Top Gun Maverick Movie, Man Tears, and Hollywood’s Depiction of Men and Women
Let’s get some things out of the way up front.
I’m a conservative person (I am not a liberal, a feminist, a Democrat, or a progressive) who doesn’t buy into people being shamed or pressured into following traditional gender roles, nor do I agree that most aspects of traditional gender roles are accurate or inborne (maybe none are), but are due to social conditioning.
I am neither a Tom Cruise hater or fan; I don’t hate all men; I don’t have a problem with men crying openly when they’re feeling sad or moved, even if it’s because of a movie.
(This would go against Toxic Masculinity, which informs men that it’s shameful and weak to cry openly.)
I did see the original Top Gun movie years ago but haven’t gotten around to seeing the new Top Gun Maverick continuation of that first movie, but I’ve read that it’s gotten really wonderful reviews, it’s got really great, thrilling old school (non computer generated) special effects, and it’s made a ton of money at the box office.
Eventually, I may want to see Top Gun Maverick, but as of the writing of this post, I have not viewed it.
On the one hand, I do not fully support the progressive take on popular entertainment, where the left tends to take beloved legacy, white, heterosexual male characters from 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s franchises and either race-, gender-, or sexuality-swap them out with black, lesbian, women, or, where they depict the once-competent white, male, hetero character as being an incompetent hack.
Usually, in today’s woke story telling, a competent female character has to rescue, save, or else “school” the white, hetero, male on how ignorant he is.
While I do agree that for too many years….
(too many classical (anti-woke) liberals and conservatives are in denial on this next point!),
….too much of popular entertainment centered white, hetero, male protagonists and almost always only featured women as the “mom” character, the “sexy” chick (eye candy for hetero men), or as a “wife” (who gets murdered, thus giving a motive to the male character to go out and kill), I think as of late, Hollywood has been too heavy handed and pedantic in how they are seeking to correct that balance.
If we’re being honest, for decades, in movies, the only strong female leads we got, and who were usually not overly sexualized and turned into eye candy for men, were a small, token smattering: Princess Leia; Ripley from Aliens; and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Well, we did got shots of Ripley walking around in her underwear and Leia in a metal bikini.)
For many years, the majority of fun, interesting, ass-kicking heroes in movies and shows (and comics and video games) were straight, white, men. That is the reality of it.
Three or four independent, take-charge women in over what, three to four decades? of time, do not make up for the avalanche, the unrelenting parade, of white, male characters that were shoved to the forefront of almost every movie and show over the decades.
For years, and in the 1980s movies in particular, a regular, human male, not a superhero – such as many characters played by a Sylvester Stallone type of action star – could easily fend off and fight off groups of other big, male adversaries in fight scenes, and bullets seemed to bounce off them (even though, again, these actors were not playing Superman-like characters with special powers and abilities).
In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, we had male “Mary Sue” tough guys who seemed immune to the many bullets sprayed their way by bad guys – male Mary Sue characters played by Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and others.
I’ve come across several articles the last couple of weeks explaining that grown men have watched the new Tom Cruise Top Gun Maverick in movie theaters and have been moved to tears by the movie.
It’s bizarre to me that when Hollywood began writing more super hero female leads into movies and in television shows, such as Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, conservatives and non-woke liberals, began complaining incessantly about how “woke” and “anti male” these movies were. (I didn’t see them complain so much back when Ripley and Leia were in movies back in the day.)
(Before I resume with that line of thought:
I did see the Captain Marvel movie a few years ago and have seen it several times repeated on cable television since then.
That Captain Marvel movie created such an uproar years ago, with incel men and some conservative men (sometimes these groups overlap!), and even in Christian blogs and magazines, complaining out the ying yang about how the movie was too “feminist” or too “anti male.”
The problem with the Captain Marvel movie was-
- not that it had a strong female lead,
- or in the film occasionally highlighting the casual, every day sexism that some men, yes, do in fact engage in against women (so many men are in denial on that point and resented it being shown in the Captain Marvel movie), or
- not even necessarily actress Brie Larson’s “woke” commentary during the rounds of film promotion
-but that the movie was rather … dull.
Captain Marvel was not terrible, but it was dull and bland. That was the problem with the movie.
The movie was average, but not a “fun” average. It was just kind of there.
These days if this movie comes on one of my cable channels, I may keep it on while I’m folding laundry, but I don’t pay it much attention as it’s playing.
Captain Marvel is not very engaging, and it’s not that re-watchable. I also feel the same about some male-led Marvel movies, such as “Thor: Dark World,” and “Iron Man 2” and “Iron Man 3;” those were all bland and dull as well.)
Hollywood including more strong, independent female leads is a welcome correction to decades of Hollywood’s default of always making the star of the show or hero of the story a hetero, white, man. I can agree with woke liberals on that much.
However, (and as I mentioned before in older posts), I don’t agree with taking this correction to the other extreme and portraying most every straight, white, male as a drooling doofus who needs to be led and corrected by a much-smarter, more-capable woman lead, of whatever skin color and sexuality.