Tag Archives: Superman

MoS2 is to The Avengers, as GoBots are to Transformers

You could also say “Man of Steel 2 is to The Avengers, as Mega Bloks are to Legos.” Either way, it works. Now I shall explain what I mean.

The Avengers was well made, well assembled, and everyone wanted it, just like Transformers and Legos (I’m referring to the toys in this instance). From the moment Marvel started piecing their gigantic, kick-ass puzzle, all the pieces fell together so nicely and at no point did I worry about their casting choices. Even when Chris Evans went from being the Human Torch to Captain America, I thought it was a good choice. The whole damn thing just felt right. Not to mention, they started off on a damn good foot with Iron Man. From there, they built up to something absolutely spectacular, as they should have.

The same cannot be said for DC and whatever it is they’re doing with Man of Steel 2 (aka the Batman vs Superman movie). To me, the only solid casting choice they’ve made so far is Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman. Actually, their casting choices for characters in the first film was actually pretty damn solid, my favorite being Michael Shannon as General Zod. However, casting for the sequel has left me question the mental stability at Warner Bros.

The new Batman. How ya like dem apples?

The new Batman. How ya like dem apples?

First, there’s Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I have not been a fan of this decision from the very beginning… but I’m willing to give him a chance. He’s shown in recent years that he has matured as an actor and is an excellent writer and director. But does he have what it takes to be Batman? I’m still very iffy about that. He could be awesome and rank up there with Keaton and Bale or he could suck like Clooney did and be forever shunned. I have a strong feeling that he’s not taking this task lightly and he’s really going to dedicate himself to the role. As a Batman fan himself, I believe he knows this is not a role one can just phone in. The fanatics will eat him alive. My doubts will remain until the film is released, so I guess only time will tell if this was a good choice or not.

Next is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Honestly, I really know nothing of the woman, other than what I’ve read since she was cast. A model/actress who’s big break came from the recent Fast and Furious films. Doesn’t really give much assurance. I mean, it’s not like I’m really in an uproar about this one. I was never a huge Wonder Woman fan anyway. She may surprise the hell outta all of us and be the best damn WW they could’ve cast. She might also be completely awful and end up making Warner Bros regret not casting someone else. But still, don’t care too much on this one.

I just don't see it.

I just don’t see it.

This most recent bit of casting really boggles my mind: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. What the actual eff?! I don’t see it, I just don’t. When Eisenberg was cast, the must have misheard the request for Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) and cast Jesse instead. That’s the only thing I can figure. I’ve come to terms with the notion of Bryan Cranston being Lex Luthor but I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with Jesse Eisenberg in the role. There is nothing about him that makes me think he can play the character well. Nothing about the way he looks or acts or anything. He’s gonna need to pull a serious hat trick for this one. For me, he’d be better suited to play the character of Lenny from Superman 4, if they decided to bring him back.

And as for Jeremy Irons, I’ve always seen him as more suited for the villain role. He’s played heroes before but he makes a much better villain. I mean, have you seen Die Hard with a Vengeance?! He’s better suited for Alfred than Eisenberg is for Luthor but I would’ve cast him as Mr. Freeze or Ra’s al Ghul before I cast him as Alfred. He would make an incredible Mr. Freeze, without a doubt. I could even see him as The Riddler. But I guess, his casting is a bit more palatable than Jesse’s.

Like I said before, my doubts will remain until the film is released before I make my final judgement but it would be nice to have the confidence in this film like I did with The Avengers.

One last thought: I want Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow to be part of the DC Cinematic Universe. No one else should play the part. Back off, Justin Hartley.

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Geeky Updates Galore!

So, a lot is going on in the world of Geek Cinema, as I like to call it. I thought now would be a good time for a round-up.

The Sorcerer Supreme

The Sorcerer Supreme

1. Marvel courting Johnny Depp for the role of Doctor Strange?!

-Let’s hope not. Don’t get me wrong, I think Depp is an incredible actor but I’m sick of seeing him in EVERYTHING and I think there are other equally talented actors out there that would be better suited for the role. Jim Caviezel, Justin Theroux, Viggo Mortensen, Oded Fehr, Joseph Fiennes, and Karl Urban, just to name a few. Thankfully, the rumors of him being courted for the role are just that, rumors. And let’s hope they stay that way.

 

 

I hope there's some excellent special features on this.

I hope there’s some excellent special features on this.

2. THE ADAM WEST BATMAN TV SERIES FROM ’66 IS FINALLY COMING TO DVD (AND HOPEFULLY BLU-RAY)!!!

-You heard me right. After years and years and years of waiting, the series is finally being officially released. Thank you, Warner Bros! I’ve waited too long for this. TOO LONG.

 

 

Could this be Aquaman?

Could this be Aquaman?

3. Man of Steel 2/Batman vs. Superman just keeps turning into Justice League more and more every day.

– Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as Superman and Batman, respectively. Then came Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Then there were rumors of Denzel Washington and Dwayne Johnson for the role of Green Lantern. And there was also the rumor of Jason Momoa being eyed for the role of Martian Manhunter (but I’d prefer Lobo). Well now we have Josh Holloway being sought for the role of Aquaman. Seriously? I really hope Warner Bros doesn’t end up turning the film into another Spider-man 3. We all remember Spider-man 3, don’t we? Hopefully all of these roles, if actually cast, will just be small cameos at the end of the film to set-up a JLA film. Hopefully.

 

Soak in all that douchebag-y goodness.

Soak in all that douchebag-y goodness.

 

4. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym in Ant-Man.

-Yep. Gordon Gekko is Hank Pym, which I guess makes sense because they were both major A-holes. So maybe this will work. I’m still on the fence about this because I think he’s overrated as an actor. I think Paul Rudd was a great choice, Michael Douglas…not so much. But I guess I’ll just wait and see.

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Origin of Hate 2: Green Lantern

When I was a boy, I had Superman pajamas, but only because there were no Green Lantern ones. The DC merchandising machine did not take the George Lucasian approach in the 80s; instead, they only produced merch pertaining to the heaviest of hitters–unlike today when one can find nearly any character emblazoned upon garments meant for a grown man. Seriously 1980s, no GL Underoos? I digress. Even though I haven’t read a comic book in years, if I were to pick one up it would no doubt star my favorite Silver Age Emerald Knight.

So years after I had moved on grown a bit and admittedly developed a “make mine Marvel” attitude about my costumed heroes, I was pretty excited when a Green Lantern film was announced. When the film debuted in 2011, I was very excited to see it. I planned several times to head out to my local theater and for whatever reason kept putting it off. Then I started reading the huge pile of negative reviews, most of which called it a huge pile, and resolved to just pretend it didn’t exist. 3 years later, the Blu-ray was just laying there at the top of a bin filled with budget priced titles, and I decided to give it a shot. It isn’t as bad as described, but very little could be.

For those of you who are unfamiliar:

Image property of Warner Bros.

Image property of Warner Bros.

A test pilot named Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds)  is granted an alien ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Firstly let’s talk origin. Hal Jordan is the original Green Lantern. (Well unless you count the “Golden Age” which took place on Earth-2 which I don’t.) There is some confusion on this point created by the inclusion of John Stewart as the main Lantern in the Justice League cartoons.

Ryan Reynolds was not ideal as Jordan,with mostly comedic credits to his name and questionable Marvel pedigree in support of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The humor seems to overtake the story at times. Reynolds’ fast talking and wise cracking is better suited to The Flash as portrayed in the previously mentioned cartoon outing. It is hard to believe that anyone would let this guy fly their plane–let alone wield a ring with unfathomable power. Reynolds does, however, come across as likeable, which is important to the character.

CGI and effects for 3D seem to be placed in such a way to disguise the lack luster script. Even the iconic Green Lantern uniform, which I have always wanted in PJ form, is constructed of pure effects. I prefer to view CGI through the lens of history. Think about the effects featured in the video for Dire Straits “Money for Nothin.” At the time this was the most advanced and exciting revolution in special effects. The video cost about a billion dollars to make and when viewed today looks like the most dated piece of garbage ever produced. Our children will feel the same way about this movie and many others like it (I’m looking at you Speed Racer).

Image property of Warner Bros. The villain’s motivation is confusing and seems to come out of nowhere. To tell you the truth I knew he was going to be the villain going in, but was surprised when he turned. The true motivation seems to be an after thought to the pointless CGI pile mentioned above. This is symptomatic of the attempt to cram too many Lantern stories into one film. It’s like they already knew they wouldn’t rate a sequel, so they give us 80yrs of story in 2hrs. The one standout is Marc Strong as Sinestro. His acting is explosive and my attention was perfectly held each and every time he appeared onscreen. Oddly, we learn very little about Sinestro despite The Matrix derivative approach to his mentoring role Strong still shines through. Also (though a tad unrelated to this point) the training scenes were straight out of The Matrix.

