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DC Cinematic Universe - Wonder Woman, Justice League and More


And yet we have seen our fantasies change; the gleeful and sadistic ways in which Sean Connery killed are gone, and so is his treatment of women. The often joyful, if dutiful, shooting of Indians in Westerns has been replaced by meditations on the cost of killing in movies like Unforgiven or The Revenant.

The relationship between our fictions and our realities is various and complex; it’s true that there is no 1:1 correlation, but it is just as false a simplistic approach to suggest that there is no influence between the two.


The influence though is completely the reverse. Violence in cinema is not causing violence in real life. Instead, entertainment always reflects the fantasies and emotions real people have. The violence in James Bond didn’t change the way people saw it. Instead, people in the culture started seeing violence differently and then that perspective was reflected in the entertainment.

It’s the emotional release of fantasy that attracts people to it. It’s not the fantasy teaching people how to behave in real life. We won’t be able to change the culture by changing the media. Instead the media will simply tell us what fantasies people have. It can inform the culture, but the culture has to change before you see the films and other entertainment change.

What you’re implying is that the media does have a causative influence on culture and that is the first step toward detrimental censorship that puritanically seeks to cut off that release in fantasy by calling it immoral.


You’re talking direct causation; I’m talking about affirmation of cultural norms. And yes, I do think that entertainment can affirm or reinforce harmful cultural norms, just like conversations can. All discourse is discourse. To deny that your view of issues can be influenced by movies is to deny that it can be influenced by any form of communication, really. Of course stories influence the way we see the world; just not in as simplistic a way as you want to make me out to claim.

that is the first step toward detrimental censorship

Only if censorship is what you’re calling for, which you may note nobody here did. Meaningful dialogue is a different thing from censorship, and no censorship doesn’t mean you don’t get called out and criticised.

Let’s for a moment assume you’re right and that the relationship is exactly what you suggest:

The violence in James Bond didn’t change the way people saw it. Instead, people in the culture started seeing violence differently and then that perspective was reflected in the entertainment.

In that case, it would still be right to call those fantasies out, as they are a symptom of a real-life problem and can be a good starting point to discuss that problem. No?


It would be judgmental and misguided. Look at yourself. Are you more violent because you read comics or watch movies like Casino Royale and the Bourne Identity? Applying morality to fantasies or assuming that they reflect or affect the way people actually behave - even though even in your own life, you are not affected - is misguided at best.

It goes all the way back to Aristotle’s only real observation on the theater. Plato hated all entertainment because it introduced immoral behavior - murder, incest, rape - to the public on a regular basis. Aristotle though pointed out that those urges are ever-present, but the theater is a safe forum to express and release them.

In that regard, I do think it is valuable to point out the way people feel alienated by what is offered in the media. But I think rather than trying to wipe out the fantasies some people don’t like, we need a broader range of what may even be more risky and extreme fantasies represented in entertainment. Not a dampening of the emotional power it has.


Oh, I do assume that my view of the world and my moral outlook are very much affected by the stories I have watched and read. I’ve read a lot of Pratchett, after all. I just don’t make the simplistic assumption that everything I see will lead to my imitating it, which is the relationship that you keep insinuating as my view of things.

I also think by always returning to only the point of violent behaviour, you are extrapolating from a very specific phenomenon in a very specific context and then broadening the conclusions to issues that are quite different.

Once again: you can look at all kinds of cultural norms and see how they were expressed in movies over times. American movies from the 30s will, for example, be racist in all kinds of ways against black people, native Americans, Asians and whatnot. Same goes for attitudes towards women, obviously, and all kinds of cultural norms that have been subject to change since then.

Aristotles’ idea of a catharsis is is still valid in many ways, but your representation of it is just as overly simplistic as that of the opposite approach. People don’t not kill and rape because they’ve seen it a lot in the movies. Nor would Aristotle claim that; remember that catharsis is a state to which you get through phobos and eleos, fear and pity - meaning that you suffer with the characters, not enjoy their suffering.

EDIT: And we should probably wind this down before Jim or another mod has to remind us that this is not the Relationship-Between-Art-and-Life thread but the Sexual Objectification Thread, no wait the DC movie thread… so I’ll stop here and not respond anymore but leave the last post on this up to you, even if it means gnawing off my hand.


I don’t mind a butt shot or two in a movie, Justice League had that and that’s OK. Even Avengers and Dark Knight Rises made a point of fixing the camera on spandex clad female posteriors. These movies are inherently erotic, I think it’s skirting around this issue that causes the problem. The movies aren’t necessarily about good role models, morals etc (although I think that is part of what they are.) It’s also very much about people in tight suits wrestling and getting sweaty.

And it’s not like Batman slapped Wonder Woman’s ass and told her to fix dinner.


Great conversation, guys. Really enjoyed the back & forth. Even when I didn’t agree with you. Glad I brought the subject up, but, as Christian suggested, I suspect that it’s run its course. Until the next time :wink:


Don’t let me stop you guys. It’s quality reading.


To be honest after watching Justice League I didn’t find it much of an issue. There is a point when Diana jumps down from Batman’s vehicle (whatever it is, the spider or something) and we get a bit more cheek than usual. It’s hardly lingered on.


Aye, again the only time I noticed it was when Flash lands on her boobs and she gives a “men, eh?” smirk. Which was just a bad joke all around.


Yep. That was the only scene that felt a little gratuitous to me. Maybe that could have been shot better, but I got what they were going for - the heroes leaping forwards into the darkness.

I kinda liked the Flash scene, though. Ezra sold it with his general dorkiness, and Gadot’s smile. But, it was unnecessary.



I think there was a scene in one of the JL trailers where Diana is sliding across the floor that I thought was more gratuitous than anything that actually made it into the movie. At least I don’t remember that particular scene ending up in the movie. In either case, yeah there was a bit more of those sexualized shots in this movie than Wonder Woman, but they didn’t feel like it went overboard either.


The movie after Jon Peters gets booted from the DCEU, they add a giant spider?


I see this thread is going round and round, round and round, round and round…


Like an evil Kryptonian’s neck.


like a record, baby



And I don’t believe that anyone’s outlook is significantly affected by any of the media they view. Seriously, can anyone say that they are more or less sexist, racist, violent or understanding because of the media they use? This is because obviously it is the outlook we’ve all developed living our real lives that brings us to the media we watch. All the movies you watch can say about you is what sorts of movies you like. It says and affects nothing about how you approach living in the real world.

That’s what drives me nuts when people talk about or make a huge problem out of anything that pops up in a movie or television show or comic book. It’s effect is insignificant compared to any of the real social problems people face. Trying to change it won’t solve anything.

It reminds of the blaxploitation films. This was a period when actual African American filmmakers started producing and starring in their own films. They were fantasies, but they expressed what African Americans felt - not how they thought they should behave. But civil rights groups denounced the whole movement that empowered a whole wave of African American artists catering to underserved “for providing poor role models to black youth.”

But providing role models and moral lessons is not what entertainment is about. That’s the puritanical Sunday sermon point of view - and where I disagree with both Aristotle and Plato who, honestly, were not playwrights or entertainers. Euripides is the most powerful of the Greek dramatists and he certainly did not adhere to Aristotelian principles.


Or it’s basically going back to Tipper Gore & the PMRC’s arguments, blaming “art” or “entertainment” for every ill in society.

No, GTA doesn’t make young people go out and shoot people, neither does Marylin Manson, etc…

I agree with Johnny on this one.