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This is where you talk about Fight Club.


#41

That’s where my opinion is diverging from others here. It isn’t static. Palahniuk wrote other books with similar tone and there is now a sequel comic that continues down the same path. Reading the first issue of the sequel is what caused me to revisit all of this.

That’s fair. It does remind me a bit of Ron Perlman’s character in Last Supper. He was meant to be a commentary on Rush Limbaugh but it’s still pretty applicable. It’s a good film if anyone hasn’t seen it.


#42

Oof.
Stop after the first 3 issues.
That series is quite honestly the worst comic of both 2015 and 2016 so far.

After the first 3 he decides to drop most semblance of a plot in favor of badly done metacommentary.


#43

I think Ronnie stopped after the first issue.


#44

Well…it wasn’t that bad. Hahah.
My god it is just full of misteps.

Those first 3 I really enjoyed, I felt there was natural progression and mood.
But Chuck just gave up. Or maybe he tried too much that it felt like he gave up.


#45

Yep. I got it cheap or free on some ComiXology sale and thought I would sample it before I bought the trade. I was glad that I did.


#46

I liked the ideas presented from the outset.
If I have to give anything to the sequel is that at no time is the Narrator under Tyler’s sway.

As I said before, I think the core had nothing do with the consumerism, but with the Narrator’s need to chose who he loved…and he chose Marla and a hetero lifestyle.
And that choice stays stable within the sequel, and something I felt Chuck had a nice grip on.

The rest is like a melted milkshake made out of Animal Man and The Invisibles.


#47

I think is many cases it is the fault of the artists. I think Chuck is playing both sides here in Fight Club for example. Had the narrator turned at one point and said ‘you’re all pathetic social rejects, grow the hell up and join society rather than punching your way through your fears and anxieties you colossal man children’ then the message would have been pretty clear. Doesn’t need to be that direct, but ‘you’re all wrong’ or ‘what are you thinking’ or ‘can’t you think about other people’ or ‘life doesn’t have to be like this’ or ‘the world doesn’t owe you anything’ or ‘you need to stop acting like toddlers’ would have done.

Instead the narrator doesn’t say that, and at the end of Fight Club rather than being horrified at the end of the movie he gets his girl back and they blissfully watch an economic collapse.

This is done on purpose. The people the movie intended to mock were the very people who made it a success. They weren’t in on the joke, they saw it as a call to action. A rejection of government, or corporations, or working a regular job, of stable relationships. And yeah, the artist carries some of that responsibility. Otherwise no-one is ever responsible for anything.

There’s three other properties that it reminds me of. Starship Troopers, where not everyone is in on the joke and you have a sub culture of military worship and war. Some people get it, but it’s been used in the military for the opposite intentions. The movie tread the line of ‘the military are ridiculous’ but the sequels were more ‘the military are badass’.

The second is James Bond, where James cavorts around the world shagging chicks, drinking martinis and having a good old time. Not that he’s utterly alone and devoid of any personal life, achievement or he treats women like they’re disposable property. The Craig Bond tried to address this, I’m not sure it was successful.

And finally Atlas Shrugged. The author didn’t intend the parody (we think) even though she was on welfare and would have been the scorn of her own story. And now Atlas Shrugged is an instruction manual for a third of Congress. She bears that responsibility.

When it’s done right it’s Animal Farm - no-one reads that and says the pigs were right, communism is great. And I don’t think Fight Club fails because Palahniuk isn’t as skilled as Orwell, it’s because the message was messy because it sells more and maybe there’s bits he agrees with. Dude’s had his entire life to rant about those who embraced the Fight Club message, but he hasn’t.

I didn’t think I’d be comparing Fight Club to Animal Farm this morning.


#48

That’s a funny one especially depending on what order you read Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. They’re polar opposites and I think we’re meant to accept part of them in theory while ultimately rejecting the whole concept.


#49

Fight Club really resonated with me when I read the book, before watching the film. The film was pretty damn faithful to the source material and probably would have never been made post 911. I grew up for the first seven years of my life with an absentee father and later with a step father. The book (to me) was about figuring out what being a man was all about with no real reference except for popular media. Boys are trying to find what it takes to become men within this pansy assed modern society. And its also about the wider existential dilemma of what it is to be an emotional human being in this plastic, materialistic and robotic world that we have created. And now, when I’m in my late thirties, I look back and see a lot of dumb, testosterone driven things I did as a youth while trying to figure out what being a man was, and thank god for my amazing grandfather. That book is an important book, but there is a lot more than fighting and being able to take a punch that makes one a man, it’s about being accountable for ones actions and being there for your loved ones. This is a true man.