Any comments beyond these would just be petty. This is still an ok superhero picture. Honestly, it would have been a revolution had it come out before the game changing X-men franchise or even before Iron Man further raised the bar for the genre. Pouring a rich character history into a single film is difficult to manage.  Mediocre casting and poor writing = lackluster expensive looking movie.

 

 
Image property of Warner Bros.
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Superheroes and the Small Screen

With Marvel and Netflix inking a deal to bring “Marvel’s Flawed Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen” to the small screen (Netflix being an internet version of television), there is the potential for even more heroes to follow the same path.

"The Man Without Fear"  [image property of Marvel Comics]

“The Man Without Fear”
[image property of Marvel Comics]

After regaining the rights to Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Blade, fans have been wondering what plans Marvel had for their darker properties. Now we (sort of) have an answer. Starting in 2015, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones will each have their own 13-episode runs on Netflix, culminating in a “The Defenders” mini-series. Depending on how successful this deal ends up being, it could open a lot of doors for other Marvel characters. And maybe even characters from other comic publishers.

For starters, an unrated Punisher series, made in the same vein of the Marvel MAX imprint, would be phenomenal. An unrelenting, bloody, violent, carnage-filled series showcase how truly badass the Punisher is, is exactly what Marvel needs. The same goes for Blade. It needs to be uncensored, violent and bloody. It’s a story about a half human/half vampire that hunts and kills other vampires. But it should definitely not star Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones. I don’t think Wesley Snipes should reprise the role either. We need a fresh perspective for both Blade and The Punisher.

Marc Spector/Moon Knight [image property of Marvel Comics]

Marc Spector/Moon Knight
[image property of Marvel Comics]

From there they could venture into the realm of a character like Moon Knight. He’s essentially Marvel’s version of Batman but with a few differences. He believes he’s the avatar for the Egyptian god of vengeance, so he might be just a tad bit crazy. Where Batman fights crime to avenge the murder of his parents, Moon Knight will kick the crap out of anyone he thinks deserves a butt-kicking because it makes him feel better about all the people he killed as a mercenary. He’s rich and uses gadgets like Batman, but he fights with a different code of ethics, so that could make for some interesting story arcs. After that they could even branch out to Cloak and Dagger, Black Panther, or Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

Other comic publishers could take notes from this and bring characters from Hellblazer, The Sandman, B.P.R.D., Preacher, 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, and so on to life. DC Comics might have some success with this venture, even though they’ve had some recent success with Arrow and possibly even more success with a Flash spin-off, they still had shows for Aquaman and Wonder Woman that never made it past their pilot episodes. This might be the perfect way to set up their Justice League movie. Characters like Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter might not have what it takes to hold their own on the big screen like Batman (and to a lesser extent, Superman) but they would probably do very well (if written, acted, and directed properly) on the small screen. They shouldn’t be discourage by their previous failures, but be encouraged by the success of Smallville and Arrow.

The big screen has been good for Marvel, and I think the small screen will too. They have been able to dominate the competition quite easily and, from the looks of things, will continue to do so. But in order to stay in the game, the other comic book companies need to step up their game and start trying to make things happen in new outlets. Netflix, HULU Plus, iTunes, Amazon Video…something. The fans want to see their favorite characters brought to life, as long as it’s done well. A season or more of one-hour episodes gives you more time to fully develop a characters story than a few two-hour films would.  A leap to the small screen could be just the way to give them what they want.

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Superman is Old

There’s not much I need to say. Just watch this. It is everything that is good about Superman.

 

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Superman Doesn’t Kill

justice_league_22

Who the hell is this guy?

Last week I engaged in a Facebook melee about whether or not Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is a fair representation of Superman. As someone who believes Superman would be on the slippery slope to total f***ing bonkers, I find myself not at all enjoying the dark, brooding Superman.

Honestly, it’s not that big a deal. I like Superman, but I’m not too invested in his movie franchise. So, for the most part, the fact that Zack Snyder’s vision of the Man of Steel is joyless doesn’t faze me much. Whatever sense of wonder the movie elicits is completely subdued by the dark, broody fighting and collateral damage.

And that’s fine. What I can’t get past is Superman killing, especially so soon in the new franchise. Superman doesn’t kill. Period. And instead of voicing the reasons why I feel that way on Facebook, it makes more sense to do it here.

Superman Is The First

Superman is the first superhero. Ever. That’s a huge deal. He is the originator of the comic book golden age and I believe because of that he, more than any other hero, has largely maintained his sense of innocence. While golden age comics were for kids and the audience now is quite a bit older, Superman remains the standard for iconic superheroes. Some heroes have reinvented themselves or have been retconned, but Superman remains largely the same. Some of the details have changed, but standing for justice hasn’t.

In the golden age, heroes didn’t kill. Generally speaking, villains didn’t kill either. Through the silver age and the iron age into modern comics, I’ve only found one instance where Superman purposefully took a life. Any Superman fan worth their salt might, at this moment, point at Doomsday and say “he killed that thing!” And that is true, but I’m not convinced that was his intention. Like a punch-drunk brawler, a delirious Superman was just trying to end that fight.

There have been a few accidents here and there and we’ve seen some collateral damage and reprisals, but Superman has only ever chosen to kill once. In Superman #22 he poisoned an alternate universe version of Zod and two of his lieutenants.

And it destroyed him.

Superman realized that he had become something he didn’t recognize and left Earth. He had to do all this soul searching and come to terms with what he understood was a completely wrong act. Being the first hero and an avatar for what we think of as truth, justice and the American way, he’s special. Superman is different than all other superheroes because of that history.

Which is why when he does choose to kill, as he did in Superman #22, he stops being Superman. He becomes something else.

Superman Isn’t A Villain

Sometimes people suggest that Superman or another hero should just kill their villains and save the thousands of lives that are otherwise lost by entrusting them to the criminal justice system. I’ve even argued that Batman probably should just kill the Joker. And I stand by that because I would argue it’s just as heroic for a man to sacrifice his own values to save the world as it is to sacrifice his life.

Killing is just too easy for a man that can shoot lasers at you from space. Batman doesn’t believe in guns and would have to get close in many circumstances–not to mention all the planning and critical thinking about how to take that life. Superman, meanwhile, can snuff out thousands of lives by knocking over a building. Killing shouldn’t be that easy. Justice and democratic principles have always been against one man being judge, jury and executioner.

Inviting Superman to kill without consequences (unless you call the minute of sobbing he did after de-lifing Zod a consequence) is inviting a police state through fear where criminals and potential transgressors are subdued by the thought of Superman rather than a government by the people for the people. And since Superman can see and hear everything at all times, that fear would be so much worse.

And it’s about free will. Doing good or evil is dependent upon having a choice. If I make all the right decisions because I know Superman will erase me if I don’t, it’s not really my choice. And since he can be anywhere at any moment, I wouldn’t have a reason not to be on my best behavior out of fear. Which really leads into my next point.

Super Murder Signifies Something Is Wrong

You could write entire books about who the real Superman is. Is it the original imagining by Siegel and Shuster? Is it the carefully cultivated image maintained by DC Comics? Are they all real?

supes-kills-joker

Is this Superman?

I’m not a purist, but I would argue that most movies, television shows, video games and books outside the main DC titles can be considered re-imaginings. These things are new stories told by different people based on the icon blueprint of the character’s history.

You would be hard-pressed to find a version of Superman that kills and is still Superman. The recent Injustice: Gods Among title includes a Superman that kills and is basically a despot. Clark Kent killed on Smallville, but that was to drive home the point that he wasn’t Superman yet. Cartoon Network’s Justice League included a “Justice Lord” Superman that killed President Lex Luthor… and and also became a despot. Oh, and don’t forget DC’s own Superman Prime who, in an effort to return home, sparks a space war and becomes one of DC’s most dangerous villains.

The bottom line is that when Superman kills, it always indicates there’s something wrong with his character. Which makes perfect sense because of how central to the Superman mythos not killing is. A mythos, I might add, that’s meant to do more than illicit awe for his power.

Superman Is Supposed To Inspire

The point of Superman is not just to do stuff for us. As several iterations of Lex Luthor have argued, that idea of Superman makes the rest of humanity obsolete. What would the point of any of us be if we settled for letting our resident god-like entity worry about everything on our behalf? What’s great about the Man of Steel is that he is supposed to inspire us. He is supposed to represent an ideal that we can never achieve, but constantly work at.

