so hard to wipe out that gushing red, and to discover that SHIELD, the organization that saved her life and put her on the right path, was still evil at its core, was the worst thing that could happen to her. But she puts her trust in Steve and Sam and the others and they get the work done destroying Hydra’s plan, and once again, she is shown to be beyond competent and essential to the mission, stopping Pierce and saving literally millions of lives.

Now it’s time to discuss Age of Ultron. By now, we know a glimpse of Nat’s past, what motivates her to still work for SHIELD, and that she’s perfectly comfortable with her teammates. First off, I do admit I’m not a big fan of the Nat/Bruce ship, but that’s not the fault of the writing for me. I just don’t see chemistry between ScarJo and Ruffalo, that’s all. I think she had way more heat and tension with Evans, but that might also be because the two have worked together before in the Nanny Diaries and in Winter Soldier, so keep that in mind. However, this is where my problem with the faux feminists start.

First of all, how is it sexist that Nat has a romantic arc with Bruce when literally every single Avenger so far has a love interest BEFORE it got to her? Tony has Pepper, Steve had Peggy, Bruce had Betty, Thor had Jane, and Hawkeye had his wife. I’m not kidding. All of them have a romantic relationship BEFORE Nat does, and all of said romances were fully explored and have an impact on our heroes. So does Nat and Bruce’s relationship. I’m not understanding the claim of sexism here. Hell, let’s check Webster yet again for a definition:

Sexism (n):   prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially :  discrimination against women

OR

:  behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Nope. Still not seeing it. Where is the sexism in Nat developing an attraction to Bruce, who is quiet, brilliant, kind-hearted, brave, and has shown her nothing but respect since they met? Where is the unfair treatment of this character? She is getting the same amount of attention towards romance that the other heroes received. How does it diminish who she is to want to share her feelings, both physical and emotional, with someone she likes?

Moving on, apparently the other outcry of the faux feminists is that Nat’s reveal about being sterile is also somehow sexist. Again, I’m a girl. I’ve watched this movie two separate times a week apart, and I cannot see any sexism on the part of the writers/director. Are they trying to say that dealing with her sterility is sexist? How? Men and women ARE different. Women DO have issues that men will never have to deal with. Nat’s sterility is definitely something that would impact her negatively and make her feel utterly destroyed if thrown back into her face after what we assume is probably years of repression. She was a weapon, programmed and commanded to do things against her will, and that abuse shaped how she acted for entire years.

Furthermore, how is it sexist to write that it made her turn that negativity onto herself when Bruce brought up not being able to have a family? If it’s the way she phrased being a monster, fine, that wasn’t phrased correctly, but I don’t see how that is reinforcing a stereotype or a negative generalization about women. Infertility is an issue that affects all women, whether they want to ever bear children or not. I personally don’t really want any kids at this point in my life, and I might never get to that point, and I don’t even have a boyfriend. That is a relevant issue to women. Why is Nat getting hatred, and subsequently, why is Joss Whedon and his writers getting flak for discussing a modern, relevant issue that women deal with? Wouldn’t it be sexist to gloss over it? Wouldn’t it be sexist to ignore her background and not discuss what has made her want to bond with Bruce? To make her a one dimensional character who is just a pair of tits or a punchline?

This is why I finally decided to make a blog post discussing the issue. I think that feminism has been corrupted by one specific group of women who like to take this word and warp it into an excuse to complain. Do you want proof? Fine. I’ll give you some examples.

They complain about Nat, but they ignore the fact that Darcy, the brunette from Thor, quite literally did not do ONE plot relevant thing in the entire movie. She was just there to be pretty and crack jokes and so the twenty-something boys would have someone to ogle other than Natalie Portman. Not only that, but they accept her as part of the Marvel universe and even ship her with people like Loki, which makes so little sense that I cannot even offer an attempt at an explanation. She is superfluous. 100% superfluous. And yet no complaints, but praise.

They complain about Nat, but then they scream and rage about Jane falling in love with Thor even though Thor’s entire actions in the first movie were a direct result of things that Jane helped him do, and he would not have been able to regain Mjolnir or defeat Loki without Jane’s help. It makes perfect sense that Thor fell for her because of how smart and sweet and brave and ready to learn about things she didn’t know she was, and it made sense for Jane to fall for Thor because he was a gentleman and he sacrificed himself to save a town full of people as well as her from his brother’s wrath.

They complain about Nat, but they actively worship Loki: a selfish, spoiled, entitled prick who chose to ignore years of kinship with Thor and Odin because his ego and inferiority complex took over. They constantly make excuses for him, saying it’s all Odin’s fault or all Thor’s fault, that Loki went mad with the notion that he was meant to be king. They say that he was just “misunderstood” when he came to earth, gleefully killing innocent people, and intending to enslave mankind not for our own good, but because he wants to be king of the mountain. They blame Thor for being a bully, and ignore the fact that Thor gave Loki chance after chance after chance to reform and do the right thing, even at the risk of his own life, and that Thor still loved Loki even at the moment of his “passing” in The Dark World.

They complain about Nat, but they try to justify the actions of Grant Ward from Agents of SHIELD, who has a boo-hoo abusive backstory that in no way justifies his constant ass-hattery and decision to be an evil, remorseless arrogant son of a bitch time and time again. He has murdered, tortured, kidnapped, and blamed everyone but himself for his own actions, and he has made it clear that his wants and needs exceed everyone else’s, and he refuses to apologize to the people who he betrayed and tried to kill several times, and yet these same women create entire groups to “stand” with him and protest that he’s not a monster when we have physical evidence that he is.

So yes, I use the term “faux-feminist” with no reservations whatsoever when addressing the people who claim that Nat is a bad character written by a “sexist.” All she is as of right now is a lightning rod that they are using to do what their actual agenda is: to stomp their little feet and fight fire with fire. Feminism is NOT about bullying men, or bullying women who disagree with you. Feminism is NOT about throwing so much hatred at someone that they feel the need to remove themselves from a social media environment. Feminism is NOT about treating men like shit so that they “understand” what women go through. Feminism is about finding middle ground so that men understand that women are to be written competently and realistically instead of being objectified or ignored.

Natasha Romanoff was not being objectified or ignored. She had an actual character arc. She had a personality. She had a mission. She was relevant, three-dimensional, and realistic. Does she do things that some of us disagree with? Of course she does! But that is what makes her an actual character. Real characters make mistakes. They screw up. They have faults. That is what the end goal is for feminism. We want to see women who aren’t perfect goddesses or complete screw ups. We want to see women who are both, and every shade in between, and that is exactly what Natasha Romanoff has become from her first appearance to her current one. You don’t have to like her. But you have to appreciate her because she is a fully formed character with motivations, a flushed out personality with layers, and a background that has been explored that affects her behavior.

You wanna complain about Age of Ultron? Be my guest. The movie is by no stretch perfect. It has flaws, and you are welcome to discuss them. But don’t you dare plant that fake-ass feminist flag and proclaim that it’s tearing down women when you have Natasha Romanoff out there kicking ass and being developed and proving that you don’t need a dick to be a fantastic hero. That ain’t feminism. That’s being a dick.

And I’m pretty sure that’s not what feminism is about.

Kyo out.