If you have an audience, use it!
Views 21 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 10 - 2019 | By: Carly Matthews
Movies are getting more and more political. Their topics touch on social concerns and even their subplots have levels of political meaning. Any person can go see any movie and can derive a political message from it. Many people are mad at this fact, feeling that movies should be just for entertainment. They don’t want to hear about the world around them, they just want to be entertained. While I respect their opinion and understand the desire to escape reality for a time, I believe that movie directors and producers should infuse their movies with political messages.
“Captain Marvel” has faced massive backlash for Brie Larson’s “man-hating” comments, including her opinion that the movie review industry is not inclusive of women and people of color and should take measures to fix this problem. Besides its feminist slant, it also covers an interesting and even more pressing political issue: the villainization of immigrants and refugees.
The premise of the movie revolves around a group of aliens who have been wrongly vilified and forced to leave their home. With tensions at the Mexican border and the legalized travel ban on some Muslim-majority countries, this seems a timely, albeit polarizing message. There is a part of me that wants people to stop debating about the feminist element so that they can recognize this theme.
Earlier this year, although receiving no repercussions, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” also had hidden messages beyond its action and beautiful animation. The themes of denial of identity, not knowing how parents will react to who you are, and acceptance with oneself are prominent in the movie. These themes resonate with people in the LGBTQ community because they parallel their own experiences.
While not a movie, the TV show “The Good Place” focuses on how almost no act in the modern world is morally right because of the connotations and actions attached to them. The show discusses how eating a tomato or wearing a certain type of clothing had no repercussions in the 1700s. Today, however, these actions support things such as GMOs and overseas labor exploitation. With slave labor and unfair wages still problems in our world, this message is astonishingly clear and makes viewers question their own choices in a more moral and ethical light.
The incredible part of all this is that none of these are supposed to be deep and thoughtful entertainment choices. They are action movies and a comedy TV show, they are able to provide the action sequences and hilarious dialogue we originally watched them for. And despite that, they still are able to impart important ideas onto their audience.
Because more and more movies are doing this, when one is lacking a political message it seems hollow. There is nothing real about it, it is simply fighting for the sake of fighting, and then the good guy wins in the end. The movie industry is constantly looking for ways to make an engaging, original movie. If they don’t put in some kind of message, their action movie lacks individuality.
Being able to make incredible movies while still imparting these messages is cinematic genius. The truth is, we cannot escape reality, so why should movies even try? If directors and producers can make commentary on the world around us while still entertaining us, they should.