500 Words On…Evil Acts

Ooooooooh, #500wordseveryday may have been a bit too ambitious of a goal to make sure I write everyday. Dial it down to 250?

I want to talk about the motives of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, a bit of which I discussed on Friday.

If you’ve never heard me make mention of it before, I’m often able to reconcile the despicable and barbarous actions of people. I (usually) don’t agree with what they’ve done, but I can process WHY they did them. For instance, said person is not a violent human being, but their drug addiction causes them to engage in some dastardly criminal activity where something happens that they did not intend, nor were they right of mind due to the addiction. Yep, Team Blame The Drug Not The Person.

If you’ve ever dug into the complicated over-incarceration issue we have in the US, you might not be surprised to hear me say that more people should be hospitalized rather than criminalized. But, jail is often a straightforward solution, and nowadays, profitable!

As I get older, and regularly see movies for the second, fourth and fourteenth time the prism of how I view the sinister actions of antagonists drastically shifts.

The go-to example of this Bane in Christopher Nolan’s (swoon) The Dark Knight Rises. As someone who’s deeply troubled by corporate greed – while still recognizing that running a global conglomerate is not easy – what Tom Hardy’s character was doing in Gotham was trying to strike down the high-living one percenters. The movie was filmed during the time, and in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Jump to 3:10

I’m down with the cause Big Guy!

In this case, the head bashing, riotous means did not justify the ends.

Another example. A Few Good Men. Possibly the only movie I’ve seen more times than any superhero movie.

Colonel Jessep got a kid killed with his extreme measures, but damnit if he’s not right. I…we need people like him ON THAT WALL.

Unsurprisingly Googling Trump+interview+where+he+talks+about+bad+US+things doesn’t provide me with the most agreeable and indelible line he’s ever uttered. Something like, you don’t think the US does bad things? When it comes to keeping the world safe that is. I am certain you would be abhorred by some of the tactics we are forced into to keep the peace and provide justice.

That brings us to MBJ’s Killmonger.

His father was a Wakandan traitor, who possibly jeopardized the safety, secrecy and sovereignty of his entire country, and maybe the planet too. He was killed by King T’Chaka. The severity of these actions and consequences are challenging for a young boy to comprehend. All he knows is that his father is dead. And he’s left alone. I sympathize with T’Challa’s disappointment in his father for ghosting the kid. Bringing that orphan back to Wakanda to be nurtured and loved was the right play. Being royalty doesn’t make you infallible though.

Killmonger was fatherless and likely parented by the raucous streets of Oakland. Who knows how difficult and hateful of a life that was; all we can see are the brutal results.

The rage-filled Erik Killmonger, looking to assume a place in Wakandan royalty.

Shit. If he’d only had gone about it a little more…delicate and diplomatically. Power and respect were within his grasp.

I don’t agree with immolating the heart shaped herb garden or trying to essentially be Wakanda’s first dictator. But I do know that Killmonger was a product of his environment and upbringing, so in a way I can forgive some sins of savagery.

Next time you hate the bad guy, think about why they’re doing what they are. You may sympathize…or do the same if you considered the circumstances.

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