Last Weeks Pulls 6/22/22
I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no interest in DC‘s Dark Crisis or any of the repackaged 5G that they’re trying to roll out here. They’ve largely made the DCU so unrecognizable to me that it’s off-putting and, the stories just aren’t that interesting.
Now, of course these bad cops take it a step further, hassling kids playing basketball in broad daylight at noon on a Sunday or something…, But I still feel a suggestion that all police activity is harassment, all cops are bad, and that if they just left it all alone, everything will be all right… After all it’s probably the cops causing all the trouble anyhow! It’s a drag too, because I was really liking this book… Until I got smacked in the face with a large baseball bat labeled “the message“.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s a ridiculously self-aware book. The best part of it being, Jack Torrance keep speaking in Jack Nicholson quotes. There’s a lot of Batman quotes here, along with the occasional “You can’t handle the truth!“ At one point he confronts Elvira with a “did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?“ To which she responds “you wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!“ It’s all insanely glorious. There’s a couple of pokes at Kubrick‘s directing style as well, the use of banner slides to tell you which day it is… That sort of thing, and even an acknowledgment of the recent Dr. Sleep film. But the part that’s truly horrifying is when you see what’s written on Jack’s typewriter instead of “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy“. It’s genuinely good stuff, and we can see by the end of this book, that is leading her into her next film… Alien. Once again, I can’t wait.
The thing that is so charming here is that it’s really the best possible venue for the character. Elvira has always been fundamentally a horror host, so dropping her into these movies… It’s really just an extended version of the things that a lot of posts like Zacharly would do, green screening themselves into the movie. Elvira is taking this to a whole new extreme, but it fits. It gives her a chance to be a character, while still retaining her identity as a host.
If you’re a fan of the current ninja Punisher run, You may want to check out Punisher war journal. It’s a nice self-contained story, but it’s a side quest. Definitely something that they’re doing in another book so that they don’t interrupt the flow of the main story going on in the main book. Or journal still evokes a desire for gunplay, and I have to admit, while this is a Punisher story… It’s a Punisher story largely without firearms. There’s a few, but I have to admit I miss them. Then again, props on them for at least giving us a scene or two of ninjas with guns. I understand cinematicly why you never see them using firearms in the movies, but realistically, just like any good spy I would assume a ninja would use any weapon at his disposal… That includes firearms. I think at the end of the day, this is still gonna go down as just one of those “weird“ periods in the Punisher’s history, much like the mobbed up ponytail storyline, or the Demon Hunter one… Marvel’s just not sure what to do with him right now because he’s a little too politically incorrect, but at the same time a little bit too popular to just rest the character. I’d still prefer all of this is the side quest, and alternate universe whatever sort of thing, but I’m still enjoying the ride a lot more than I expected to, so I’m sticking with this.
Last weeks pulls
Worlds finest continues to be my favorite of all the current tiles out there. It’s just good straightforward adventure fare with familiar faces. Superman, Batman and Robin, Supergirl on the flash and Green Lantern… No agendas no personal politics just straightforward storytelling. That’s not to say there’s nothing complex, we’ve got an ark going on here along with various DCU characters coming in and out of the story. It’s just all really good. It’s exactly what I want. I almost feel like back in the days where I was losing interest in Superman and Batman‘s main titles, but couldn’t wait for the Superman Batman issues to come out every month. It was the same way with Spider-Man for a while too. While the main line series was kind of meandering and falling apart, I was very much getting into the late run of ultimate Spider-Man… And even, I guess I’ll admit it, Spider-Man loves Mary Jane.
Speaking of Spider-Man, I really have weird mixed feelings regarding this new run of amazing Spider-Man. If I hadn’t spent the first week of 2022 basically catching up on the last two years of the Spider-Man comics, I swear I just walked into the middle of a storyline or something. We still don’t really know what the status quo is here, and the opening scrawl admits it. It literally says something has happened in spider-Man‘s life, but doesn’t actually tell us what. It’s maddening, especially since I’m really enjoying a lot of what they’re doing here. The whole bit with tombstone is interesting and fun. Spidey himself is being well written and somebody really understands his voice. It’s funny and sad and good adventure all at once… With a story that is fun enough for me to put up with John Romita juniors thin line nightmare style of art. But I’ll tell you what, I really do need to know what the status quo is. I need to understand what’s happening, and it needs to be soon. You got another issue and a half or I’m out. Still, for the moment….I gotta say – this one panel just sums it up.
I’m actually been a big fan of what Dynamite’s been doing over the years. It’s the same model as Dark Horse, lean into licensed properties, but dynamite always seems to pick ones that I’m far more interested in the dark horse ever did. Elvira‘s had a couple of series now, and honestly they’ve been hit or miss, nothing I was really digging, but the new Elvira in horror land has really got my attention. They drop her into an old movie, and she interacts. It’s actually pretty perfect. It’s kind of the thing I really enjoy with horror hosts in the first place! First issue she finds herself in psycho. Psychos got a special place in my heart, especially since I didn’t get around to watching it until I was in my early 40s when they were doing a screening up at the rain palace. I’ve recently screened it for my daughter as well, and this has got it fresh on my mind. It’s well done, poking fun at the tropes, paying respect to the characters, even taking a shot at the remake. I’m really enjoying it, but what’s really interesting for me is the last page.
