Uncle Sam’s Suicide Squads

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” This first line of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” opens the latest trailer for the upcoming big-budget super-hero movie Suicide Squad. It poses a pertinent question, because, unfortunately for those of us in real life, the central premise of the film’s story is not just the stuff of comic book fantasy. … Continue reading “Uncle Sam’s Suicide Squads”

Preventive War and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not susceptible to the full libertarian/anti-war “allegory essay” treatment. Thanks to the fallout from Captain America: Winter Soldier (which I allegorized last year), the State (as represented by the global security agency SHIELD) does not feature as prominently in previous Marvel films. However, there are a few themes and moments worth noting. … Continue reading “Preventive War and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Miyazaki’s Beautiful Antiwar Dreams

It is the last year of the Second World War. American bombers drop napalm canisters on Kobe, Japan, setting the picturesque city of wood, canvas, and paper alight. A young mother is caught in the conflagration, suffers greatly, then succumbs to her disfiguring burns. With the father fighting at sea, her adolescent son Seita must … Continue reading “Miyazaki’s Beautiful Antiwar Dreams”