Archives for : DC

Dear DC Comics and Warner Bros Studios,

Hi. My name is Kyo. I’m a nerd. I’ve been a nerd since I could walk. And I really, really liked DC growing up, what with the DC animated TV shows and the original movies and then the Nolan films. You guys were pretty great.

But now I am literally contemplating boycotting all of your movies.


Take a peek at this little article.

This had better be a rumor. It had better be, because if it isn’t, you and I are done professionally.

There is something you two chuckleheads need to understand before I explain why this “no humor” method is completely wrong and why your approach to these heroes me and my friends and total nerdy random strangers have loved since we were in diapers is going to bankrupt you at the box office.

A few years back, a fellow named ItsJustSomeRandomGuy created a story arc called “Happy Hour,” in which the Joker injected all the heroes with nanites that controlled their brains and caused them to become dark and tormented like Batman. This arc was a deconstruction of the idea that all heroes need to be brooding in order to be successful. This arc was poignant and intelligent because it brought up the point that the Nolanverse Batman films were not box office record breaking movies just because Bruce Wayne is a tormented soul. The reason why we have dark heroes is so that they can be complimented against light-hearted heroes like Wonder Woman or Spider-Man or Captain Marvel (either one of them). If all our heroes in the DC universe had dead parents and psychological trauma, guess what? It would be boring. We wouldn’t have the excellent chemistry that we have in the Justice League. You need a Straight Man character only so that you can appreciate the Wacky Loon character. It’s just common sense to have personality differences–to have one character who is stoic and another who cracks jokes, so that way if the stoic character finally does loosen up and say something funny, it’s then hysterical considering their history.

What in God’s name makes you clowns think we want 100% serious DC superheroes?

Because I can tell you right now, if you do that, you’re going to be trailing behind Marvel for the rest of your lives.

And you might not even live that long.

I get it. Marvel is raking in the dough by the billions, and you want to make your films look unique. But guess what? Sucking all the joy out of the DC characters is NOT going to set you apart. It’s going to make us hate you. There is nothing worse than a film franchise that takes itself too seriously. A perfect example is Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Do you know why that movie is doing terribly? Because unlike the first Sin City, it took itself seriously. The first Sin City is a riot. It’s littered with incredible one liners and cheesy effects and noir stereotypes and cliches, but it’s poking fun at itself the entire time. There are plenty of serious, gut-wrenching, soul-slaying moments in that movie, but they work because you can compare them against the hilarious scenes of violence, gore, and sex.

Your idea of making the heroes all serious is even stupider when you consider the fact that all three of the Nolan Batman films–you know, the ones that made you literal billions–are perfectly frosted with some of the funniest moments in superhero history. Batman Begins, for instance, is loaded with excellent humor. Remember when Bruce was trapped underneath a huge support beam and in danger of dying while his beautiful mansion burned to the ground around him…and Alfred had the nerve to insult him?

Alfred: What’s the point of all those push ups if you can’t lift a bloody log?!

Did you see the look on Bruce’s face? The disbelief that he’s fighting for his life and getting yelled for his trouble? That was hilarious.

Or remember the scene where the batmobile makes its incredible debut and the officers think the guy on the radio is nuts and then the batmobile pancakes their car and then this happens:

Cop: Well, what does it look like?!

Other Cop: It was a black…tank.

Or, what about the pinnacle of black comedy in The Dark Knight when the Joker “makes the pencil disappear”? That was the instant we all knew that Heath Ledger was going to knock this role right out of the park. To this day, I have never again heard an entire theater full of partially-horrified shocked laughter. It was unforgettable.

So what in the name of Maxie Zeus’ beard makes you think that you will meet any success by making all the DC films from Batman vs. Superman onward serious? That’s not what these characters are about. Yes, they all have serious moments, but that is not who they are.

Are you really going to look me in the eye and tell me that an alien from a planet of human look-alikes who was raised on a farm in Kansas and wears his fucking red underwear outside his tights is supposed to be 100% dead serious?

Or an intergalactic space cop trained by a giant, foul-mouthed alien pig creature isn’t supposed to have a sense of humor?

