Daddies in Film: Better Dads (STAR TREK II, STAR WARS, LAST JEDI, LOTR) with Maggie Mae Fish


In part one of this series, I talked a lot
about how contemporary films use cinematic grammar to frame bad dads as “flawed but ultimately
loving.” Let’s take a look at a movie that acknowledges
the unloving, abusive nature of a tyrannical patriarch, and contextualizes it more honestly. Star Trek 2. No, sorry, not that Star Trek 2. The other Star Trek 2. Back in an episode of the original series,
Captain Kirk marooned his enemy Khan on a remote planet, Seti Alpha Five. Then, between the events of that episode and
the second Star Trek movie, another nearby planet exploded, resulting in the deaths of
much of Khan’s crew. Khan’s wife, Marla MacGivers, was among
those who died on Ceti Alpha Five. Khan blames Kirk for her death, which at first
seems like a typical “You killed my wife!” motivation. Khan uses his wife’s death as the justification
to try to kill Kirk and take his ship. “I shall leave you as you left me. As you left her.” But this “murdered wife” motivation is not
your typical paint-by-number studio decision. See, the reason Kirk marooned Khan in the
first place is because, back in that Original Series episode,” Khan tried to kill Kirk
and take his ship. “Your ship is mine. I have shut off the life support system to
your bridge.” That’s what Khan DOES. It’s kinda his “thing.” He tries to kill people and take their stuff. His desire comes first; his justification
is secondary. Khan doesn’t form relationships because
he cares about people. He forms them to use people. Even after their death. “These people have sworn to live and die
at my command, two hundred years before you were born.” One of Khan’s crew, Joachim, tries to convince
Khan to flee after they’ve captured the Genesis device. “Full impulse power. No sir, you have Genesis. Full power, damn you!” But even when Khan possesses Genesis–a scientific
instrument whose purpose is literally to CREATE LIFE–he’s still focused on destruction. He refuses to listen to constructive criticism,
and then, even at their moment of defeat, Khan–the leader, the patriarch, the daddy—and
Joachim–the follower, the subject, the son–are both unable to imagine that they were wrong. Here’s Joachim’s last words: “Yours is a
superior–” He was trying to say, one last time: “Yours is a superior intellect.” Joachim has watched his master objectively
fail, but to him, this is not failure, because in Joachim’s mind, Khan is incapable of failure. It’s merely an opportunity to repeat their
slogan of racial superiority. Khan, likewise, immediately uses Joachim’s
death as an excuse to justify revenge, once again. Khan wants to believe he is the victim, that
he has been wronged. Some people are extremely resistant to, or
maybe even incapable of personal growth. Some people will never redeem themselves. Some people will never “pivot” to suddenly
become “Presidential.” And despite his supposed “superiority,” Khan
will never evolve a sense of humanity. “I’m laughing at the superior intellect.” I glossed over this earlier, but Khan’s
wife Marla wasn’t killed in the explosion. She was killed by a lil bug. “They killed twenty of my people. Including my beloved wife.” Khan could’ve waged war against these tiny
bugs for killing his wife. But he keeps them as pets and continues to
wage war against Kirk. Because he doesn’t actually love his wife
or crew. He loves revenge. He even seems to respect the bugs. Their larvae burrow into your ear and allow
someone else to control your mind. “This has the effect of rendering the victim
extremely susceptible to… suggestion.” A perfect metaphor for a big bad daddy who
just wants you to do as he commands. Early on, we get a glimpse of Khan’s bookshelf. Moby Dick, King Lear, Paradise Lost… Ahab, Lear, and Satan are characters we are
meant to read as horribly misguided. They are irrational, lacking in compassion,
and lacking in humanity. But to Khan, they are idols and heroes. They pursue their fanatical goals until they
destroy everything around them. Thanos and Khan are similar characters in
many ways: they both mask their selfishness in ideology; they both assume their own superior
intellect and morality, regardless of the violence they cause. The difference between Thanos and Khan is:
the filmmakers of Infinity War construct Thanos to try to make us empathize with; conversely,
the filmmakers of Wrath of Khan are more interested in illuminating the hypocrisy of unquestionable
leadership. I can imagine this movie getting remade–which
it did.” And a studio saying “we need to humanize this
character!” –which they did. And suddenly you’re casting a more charismatic
actor for your villain than your hero. I mean, who doesn’t like Benedict Cumberbatch? The trend of humanizing the genocidal maniac
is pretty unsettling, and I would argue that it originates in narratives written around
the time the Hays Code was abandoned, when filmmakers started to experiment more and
more with narratives that featured outsiders: whether they were non-traditional heroes,
anti-heroes, or straight up criminals. Like 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. However, these mid-to-late 20th century narratives
usually featured someone who was conventionally considered outside the bounds of civilized
society. Bank robbers “If they move, kill em.” Young people experimenting with sexuality
“We’d be good together. I’m dating your best friend. He won’t mind.” Drug dealers. Or people in trans relationships. “Seven brides mades, all male, Sonny’s
mother, and about seventy other guests, all members of the gay community, were all present. We’ve been able to obtain a still photograph
of Leon in his gown.” These movies questioned authority, by humanizing
characters who were prosecuted, persecuted, or oppressed by that authority. However, as mainstream Hollywood has co-opted
these outsider narratives, we see humanizing traits applied to genocidal murderers like
Thanos, in an attempt to make us feel sympathy for the prosecutor, the persecutor, and the
oppressor. So connecting this all back to reality, we
