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.

Dear DC: Don’t Get Cocky with Suicide Squad or Batman vs Superman Just Yet

After last night’s insane Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was released, I kinda had to wonder if DC might be making the wise move with their whole grimdark thing.

I mean.

You showed me Wonder Woman and my face basically did this:
Let's Put a Smile on That Face

Then, later on in the evening’s festivities came a sweet little clip which the screengrab is from. David Ayer, writer director of Suicide Squad said, fuck it, here it is. Unlike it’s DCU counterpart, this one, which gives you the first look at Harley, Quinn, Kitana, Boomerang, Slipknot and of course The Joker, doesn’t have a full HD approved trailer so basically, this grainy cell phone footage is all we’ve got for now. So far DC is two for two with their offerings while Marvel and quietly unveiled the incredibly appropriate NSFW Deadpool trailer (which was also leaked) ultimately making Saturday night in San Diego the best night of the convention. Friday, the House That Owns Your Childhood essentially threw down the gauntlet with a star studded Star Wars behind the scenes featurette promising there is more to explore in the galaxy far far away.

But Circus, aren’t you here to talk about how DC shouldn’t get cocky with their new trailers?

Well yeah I am.

With these two trailers, DC like Batman in his Iron Suit is preparing for war and based on the fan response, it seems to be working. So far, the DC camp has taken a very smacktalk stance in the battle for your wallet and dominance in the cinematic world.

CEO Kevin Tsujihara has said, “The worlds of DC are very different. They’re steeped in realism, and they’re a little bit edgier than Marvel’s movies,” and Warner Bros. President Greg Silverman offered his take on DC (vs Marvel): “The filmmakers who are tackling these properties are making great movies about superheroes; they aren’t making superhero movies. And when you are trying to make a good movie, you tackle interesting philosophies and character development.” But, just in case we haven’t gotten the very serious message, Ben has his own take on the differences between the two film universes:

“It is more mythic, it is more grand in that way, and it is a little more realistic. Just by their nature, these films can’t be as funny or as quick or as glib as Marvel movies.”

Sure, Ben and Greg we want to have a deep psychological thriller about how being a hero has taken a toll on the mind body and spirit of a character grounded in the reality of the time with just a hint of the mystical but you’d just shit all over that too.

While it’s WAY too early to say that DC wins 2016, it’s also too soon to say that they’re finally understanding how to wrangle in their various properties under one single banner in the way Marvel has. They have actively stated, during the casting process for Justice League, that their CW/TV properties (Arrow, The Flash, soon to be released Legends of Tomorrow and The Atom) won’t ever appear in their DC cinematic universe. So. You’re saying for the past four years I’ve been looking at Steven Amell but I won’t ACTUALLY get to see him in the context of being a member of JLA because you’ve got someone else who’ll be taking the role? Same with Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen being subbed out for Ezra Miller’s Wally West? Okay so you just made me rot my brain with mellowdrama, GLIB FUNNY MELLOWDRAMA to then make me look at a whole new cast of characters who are essentially more expensive versions of the people whom you’ve grown a fanbase with.

Grant Gustin

Ezra Miller

vs

What DC is doing is splintering their own universe, ruining the cohesive bonds between their own properties just to make them all work in one world on the big screen.

So basically just like Convergence.

Imagine that you’re still learning about these comic characters, getting immersed in their worlds and diving into their years of history being retold on tv. You have embraced these TV actors and their stories as your new visual canon truth, dedicated fanfiction and Tumblr gifs to these people and then you’re told that world is a lie.

DC can’t get cocky or arrogant about any of their films because they continue to commit the same sin as their comic books; they accept one canon one truth only reject it in favor of the one that sounds more plausable. They want to continue to be the Anti-Marvel with grounded realism and real world consequences, frequently relying on comments like the ones quoted earlier for their basis in their logic. It’s worth pointing out that the events in the first The Avengers movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier all had consequences that impacted both their MCU and blossoming TV titles in Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D and in Netflix’ series Daredevil without needing to be glib about the entire thing. DC while throwing their shade should be checking the playbook and developing their properties in a far more skilled manner.

That’s not to say that Marvel’s current success was straight out of the box; the company had suffered many a film fumble. Two Hulk movies within years of one another, the wildly varied Blade trilogy, Daredevil (thanks again Ben) the two vastly different Punisher films (fan favorite Thomas Jane vs the very gruff and more Frank Castle-esque Ray Stevenson). Their licensing agreements left them without the X-Men, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four as they worked towards becoming a film studio; some of these ‘rebooted’ movies would be launched from Marvel Studios and slowly they began laying the groundwork for the multi-tier Marvel MCU phases we’ve seen. The blockbuster purchase of the company by Disney, didn’t hurt either. All of the mis-steps, retooling, ret-conning and ultimately accepting of their fates allowed for Marvel to take truly unique risks in their cinematic storytelling giving the world talking raccoons and one line trees. While still acquiring their properties, they’ve managed to tap into the TV market, which I will admit DC was dominating from Smallville straight on through to to their DC Direct animated movies, and have seen how DC failed to connect their visual dots. Marvel is working on retooling their animated series, canceling various shows and rebooting them to meet with current published issues as well as link with the films being released. DC cranked out multiple versions of the same characters with different stories and actors, banking on the name alone and hoping that they could continue to work behind the scenes to present a unified product.

Marvel launched solo film franchises for a majority of the Avengers. Except Black Widow but I don’t wanna talk about that.

even Coulson got a one shot for fuck’s sake.

and I like him.

