Silver Claw Cross-Dimensional News

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Welcome to the first ever bi-weekly Cross dimensional reality spanning news report. Here, the Silver Claw crew takes a look at what’s going on in the real world, and your host, Steven, gives his personal opinions on each news story relating to science fiction and fantasy media and discussion. Since this is the debut, a few things here will be old news, but they’re recent enough that I can still talk about them.

This is a bi-weekly thing on Fridays and will alternate with the upcoming Short-Fiction Saturday, which will be every other Saturday. This allows me to focus on one singular blog post at a time, so I’m neither too overwhelmed, nor struggling to keep up with my main tasks. This is a brand new Silver Claw Inn, so without delay, let’s see what’s happening.

Marvel Cinema Isn’t Art?

Martin Scorcese, a well respected director known for Goodfellas, recently spoke in criticism of the MCU, the juggernaut super hero franchise based on the Marvel universe. He called out the success of Endgame being the biggest film of all time and in response claimed that MCU films “weren’t movies.” Basically being overglorified action movies.

Naturally, the internet went after him for daring to knock super hero movies down a notch. It did bring a discussion on films and what could be considered “art” which is a debate in and of itself. Making a film series like the Marvel Universe isn’t easy. Nevermind the special effects that go into it, but the story as well spanning over ten plus years as well. As numerous standalone titles and follow ups. Samuel L. Jackson recently discussed his criticism by saying “everyone has an opinion.” Adding that there are some who “don’t like Scorcese.”

I mean, it is insulting that Mr. Scorcese, a well respected filmmaker in his own right, to be all high and mighty by claiming “Marvel films don’t count” which only adds to the stigma of such films being inferior to most modern cinema. More “normal” I should say. By the same stand point, films like Alien, Terminator, Fast and Furious, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and many others don’t count either. And let’s not forget the swath of animated films that are just kids material and don’t appeal to adults (not my opinion, making a point here. Pitchforks down, everyone.)

A lot of Hollywood executives, namely those running the Academy Awards, tend to shun these non-realistic films because they’re not Hollywood enough, yet many directors churn out these same types of films because that’s what sells the most. That’s the huge money maker here, and they know it. I mean, it’s not like the occasional rom com and wartime story won’t sell. They do. It’s more the belief that those aren’t given more attention than anything else.

Perhaps the stigma of these films being successful infuriates other directors who don’t care as much, yet notice time after time the dominating effects of one action film after another breaking box office numbers left and right. It’s what people enjoy the most. Mindless action never hurt anyone. Still, it does make comic book adaptations more viable. If only DC would get the memo on that.

Speaking of DC

The Joke(r)’s On You

One of the more controversial films to release was Joker, a psychological thriller based on the iconic Batman villain. This one’s more notable due to the fact that the Joker is essentially a villain protagonist, and we see his dark, twisted world from his perspective. Personally, they should have done a movie based on “The Killing Joke, but that’s beside the point.

A number of people were concerned with the movie inciting a few people to imitate the violence portrayed on the screen, what with the recent string of mass shootings that are somehow happening in the US. Personally, I believe we’ve already established that media does not affect violence.

There actually was a recent news story about a Trump supporter splicing a propaganda video with footage from The Kingsman in which one of the characters shoots up a church. (I have not seen the film, so I don’t know the context). This would possibly be more convincing than a clear piece of fiction trying to tell a story.

Anyhow, despite all of the fear and criticism from these activist types, it managed to succeed in breaking box office records, especially being October’s biggest release to date. Not to mention the favorable reviews it’s been getting especially from fans.

Most would agree, however, that it doesn’t really fall into the DCEU all that much and feels like a standalone, which is confusing enough already. Plus, a psycological thriller about a murdering clown with an insanity complex would no doubt be entertaining to watch. Personally, Mark Hamill will always be my go-to Joker, with the late Heath Ledger behind him. It remains to be seen how Joaquin Pheonix’s joker stands up to the plate, but I might see it to find out, provided I’m not squeamish enough for it.

A Blizzard of Chaos

And of course, there’s these guys.

To give a little background, there’s a series of protests occurring in Hong Kong over an extradition law that has the people up in arms, fearing China’s powerful overreach, or something along those lines. A few people have tried to come out in favor of Hong Kong by wearing shirts promoting solidarity with Hong Kong.

I won’t get into much detail of my opinion since I’d rather not have this site knocked down a peg, but during the Hearthstone Grandmaster’s tournament, player Blitzchung commented in a post-match interview that he stood in favor of Hong Kong. In response, Blizzard permabanned him and revoked all of his prize money.

To begin with, this is disturbingly harsh, and beyond overkill. At worst, it should have been a few hundred dollar fine, but this is like the end of the world for players hit by this, and so casually no less. The fandom was not having it whatsoever and I found few people actively defending this, and some leaving support for the company for good. This unfortunately includes myself.

This isn’t a one time overreaction on our side. This has been culminating for a few years now. Blizzard was a company that, despite ownership by Activision, they’ve held onto the belief that community is important. Ever since J. Allen Brack took over, it’s been a downward decline for a long time. A number of decisions have been super questionable, and even heavily criticized.

This wasn’t the company I supported since the StarCraft days and I doubt it will be the same anytime soon. It sucks because I was heavily into Overwatch and even the Overwatch League. Now at this point, it seems like losing a friend. It’s rare that I dump companies like this, not to mention that a company would have to REALLY piss me off in order for me to permanently cut ties with them.

Since this moment, they’ve responded by what appears to be an apology letter (not to mention a reduced ban and reinstated prize money to Blitzchung), but it didn’t seem from the heart whatsoever. It seems like a pre-written message designed for damage control.

They didn’t need to get involved in this mess at all, and that’s where the issue was. Gotta keep Tencent happy, I guess. Anyway, this might be the nail in the coffin for me, and I do apologize on ending this with a sour note, but I might have something a little more positive next time. I promise.

That’s all for this week.

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