Glorifying killing isn’t in his character; he shouldn’t make us think having to take a life is ok. Instead he inspires us to to better. His example can save us from ourselves.

For all the junk people say about Superman Returns, this is something Bryan Singer got right.

Superman couldn’t save us all in the sense that even if he spent 24 hours a day doing super things, some of us would still have bad things happen to us. That’s the calculus of one Superman and 7,000,000 people.

No, even when Superman fails to save individual people, his example can save us from the worst parts of human nature. Given a choice between a world full of hope and a world where Superman kills, I know which one would bring out the best in me.

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Not Bad, Not Good, Not Brolin – Ben Affleck is the New Batman.

Seriously, Warner Bros? What the actual f#©k?!

This is our new Batman, wearing the Superman costume. Let that soak in.

This is our new Batman, wearing the Superman costume. Let that soak in.

Did you guys even look into your other options or did you just look out onto the studio lot, see Ben Affleck strolling around and think “Hey, Ben owes us a favor, so let’s have him do it”?

You could’ve picked any other, much more talented actor, and yet you went with Affleck. I remember Josh Brolin being an option, what happened there? Was he not good enough for you?! Was Ben cheaper?! Technically, this guy’s already played Superman. Don’t you think it’s a little unfair to let him play both Bats and Supes?! ANSWER ME, DAMMIT!!

Sorry. Had a moment there.

I’m getting a tad bit worked up over this and some might think it’s really not worth it, but Batman is important to me. Batman has been my number one hero throughout my entire life. So yeah, I’m gonna get worked up over a decision like this. I don’t want Batman to ever be “Clooney-ied” again. I want any actor that wears the cowl to wear it with pride and honor it and know that if he screws up the role and the image, we (and by we, I mean the Bat-fandom) will have his head. You’ve been warned, Affleck.

There’s only one Batman I have ever hated and that was George Clooney. He did a phenomenal job of tarnishing the image for me, and I will never forgive him. Him, Schumacher, and Batman & Robin. I spit on you, Joel Schumacher. Ptooey! That film was an abomination.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I think Ben is a fine actor. He has made some great films (The Town, Dogma). He was the bomb in Phantoms, yo! He’s also made some shitty films (Reindeer Games, Pearl Harbor, Gigli), but who hasn’t? It took me a few years to like him as Daredevil but I finally warmed up to him. I’m just not a fan of him putting on the Batsuit. Of course, I wasn’t a fan of Heath Ledger (R.I.P) playing the Joker and now I can’t see anyone else playing the Clown Prince of Crime. So I’ll give Affleck a shot, but he’s gonna have to wow the hell outta me, along with millions of others. Not to mention, he’s gonna have some big boots to fill, following after Christian Bale. But if he can manage a better Batman voice, he’ll have one-up on him. I just don’t want to have to wait a few years to like him as Bats.

Can Affleck beat down Cavill?

Can Affleck beat down Cavill?

My largest fear of this decision comes from the notion that Zack Snyder is partly basing this film off of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In it, an older, grizzled Batman dons an armored suit and fights Superman one-on-one. It’s a legendary battle that should not be taken lightly, and I’m worried that Affleck won’t be able to pull it off. I think Cavill can because he’s an exceptional Superman. The best, in my opinion. But I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to take Affleck seriously during the fight. I don’t want to laugh at Batman, I want to cheer him on as he pummels Superman.

Oh, and he has to quote this line: “I want you to remember Clark. In all the years to come. In your most private moments. I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”

He has to say it and say it epically or the film will be for naught.

As with most things of this nature, I’ll give it a chance. Reluctantly, but still. However, Ben Affleck will have a much slimmer chance than others. Impress me, Ben. Impress the hell outta me.

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Man of Steel 2: Batman, Superman, & the Who and What I Want to See

Over the past few weeks, after DC/WB’s announcement of the MOS sequel, I’ve been thinking about who I would like to see in the film (characters and cast) and what should happen.

I’ve been wondering a lot about how this story is going to go. Are Bats and Supes going to be friends or enemies or enemies then friends once they realize they have a common goal? Who will the villain or villains be? Where will it take place? Metropolis or Gotham City or both? And this film is supposed to be a lead-in to the Justice League film, so will there be any guest appearances or clever references to other DC characters or places in the DC Universe?  There has also been talks of crossing the DC television universe into the cinematic universe, so is there a chance of “The Hood” making an appearance?

The World's Finest playing nice? (image source: WB & DC)

The World’s Finest playing nice? (image source: WB & DC)

First, for the story, I think they should do a combination of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and the animated feature The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest. The Joker (or The Riddler) shows up in Metropolis wreaking havoc, teams up with Lex Luthor for some sinister plot, and Superman has to ask Batman for help since he’s dealt with The Joker before and somewhat knows how he works. When Supes shows up in Gotham, Batman isn’t pleased after seeing the destruction he caused in Metropolis some time back, so at first they’re at odds. There’s a big epic fight but then they realize that they should be working together to thwart a greater threat, so they team up. Which means the film will spend a small amount of time in Gotham but will mostly take place in Metropolis.

Obviously, that means the villains of the film will be Lex Luthor and The Joker, the heroes of course being Batman and Superman. Recasting the Joker after Heath Ledger’s phenomenal performance in The Dark Knight will be difficult and Lex Luthor is never an easy task. There’s also the highly-likely chance that Batman/Bruce Wayne will be recast. However, I thought I’d take a crack at it.

1 – All recurring characters from Man of Steel should be played by the same actors because that was perfect casting.

A perfect choice, I think. (image created by Javier de Mairena)

A perfect choice, I think. (image created by Javier de Mairena)

2 – Batman/Bruce Wayne: Josh Brolin. He’s an incredible actor with great range, he can handle the physicality of the role, and he has the look. Strong jawline, gruff-looking, older, that’s what WB is looking for with this recast. Now I would love to have Christian Bale back, but on the chance that he doesn’t come back, Brolin is my top choice to put on the cowl.

3 – Lex Luthor: Billy Zane. I know many people don’t think much of Mr. Zane, but I find him to be an exceptional actor. He can play smart and sophisticated, as well as cold, calculated, and maniacal. Not to mention, he can pull off the bald look nicely.

4.1 – The Joker: Adrian Brody, Crispin Glover, Damian Lewis, or Robert Carlyle. One of these four actors would make a superb Joker. It’d be difficult for them to top Ledger’s performance but I’m positive they would give it their best, knowing that they have big shoes to fill. Honestly, Crispin Glover has always been a top choice for me but I believe Damian Lewis might actually be a better choice.

Tennant's Riddler.

Tennant’s Riddler.

4.2 – The Riddler: David Tennant or Matthew Gray Gubler. I’m partial to Tennant because he’s my favorite Doctor, a brilliant actor, and can play the conniving genius quite well. Gubler is also an incredible actor and would do well in the part but Tennant is my first choice.

5 – Commissioner Jim Gordon: Gary Oldman. If they bring Gordon into the film, there is no other actor that should play him than Oldman.

As for crossovers and references, I don’t think any crossovers should take place other than Bats and Supes, of course. It would be nice to see Stephen Amell make an appearance as Oliver Queen at least, but not “The Hood” (of course by the time this film is being made, they may actually be referring to him as “Arrow” or “Green Arrow” though). But WB could get by with just making references to other heroes and their respective cities without actually including them in the film. They don’t wanna blunder and pull a Spiderman 3 move and have too many characters in one film. Just stick with the two heavy-hitters and their main arches and don’t overdo it. I’d also like to make a point that Robin should not be involved in this film at all, neither the comic book character or Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character from The Dark Knight Rises.

The way I see it, this film could be the perfect stepping stone for DC/WB to lead them into the Justice League film and helping them to making the DC Cinematic Universe as successful as Marvel’s has become. On the other hand, this film could be a complete disaster and be a huge setback for DC/WB. Either way, I’m willing to give it a chance and see what happens.

Are you? What are your thoughts and predictions for Man of Steel 2?

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Another Origin Story?!

Man of steel oneI’ve read a lot of comments on various forums in the wake of the latest trailer for Man of Steel, and a lot of them had the same thing to say: “Why are they doing his origin story again!?” At first, I wanted to echo the sentiment. Come on, Superman is arguably the most popular character that was created in the 20th century. EVERYONE knows who Superman is and where he came from, right?

