We Deserve Better, DC Comics

Let’s imagine a world where Christian Bale was still Batman and Zack Snyder stuck within the realm of the Dark Knight universe. I would be happier, you would be happier, hell even Christian Bale would be happier. and we wouldn’t have to endure the two and half hour shitfest that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC Comics always has been dark when it came to its films, but there was an underlying feeling of hope on the horizon. Unfortunately with Batman v Superman, there is no hope.

Let’s Talk About Characters, Baby

From the opening scene of Batman v Superman, it was clear that this was Batman’s movie, not Superman‘s. That’s great and all, but even from the glimpse into Bruce Wayne’s parents’ death, it was clear that this wasn’t a Batman that would be recognizable to fans. It bothered me how Thomas Wayne attempted to punch the attacker before he made a move because it changed the whole dynamic of Batman’s quest for the underlying good. And boy, did it change it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, how could you cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a movie and not have him be a macho man, but that isn’t who Thomas Wayne was. Due to this turn of events, Batman became a superhero everyone feared, not just the guys lurking in the shadows. He used extreme brute force and even seemed to take joy in his excessive cruelness. He stance on justice was that “real men fight for it,” not aliens who come down and play god. While I’m aware that Batman is a vigilante, this was like a step too far into Snyder’s dreamland. I mean, when the people he saves identify him as a “devil,” then we have to know someone went wrong somewhere. Nothing against Ben Affleck, he did fine and it was the best fighting from Batman we have seen to date. I just don’t want him anywhere near the Batman character, plain and simple. (Please Ben, go take your script and get someone else, preferably Bale.)

As for Superman, can this guy be anymore of a wet blanket? He wants the same thing as Batman, and he will be just as pouty to prove it. When he isn’t too busy saving Lois Lane, who was painted as a glorified damsel in distress, he is wondering why people don’t like him. As Martha Kent pointed out in the Comic-Con trailer, “be anything they need you to be or be none of it.” Superman is the ultimate vision of good, but he is also idealistic and it that idea is killed a little bit when he just seems so down and negative about everything. We never see a side of Clark Kent where he isn’t brooding in a corner, complaining about the bat. And maybe that’s the problem, there wasn’t enough of a difference in moodiness between Batman and Superman, and their triumph to friendship felt forced and too quick. Understandably, I guess you have to speed up things when Doomsday starts attacking. But there has to be a way to personify who Superman is as a character. Look at Smallville, they successfully captured the essence of Superman growing up and becoming a hero. Why can’t a major motion picture do the same?

The Golden Age of Television

DC Comics is dominating the television game. With Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, they are literally setting the stage for comic book stories to be told. The disappointing thing is, Zack Snyder doesn’t want to use the television version of these superheroes because it doesn’t match his “tone.” These series already have a decent size following, and if they incorporated them into their movie multiverse, people would be even more drawn to catching up on what they missed out. Marvel did it with their show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and that show isn’t even as highly reguarded of as any of the holy trinity. People are more interested in characters that they know and trust, and Grant Gustin is that when in character because he fully embodies Flash.

Truly, I feel like DC Comics and Warner Brothers is missing out on a huge opportunity by not incorporating these shows. They are established and well written, and even with the different “tone,” Snyder’s Flash sounds a lot like the television show. Greg Berlanti has brought some much life to DC Comics with these three television series, and I feel like he could do even more if he could incorporate them into the movie multiverse. Part of the reason we are in the second or third Golden Age of Television is because of series like these, and it is a disappointment that they won’t be transferred over to the big screen.

Zack Snyder’s Obsession with Frank Miller

Much of Snyder’s career has been over Frank Miller‘s work, such as 300 and Watchmen. Batman v Superman seems to carry a lot of influences from ThDark Knight Returns, especially Batman’s costume and the ultimate showdown between the two heroes. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons stop. Kevin Smith said it perfectly when describing Snyder with Batman v Superman, “he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight.” The thing is, every time Snyder adapts a film for Miller’s source material, it always has a feel like this. He takes what he likes, but he forgets the heart.

Miller is a brilliant writer and there is a reason everyone wants to adapt his stories, but imagine if Snyder had dug deeper for a story in both Batman and Superman’s lore. What if Snyder took from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s current Batman masterpiece to build his Batman? Or John Byrne‘s Superman: Man of Steel to shape the dynamic between Batman and Superman? Ultimately, Snyder had so much material to build off of, but he stuck to his safety belt and relied on watered down renditions of Miller’s stories.

