Batman vs Superman: Yawn of Justice

Batman vs Superman is actually the story of two dudes who can’t communicate at all.

The biggest problem in the plot of this mildly spoiler review is that both Batman and Superman are 10000000% guilty of hubris and neither of them admit it.
I went into Batman vs Superman (or vice versa) Dawn of Justice with the same level of meh as I approach most things that have been spoiled in every trailer, preview and sneak peek that a major movie can offer…which is to say I was passive aggressive teenage girl ambivalent to everything going on.
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The movie opens recreating the events of Man of Steel where instead of seeing handsome Henry Cavill we see WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne driving through Metropolis with his woes (and the apocalypse raining down on him and his brand friendly Jeep). From that moment, 18 months ago, Bruceman er Batman is completely team “Fuck this guy”. For reasons not one person on the writing team for this movie can explain or cared to explore, Batman is reactivated across town in Gotham and wages a one man war, tearing through the streets of Gotham like a toddler mid temper trantrum. He doesn’t cause chaos in Metropolis, where the problem ACTUALLY is, but instead just beats mercilessly on petty thugs and crooks. The Daily Planet runs a piece on some asshole with a branding fetish leaving bat brands on the low lives of Gotham in thinly explained attempts to suss out the kinda racist sounding White Portuguese drug cartel and this is how you want to introduce the two leads? I end it with a question mark because I wasn’t even sure if this was an episode of The Wire, Breaking Bad or something else involved drug runners with cool names and thusly confused as to why Batwayne was so obsessed with figuring out who WP was/is because meanwhile here’s Superman doing Superman things like bailing cats out of trees, rescuing Russian Cosmonauts from explosions and otherwise being a god on Earth. Batwayne is every flavor of salty because he immediately zeroes in on SuperKent to figure out why he’s so hunky and dreamy. I mean…why he writes puff pieces on assholes in longjohns.
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Cut to bizarre party somewhere in wherever where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (she’s in the movie, did I forget to mention this?) are at a party but the punchline is the dialogue is garbage.
The dialogue is bad.
It’s REALLY a screenwriting 101 script written by casual Wikipedia enthusiast that was then passed off to someone else to polish and instead of actually proofing, they just post-it noted lines in before handing it to someone else and the only things that were filmed were the post-it scenes. The GLUE of a Post-It is what’s holding this mess together and even that isn’t doing much of anything.
Batwayne gets one upped by Wonder whatever her name is and he’s all beguiled and sad. SuperKent is confused because he only has heart boners for Lois Lane who’s given even LESS than Wonder Woman to work with the in terms of whatever post-it plots they came up with for this movie.
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The movie works best if we’re talking about the actual assembly of the JLA versus the grumbling mumbling hulking bros who just can’t get their shit together. The idea that Batman would actively want to beat the shit out of Superman because of damages and loss sustained during Man of Steel is cool and one man doing it is also cool but if he felt he was such a major threat, watching Batman recruit a batch other -snicker- metahumans to understand them and get them on the side of good would be a much more engaging movie than the one we wound up with.
Anyway more talking happens and some fun cameos occur that actually riled up the crowd I was with (we my have been drinking) and that made me want THAT movie, the one I made up with all my action figures and in my head that I hoped Hollywood would rip off. It never happens and that’s where the burden of what DC is doing becomes apparent. The writers (I’m being a savage and saying it was atleast ten people trying their best to mansplain years of nerd lore) tried to do what Marvel has done with four movies in one movie and it shows, good GOD does it show. It’s most apparent with how they’ve glossed over the rest of the league, wink and nods to each member in what is tantamount to a Veronica Mars tribute scene.
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The third act is cobbled together as complete 100% fan service to those poor fools who still think DC as a brand and entity respects them and I for one low key am pleased before I realize that I honestly could give a flying fuck about who wins the Batman vs Superman debate; the one who loses is the rest of us. How?! Man of Steel. We all lost by seeing that grim piece of shit overthought hunk of shit. We got a fantastic opportunity to tell the tale of a man stuck with being a god and spent it grim darkly trying to understand Kal-El’s beef with the world. Superman is an alien, an immigrant and we never in any permutation of him felt that loneliness and need to belong, to be respected; we have only ever gotten his god amongst men perspective. Conversely, Bruce Wayne is the little orphan shitshow that could. They are men burdened with being men who want to save a broken world but on their terms. In short, there’s not real risk choosing Batman or Superman; they’re not the dudes you want but the options you have. It’s basically like the 2016 elections so…
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Then, there’s Wonder Woman.
In the Synderverse she’s every humorless woman any basic fuckboy has told to smile; she hates everyone and would gladly squeeze the last breath from their lungs if it meant one less useless cretin in the world.

