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New Escapist Column! On “Raya and the Last Dragon” and the New Cinema of Reconciliation…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Given the release of Raya and the Last Dragon last week, it seemed like an appropriate time to discuss an interesting and emerging trend, what I call “the New Cinema of Reconciliation.”

The past five years have been extremely turbulent and difficult for the United States and the wider world, and so there is an understandable yearning for a return to normality, a palpable desire to believe that things could go back to normal and that the damage down to the social fabric could be repaired. This is a major recurring motif in films aimed at younger audiences, from Trolls World Tour through to Wonder Woman 1984. However, Raya and the Last Dragon illustrates how complicated this can be.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Wonder Woman 1984 is Anything But a Wonder”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard for our first episode of the year. Because we’re easing ourselves back in, we really only focus on one movie this week. We go in-depth on the divisive Wonder Woman 1984.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

Non-Review Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is ambitious and messy.

In many ways, the original Wonder Woman¬†could be said to be the first true blockbuster of the Trump era, in much the same way that The Dark Knight was the closing blockbuster of the Bush era and Star Trek was the opening blockbuster of the Obama era. It is not a literal or a chronological distinction, but instead that acknowledges the film’s place as a cultural marker. The original Wonder Woman spoke to the question of what it meant to be good in a world that is not, which resonated in the second half of the decade.

No spoilers.

As such, it feels appropriate that Wonder Woman 1984 will be the last blockbuster of the Trump era. Part of this is simply down to factors outside the film’s control – it was originally meant to release earlier in the year, and Warner Brothers had originally planned for Dune to take the Christmas release slot that ultimately went to it. Still, it’s hard to watch Wonder Woman 1984 without getting a sense that director Patty Jenkins has a lot to say about the current moment. Even insulated by its mid-eighties setting, Wonder Woman 1984 is a movie anchored firmly in the present.

There’s a lot of rich thematic material here and grand ideas. Indeed, Wonder Woman 1984 might just be the first superhero blockbuster that serves as a metaphor for the idea of an economy. However, the execution is a little too broad and too clumsy. Wonder Woman 1984 works best when it is anchored in its characters and giving them room to breathe. It struggles a bit when it tries to position itself as a brand extension of a recognisable franchise.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “The Only Thing Horrifying About New Mutants is How Bad It Is”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Maggie Iken for the twelfth episode. Adaptation is a recurring motif that bridges the four sections of the podcast, covering the news about Wonder Woman 1984 heading to streaming, the development of the Uncharted adaptation, plans to adapt The Guilty for Netflix and a discussion of New Mutants.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.