A lot of people have problems with Tom Cruise for one reason or another. If he's in a movie in which he plays the lead, it's probably a pretty big, mainstream, and possibly generic movie. When I first saw trailers for Oblivion, I wished for another actor in Tom Cruise's place, someone newer that didn't have all the Hollywood baggage. But after watching Oblivion, I realized he's the perfect fit. Why? Find out in my spoiler laden discussion!
SPOILER WARNING. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED OF THE SPOILERSES.
So to sum up (and ruin) Oblivion, a giant sentient robot from beyond the stars came to Earth, destroyed it, took Tom Cruise and made a shit-ton of clones of him to wipe out the rest of humanity, then used the rest of his clones to keep around and repair drones while the robot finished sucking up the rest of the Earth's energy. So if this were comics, Tom Cruise is basically the herald of Galactus and has tons of clones. This is kind of amazing.
Think about this: The one person (Ok, TWO people, with Andrea Riseborough's Victoria, but she basically sits up on high while Tom Cruise goes out to do all the dirty work) the evil robot alien picks to wipe out humanity as its deluded hero is Tom Cruise. Just a whole mess of Tom Cruises (A gaggle of Tom Cruises? A murder? A carnival of Cruises?) running around, running, shootin' stuff, takin’ off-road bikes across dunes, and yellin' at robots.
To frame it another way, think of this big sentient alien thing as the movie industry. Who does it pick to frontline every mission? Tom Cruise. With an English-speaking leading lady. I mean OF COURSE Tom Cruise, because everyone loves him and everyone wants him and he's representative of the entire population, right? And he's just so great at doing everything. I mean, he even fights himself. Not only is he the best hero, he's also the best villain! TOM CRUISE!
And it's even better that he's deluded and doesn't even realize that he's being used by this evil sentient thing to suck the life out of the planet. Hell, he doesn't even realize how deluded he is with all the other Cruises out there! He's just doin' his thing, bein' the action hero that he thinks everyone wants him to be, while there are tons of other Cruises doing the exact same thing. He tries to get out of it, but they just keep pulling him back in. We're being flooded with Tom Cruises, beaten over the head with Tom Cruises and he can't do anything to stop it except fight other Tom Cruises.
What I'm trying to get at is that this is a perfect metaphor for the over saturation of straight white male dudes in all forms of media, but especially big blockbuster movies. It's especially bad in this age of 50-movie-trailers-before-every-movie to see it for your own eyes; a flood of Tom Cruises. No not Tom Cruises exactly, but straight white males in the 20-40 age range. Elysium, RIPD, Lone Ranger, Man of Steel, I was hoping After Earth would have a new trailer to break it up, but surprisingly it was absent. Not to mention all the TV shows and videogames and everything else. I am a straight white male getting tired of straight white males in my… everything. Hollywood, this is your target demographic telling you to change it the hell up!
Ugh ok that was kind of a rant. Maybe I'm reading waaay too much into this mediocre sci-fi movie, but I do think it fits. What do you think? Have you seen Oblivion? Do you agree or disagree that it's an apt metaphor? Do you think we have too many white male protagonists or just enough?