A friend on Twitter linked to a thread on movies that, I think, is trying to make the point that many beloved ‘conservative’ movies are actually ‘woke’. And…well…it reads like the comments in those ‘explain a plot badly’ memes.

Admittedly, there are no factual errors here. Just, in several cases, a total misunderstanding of the movie. Let’s take a closer look.

First Blood

…about police pushing a man with ptsd to violence because he looks different

Well, yes, but mostly no. First Blood’ is a movie’s plot is about the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans. In the novel, the conflict is between the local police and Rambo, and both escalate the issue, leading to a personal conflict. And Rambo dies. The movie compresses the escalations (from several to one), and heightens the villainy of the local police. At every turn, it is clear that the police are indeed the bad guys, and Rambo is simply trying to get away because of the PTSD. His looks don’t matter, and when this was written/filmed, the concept of PTSD was broadly unknown. The simple reason for the conflict is a societal rejection of Vietnam veterans, and a distrust of vagrants.

The Terminator

…about how a mother is the most important figure in human history

Well, again, not exactly. Her son is. Obviously preventing his birth removes him from the equation, thus elevating the mother’s status. Oddly, Skynet erred here, as it is likely far easier to kill infant John Connor than adult Sarah. A comment in the original thread points out that this is also a solid anti-abortion message. Regardless, the movie is not ABOUT how Sarah is the most important person in human history. That is, with some extrapolation (not much, honestly), part of it, but far from the main theme. In the final movie of the franchise, however, John is killed before the rise of the machines, making Sarah’s importance to the overall plot questionable.

Die Hard

…the feds aid the terrorists through bureaucratic incompetence

Die Hard is another adaptation (as is Terminator, but it is so removed from the source that it doesn’t matter here). The book is fairly different, with a lot of notes changed due to the time between novel and movie. The feds in the movie (FBI) don’t aid the terrorists…I fail to see how that is a take-away from the movie I saw. They are not portrayed as exceptional, to be sure, and can be seen as incompetent, but that incompetence fails to aid the terrorists. Die Hard is far more thematically a ‘good guy with a gun’ movie. And in the standard 80s action genre, the good guy is a cop, and succeeds by wit and refusing to quit.

The Rocketeer

…subplot about a rich celebrity being a secret nazi

Yes, this is the least incorrect so far. The difference here is that Timothy Dalton’s Neville Sinclair character being a Nazi isn’t a subplot. It is the plot. He is the villain of the piece. I believe the difference between the movie and the implication is that his being a Nazi is presented as wrong and shocking…not as a way to imply that all rich celebrities are Nazis. Further, and this is where reality is messy, is that being pro-Nazi was far from uncommon in the pre-war years. Such notable figures as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh were sympathetic to the Nazi party. Antisemitism and eugenics were as popular then as they are now.


…the only reason the mcu exists is because a movie with a Black lead proved superhero movies were viable

Ok, this I cannot argue with. Blade was the test case for Marvel, and took a bottom-tier character and let Wesley Snipes run with it. And the success there did indeed serve as the test case for the eventual MCU and DCEU.

Batman: The Animated Series

…the definitive version of batman was voiced by a gay man

Also yes. Although he only came out in 2016, more than 20 years after the series ended, but during his tenure as the voice as the character. Kevin Conroy’s sexuality doesn’t appear to matter in this context – his talent and amazing interpretation of the character does not seem to have any (or I have not seen any) connection to his sexuality. This comment in the original thread feels like an attempt to create a connection that isn’t there, or make his orientation more important than his talent.

Alien & Halloween

…we never see either of them train to accomplish the things they do in either film

Sigh. We also don’t see them use skills and powers that they have only just heard of as well as someone who has trained for years in those same skills and powers. More specifically, Ripley is shown to be skilled and competent, and to have the skills that are used later in the movie. In Aliens, she is working as a dockhand, using the same kind of load lifter she later uses to kill the queen. No, we don’t see her training on it, that is presented as happening before the movie. In Alien, she is the XO of the Nostromo, and can be assumed to be familiar with the ship, and experienced at keeping a cool head.

