People on the internet are already planning a movie adaptation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with Jeremy Renner starring as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This is because we are all suffering from a pathological need to make a real-world conflict into something we can easily consume with no critical thinking necessary. Thanks to superhero films for that one!
Our deep-seated cultural brainrot has spilled out into the real world at an overwhelming pace.
Hence, punters on Twitter are more concerned with who will star in the film adaptation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine than the actual conflict on the ground.
Because if we can’t get a superhero movie out of a catastrophic event, what’s the point, right? And if that conflict doesn’t centre us or our constant need for entertainment then our capacity for empathy is diminished, right?
At the crux of this is people on Twitter talking about whether Renner would be a good fit to portray Zelenskyy in the film adaptation of the Russia/Ukraine conflict. In their eyes, this film adaptation is inevitable.
Does anyone else think we need to lock in Jeremy Renner to play Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the movie?
— Ruth…Running on Empty (@BroughtToBook) February 28, 2022
When they make a film about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the part of Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be played by Jeremy Renner. pic.twitter.com/UlxsUnGt7p
— Jarvis Googoo (@JarvisGoogoo) February 27, 2022
Jeremy Renner is going to win an Academy Award when he plays him in the inevitable biopic about his life (hopefully ending with Ukraine overcoming Russian aggressions). https://t.co/NFSgd58Eww
— NOAH EVSLIN (@nevslin) February 26, 2022
This is evidence of a cultural context where every trauma, every hurt, every suffering, every war must be filed down and filtered into something for other people to consume.
It’s not enough for us to engage in the news and sit with our horror or dread or sympathy.
We want the Hollywood treatment. We want a narrative of good guys and bad, faceless soldiers on both sides that we don’t have to think too deeply about.
Part of the problem is this need for everyone of significance, be they a celebrity, an influencer or a world leader, to fit neatly into a narrative of hero and villain.
In the case of Zelenskyy, he has become a hero ready for his MCU-treatment.
Has anyone else noticed the remarkable resemblance between Marvel’s Hawkeye, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
Of course, one is a superhero, protecting the innocent, and fighting evil at great personal risk.
— NickStevens Graphics (@Nick_Stevens_Gr) February 27, 2022
To these fans, he is not a real person or a politician leading his country against an invasion which is the product of decades of geopolitical tension. He is a hero ready to fit an existing archetype: a Tony Stark, a Captain America, a Luke Skywalker.
The Russia Ukraine conflict is not the place to project your fun little fan casts. It is not the Jedi versus the Sith, or the Avengers versus Ultron or any of the glib other comparisons you could make.
It’s a story of real people suffering an immense human cost.
If people on here can stop comparing the citizens of Ukraine literally fighting for the life to Marvel movies that would be very appreciated.
— Jerome! (@JeromeM94Movies) March 1, 2022
Yes, the world is scary and the news is overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to feel those uncomfortable emotions. But it’s not fine to try and displace those emotions by attempting to fit the real world into the binary of superhero movies.
Your desire for escapism and entertainment doesn’t justify the the absence of empathy.