Feminism, in film theory, takes its humble origins from within the female perspective; but eventually unfolds into an entire revelation about how films are ultimately structured.
It begins by acknowledging that cinema is a male-dominated medium; that male producers, directors, writers etc. assume themselves as the primary spectator; leading feminists to observe the portrayal of females on screen being reduced to a spectacle; and the structure of film attributing specifically masculine traits. These traits are what remain as convention, and thus reduced to a common formula:
There are two bodies, the protagonist (P) and the antagonist (A). P is the central character(s) we follow, while A is the opposing character(s) who move the plot forward. Morals have no decision here, though it is conventional for P to be the hero(es) and A as the villain(s), these roles can be switched, or could even be the same character.
I've declared P and A, and now I must declare S - the supporting role(s). S can be a friend, lover or even an object attached to P's affections. Once established, S is already doomed, counting down their time until they are taken away or destroyed by A to further A's personal motive. Thus, A has invaded P's abode and dominated P through the taking of S, instigating the story. This can, and often will, happen more than once, as it provides reasonable motivation to drive P towards a singular resolution - to rise above and dominate A.
Dominance, logical reasoning and singular goals are associated as traits of masculinity. I will not explore the psychology here, as it irritates me to reference Freud as the only resource for psychological understanding, and things like "castration anxiety" are a bit hard to swallow without a long and detailed map of connection. We must acknowledge, however, the call for a more feminine alternative to film - domestic, emotional and episodic - and for females to be portrayed as subjects, not objects. So too must we acknowledge, as well, that we men continue existing; continue relishing our manhood; and celebrating our traits of masculinity!
And there is no better celebration than CONAN THE BARBARIAN (3D).
The film begins with a long-winded exposition, which I later discovered has no importance to the proceeding story, and felt my caveman mind hassled by too much information to process. Once all that was out of the way, the story kicks in with the title character (the well endowed P) being born amid bloody warfare, right in the middle of a battlefield! Blood splattering, guts spilling and bones breaking; a bold preface for the next two hours following.
We track his progress through childhood as he playfully slays three formidable intruders and learns, through his father (Ron Perlman - the first S), about the Secret of Steel. Progress is cut short when Khalar & co. (A and all his salivary excretions) intrude upon Conan's abode; destroys Ron Perlman and retrieves a hidden piece of McGuffin that will make him a god or whatever, instigating Conan's inevitable singular purpose to rise above and dominate him; via barbaric brute force!
Conan grows into Jason Momoa; tall, dark, handsome and ripped. Alongside his bandit friends, he frees slaves from oppressors; then single-handedly overturns a prison just to extract directions from the warden (one of Khalar's ex-minions), pointing the way toward his antagonist. Khalar & co., meanwhile, have been occupied by searching far and wide for the last vital ingredient to the McGuffin; the pure blood of the female descendent of a long line of necromancers - Tamara (the well endowed second S) - who will later become Conan's love interest, thanks to a conveniently placed sex scene.
At first, Conan uses Tamara to lure Khalar into a fight, but fails to rise above and dominate; which is expected as it's only an hour into the movie. Conan escapes with Tamara, followed by some bone-breaking violence, followed by said sex scene, followed by Khalar's minions collecting Tamara for completion of his McGuffin and instigating further, yet more immediate, motivation for Conan's singular purpose, squaring towards the final showdown.
There is a side-plot with a thief guy I've brushed over, but he scarcely fits into the story here, and is more likely a mainstay for the sequels. There is also Khalar's daughter, also inconsequential, and probably dies anyway. I fell asleep during the falling CGI rocks, so I don't really know.
I had this curious dream where a girl I had a major crush on rejected me for a more muscular man, not unlike Jason Momoa. So I resolved to win her back by lifting weights and pumping iron. Every time I lifted a weight, my arms and chest would tighten and bulge into toned, muscular beauty; but when I let go my body would resort to flabbiness, even more so than I had before. So I kept lifting weights growing bigger and bigger, but letting go getting fatter and fatter. I became grossly obese when I remember feeling anxious, I will never win my dream girl at this rate; then I woke to the credits rolling. I figured Conan got his dominance over Khalar, through blood, guts and bones, or whatever.
I mean, we can't break conventional structure, can we? That would mean there would be no complacency; and if there were no complacency, well, I don't even know what that would mean! We have to have complacency, don't we?