Tuesday 29 March 2016

Batman vs Superman Review: Geek Free and Spoiler Free

It's awesome.

Wait, from the outset, I must make clear that I'm bringing bias to this table. That's a disclaimer.

I'm coming in prepared to like this movie. I'm died in the wool. DC is my jam, and it's my toast time. But it's also worth mentioning that I went in prepared to like a lot of DC Comics movies that I can't like. Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are the only two comic titles that I've read pretty regularly since I finished high school, and The Green Lantern is easily one of the worst superhero movies that they've ever made.

Batman vs Superman is not that. It is a good film, and a lot of people are saying that it isn't, but it really is. I have my theories on why people don't like ti, but that's them. They can speak for themselves. I'm more than happy for people to say stupid things for themselves, and be as wrong as they feel like being. They're the ones without jam on toast in this scenario, while I fatten up at the breakfast table.

There is an elegant dance at play here, because it feels like there are two films playing at the same time. It feels like there is a very distant sequel to The Dark Knight Rises and another very direct sequel to Man of Steel interwoven into one film, which is sort of a strange thing to say, because neither of those films are particularly good. Well, they aren't good.

I don't like either of those films. Not for a lot of the very public reasons that people make funny comments about. They're just tedious as films. The Dark Knight Rises is ridiculously slow and painfully off message from the source material, and Man of Steel just says what it wants to say clumsily and then spends most of the latter half of the film forgetting that it had anything to say.

I'm just expressing that that is where it's at tonally. This film is a good DC Comics film. It feels like it is on the right path. When you watch it you are watching a film about threat, and war, and fear.

It's not funny. It doesn't need to be funny. It's not a Marvel film, and I don't think it should be. DC has characters like that, that you'll see later. This isn't those guys. But those guys are coming.

This is a Batman and a Superman who've seen some things, and more importantly, they've done some things. Things that have warped them. Changed their perspective.

The Batman that is in this movie, and the Batman that is being played by Ben Affleck is good. Like, really, really good. Like, maybe the best. Maybe. Depending on how you like your Batmen, this might be the best one that they've ever had. I really like this Batman. This Batman is a veteran of the war he has waged. He is a paranoid, violent, shattered man, who somehow constantly finds it in himself to keep going, and it's taken a toll.

I'm telling you right now I want to see Batfleck play this Batman in solo Batman movies. I would watch a prequel. An earlier version of this Batman where we see him get get broken. I would watch that. I would also watch sequels. I just want more of this Batman.

This is 1930s' Batman and 1980s' Batman. That's who this guy is. He is The Dark Knight. He pushes Christian Bale down the scale towards Adam West. He is the night.

And you know what? He is an even better Bruce Wayne.

You still recognise him though, and they do a very good job of making you understand the differences, but it's okay because you know who Batman is. We all do.

The Superman on the other hand is the same one that was in Man of Steel, but now he carries the weight of everything that happened there on his shoulders. In a lot of ways, it justifies a lot of what went on in Man of Steel, and it does it in a way that makes sense of all, but it doesn't make up for the clumsiness of the delivery in the that film.

You don't need to have see Man of Steel though. They cover all the salient points pretty well. In the same way that you are well aware of the Batmen, you are also knowing of these Supermen of which I speak. You know that. They assume that, and I'm glad that they do. Then they show the bits from the first film from the perspective of others, because it drives this plot.

And there is a plot, but it is sort of incidental, but it still works. Sort of. But it doesn't matter.

At the end of the day the film is about these titans who find a way to make war, and the films is about how we're getting to the Justice League, and it's doing that. It's getting to DC's Avengers. And I make that comparison only because it's about their hero club, but they role pretty differently.

Oh, and how good is Wonder Woman? I will let you know.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Inclusionary Tactics

I tend to geek out in an obsessive and gleeful sort of way. I've been known to wriggle, squeal, and make databases when expressing my love for something. I'm like Sooty with SQL.

These are observable behaviours.

Beyond the non-verbal vocalisations, and data entry, is another equally observable behaviour. I like sharing the things that I love with the people I love, like, know, meet, and/or of which I am in the immediate vicinity. Some might say 'aggressively so', and indeed some have said that. To my face. It's real! Let me share my things that I love with you.

All I need is your face, and the things that are on it! Your face bits!

I play a game and I want my friends to also love this game (I suppose sometimes I need hands too for these activities). I watch a show and I want my friends to eat fish fingers and custard with me while watching the show. I watch a movie and I see it with as many people as are interested in going even if it means that I have to see Guardians of the Galaxy a cool fourteen times on the big screen.