can either humanize with and sympathize with a genocidal dictator, or we can abolish ICE. Speaking of Star Trek— I think we can all agree that Star Wars has
a lot to do with the current pop culture obsession with dad stories, since the original trilogy
had an unprecedented cultural impact. However, unlike a lot of other movies that
sentimentalize relationships with daddies, the original trilogy questioned those relationships. Darth Vader personifies the fear that we will
grow to make the same mistakes as our parents. As the original trilogy progresses, Luke must
confront the evil within himself, in order to defeat it. At first he denies the possibility that he
could ever end up like his father “Luke I don’t want to lose you to the emperor
the way I lost Vader. You wont.” It’s like, “Of course I’ll never end up as
a cyborg villain.” “I’ll never join you!” But immediately after that confrontation,
Luke is fitted with a cyborg hand. He is in danger of being overtaken by the
Machine. And his mechanical hand is a great metaphor,
because a machine just does what it’s told. Vader wants a son who will just do as he’s
told. I know Return of the Jedi gets a lot of crap
for being silly or a mess, but in one of the most anticipated action, adventure, sci fi
films of all time, how does this intergalactic space drama about war and evil end??” With an act of non-violence. “Fulfill your destiny and take your father’s
place at my side. Never. I’ll never turn to the dark side.” Luke refuses to perpetuate his father’s cycle
of violence. And only at the end of the three films do
we finally see Vader’s humanity restored, when he sacrifices himself to save his son. And It’s not a one sided relationship. Luke and Vader both sacrifice something. What was a hierarchy becomes an equal, healthy
relationship. “I’ll not leave you here. I’ve got to save you. You already have.” Luke and Vader are both willing to sacrifice
themselves to save the other. Unlike a daddy who pushes his daughter off
a cliff so he can get what he wants. Sacrifice would be putting himself in harm’s
way. Aside from Vader, there are a lot of flawed
daddies in Star Wars. There are even fairly good daddies, like Luke’s
foster father Lars, Obi Wan, and Yoda.” but Star Wars still complicates these surrogate
father figures by showing them mislead Luke in pursuit of what THEY think is right. “So what I told you is true, from a certain
point of view. A certain point of view?” George Lucas was very much part of the hippie
counterculture. “Remember, never trust anyone over 30.” Episode 4 was a product of the the Nixon,
“maybe our leader Daddies are bad daddies” generation.That’s why it’s fascinating to
see what he did with the father archetype twenty years later. When he made the prequels, he was in a very
different part of his life. By 1999, he was a father himself. And a billionaire. So instead of another interesting commentary
on parent-child relationships, we end up with an immaculately conceived main character. “Who was his father? There was no father.” Which is COMPLETELY unrelatable to any human
living on earth. Whereas Lucas seemed afraid or unwilling to
confront those issues, Ryan Johnson tackles them head on in the last Jedi. Luke is a rare example of a father figure
who we know and love, admitting that he failed. “I failed. Because I was Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master. A legend.” Luke failed because he bought into the Jedi
power hierarchy. In the beginning of the Last Jedi, Luke tries
to control his students. Forcing them to adhere to the light side. He refuses to teach Rey, exerting control
over her by preventing her from learning. And obviously he pulls a light saber on Kylo. But over the course of the film, he learns
that a parent or teacher’s role is not to control. “You failed him by thinking his choice was
made. It wasn’t. There’s still conflict in him.” Instead his role is to prepare others to face
their own challenges. “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” In the flashback where Luke is tempted to
control Kylo, the visuals emphasize Luke’s cybernetic hand, calling back to Vader’s
desire to control Luke. Even though Vader is long dead, Luke is still
in danger of making the same mistakes as his father. Of becoming his father. “And the last thing I saw were the eyes
of a frightened boy whose master had failed him.” Kylo saw the terrifying reality that Luke–one
of his biggest father figures–was flawed, just another human. Kylo was so desperate for authoritarian validation,
A.K.A. a DADDY for someone to tell him what to do, for a set of hardline rules to live
by, that he eventually turned to the dark side because Snoke seems stronger to a boy
who can’t yet understand the nuance of the light side of the Force. Kylo’s view of the universe requires that
his master be unquestionably powerful and perfect, because that’s what he’s desperately
trying to convince himself he is. The final light saber duel between Kylo and
Luke is the perfect metaphor for an angry little boy sitting at his computer, throwing
a tantrum at someone’s online avatar. Similar to Kylo, Rey looks to Luke to show
her the way. “I need someone to show me my place in all
this.” But unlike Kylo, who turns to Snoke at Luke’s
first sign of weakness, Rey forgives Luke, and gives him the chance to redeem himself. Rogue One gets some things right. Seeing a bunch of burly commandos stand in
front of Jyn and openly admit that they’ve done terrible things in the name of “good,”
and say they want to atone for their sins, is awesome. “We’ve all done terrible things on behalf
of the rebellion.” But in the end, it falls short. In fact, the story’s unflinching devotion
to the father ends up ruining Jyn’s character arc in an otherwise pretty GREAT movie. Jyn’s father is portrayed as a scientist who
is coerced into constructing the Death Star. We’re told that, without him, it won’t get
built. But the movie also performs feats of emotional
and moral gymnastics to show how “conflicted” he is about it. That he “really doesn’t want to.” That he “has” to do it. “Or else.” So while his words contradict his actions,
