1. notleia says:

    Brightly colored cartoon ponies have taught me that it’s FRIENDSHIP that’s magic. Twilight Sparkle didn’t become an alicorn princess because she has a cool bio family (which she does) or just a cool Family 2.0 (which she arguably does with the Mane 6 squad). She also learned the magic of friendship with side characters and the John de Lancie trickster god of chaos, too.

  2. Paul Lee says:

    Yes, good thoughts all around. Unfortunately, magic friendship is only a dream. Although it is light enough for broad pop appeal, it is also cheaply visceral in a way that can be almost mean.

  3. Tim W Brown says:

    Good list all around, both parts.

    I especially appreciate these comments: “Make us actually feel the weight of saving the world. Kick out the distracting jokes. Up the music game. Don’t forget smaller stories and the drama of real suffering. Dig deeper than Disney-approved “Family 2.0 is magic” themes. Please a primary audience and follow the less-is-more truth. And, for a Norse god’s sake, watch the deconstruction and show restraint with franchise-building.”
    Unfortunately, given the general nature of the source material/subculture (and my rather cynical view of mass media), I’m not clinging to much hope, since each of these points has a strong cultural pressure against it, both in the general culture and in Hollywood culture in general (at least as I see it). The market has been *very* rewarding of distracting jokes – enter as evidence Guardians of the Galaxy 1 (and now 2) and Deadpool; neither mainline comics nor summer-blockbuster films are very comfortable with smaller stories or real suffering, as a general rule; I doubt Disney will ease up on its social/cultural preference any time soon; and I can’t imagine that self-restraint carries any weight among the business leaders making these films (the artistic leaders maybe, but they don’t really control what gets made).
    There are some bright spots, though. The Marvel TV/Netflix series, while showing cracks, haven’t gone completely off the rails yet. The film Logan I thought was a very well-done treatment, hitting some of the very points mentioned in this essay (smaller story, drama and suffering, with real consequences). So they haven’t lost me yet. (DC is a more mixed bag, in my opinion, but back in the day, I was much more of a Marvel kid than DC anyway.)

What do you think?