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So basically I’m in love.
She’s actually the reason to see this. With almost no dialogue, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is probably the best part of this 2 hour therapy session. She stares a lot, analyses and disappears. When she appears, the theater erupts. I look forward to the one time I pay for this movie to experience that euphoria. The masses demand a woman who doesn’t give a fuck; that solves a problem and shrugs when everyone else is completely flummoxed.
Remember in IronMan 2 when Black Widow was completely down played? Same problem. Many a think piece is being written about how women in these movies are completely bypassed (merchandise and actual focal point) so really, it’s done and over with but honestly…
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The final sequence happens exactly as you would expect a video game or a great weed fueled story to go. Fast, mad cut scenes, bright lights, fan service and of course hero shit. There are no stakes raised, no sense of loss or gain in this as you watch it, just a lot of “cool” or “they should’ve cleaned that up more in post” and “that’s it?!” There’s no sense of ramped up world building that follows movies like this, just the simple nod and “I saw that it was ok” and then onto the next one.
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When the movie ended, my nerd cohorts all puzzled over where to go and if we should keep drinking; no one was bothered by the movie, there was a sad sense of acceptance. We knew it would blow but we didn’t expect to ALL be devastated by how truly bland a movie it was. It just washes over you in a wave of sad feelings.
As I walked out and had a drink with a coworker we spent more time arguing how good Marvel was at these movies than DC and a MAJOR conclusion was met; DC banks heavily on the name recognition while Marvel wants to seduce into their world and keep you there for as long as possible. Superman vs Batman only holds the door open long enough for you to walk in, have your ass smacked by the swinging door and by then you’ve already lost time and money to whatever is happening.
There’s no investment in your delight or engagement, just simple shrugging and plot holes. It’s terrible that the Snyderverse/Nolanverse is grim tones and too much reality for people to handle; the joy of these properties is that there is someone out there watching for us and protecting us from ourselves and the things that endanger us all. There’s no mirth or joy in this universe which is why it’s funny to think the heroes are so dark while the team on Suicide Squad clearly snorted alot of cocaine in Scarface’s Miami and candy coated the most violent batch of lunatics. Juxtaposing these two worlds adds to the other issue that weighs down this movie; neither the villains or the heroes seem to be aware of either’s existence. That’s terrible. You’re telling me that Superman was unaware of the Joker gang running the streets of Gotham before the Batman finished him? Superman had to know there was fuckery abounding. For your audience to walk out completely wigging out and confused by what they just watched…that kind of reaction can spell the end times for comic book properties as audiences reach a sympathy level of nope when it comes to how much you can ask a non comic book reader to suspend their belief in things.

Truth be told, the movie will make a shit ton of money and for that, we should be sad because there’s no reason for subpar movies to make that kind of bank and still be considered good. We deserve much better than what we’re getting with this second round of Bat/Sup movies but ultimately the fandom will split; they’ll pick another comic book franchise to get behind that won’t treat them like they’re stupid.

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I hope that Marvel, still humbled by missteps, take this into account when it comes to Captain America: Civil War as that movie hinges entirely on the fandom in both the MCU and comic book universe to really think about who they’ve aligned themselves with because that’s the real problem; Team Cap or Team Iron.

Agents of SHEILD: How Bobbi Morse Made Me Feel Bad Wonder Woman Tanked

Super spies, am I right?

Tuesday’s episode of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD titled “A Hen In The Wolfhouse” introduced fans to a classic Marvel character Bobbi Morse, codename Mockingbird, as a double agent working for Hydra. Clad in what can best be described as the most stylish long coat with way too many buttons, perfect hair and permanent death glare, Bobbi is brought in to suss out the mole in Hydra’s office cubicles.

Popped collars are so badass

Not to point out anything the teaser hasn’t shown, everyone know’s it’s Agent Simmons.

In the last act, Bobbi stages a daring Black Widow in IronMan 2 hallway beatdown before…well, I’m not giving everything away.

