Explosions, car chases, firepower (a lot of fire), a blow torch, fight scenes, torcher scenes, fighter jets, and helicopters; I can go on. These are all things included in this summer’s blockbuster film, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
This film takes you back to the best movies we used to watch and puts it in the timeframe and context of today’s social fabrics. Not that world domination has changed much in recent years, but the ways to go about it have been explored in variety, by the villains we have quickly grown to love.
With 2018 setting a new tone for what it means to be “the bad guy,” Marvel has provided a formula that other filmmakers are dissecting in-order to catch their wave.
We had Killmonger, then Thanos, and – oh yeah – a younger, scrappier, more vicious, Thanos. I only mention them because of fear. Idris’ character Brixton was all about instilling fear, and getting what he wants by any means.
What Marvel did with character developments and storylines at the box office was epic. We could understand the plight of the villains as much as we did the heroes and associates alike.
Marvel gave us what no other action-hero/superhero movie gave us, and that was compassion for both sides, ironically. Also, ultimately, Marvel did the meanest movie series/sequel narrative known to Asgardians and humans alike.
Carrying over storylines from each film, whether intrinsic to that particular story or setting up an entirely new one.
We felt the struggles of N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. Discovering the death of his father and learning the reasoning behind it fueled his vengeance. And family ties made it all the more relatable for a black audience – “Hey, Auntie!”
The Plot Thickens
When Thanos set out to retrieve the Infinity stones earlier in the Marvel movie series, we didn’t have any connection to him. He was omnipresent in every way. But when we finally got to meet on that ship sailing through space from Asgard, we discovered his purpose.
How could you not relate to anyone who wants to make the universe – great? Not only did he succeed – in eliminating half the universes population, but he also came back from the past to try that shit again. Persistence is key!
Now, what we have in Hobbs and in Shaw, basically F&F alum, sent to have their own stories told. Deadpool got ousted from the X-Men movie into a stand-alone, so did Venom (sorry you can’t be with us Peter — Thanks SONY!).
It’s a little bit of what we saw between “Cap” and Tony in Captain America: Civil War, but with a jovial twist. We met characters in that movie that were encroaching on their storylines; Spiderman, Black Panther, and Antman to name a few.
Hobb & Shaw saw a lot of elements used in the Marvel movies to bring this story to life. Being familiar with the characters from prior appearances is one thing. Adding back story, like, Shaw’s reunion with his sister and Hobbs reunion with his biological family in Samoa.
Shaw’s reunion was bitter, then sweet, as Hobbs family reunion was a confrontation of decisions made in the past and how they affected his father and the rest of the family. A key component to the Black Panther story.
Anti-Heroes and Villians
For our antagonist, Brixton gives us relentless and ruthless behavior, like Thanos in search of the Infinity stones. He is human none the less. But, Brixton is partially a cyborg and is unfiltered in how he handles his associates and enemies.
He possesses a rage about him and jealousy for Shaw who essentially shot him and left him for dead at some point in their history. Like when Killmonger made claim for the crown of Wakanda and sought world dominance, and Thanos wanted to euthanize, Brixton wanted to be the alpha male in a world designed by way of him.
Brixton’s return from the dead with the help of artificial intelligence led him straight to his arch-enemy, Shaw. With hopes to turn the world into super-beings via a virus –- which would kill humans — with some adjustments will make chosen ones “more human.” Into what he has become — superhuman, the “Black Superman.”
Throw in the clichés of your favorite action movies, superhero flicks, and some over the top Fast & Furious car stunts and you got a movie for a summer blockbuster.
Packed with quotable moments, raw fight scenes, and a war cry only surpassed by the sheer numbers in screaming ‘Yibambé’ in Wakanda, when Hobbs rallied his Usos (‘brothers’ in Samoan) with some traditional Samoan War Dance which kicked off the finale of the film.
Plenty of smaller scenes in that conclusive fight had strategies similar to what took place in the final fight in Infinity Wars. While other scenes reflected more of what went down in End Game.
End Credits and Scenes
How Marvel set up their universe is incredible and it has taken movie-making to new levels of efficiency in storytelling; adding end credit scenes, stitching the worlds into one cinematic universe.
Many factors and elements that allow for Marvel to do great things are how other hero films of recent have been conforming too. Let’s not forget DC Comics’ Aquaman and how they translated the Black Panther narrative and just placed it in the ocean.
It’s something to be taught in film school, and what we can hope for is that Marvel is only getting better and other filmmakers will have to step it up to compete for the kind of cult following the MCU has.