he’s more than just complicit. He should have been the “Darth Vader” of Jyn’s
story. But even at the end of her narrative, she’s
ultimately finishing his work. “It must be destroyed. I know. I know. We will.” She doesn’t possess the agency of a true protagonist. Instead of breaking free of that paternalistic
hierarchy, she exists to serve the father. Khan is the kind of daddy who tries to create
a closed society, where all power flows from him, and him alone. He is inflexible. He is so set in his ways, unable to adapt
as the world progresses around him. “He’s intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking.” Like Thanos, Jonathan Kent, and Jor-El, Kahn’s
worldview is static. His morality doesn’t evolve with the times. They avoid difficult life lessons, instead
relying on extremely vague morality or platitudes. “It was only the fact of my genetically
engineered intellect that allowed us to survive.” Or y being so specific they end up being unhelpful. These dads are the kinds of guys who would,
say, give you a list of “12 Rules” to follow, which include things as mundane as “clean
your room,” or as irrelevant as “don’t bother children while they’re skateboarding,” or
even reinforcing parental authority by stating “do not let your children do anything that
makes you dislike them.” Even Yoda engaged in this kind of rule-based
thinking at one point. “He is too old. Yes, too old to begin the training.” Yoda only uses rules as an attempt to avoid
doing what he is afraid to do: train Luke. Yoda resorts to rules out of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what could happen if Luke is empowered
to make his own decisions. That’s not to say all rules are bad. But we need to understand how and why the
rules we follow were established. Do these rules exist to help us live fuller
lives, or to restrict us? Like the Last Jedi, a few recent big budget
movies have started to do a better job of challenging parental authority, at leas as
much as they can within the studio system. But I do hope these movies represent a step
toward a more progressive genre of daddy fiction. As little kids sitting in a movie theater,
though, movies shape how we view reality. And adults aren’t immune from that influence
either. We’ve gotten back to back to back to back
movies where daddies and authority are glorified. When writers and directors dress up pro-authority
messages as fantastical, hyper stylized action spectacles, kids may internalize harmful relationships
which movies justify as “loving,” and adults are given really problematic examples of parenting. It’s one thing for Thanos to tell everyone
“I love my daughter who I abuse all the time!” if the point is that we as an audience are
given the space to think, “No, that’s not a loving father.” It’s another thing entirely for the Marvel
universe to confirm that he does, in fact, “love” her by rewarding him when he pushes
her off a cliff. In Lord of the Rings, the One Ring’s greatest
power is to manipulate other people’s will. Similar to the bugs in Wrath of Khan, or the
Dark Side of the Force in Star Wars. But even without the Ring, characters manipulate
one another throughout the entire story. Over and over, we see daddies try to bend
their children to their own will. Hereditary status is like a sick obsession
with most of these characters. Elrond tries to tell Arwen that she can’t
date humans. Theoden tries to tell Eowyn that she can’t
fight because she is “no man.” Denethor tries to burn his son alive because
he’s got this whole inferiority complex about not being the “actual” king daddy of Gondor. Each one of these children rebels and chooses
their own path. Well, not Faramir. He doesn’t choose to be flame retardant. But curiously, Frodo, the bearer of the Ring–who
shoulders the heaviest weight of the quest–doesn’t have a strong parental relationship in the
narrative. Sure, Bilbo adopted him, but Bilbo never acts
in a way we’d describe as “fatherly.” Frodo comes from this massive extended family
in the Shire, and yet, when the question arises: “Who will carry the ring?” no one is there to pressure Frodo into accepting
it. All the other members of the council squabble
over hereditary feuds, passed down for generations, and call out each other’s daddies. “Long has my father the steward of Gondor
kept the forces of Mordor at bay.” “The One Ring answers to Sauron alone, it
has no other master.” “He is Aragorn son of Arathorn.” “This is Isildur’s heir?” “The Ring cannot be destroyed Gimli, son
of Gloin, by any craft that we here posses.” “I will be dead before I see the Ring in
the hands of an Elf!” In contrast, Frodo makes the choice himself,
without ulterior motive. This is why he’s the best choice to carry
the Ring. Even Aragorn and Gandalf, our most noble,
sword and magic-wielding heroes, know they must not take the ring. They are too entrenched in paternalistic power
structures. And later, Boromir tries to steal the ring,
because he’s just gotta prove to daddy that he’s the best boy. With every line Boromir speaks, you can imagine
his dad yelled that same crap at him when he was a kid. “I care not.” A Ring is a closed circle; a symbol of restrictive
order; it can be a sign that you “belong” to another person. A ring is also very often a family heirloom. And since the greatest power of the One Ring
is that it can bend other beings to your will, it is the physical manifestation of an abusive
parent telling their child: “Just do as I say!” The One Ring, more than anything else, is
a concrete symbol of the authoritarian nature of patriarchy. So yeah, let’s toss that shit into the fires
of Mount Doom, forever. But hey, you don’t have to do what I tell
you. After all, I’m not your daddy. Or am I? Thanks for watching! And a big thank you to all my patrons who
help make it possible for me to make more of these videos, more often. If you’d like to support too, head over
to patreon dot com slash maggie mae fish and leave a comment here or on twitter. Plus, look out for my upcoming podcast about
friendship called My Top 8, coming soon on the Small Beans podcast network. And as always, SAVE MARTHA!