Actress Adrianne Palicki is Bobbi (just Bobbi because we’re friends now) seems to have been building herself up for this part and for good reason; back in 2011 she had been cast as Diana Prince in the cringeworthy David E. Kelley produced Wonder Woman pilot. At that point, she seemed wrong for the part, awkward even, lacking the poise and potential to be the iconic Amazon despite serious training, working the hell out of whatever that outfit was and being all around dorktacular. After scathing reviews the pilot was passed on by NBC. The pilot has since surfaced online and if you can endure the commentary, is up for your viewing curiosity.

After the dust settled, it turned out that everything you could do wrong for a character was done to TV Diana.

I mean she needs the leather jacket but other than that I’m sold.

Following the pilot, Palicki was appeared in the Red Dawn (featuring Thor himself Chris Helmsworth) reboot and cast as Lady Jayne in G.I Joe: Retaliation holding her own alongside The Rock, Bruce Willis and other dudes who were dudes in the movie. She’s also in the upcoming Keanu Reeves movie John Wick as attractive leather jacket wearing woman with a sneer and a gun (I have a type).

 In the time it took for Palicki to recover from the Wonder Woman misstep, DC has since rolled out a new Wonder Woman in Gal Gadot as well as announced a hold date for her stand alone movie in 2017, effectively pretending that none of that ever happened. Watching her tonight as Bobbi made me think about how big a missed opportunity is was with the Wonder Woman TV series, especially considering her overall look now versus a few years ago. Perhaps it was the roles that followed that really groomed Adrianne and that’s why she looks and feels so right as Mockingbird; much like her character she had to get her ass kicked around a bit to really become the superhero she was meant to be. While this is the first in a few episodes for Bobbi, she already feels right with the team and that’s a miss for the DC camp because it means that Adrianne could very well appear in any one of the Marvel film franchises from Avengers 3, Captain America 3 or give Scarlett Johannson a playmate in a Black Widow film estimated for 2016. Essentially, DC bungled their chance to beat Marvel with their TV format with  Wonder Woman by treating it as a novelty rather than a launching point for an iconic character.

Rather than making Diana the CEO of some cosmetics company, the series would’ve worked as a spy thriller in the same vein as Agents of Shield. Wonder Woman as a series should’ve been approached the way I always imagined the Black Widow movie; have something that needs to be taken care of quietly and efficiently? Send in the demigod Diana. Cloak and dagger, paranormal and up to the hilt with Greek mythology Diana is the only now who can handle all of that and still somehow maintain her luxurious hair. Think The X-Files meets Buffy with a little bit of Lost Girl thrown in for flavoring. Everyone she works with knows she’s lethal, they just don’t talk about it. She’s got a messy, will take seasons to figure out it’s so messy backstory (mother Hippolyta, father Zeus, Christmas is a nightmare) and a loyal bestie in Wonder Girl. See!? IT WORKS. You’d watch it.

The mistake was in NBC’s approach and with DC’s ambivalence. Seeing Adrianne as Bobbi in AoS, confident with the how and why  she’s important to the storytelling, made all the difference in the world when it comes to her casting. She comes off likable, snarky, charming and believable as any one of the other characters on the show (I like her more than Skye but that’s because I see too much of myself in Skye) You can’t really judge a show by it’s pilot but it’s usually the measuring stick by which you decide how you’re going to spend your energy watching a show. Wonder Woman’s pilot was designed to fail from the get go and many of the write ups (which are googleable) pointed the finger of blame on Adrianne not looking the part; I contend she just felt wrong because the character, the plot, the pacing, the everything felt wrong. She wasn’t comfortable with what was eventually going to go down. Watching her now, she’s come into her own and seeing that made me ache for what could’ve been had she been given the right tools to be the Wonder Woman we wanted her to be, hell, for all we know, that show would’ve probably crushed AoS in ratings.

I wanted the Wonder Woman show to fly (invisible jet optional) the way that AoS does but at the same time, I can see how she  wasn’t ready, the time wasn’t right and the idea wasn’t fully realized. It also has to do with the respect level given to the character. There was no respect for Wonder Woman in a serial format and even less interest in making her someone with a dynamic background. As we get to know AoS Bobbi, I promise there will be nuanced layers and character building that makes you wonder if someone like her can be trusted, after all, she spent WAY too much time comfortably prowling the halls of Hydra HQ.