Then, I decided to do a quick survey of  my non-comic-book-reading friends and family. I simply asked them to tell me what they knew of Superman’s origin story. Some people got it exactly right. Most got it partially right. A few people got it completely wrong.

So, there’s part one of my argument for another origin story. New people are getting introduced to the Superman character all the time. A lot of people will buy tickets to watch  Man of Steel simply because “The Director of The Dark Knight” is attached to every trailer and movie poster. We who have seen a Superman cartoon, read a Superman comic, or even seen a Superman movie are in the minority here.

We are currently living in a geek golden age, so it’s hard to not be selfish when we get movies about things we love, but movies are made for a much wider audience than just we geeks.

I would argue that Superman is one of the greatest literary characters ever written. I know that some people hate Superman because he is a “boy scout” or whatnot. But, seriously, he ushered in a new era of modern mythology. His story is pretty timeless–a special person finds out that he is special, and has to figure out what to do with his specialness. Sometimes the story is about what a god does when he is among humans. In any event, it’s interesting, thematic, and he has a cool cape.

When other great works of literature are adapted for the screen, I see very few people complaining about it. When Les Miserables was coming out in theaters, I saw a whole lot of excitement. When Pride and Prejudice  gets adapted for the screen (again!) I also don’t see a lot of complaints. Retelling and re-imagining stories and characters is about as old as storytelling itself. Just because the new Man of Steel film is retelling an origin doesn’t automatically make it invalid.

Comic book guyDoes the geek response to Superman’s origins perhaps stem from the insular nature of the geek community? You know on The Big Bang Theory (which I hate, by the way, but that’s another article for another time) when the characters looks really put out because another character doesn’t understand the love for Dungeons and Dragons or comic books? I’ve seen that happen in real life. I’ve known people who have gotten mocked because they really wanted to get into comic book but didn’t know where to start. There was the big controversy about people denouncing “fake geek girls” because they didn’t know every detail about your favorite superhero. Or, how about people who want to start playing Dungeons and Dragons, but the jerk DM acts like the new player has to know every obscure rule in the core rulebook before they can play?

Geeks can be jerks. Plain and simple. A lot of geeks of my generation and older got openly mocked for enjoying comic books or Dungeons and Dragons. But, it’s the cool to like those things now. The Avengers was a huge movie hit. Batman movies have done really well. And now that geeks are on top, we’re starting to get selective as to who can be “one of us.”

And it needs to stop. You may have been picked on by other people for what you liked at one time or another, but that doesn’t give you the moral high ground in every situation going forward. If you are bullying people for not knowing a whole lot about your chosen hobby, you need to stop. You’re being a jerk. I don’t care if you had your head dunked in toilets. I don’t care if your towel was stolen while you were in the gym shower. Or any number of awful things happened to you simply because you liked something that other people didn’t. I’m sorry those things happened to you. I really am. It still doesn’t mean that you get to awful to other people.

PadawanHere’s a thought; know some potential geeklings that want to get into something you’re really knowledgeable about? Are you a master DM that knows a person that wants to try some RPGs? Got a friend that doesn’t know where to start with reading comic books? Mentor them. Be their dork Jedi Master. Show them around. Introduce them to your friends. Defend them if they get mocked. Just be a generally awesome person.

So what does my rant have to do with Superman’s origin story? There have been many times when after a friend saw a superhero movie, I was asked to help them find good comics to read. Now, I could’ve mocked them for not knowing what to read, and thereby felt like an alpha geek; instead, I helped them find some good comics, and now they are a part of a hobby I love. I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to see Man of Steel. And if you’re a comic book geek and reading this, maybe you can introduce someone you love to graphic storytelling.

How is that not better for the hobby? We need to move our hobby from being so geekily inbred. We desperately need new blood. New fans can equal great things in the future. They might go on to develop new hobbies that you love. But, only if you’ve not slammed the door in their face before they reached for the knob.

In other words, Golden Rule time, everyone. Be kind. You’ll never know where you simple act of not being a jerk will get you. And, for goodness’ sake, enjoy the fact that so many geeky properties are getting so much attention. It won’t last forever.

 

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Updates from the Realm of Comic Book Films

This week I thought I’d drop some updates on ya. Fo’ shizzle!

Sorry. Didn’t mean to get “gangsta” on you.

Anyway, let’s kick this pig. Metaphorically speaking.

Man of Steel

There was a new trailer released this week, and it is, for lack of a better word, beautiful. It showcases everything that is going to make this film a possible cinematic masterpiece. An iconic new version of Superman (played by Henry Cavill), epic narration from Jor-El (Russell Crowe), gorgeous and grandiose battles on Krypton and Earth, and who I’m sure will be one of the most badass villains since Heath Ledger’s Joker, General Zod (played by Michael Shannon). And let’s not forget the score by Hans Zimmer. Magic.

If you haven’t seen the newest trailer, take a gander:

Like I said…beautiful. I may cry when I watch this film.

The Amazing Spiderman 2

Pictures from the set of TAS2 were released this week, showcasing Jamie Foxx in costume as Electro. Luckily for us, they aren’t going with the classic green and yellow lightning bolt costume. What worries me is that the design they’re going with somewhat resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze. That, or a thuggish version of Dr. Manhattan. However, Jamie Foxx can act circles around Arnold, so I’m not all that fearful. I can’t wait to see what Paul Giamatti’s Rhino looks like.

Have a look at Electro’s new look:

Jamie Foxx's Electro

Jamie Foxx’s Electro

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

Michael Rooker

Michael Rooker

Adding to the cast of Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) and Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Michael Rooker has been cast as Yondu, one of the four founding members of the Guardians. Strangely enough, Rooker has been trying to get a part in this movie for a while now, but as Groot. I’m just glad he got a role, even though I think Rocket Raccoon would have been an interesting role for him. Michael Rooker is one of those actors that you have to take a chance on with every role. They might be completely awful or completely awesome, but you’re gonna watch either way and still find some form of enjoyment out of it. There’s also news that Zoe Saldana is in talks to play Gamora.

 

 

Doctor Strange

Marvel has given the green-light to a new live-action Doctor Strange film. The film will be part of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with Ant-Man. No word yet on who might direct or star, but I’ve always been a fan of Guillermo del Toro directing with Jim Caviezel starring. I’m slightly excited for this, but I’m hoping for another Incredible Hulk film in Phase Three with the possibility of a live-action World War Hulk movie to follow.

Here’s a clip from the 1978 TV-movie version of Doctor Strange. The new film probably won’t be anything like this.

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Reading Flashpoint: Three Lessons Learned From A Brand-Wide Comic Event

Most people probably know that DC cancelled all of its titles in September of 2011 and launched 52 #1 issues of their “New 52” brand. I say most people because it was a pretty big deal at the time. While some of their books like Detective Comics retained their number since the first issue was released in 1939, no company had ever done something so drastic as this  before.

What is less well-known is that the relaunch is actually an in-continuity timeline change that followed the company-wide “Flashpoint” event before the New 52 launched. Which means that while DC reset their book numbers they, technically, are working off the same kind of continuity reset that they did during Crisis On Infinite Earths. For the layman, that means we should think of the New 52 like a sequel to what came before instead of a reboot. All the old stuff that was canon before can still be considered so… but as part of an alternate timeline. It’s a subtle difference, but important for a couple reasons.

Continuity Is An Excuse 

My biggest complaint about modern comics is how ridiculous the continuity is. Since 1985 DC has had four universe-altering events that changed the history of their characters. That doesn’t include all of the ridiculous crossovers (Crisis On Two Earths), cameos and smaller events (Death Of Superman). That minor distinction was important considering that the New 52 came with five years of history. Most of what had happened to the characters in the previous timeline still occurred in one form or another.

So despite the reset there’s still continuity.

And after reading Flashpoint, continuity feels like an excuse to make you pay for pieces of a story. The Flashpoint event consists of 5 main titles of the same name, but it also has more than 50 tie-in comics. All together, there are 60 books in the entire event:

  • Abin Sur (3 issues)
  • Batman: Knight Of Vengeance (3 Issues)
  • Booster Gold (4 Issues)
  • Citizen Cold (3 Issues)
  • Deadman & the Flying Graysons (3 Issues)
  • Deathstroke & the Curse Of The Ravager (3 Issues)
  • Emperor Aquaman (3 Issues)
  • Flashpoint (5 Issues)
  • Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown (3 Issues)
  • Green Arrow Industries (1 Issue)
  • Grodd of War (1 Issue)
  • Hal Jordan (3 Issues)
  • Kid Flash Lost (3 Issues)
  • Legion of Doom (3 Issues)
  • Lois Lane & the Resistance (3 Issues)
  • Project Superman (3 Issues)
  • Reverse Flash (1 Issue)
  • Secret 7 (3 Issues)
  • Canterbury Cricket (1 Issue)
  • The Outsider (3 Issues)
  • The World of Flashpoint (3 Issues)
  • Wonder Woman & the Furies (3 Issues)

Sometimes you need to see it all written out. Many books of varying quality. And I will grant you, a lot of this stuff isn’t central to the main story. Comics like Hal Jordan, a what if to demonstrate how much things have changed, are pretty optional. There’s really only one key plot point in the book while the rest is context. And others, like Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown and Canterbury Cricket are wholly unnecessarily and pretty poorly written to boot.