100 thoughts on “Daddies in Film: Better Dads (STAR TREK II, STAR WARS, LAST JEDI, LOTR) with Maggie Mae Fish

  1. Oh shit, that call back to using Save Martha as a random greeting caught me of guard and got me for solid minute. Well played Miss Fish, consider me subbed.

  2. Hardly any of these father figures are "glorified" in films. I'm pretty sure most ten year olds know that Darth Vader, Thanos, and (fill in the blank obvious villain) is not someone they should look to as a role model. If anything these men are perfect examples of what went wrong and how not to follow them.

    Most of this video just seems like an excuse to complain about fathers regardless of which movie it may be.

    I sense major Daddy issues.

  3. A load of almost mindless psychobabble. You hate Trump. You hate strong men. You hate your father. You don't know why, but it's what you've been told to do. Thus, you try to use laughable over-analysis of good movies to justify said hatred. That might work with illogical millennial brains, but not with the rest of us. Good luck in real life girl. You will need it desperately.

  4. Themes are important but so is plot and character arcs. My problem with TLJ and Lukes character arc is that he already went through this lesson in RotJ. He faced off with space Hitler and won by laying down his weapon. He showed remorse for the man who tortured his friends, tyrannised the galaxy and cut of his hand.
    The Luke we see in TLJ is a regression from that original arc and one which isnt properly explained. Calling the critics of Lukes arc in TLJ man children who didn't get to see Luke play out their fantasy might be true for some but for most of what iv'e read isn't the majority view. The theme of failure and control is good but the execution is bad.

    Also, i think the Lord of the Rings paternity/patriarchy of the ring is a bit of a reach.

  5. Humanizing doesn’t mean “turn into the good guy.” The thing is real life villains are human. Doesn’t humanizing movie villains help us understand villain’s motivations and help us confront them in real life?

  6. After watching two solid hours of quality content in which a highly intelligent woman with more education than I conveys ideas with which I am unfamiliar in a format that is both educational and entertaining, I'm about to commit the sin of commenting something about her appearance.

    For the first time in my life, I actually like a woman's makeup. I've always hated the look of makeup, but that multi-color thing she did with her eyes is really pretty.

  7. I appreciate your perspective. It's good to see your thoughts presented in a consumable manner.

    That said..

    I don't understand why you feel that your message is so weak that you need to supplement it with political commentary. It felt like the student shouting "San Dimas Highschool football rules!" to get the audience to applause.

    If you only desire a polar audience, your approach is fine.

  8. Thanks for acknowledging the progressive side of LOTR after all the things that are hanged on it, both with and without reason.

  9. Your LOTR analysis has problems. Aragorn is afraid of the Ring because his uber-great-grandfather was corrupted by it, and he is afraid of having the same weakness; in fact, the Edain (Men) are accepted as more susceptible to the Ring than other races because their short lifespans make them drawn to power. Aragorn avoiding the Ring is kind of like avoiding alcohol because your father was an alcoholic–it's not rejection of values as much as it is avoiding a danger. Gandalf is afraid of the Ring because the Ring contains Sauron's lifeforce, and Gandalf and Sauron are both demigods, so Gandalf knows the Ring can take him over and use him as a weapon. Gandalf even says: "I would use this Ring through a desire to do good…but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine."

    That's a big part of the problem with this kind of analysis: it ignores or recontextualizes the practical, actual psychological motivations behind the characters into metaphors of ontological triumphalism.