Who Run the World? Girls

If there was one saving grace to Batman v Superman, it is Gal Gadot‘s take on Wonder Woman. Her entrance as the amazonian princess is electrifying. Any minute Gadot was on the screen, I was captivated, which is really unfortunate because she barely had any screen time. You’re biggest take away from this film should be your pure, unadulterated excitement for the Wonder Woman film coming to us in June 2017. While Batman has to dodge Doomsday attacks and Superman is off saving Lois Lane, Wonder Woman is facing him head on. She is the female superhero we have all been waiting for (and who we deserve), and I hope she marks the beginning of more female superheroes being transitioned to film.

Now on to Lois Lane. I want to begin this simply: Amy Adams deserved more from this film, and so did we. Lois Lane is a badass character, and Adams shined when she got to show off that side of Lois. Regrettably, those scenes were usually met with her somehow getting captured and Superman having to come and save her. This happened three times, THREE TIMES. Lois is way smarter than this, she even figured out that Lex Luthor was behind these crimes before anyone else (which, come on Batman is a super detective, and I’m supposed to believe he fell for Luther’s tricks, give me a break). Before she could even have a chance to save the day, they would have her do something out of character and that didn’t make sense, which ended up creating huge amounts of trouble. Still, Lois Lane was central to plot of this film. Even if they didn’t get the time or story they deserved, Adams owned her role and Gadot owned this movie reminding us that girls truly do run the world.

 

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Top 10 Comic Book Romances

To celebrate the holiday of love and the release of Deadpool, I’m serenading all of you by compiling a list of the best superhero romances through out comic book history. Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic, but these are my favorite romances. Fair warning, they are a little heavy on the DC Comics side, but I can’t help what compels my heart.

10. Superman (Clark Kent) and Lois Lane

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Beginning this list with one of the most iconic comic book couples only feels right. When you think of superhero relationships, Superman and Lois Lane are probably one of the first to come to your mind. While I am not a Superman fan, there is something about their relationship that draws you in. Perhaps it has something to do with its everlasting power. While they aren’t always together there is a part of Clark Kent that will always hold out for Lois Lane.

9. Gambit (Remy Etienne LeBeau) and Rogue (Anna Marie)

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Rogue will forever be my favorite part of X-Men, and Gambit is your lovable southern mutant. Together they are a force to be reckoned with, but there is always something that will hold them apart. Rogue’s powers cause her to absorb the powers, life and even memories of any one who touches her. This causes a greater tension than “will they or won’t they?”

8. Wolverine (James “Logan” Howlett) and Storm (Ororo Munroe)

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I know many people prefer Wolverine with with Jean Grey, but I like to group Jean Grey and Cyclops (Scott Summers) and I love Wolverine with Storm. These two have a strong foundation of friendship and it blossomed into one of the better relationships within the Marvel universe. With all the alternative timelines inside the X-Men universe, at least I can pretend they are happy and married somewhere.

7. Raven and Beast Boy (Garfield Logan)

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I grew up with Teen Titans as a little kid, and then when I matured and got into comics I still found an attachment to Teen Titans. More specifically I found myself still compelled by the relationship between Raven and Beast Boy. Sure, there is Terra and Jericho that complicates the relationship between these two, but like the above characters on this list there is just a special connection between these two. While Teen Titans seems to come and go, these two seem to stick around forever.

6. Batwoman (Kate Kane) and Renee Montoya

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Kate Kane and Renee Montoya have a complicated history, but it is also one of the most progressive relationships in modern day comics. Through out Batwoman’s storylines, Kate Kane is still not getting the justice she deserve in DC Comic’s New 52. While Renee may not be the best fit for Kate, their relationship symbolized a new wave of comics and hopefully we will start to see more LGBT relationships blossom throughout the different superhero comics.

5. Poison Ivy (Dr. Pamela Isley) and Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel)

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To Preface this, Harley Quinn‘s relationship with the Joker has always bothered me. While many people still cling to that relationship, I have always preferred her friendship with Poison Ivy because it was an escape away from the abusive nature of the Joker. With the New 52, we have gotten to see Harley break away and become her own villain, and even more so we got to see the relationship with Ivy blossom into something more. I also do not think DC Comics is perfect, their handling of the Batwoman comics was poorly done, but I think they are starting to make strides and their comics. Making a relationship many people loved as cannon definitely speak volumes to me.

4. Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle)

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This was the first relationship I was really introduced to with my comic book adventures. Batman was my first love; I own every movie, watched every cartoon and have done my best to read whatever I can get my hands on. Furthermore, his relationship with Catwoman was electric. She was the yin to his yang, in the sense that she walked the fine line between good and evil. Batman, for his part, mostly brought out the best in Catwoman. Together, they kind of defined each others moral code. Kind of like Superman and Lois Lane, you can’t think of iconic couple without thinking of Batman and Catwoman.

3. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage

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They aren’t a perfect couple, but there is just something special they share. Through each chapters of their lives, they always find a way back to each other. Thankfully, Netflix and Marvel has done a great job of bringing this relationship to  life and showing its imperfections, as well as its perfections. I feel like I am simplifying their relationship, but it just feels very real minus the super powers. We even feel the journey between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones as they explore the world of parenthood and how they fit that into their “jobs” and everyday life. So maybe this couple truly celebrates the hero in all of us.

2. Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen)

 

Gwen Stacy will always be the true love of Spider-Man, in my heart. Yes, there is Mary Jane, the girl who loved Spider-Man, but isn’t Peter Parker more than a costume? While the Amazing Spider-Man films suffered from a lack luster script, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really captured the essence and chemistry that I felt reading pages shared between Gwen and Peter. Thankfully, Marvel has resurrected Gwen Stacy and created Spider-Gwen. And yes, I relish in joy with the interactions between Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen. While the two can’t be together in their respective universes, maybe they can find love within the Spider-Verse.

1. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and Dick Grayson (Nightwing/Robin)

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And the couple to top the list is Batgirl and Nightwing. They grew up together, had flirtatious fights with stolen glances. They matured together and broke away from the bat that helped them so they could create good on their own. No matter what though, they always come back to one another. While they are good in their respective areas, they’re perfect together. They don’t have to hide who they are between each other, and they know each other better than anyone else could. Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are perfect together, whether they want to admit it (or succumb) to it or not.

 

 

Justice League Dream Casting Day 6: Batman

As my journey as a dream caster for the Justice League comes to an end I thought it would be appropriate to end if with the best superhero around: Batman. The neutral good vigilante has been a popular character for pop culture lately, especially with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy coming to an end. Naturally, the ideal Batman would be no other than Christian Bale, but he was clear when he said The Dark Knight Rises would be the last Batman movie for him. Although some are hoping for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to fill his place, I thought it would be best to pick some fresh meat.

My Pick for Batman:

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I really enjoyed the aging Batman that Christopher Nolan setup, and I wanted to continue that on for the Justice League, and I think the best bat for the job is no other than Andrew Lincoln. Most of you should recognize him an Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, where he plays a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. He is the oldest of the cast, and I think it would add a nice touch to have an aging and wise Bruce Wayne lead the Justice League into battle. While he isn’t big on the movie front (yet), Lincoln constantly proves him acting abilities in television.

Why He Would Make a Perfect Batman:

Originating as an English Actor, Lincoln completely transformed himself to get the role of Rick Grimes and I think he could do it again to don the cape and become the famous caped crusader. Lincoln also has an exquisite look to him which helps since Bruce Wayne is known to be quite the bachelor among the ladies. Among the young cast, I believe Andrew Lincoln could hold his own and reinvent the Bruce Wayne that we have become accustomed to.

I have enjoyed dream casting for the Justice League, and I hope that you have enjoyed my choices. Through the good and the bad, this journey is finally completed, and as I finish off, Yes Hollywood I will accept my position as casting director for The Justice League. 

 

The Dark Knight Rises: Why the Dark Knight Rose.