Honestly, did you ever pick up a DC comic book or graphic novel in your entire life? Obviously you didn’t or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

You are alienating the very people you are trying to attract with your pretentious nonsense notion that the only way to make it while competing against Marvel or any other summer blockbusters is to make all our heroes morose. Your job as filmmakers of the superhero genre is to accurately portray these heroes as we have come to know and love them through the comics. We don’t want your “artistic vision” or your preconceived notions of what you think people want to see. Take the comic book, pin it to your storyboard, and copy/paste. Hell, if you’re too lazy for that, go back and watch “The World’s Finest” episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. Superman is not serious. Batman is. It’s that easy. Yes, they have issues with each other, but guess what? They only hit each other ONE time in that entire hour and a half. They draw a line in the sand and then they go after the bad guys. It wasn’t called “Batman v. Superman” because they were never against each other. They disagreed with the other person’s methods and they each thought they could get the bad guys alone, but then they realized they were wrong. It should never be a versus thing. That is where you will fail, I guarantee it.

Honestly, I get now why Nolan bailed. These kinds of decisions show a remarkable lack of foresight and understanding into not only your own audience, but any audiences you hope to ever invite into your circle.

My final point is this: stop being so concerned with “competing” against Marvel or making yourself distinct from them and just make damn good movies. That’s literally the only thing you need to do to be successful. You don’t need to go to the complete opposite side of the spectrum and make boring, soulless heroes who never crack a smile and don’t believe in the people they are saving. That’s why Man of Steel was mediocre, and that’s why people don’t ever feel excited about anything you announce because you keep giving us this idea that our perceptions of our own heroes is wrong and you need to show us the “realistic” heroes you think we want. We don’t. I assure you we don’t.

Take a Xanax, read a comic book, and make some goddamn DC movies already.


An Angry Fangirl

On Altruism


Altruism: (noun) the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

So Captain America: The Winter Soldier was frickin’ awesome.

I’ve already seen it twice and I plan to see it plenty more times. I’m so endlessly pleased with everything from the cinematography, to the fight choreography, to the chemistry between Steve and pretty much every single person in his life, and everything in between. I just adored it from start to finish.

However, sometime this week, my part-time mentor had a heated conversation on Facebook about why The Winter Soldier succeeded where Man of Steel (2013) failed. I didn’t participate and only saw it in passing, but it definitely got me thinking in terms of the writing.

First off, a disclaimer: I am one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t hate Man of Steel. That being said, I am also not quite a fan. I straddle the fence. Gun to my head, I’d give the movie 3 out of 5 stars—passable, mediocre, decent. The reason why is that Man of Steel did something that the other Superman films had not done yet: it took risks. Now, did those risks pay off? Ehhhhhh, kind of? In certain respects, the risks Man of Steel took paid off, like deciding to have Lois know Clark’s identity or showing Clark’s alienation and struggle to use his powers in non-selfish ways. The other risks, like Papa Kent being a selfish douche and dying for absolutely no reason or making Superman kill his first villain, no, I don’t think it pulled those dramatic changes off properly.

That’s what I want to chat about today: the differences between the attempted altruism in Man of Steel and the altruism that actually carried through in The Winter Soldier.

Mind you, it’s not my intent to compare the movies as a whole because they are two different entities—a reboot and a sequel with vastly different tones. Instead, let’s just focus on the super fellas themselves.

So in The Winter Soldier, Steve has begun to adjust to his surroundings. He is a great deal more cheerful than we saw him in the Avengers, where he was still in a bit of mourning for what he lost during his frozen slumber. He immediately bonds with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie for President! Whoo hoo!) and has oodles of chemistry—both friendly and sexual, you ask me—with Natasha, all the while still having major issues with SHIELD. It’s for good reason, too, since the Battle of New York caused infinite amounts of fear and paranoia with the world powers.