  10. So Donald Trump is Khan out of/ off of Star Trek and Yoda is Jordan Peterson.. yeah right. And of course any attempt to provide some people with moral fibre should be shat on. All is deconstruction/ destruction.

  11. I will cherish imagining old man Tolkien ponder in the long nights at writing how many people will understand that the One True Message of his work is 'fuck the patriarchy'. Thank you!

  12. I hadn't thought of it until I watched this video, but the three Star Trek: Enterprise episodes about Soong's augment children are pretty clearly taking Joachim's unquestioning devotion, and wondering how that might have gone if he'd been less devoted to Khan. Those episodes also happen to have an even more explicit daddy narrative to them, so presumably the Enterprise writers were thinking of the Khan/Joachim relationship in more or less the same way.

  13. Many children of the Gen X and Millenial generations were able to relate to not being raised by a father like Anakin when Phantom Menace came out.

  14. I liked this video, but have to admit I was disappointed that you didn't have anything to say about Kirk as a father in STII.

  15. The real would-be dictator left office in 2017. He was replaced by a businessman with a real work history who actually loves his country.

  16. Trash. Sarcastic jabs at Jordan Peterson are not question authority figures and challenging them but undermining the very authority they have through there competency. in the case of Jyn Erso she understood his conflict because he knew he was under duress. however i do agree she had too little agency in the film. It's clear in this case though that women don't know the difference between sarcastic jabs that have the presupposition of superior knowledge and actually question authority in a manner designed to be thoughtful.

  17. Jyn was a flawed character from the beginning. Nine years as a warrior and 7 years as a criminal and she acts and talks like a sulky privileged sophomore. Uh…. no. LARP fuel maybe, but not an authentic character at all. The role of her father in the story could be lipstick on a pig at best.

  18. So Thanos cannot really love Gammora because he throws her off a cliff.
    That’s controversial. It assumes that real love cannot be mutated by personal agendas.
    It surely can.
    I’m not interested in crediting Infinity War as a particularly clever film, I don’t think it is, but make no mistake, what Thanos feels for Gammora is love. Real love. We shouldn’t be asking why it is that people can’t be more loving. We should be asking about how fallible love is, about what it’s limits are, and not kidding ourselves with the platonic delusion that once love is installed that we can depend on a person.
    There is not a division between the loving and the not loving. Very loving people are capable of extraordinary cruelty.

  19. Oh my goodness thank you so much for bringing original Star Trek into the discourse! There was so much to admire in those films, which seemed somehow less concerned with drawing crowds and more with conveying their author's message. And I don't mean to deify the past in saying that. But I do believe that Khan was made on the cusp of the true Hollywood blockbuster, and perhaps because of their earnest nature, the original ST films all somewhat dodged being spectacles with dodgy messages. Kirk was our focal character most of the time, but the films definitely never made out like his bad decisions were good or right. When he screwed up, the films made that clear. Anyway, thanks now I'm going to go hide in my hole and watch old ST movies and pretend the world isn't dying…

  20. Hey, watching this reminded me of one of my enduring frustrations with the MCU Spider-Man, which is precisely the way they hand the whole father-son relationship.

    Originally, the Spider-Man comics had a more interesting take on this – for no other reason, I'm sure, than that it was the 60's and 70's and they were trying to appeal to teenagers by publishing a comic about a non-sidekick teenage superhero. Peter loses his surrogate daddy, and soon finds himself meeting a succession of potential new surrogate daddies – whom he rejects, and most of whom are villainous. The idea here is obvious: appeal to teens by having the teen hero be confronted with middle-aged and older assholes ((almost all of his enemies are middle aged or older dudes who in some way or another represent some kind of authority figure, and who usually have a privileged position in society) who keep trying to kill his inner freak (the widely socially rejected, feared, borderline outlaw Spider-Man) while praising Peter's outer presentation as a "sweet boy". Basically Peter isn't looking for surrogate daddies, surrogate daddies are looking for him (and being rejected).

    Unfortunately, the movies have turned this around with his relationship with Tony Stark, something that I recall the comics themselves unfortunately doing last time I read them with any regularity. The Raimi movies, especially the second one, were better about this (Peter does look for daddies, but they're all disappointments).

  21. what you wanna prove with it. Father figur is very important thing becose, it conects with honner and strenght and responsibility. In general it is inbadyment of God.

