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Luke Cage – Wig Out (Review)

The second season of Luke Cage engages with the idea of masculinity in a number of interesting ways.

This is an interesting choice on a number of levels. Most obviously, the idea of exploring masculinity within the framework of a Marvel Netflix show should (in theory) belong to Jessica Jones. With the character of Kilgrave, it was the streaming service’s first female-led superhero series that marked out the idea of masculinity as a concept worth exploring within the framework of a superhero narrative. However, the second season of Jessica Jones is very engaged with the idea of female relationships, whether friendly or familial.

In doing so, Jessica Jones may have passed the theme on to the second season of Luke Cage. This makes sense on a number of levels. Most superficially, Luke Cage was actually introduced as a recurring guest star on the first season of Jessica Jones, and so ideas about masculinity are clearly woven into the character’s core identity. Beyond that, there is some value in Luke Cage in exploring the idea from a different perspective. After all, Luke Cage is a series with a male heroic lead. Its approach to the theme of masculine identity would be radically different.

As such, the second season of Luke Cage is perfectly positioned to explore notions of masculine identity.

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Millennium – The Time is Now (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

The second season of Millennium holds together very well as a season of television.

It is arguably more cohesive in terms of plotting and theme than any individual season of The X-Files, with the possible exception of the eighth season. Ideas, characters and themes are all set up early in the season so that they might pay-off at the climax. Watching The Fourth Horseman and The Time is Now, it is very hard to believe that the season could have ended any other way. That is a tremendous accomplishment on the part of Glen Morgan and James Wong, who steered the second season as Chris Carter brought his focus back to The X-Files.

Dicey proposition...

Dicey proposition…

The attention to detail is staggering. There are lots of little touches, from the way that the use of chickens in The Fourth Horseman calls back to the story that bookends Monster to the reference to the fate of Brian Roedecker to the quick shot of Frank placing the statue of the angel on his father’s grave. Glen Morgan has repeatedly stated that the character of Lara Means was introduced in Monster knowing her fate in The Time is Now, and that seems to be true of most of the character and plot arcs over the stretch of the second season.

However, what is truly touching about the second season of Millennium is the way that the show manages to remain deeply personal and emotional, despite the scale of what is unfolding.

Shattered mirror...

Shattered mirror…

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Putting the “Man” in Romance: Deconstructing The “Gerard Butler” Romantic Comedies

I had the misfortune of watching The Bounty Hunter last week. It was horrible, really. In fairness, I tend to have a problem with the conventional romantic comedy as it’s mass produced and shipped out to cinemas at least once a month like clockwork. A string of movies which are based on the principle that all men and women (whether they know it or not) want to settle down and get married, argue over stupid things about three quarters of the way through the film and get together again in time for the end credits. Not only are the morals of such films highly dubious, the delivery is generally just excruciating. However, something has changed within the genre in the past couple of years… and not necessarily for the better. I’ll let The Guardian sum up my position:  

I realise it’s high time we refreshed the tired tics and tropes of the kissy-kissy no-boys-allowed modern women’s picture, I just didn’t think the solution would be to take the suppressed homoeroticism of the punchy-punchy male buddy flick then slather it over the vaguely virginal values associated with most Sandra Bullock and Amanda Bynes movies.  

That about sums it up nicely, don’t you think?  

The figure on the left indicates where good ideas come from... the figure on the right indicates where most romantic comedy ideas come from... by the way, he has his back to us...

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