Alright, so it has been a few months since Affleck has been cast as Batman. The newest trend on the net is bashing the newly announced casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. I’m fine with both. Why? Go watch Social Network again, and then read the follow rant of mine:

I’m going to give it a chance. The age works well. I mean, he is supposed to be young in relation to Superman. Maybe we’re going to get a young, ruthless, eccentric billionaire who doesn’t do things because they are evil, but because they stimulate his curiosity and he just doesn’t have moral hang-ups? Either way, the real news here is the casting of Jeremy Irons as Alfred. That means they are going with a more Earth One style Batman which is fantastic and he is perfect for the role. Now, in a recent comic book called Earth One: Batman, they created an alternate universe where Alfred was a friend of the Wayne family and bodyguard. He has expansive training in fighting, use of firearms, and espionage. Picture a silver-haired retired James Bond being a legal guardian for Bruce Wayne. He actually curses at him and yells at Wayne for not bringing a gun with him on his first patrol. Also, this is what he looks like:

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AND

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I think Jeremy Irons will be PERFECT in this role. Especially since we are dealing with a Bruce Wayne that has been Batman for over ten years at the time that this film takes place. Fans like me will finally get out seasoned, badass, world’s greatest detective, BAT-GOD. I’m also one of the few that really dig the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman. can’t wait to see Affleck in the suit. Did I mention that the people that have seen the suit have said that it is a classic suit that hasn’t been featured on film before, but the fans will be happy to finally see it on screen? That means the suit will be the grey and blue/black. The one I’m hoping for is a Jim Lee style suit with features out of Arkham City. This is Jim Lee’s work:

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I hope that it will look like the Noel costume:
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And then there is this cowl mock-up:
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Sorry for the rant, but I’m a bit excited to finally see the Batman from the comics. A seasoned, genius-level intellect and a body that has been trained to the peak of human condition that is a master of at least ten martial arts. I know it is hard to picture Affleck as those things for most people, but Affleck is just Bruce Wayne. An aloof, charismatic, playboy billionaire. You will only see his Jaw in the suit, and the SUIT is Batman. Also, it will be great to see the white eyes FINALLY. The eye shadow always looks ridiculous. The white-eyes are both technologically possible and the traditional look of the character.

With the costume and the casting out of the way, I can only begin to think about what the film’s plot will be. I am hoping that it revolves around the creation of Metallo and reverse engineered Kryptonian weapons. Think about it:

