Finished first season of Arcane.
This is not what I expected. But I think it was brilliant nevertheless.
The world feels bigger than the single city we’re shown.
There are things that are happening outside of it. Which is a great way to build a story.
Here’s just one example:
A mother, kind of a warrior-queen, exiled her daughter, Mel, for being too soft, to another city-state, Piltover.
But now her son is dead, and she needs the weapons that Piltover produces. We’re never told who she’s fighting. Because this is something outside of the story.
Being all “Spartan warrior”, she still enjoys the benefits of civilization:
And this is mostly shown, not told. Often in a single scene.
All the characters have their conflicts. Vi with being from a lower class, and her parents killed by enforcers. Jinx being torn between her sister the vigilante and her stepfather the mob boss, Silco.
Here Silco is being offered what he dreamed off, an independent state, in exchange for his step-daughter:
I mean, just look at those sequences. The offer, the contemplation, and the statue of the hero and his friend he killed in the background.
It’s so often that characters are given easy escapes. Not here. Even when Jinx eventually kills her stepfather to save her sister:
It only sets the scene for a larger catastrophy, the ultimate terrorist act, the attack on the Parliament, which is the cliffhanger for the first season.And I like the ineventability of this. The fact that you take a decission doesn’t mean you don’t end up hating yourself for it. Even if it was the right decission. The hate is still there.
It would again be easy for authors to make Silco point the gun at Jinx. Here, he was always using her! But he doesn’t. Adding the layer of ambiguity:
It wasn’t just an act, he does mourn her, he does try to do everything possible to save her.
And I could go on, on how Mel’s painting represents her longing for home.
Again, just a single shot, her standing, him almost laying down, the divide between.
And then we see in the last moments that she ruins it: telling the viewer that she rejects her mother offer. Again, “show, don’t tell” in the most brilliant form.
To me, it’s frustrating that they managed to pull this level of a story out of a universe whose entire purpose is to sell sexy costumers to teenagers. And then we have abominations such as Resident Evil movies, that do have excellent base material, but not the will 🤷♂️