What I think TWS did correctly was the internal struggle of Steve’s orders versus Steve’s gut feeling. Especially with the opening sequence where they told him to save the hostages, and it turns out it was Nick Fury manipulating him. Steve’s anger was completely justified. Nick Fury tends to be the ultimate “big picture” kind of leader, so he could sacrifice a few lives if it saved billions, but that’s the problem. Alexander Pierce had the same idea, but in horrendously huger numbers. Steve had a choice to make, and it was by far one of the most important of his life. What’s more is that this idea carried through with Bucky as well. Once he learned the Winter Soldier’s true identity, Cap had to make a choice. He could have believed what Sam said, that the Winter Soldier was beyond saving, but he didn’t. He chose to have faith in his past friendship, a decision that could have cost him his life, but he still did it. I think that is definitely “the belief or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.”

Now let’s take a look at the Man of Steel. Clark grew up confused and angry after learning that he had powers beyond anyone’s imagination to comprehend. He was bullied, and wanted badly, like any normal kid, to get some payback, but he restrained himself. He also ran into cosmic a-holes as an adult—seriously, Clark is an angel for not killing that guy in the bar, I’d have shoved that mug of beer right up his ass Hancock-style—and managed not to act on his anger there either. However, one of my many issues with this version of Clark is that they never directly address what the comic books bring up: the idea that Clark is against capital punishment. I might have cited it before, but the story “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” by Joe Kelly, and later adapted into an awesome DC animated original film “Superman vs. the Elite” deals with the idea that Clark has the ability to stop a threat permanently, but chooses not to, and there are dire consequences for that decision.

If the film had perhaps started with Clark stopping small crimes here and there and resisting the urge to kill, then maybe Zod’s fate would have been easier to swallow, or perhaps more meaningful to the narrative. The film tried to give us an altruistic Superman, but because of Pa Kent’s negative behavior, the way he died, the way Clark constantly brooded over whether to trust the human race or not, it ended up shriveling up instead of flourishing. I could see the seeds trying to grow, but the joyless tone that Zack Snyder and David Goyer enforced on the movie prevented our Boy in Blue from his true Boy Scout nature.

I think Marvel has a better understanding of what makes our heroes the kind of people everyone can root for. They have darkness in their lives, and secrets, and flaws, but Marvel doesn’t let it swallow up their characters. There were plenty of hilarious lines (especially Nat and Steve and Steve and Sam) and heartwrenching dramatic scenes (I’m still crying about Steve and Peggy, hand me a tissue), but the overall effect is surprisingly hopeful. Even with SHIELD branded as terrorists and the world on the hunt for Nick Fury, the fact that Cap did the right thing in the end—choosing to try to save Bucky and trying to root out the Hydra from the good guys at the SHIELD HQ—is what made him an altruistic hero. We never really got that moment in the Man of Steel where Clark chose to believe in humanity. Sure, he protected it, but I didn’t feel his love and sacrifice for the people living alongside him. The only person he truly bonded with was Lois and you certainly felt his devotion to her, but not the human race.

Writing makes the difference between these two men, these two heroes. It’s perfectly possible to make a hero who has darkness in his life, but doesn’t let it define him. DC seems to not understand why The Dark Knight saga was successful and why Man of Steel couldn’t follow in its footsteps. Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne are opposites in every way: one from humble beginnings, one from privilege; one with an optimistic view, one with a pessimistic view; one who operates using the fantastic, one who operates using the practical. The Dark Knight seemed like it had a dark view of the world, and it did, but oddly enough, Bruce had a better grasp of altruism than Clark did, and that is why the Man of Steel couldn’t reach its potential. Bruce believed in his city without flinching. He believed that the people in Gotham were not beyond saving and that if he gave them an ideal and a symbol to believe in, they could get better and rise to the occasion. Captain America did that too. But Clark never did that.

In the end, I think the positive reactions to Captain America: The Winter Soldier are directly a result of Marvel and the movie writers understanding of what makes our heroes true heroes. It’s not that they are perfect and powerful, it’s that they are just as screwed up as we are, but they put their own needs aside to help us. They fight for our freedom and they make it personal. Cap didn’t have to give that speech asking the members of SHIELD to disobey direct orders. He could have been cynical and just tried to stop everything on his own, but he didn’t. He trusted us. And that’s why we love him.

*salutes* Here’s to you, Cap’n. Now get in my bed.