Imagine Batman investigating the use of strange new alien weapons popping up in Gotham. He goes to the only person that could be responsible, Oswald Cobblepot. Batman finds out that Penguin is selling these new weapons out of his nightclub (which is a front to his black market, and other criminal activities), and instead of confronting him, decides to follow him to find out the source of these weapons. One night, he sees Mercy (comic book fans know who she is)–a well dressed woman–meeting with him about another shipment in the near future. Penguin is agitated demands to speak with her boss. This leads Batman to follow her back to Metropolis, but loses her in the city that is now in shambles. The construction sites and the unfamiliarity with the city causes him to go back to Gotham and he takes apart a confiscated weapon in the cave. He learns that one of the components is made by Lex Corp. Of course, Wayne Enterprises is part of the relief effort to help the displaced population of Metropolis and help with the reconstruction, so there is no problem in getting access to the other leading corporation involved in the relief effort. He uses Bruce Wayne’s connections to schedule a press conference to announce a non-existent meeting with the impossible to connect with the Lex Corp. CEO. Under the guise of cooperation Bruce is surprised to be greeted onstage, mid conference, by none other than the  Lex Luthor (who hates to waste an opportunity for free press). This leads to them going into the newly renovated and expanded Lex Tower. While discussing the possibility of a united effort a familiar, well-dressed, woman comes into the room. Lex introduces Mercy– his personal assistant. This causes Bruce to don his cowl later that night to investigate Lex Corp after hours. What he discovers is that Lex has been cleaning up the streets of Metropolis and taking any Kryptonian tech he has come across and making weapons and selling them on the black market. To make matters worse, he is contracted by the US Government to head up Project Metallo. The files state that, in an effort to combat the newly revealed Superman, the government is trying to create their own “Superman” to take down Clark if the need were to ever arise. There have been a surplus of willing test subjects, almost all are the soldier’s that were injured during the battles in Man of Steel. The result are a series of Iron Man-esq suits being created and implemented for testing by Lex Corp’s scientists. The problem being that they are missing a viable power source. To combat this, Lex has personally overseen the most ambitious, and grotesque of these experiments. A solider has been grafted to Alien technology and given a heart made from an ultra irradiated crystal found in the rubble. It is harmless to humans (except for the hair loss it causes), but is more than powerful enough to power the cyborg creature that Lex has created. Upon leaving Lex Corp., Batman is flying the Batwing back to Gotham when his jet is stopped in mid-air and landed beyond his control. The cockpit’s door is ripped off and we see a dark figure with lowing red eyes. It is revealed to be Superman and what we are treated to is the first meeting between these two heroes. It is filled with quips about the boy scout owing Batman a jet, and Superman asking why Batman is playing dress-up in a costume. Superman can ask why Batman is trying to immitate him. To which Batman can say that he has worked in the shadows of Gotham for nearly a decade now. The film could show them coming to a stalemate as military and police attempt to arrest them both for property damage. Batman will go back to the cave and start investigating both Lex and Superman, and the film could have them both team up against Lex. Penguin could be involved as an arms dealer and the man supplying the manpower for Lex’s shadier dealings and we can have Batman and Superman going after Lex. We have the villain for Bruce Wayne and Batman in Lex and Penguin respectively. Bruce Wayne can reveal Lex’s dealings to the world while Batman takes out Penguin and when Both Bats and Supes show up to take out Lex you can use the real threat of Metallo to give Superman a villain that matches his strength and toughness , while giving Batman a villain in Lex with the reveal of a super-suit that he created from Kryptonian tech. He has secretly been perfecting it with the help of the US Government’s funding and test subjects(of course the suit is purple and green, as a nod to the comics). The final battle could take place just outside of Metropolis, where Lex’s secret lab was stationed. A little place called Central City. The battle and devastation leads to Lex being taken into custody and labeled a threat to national security, Batman revealed to the world as a real hero, not just the Gotham urban legend, and most importantly, two other heroes. First, the battle causes a Central City forensics officer to be covered in lab chemicals and electrocuted by an exploding power line in the building he works. This would cause the cinematic origin of Barry Allen’s Flash. We can also see a mysterious woman arriving in America both claiming to be a diplomat, and offering the aid of her home land Themyscira. 

This would tie in two DC characters at the end, while also explaining how Batman is able to be at least 10 years older and seasoned by the time Superman comes into being. I think having the battle create The Flash and Diana (Wonder Woman) showing up as foreign aid would expand the cinematic universe in time for the Justice League film wile also focussing on the titular characters and not making the film too convoluted. It could work. The question is, how well is Snyder going to handle the WB trying to have final say over everything and ultimately ruining the film by turning into another Green Lantern?

I guess we’ll see. 

Marvel vs. DC

Posted: 31/01/2014 in Ramblings

 A friend asked me what I thought about an article that was discussing the differences between DC and Marvel’s films and why you’re rooting for the wrong company. A typo-filled rant is what followed. Surprisingly, it isn’t one filled with hate, but rather compassion and love for the medium themselves (film/comic).

To be honest, I have always been more of a DC fan at heart. Comics-wise, DC’s universe always felt more like a family to me. Not in the corny way, but more in a familiar way. It is just warmer. The stories seem more wholesome, even when the Joker is literally killing a short bus full of handicap children just for the fun of it. Or raping one of his henchmen’s girlfriends to prove a point. It has always felt like a grittier, darker, sicker home to me. Now, Marvel on the other hand is broader. It is brighter and larger in scope. The major characters are fine, but the only ones I’ve ever connected with are Ben Grimm and Peter Parker, sure you have awesome team-based comics, and fantastic galaxy-spanning stories, but it just seemed to flashy to me while growing up. I’m in love with both companies and have read just about every comic to be published by them in the past 15 years.