But a lot of these are essential and read as if they are missing chapters from the main story.

ToBeContinued

Here Wonder Woman discovered a plot between her aunt and Aquaman’s half brother that caused their two peoples to go to war. Now she’s running off to do something, but as you can see, you need to read the third issue of another book to find out what. This isn’t a small plot point. It’s not a throwaway moment. It’s a good example of why it’s so hard for amateurs to get into the big titles. Even if you only like one book, eventually there will be a crossover or event that forces you to read a bunch of different books or miss what’s happening.

Reading all of these makes it feel like you are paying for the story by chapter, which I suppose you are since that is the nature of comics. But it’s so self-referential and complicated to get one story from all these books at a combined cost of between $100-$300.

Even ignoring the cost, just figuring out what goes where is a total b****. Last spring I tried to read Countdown to Final Crisis, which was a prequel company-wide event to a forthcoming company-wide event, with over 100 books of various numbers. I actually had to research it beforehand and, I s*** you not, draw a flow chart to understand what to read. Once you figure it out, a lot of these could have most of their pages put in a sequential order that would work as a single, mass tome, but even the graphic novels have to be organized by kind.

Quality Control Is A Absent

Some of these books are absolute garbage. Obviously the main title, Flashpoint, is pretty solid and the art for Wonder Woman & The Furies #1 is absolutely gorgeous. Superman and Batman’s books are excellent, but the rest is so too inconsistent from a premier comic book business.

As an example, Booster Gold features a women named Alex. In issue #47 she and Booster Gold are captured by the army and in the span of 3 pages she experiences a seemingly random costume change.

 

LongSleeves

First she has long sleeves.

 

NoSleeves

Then she has no sleeves.

 

ShortSleeves

It’s cool though. She alternates a couple times and then settles on short sleeves.

What the hell? This is within 5 pages of each other in the same book. I get when different books doing the same scene have different art, but the same art team on the same book? Why? And this happens ALL OVER.

The Dialogue Is Awful

Something that really bugs me is that the dialogue feels hokey and out of place. Granted, this is a subjective area, but look at some of these and tell me I’m wrong.

Brain drain? That was your best insult? brain drain?

Brain drain? Your go to insult is brain drain?

 

Ugh, can we go back to brain drain?

Ugh, can we go back to brain drain?

 

 Ozzyreference

Aside from using “thrashing” to describe listening to music and the flippant use of “old farts”, I’m pretty sure that’s an Ozzy Osbourne reference more than two decades out of date. The writer, Scott Kolins, is 44. It’s cool that he was a child of the 70’s, but was it too hard to ask his kids for a contemporary artist? Yes, it’s possible that this guy, who’s name escapes me, may just be an Ozzy fan, but it’s not believable and I’m assuming most kids that read these books won’t know who he is. Actually, do kids still read comics?

Whatever. Moving on.

PlaneSpeed

That is Hal Jordan asking someone how fast his plane goes. I’m not an aircraft expert, but I expect a pilot to have some idea how fast his own plane can go before he gets into it. And the “gigahertz and nanoseconds” comment makes him sound like he’s trying not to be smart. If you can fly a supersonic jet you can, hopefully, do some math too. I fully expect him to ask “where are the brakes on this thing?” after reading this. No wonder he crashes his plane in everything I’ve ever seen him in.

Lessons

Yes, there’s some wiggle room here since comic books are the first pay-as-you-go form of entertainment, but it’s not about the observed problems as much as what we learn about DC. First, I have no idea how much money it costs to organize, create, produce and distribute a company-wide event, but it feels like a lot of money that’s going into a very niche form of entertainment. It doesn’t have to be niche, but the interconnected nature of the titles, ridiculous continuity and prohibitive cost make it so.

Now extrapolate that. Since 2006 I’m pretty sure DC has had somewhere between 4-6 company-wide events depending on how you count the Green Lantern craziness that ended in Brightest Day. Who can keep track of all those stories? The funny thing is that it’s so complicated it’s kind of brilliant. All these stories do come together by the end which is a real accomplishment. A very exclusive accomplishment.

Second, I’m not surprised DC properties haven’t been able to tie together a unified movie universe. Launching a brand-wide comic event is way smaller and it’s not a great experience unless your a die-hard fan. Actually, that’s a guess. Maybe die-hard fans didn’t have so much fun with this either.

There has to be a better way, right? Or am I just complaining about the necessary evils of the comic book industry?

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Why Superman Would Be A Nightmare

Not too long ago I wrote about how Batman needs to just suck it up kill his villains. The idea being that he could have killed the Joker the first time he met him and saved thousands of human lives.

Batman, however, is unique in that he is still a man. No matter how ridiculous his adventures get he’s still one of us with all the associated human foibles and desires. He still understands what it’s like to be us.

Superman, I argue, would not be the same. With all of his powers and a brain, I assume, built for an alien psychology, there is no way he would be anything other than awful for us. The minute he decides he knows who should live and who should die is the minute our civilization ends.

No One Is Perfect

Everyone has faults. Superman’s power may make him something like a god, but he isn’t divine. He came from a world where individuals still had flaws and was raised on a world that is brimming with personal faults. There is no reason to assume a superman would be perfectly well-adjusted.

With a superman, any fault would lead to nightmarish consequences. For example, let’s say Superman was a wife-beater. Domestic violence is an all-too common story. Imagine what that would be like for Lois–constantly afraid that he’s watching her and knowing that there’s no way to escape because Superman is everywhere; he can see and hear what she is doing at all times no matter where he is. If he lets her call the police, will they believe her? If they do, are they going to arrest Superman? That would take an army… and the Justice League and, I don’t know, Silver Surfer or something.

Either Lois lives the nightmare alone or it gets out and escalates into a global super fight. There’s no middle ground there.

And Superman wouldn’t have to be that messed up. He may just have an interest in things like abortion rights or prayer in schools. He was raised in Kansas, after all. Or maybe he decides that no one needs guns now that he’s around. As a matter of fact, that’s happened before. In Superman’s For Tomorrow story arch he rolls into a middle eastern country and takes all the guns. He, like a stern farther, destroys all their weapons and tells them to knock it off.

If you kids don't settle down he will turn this society right around.

If you kids don’t settle down he will turn this society right around.

Can you blame the guy? He has a compulsive need to help people so why wouldn’t he violate a country’s sovereign authority to save lives? Yeah, maybe he overstepped some individual rights to property and arms, but what are those powers for if you’re not going to meddle?

Not much, actually. The next week insurgents from the neighboring country kicked the place over. It was pretty easy since none of the defenders had guns. So Superman comes back and demands that the insurgents throw down their weapons and surrender to the “proper authority.” As it turns out, they’ve already killed all the opposition and imprisoned the King. Superman is forced to concede that they are the “proper authority” unless he decides to make himself the “proper authority.”

ThrowDownWeapons

… because we’re in charge now.

Pollution. U.N. sanctions. Political corruption. Whatever it is, picking a side in human struggles tips the scale ridiculously towards one political interest or the other. Which puts him in the position of having to ignore those cries for help.

More importantly, it keeps Superman from effecting any permanent change. Has he ended crime? Has he ended hunger? No, because he can’t do it without forcing us to live up to his standard.

Superman Wouldn’t Have A Life

How is it that Superman can hear and see everything and not spend all of his time saving lives? I mean all of his time. Murder, rape, robbery, wars, abuse and every other terrible thing we do to each other is happening, literally, all the time. Not a second goes by in which more than one of these things isn’t occurring.

In which Astro City's Samaritan laments not having time for friends, family or even enjoying his power.

In which Astro City’s Samaritan laments not having time for friends, family or even enjoying his power.

If our superman feels as we do and genuinely wants to be part of our society, he’ll spend all of his time saving it at the cost of actually having friends, family and any other meaningful attachments. How long can that go on? How long before it feels like he’s repeating the same thing with no real change?

