she’s my co-pilot
What I love is that so many movies are about the adoring female gaze. They’re focused on the female giving her male counterpart the “oh you masculine idiot darling” look as she understands why he’s being distant/angsty/troubled/stubborn/tearful/complicated. The times you get the male adoring gaze is when the female shows up in a pretty dress or cleaned up or being so charmingly feminine. With Pacific Rim, Raleigh gives Mako the adoring male gaze not for being pretty or dainty or cute (which she’s all those things), but she gets the adoring look for being MAKO. She gets that look when she saves his life. She gets that look when she beats him. She gets that look when she surprises him. She gets that look when she simply comes and sits with him. By the end of the movie we are very clear that Raleigh adores Mako and there was no “transformation” scene for him to do it. He was charmed by her right away, but he adored her the minute she didn’t back down from him and bested him. And Mako doesn’t give Raleigh the “oh you” look ever. She gives him the genuine smiles of someone thinking “you’re a really really good guy, Raleigh Becket”. She gives him the look of someone thinking “of all the people I’d want with me at the end of the world, I’m glad it’s you”. Raleigh’s gaze is adoring of everything that Mako is. Mako’s look is that of someone who deeply cares about this good man who doesn’t even understand how good he is. These two couldn’t care less what the other looked like or how adorable they are, these are the looks of two people who love who the other person IS.
And whether you ship them as romantic partners (sexual or asexual); or platonic best friends and/or family (sibling-like relationship)…
I love that the movie didn’t end up on a kiss. I love that Raleigh didn’t get “rewarded” for his efforts by FINALLY “getting the girl”.
Because Raleigh already had the girl.
He already had Mako’s trust, affection, respect, empathy, concern, etc. She already had faith in his abilities; and they were comfortable relying on each other and working together on both a personal and professional level.
In terms of who they were for each other, by the end of the movie, there was nothing left for them to “win”.
Raleigh respects Mako’s boundaries and values his relationship with her as it is - and so does she.
I love that this movie offers a positive model for male / female relationships that is based on friendship and mutual respect first and foremost.
And that it reminds young women out there that you can indeed be valued by a man for all the things you have to offer - not just being a prospective girlfriend / sex partner.
Perhaps they will become romantic partners in the future. Perhaps the interest is already there.
But the movie itself left us with the feeling that romance between these two wasn’t ESSENTIAL for them to share such a strong bond together. That both Raleigh and Mako have the ability to care strongly about each other as they are regardless of the exact nature of their relationship.
And if, in the future, it evolves into something more and they decide to make a full romantic commitment; there will have been no pressure to do so. No sense that:
"If you don’t return my love, Mako, and agree to become my girlfriend; you will be losing your dearest friend as well! No more Mr. Nice Guy! I’m not interested in just having you playing games with me, and leading me on by being receptive. If you care about my feelings, you gotta agree to care about my dick as well! Otherwise, you don’t give a damn, and you’re just being a selfish tease!"
They see each other as people, not objects to own and control in order to fulfill their own needs. As a woman who grew up an only child, and has been blessed with sharing many wonderful friendships with men (including some that I proudly call my brothers), I believe that the way that Mako and Raleigh’s realtionship is portrayed offers a beautiful and realistic portrayal of these relationships.