Avatar 2, Top Gun. Maverick and the Year of Forced Denial

in the last season of A good fight, disturbances are always present. On one side, a crowd is protesting. On the other hand, the police. In all 10 episodes, it is never said what the mob is angry about. The only thing is clear that it is growing. constant, constant, exponential. However, inside the office building where the Paramount Plus legal drama mostly takes place, it’s business as usual. There are cases of winning. The show must go on.

The highest grossing film of 2022 is: Top Gun: Maverick:, is a film in the center of which is a giant void. Critically acclaimed for its craft and verisimilitude in a world where blockbusters thrive on unreality, the film features Tom Cruise reprising his role as ace pilot Maverick to train a new generation of hotshots for a vital mission. Someone has a terrible weapon of mass destruction and it needs to be removed. Who has these weapons? It’s not important. The film does not say. Naming them would be worse than the movie’s characters failing in their mission. It will take something away from the audience to feel good about.

Embracing the popular culture of 2022 has often felt like an exercise in denial. Just as in our real lives, as the institutions of government and public health continued to crumble in the face of a minority driven by authoritarian conspiracies and an ongoing epidemic, the already shaky structures beneath the entertainment business began to crumble, even as the executives in charge tried to rise to power as if nothing had happened. was not.

Photo: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

The movie industry, still at the mercy of the pandemic and shareholder-focused streaming, tried to return to a world where people would show up in theaters despite real-world circumstances that made this expectation foolish and dizzying. Covid-era shifts in strategy that have left audiences unsure of what to expect anymore. Even Disney, the de facto box office champion, failed to make an impression as its most popular animated films such as: Turning red they moved to streaming as mediocre or poorly marketed films hit theaters. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase seemingly aimless and the once-dominant Star Wars in theaters retreating to TV series documenting its past, even the mega-franchises seem less credible than they once were. :

Meanwhile, streaming TV began to explode as Netflix entered an era of desperation and Warner Bros. Discovery’s massive merger bill arrived. Both of these monumental outrages manifested themselves in alarmingly similar ways. sudden, drastic and barely justified cuts to animated programming, a barrage of shows that were both different characters and employed different creators, and in the case of WBD, entire streaming movies and shows being scrapped. from HBO Max servers, both undermining the broadcaster’s mission and calling into question the value of its only product: broadcast television.

In response, the audience turned elsewhere. One of the biggest stories in cinema this year is the unexpected success of the Telugu blockbuster. RRR:. Franchise TV found its greatest success in the revolution because House of the dragon and: Andor took familiar iconography and turned them into stories of rebellion. Reflecting a moment of nationwide unrest, labor was thrust into the spotlight in popular dramas such as: Disclaimer and comedies such as Abbot Elementary. And hating the rich might even be cool again, like succession gave way White lotus or movies like that Menu:, Glass onionand: The triangle of sadness.

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc stands by the pool holding a Glass Onion drink.  In A Knives Out Mystery

Image: Netflix

The anxiety of being a passive observer in all of this, either as a casual viewer of entertainment or as a critic, is a determined insistence on continuing as if everything is normal. It seems odd to worry about ticket numbers when the reason for the depressed numbers in the first place, the pandemic, is still an ongoing concern. When the movies came together, for example Top Gun: Maverick:the sleeping terror struck Smileor at the end of the year Avatar: The way of waterthe reason is often Jordan Peele’s thing no warned earlier this summer. The critic lamenting franchise dominance is old hat, but in 2022 that franchise dominance has begun to break the backbone of the entire business, turning it into something that’s hard to come back from.

The challenge of marking time in the digital age is a form of temporal inflation; an hour just won’t get you as far as it used to, with so many things competing for your attention and creeping expectations that you are. You are supposed to do more with said hour than you have done in previous years. There’s an argument to be made that this reached a tipping point in 2022, as franchise bloat peaked, creating insular stories that required all kinds of extracurricular work of sheer magnitude. Rings of Power to the unscrupulous cynicism of the “multiverse” explored in the MCU post-Spider-Man. No Way Home:, a film built on the bravado of stolen franchises. Coupled with a shrinking animation field and fewer places for stories not based on massive IP, and it’s hard to feel good about what 2023 holds. Looking back, all that is clear is the chaos as art is eroded in favor of the machines that were created. to extort time from the audience if money cannot be had.

The series finale A good fight, ominously titled The End of Everything , is based on a darkly metatextual joke. One of the show’s standouts is its long opening sequence, in which office furnishings—phones, desks, thermoses of coffee—explode in a studio setting. “The End of Everything” makes this metaphor literal, as the episode depicts a seasonal mob that turns into a riot, which is then used by white people as an opportunity to open fire on the show’s predominantly black law offices. firm, Reddick Boseman. During the shoot, the show recreates its opening; phones shatter, vases, vases, laptops. No one dies, but the show ends after this, closing the pointed credit sequence, recasting it as a warning that went unheeded for five years.

Distilling a year in art into neat meals often tarnishes that art, at a base level. To do so in 2022 seems exponentially more ludicrous, as art has been treated as frivolity by its stewards and empty commerce has exposed it. It’s hard to feel like the bright spots are bastions of optimism, like the bittersweet tune that plays while a doomed ship sinks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top