On Bat-Affleck

In the midst of the news that Man of Steel 2: Electric Bugaloo or Spotlight Stealing Squad or whatever the hell they’re calling the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman movie is getting pushed back to 2016 (which I called a year ago and am smugly prancing around my apartment like a ponce since it was announced), I feel it’s necessary to give my thoughts on the matter. This is just my opinion and no more. It has nothing to do with the rest of my blog. I’m going to break my usual form and give my personal take on the manner, considering the fact that I’ve been a fan of Batman since I was about six years old and I have personally modeled myself after him.

I’m livid.

Beyond livid, if we’re being honest.

However, I’ve had enough time to calm down and rationally explain why I believe Ben Affleck is a horrible choice for the Caped Crusader.

First off, I mean no disrespect to him or any of his fans. If you’re excited about it, hooray for you. In fact, I don’t even think Affleck is that bad an actor. I think he’s alright.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think they chose Affleck because he’d be a good Batman. DC/Warner Bros announced at San Diego Comic Con that the World’s Finest movie would be out in 2015. So, think about it: they announced the release of a movie almost exactly two years before it would come out…and it’s not even in pre-production. Hell, I don’t even recall hearing the rumor of there being a script yet. All they had at the time was Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill. Then, at the press release for Bat-Affleck’s reveal, they claimed production would start in 2014. That means they are attempting to make a high budget superhero film in less than the standard two years it takes to make a summer blockbuster.

It is my personal opinion that DC/WB panicked. Just…flat out panicked because they’re so focused on making money and “competing” with The Avengers/Marvel that they made a hasty, stupid decision. I’m in the geek circuit. I did not hear anything about auditions for the new Batman. NOTHING. I don’t even think they bothered looking. They just put the word out and the first big star to say yes (notably, AFTER Christian Bale said no) is who they chose.

This infuriates me to my absolute core.

What DC/WB doesn’t seem to understand is two things: (1) why the Avengers is so profitable and (2) that the DC fanboys and fangirls don’t want a World’s Finest movie if it’s rushed and slapped together.

The Avengers became the third highest grossing domestic film in the United States for dozens of reasons–great casting, great directing, a fantastic script, gorgeous effects, and a general sense of fun and camaraderie between the actors, production team, and the fans. But here’s the main reason: Marvel actually seems to give a crap about the fans. They listen. They took their time and they picked the actors who fit the characters, and who would do the characters we love justice. Do you know why they could afford to do this? Well, that’s part two. Marvel knows that we will wait for it. Marvel understands that fans WANT to see the Avengers represented as awesomely as they appear in the comics, and that they don’t need to slap together a title and some actors and shove it out on the silver screen just to make money. Marvel knows that if they make a quality film, we WILL go see it. So they made one. They got one of the best writers/directors around and they did the damn thing, and they didn’t care what DC decided to do in retaliation.

Whereas DC sat with its thumb up its ass, snootily believing that the Batman franchise would carry them through the next decade. The Nolan Batman trilogy was nothing short of brilliant, but guess what? That’s the only good thing on DC’s recent hero track record, until Man of Steel came along. They seemed to not realize this fact until Iron Man 3 came out and kicked the 2013 box office in the face with a big smile. So they panicked and they said to themselves, “Oh my gosh, guys, if we don’t do something quick, Avengers II is going to win 2015 and since we literally have not even tried to make films for any other members of the Justice League, we’d better do something about it! Uh, yes, we’re totally going to make a Batman/Superman movie a mere three years after the Nolan film! No need to actually take our time like we did with Henry Cavill and narrow down our choices so that we pick someone who looks, sounds like, and can embody one of the greatest comic book heroes of all time. Just slap a mask on anyone with a square chin and we’ll be golden!”

I mean it. It is 2014. We have no Flash, no Wonder Woman (independently, anyway), no Hawkman, no Martian Manhunter, no Aquaman, no Green Arrow, no Black Canary, and Green Lantern’s been in the freaking Phantom Zone because everyone hated the movie so much that they can’t decide if that universe even exists anymore. There was no attempt in the Man of Steel movie to create any sense of continuity. Why? Because DC doesn’t have faith in its own damn work, and it has even less faith in us fans. That is unacceptable. They believe in the “wait and see” approach, and that is what is killing their brand and their profits. They waited to see how all of the Avengers’ solo films would do, and then they waited to see how the Avengers would do, and then they waited to see the response to the Avengers II plot and character reveals, and now all of the sudden they want to act because they want their piece of the pie. No. That is not how you should be treating a franchise and characters that have been beloved since the 1930’s.