Elvira escapes the movie alive, and ready for her next adventure. Unfortunately, her next adventure starts in the snow… In a remote mountain resort… With a sinister hotel beckoning in the distance.Yeah, I’m sticking around for a while on this title.
Three issues in and surprisingly enough, I’m still on board with the Punisher. I actually think this would have been a perfect miniseries. Not necessarily the main line title, but a sort of side spin off… It probably would’ve served a character better. Even if it weren’t, advertising it as a mini series kind of assures people that this is just a temporary diversion and things will be returned to the status quo. To his credit, the writer genuinely tried to reassure us of that in the first issue and I respect that. It allows me to settle in and enjoy this interesting exploration of Frank Castle as the leader of the hand. There’s a lot to like here. The concept is strong and smart, and I’m genuinely on board with a lot of what they’re doing.
Or at least, I was until now.
You see that kid on the cover of issue three? The one wearing the captain America mask? That’s Frank. 10 year old Frank Castle is the centerpiece of the story, in response to a question asked to him… “When did you first kill someone?”
This irritates me. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen this sort of deconstruction… This attempt to paint Frank as just an inherent killer. A fundamental bad seed. it pops up from time to time, whether it’s in the punisher showing up in the ‘Nam, or the supernatural run where the angels pick him because he’s just inherently the best murderer out there, or even the attempt at Microsoft deconstructing his personality in the punisher max series.
Wherever it happens, I hate it. It shows a basic misunderstanding of the character and his history.
It’s especially prevalent among writers who have never lived through the 70s. People who never experienced The high crime rates and massive inflation and General loss of hope (but buckle up guys, because we’re there again and in 10 years you’re gonna see a whole new crop of storytelling that represents it). They don’t properly remember Bernie Goetz taking up arms and murdering people in a fit of vigilante rage. They’ve never experienced the sort of stagnation that lead rise to books and films like Deathwish. That’s what the punisher is. He’s a fairly ordinary guy who is finally pushed too far and snapped. He’s a person who is a protector as a cop, deeply religious with training as a priest, loving as a father and a husband… Someone who’s had all that stripped away. Those things didn’t keep the killer in check, those things were who Frank Castle was. The killer is the aberration, not the good man. It always frustrates me when the riders get this wrong. It’s not enough to put me off the title, but man it’s frustrating.
Equally frustrating is the ridiculousness of Harley Quinn. That sloppy artwork just kills me, and this book is simply all over the place. Honestly, I just dropped in to check the series out, but I’m dropping right back out. Harley Quinn‘s always been a little wacky, but she’s also been serious and deadly as well. The Harley that I am reading in this book, quite frankly it’s pinkie pie from my little pony.That’s fine, that’s even fun, but it’s not Harley.
Maybe it’s time for me to just settle back and dig into some back issues instead. Both fanboy expo and Comicpslooza DID happen this weekend after all.
Week of 3/16/22 (mostly)
It was finally time last week. The moment I’ve been waiting for, one of my most intense anticipated books in a good long while. Worlds Finest finally hit The shelves. You basically have my attention, just by putting the yellow oval behind the bat symbol. In fact, I really like the general character designs that were seeing for both Batman and Superman here. Very traditional, very much my generation.
What we get, is part one of what promises to be a fun adventure, featuring more than a few familiar faces, all designs like Lex Luthors Super Powers battle armor and traditional Batman villains. It’s all good, it’s all solid, and quite frankly, it’s the first time in a very long time – years – that I feel like I’m sitting down and reading a new comic book that was written for me. I’m really enjoying this already, and I am hard and fast on this series all the way. If DC still offered subscriptions, I’d already be there.
Also in the black label line is the flashes rogues book. This one I’m not so sure how to feel about. It’s in the future, kind of an old man Logan take… I’m hot and cold on it. Not sure if I like it or not yet. I really don’t like that Boomerang is dead (basically my main gateway to the Rogues) though the take on the young Trickster is actually pretty interesting. Not really enjoying Bronze Tiger being cast as a villian this time around though. I’m hoping we see him wrestle with his violence and morality, the way John Ostrander used to so intelligently write him. The whole thing is a real jumble that has me off balance. I’m willing to give it one more issue though.
I even took a peek in this week’s Harley Quinn.
The art is AWFUL. It’s so wierd and loopy and cartoon and it just feels cheap. Also I know that they’re kind of trying to sell Harley as a hero these days because of her popularity, but really I feel like she’s lost a lot of her edge. The Harley Quinn I know wouldn’t be heading to jail trying to be cute and avoid any confrontations. The Harley I know would saunter in with a joke and a cute smile, and then stab a chick. Ugh. Such a disappointment.