Anyway, Marvel LAUNCHES solo films, introducing each character with the love and support that comes from a proud house, making sure the right people are in place and involved in the creation of each project and then forms the first of three Avengers movies. They break apart and come back together, it’s beautiful really.

DC is tossing all the kids into the pool with BvS: unveiling my beloved Wonder Woman, teasing Aquaman and possibly hinting at the rest of the JLA team when the second half of the gargantuan film launches the following year. They’ve gotten you hyped for a movie that will more than likely tax your brain with the information overload; they don’t trust you to get to know these characters and instead chose to use familiar faces to introduce you to their new friends.

It’s like going to a party and not knowing anyone but you’re like, okay I’m fine with this…while texting your real friends

unless this guy is there, then, bye friends

It feels like you’re going to sit in a theater with a numb ass and a bladder full of soda trying to find a reason to care because from their previous track record, cinematically, DC doesn’t care enough to try again. Maybe it’s the curse of Hal Jordan or maybe they think this version of events will be the canonical moment that truly does bring their movies together. I can see the logic in introducing them into Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice but it’s also at the risk of telling a story; it’s Bats, it’s Supes, its Diana it’s a roll call of heroes you’re not sure you should care about and for the next two hours you’re going to try your best to do so.

It could even happen with Suicide Squad. The only characters a neophyte would know or recognize are The Joker and potentially Harley Quinn; the success banks heavily on making them either likable or believable enough to engage a non-reader while entertaining a hardcore fan. That’s a lot to do.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m seeing it as a long time Marvel fan who’s basically been through some of the best, worst, misguided points in the company’s history and I fangirl super hard for them but I’ve also done the same for DC and it’s difficult to cheer for a company that hides behind the same two characters.  maybe it will actually work out and the fans will be glad they suffered so long with the errors in continuity, retconning, rebooting and Batfleck but it’s the fact that DC is so transparent in their dislike for Marvel’s success that it makes it hard to not want to make a cheap comment. Maybe they can pop their collar this year; Marvel said they were going to scale back on their promotional work at the con. The things that stood out from this weekend are things that would’ve popped if both houses were pumping out hits (Heroes Reborn, Fear The Walking Dead) so it’s hard to gauge the success of the presentations at this point. The biggest miss for WB/DC is not releasing the official HD version of the same trailer; the reps are all very pissed the video even leaked and have been going on a takedown spree in an attempt to erase what’s been seen. The official word is that they wanted it to be just for the people in Hall H. I wonder if they would’ve flashy thinged everyone to ensure that nothing leaked.

It can’t be unseen.

This is the digital age. Don’t be so arrogant as to think that Hall H is some sacred Fortress of Solitude where nothing gets out. If anything, thank whoever uploaded the video for you because it’s burned up the internet just as quickly as the BvS clip has, going viral in a matter of hours. Marvel says they will release the clean (and dirty) versions of their Deadpool trailer in the next few weeks and that trailer was also leaked overnight.

So just release it you clownshoes, you need the help love and over analysis of the nerd community to ensure that our ADHD addled brains remember that both Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad are released NEXT YEAR.

Do you see why DC can’t get cocky just yet?

Wonder Woman’s Six Scripts

Condensed into one final script.

Using Post Its.

I’m speculating and will probably come up with even worse treatments.

It will feature equal parts forced romcom, awkward political thriller, slow motion and possible wink and nod to how truly awkward it is to shovel 75 years of history into a two hour story.

Opening scene is Diana Prince, love and romance expert, writing a Sex in The City style article for the Daily Planet’s digital edition. She’s average looking. Brown hair pulled into a bun, green eyes, fair skin, a bought off the rack power suit. Has a framed picture of her cat. They want to downplay how good she really is.

Lois Lane is more desirable than she is.

Basically, she’s a swipe to the left on Tinder.

The plot will have to be something fun flirty and slightly dangerous because she will have to have a romantic foil or some kind of reoccurring running gag about her appearance or something that will be vaguely hinted at. Like a less sexy Mr. And Mrs. Smith despite the spandex. They’ll make it so that she’s undateable because she’s strong but someone who’ll run to her rescue is man enough for her. It will be left out that she is a demigod on par with Hercules, that her mother is Queen of the Amazons and her father is Zeus. Or Ares. The audience will pretend that that back story isn’t the same as Xena’s but quietly lament the fact just the same.

No big deal

Some semblance of a spy story, maybe referencing the hot mess that was Batman V Superman: Pectoral Wars where a flashback will remind audiences that Diana/Wonder Woman was even in the damn thing in the first place. Probably the only good part of the entire movie. Explosions, heroic poses, this outfit.

but we’ll probably won’t even get a good explanation for this at all

In covering up, explaining, protecting Superman and Batman (theoretically, Diana’s investigative skills unearthed everything about the super bros in the movie) she’s unearthed a much bigger problem with Lex Luthor, evil evil evil etc something something generic enough to be engaging. The romantic foil will keep reminding Diana she hadn’t fed her cat while they’re in the middle of a daring escape in the invisible jet, which, because it needs to max out the budget, will be visible and have a striking resemblance to the X-Men’s Blackbird but only by like total coincidence.

thank God Bruce had Wonder Dog on standby though

By Act 3, we’ll have to set up that Aquaman is also a Justice Leaguer and is Jason Momoa.

Bless

The solution will be simple and she’ll tell chiseled, unnamed romantic foil that her destiny is with doing daring deeds, feeding her cat and yada yada yada.

The End.

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?

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.