Monday, March 28, 2016


A Thought On Batman v Superman

Allow me to tell you what I disliked so much about Batman v Superman:

It was two and a half of hours of relentless cynicism. More important to what I'm trying to explain was that BvS is a movie co-featuring Superman where the principal creatives guiding him seem to hate him.

When Superman appears on screen, the first thing you should ever feel is relief.

Relief that things are going to get better.

Not dread.  You should not be met by a man who meets threats with threats. Superman does not break people. Superman doesn't allow you to live. He lifts us up.

His mission is to show humanity the greatness contained within.

This was not Superman. This was a man so unsure of himself that he keeps, just KEEPS hiding himself away. After threatening to break humanity. 

This was a man who just never seems able to find a better way.

This just wasn't Superman. 

This was something I was relieved to see put out of its misery.

didja see how his parents raised him? No wonder he turned out the way he did...
It's funny (as in funny "hmmm", not funny "haha") how they wrote his crappy adoptive parents in both these wrecks of Snyder films to be consistent with how the man they raised behaves. Terrible Jonathan and Martha = terrible Superman. At least they consistent?
Please tell me you watched the Supergirl / Flash thing last night. It should help get the bad taste out of your mouth.

And Graig, you're absolutely right that Clark picked up the values the Kents instilled in him. It just turned out these Kents were assholes.
I've watched the Supergirl/Flash team-up twice now and come up with exactly one conclusion about Batman v Superman... it needed more icecream. I could watch Melissa Benoist's giddy "Yessss!" reaction to an ice cream cone suddenly appearing in her hand on a loop for a very very long time
God, the ice cream scene. Really, EVERY scene, but that one most of all.

This is not to say that I couldn't find problems with the episode if I wanted to; it wouldn't be difficult to find plot holes or clunky dialogue. But I enjoyed the episode immensely and I have no desire to dissect it any more than I do a beloved family pet. It makes me very happy as is, being what it is and doing what it is, even if it barfed in my pants some time during the night. Perhaps I am letting my analogy get muddled.
Oh, I absolutely did see the Supergirl/Flash crossover and was utterly charmed.

To me, it felt bigger than BvS and for one incredible reason, they established that they live in different universes so it felt special. It felt like an event.

It felt like, to me, what JLA/Avengers felt like. Something you were privileged to see.

And the fact that they enjoyed one another's company was the icing on the cake.
About halfway through the episode while I was watching with my 6-year-old daughter it hits a commercial break and she says "for some reason I'm feeling all shakey". I said, "Is it because you're so excited for the team-up?" She thought for a split-second and said, "Yes, I think so."

You're right, there are more than a few plot holes, but you can have plot holes galore when you have fun and excitement. I just get a big dopey grin on my face (just as big and dopey as Benoist and Gustin's) at the end of that episode when they hug. All the feels. I think I may have even gotten teary from excitement (on the second viewing, not even the first).
That would be the second time this Supergirl show brought me to tears (the first being the superb Martian Manhunter reveal in episode 8).

It's not a perfect show by any means but I love it fiercely.

Last episode was the one where J'onn was in the DEO holding cell and he was eating Chocos, right? I had to freeze-frame just to smile and admire the Chocos.

Then I noticed J'onn wears a wedding ring.

The emotional whiplash almost knocked me off my feet.
Ah yes, the Chocos. The giddy glee that gave me. They need to spin Max and J'onn off into a new show with Booster, Beetle, Guy, Fire and Ice... dare to dream
I have to say, as much as I have no use for the grimdark of Batman v. Superman, the "Bwa-ha-ha" era of the Justice League irks me every bit as much, just in the other direction. It's really just the opposite (bad) solution to the same problem, of DC being afraid to accept the concept of characters who are heroic by nature; they try way too hard to make them wacky and "human" (by which I mean third rate sitcom characters). And those oh-so-precious facial expressions by Kevin Maguire ... I'll take the bland expressionless cube-heads of 1980s Carmen Infantino any day, just to be spared the goofysmug.