This will not be like my usual reviews, mostly because I do not want to ruin how great this movie truly is. Now let’s begin. The first face we see return is the wartime worn face of Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman). His character is similar to how we left him, except for the fact that his family left him for not speaking the truth about what went down between Batman and Harvey Dent/Two Face. You can tell in his face and the ways he acts that this has taken a toll on him, and that he cannot seem to forgive himself or move past it. (Remember this is 8 years in the future). His character literally goes through Hell after a run in with Bane and his henchmen. And you can tell from his time of suffering that he is ready to restore the town to its former glory and restore Batman’s name in Gotham City. Our next returning character is the ever charming Alfred, and unfortunately we do not get to see much of his glorious face during much of these movies. But every scene he is in is moving; Michael Caine is such a brilliant actor, I cherish him deeply. His character brings so much life to the screen, and if you do not cry at any of Alfred’s scenes then you are totally heartless. He does get his wish, and I will leave it at that. Next up, we have Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Lucius plays an important role in this film, as he has done in every batman movie. For me, he truly brings about the return of Batman by introducing new toys such as “The Bat” which is the flying mechanism that we get the pleasure of viewing in the commercials. Also, watch for his words because he does foreshadow things (unintentionally) when it comes to the ending. Now it is time for the new characters, and let’s start off with the villain shall we? With the Joker (Heather Ledger) we witnessed a terrifying match psychologically, and now in The Dark Knight Rises we meet a match in the physical category. Gotham’s Reckoning, Bane (Tom Hardy) is a terrifying mercenary, and although a lot of critics have picked at him for not being the Joker, they did not pay attention to how great Tom Hardy truly was. All of the emotion were told from his eyes, and for the most part his eyes were black and heartless. If Bane was on the street, I would truly be worried for my life. We soon learn after meeting him that he was excommunicated from the League of Shadows (Reference Batman Begins). And he will stop at nothing to fulfill Ra’s Al Ghul’s wish of destroying the corruption that was Gotham City. And he does have a friend lurking in the shadows. We also have a new lady love by the name of Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), and my words to describe her would be very pushy. She is yearning for Bruce Wayne’s attention and his money for her project our supplying clean air to the world. She eventually works a way into his life, and we watch their chemistry blossom as she tells us of her hard childhood before they struck it rich. Miranda is indeed an interesting character, and as the movie progresses you discover more about her and her story. Next we have one of the most interesting characters of all time in comic book history, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Christopher did perfect casting when selecting Anne Hathaway, she played the part with justice. Her transitions from sweet to seductive were breathtaking, and I loved every minute with her on screen. From the beginning her and Bruce Wayne had chemistry/sexual tension, but they do get pushed to the back burner after Miranda clawed her way through. Selina Kyle also has a huge wakening for her character (Phew, what a lot of work for one character) as she goes from bad kitty to the perfect sidekick/arm candy. Anne Hathaway holds her own in this character, and it is beautiful to watch. The last and my favorite character, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He is the perfect good cop, and he is the best detective (Refer to Tim Drake). He has strong morals through out the movie, and even with Bane’s demise of Gotham City he still encourages the town to have hope. Plus, he believes in Batman (and knows Batman’s/Bruce Wayne’s secret) since he was an orphan. You soon discover that Bruce Wayne has a soft spot for John Blake, and tries his best to keep that passion for Batman alive. “You wear the mask not to protect yourself, but to protect the ones you love”. And, of course the star of the show Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale). Over these ten years he has given us a marvelous example of what a comic book movie should be, and what a superhero truly was. We watched his character develop in Batman Begins, we watched him grow as Bruce Wayne and we watched the demise of Batman in The Dark Knight, and in The Dark Knight Rises we see him rebuild Batman and become the best Bruce Wayne that he could be, for his loved ones. We do watch Bruce Wayne go through a huge rebuilding of himself, and the way it plays out is nothing short of a masterpiece. Bruce Wayne starts out rich, but we soon discover that he is as broke as my piggy bank. And that is when he starts making decisions that effect the entire movie. Also, the team Catwoman and Batman create is so amazing, they suit each other very well. I will leave you with one last thing about Batman, the idea is that anyone could be behind the mask. The movie as a whole was nothing short of excellent, like a said before with Batman/Bruce Wayne this movie is also a masterpiece. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan for delivering us this beautifully crafted trilogy that I will hold near and dear to my heart till the day I die (both literally, and not). He crafted all of the characters with such pride and dignity that I can be nothing by grateful for this gift. (Yes, I am a diehard Batman fan). Also, the score for this movie, thanks to Hans Zimmerman, is superb. If you do see this movie, please enjoy it in IMAX, you will not be sorry. To all the conspirators who have not seen this legendary movies yet, the answer the all of your questions is yes, well almost. I will leave that for you to figure out. I cannot grade this movie due to its excellence, and I would like to thank Christopher Nolan one more time for this gift of greatness. “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulder to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”