Screw The Avengers. The true super-hero franchise of this century is the Fast'n'Furious franchise. If you watch these movies, don't go with your snorting trumpet on, ready to denigrate the poor acting, the dodgy physics, the shit-like-this-would-never-in-real-life stunts. Watch the movies as the slow awakening of a gang of real life superheroes, discovering their awesome, supernatural powers and using them on the world.
They aren't even aware.
Superhero movies have long had their day. Their plots and characters and histories were largely conceived over 50 years ago, during a time when science was just about putting chrome on things and then putting those things on the moon. Superman and Batman pre-date the modern understanding of DNA. It was sufficient to explain things happening in superhero worlds by just saying "Super! Hero! POWER!"
These days, the superhero universe of The Avengers movies come across as kind of like the church's scrambling to update the wife-beating, slave-swapping days of B.C. to account for the invention of the telephone. And the birth-control pill. When the Hulk turns hulky and Ironman flies in a world still populated by electric cars which still have trouble finding power points, it's difficult, even for a clear-eyed believer like myself to not purse my lips to one side and grumble 'Oh, come on. How? Exactly?'
Fast'n'Furious doesn't need that justification. It doesn't need the weighty back story hanging about the narrative like a tracking bracelet on a first date: 'So, you've been explaining why it's there for about an hour now - can we get on with the action at hand?'
No, the characters in Fast'n'Furiousare superheroes. They jump through walls. They drive through walls. They lift people with one hand. They drive at 200km/h while making out and not even needing to look at the road. They fly. They just do. The things they do to and with cars aren't the product of engineering miracles, or shoddy script-writing; these people are superheroes! Of course they can drop it into 9th gear and speed up and win! Super! Hero! POWER!
Every single movie is about superheroes who can change the world and triumph over adversity and they don't even know it. The why isn't important. It's the how that makes Fast'n'Furious a modern fable of gods walking among humans. As bright and escapist as Lord of the Rings and subtle as Tree of Life.
And don't even get me started on the gay subtext.
Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club. It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain. There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth. However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division. The full explanation is available here. But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.
Have you heard of the band Joy Division?
Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!
Champions of Guess The Header
What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.