Obviously my opinions on this are far from universally shared.
Strange, for as funny as it could be, it could also be just as emotionally gut-wrenching because the stakes weren't just physical. Even as early as issue 5&6 with the Grey Man there was an intense amount of pathos, an almost Vertigo-esque level of complexity and abstractness to what the League was facing. Everyone mentions the humour but it was the heart that got me every time. Issue 27-30 when Beetle has to be deprogammed from Queen Bee's mind control by Amanda Waller (illustrated by Ty Templeton)... or 38-40 when Despero comes back looking for the Detroit League only to learn they're already pretty much destroyed (art by Adam Hughes) or Breakdowns where the whole "happy family" exterior (which really was just a glossy facade) truly comes crumbling down ... the book was far richer and deeper than the Bwa-ha-ha Era

But sounds like you tried it and it wasn't to your taste. To me it was the first sign that comics and their characters could mean something, both to me as an 11 yr old reader and to each other as characters. The only other book that's ever come close to equaling that experience was Peter David's great X-Factor run during the 00's.
I enjoyed David's "X-Factor", but in the scheme of things I could make sense of it: these were the third string X-Men in a kind of crappy government job. It provided a good environment for Peter David to write in his irreverent style.

My formative experiences with the JLA were all Satellite era, and to me, the Justice League is the top superhero team, and they take their job seriously. They don't have to be grimdark, but they shouldn't be tolerating the likes of that whole "one punch" sequence.

There may well have been levels to the deMatteis / Giffen Justice League that I should have stuck around and experienced; if so, that's my loss. But I couldn't get past the wacky hijinks.
Recently re-read Dan Jurgens' Justice League and if you ever wanted to see someone absolutely have no ken with the DeMatteis/Giffen League, this is the book for you.

Jokes that even the dad-dest of dads would be embarrassed to make.
Ugh, Dan Jurgens. He is the oatmeal of writers. No, even less exciting than oatmeal, but I can't think of a food less likely to delight the senses. Even rice cakes make noise.

Jurgens ought to be editing the Superman titles, though. He has a good feel for what Superman should be doing -- the current editorial / writing staff do not -- and once in a while, his tendency to make things dull would be of benefit. We could have had this exchange back when Geoff Johns was writing his arc with Ulysses:

GJ: ... and then, the aliens' satellite world explodes, and makes Ulysses REALLY mad!

DJ: Wait, so all the aliens died?

GJ: Yeah! And so then Ulysses screams at Superman ...

DJ: So that's, what, six million aliens that died because Superman fought Ulysses?

GJ: Sure, but they were the bad guys, they had it coming.

DJ: They were six million people living in a society that did some inexcusable things, yes, but that doesn't mean they were necessarily all evil. Plus this whole business of killing six million people ... you didn't pick that number out of a hat, you have to know there's significance to that figure.

GJ: But my story is really awesome! You're ruining my action beats and the debut of a new power!

DJ: Look, Superman being indirectly responsible for the deaths of six million is a non-starter with me. Take that out. Superman beats up Ulysses and throws him in jail, the aliens go away, the end. A nice simple unobjectionable ending.

GJ: But wait ... what if ... we do things my way, except there's a reveal at the end, that Superman didn't actually let those people die?

DJ: This sounds interesting, but you're going to have to explain it to me, because I'm something of a dull and linear plotter.

GJ: Okay, we've already set up that the alien satellite world has super advanced technology that can teleport people by the millions. That was their original plan, they were going to teleport six million humans onto their world and use them for fuel. What if Superman used his heat and/or x-ray vision to reprogram the teleporters so that they would teleport the aliens to a fertile uninhabited world, where they could start again, and make either heaven or hell of their new world as they saw fit?

DJ: That would actually be a good ending! Superman saves everyone, prevents the bad guys from being bad guys any longer, and implicitly teaches them a lesson about being good people. I like it, do exactly that!

GJ: Okay, can I go now?

DJ: Please do. I fear this has taken up so much time, I won't have a chance to check whether Romita actually knows what the Batcave looks like. I have this looming fear he'll draw it so it looks more like the Midtown Shopping Mall than the Batcave.
My God, you're right. Jurgens would make a great editor!

Post a Comment

<< Home