You hire people who are right for the job. You read the damn comics. You talk to the fans. You listen to the criticism that you have received from your previous films. You sit down and you do your damn homework and you make a great film. It’s that damned simple. If you do all of that, THEN you get to make a billion dollars globally. I’m not saying DC needs to copy Marvel’s exact methods. They need to understand what Marvel is doing correctly and emulate that if they want any of the other heroes aside from Batman to make money and do well.

Having said all of that, I’ll now address my problem with Ben Affleck.

He’s not Batman.

Just…he’s really not.

Now, this isn’t to say all the men who have played Batman in the past via the silver screen have been Batman. However, each of them brought some aspect of Bruce Wayne to the table that you can at least argue is true to the character. For instance, Michael Keaton brought the intensity to Batman, but he was a pretty lousy Bruce. Val Kilmer brought the quiet intelligence and tortured soul of Bruce, but he was a lousy Batman. George Clooney brought the playboy aspect, but he sucked as both Bruce and Batman. Christian Bale perfected Bruce Wayne and played an excellent Batman, but he did miss a few beats here and there with his voice problems.

What in the hell is Ben Affleck going to bring to the table?

That’s what made me so angry when I heard the news. I’ve watched some Affleck films. The guy is a good comedic actor and a decent dramatic actor. But he looks and sounds nothing like any incarnation of Bruce Wayne that I can even try to picture in my head. I’m not talking about physicality alone. I’m talking about presence. Ben Affleck could walk up to me in my room right now and wrap his hands around my neck and threaten me, and honestly? I really don’t think I’d be all that intimidated. It’s not just the buttchin and the big blue eyes. The way he walks, the way he carries himself, the way I’ve seen him act in other roles, is why I’m against him as Batman. I simply cannot see him putting on the mask and actually scaring superstitious cowardly lots of criminals.

It is here that I have to bring up a tiring discussion that will no doubt make some fanboys hate me: Daredevil.

I hated that movie.

Granted, not with a passion. More like disdain. I just thought it was badly written, poorly shot, dreadfully cast (with the exception of Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, rest in peace, sir), and all around awful. And I know all the little fanboys and girls insist, “Watch the director’s cut! It’s much better!” but guess what? They didn’t release that version in the theater. You can’t undo that. You can’t fix all your mistakes after the movie screwed a dead horse. If they wanted to make a better movie, they’d have released a better movie. And honestly, I’ve never seen the director’s cut, but I sincerely doubt it fixed the nine billion problems with that movie anyway. It was just not well done.

My point is that Daredevil is also supposed to be an intimidating comic book hero. He’s not as dark as Batman, but he’s intense and driven. And I saw Ben Affleck trying to pull that off and he failed miserably. I understand that he was still young in his career, but I truly don’t believe that he has the presence to be Batman.

I don’t believe that I can see him with his hair slicked back wearing a million dollar suit running a billion dollar corporation. I don’t believe that I can see him training with Ra’s al Ghul, or Lady Shiva, or Zatara. I don’t believe that I can see him out-thinking the Riddler, or flirting with Catwoman, or battling the Joker to save someone’s life. I. DON’T. BELIEVE. IT. It’s not because he’s a bad actor. He’s not. It’s the character that doesn’t fit.

Bruce Wayne is a dichotomy of concepts. He’s brooding and hurting, but he’s also got this wondrous sly sense of humor. He’s constantly insisting that his mission is solo, but he naturally attracts people to him because he has a noble heart and despite all the darkness in him, he loves people. He is a wide spectrum of emotions and beliefs and ideas. He’s got a depth to him that has kept him as one of the most popular heroes since his creation in 1939.

And all of that I am supposed to see in the star of Gigli?


I cannot accept that.

So, there you have it. If that makes me a close-minded, awful person, then so be it. I’m keeping my $10.50 in my pocket where it belongs. I hope the movie doesn’t suck. I hope that people who want to see Bat-Affleck enjoy it.

I will just not be one of them.