It goes about as you would expect, and it’s really cute as a fun little one shot. Of course, even as I’m writing this, my daughter has informed me that it’s NOT a one shot… And in fact just A few days ago, they posted part two… where Spider-Man is cat sitting this time.
You know what? This was fun the first time, but comes off as a little silly and excessive going any further. Still, definitely catch up first one.
That’s right, they put out an Alligator Loki comic book! Thor stumbles across our scaly friend as he tumbles out of a portal, and in an attempt to bond with this version of his brother, he takes him to an asguardian amusement park. It’s just the best thing ever. I don’t know what delights me more. Watching poor little alligator Loki try and hold on as they ride the roller coaster, or just the sight of him in one of those across the chest baby harnesses as Thor carries them around. Seriously. It was my absolute favorite thing all last week.
There’s an interesting approach to the Shadow Man, trying to treat him almost as a priest rather than just a warrior or a superhero. This is interesting, it’s a good and natural evolution of this character as we have added progressively more voodoo and horror elements to the series over the last couple of decades. Here we find him battling the incarnate spirit of the Deadside, in attempt to prevent the land of the dead from merging with the land of the living. I feel like I just saw a bunch of the story in Legend of Korra, but it remains solid. It’s one of those though that I think I might rather wait for the trade then chasing down individual issues. I’m still a little lukewarm on this version. I like it, but I feel like it needs more. Honestly what this really needs is a good supporting cast… I was so hoping that this dead side goddess would end up being Jack’s old housekeeper Nettie. I’ve been keeping with the sort of slight paranoia and twists that we used to get from the book. There’s still a solid foundation here, what it really needs is someone with a good long-term vision – I mean five years or so who can create a supporting cast around Jack figure out a good nightmare and bring back some recurring arch enemies. (in the previous issue, we got a brief appearance by master dark in Sandria and I was so excited for half a millisecond until they just use them as a throwaway villain… Such a bummer!)
Now. How about television?
The Food That Built America is back on, and I am enjoying that, there’s definitely some stuff about Dairy Queen in Carvel that I never knew. There’s a new show with Adam Richmond on after it too – Adam eats the 80’s which explores lost and changed food and candy from the 1980’s it’;s been far more interesting and fun that it has any right to be. It’s a good thing too, because I had an opening in my TV schedule – Superman and Lois was on a break last week and the Flash… I don’t know what it is the season. I almost feel like the mandate is “show the flash as little as possible“ after these last two episodes. I mean it’s fun to see Barry trapped in the locked down police station and I guess they’d have to take away his powers to make that work, but seriously. We’re getting two or three minutes of costume time each episode and I feel like I’m back in the 80s again where are these type of programs we’re still trying to pretend they weren’t superhero shows.
He was there when Marvel was still Timely
Mike Zeck’s art on the Punisher is one of my definitives. But it was also instantly recognizable on the Batman mini “10 Nights of the Beast”
Batmobile Breaks Through
Time I combined all (well, most) of my Batman characters….
These are a couple of my favorite edits of my Mr. Freeze costume!
I wanted to try something with my fellow Gotham villians in a Dark Knight style….
The weird thing about Batman is this outfit has never been to a convention, never been in a costume contest, never even done Halloween. Still, it’s kind of like the little black dress in every smart woman’s closet.
I’ve saved this mostly for charity events and stuff like that – I even zombified it at one point!
Bonus – Supergirl punching out the Stay Puft Marshmello man!
The wife bought me a black car! How could she NOT have expected I’d make it into a Batmobile?
Shenanigans with Bat-Mite
I built Bat-Mite as an accessory for characters like Mr. Freeze to carry at events where carrying a weapon might be frowned upon. He’s been a great deal of fun to play with, and he even dresses up himself sometimes!
I headed out to the Winchester last night for a special screening of the new short film “case closed”. The cast and filmmaker were on hand, and the films creator, Andrew Sgambati gave a short introduction before the movie ran. I stuck around until after the credits rolled (remember, there just might be a special little something after the end credits! It even happens with short films!). After the lights came up, he returned to the stage and spoke a little bit about the movie he just screened. There may also have been a round of “Happy Birthday to you” sung.
Case Closed is a fan film set in the Batman universe, though if you’re expecting the Dark Knight you’re going to be disappointed. What we have is a narrative heavily influenced from the Dark Knight trilogy – particularly the interrogation sequence in the second film… The set up is familiar, the Joker has done something horrific, and the plan is already set in motion even though he is in handcuffs.
What is interesting here is that the story is told from the perspective of a detective on the case. This has the unsettling effect of making it feel more personal. Usually we see the Joker’s crimes from the perspective of Batman, or the Joker himself. They are statistics, not tragedies. In this case the peril feels very real because the detective’s son is missing. The tragedy is much closer to home.
