So long Murder Prime, we hardly knew ya.

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Lovecraft, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. seanlockyer

    seanlockyer UCF: The REAL 2017 National Champions

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    And that is why so many people, like myself, love G1 Prime. Cartoon version specifically. He was a great surrogate father for some of us, or, at the very least, a positive alpha male type role model.

    Sure, he was a robot. Didn't matter. He had the wisdom of King Solomon.

    Now that I think of it, the 80's had a LOT of great role models for a young boy:

    Optimus Prime
    Flint, Duke, etc....
    Mr. T.
    Hulk Hogan

    And many, many more....

    (I won't mention anyone other than Optimus and a few others b/c it could delve into a political argument but a few of you can read between the lines of who I am insinuating.)
     
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  2. Crim

    Crim Well-Known Member

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    Comically, dumblingly "evil." Which is pretty much exactly what they did which is probably why AOE and TLK decided to go outside of the Decepticons for their villains.
     
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  3. ErickCruz

    ErickCruz Well-Known Member

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    I didnt read through the whole thread but my summary is this:

    Movie Prime isnt living in a 1980s kid friendly cartoon.

    Same reason why movie Batman kills and comic book Batman doesnt. Because the movies represent (in a warped way) what would happen in real life.

    If you go to war, and decide to not kill anyone or not letting your survival instinct kick in, you'll be dead in no time.
    If you do it long enough you'll turn into the Punisher. so i think movie Prime should be renamed Punisher Prime.
     
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  4. Galvatron II

    Galvatron II I can type whatever here?

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    Comic book Batman doesn't kill even though for the last thirty years or so his books have been drenched in gruesome creative deaths. It's not about being appropriate for children it's about him standing out and inspiring people by example; they don't have to give in to all the violence and insanity around them. He's more mired in it than anyone and he hasn't.

    Any version of Batman that doesn't get that could be any other Shadow knockoff IP IMHO.

    As for the Prime stuff, the idea that the character is any more realistic is kind of silly. He's just a different kind of fantasy, and even then only in the action scenes.
     
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  5. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Working Hermit

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    But while Batman's standing over there being inspiring, the body count keeps rising. If you don't care for the way a hero kills, I can understand that. I disagree, but I can understand it. Not wanting them to kill, as in Batman's case, doesn't solve anything.
     
  6. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    I think it's hard to come up with real life because heck real life is crazy complicated.

    We want to say well war so people are going to kill. But then you have Desmond Doss who was in the thick of some brutal battles in World War II but never carried a gun because he was a medic who didn't believe in using a weapon. Mr. Doss was twice awarded the Bronze Star Metal so we can't say bravery in a time of war is only killing someone else.

    But then you throw in the fictional elements and it really gets crazy to say what people would do. If you got super powers who is to say that might not want to use those powers like Superman or Spider Man?
     
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  7. Galvatron II

    Galvatron II I can type whatever here?

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    Well Gotham can't actually get better. Because then you run out of Batman stories to tell. Comic book stories and settings are a perpetual second act, and they have to be, or the book ends. In real life the Joker would go away for life, maybe break out once and then get put to death. Having him continuously break out and his body count continuously rise is a narrative contrivance to keep the character around. In a sense so is Batman not killing but it's gone on to take a symbolic significance over the years.

    Plus these are just stories, the lessons aren't always what's literally on the page. Would dressing up as a bat, armed or not, actually effectively end organized crime and force the evolution into terroristic comic book super crime? Of course not. So the idea that Batman not packing heat and icing dudes is "unrealistic" is just silly. It's total fantasy either way, it's just different flavors

    Well the discussion we're having about Optimus Prime and the question of whether or not superheroes should kill is totally different. Superheroes are Good Samaritans, examples for the community and for the audience. It's just that in the world they live in, sometimes someone with robot arms is on the loose and the only real solution is face punching. In real life deciding to help your community rarely involves face punching.

    Optimus, on the other hand, is a soldier. In a Secret War (That could be going on right in your hometown when everyone turns their backs, kids!). Moreover, he's the general of one side. Of course he kills. The leader of the good guys can't be a conscientious objector. Are wars in real life ever Autobot/Decepticon simple, with one side fighting for the glory of conquest and one side just altruistically defending the freedoms of everyone else because it's the right thing to do? No. But in that fictional, totally fantastical made up context, of course the Autobot leader should kill.