  22. I really can't tell if this is a projection of your daddy issues or a set of coherent critics that just sound that way. The first thing that seems totally counter to your arguments is Thanos is a villain. Khan too! If you object to their morals you are actually supporting the views of the creators and support the so call patriarchal systems that produced them. Also how can you use Thanos as an example, his arc as a villain is at its apex with a fall just waiting to happen. The true outcomes of this narrative are yet to be seen.
    Next I would discuss the aspect of "better daddies". The conclusion seems to be that the best daddy is the absent one. Frodo is seen as the morally superior as he rejects his immediate patriarch as his oppressor, however he follows the classic mythical story trait of rescuing the father "bilbo" and restoring the patriarchal balance to the shire if he essential gifts to Sam to continue in a very daddy like act. Hell, almost everything you've discussed seems be better described by this classic trait.
    Then there is superman, you change a story about moral choose and the coming of age of a hero as he tries to resolve the conflicts of moralities he has been presented to define he own. Which is only possible through the rejection of the sins of his "daddies". He's actually a better hero for having more daddies. The literal climax of "man of steel" is him killing one of said daddies, that's way past metaphorical rejection.
    Most of these stories are about a hero defying the old rules to adapt to the ever changing challenges of life. Without the rigid structure in the form of your elder's knowledge there would be no growth or development, just people doing morally ambiguous things near one another.
    The rejection of identity born of family that you seem the argue for is interesting, but i'm not sure you are arguing for a true individuality morality that totally rejects any context a person is born to and deals only in personal responsibilities and action or just the rejection of the patriarchal ties.
    This is very ranty, and poorly constructed. Dad's are people who you can reject some or all of their ideas. These stories are full of people rejecting and embracing the past ideas to inspire the new and I don't think kids are gonna stay under the tyrannical feet of their parents after watching these films. Villains are not the endorsement of an idea or structure, but a rejection. If you think the villains have a point that's on you. Can't wait for better mummies video 🙂

  23. I think your take on the daddy in Rogue One is unfair. His coercion is not metal gymnastics or even unrealistic. The actual Nazis, actually coerced scientists. And just like the purposeful engineering of a weakness in the death star, Heisenberg gave the Nazis inflated numbers for how much radioactive material they would need to build a nuke. As a result they were never able to build a nuke. He pretended to cooperate, while secretly biding a weakness into the plan. This real life situation was the inspiration for Rogue One.
    But the rest of your conclusions seem pretty solid tho, and this is the first video of yours ive watched that i ever thought warranted any correction, and it's only one tiny part you got wrong.
    So, you're still more correct than my other favorite youtubers, such as Hbomberguy and Steve Shives

  24. One thing you have to remember about Thanos is this. He may have been made sympathetic in 'Infinity War', but for several movies, he was painted as the bad guy, and Iron-Man, SPider-Man, Captain America were painted as the good guy. Same as Gamora. We've seen her as the good guy in three movies. The two guardian movies, and 'Infinity War'. When 'Infinity War' came out, Thanos was still the bad guy, and Gamora was still the good guy, who was killed by the bad guy. I don't think they were trying to glorify what Thanos was doing.

  25. I love what you said about Rogue One because i thought the whole movie would have been better off if we went more into the daddy character because his character arc was so huge yet it's pretty much glossed over. Why was he conflicted? They don't care, it's apparently enough to know that he was.

  26. The one thing that stands out to me as the greatest flaw of Rogue One is that Jyn's father would use her as a tool to get revenge on the Empire and pretty much lead her to her death and meanwhile both the characters and the audience need to swallow that this sociopath was a loving father. I may not wholeheartidely agree with your take on Thanos but this guy is just a) literally an idiot and b) a sick fuck.

  27. Do not compare Donald Trump's presidency to Khan Noonien Singh
    of Star Trek. If you want to make a comparison to a bad president and Khan from Star Trek, look no further than Barack Obama. If you want to talk about a person who never made personal growth you need to talk about Obama.

  28. I like the video but Jin's father wasn't essential to the death star. His boss thought he was but Galen Erso could see that the project would completed without his assistance; that is why he accepted the job and deliberately built in the flaw seen in episode 4. If he committed suicide or refused to work, maybe director Krennic would have been fired or killed himself but then someone else would take over. It isn't fair to Jin but he cannot destroy the project without help and she is only one of two people we know he could reasonably ask to intervene and believe him.

  29. Okay these videos were great but were they concieved as an attempt to singlehandedly re-normalise "daddy" as a nonsexual word?

  30. I don't want to be too much of a DC fan boy but the 'save Martha' bit was brilliantly acted and was more about Batman being knocked out of his rage by a happenstance triggering of his PTSD that let him see Superman as human and not the other.

    But yeah man those movies sure do have it's daddy issues (you didn't even bring up Lex Luthor). And man was this two parter brilliant! Instant sub! Keep it up!

  31. Good point about rogue one, all the characters were hobbled by the fact that the whole plot was imagined to "fit" a pre written conclusion

  32. I get the point and I agree with a lot of it, but I still think that some of these examples are poorly chosen because they just aren't glorifying abusive fathers. I think humanizing a villain is a great way to enrich a story because that's exactly what we all are: humans. And I feel like you touched on this later in the video but you still stick to the point that they're ultimately rewarding characters that did horrible things. I still can't bring myself to agree. Thanos had complicated feelings toward Gamora and just because he was abusive and an overall horrible father, doesn't mean he didn't feel some sort of twisted form of love toward her. And as selfish as we all think it is to murder your daughter to get what you want, I don't think he as a character sees it that way. To him, he's saving the universe from itself. In his eyes, that's every living being vs his daughter. And I think infinity war did a lot to show that it was a decision that hurts him deeply. It's also not like the movie framed him as a good guy for any of this. His humanization is just added to make you feel for him as a person because it makes a story just a little more realistic. No one really does bad things to be evil.