Our detective by the way, played by Scott Laing, is the real star here. Laing’s impressive performance grounds the piece, which is beautifully shot and composed. With the exception of a brief appearance from Harley Quinn, Laing’s character is the most engaging one on the screen.
You can actually see Andrew Sgambati’s writing has captured the voice of the Joker quite well here. The dialogue is crisp, it rings true… unfortunately his performance doesn’t live up to his script. I appreciate that Sgambati doesn’t fall into the trap that a lot of actors do with the Joker – that is to play him big. It’s easy to go over the top with the Joker and got completely off the rails without even realizing it… We go the opposite direction here – with a delivery that feels flat. It’s a shame, because he does capture the physicality of the character and the look is well chosen, but I need a little more expression and subtext in his line delivery. I’m hoping to see him grow into the role as these films progress…and I am expecting to see these films continue. the movie itself ends with the announcement that “The Joker and Harley Quinn will return.” I find it interesting that batman may still be absent. It’s a curious choice, but not an outrageous one. The grounded portrayal of these characters makes introducing the hero dressed up in a Bat costume a little more difficult of a prospect and I can see why they would shy away from it.
I’m about 20 years removed from my own film making days, but I remember the Premier night of Ron’s Big Adventure and I could feel that same electricity in the air at the Winchester last night. The film is on YouTube, and their goal is 10,000 views. Head up there and check it out, and support our hometown filmmakers!
alyas batman en robin
I wanted to do two of these this month so I could squeeze this post in before the years end. This is just a bizarre film for me, it’s the Filipino Batman.
It’s obviously based on the 60’s show, but it was made in 1991 to try and ride the coattails of the Burton movie…except someone didn’t get the memo that Batman wasn’t supposed to be funny anymore….
Check it out if you’re a fan of the Adam West Batman. The villains in particular are really well done in that same goofy way.
Vox’s 19 thiungs that don’t make sense in BvS
I’m not usually a fan of VOX in general, but this particular writer obviously has an axe to grind an created some irritating clickbait out of it. There’s a ton on these articles floating around, but most hit one or two of these same points, so this is the one I’m going to respond to. (I’d link the actual article, but honestly, I don’t want to give them more traffic)
1) Why is Batman so gullible? The entire movie hinges on Lex Luthor using his wiles to trick Batman and Superman into fighting
Batman came to the conclusion that Superman was dangerous and needed to be stopped all by himself. Lex may have added a bit to that conclusion indirectly, but he’s not manipulating Batman. He’s taking advantage of an existing situation (That’s something that Lex Luthor has always excelled at, whether in film or print). Even in the comics, Batman has always had a plan to take Superman down. This isn’t that far a leap.
2) How does the world feel about Superman?The world’s opinion of Superman changes from scene to scene, and seems as barely motivated as a mob of Springfielders on The Simpsons.
Public opinion turns on a dime. LeBron James is a perfect example.
3) Why does everybody blame Superman for the massacre in Africa?
Valid point. They could have explained this more but that would have made the film longer and no one wants that!
4) What is Wonder Woman in Metropolis for? Why does she need the photo? If she’s not hanging out around normal humans, no one who looks at it will know who she is.
Wonder Woman wants to erase any trace of her very existence. Pretty easy to understand (we’ve seen this theme in other films – Highlander immediately springs to mind). This is the article looking for things to criticize.
5) What does Lex Luthor want? To destroy Superman, sure. But why?
He’s a paranoid megalomaniac. What’s to understand? Just because Eisenberg is terrible in the role doesn’t make it difficult to understand Lexs motivation. That’s more artical fishing for things to nit pick.
6) Is Lois Lane magic? When she’s not being held captive as a damsel in distress, Lois Lane uses her powers of journalism to immediately arrive on the scene of wherever she’s needed
Admitted, Amy Adams is not one of the better Lois, but really? We’re going to call her ability to be where the action is “magic”? How about we call it “Journalism”. Better yet, how about we call it “Investigative Journalism”. She’s not a beat reporter, it’s her job to be where news is happening, it’s a skill. If you don’t understand this then I’m compelled to ask if you ever actually worked for a newspaper or news outlet (Want to ask me if I have? Want to ask how many friends I have that have or do?).
7) Corollary: Why do Clark Kent and Lois Lane love each other?Answer this question for me using only the material found in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Don’t talk about their love story from the comics or from other Superman films.
Fair. But no one asks this question in Thor or Iron Man – heck, that relationship with Black Widow and Hulk in Age of Ultron has way less foundation than that of Lois and Clark.
8) Why does Batman decide not to kill Superman? Even if you put aside the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, it leans far too heavily on an abrupt emotional shift.
It’s enough of a distraction to break him out of his single mindedness. Moreover it’s a paradigm shift – where Batman realizes what he’s doing is no longer correct – and perhaps he’s on the wrong track. The article says it seems to have relied to heavily on an emotional shift – I disagree, that’s the entire point of the scene.