With the films, DC has had one problem. Warner Brothers. They own the rights to the films, and they have always stuck their hand in the cookie jar. There has never really been a truly good DC live-action film (maybe the exception of TDK). They just don’t trust their talent and don’t seem to grasp the importance of staying true to the rich material they have at their disposal. They are thinking about making money, not making a film that will make money FOR them. Look at the GL film. The GL mythos is my favorite in the DC universe. Hall Jordan is tied for my favorite human* hero (Nightwing is second. Batman is GOD, but Dick Grayson is fantastic), and I was excited to see that hero and mythos come to the big screen. You know what? WB screwed the pooch. They changed the story too much. You know you’re in for a bad time when Blake Lively (who’s last name is in stark contrast to her boring acting ability) is playing one of the most progressive characters in the DCU and RYAN REYNOLDS is cast to play a gruff, serious, womanizing, daredevil of a man and you write the film as a comedy. The best part of the film was seeing my all-time favorite GL come to life (Kilowog–Google him, poozer), as well as perfect casting for Sinestro and Amanda Waller (I wanted her to be fat, but I dug the new look). Everything else about that film was goofy and comedic. Why? We’re talking about the same company that originally wanted to make a GL film as a comedy with Jack Black as the lead. They didn’t understand the source material and instead were set on a comedy from the get-go. A man finds a wacky alien ring! They never cared to give it the time of day because they feel the mythos is too childish. It is the same reason why we still haven’t gotten a Wonder Woman film/TV show. They feel that you can’t just have a demigod from a Warrior race of females be a diplomat. I mean, just look at the new 52 WW comic book. They could easily set the show/movie among the Greek Pantheon. It would involve contemporary versions of classic heroes and villains while WW takes a road trip through Olympus and mythical situations. THAT isn’t marketable. She’s a female. This is how WB see’s their characters. It is also why you have a show like Arrow, where the lead isn’t the billionaire, highly trained hand-to-hand combatant emerald archer from the comics. Instead, he is a gritty, murdering sociopath. They made a murderer out of Batman and gave him a bow. They take shitty ideas and screenplays they bought for little to no money (this same tactic lead to the horror franchise boom in the eighties) that have nothing to do with any existing franchise/property and add iconic heroes from the DCU in order to turn a quick buck and USE these scripts. They need a kick in the ass to do anything right; however, there is a bit of hope as the animated DC features are fantastic. They still change things from the very real, and very awesome comic book arcs they are adapting, but they do it out of necessity (and a bit of laziness).

Marvel, on the other hand, is different. While they seem to be doing well with their live-action films, their animated stuff is terrible (for the most part). You don’t believe me? Look at their one fantastic animated show(they don’t have any good animated films)–Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. You can’t because they cancelled it after being praised by fans for doing a great job. Why? Because toys. They weren’t getting toys sold fast enough because kids don’t have the patience to keep track of the adaptations of AMAZING story lines. One of which is going to be the basis for the Ant-Man film (and that means it will be amazing). Another problem that Marvel has is their property rights. Unlike DC, Marvel’s live-action rights are spread across Hollywood. This makes things complicated because they have to tailer their films around not having certain characters. Case in point: They wanted to put Scarlet Witch and Pietro (Quicksilver) in Avengers 2–they can’t mention their father Magneto or that they are mutants (that term is owned by Fox). You know the aliens from the Avengers film? They are the Chitari. They are the Ultimate Universe’s version of the Skrulls–a shapeshifting race of aliens that infiltrated the planet a few times, most notably during the Kree-Skrull war and the recent Secret Invasion. This ability of theirs, not to mention genetic engineering to mimic Earth heroes’ abilities would make for a fantastic villain, right? The end reveal would have been better in the film knowing that some of the higher ups, maybe even those people Nick Fury was speaking to on the screens, where actually part of a shapeshifting invading force, eh? Too bad. Fox owns the Fantastic Four. That means they own the Skrulls and a ton of other villains (including Galactus). While Marvel’s films are great, they get changed because of the tightrope act they need to do in order to keep from being sued. Which is why you won’t see a few of the more epic stories/characters on the big screen under the Marvel family. As you can see from the films, though, they differ more from DC. Marvel is owned by Disney now, which means toys. Now, Disney doesn’t hinder the films, but the look and feel of those films? They need to be bright, shiny, and larger than life. They also need to be believable, so as a result, you get these films that ignore the very real death of many characters and the more harsh implications of some of the character’s choices (Cap in WW2 with NO concentration camps, no Red Skull making speeches about a master race? No bloody battles/deaths in a Nordic setting full of gods that battle with hammer and blade? No bloody gashes during major battles? No alcoholism and torture for Tony Stark?) There is never any real danger in the Marvel films. That, coupled with the mandatory toy sales means we will NEVER see a hero die (and be brought back to life), especially not a main hero like Cap, even though it happens in the comics all of the time. We will never see Hulk crush a man, or Tony stark blow up a school. It just won’t happen. You think we will ever get a Civil War storyline on film? Maybe portions of it, but no matter how big the MCU gets, we’ll never have Nitro blow up a school in Stamford, CT. Even with Doctor Strange, we won’t see the gruesome demons and such. That’s the problem with Marvel. They think they are marketing to kids. The fact is, the kids DO buy the toys, but the parents/adults are the ones that buy and read the comics. The kids may watch the cartoons, and get the toys, but they only get the safe version of the characters that their parents show them. They aren’t reading Marvel Max, or even the latest storyline involving the Avengers trying to save the universe where Thor, graphically, throws Mjolnir through the chest of an alien. Or where villains torture, grotesquely disfigure, maim, rape and murder in the panels on the page. We will NEVER see an Avenger murder a person, or innocent bystander by accident, or in the case of Fear Itself, for pleasure. Regardless of whether they are being controlled by an outside force. Marvel caters to kids. They don’t cater to their customers.