    I understand your argument and the impact these kinds of stories have on our culture. But even as a person who has been abused, I find it important to humanize an antagonist. The grey area between good and evil is a huge reason as to why people have trouble recognizing abuse. The more people think about it and learn to understand it (because I'm not going to lie, it's a complex topic) the more we can all grow. Stories allow us to experience foreign concepts. It's a medium from which we learn to empathize and understand each other. If the ambiguities of a difficult topic like abuse can be cleared up for those who don't understand it, I encourage that wholeheartedly. I'm sure there are plenty of stories that are flawed in how they portray abuse. I think the sheer fact that most people take years to admit a situation is abusive is evidence enough. But because of everything I just said and considering that the story hasn't even been completed, I just don't think Infinity War is it.

  33. The way the Jedi and more specifically Luke talk about and warn away from the dark side in a really vague "bad" way reminds me when the resource officers started of their "drugs are bad" talk about how they used to be restricted from actually educating people about drugs and their dangers because they were told that educating kids would only make them want to do the thing more. I guess it's an ignorance is bliss thing.

  34. On the subject of Thanos, I agree that his abuse is ostensibly rewarded, but I do think there’s substantial room for improvement. Despite Disney’s staunch denial, Avengers IW, is part 1 of 2, and it remains to be seen whether Thanos has actually succeeded. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gamora is able to thwart Thanos’s plan and save half the universe from within the soul stone (or whatever is going on at the end of the film).

    Still, if we are to evaluate the movie as a stand-alone film, you’re unquestionably right that the framing of Thanos’s abuse is problematic. In your first video your hypothetical scenario of a father taking his young daughter to see the film had me disgusted thinking of all the bad lessons that were likely taken from the film.

    The marvel movies are beginning to resemble a tv series more and more, and I wonder if it’s important to address problematic themes in individual episodes of a tv series the same way that we expect a film to. Regardless I think your criticisms are interesting to think about

  35. Very dissapointed in all these 'Daddy Maggie' comments when the superior 'Daddy Mae Fish' is right there for the taking. Come on folks, up your punnery game!

  36. 8:04 Wrong! Vader, in an act of violence, chucks the Emperor to his death. Without that violence Luke would be dead.

  37. 18:23 — What you said misses completely the point about why Gandalf and Aragorn refuse to take the ring. Gandalf, being wise and very honest and smart about himself, knows there is a temptation within him and, fearing the harm it will cause to others and the evil that is the desire to dominate others, refuses to put on the ring. For Gandalf the decision is easier to make because of his experience, wisdom, humility and perspective.

    Aragorn, through less wise in his reasoning, doesn't touch the ring because he fears being corrupted and falling like his forefather Isildur. Aragorn's decision is an emotional reaction but the right decision, though a decision probably dominated by his fear of power and a fear of his future station.

    This has nothing to do with "daddy" issues or patriarchal structures, this is about morality and the notions of power and temptation. ALL people, men and women, have desires for power, little to large, and everyone has always been tempted at one point to do the wrong thing.

    If anything the ring is the physical embodiment of temptation and our obsessions with desires. It thus has warnings for all people, men and women.

    You also seem to misunderstand authority since there will be always be authoritarian structures in society, for instance the predominant social structure today, which is authoritative, is political correctness.

    In children authority takes precedent because children lack the sufficient agency to make informed decisions for themselves, this agency increases with age and maturity. The only issue is getting the balance right. Giving children too much freedom, or being too slack on authority, can have an equally damaging effect on children for they struggle with the idea of limits or people/society telling them what to do. This can lead to confusion, narcissism, and lack of discipline. Ironically the same symptoms you identify from those who rigidly follow laws and authority.

    I presume you are a feminist or liberal based on what you have said. Such beliefs come with, and are created by, a series of authoritative viewpoints and though they prescribe a rejection of tradition forms of authority. If that is the go to position, a lack of authority or much less of it, then is still a position of authority because that's what your feminist/liberal beliefs tell you do.

    One way or another we are bound to authority and authoritative structures be they patriarchal, matriarch, religious, liberal, cultural or any other forms.

    My two cents.

  38. You make the point that Thanos gets rewarded by the universe for killing Gamora, thus providing a problematic validation for the dubious idea that abuse and love can coexist. But is this "universe granting him the stone" thing actually a reward? I thought the movie was trying to make this decision the equivalent of crossing a moral Rubicon, to say that the pursuit for power is corrupting and dehumanizing. Sort of how Anakin had to kill them younglings in Ep III toward the climax of his own pursuit for power and seduction to corruption. Getting the power afterward is less of a validating reward and more the devil living up to his side of the bargain now that the fallen hero has sealed the contract with blood.