Marvel, as long as DC continues to drop the ball, will rectify their mistakes and see how they’ve got to stop alienating female fans and will continue to introduce characters into their standing media properties with rabid fangirl fan bases (I’m looking at you Kate Bishop and Carol Danvers….)

I see you bae

Katee Sackoff better be ready

While DC struggles to separate their much better handled TV properties (The Flash is that same knee slapping fun that Smallville started with)  from their shitshow film properties (Batman vs Superman vs Wallet), Marvel is quietly gobbling up all the potential actors and locking them into projects. Losing The Rock and Jason Mamoa to DC sucks but I am interested to see what they do with Black Adam and Aquaman but like anything, only time will tell how smart a move that was.

At 5’11, she would’ve made a fantastic Batwoman (yes because I want to see her with a cape, no because she could be kissing Renee Montoya) and now that she’s permanently out of DC’s wheelhouse (appeared in Smallville and the aborted Aquaman pilot) that’s not going to happen. Now that I’ve seen her as Bobbi, I don’t want her for anything else. I want her and Clint Barton to go and do cool spy shit together making Natasha snark all the way in the Heliojet about how they’re both punkasses even though everyone knows Nat isn’t a fan of heights. I want her to be just as tough as Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) because I need more women who smirk while hitting someone on my television. I need her to get her respect because the kid really did get knocked around after Wonder Woman failed and she’s in turn gotten stronger from it. Isn’t that how we want all our heroes to be?

Does a T Shirt Make A Fan?

The above photo was Tweeted out earlier this week when a Aimée Morrison (@digiwoonk) while shopping in Target Canada shopper found this delightfully idiotic baby pj set. Morrison is an asspciate Profressor working in digital humanities and new project media design and theory. Which sounds super badass.

In any case, Aimée shared her disappointment with the pj options as they appeared to encourage gender conformity in BABIES, particularly that girls were only going to date superheroes while the boys would grow up to be the heroes the girls would eventually date because yay adult behavior in INFANTS. First of all, the color scheme for the girls pj set is hideous; whoever approved that slate heather gray and bright pink obviously hates babies and decent color pallets. It doesn’t stop there, Wal-Mart’s junior section boasts a particularly disheartening t shirt on their website as well as in stores:

Alfred will have something to say about that

So what you’re telling me is that as a woman I’m only as good as the idiot boyfriend I snag in spandex?

Besides fueling obviously dated and tired tropes about where women land in the hero spectrum, it again pairs HIDEOUS pink and gray tones as if to say, hey ladies, you like them dudes doing dude things and you also like pink because we’re guessing that’s what you ladies like.

C’mon.

Maybe if you had that on a black tee with yellow lettering like classic Batman colors, or even the vintage blue and gold coloring I’d be sold on it because then it would match the pairs of converse your average nerdy lady owns and that  is really the fashion that matters. (not really, Batman is pretty much over for me)

Does a t-shirt really make the fan? What is the message that DC is sending to female readers? Marvel isn’t exempt.

It’s not gray and pink but I don’t need a hero.

boys get to be heroes and adorable color combinations

In the long list of things DC keeps failing at, t-shirts seems to be the next notch against them. The Batman’s wife in training shirt is an Officially Licensed product, meaning that someone in their merchandise and branding department had to approve this message before sending it into production, the same with the Marvel shirts. Essentially, the top brass approved it thinking nothing of it and we, the internet denizens were appalled and rightfully so. These major corporations, whether they want to really be responsible for it or not, do shape some of the basic understanding that young boys and girls have when it comes to gender equality. By green lighting these shirts, DC and Marvel effectively say, yeah, girls and women know who these guys are but we’re pretty sure they don’t really want to BE them. They’re throwing women a fashion bone by even thinking of them. When kids get a new shirt to show off, you know they’re comparing their designs and the boys are really buying the slogans on the girls shirts while the girls are staring longingly at a Thor shirt that comes with a cape. They slowly accept the burden of being the lesser because a cartoon character on 100% cotton said so; the company responsible reminded them that this is a boys world and you’ll never really get to have all of it. Is it really the case? Hopefully not but those lessons come from parents who are ideally teaching them that everyone is equal and we’re all capable of extraordinary things. The shirts are exterior expressions of their internal values and in essence, who they are as people. If you tell a girl she’s only as good as the boy she snags, she won’t want anything else.