    It's how and when. Should he say weird shit while he's doing it in the heat of battle? No. He should have some composure and dignity, even when face stabbing. Should he kill unarmed war criminals? I don't think so! But if you're going to include that moment, make it a choice, a decision, with some narrative weight. Not cheap conflict resolution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  8. Soundwinder

    Soundwinder I wind sounds!

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    I mean, we are having a discussion that occurs in like, half of all Batman works. Batman doesn't kill (in the comics) because the idea is that he can't replace the system, only try to enhance it. He catches the criminals, but it's up to Gotham to become a place where they will then be contained. He believes in due process, believe it or not and knows that being judge, jury, and executioner is counter productive (especially since he can't be Batman forever, as Val Kilmer can attest).
     
  9. Galvatron II

    Galvatron II I can type whatever here?

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    Also mob butchers are a thing that has existed. It doesn’t make the mob go away. By not being a part of the cycle of corruption and violence Batman scares the bad guys yes but also gives everyone else the hope that they can change their community. He ducks bullets 24/7 and beats up guys with machine guns like it’s nothing.

    It’s pure fantasy but it’s a compelling one.
     
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  10. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Working Hermit

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    So Gotham's supposed to be a hellhole forever and Batman is supposed to be an ineffectual dunce because the writers don't have the guts to end the story? That's why I'm not a comics fan anymore. Every story has to end, or you're just going through the same motions, over and over again. It gets old and rather nihilistic. No thanks. It's why I like the Nolanverse - it provides a beginning, middle, and end to Batman's story and the story of Gotham's corruption, and even goes out of its way to give him a happy ending.


    About the only weird line that I remember was "give me your face," and I blame that on the rushed production. Every other line, especially the "I'll kill you"s, was context appropriate given how the movies chose to portray battle. Combat ain't composed, and it ain't dignified. To me, denying that reality does more harm than good, and it removes the essential nature of battle and violence, thereby cheapening it and reducing it to Saturday morning cartoon fare.

    As for executing unarmed war criminals (in this case I assume you're talking about Sentinel and Demolishor), then we're always going to disagree. I thought the deaths were perfectly justified, given what Sentinel and Demolishor did. Now, should the leadup to Demolishor's death have been done differently? Sure. I'd have showed the damage that Demolishor did, with dead and injured, terrified, grieving civilians, showed Optimus seeing this, then have him stalk over to Demolishor, blaster in hand. The interrogation would have been a lot more tense, the dying Demolishor would have spouted his cult-like claptrap, obviously having only been given the minimal amount of information necessary to do his job, and Optimus would have executed him for what he did.
    Demolishor (smirking tone): The Fallen will avenge me. I'm already dead - there's nothing you can do to me now.
    Optimus: Watch me. *pulls trigger*


    By putting on the mask and taking justice into his own hands, Batman has stepped outside the legal system entirely. Regardless of what he believes, he's a vigilante, a criminal, albeit not like . He's not providing hope, and he's not enhancing anything - he's a half-measure, a crutch that Gotham's broken system leans on to avoid total anarchy. There is no doubt that he's saved a lot of people. Now, if the writers want to write villains for whom killing isn't necessary to protect innocent life, then sure, Batman not killing them would make sense. Or they could address the problem of Arkham and Blackgate being revolving doors by putting Batman, and Bruce Wayne, up against Gotham's bone-deep political and institutional corruption, and setting things up so that when Batman catches a villain, the villain stays caught.
     
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  11. Crim

    Crim Well-Known Member

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    No, the reason movie Batman kills so easily is because Snyder and a lot of people around him jerk off to Ayn Rand's terrible writing. The DC movies, much like the TF movies, treat their characters as props and have very little in common with their personalities. They're just 2d representations of who Prime is, or who Batman is, with no real understanding of them.
     
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  12. Galvatron II

    Galvatron II I can type whatever here?

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    Gotham City is fictional. No lives are at stake. Batman's world has two jobs; to necessitate Batman, and to show his methods as being effective. Batman breaks down way before we even get to guys like the Joker when you remember that the mob will actually torture and murder you and your family. Nobody's ratting on organized crime syndicates to a guy dressed as a bat who can't offer them any protection. No, not even if he knows karate.

