Rings of Power fails to lean into the possibility of moral ambiguity, instead reproducing the same simplistic binaries between good and evil. For the Elves, the inherent “goodness” of their race, and their purpose on Middle Earth is eminently visible, communicated through the sheer beauty of their people, their clothes, their architecture, their relationship to nature. Even more disturbingly, Rings of Power also reinforces cultural narratives that equate deformity with evil through the character of Adar, a “corrupted” Elf or Uruk.
Wanda tells us, again and again, “I’m not a monster, I’m a mother.” While recent endeavors into feminist horror have worked to critique this trope of mother monster, Wanda’s representation in Multiverse of Madness only serves to replicate this archetype—that there are good mothers and there are bad mothers, that women’s entire sense of identity and moral rectitude comes from their relationship to and orientation around reproduction and motherhood, and that one of the greatest threats to society, and indeed the multiverse, is an unhinged mother.
2021 gave us new ways to think about virtual presence and digital connection through Minecraft; the role of a mediated and mediatized grief in Wandavision; the Marxist politics underlying GameStop stock; the ongoing importance of centering repatriation in the practice of archaeology; and the bureaucratic magic of Loki.
Loki is a story about the hidden power of bureaucracy, bureaucracy’s capacity to conjure new realities through its administrative processes and even rewrite the flow of time through its minute, arcane, and often inaccessible managerial processes.
By Alissa Whitmore “A guy who goes around saying ‘I’m a feminist’ usually has an agenda that is not feminist….