9) Similarly, why doesn’t Superman lead with the most pertinent information when confronting Batman?
He tries, Batman isn’t listening and doesn’t let him.
10) Even more similarly, what is Batman’s plan for getting Superman to fight him? it seems like he stands around for a long, long time before Superman shows up. Batman’s a proactive character. Wouldn’t he take the fight to his foe?
He had the area prepped and set up with traps. Moreover, this is strategy. If you’ve played chess for any amount of time (or other strategy games for that matter- RISK, even Heroclix) you’ve seen this tactic played. My friend Johnny Em is notorious for it. Isn’t it wiser to make your enemy come to you and fight on your terms?
11) If Batman knows so much about Lex Luthor’s shady smuggling deals, why doesn’t he suspect Luthor’s true intentions?
Again, they seem to think that Batman is listening to Luthor, that he is directly manipulating him – I don’t get that impression at all from the movie.
12) Why is everything in this movie at least two story beats too complicated?
Fair. The film needs about 45 min cut- mostly shots of people in suits wringing their hands. Also every time Lex opens his mouth, they need to cut his dialogue in half.
13) Why doesn’t Superman hear the bomb in the wheelchair?
And, what is he supposed to hear? Real bombs don’t tick. Are you thinking perhaps custom electronics? If by some long shot, the bomb had a distinctive electric hum, would you be able to distinguish that from the other eltonic noises in the immediate area? How many cell phones are in that room? How many lightbulbs? But even if it did have a disctinct electronic whine that is universally identifiable as saying “I’m-A-Bomb!” (but only to super-hearing) Superman himself says he wasn’t looking for it.
Seriously though, what exactly do you think he supposed to hear?
14) How is the Daily Planet a functioning business?
We have three daily newspapers in this area alone not to mention at least five weekly’s. Moreover, whose to say the Daily Planet doesn’t have online and multi media presence? But seriously, would you ask this same question of Stark Industries? Hammer Industries? Oscorp? Even the Daily Bugle? Howzabout we complain about not know how the artificial gravity works on the Millenium Falcon? I’d consider this to be in that class of nitpick.
15) How does the Kryptonian ship just decide Luthor will be its new master?
I’ve heard this one a lot. It seems like an easy criticism except I think the answer is glaringly obvious. Lex had Zod’s fingerprints AND the key – how many more credentials do you actually need? I mean, my car starts up no matter who slides the key into the ignition. If you have the password to my gmail account it’s pretty simple to take it over, you don’t even need to be sitting at my computer. that sort of thing happens every day.
16) Why does Superman die?
17) What’s the point of Clark’s dream visit with his dad?
16 and 17 both fair criticisms of a aesthetic that the article clearly did not enjoy. I can respect different taste.
18) Does anybody in this universe know how to use a spear? Spears are made to be thrown! Just throw the spear at Doomsday! Mission accomplished!
Yes, you can throw a spear, and the beast can also dodge that spear. For a big bulky monster, Doomsday did seem to be awfully light on his feet. He also could unleash energy beams and pulse waves and brightly colored CGI explosions. You think that perhaps, just maybe one of those things could have knocked a thrown spear off course? This is too important a battle for him to risk missing. There’s also the question of penetration. Even thrust straight in at point blank range, it didn’t go deep enough. Superman had to push it in. A thrown spear would have not done enough damage and someone would still have had to close in and melee.
19) WTF was Batman’s dream sequence? I realize the easy explanation for the dream sequence is, “It’s setting up future movies,” or, “It shows us Batman’s paranoia about Superman!” But it also seems like an attempt to get us to worry that Superman might turn evil at some point, and, sigh.
It’s supposed to be a loose end. The author of this article should be intelligent enough to understand that, but seems insistent on hating for hates sake.
That’s enough about BvS. I’ve got Cinema Wasteland at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville Ohio this weekend and I’m far more interested in focusing on that!
Batman versus Superman
In order to best discuss issues and elements of the film, vague spoilers are mentioned.proceed at your own discretion.
I took the girls out to Amherst cinema to see Batman v Superman on Saturday. This is the movie event of the summer for us – it’s the one with and waiting for, more than Civil War, more than Deadpool, more than Star Wars. It is the culmination of a dream come true. This is what we have always wanted to see, even more than the joining of the Avengers or the Punisher and Daredevil coming together – this is the ultimate dream for us. We are DC people after all.
There’s a lot of Trolls out there who seemed inclined to hate this movie from the word go – and for those who absolutely wanted to see this fail, those people are going to find as many flaws and as many things they don’t agree with in it as they can. There is plenty of it, so yes, I’m seeing more than enough of them feeling justified in their animosity. I’ve been defending this movie for quite awhile, with a wait-and-see attitude. I’m not the kind of person to hate something just because it’s cool to hate it. Some of you are sitting out there reading this thinking “I sense a ‘but’ here “.
Well not exactly.