    But, assuming that dressing as a bat and knowing karate are actually effective countermeasures against organized crime, now you need new threats, terrorist super criminals that are totally theoretical and also have no basis in reality, just like Batman. The Joker also breaks down when you realize that even if it wasn't Batman, someone would have shot the motherfucker already! If you make that many enemies someone's gonna get lucky. These sorts of things you just have to buy into or ignore for the sake of the story.

    Stories that do have endings, by the way! It's the larger metanarrative of Batman itself that does not have an ending. But I can spoil it for you; he gets shot. Or he gets sick. Or old. And dies. And his ultimate quest of ending crime by punching out one crook at a time goes unfulfilled because the whole thing is absurd.

    Graphic or aggressive depictions of violence aren't inherently mature. Real combat is not dignified or composed because there's fear and disease and shitty conditions and dilemmas with no clean solutions the second anyone acts as an imperfect soldier in any way. Movie Prime doesn't have to deal with any of that realistically. It's five to ten brave Autobots that violently murder an army of enemies and destroy the McGuffin and say kind of anti-one-liners because there's no wit to them but it's also not something a real person would say and the day is saved and the war is won (for now).

    It's still completely fantastical and absurd in its own right, and that's all before you get to the fact that we're talking about a robot who is also a truck who is also an alien who is also Moses and Abraham Lincoln and Jesus all rolled into one.

    Maybe you can justify those two instances. But the weird part of removing the high tech base or crashed ship that the Autobots have in other continuities is that every prisoner of war has to be summarily executed. Anybody just existing on the other side is a capital offense and that's really not morally defensible. They hunt Decepticons who aren't running operations to steal resources or information, but just being Decepticons in a place that's not convenient, and double tap their asses. And that's before the headache of TLK introducing the idea of humans that don't even see these things as alive by and large totally developing the resources and infrastructure to capture and contain them on their own.

    And instead of dancing around or ignoring the moral implications of those creative decisions they instead show the Autobots doing these things and not even making a big deal of it. It's just a weird choice. The military doesn't summarily execute traitors in the street. The mafia does!
     
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  13. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Working Hermit

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    Like I said, if you want to show Batman's methods as being effective, you get rid of the revolving door of villains, and you either modify his response to their atrocities by having him kill them, or you tone the villains down so that a Punisher-esque slaughter isn't necessary. Right now, DC's writers want to have their cake and eat it, with having utterly horrific walking death camps for villains fighting heroes that seem to care more about the villains' lives than those of the villains' victims.

    As for your ending, I think it's nihilistic and renders the character's actions pointless. Here's mine: after a grueling struggle, Batman succeeds in imprisoning and/or killing his villains as necessary, cleans up the corruption in Gotham that allows them to exist and thrive, and retires knowing that he left the city with a brighter future. Preferably retiring with Catwoman, but I'm sentimental that way.

    Barring the one-liners (which I'll give you: "Sting like a bee" still makes me cringe), it rings truer than a sanitized version would. If that's not your thing, then OK.

    I can easily imagine why Optimus did it then, beyond wanting Sentinel to pay for his crimes: he didn't know where the Autobots stood with the human government, and he wanted Sentinel dead before anybody did anything stupid, like blame the very people that stopped an alien invasion. Besides, at that point, I doubt Optimus considered Sentinel an Autobots. In his view, killing Sentinel was like killing Demolishor, only a lot more painful. Him tossing away the shotgun after doing the deed proved that.

    If the Decepticons behaved honorably on the field of battle, then that would be one thing. The invasion of Chicago in DotM proves that they are about as far as you can get from honorable battlefield conduct. I'm assuming that the DotM invasion was standard operating procedure. Given this, and given that Cybertron was destroyed in the war, yet the Cons kept going, I can only assume that anyone still flying the Decepticon flag is either an unrepentant war criminal eager to continue his bloody trade or a moral coward. If they won't walk away from that kind of madness, then morally, they deserved everything they got in the movies.

    No, if they do choose to repent, I've got nothing but sympathy for them - the guilt they'd suffer is a burden I wouldn't wish on anyone. That's why I think Drift was a missed opportunity in these movies - he could have explored that angle, as could Wheelie, in fact. Even better, I'd have replaced Shane with Rollbar, an ex-Decepticon who deserted during the battle of Chicago because, in his words, "How do you live with yourself after that?" Optimus, carrying more than his fair share of regrets, would have nothing to say.
     