I’m equally found of both comic book companies, but when it comes to films? DC wins with their animated films, while Marvel wins by default in the live-action category. Only time will tell if DC can get their act together long enough to put out engaging adaptations. With the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in the Superman/Batman oriented sequel to Man of Steel, they’ve shown that they are taking the steps needed to really go for the gold ring. WB just needs to hire the right talent and let them do their jobs without interfering out of fear of the bottom line. If you hire people that understand the source material and allow them to craft an adaptation with the public’s trust and anticipation in mind, the money will come. As it stands, the route they are currently choosing definitely hinders any project before it’s even released. With that said, Marvel needs to understand that, while their films will sell toys to children, that is no excuse not to give your comic book readers –adults–the benefit of doubt and not try to change/cut out everything that makes the characters and their stories so compelling. Much like the lesson DC needs to learn, Marvel needs to heed what it has already learned and stop augmenting their properties. Especially when they have VERY graphic characters waiting in the wings to be released. I’m referring to Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy (which should be nothing short of amazing, but will undoubtedly be VERY kid-friendly), Nova Corps, and Ant-Man ( this version has an old,  bi-polar, psychotic womanizing wife-beater mentoring a young, alcoholic, thief). 

Sandman Slim – A Review

Posted: 09/01/2013 in Ramblings

I was looking at my Goodreads account and I realized that I hadn’t written a review for this book when I gave it a star rating after reading it last year, er, in 2011. It is a fantastic book, and this is a decent review, so why not share it with….whomever.

Every once in a while a book comes along that unexpectedly blows you away. Not because it is a modern classic, or because it is unlike anything you have ever read before. It blows you away because it combines everything you are interested in and uses it to tell a story of the vein that you love. This is one of those books.

It’s not often that a book fits your personality and everything you love so completely. Sure, everyone can think of a list of quite a few books they can call their favorite. And this certainly makes my list, but for a different reason than the others (with the exception of American Gods). I genuinely love the topics that this book covers. Now, the language of the book (not explicit language, I’m talking about the references and such) may not be for everyone, but it is for me. Now that I am done explaining how much I like the book, let me tell you why I do, and why you should too.

Sandman Slim is the start of a brilliant series that falls into the Urban Fantasy range of books. Think of them as Harry Potter with attitude, but for adults…and about an asshole. If you don’t like Harry Potter, good. These books are nothing like them. I’m only using Potter to describe the use of magic and the feeling of connection and a fleshed out world. Confused? Don’t be. The book follows Stark, the titular character that also hates the name Sandman Slim (it’s pretty bad. Sorry, Kadrey). We meet him as he awakens in a graveyard in downton LA smelling like BBQ’s ass. He’s fresh out of Hell and looking for the the people that sent him there more than a decade prior. He has an abrasive personality, an shitty attitude, and not many friends. More like, reluctant allies. His mission is to get answers as to why he was sent down there, and how he can get back at the people who did it. There are laughs, heavy references to both the occult and classic cinema, booze, and most importantly a ton of mythical/theological creatures being quipped at and killed. If you’re into asshole’s with revenge lust, you’ll want to read Sandman Slim. The book is highly enjoyable for everything I have said, but there is also the character development of Stark as well as his whole timeline. Both what happens during the books, but also what we learn happened to him before we meet him while he was down in hell. If you like Urban Fantasy, read this. If you on’t know what Urban Fantasy is — READ THIS.