Like any film you can divide it into a pile of good things in a pile bad things. Lets start off looking at the good things shall we?
Henry Cavill is perfectly adequate at being superman. That may sound like I’m damning with faint praise, but really this is a difficult role and he manages to blend in, embodying the fundamentals of the character rather than standing out as a particular actor version of it. He’s not the Christopher Reeve Superman, he’s not Dean Cain Superman he simply is… Superman. Cavill does an excellent job portraying a lot of Superman’s inner monologue, that is to say he captures the insecurities of the man, he conveys the inner turmoil without chewing the scenery. The Superman of this era is still on a learning curve and Cavill manages to convey that well. More than anything else, no matter what you have to say about the director, or the writer, or even the critics and fans, you can take absolute certainty on this – Cavill gets Superman. It is clearly evident in his rendition.
While we’re on the subject of Superman, (discussing the supporting cast is inevitable) can we talk about how good Perry White is in this movie? I was extremely on the fence about Lawrence Fishbourne in Man of Steel. There is something about his performance that threw me off… Perry is an old school war reporter, ‘Nam and World War II. Fishbourne seemed a little too cool sometimes, man that earring of his is really bugging me! This time around he seemed more grizzled, maybe it’s just the gray showing up on his beard but I don’t think so – he played the character with more maturity and age this time around. He played him crankier and with less patience. That really makes a big difference. I felt more like I was watching Franklin Langella’s (Superman Returns) or John Hamilton’s(Adventures of Superman TV) performance.
And then there is Batman. After all the speculation, we finally get to see Batfleck.
(I’m telling you guys! You should have used my design!)
It’s inevitable that we have to talk about him. You know, the Haters jumped right on top of him as soon as Ben Affleck was cast. I refused to delve into the mass of criticism (You can see my initial reactions on this blog HERE and HERE), particularly amid this group of people who want to hate on him simply because he is Ben Affleck. That was the big argument that I kept hearing, that he’s Ben Affleck and he’s going to suck because of it – or that he is going to suck as Batman because he sucked as Daredevil (curiously enough, the main argument and I’ve heard for why Daredevil is so terrible is that exact same one – it sucks because Ben Affleck sucks). Quite frankly, if I’d heard you utter these words or any variation thereof, I have immediately dismissed your opinion and I’m not interested in talking to you any further about these movies. (and by the way, I happen to like Daredevil – I mean really like it – like I don’t understand why everyone hates it, it’s one of my favorite superhero films). Yeah, harsh, but I’ve put up with it enough.
So how did acquit himself? I think that if you were dead set on hating him, if you were invested enough in that inclination then you’re still going to hate him. For someone who went in with no expectations however, Affleck does a marvelous job. This is a different Batman, it’s not Kilmer it’s not Keaton, it’s not Bale. Some of the characterization feels off sometimes, but it’s intentional. This is a Batman who has grown world-weary. He is so involved in vengeance, that he has very much forgotten how to be a hero that that’s one of the interesting things about this movie, Batman has a definite arc. This film is all about him learning how to become a hero again and it is only in his conflict with Superman, (and moreover seeing his own dark reflection cast by the light of Superman’s inherent nobility) that he realities how lost he is… How far he’s wandered off the path of the hero.
Make no mistake, Superman is the hero of this piece.
I realize that an inflammatory statement, but I think I can back it up. You see, in the final climactic battle between Batman and Superman, Superman comes in, unwilling to kill the Batman, even at the cost of his mother’s life. Batman comes in, solely intent on murdering Superman out of nothing more than a paranoid fear. I’m sorry, but no matter how I look at it, in this situation – Batman is the bad guy – and indeed it is the very reason why Batman almost wins here… not because he’s single mindedly willing to do “whatever it takes” to win, but rather because Superman is unwilling to take Batman’s life. Superman truly is the hero here. And that’s really the point of it all isn’t it? We see a remarkable redemption in Batman and this is a tough part to pull out off simply because of all of these elements that have been layered and incorporated into a single role.
Affleck’s body language is straight out of the animated series, and his delivery is pitch perfect from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight returns. For those out there who are complaining it’s not their version of Batman, I’m reminded of something John Byrne once wrote – his reaction to reading The Dark Knight Returns. He said that it wasn’t the Batman he knew, not the one he liked, but he understood how it was the Batman that he knew who had grown into this character – that this was a potential future for his Batman and it made sense to him when he looked at it from this perspective. I think there’s a lot of that here. If all you’re looking for is a rehash of Christian Bale’s Batman then you may be in the wrong place. That’s perhaps that’s a bit harsh of me, but I’ve never cared for the Nolan films, and have always felt a little distressed that so many people claim that as their fundamental version of Batman – the purist form, and the only one they wish to recognize. There are better versions out there, believe me. This may or may not be one of them.