  14. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    As far as I can tell, the producers - Lorenzo bi Bonaventura and Tom DeSanto, and maybe Ian Bryce, Speilberg and Bay - sought to make this a hardcore sci-fi story. Di Bonaventura especially sought to distance the films from the cartoons.

    Whether that was right or successful is open to debate. But the way things turned out – most Cybertronians are invading patriots (Decepticons, Sentinel Prime) and the Autobots are a refugee army, exiles fighting against their own kind and on Earth being persecuted and shunned or alternately exploited. No one on Earth is going to support the Autobots – the good guys in a civil war that destroyed their own world, something very few stories bring up – because the risk of Earth getting destroyed is present and too high a cost by itself.

    Hardcore sci-fi is somewhat dystopian and oppressive, examples include Blade Runner and District 9. And so it's no surprise that in this setting, Optimus turns out to be less inspirational, or is too busy preserving people to be able to inspire. And it’s not the direction TF deserves IMO.


    The first film had John Keller and Tom Banachek, decent politicians who knew the score and sought to aid the Autobots. A great subversion of the trope you speak of.

    The next films replaced them with self-serving administrators who deal with the bad guys as much as possible for a sweet deal, despite it never paying off. That’s taking a level in dumbass, which no politician should ever manage.


    I agree that it’s a two-edged dagger – people want meaningful stories, but they also just want to just see giant robots battling each other.

    But I don’t think adding social commentary to a solely entertainment-based story can improve it. It doesn’t always work like that.

    Take SPEED RACER, the 2008 live-action film. What was a simple sports story about a racing driver winning a world championship, under the direction of the Wachowski Brothers, turned into a criticism of corporate capitalism with a villainous businessman and a struggle for individuality through victory. I just wanted to see cars racing!

    Another thing – social commentary works best with peers. Examples include the mutant rivals Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, the Wakandans NJadaka and TChalla, even IDW Optimus and Megatron – ie some equal ground for debate and rivalry.

    You can’t have that with Transformers and humans, because despite everything they are different races and the only dynamic acquired is of higher and lower, with the humans aspiring to be better than the Cybertronians through annihilation for their own survival and gain, because they don’t see or want any other option.

    The dynamic you speak of – good aliens fighting for humanity despite their ungratefulness, their selfishness and guilt of atrocities similar/worse than the Decepticons – is rendered meaningless, five films in. But it’s also the writers’ fault, because they tried to make the humans the main heroes in a story where they are meant to be only supporting characters.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
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  15. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    English is a weird language so the word war doesn't have just one meaning.

    We had the cola wars but Pepsi and Coke didn't have to put a memorial wall for the people killed during the cola war.

    Comic books love putting the word war onto one of their big events because calling something Marvel Secret War sounds cooler than Marvel Bigger Than Normal Powers Fight.

    Comic book movies suffer from this same hey war is a cool word slap it in the title. Captain America Civil War. But it's not really a war it's a more than usual number of superheroes fighting each other but no one was kill them all.

    We use terms like the War on Poverty.

    Just because a creative team puts out the term war that doesn't mean that your only option is to make it exactly like one of the big military conflicts of history. If GI Joe a Real American hero could have that many guns and the worst thing that ever happened was Duke recovered from being stabbed in the heart with a snake then characters with pew pew lasers doesn't have lets go full brutal and graphic as their only choice.
     
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  16. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Working Hermit

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    Banacheck was more of a spook than a politician, and Keller was from a different administration. In five movies, he's the only politician with more than a thimbleful of common sense - Mearing raised a couple of good points, but I still think that was a blind squirrel finding an acorn. I liked Keller and the hackers, Maggie and Glen, far better than I did Sam. You ain't gonna see Galloway take on a human-sized Decepticon with a shotgun.
     
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  17. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Anthony Hopkins with a submachine gun. 'Nuff said!

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    Yeah, I do agree I found the hackers far more interesting than Sam and the fact they never came back annoyed me. They seemed like ideal people to have for NEST.
     
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  18. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Working Hermit

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    Exactly - they were tailor-made to be part of NEST's cyber division, given that they've already been exposed to the Transformers. They wouldn't have to be read in like some other IT guys.
     
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  19. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Five movies & eight years later & we’re still having this same discussion.
     
  20. Paok

    Paok Well-Known Member

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    I get the feeling few people are here to actually "discuss".
     
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