#50

Still, that’s not how the book ended. The book is considerably more sophisticated and much less political.

In the novel, it has nothing to do with credit card companies - it’s just pure mayhem - and he doesn’t succeed. In the movie, though, it is still pretty clear from the protagonists point of view that Tyler is going to far, and he’s trying to stop him when he shoots himself - not just save Marla. It is very clear by that point that Tyler is crazy and destructive and whatever validity his point had, they were just being used to put together this contradictory army of fascist anarchists or anarchist fascists.

By the very end, we don’t see the reactions, but how exactly would you expect the guy to act after he just shot a hole in his face. Marla, of course, has no idea what is going on. In the end, we just see their backs as the buildings fall. No reactions to it.

In the end though, the movie was NOT a success. It wasn’t a flop but it didn’t do well at all. It’s a “cult hit.” Even the novel was more of an underground hit better known for the movie than for being read.


#51

I saw Fight Club seven times in the theaters and I have lost count home many times I have seen it since.


#52

That view of masculinity is just as problematic as the materialism that the book and film purportedly rally against though.

Oof. I’m glad you added that. This is what real masculinity is about. I’m not sure if the book ever gets past that and the sequel returns to the same stink.


#53

I’d say the influence of the movie is much larger than the influence of the book. Magnitudes of fans didn’t read the book.

And in the movie Tyler’s death doesn’t stop him. He still wins. His vision complete, sacrificing himself for a better world.


#54

I’ve seen the movie once because I hated it. Hated all of the characters; thought they were pampered, spoiled, self-absorbed jerks who seemed to think the wiles owed them something for just existing, who needed to accept responsibility and grow the fuck up.


#55

Let me add that I’m not trying to say anything to or about anyone that liked it. Just was not my thing at all.


#56

That’s only your interpretation, though. Here’s what the British Board of Film Classification had to say about it:

The panel considered but dismissed claims that the film contained “dangerously instructive information” and could “encourage anti-social (behavior).”

And the BBFC noted, “The film as a whole is — quite clearly — critical and sharply parodic of the amateur fascism which in part it portrays,” adding, “Its central theme of male machismo (and the anti-social behaviour that flows from it) is emphatically rejected by the central character in the concluding reels.”

Only if you ignore the fact that the protagonist of the film is Edward Norton not Brad Pitt and he clearly thinks Tyler is insane and dangerous can you make the claim that it is promoting his actions at the end.

Yeah, Tyler is attractive at first - but that is the point of the movie. It’s not like the Matrix (around the same time) where it treats Tyler as the hero throughout. The entire 3rd act has Tyler as the antagonist. If the Matrix ended up with Neo turning out to be a delusional Travis Bickle on a killing spree, that would be Fight Club.

In a lot of ways, it is more like a 90’s TAXI DRIVER where appearances are deceiving. Is Travis the “good guy” at the end of the movie or is he the “bad guy”?


#57

At the time, I looked at the film at a male version of a Lifetime movie.


#58

Yep, they are, that’s the point of the film.


#59

I don’t disagree with a lot of your readings there, but I think that (as far as Fight Club is concerned) where you see messiness I see ambiguity, which is not necessarily an undesirable thing.

I think that much of Fight Club is open to interpretation, and that much of the way you interpret it is influenced by what stage in your life you are at, and who you are, when you watch it.

I’ve watched it several times in my life and taken vastly different things from it each time. I also hated it the first time (when my reading of it was fairly surface and took the anti-authority mindset at face value, as being the message of the film), loved it the second (when I noticed all sorts of clever touches and narrative tricks that you can only really appreciate once you’ve watched the whole thing at least once before), and have levelled out on it over time (the last time I saw it I thought it was pretty good if not great, a bit style-over-substance in places, but I appreciated much more of the irony and humour than I had at first).

So while the film could have easily put forward a much clearer and less ambiguous message, I’m not sure it would have been a better movie for it. The ambiguities of the film and its various messages are part of the appeal, for me.


#60

I should have started it out: this is how my twenty year old self interpreted the book.