The bat suit by the way, is dead on and I really love it. I get glimpse of gold on that belt once in awhile, even though it seems to be rusted over and black. I can see the bat symbol on the chest and it really stands out against the gray. There is nothing about this bat suit that I don’t like – and the Batmobile? I have not liked a Batmobile this much since Anton Furst’s design for the 1989 film, and the Lincoln Futura before it. It’s perfect. It has the teeth of the tumbler, mixed with the sleek look of the first Batmobile. I was excited from the very first images I laid eyes on, and the final product did not disappoint one bit– it’s sporty and brutal and beautiful
Of course the real performance everyone is talking about here is Wonder Woman. I have heard from more than a few critics fans and moviegoers that she stole the show. That was certainly the case for my kids. They waited almost an entire film just to see her – even when she showed up incognito they understood it, and their excitement was palpable. Wonder Woman does not disappoint here – and that’s quite a task considering how difficult it has been to bring this character back to the screen. Lynda Carter is still very much in the hearts and minds of everyone of my generation, but my kids have been exposed to her as well (although they are probably more familiar with the animated version that we saw in the Justice League cartoon). Still this was a brilliant performance, and Gail Godot proved she was absolutely worthy of the role. She is another one of those cases of undue criticism, before a single frame was shot. I really don’t understand why there was so much hatred heaped upon her head from the moment she was cast… long before we ever even saw her in the suit! This woman had an uphill battle and had to fight for every step of the way, and man, does she ever deliver in this movie! They manage not only to make her compelling, but to make her mysterious – to make her and enigma that we genuinely want to unravel and explore further. When we saw the old photograph that she had infiltrated Lex Luthor’s party to retrieve, we nearly flipped. It’s obviously a shot from the upcoming Wonder Woman solo film and that’s such a great way of integrating her into the DC cinematic universe. The amount of anticipation that my girls and I have for the upcoming wonder woman movie just shot through the roof!
Really, this is The epitome of what is Zach Snyder faced with this film. He had an impossible task, not only to bring these characters to life but to kick off a franchise and to keep us wanting to come back more. I have long said that Batman versus Superman was a license to print money… But only once. This film was guaranteed to be a success, but it had to be enough of a true success to make us genuinely want to come back for more.
I’m not sold on Cyborg and the Flash, not from the mere glimpses we saw in this film, and I’m still not in love with Snyder’s style, but that Aquaman we saw? Man I want to know more about that! He reminds me a lot of the 90’s Aquaman (the version I really like). and this really intrigues me. I am all about a new wonder woman movie and an Aquaman story. I also honestly do want to see more of Afflecks Batman.
I really want to know what’s up with that ending. My kids cried.
It’s not a perfect movie though, it’s at least 45 minutes too long – and far too much of the movie goes right back to my age old complaint about the Iron man films; we’re not in the suit isn’t nearly enough costume time, especially for Superman. We get a montage and rescue at the beginning and not a lot else until we hit that the third act. Batman is only slightly better. There is a moment in the film where Alfred points out that Bruce Wayne is capable of getting certain information far more easily and efficiently than Batman. I wanna punch Alfred as he says this, because I’m not nearly as interested in watching Bruce Wayne hobnob as I am in watching Batman swing on a rope! Aargh!
Lois Lane is not quite tough enough. Margot Kidder may have taken the hard as nails approach a tad too far, but the current Lois Lane feels just a little too soft and friendly . I’m a bit biased, I think Teri Hatcher was the greatest Lois Lane ever to grace the screen which is curious considering I’m not a fan of the Lois and Clark TV show…(although I’m softening on that stand, I’m almost through season two and actually liking it a bit more than I did when I was a kid)
Perhaps the biggest problem in this film, is Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor. This was another casting choice that I defended when it was announced, it was my thought that if he bulked up a little bit this might be an interesting chance for him to stretch is acting ability. He’s got the range, he just never uses it, instead choosing to rely on his Jesse Eisenberg persona. I even found this image back then – a speculative rendition of what he could be as Lex if he choose to play it straight.
Even when it came out that his Eisenber act was indeed the kind of character he was going to be playing, I assumed that the role had been written for him – with this gawky spaz kind of young Lex Luthor in mind… Now I’m not so sure.
There is nothing in his lines or actions that depends on the hyperactive awkwardness that he displays. In fact, there’s moments in his performance of real menace. It’s enough to make me believe that perhaps there’s something more there than meets the eye. I almost want to believe that the nerdy Eisenberg persona is just a defense mechanism. Just a surface act that masks depths of sinister intent.
The problem is it’s never paid off (unless Snyder thinks that the sullen look on Eisenbergs face as his hair is shaved off is that emotional pay off). We never really get to see this explored the ways should be done. As a result, it just comes up as annoying – a real missed opportunity .
When they were first looking around at casting next Luthor I was vocal in my support of Clancy Brown. He was the actor who voiced the character in the cartoons, though he is probably best known for his role as the Kurgan in Highlander or the mean guard in The Shawshank Redemption. He’s never been out of work. In very recent times, he’s played the principal in the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot,as well as appearing on Supergirl as General Eiling, and very recently showed up on Daredevil as the Punishers old CO.