Some women in comics only serve to advance the hero’s journey and have a short lifespan.

Sorry Gwen, you always deserved more.

Other women in comics advance it to the point where you want more from them they you do the male protagonists like Natasha Romanov and Laura Kinney better known as Black Widow and X-23.

Luck be a pair of bad bad ladies

Today Thor # 1 launched and people are lining up to pick up the comic despite mantle of Thor going to a woman Expect the numbers for such a title to be massive, given the controversy behind the entire thing to begin with. How is it possible that we are still living in a world where even our t-shirts are dictated by tropes and dated concepts? A solid majority of passing comic book movie watchers, delighted that they’ll have something cute to wear with something, will no doubt buy it not realizing they’re continuing to fuel a disparity between the sexes when it comes to t-shirts and fandoms. Someone is fueling the demand for idiotic shirts with poor slogans and we, the people aware of the entire thing will be standing in the streets asking why.

A t shirt does not make a fan, a slogan does not define the wearer but they do make statements about who you are and the values that you have. If you don’t like something, do something about it. You should protest it, make a scene about it, make other people aware of what it is that bothers you so much about the object in question. In fact, it’s encouraged. Voice your opinion on why this is wrong and like the old saying goes, money talks. Don’t spend your money on it. Force the brands and companies at large that you are not interested in this type of message and instead voice that there are other ways to tell a comic book shirt than by relying on the same old thing. Yes, there are some girls who just want to be the girlfriend to the tough guy super hero (or super villain). There are even BOYS who want to be the bad girl’s boyfriend but they are always told that no woman is out of their reach while girls are told there are types for them; a lid for every pot as it were. It’s sad that Target and WalMart will continue accepting these shirts, lunch boxes, outfits, toys and other questionable things from Marvel and DC, despite their approval; a buyer from each respective retailer has final say on the things that eventually adorn the shelves. It’s worse because it seems that the majors don’t care about the FAN; they’re still stuck in data that dissects gender, age and income rather than whether it’s a good product to begin with. I’m still super pissed off that there aren’t any Gamora toys in the BOYS or GIRLS toy section and that Black Widow is part of a Legends series that has more Winter Soldiers and more variant Captain Americas than it does BW or Falcon. It’s upsetting to think that you feel like the tangible things that make you a fan aren’t aimed towards you as a consumer because the entities involved don’t consider you to be important enough to be listened to.

The sexism in comics at large isn’t shocking, it’s the fact that the companies themselves continue to feed into the stereotype as though women in the space are tainting and destroying their sacred area with their lady essence. If anything, women in comics have made things so much better, ushering in a new wave of diversity, new ways of telling the same old stories and bringing some of the most talented artists to the medium front and center. So many men seem upset that women are even in shops and if they are, there’s a massive test that they need to pass in order to be taken seriously. Dude. You barely speak english correctly, who the hell are you to quiz me on who’s stronger Thanos or Galactus ? (Answer: Brainiac, watch them keel over in sheer horror) You can ask me where the latest book is and I’ll point your mouth breathing self in that direction, don’t assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about and if I don’t, please believe I will educate myself, I don’t need you.

BRONIES TOOK MY LITTLE PONY FROM LITTLE GIRLS AND TURNED IT INTO THIS GROSS ICKY THING.

While I am a Marvel fan with passing interest in DC, I’ve come to adore the work coming out of Dark Horse and Image, especially when it comes to how female centric their titles and creative teams are. They are interested in storytelling, the hell with who’s at the focus of them. As New York Comic Con fast approaches, it will be interesting to see how things play out when I’m elbow to elbow with some of the shitbrains who are more and more frequently being called out on their shitbrainness.

This is bigger than t-shirts and what they say. This is about being treated fairly and equally because you also like a thing. This is about being able to buy a Thor t-shirt with a detachable cape knowing full fucking well that you shouldn’t be wearing them but dammit if it isn’t good looking! 

This is about being able to wear a shirt that isn’t pink and adorned with some glitter that proclaims you as Batman’s Wife or Captain America’s Best Gal. This is about being able to wear a shirt that says You Kicked Creel’s Ass and All You Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt or I’m The One Coulson Calls. This is about being able to tell the world that while comic books are fairly geeky and cater to a strange and wonderful section of our population, you are someone who loves to live in the world where everyone looks good in spandex, kicks a little ass and works as a team.