Astro City‘s Samaritan has this problem. He’s a superman that spends almost every second of his day running around the planet at super speed saving people. At one point he slows down to let a little girl, whose cat he saved, see him. Seconds later he is chiding himself for almost letting a man in Boston die.

In which Astro City's Samaritan concludes talking to the people he saves is a waste of time.

In which Astro City‘s Samaritan concludes talking to the people he saves is a waste of time.

Choosing between staying at your job and letting 5 people die every second is worse than awful.

It sounds like insanity to me. If he feels and thinks like we do, my bet is even someone with the strongest mental fortitude wouldn’t last more than half a century trying to stem the tide of never-ending human cruelty. It wouldn’t take long for him to do what every instinct tells him and force a better world. It would be easier and more efficient to build a totalitarian regime and make us be safe; he would  conclude that democracy is just too messy.

Or he could go the other way and decide to ignore those cries for help, which means…

Superman Would Be A Sociopath 

Most supermen still have relationships, so I have to assume they ignore a lot of those cries for help to afford themselves a life. It must be frustrating to hear all of that suffering and not do anything about it, right? With all his power, it would be like walking by a starving man with all the McDonald’s in the world and not tossing him some nuggets.

But that has its own problems. He chooses to ignore all the suffering he hears because he’s learned not to care or because he didn’t care in the first place. Either way, it means that he’s become disconnected from the human condition.

Which isn’t that crazy if you think about it. A superman doesn’t have most of our needs or worries. Death is probably off the table and he’ll never have to worry about earning a paycheck or finding a place to live. He’s infinitely smarter than most of us and he knows no limits. Understanding him is like trying to understand God. He has nothing in common with us. Aside from his appearance, there’s almost nothing human about him.

In which a Superman's philosophical  angst leads him to conclude he is god.

In which Power‘s Super Shock concludes he’s a god and the best way to protect us is to rule us like a god.

He would see us as we see animals.

And he would treat us accordingly. He might leave, like Doctor Manhattan, which would be a best-case scenario.

If we are lucky he’d decide human life has no meaning to him and that he should go be a god somewhere else. If we aren’t so lucky he would go about the work of organizing our lives the same way we organize the lives of dogs. A superman would let us know when it was appropriate to eat, sleep, work, play and procreate.

Welcome To A Police State

And that’s really the rub. If a superman does care for us, he would feel an obligation to use his powers to control us. And if he doesn’t care for us, there would be nothing restraining him from doing it anyway. It’s game over unless some other superman shows up to save the day. Any way you slice it our society is at the mercy of some superman’s whims, which really makes it his society.

No one could stop him and pretty soon human institutions would bend to his will to avoid his destructive retaliation.

Red Son

In which we all get used to praying to this god.

No doubt it would be a perfect world without crime, suffering or the burden choice.

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A Life With Superpowers

With the upcoming Man Of Steel scant months away, it seems the WB’s theoretical Justice League film is closely hitched to the success of its latest superhero venture.

Opening this door to speculation raises other questions. Why can’t Warner Brothers put together a successful, non-Batman movie while Marvel is making money off relative unknowns like Thor and Iron Man? How has Superman, the most recognizable comic book character on Earth, not had a successful film since 1980? What was up with Green Lantern?

For a lot of reasons, I think Warner Brothers doesn’t know how to cultivate a loyal fan base and remain profitable, as demonstrated by the recent cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern. I don’t think Warner has found a single director not named Nolan that knows how to make a superhero movie look and feel like something the modern audience will pay to see. I think Warner has shown that it doesn’t have the  organization to put together more than one superhero franchise at a time – much less balance multiple franchises across production teams while organizing a single thematically consistent universe. And I don’t think they understand the true size of Marvel’s accomplishment.

And I don’t think Warner Brothers understands the modern superhero. Stoic protagonists face overwhelming odds, risking it all to save the girl/friends/people/world every day. It’s the only thing the CW does shows about now. What we crave are heroes touched by their own power. Marvel gets it.

Superpowers are like a gun. The only superhero stories we care about are the ones where that power is used on other people.

Imagine for a moment that you are in a fist fight about something people get into a tumble about. Maybe a parking ticket outside a bar or a Packers’ fan at a tailgate. It’s your fight, dreamer; make it whatever you want. And like most unexpected fights, the experience is different from the movies. Everything is hyper real and happening too fast. The adrenaline is screaming in your ears, and you’re trying to figure out how to end this thing. Now imagine a random spectator throws a gun between you and your opponent while you’re having it out. I know, it’s a dick move. Probably a crime. Certainly rude. What do you do? Do you grab the gun? Do you let it sit and see what your Packers’ fan does? If you get it first, do you point it at them? Are you willing to pull the trigger? How much do you think that gun has increased the odds someone is going to die now?

That’s what having a superpower is like all the time. You carry a gun that touches every part of you and ensures that the stakes are life and death even in the most trivial circumstances. We get so caught up in the absolute morality of using power to fight evil that we forget that the power is there all the time. It changes the face of all interactions because, even without its use, the threat of power remains ever-present. It’s the reason we don’t tell our teachers they spit when they talk or tell our boss he creeps our secretary. Power.

Misfits is a an excellent example of what I’m talking about. The show, more than four seasons deep, takes place on a community center estate where a bunch of at-risk youths are doing community service for their various transgressions. During their first day of service the youths and their probation worker are caught in a freak storm that gives them superpowers. What I love about this show is the deep consideration given to a life with power. None of our offenders become “superheroes” to save the world, though they do accidentally pull it off a couple times. Instead it’s about the complex human interactions are made more complicated and more dangerous by power.

Can travel through time but still can't escape his boring life.

Can travel through time but still can’t escape his boring life.

Because, again, that power is a gun that you can use at anytime. And unlike comic books, the “real” world if full of people with power just trying to figure out the best way to live. Consider any political argument you’ve ever heard. We don’t think about most of those arguments in the dichotomous of good or evil, especially when you haven’t taken a side. We think about it in terms of different people with different interests trying to get what they want. And, in those terms, all interactions are political. Misfits demonstrate a world where sex, relationships, and mundane tasks are all complicated adventures in themselves because of superpowers.

There was a guy in the first season who’s power was to move dairy products with his mind – a shitty Magneto. Totally stupid, right? He was laughable and his ridiculous power built a murderous resentment in him when other better powers were discovered. As it turns out, he killed everyone. He beat an immortal, a psychic and a guy who could turn invisible simply by moving cheese. A power, I might add, that changed him. That’s the thing about power; the specifics aren’t as important as what they do to the person who has them. And no matter how far you go with power, you’re still human with all the associated flaws and desires.

And the fact that the characters have incredible powers and can’t seem to get out of their community service is poignant.

The misfits are touched by their power. It’s a constant temptation that changes them. Instead of costumed strong-men flying about fighting masked marvels, we find a world populated by monsters in the form of desire and the very human inclination to use an advantage to get what’s wanted. Power has always been a part of our history. That’s a quality Marvel’s recent films have had. No matter how remote or alien the venue, the problems concerning power are always very human.

And they get how dangerous superpowers really are. If you’ve ever seen Smallville, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or pretty much any superhero movie you’ve watched one of those fights where someone with super strength is fighting someone without it. They’re always throwing people against things and knocking them out when, in reality, they would just crush any part of that person or punch through them and the fight would be over. Really, even throwing someone through a wall or a window would probably put them in the hospital if not kill them outright.

Every super fight should be over that quickly whether it’s strength, flight or any other power. Superpower fights are like gun battles at close range; they don’t last long unless everyone’s immortal.

But I’m a little far from my point, which is that Marvel’s production studios gets it while DC is still putting together superhero movies with the structure and forethought of Steel. Which makes no damn sense. How the hell does Warner Brothers do eight successful Harry Potter films while failing to pull off one Superman movie?

In short, they need to get their heads in the game.

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The Fate of the Justice League Movie

According to some online sources [here and here], the fate of the upcoming Justice League film (and by upcoming, I mean a few years from now) depends on the success of the new Superman film, Man of Steel. So any DC fans out there who have been eagerly anticipating a Justice League film to compete with Marvel’s The Avengers, whether you believe in a god or not, should probably start praying. Not to mention, plan on seeing Man of Steel whether it sucks or not.

Superman himself doesn't look too sure about the WB's decision.

Superman himself doesn’t look too sure about the WB’s decision.