So cool.

So very, very cool.

When I love a superhero/video game/comic/movie/book/show/album/musical/teddy bear/documentary and I can take something away from our time together that I find joyous or meaningful, I want to be able to 'psychologically motivate' my friends to participate in this thing so that they might also experience that joy or meaning. That seems like an important thing to me. It makes sense in my brain.

In my brain it is a really deep sort of love and affection. Remember this when you have things pressed against your face.

What doesn't make sense in my brain is the idea that anyone should be made to feel excluded by the things that joy me up in my face. And butt. That's where my wriggling starts. Right down in the butt.

Why wouldn't I want everyone to have equal opportunity to feel represented, empowered, and inspired by the mediums that mean so much to so many of us? That seems dumb.

I'm not saying everyone should like everything, because that's unwieldy. It's the kind of idea that breaks things. It's clumsy. I'm saying that everyone should have the opportunity to love everything.

There should be some variety of fair representation within a medium and genre and the services that deliver them to our face receptors. And, I suppose, hand receptors.

Call it a campaign of selfishness, and you can, but just because someone wants something that someone else doesn't think they should have, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't get it.

This is topic du jour, and I'm not contributing anything groundbreaking here. All and all, this is mundane in its passivity, but these are my words on the thing.

I think we should all have a Nightwing. He changed my life. I'm not even kidding. He did that! From his pages! Nightwing is the real hero in the entire Batman franchise. For me. The rest of them are tragic figures. It's bananas gothic up in Gotham.

And Barbara Gordon. She is also my hero. She's fucking awesome.

From the honest places of my self, it frightens me to think of the lives of others without the refuges and representation that I had just because of who I already was when I was born. I feel like it helped me.  I really do.

There should be enough variety so that we can all have a Nightwing (or Barbara Gordon), and we should all feel welcome there. We should all feel welcome in all the Leagues and Squads and teams and Tardises (Tardii? Tardims? Tarda?) and servers. All the servers!

Because I want you all there!

Sunday 13 March 2016

How I became excited for 'Batman v Superman'

I've made no bones about my preference of comic kingdoms. I'm DC. That's where my happiness lives. I am that guy. That's how I get down, and I like to get down!

I've made this complaint before. I've said it before. I've said that the major DC characters are so deeply woven into the modern consciousness that 'we know what a Superman is and how they get down', and he also likes to get down.

We all like to get down.

We also know what a Batman is. We know these things. DC characters run deep in the modern vernacular. I never have to sit in DC superhero films and explain who characters are to my friends. That doesn't happen.

Okay, sometimes it happens. Not often though. Not like Marvel. Don't get me wrong, Marvel has its A-listers too, but Superman and Batman? No, they don't have those. They don't have Wonder Woman, or The Flash, or Aquaman.

DC's problem when it comes down to it is one of recognition. What they seemingly consistently fail to realise is that their stories are the best part. Like, balls to the wall awesomeness told in sequential art.

Marvel trades in awesome characters. I can't deny that. They're so much fun, and they're characterised deep, and when they're done poorly you can really tell. 

Whereas DC are sewing the tapestries of our modern mythology. There is an ebb and flow in the characters, but their roles in the mythos are known and important. Their stories and their roles within those stories are what's important.

I'm not off topic, it just seems that way.

Doomsday is in the trailer.

Doomsday has a very specific role in the mythology. He killed Superman. He kills Superman. He will kill Superman. He is killing him right now, and he will always be killing him. That's who Doomsday is. 

He is the guy that killed Superman more than he is his own identity. Doomsday is the point of no return for the beginning of The Death and Return of Superman, which leads into so many other things.

Why this is important is that The Death and Return of Superman is perhaps one of the greatest comic story arcs ever written, but it won't be a part of this new film continuity, because it really doesn't look like they're killing Superman in the opening film. Also, The Death and Return of Superman isn't really, really a Justice League story.

I was at a point where I already felt the same way about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as I do about The Dark Knight Rises and that horrible Green Lantern film, which totally undercut the possibility of far superior stories being told as part of their continuity, Knightfall and Emerald Twilight respectively.

I was disappointed.

Until I heard that The Flash does something very specific in the film that is his role in the mythology. There is this thing that The Flash is responsible for. This really important thing that makes him one of the most important characters in the entirety of all of the comics that have ever been published by DC. I'm not even going to go into it here. That isn't going to happen.

Watch the movie.

I think we should all see it.

I'm ridiculously pumped for this thing, and all the things that they make after! Come at me with all of your things!