Sunday, 5 June 2016

Opinion Piece: The Mary Sue

The next Sunday Review from me is going to be Swindle, don't worry about that. But Sunday is primerily for things that don't need to take up Wednesday when possible. And with Wednesday's next review being Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I think this needs to be brought up. This topic needs its own post, so to not bog down the review. Now I should say that this is only covering the Mary Sue character analysis way (and no, I won't also be using The Marty Stu, sake of consistency, and most people just use the one name anyway), not the website. I know of it, don't care about it, never needed to go to it. Oh, and as a word of warning, the toy break will continue next week with the concept of White Washing. But hey, at least there will also be E3 stuff!

To quote Wikipedia: "A Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment." This is going to be the definition I use for this post.

Lets start off with Rey who had many people who saw The Force Awakens see her as a Mary Sue. Using that definition, every single Jedi would fall into that category, what do you think The Force is? Now in the context of the world and the star wars universe, no. She is not a Mary Sue character, but she does have Mary Sue moments. Those being the battle of Jakku, and her escape from the interrogation cell. Both of these lean a bit on the side of bad writing. However, both of them I'm willing to let slide depending on how Episode VIII plays out, because as of right now, those moments could genuinely be Mary Sue moments, or foreshadows for episode 8 when it arrives, depending on how it plays out.

Another thing Internet, don't hate on Mary sues, and then demand for writers to write them. Let's step back to last year with Avengers Age of Ultron, and Black Widow. Not to drive it in further, as this will be quick. A flawed character, is a superior character. People were complaining about Black Widow being kidnapped, and on rewatching, I think everyone was wrong about the situation. Remember back to the first Avengers movie? Yeah, she was "kidnapped" in that one too, only difference was that she beat up several armed guards while tied to a chair. I think the intention was for her to only give the illusion of being captured while she was in the cage. Her getting there, that was just her being captured, but once she woke up, the plan was for her to look like she was waiting for the right moment to escape. Did that come off well in the movie? Well, no, it didn't. But because people jumped the gun, the traditional knee jerk reaction, people demanded her to be better, stronger, and perfect. To that I say: Why? Again, a flawed character is a better character, a more compelling and interesting character. To have her as perfect, which in itself is impossible because again, flawed character is a better character meaning that a perfect character in universe would be an awful character out of universe, to the viewer.

Honestly, I'm not surprised that the Internet has a fascination with Mary Sues, because many who are the most vocal about it are exposed to Mary Sues all the time. Where? In video games. Not that they are exposed to them, they control them, they are them. Again, using that definition, name 5 that have something that gives a narrative conclusion for the failed state, "game over". This is something being looked into more with more modern games like Ace Attorney 5 Not guilty, but disgraced attorney ending, Monkey Island 2 having a more comical "You couldn't have died. You're standing right here." situation. But using that definition, the act of retrying a situation is in the universes of the games, an unrealistic ability. You are the biggest Mary Sue in most video games, maybe all depending on how you look at it. Kind of ironic, isn't it? But at least now that we have this out of the way, lets check out Force Awakens on Wednesday, shall we?

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