Now as I’ve said before that I’m looking forward to the new Superman flick. I think it will be phenomenal. Excellent cast, director, producer, and Hans Zimmer. I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of it, but that’s just me. It’s gonna take a lot more than just me for this this to be successful enough to convince Warner Bros to greenlight a JLA film, as well as any other DC superhero films to follow (ahem…Aquaman!). And given the success of past Superman films, the JLA film’s fate seems a bit shaky. I don’t think there’s been a successful one since maybe Superman II. Even Smallville was a bit rocky at times. That whole season with “Doomsday” made me want the CW to cancel the series. So banking on Superman to save the day might be a longshot.

I haven’t really had much faith in a Justice League movie happening in a while anyway. The only successful character on the big screen has been Batman (obviously), no one else can touch him. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns bombed, Green Lantern flopped, and no one can get a Flash movie going. Wonder Woman can’t even get a pilot on TV, let alone a movie. Green Arrow’s doing alright on the small screen, but the Oliver Queen/Super Max movie is pretty much canned. And Aquaman gets no respect whatsoever in any media, except for maybe the New 52. So yeah, I haven’t really had much hope or anything to give me any hope in a JLA film in a while. Plus, DC and Warner Bros seem to be scrambling to get this film made just because the Avengers and all the other Marvel films did so well and they wanna make money too.

Wait….didn’t Warner have the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, and The Dark Knight Trilogy? Those were all done well and time was taken with each of them, so why rush JLA? Geeks and nerds aren’t going anywhere and superheroes aren’t a passing fad. They’ll be around. But if you piss them off by making their heroes look like crap, they won’t be as dedicated and won’t be as will to fork over their money. Think about that.

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Take the time and build the back-stories on some of the characters that people don’t know as much about. You’ve done enough with Batman for now, let him rest. You can’t have Bale, but you’ve got Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’ll do pretty damn well, even though I really want him to be Nightwing or Batman Beyond. Fix Green Lantern – recast, let Ryan Reynolds be Deadpool and find someone else. Give Aquaman and Flash their due and find someone that can make Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter work on the big screen. Honestly, I’d save Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter’s films for after the JLA movie.

Again, I have faith that Man of Steel will be huge. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have never let me down, and I’m really hoping for a super-sweet Superman/General Zod fight. I’m sure they’ll deliver it. But banking everything on a Superman film is like shooting fish in a barrel. Batman did do well because it’s easier for people to connect with Batman. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but underneath it all, he’s still human. Superman just acts human. Deep down, he’s essentially a god and people have a tough time connecting with that…unless you’re egotistical like Kanye West.

I may have said the majority of this before, but it needs to be reiterated as Warner Bros gets closer to making the final decision. Pull your heads from your collective asses and things properly. It’ll pay off more in the end.

But anyway, here’s the Man of Steel trailer. You should go see it. Not to up the chances of JLA being made but because it looks frickin’ awesome!

 

[featured image source: Alex Ross]

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Justice League: Doom

Image property of Warner Bros

Image property of Warner Bros

I am not a traditional geek. I do not game, have little interest in comics and my choices in fiction tend to skew more realistic. While I enjoy a nice piece of science-fiction, I am far more drawn to a historical work, crime, or political thriller.

The blockbuster superhero films certainly ring my bell– though, often as an outsider. In discussing my geek status with a friend last week I received a challenge. My friend suggested that I come off of my high horse and watch a Justice League cartoon; I enjoy the occasional animated sitcom. I have logged many hours on the creations of Matt Groening; both The Simpsons and Futurama are programs I have enjoyed. My enjoyment of the animated superhero story started somewhere around Superfriends and ended just after Fox’s  X-Men series.

After accepting the challenge I logged onto Netflix to find a suitable feature. I selected Justice League: Doom. The story centers on a villain named Vandal Savage. Savage wishes to wipe out most of the human population and enslave the remainder. He hires some lesser known players from the rogues gallery of DC Comics to each take out their opposite member of the Justice League.

The hired guns are equipped with what appears to be the perfect plan for executing or incapacitating the heroes. Where did the plans come from? That is the interesting part– Batman! I have heard my geek friends say on many occasions that if he were given enough time for preparation Batman win any contest. Here Batman has made a contingency plan for dealing with every member of the Justice League and somehow their enemies have this information and use it in an attempt to destroy the heroes. This will make way for the new world order of Vandal Savage.

I must say that for an animated feature, this film had a great deal of depth. The inner struggle, trust and distrust of one’s fellows and impending feelings of betrayal are on full display. The animation is fantastic, and the voice talent is superb. The guy from Wings (Tim Daly) does a great job as the last son of Krypton, while Castle provides the voice of The Green Lantern.

So in answer to my friends challenge, Cartoons aren’t just for children anymore, and I apparently am not too cool for them.

 

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I’m Anti-Superman, and Even I Want to See Man Of Steel

Well, I’m not completely Anti-Superman.

When it comes to comic book films, I typically want to give the film a chance even if it looks like it might be completely horrible. But, right from the beginning, I knew Man Of Steel was going to be extremely epic. That’s saying a lot, because I don’t like Superman. I mean, I mostly don’t like the character himself.

Generally, the incarnations of Superman on film I’m all for. The first three films with Christopher Reeve, Smallville, and the newer animated features and series are some really entertaining and definitely worth viewing. I even slightly enjoyed Superman Returns, even though he was kinda stalkerish and somehow, by the sheer force of will, I’m guessing, moved an island of Kryptonite. I call BS on that one, but whatever. I also enjoy Superman in print (Red Son was fantastic!), but I just enjoy seeing him come to life on screen more.

I’m a Batman fan, however. Always have been, always will be. I enjoy his human side, the fact that he’s not essentially a god. I also like the fact that almost anything can kill him, but he still keeps being a badass.

Superman has a limited number of vulnerabilities. Kryptonite…that’s it. Once you have Kryptonite, anything can kill him. But if you don’t have it, forget it. You can be stronger than him, but that probably isn’t going to work.

Characters like Superman have always been on the bottom of my favorites list.

However, after watching the trailer for Man Of Steel, I think I may grow to like Superman a little bit more.

[Image source: Warner Bros.]

I knew from the beginning, this film was going to be pretty solid. Zack Snyder is directing, Christopher Nolan is producing, and Henry Cavill is in the lead role. Damn fine start. (If you haven’t watched Immortalsby now, you should check it out.)

Then, the cast started growing and so did my excitement. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Michael Shannon as General Zod, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. You could not have a better cast than this. I’m probably gonna catch hate for saying this, but the Man of Steel cast rivals the casting for Nolan’s Batman series. It’s a close call. And then to top it off, they get Hans Zimmer to score the film. Done. This film is solid freakin’ gold!

The newest trailer for the film has me more excited than ever, and it’s primarily because it looks like Snyder and Nolan are attempting to show more of Superman’s human side and not just the god-like superhero side that we’re all accustomed to.

I think this might be the most excited I’ve been for a Superman film, maybe even a comic book film in a while…at least since The Dark Knight, anyway.

Here’s the trailer:

Pretty phenomenal, right? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Man Of Steel opens June 14, 2013

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Man of Steel Trailer

I’ve been a fan of Henry Cavill since I started watching The Tudors, so I was excited when he was announced as the new Superman. This trailer confirms his casting for me. I hope that this is the Superman movie with both need and deserve.

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Comic Book Movies: Marvel’s Future Looks Bright, DC’s Looks Dim

Pardon me whilst I rant for a moment.

So what does DC have now that Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is done? Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel? A Justice League movie? That seems to be about it. What does Marvel have? Sequels to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, plus a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Advantage: Marvel.

Even though I’m hopeful for the new Superman film (due to Snyder directing, Nolan producing, and the amazing cast it has), I’m still quite fearful for DC. Their Wonder Woman show didn’t even make it off the ground, their Flash movie is constantly stuck in limbo, and Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max is never going to happen. And let’s not forget the bomb that was Green Lantern. Yeah, they’re not exactly knocking ’em outta the park. They have plans for Hawkman and Aquaman movies, and there are even rumors that they may even reboot Batman AGAIN, but they probably won’t happen until the Justice League movie gets released, which may or may not ever happen. Other than Man of Steel, the only thing they really have going for them is Arrow on the CW, and honestly that’s only there to fill the void that Smallville left when it ended its 10-season run. Not that I think it will or anything.

