Table of contents

Last Action Hero 2

The city & the poet

Unless he has apostatized, he must make sense put together, so to speak. At the end, his action hero is revived & revised, so to speak. Criticism voiced mostly by the boy is supposed to be fully resolved. Perhaps there is no explicit indictment because, as the action hero tells the boy, nobody likes a smartass.

The criticism we have already considered is poetically described as going into the movie. – The ticket that gets the kid into the movie is torn in two. The first piece the boy takes with him to go into the movie is then corrupted by the villain, & eventually lost or destroyed. The latter stays with the projectionist, at the movie theatre, the necessary condition of the hero’s endgame rejuvenation, & therefore of the boy’s redemption. The poet shows that living inside a movie is make-believe: human beings cannot believe conventions are simply true. This is the definitive refutation of the assumption that people believe in stories ignoring right & their good. It seems poets’ critics ignore the poetic teaching on accidents & necessity in nature in despising predictability, i.e. genre.

The comic poet is here defending poetry. Death himself steps out of Ingmar Bergman’s film, our comic equivalent of a tragic poet, to assure us that heroes are immortal. When the boy is faced with death, he learns he is to die a grandfather. This is part of the poet’s justice: the pursuit of happiness in private family life. It is not suggested he might become a hero. Restraining tragedy while strengthening men is the other part of the poet’s justice on America’s behalf.

The fundamental criticism is poetically described as stepping out into the world. It seems the differences between the images of things & the things themselves are invisible. But we know images of things are images when we see them! The poet seems to justify making images by suggesting that our understanding of the world bears a similar relation to the world as the poet knows it as the images of things bear to the things themselves. Perhaps the truth is more obvious if we reverse this suggestion: we come to learn from poets the truth about things only after we realize that our opinions about the things which concern us are not the same as the truth. We need the poets because we are essentially needy. The survival of poetry requires the concealing of this truth.

In comedy, the poet makes the case for poetry’s rule over America & hence the world. As the joke has it, nobody else can educate the youth: the poet alone understands men & boys. He shows that even Death is American.