Film | by Shane “Sign Of The H” Hnetka

This summer’s San Diego Comic Con left us a bunch of trailers for upcoming movies. DC’s Shazam looks like it might be good, and the fan in me loves the idea of Godzilla fighting Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of The Monsters. Glass, the Samuel L. Jackson-led sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, looks promising, too. Other than that, it was a fairly quiet convention — the weekend’s biggest comic-related news didn’t even happen in San Diego.

Behind The Gunn

On July 20, Disney fired James Gunn after far-right media personalities Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec dredged up the Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director’s tasteless tweets about rape and pedophilia. “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” said Disney chair Alan Horn in a statement.

The thing is, Gunn’s gross tweets were widely publicized years ago when Disney hired him for the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn apologized for them in 2012, and Disney presumably accepted that since he made two blockbusters for it, so it’s weird the Mouse House is dropping him now.

This is what Cernovich — the propagandist behind the entirely fictional, anti-Clinton Pizzagate scandal — and his ilk want. The far right has taken a lot of heat for spreading fascist and racist ideology under the guise of “free speech”, and if they can knock down some much-loved, high-profile liberal entertainers for the stupid things they said, maybe their critics will back off.

But there’s no equivalency here: Gunn’s old, tasteless jokes aren’t remotely in the same category as right-wing smears against Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.

A fan petition has more than 300,000 signatures demanding Disney hire Gunn back. They should. Hollywood is doing some incredibly important self-reflection about past abuses these days, but  perspective is needed, too. There’s a difference between tasteless, transgressive jokes (or attempted jokes), and real-life racism and misogyny.

The Mask Of Zorro

The Mask of Zorro turned 20 last month. The Martin Campbell film starred Antonio Banderas as a young man trained by the original Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) to pick up the masked mantle and fight corruption. While I’ve always preferred the 1940 Mark of Zorro, The Mask of Zorro is a fun, solid action film and Banderas is excellent.

On a random note, I named my new cat Zorro. His name at the cat rescue was Diego, and Don Diego de la Vega is Zorro’s secret identity. Don’t know how good my furry Zorro is with a sword but he’s definitely a cat of the people.

Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd. Read his weekly column Sunday Matinee on our blog.