In Halloween, Laurie was supposed to die, but they were so impressed with Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance that she developed plot armor. She is also not shown doing anything beyond what the character could know. She is still nearly killed, and in the style of the time, is almost more lucky than skilled. Her lack of training is rather the point…


…Apollo Creed wins the fight in rocky

Yeah, but. The plot point being missed here is that he really doesn’t. He wins the match, but fails to succeed. In fact, it is arguable that he would, were he not the champion, drop in the standings. Creed was known for knocking people out. It was expected that he would level Rocky easily. Rocky, on the other hand, expected to lose, and he only wanted to go the distance. Which he did. Rocky succeeded in his goal, Creed did not.

Taxi Driver

…culminates in a shootout to save a child groomed by cishet men

Yes, that is basically correct. Although there is a component of Travis’ inability to deal with PTSD, porn addiction, and other issues in there too.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

…gave a speech to the un about nuclear disarmament

This is the worst Superman move of them all. Including the nonsensical Superman III. The reality is that nuclear weapons likely prevented war. In political war, the goal is to achieve dominance and territory. With nuclear war, that doesn’t happen. So, a rational nation won’t begin such a war at the strategic level it negates any victory. At the tactical level, it only serves to rouse the sleeping giants of the world to smack you back down. Removing all the nuclear weapons won’t ‘ensure peace’, and didn’t in the movie, but will make conventional total war far more attractive.

Jurassic Park

…“life finds a way” ultimately refers to the ability to break all the rules of “basic biology”

No, no it does not. Have you even seen the ‘bumblebees shouldn’t fly’ thing? Ok, sure, except they do. So obviously they should. Jurassic Park’s commentary on the dinos changing sex because of frog genetics is Ian’s way of saying that nature allows biological change. This is emphatically and explicitly not the same as being transgender. The frogs change biological sex, a transgender person does not. Full stop. And this is further the result of using a science fiction movie for science education. The frogs Ian references, the West African common reed frog (Hyperolius viridiflavus), has only been observed to change gender in one study, in captivity. Making it as scientifically valid as ‘alpha wolves’. That is, not valid at all.

Batman Returns

…catwoman is the only character in the burton movies to have genuine superpowers…she also repeatedly kicks batmans ass despite being an untrained secretary

The second part is explained by the first. The reasoning here is circular. The first part is, however, correctish. This might be the most accurately described in the manner the post seems to be aiming at. There is no need for Catwoman to have powers – especially as that is not something we have seen before in the canon. The plot isn’t harmed by this, nor is it helped. And that is where the more ‘woke’ aspects the poster hits on comes in. But, and here is the missed point, Burton’s Catwoman is a character, not merely a trope or archetype.

You Just Didn’t Care Until Someone Told You To Be Mad About It

The ‘you’ she speaks to didn’t care because the character mattered more than the victim points they collected. And that is the point that is always missed by those who defend wokeness. Fandom loved strong female characters, non-traditional leads, minorities, etc. And when they decided to pick a minor, white, version of a historically black character, I called them on it. What we don’t love is those same characters being a collection of check boxes. We don’t love character or plot being sacrificed in favor of servicing the grievance mobs. We especially don’t like the presentism that declares the current thing is the first ever…ignoring the multiple examples of the same thing that came before. Star Trek: Discovery didn’t have the first female captain, Katness wasn’t the first anything, in fact none of the recent ‘firsts’ were actually firsts.

Further, the dislike also revolves around ramming these things down people’s throats, and the ludicrous assertions that dislike is some form of hate. No, it means the property isn’t good. Look, Black Adam rather sucked. So did Book of Boba Fett. Does this mean I have some issue with Pacific Islanders? Of course not. It means the plot and writing of those properties was badly done. This idea that dislike of a poorly done plot is some ‘ist or ‘phobe attitude is nonsense.

She closes with the argument that there have always been movies for an audience “you claim doesn’t exist”. No shit, Sherlock. There have also been beloved characters of every race, creed, gender, etc. as long as there has been cinema. Yes, there is a long history of marginalizing non-white actors. That is wrong, and will never have been anything else. That doesn’t mean these characters never existed, or the audience didn’t love them.

History didn’t start in 2008. And people never hated characters that were different than themselves.

And still don’t.