Sit back for a moment, and transpose him over Jesse Eisenberg. Imagine Eisenbergs lines, but instead of the nervous sputtering delivery that Jesse gave, imagine Clancy in an expensive pressed suit – perhaps a lab coat, thought less likely. Imagine him delivering those lines confidently with that low,sure voice. Just a touch of menace to it. Imagine Clancy doing the things Luthor did. With Eisenberg, pulling the finger tips off of Zod is icky… With Brown it would’ve been terrifying in it’s genuis and obsession. With Eisenberg you hate him for kidnapping Martha Kent, with Brown you’re terrified of what will happen to her.
‘Seriously, I don’t understand this casting choice. Snyder is hellbent on doing something different, I understand. Indeed, I think in this determination to do something new, he actually exhibits that single-mindedness that we see in Batman… driving him to do the wrong thing.
The wrong thing. That that’s a bold statement, it’s an absolute and a label that I have not applied any other part of this movie. So why do I say “the wrong thing ” when it comes to Lex Luthor and stand by it with such certainty?
Because my kids didn’t recognize him.
My girls know who Lex Luthor is. They’ve watched him on the Justice League cartoons, they’ve been around Superman there entire lives, they play hero clixs with me and read the comics themselves and THEY. DID. NOT. RECOGNIZE. HIM. It wasn’t until the end of the movie, where Eisenberg sits in prison, wearing an orange jumpsuit and having his head shaved that Maddie’s eyes widened and she pointed at him. It was only in those final minutes of the film that my kids realized that they had been watching some strange incarnation of Lex Luthor all along. When you alter a character so much that he becomes unrecognizable to casual fans, you have absolutely gone the wrong direction with that character.
Zach Snyder is not interested in making fun, popcorn action movies. He’s trying to make a serious epic here, and I’m not sure that’s the right approach. While Batman V Superman is not a bad movie, The heaviness of it severely limits rewatchability. I have the same issue with Winter Soldier, and I especially have this problem with Man of Steel. We all know that Superman Returns is a terrible film, and it breaks my heart because the visual design has so much potential. But I’ll tell you what, even though Man of Steel is a better film, I’ve seen Superman Returns way more times that I’ve watched Man of Steel. It’s just an easier watch. Truth is, I don’t think I’ve made it through Man of Steel even one time since I saw in the theatre. Maybe in pieces, but certainly not in its entirety. Batman versus Superman will be the same – I may pop the video in and cue it past the second hour, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never watch this entire thing again. I liked it, and I’m glad I saw it, I just don’t know that I’ll ever be able to sit through this a second time, where as I can see myself watching Batman 89 again and again. If Iron Man is on cable I’m not going to turn it off. If I see BvS though, I’ll probably sit through it until commercial if it’s a good part and then keep on flipping.
The thing is, Snyder has mistaken heavy and cynical for mature. I have the same response to him that I did to the producers of the Muppets many months ago (you can find that HERE) that Cynical is not necessarily “adult”, and it’s not what I want to see with these characters. You didn’t “grow up “the Superman film, you just sucked a lot of the joy out of it.
A lot of the joy, but not all of it. Seeing Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman on screen together is something we wanted all our lives and we finally have it. This was a monumental and daunting task and if not ideal, Snyder does manage to pull it off. 3-D and IMAX are going to do nothing for it, but if you haven’t seen it in the theatre you really need to. We went for the cheap seats at Amherst Cinema and paid four dollars for a ticket. It’s showing on a double bill with Deadpool over at the drive-in near us. The movie is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere – you have no excuse. If you haven’t seen Batman versus Superman, I’m sorry I spoiled it for you but what are you doing wasting time reading this anyhow? Get out and see the movie!
My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters
My definitive Batman is drawn by Jim Aparo. Interestingly enough, I prefer Aparo inked by someone else, but his way of drawing Batman has always stuck with me, particuarly the lean face.
Lean all aroun actually, muscles designed for speed and accuracy, and always tensed, coiled like a spring, ready to strike.
Demir Yumruk: Devler Geliyor : Iron Fist: The Giants are Coming
This is actually another Turkish Superman film, though it bears less resemblance to him. if anything, this Suprerman is more like Batman, very depowered.
the flamboyant, wheelchair-bound criminal mastermind transvestite Fu Manchu is hunting a hidden cache of treasure and uranium. It is this that will enable him, somehow, to rule the world. When he kills the one archaeologist with a lead on the loot, the murdered man’s son joins forces with macho policeman Enver to get revenge. Enver fakes his death to trick the villains and dons the suit to defeat the bad guys.
Honestly this one is even more incomprehensible that the other Turkish Superman based on the Donner film, but good news! I frequently see this one bundled in bootleg DVDs with that movie so it’s not hard to find! Watch it while your cleaning or reading a book.