DC has really got to step-up their game in order to catch up with Marvel. Now, I know that Nolan’s Batman trilogy has made billions of dollars, and those movies are pretty much three of the greatest comic book adaptations ever made, but seriously, that’s only one character. Marvel is having major success with multiple characters. The Avengers (in solo and joint films) are kicking ass and taking names in the box office and there’s only more success to come. As I mentioned, all the sequels, as well as an Ant-Man film, and a Daredevil reboot should be in the works sometime soon thanks to film rights reverting back to Marvel from FOX. There’s even a new Hulk television series in the works, as well as AKA Jessica Jones, Mockingbird, Cloak and Dagger, and The Punisher. Advantage: Marvel.

I know some of you reading this are gonna say, “Well Marvel has made some crappy films! Ever heard of Ghost Rider?” Yes I have. But Ghost Rider, as well as its sequel, came from FOX. As did X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Wolverine Origins. Spider-man 3 came from Sony and I believe Blade: The Series came from New Line. See what I’m saying here. Marvel Studios makes the good stuff, that’s who I’m talking about. The actual crap-tastic films have come from other studios. Once Marvel decided to go into the film production business for themselves, things got better. And it didn’t hurt that they were bought by Disney and now have their backing. But I’m not saying DC should step away from Warner Bros. and start producing their own stuff, although it is an idea.

What I’m saying (and I realize that I haven’t actually pointed this out yet) is that DC needs to stop trying to do things the Marvel way. They don’t need to make a Justice League film right now, they just need to make better movies. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises were all steps in the right direction. Man of Steel might be as well. And a few solid steps are all you need to get off and running, but don’t rush and trip up. Start working with better directors and writers, cast your characters properly, keep things smart and realistic (or as realistic as you possibly can),  and stay true to the comics (solid stories have already been written, you just have to look for them). This is all DC has to do and [most] fans will be happy. [Editor’s note: Die-hard fans can never be pleased. NEVER.] Get to work on The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman movies. Don’t worry about rebooting Batman for a long time. And if Christian Bale won’t play him in the Justice League movie, get someone else who will do him justice [pun intended]. But don’t worry about his backstory, I think by now we’ve got that part figured out.

I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to see a movie about these two? [image property: DC Comics]

Stop worrying about quantity and start worrying about quality, DC. Once you do that, the money will just roll in. Sure Marvel has a good lead on you, but that’ll happen when your only opposition is sitting with their heads up their butts, waiting for a miracle to happen. Well your miracle happened, his name is Christopher Nolan. Follow his example, make better comic book movies, and stop screwing around.

And would it kill you to make a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle flick?

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Superheroes Dating Each Other Makes Sense

When it was announced that Superman and Wonder Woman were getting it on, I got really excited. I’m not a huge fan of the Superman/Lois Lane dynamic, so I thought it was a good idea for the two powerhouse heroes to be dating. Yesterday on io9, however, Charlie Jane Anders had a different idea. While I don’t totally disagree with her on some of her points (the article is excellent), I do think that, at least in the Superman situation, dating regular people is unwise.

1. Superman and Lois Lane aren’t equals.

She is the world’s foremost reporter. He is the world’s foremost superhero. That doesn’t make them equal, unfortunately. Superman is essentially a god able to fly through space, run faster than the speed of sound, destroy things with his eyes, and punch Venus out of orbit.  Like I said, a god.

How can Lois Lane ever really understand what that is like? How could Superman ever really understand what it is like to be Lois Lane? She could get hit by a car and die going to work… that would never happen to Superman. She will age and die. He won’t (at least for a long time).

Wonder Woman, at least in the new 52 continuity is the daughter of Zeus (as we learned from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, he’s the all-powerful king of the gods!!) and has inherited many of his powers. As a goddess (or at least demigoddess, herself), Diana is able to understand many of the things that are going on in Superman’s head. She is able to understand his strength, his speed, how much restraint he has to put on himself not to accidentally kill someone, and is able to bond with him through that. She is also immortal, like our boy, Supes.

2. Superman always has to save Lois.

Let me describe a certain relationship to you. One party in the relationship is curious and is always getting into all sorts of trouble. No matter how bad things look, that person is ready to charge in and find out what is going on. Because of this, the other person in the relationship is constantly having to save the other’s life, fix that person’s problems, etc.

Want to know what I just described?

The relationship between me and my son. But, I bet you were thinking that I was describing the Lois Lane/Superman relationship. How independent of a person can you truly be if you know that someone is always going to scoop you up and save you from nearly every situation?

With Wonder Woman, he’ll almost never have the same problem. She is able to take care of herself, whether it be addressing the UN or fighting your major super-powered baddie of the month. In fact, I find that Wonder Woman often has a confidence that Superman sometimes lacks.

Really, if Superman needs to be grounded in humanity, perhaps it is best if he does it through family and friends. He doesn’t need to date a human.

3. Wonder Woman provides for some really interesting story opportunities.

How does the power base in the Justice League shift is two of the founding members are now dating? How are things resolved if they disagree? Will the Hall of Justice be destroyed if they have sex in it? If Wonder Woman kills someone, how does that affect the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman? Will Batman go absolutely insane when he realizes that the two (arguably) most powerful members of the Justice League are hooking up?

Let’s face it, relationship spats are interesting. A relationship spat while the fate of the world is at stake? More interesting. And it doesn’t have to be your cliched “should I save him or should I save the world?” story. Give the writers a little credit. They can come up with something awesome. Some of the most interesting “discussions” my wife and I have are over our differences of belief or opinion. Because of these discussions, I often find out more about my wife, and I love her more because of it.

Now imagine this on a cosmic scale. Pretty interesting, I’d say.

4. It’s time for something a little more new.

I know that Superman and Wonder Woman have been explored as a couple before, but never in a long-term way. I don’t think that Superman and Wonder Woman can worm their way past nearly 75 years of people being used to Supes/Lois, so give them a little time to make things interesting.

Superman has been pining for or dating or married to Lois Lane for a long, long time. Let’s try something new. Comic book characters are constantly in danger of becoming overly stagnant, so anything that injects a little newness into the story is more than welcome in my book.

5. Super couples can work.

Sue and Reed Richards show what a relationship of equals can offer comic book stories. Cyclops and Jean Grey are also a good example of a superpowered couple fighting the good fight together. It can most definitely work storywise. I’d love to see it work with two of the most powerful beings on Earth.

From a DC universe standpoint, it could be awesome. It could be frightening. It could end up like Antony and Cleopatra. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out where it goes.

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The (Late) Week in Geek: Aug. 24, 2012

Ok, so this is really “Last Week in Geek.”

Believe Wonder Woman by Kerrith Johnson

Artist Kerrith Johnson has a series of these “Believe” posters on his DeviantArt page. They’re quite worth the looksie. Image courtesy of Kerrith Johnson.

It’s late mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving Kiphart World Headquarters across the state. I’m sorry I left you without conversation topics all weekend, but I’m here to make sure you’re twice as interesting this week!

The world mourned astronaut Neil Armstrong. He voyaged further than any of his predecessors, set foot on the shores of the moon, but still returned to his homeport.

Comic artist, writer, letterer, and inker Karl Kesel is selling his personal collection to help cover adoption fees and medical bills for his new son, Isaac. I’m not tearing up; it’s just really dusty. I told you, I’ve been moving.

The new “Borderlands” game will feature a “Best Friends Forever” skill tree, or as the lead designer calls it, “Girlfriend Mode.” Causal Girl Gamer Gabrielle wonders if it’s really worth all the hubbub.

Only days away from seeing the good Doctor, the BBC gives us a look at “Pond Life.”

Nic Cage and his hairline are starring in a taken ripoff called….wait for it….oh crap, you already guessed it! Stolen. Thank you, gods of the Internet and cocaine-fueled movie executives for this gift.

superman_x_wonderwoman_by_zuthell-d42r1xc

Do not think he saw that coming. Image courtesy of Zuthell on DeviantArt.

Want to know what happened in the season five finale of “True Blood?” Here you go.

Rob can barely contain his excitement for anything Quentin Tatantino touches.

Because at their core comics are sort of like high school, the quarterback is totally taking the head cheerleader to Make Out Point. Superman and Wonder Woman are all up in each other’s business.

Speaking of doing personal things in public (They’re up in the sky! Anyone can see them! Get an ice cave, you two!), today is Read Comics in Public Day.

No big secret or surprise, I am both liberal and in possession of lady parts. Which is why I just fawn over the President’s response to Sen. Todd Atkins’ insanity.

TJ has found neat stuff lurking on Kickstarter, behind the motivational tapes for cats.

Seth Green’s long-promised “Star Wars” comedy show may turn out to be the least-disappointing “Star Wars”-related production since the “Clone Wars” cartoon.

Felicity wonders when the presidential election went from a campaign to a competition in stupidity.

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