    In other words, my take is that Infinity War was less about humanizing Thanos as a villain and more about showing him as starting out with a degree of relatability that he immediately begins to shed as he pursues power despite ever-more-unreasonable moral sacrifices. The intended compelling factor being to show this corruption manifest itself and present a subverted "hero's journey" trope.

    And if that's the case, then the movie's treatment of Thanos actually does contextualize it as you argue, that the desire to wield and exercise irresistible authority makes you a terrible being who does vile things and kills off characters that we love, no? And makes Captain Marvel, whose own (hamfisted) personality arc was about deposing tyrannical daddy figures and taking personal charge of her powers, all the more a fitting choice as the eventual salvation against Thanos, right?

    Admittedly, Infinity War's ending is more ambiguous than SW Ep III's. Where Anakin is shown as a pitiful husk realizing that his quest made him lose the thing that he was trying to protect, Thanos is left being reminded of the price he paid and yet content that it was worthwhile…but did this moment actually feel to you like the movie's universe trying to justify Thanos , rather than as showing him to have reached the end-point of his delusional arc?

  39. I would say Ricardo monteblum was more charismatic as an actor than shatner and that made more daddy like

  40. Killer analysis as usual, but I just gotta mention that your eye-shadow-game in this breakdown is on point.

  41. 5:12 "This trend of humanizing the genocidal maniac is pretty unsettling, and I would argue that it originates in narrative written around the time the Hays Code was abandoned…"

    No, this trend is a result of people complaining about flat, boring, one-dimensional villains. The trend towards humanizing villains is an effort to make them more complex and layered, to avoid accusations of writing mustache twirling Snidely Whiplashes.

  42. 10:42 "He refuses to teach Rey, exerting control over her by preventing her from learning."
    I love how blissfully unaware you are of how much entitlement is dripping from that sentence. Rey has no right to be taught by Luke. Luke is an individual, he does not exist to further Rey's edification.
    Also, totally unsurprised you like this piece of crap movie. It's brainless piece of female chauvinism featuring a bland female power fantasy. If Rey was male, you'd think this series was the epitome of toxic masculinity. You pop-feminists are so fucking tiresome.

  43. 15:05 "That's not to say all rules are bad. But we need to understand how and why the rules we follow were established. Do these rules exist to help use live fuller lives, or to restrict us?"
    lol. A moral philosopher you are not. What a vapid, empty-headed question. Rules inherently restrict us, that is literally the only purpose of rules. Rules and restrictions are, essentially, the same thing. We have rules in order to help us live fuller lives. These are not concepts that are contradictory or mutually exclusive.
    I don't know why I torture myself by watching these kind of videos. Pop feminism is always such vapid, intellectually malnourished nonsense. Maggie, you know nothing of moral philosophy, and your feminism has no philosophical grounding at all. You are a windsock, pointing whatever way the current trend is going, and your material is hackneyed, empty-headed and makes everyone who listens to you dumber for the effort.

  44. 6:55 you assert that star wars is the reason dad's are prevalent in pop culture. That is a coo-coo bananas thing to claim. Do you think Hollywood is the reason that people think fathers are important as oppose to fathers having been important for all of humanity? is that what you think!?

  45. It continually amazes me how people will analyze in fiction or history what they refuse to even look at in present reality – when only doing this can lead to changing things for the better.

    How can one improve something they don't see as wrong?
    The apotheosis Joachim has for Khan is exactly- & I mean identical the the apotheosis we have in present-day reality for our own governments: they can do no wrong, & the paradigm (mindset, preconceived notion, whichever you prefer) that "Daddy-Government" is a perfect, infallible surrogate-Protector resets itself after every scandal, making every new scandal the first scandal anyone ever heard of.
    Hilary Clinton committed the same act Ed Snowden did, & calls for his arrest for treason & because she is associated with "Daddy-Government" no one even notices.
    I'll bet no one will enter into this discussion here either.

  46. I love these videos, but I do disagree with a point. I think it's valid to portray villains in a sympathetic light. People who are advocating for unethical policies ARE charismatic. They do have sympathetic stories. They do have "justifications" that make sense on a surface level. I think that by portraying someone like Thanos in a way that you find yourself agreeing with him now and then is a useful exercise because maybe the audience will start questioning their reactions to real life authority figures who are charismatic but potentially evil or misguided.

  47. Tbh…*I* don't like Benedict Cumberbatch, because he called asexual people 'boring'(with total disregard for the amount of asexuals who were fans of Sherlock – and even speculated the character as such). And then there's wonderful people like hbomb who just say they don't like him "Because his name/face are stupid"

    Jokes and honesty on that jerk aside…good video, though!

  48. I think ”Road to Perdition” detives most of its power from being the ultimate fucked up father-son relationships story.

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