It’s about being a hero even when you feel like you can’t go on, it’s about being able to wear something that says you’re more than the sum of your parts and as long as fashion continues to promote otherwise, it’s about fighting until we’re all allowed to wear a shirt that says Training to Be Batwoman.

Check out t-shirts from We Heart Fine because they’re user created and take the high road when it comes to flirting with gender as well as visiting Her Universe because it’s only fair that we support creators seeking to reach a consistently disenfranchised and marginalized group.

I’d rather be a hero than training to be their sidekick.

The Fast and Furious Franchise Is A Superhero Movie

Warner Brothers unveiled the logo for the longest title in superhero movie history, Batman vs Superman:Dawn of Justice. Naturally, the internet was all over it, bagging on the decisively long title, the terrible logo and the confusion about WHY justice needed to be dawning to begin with.

It looks like when you smash a bug with a sneaker that has a pretty snazzy design on the sole

 

While promoting X-Men Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer sounded off on why the varied success of the Fox version of the Marvelverse in comparison to the Disney Marvelverse:

It’s very different universes. The appeal is different and to try and do the same thing… this in an ‘inbetweequel’, OK, of two ensemble films, Avengers and the Marvel movies are individual franchises based on major characters that’s why there are some Marvel characters in Avengers that don’t have their own movie, because I don’t know if they had their own movie anyone would be that interested.

DC/Warner Brothers have the unenviable task of taking beloved superheroes and making them work as a team, without the padding time of being able to launch standalone series in the same way Marvel launched their properties. DC essentially left their bags of money on Bats and Supes doorstep and walked away quietly, banking on the logo recognition and ability to sell millions of branded merchandise, not focusing on building an experience or enhancing their films in the way that Marvel has built out their titles. DC’s TV properties, by the way, have successfully introduced Green Arrow to the masses following the micro Justice League run in the later seasons of Smallville; Arrow, the Smallville spinoff is launching The Flash this fall. Both of these characters as well as Wonder Woman, who is yet to successfully launch in any medium, are members of  The Justice League but there is no word on whether they will appear in the film itself, Wonder Woman is confirmed but what she will actually do, if anything, remains to be seen. The DC/Warner Brothers team have to decided to take a group of people that are relatively unknown in the general movie going population and make them characters worth caring about while sharing the screen with Batman and Superman.

Sure, Marvel had standalone films before launching The Avengers but that has more to do with world building, telling a good story. It can be outlandish, seem like the strangest trip known to man but you CARE about where you’re going and that’s why movies are so good.

The Fast and Furious series may well be the finest piece of cinematic superhero storytelling we will see on screen.

The first movie, The Fast and The Furious centered around wildly attractive FBI Agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) infiltrating the allegedly impossible to infiltrate illegal street racing in Los Angeles via local family lunk Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of import and muscle car driving goons. The movie is a candy coated tribute to the car porn dreams we all have while the characters have delight they are impossibly campy car movie with one liners, tight shirts, early 2000s rap-rock soundtrack and the emergence of the new action star in Vin Diesel.

2 Fast 2 Furious would follow, starring Walker and adding model/singer/fine smile owner Tyreese Gibson, the Mouf of The South rapper Ludacris and Eva Mendez to the cast as supporting characters in the growing sexy race car business. Set in Miami, the movie ups the stakes with drug trafficking, 80s level villains and a pretty intense chase sequence. These characters would serve to bolster the further the legacy of the Fast franchise, despite lacking Diesel in the lead role.

Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift would take the franchise across the world to Japan with a completely new set of characters. If you watch this one, you’ll see where the superhero element starts to take shape. Sean leaves Alabama to live with his father, stationed in Japan to avoid a lengthy jail sentence after driving too fast and too furiously through his small town. While there, he meets another American transplant in Twinkie, played by rapper Bow Wow, who’s got a thing for Jordans and street racing. The duo connect with local drifter (driver) Han and they naturally master the racing. What’s interesting about this is that Han references a racer he met in the States, a racer he never names but another character meets at the end of Tokyo Drift that brings us back to the States with The Fast and Furious.

We return to Los Angeles, where it all began where Brian and Dom are trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Letty, Dom’s girlfriend. They bring it back to the core group and reintroduce characters that appeared in the previous films, building Dom and his crew with a wild concoction of characters that support the cause of…driving fast and furiously. The races are bigger, the fights more drawn out and the shirts tighter. The film was even billed as New Model, Original Parts. It reinvigorates a franchise after Tokyo Drift which felt a bit out of left field for some audiences, despite having a tighter storyline than the other movies. The cars are extensions of the characters, as easily identifiable as a Bat Signal, Superman’s S (correction, the symbol for Hope).  You cringe when you watch them smash (these are seriously beautiful cars), when they appear just in the nick of time, you’re swept up in the emotion of the moment of these characters doing something insane.

By the time Fast 5 is released, you’re willing to accept every type of madness this series will throw at you and by the movie’s last act, you really do. This time around, Dom and his team are being hunted down by arguably the biggest superhero of all, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. They do not make shirts tight enough for this man. The team wind up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil veritable Robin Hoods in a city run by a corrupt official with Johnson’s Hobbs hot on their heels. Without spoiling much, let’s just say, you will be hard pressed to find a better argument for American made muscle cars and their engine blocks than when you watch them literally break the bank.

Fast and Furious 6 kicks up the entire series into overdrive from the first frame, hammering you with visuals, racing, snappy comebacks and yes, tight shirts. Adding women’s UFC fighter Gina Carano to the mix as Hobbs’ new partner joining Dom’s team of international super racers, the cheesy plot includes amnesia, character retcon and this scene:

The series that started as a wink and nod to the old racer movies of the 50s spawned into a massive multi-million dollar blockbuster by following the same simple elements that we as an audience love to see in a good popcorn movie: characters we like in improbably scenarios, doing insane things because it’s the right thing to do. Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw is on his Bond-villian A game against Team Torretto, giving sleezeball realness in skinny jeans, rolling around in an Aston Martin because why not, this is London and everyone drives luxury cars and using every type of fancy new technology at his disposal. As the above sequence shows, there is nothing more breathtaking than seeing a casually roar down the highway and nary a fig given for reality. You as the viewer are so engrossed in how perfectly impossible the entire scenario is, you’re at the edge of your seat, jaw open and wondering how the hell are they going to get out of this mess.

Naturally the final act is fan service and again, forgoing spoilers, it is something you would expect from a superhero movie.

Death is defied, physics ignored and shirts are tight.

What makes the franchise work at its base is how likable each character introduced are, despite occasionally bad dialogue, they are personalities that you may know. They can provide a bit of reassurance in finding yourself as a person in the world, much in the same way a superhero can inspire you to strive for more. The series as a whole combines impossible elements with improbably scenarios and impractical uses for cars but in a bizarre way, it all works. It’s the same reason we believe that Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern ring combined with his imagination makes him the defender of Earth as part of the Lantern Corps. It’s the same reason that we believe that Tony Stark’s Iron Man is a valuable piece of machinery. It’s the reason why X-Men were formed, why The Avengers avenge and what the Justice League stands for. We want to know that a group of people with a goal can accomplish anything, whether it’s legal or illegal, in tight shirts with aliases and winning, even if we have to suspend our belief.

Gal Gadot, Giselle in the FF series, was cast as Wonder Woman in the aforementioned Superman/Batman movie. A former Isreali soldier turned model, the actress has tall boots to fill as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. With so many calling her physique and appearance into question, Gadot has the unique opportunity to cross from regular car hero to actual super hero. How much of her we’ll see is still up in the air, but the hope is that we’ll actually get to see something special. Vin Diesel is the voice of Groot in Marve’s upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy. It doesn’t get more gangsta superhero than a talking tree. If two actors from these films are already comic book movie canon, accepting the characters and plots to the FF series can’t be all that far fetched now can it?

The Fast movies argue that comic book movies have a lot to strive for. They have to find the heart and soul in one character that can understandably, comfortably and confidently bring together a group of misfits, crooks, rogues and smartasses to convincingly make the mission one worth doing. You have to care about what’s going on, who they are and the journey you’re willing to go on when it comes to spending hard earned money on any of these big budget movies this summer and every summer to come. They don’t necessarily have to wear spandex and have super powers but if they’re attractive and wearing tight shirts it’s all good.