I return to air tonight on CosmicGeppetto.com, probably in a bathrobe, to re-gush over Logan and its trifecta of Oscar-worthy performances in Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Dafne Keen’s X-23, and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. First things first, though, let’s summarize for ya our favorite piece of casting news this week: smoldering actress Serinda Swan (Graceland, Smallville) getting tapped as Medusa in the upcoming Marvel network TV series, Inhumans.
We will be on the Cosmic Geppetto show tonight (airing at a later time) to discuss the vaunted superhero film in-depth, raving about the many finer points of the experience like how X-23 comes in the adorable, unassuming package of an 11-year-old with all the wisdom of a thirty-something seared into her eyes. Or how all three stars deserve Oscar nods next year or we riot. ICYMI: Here is our must-read on the film, giving you a primer on the precocious prodigy who stole hearts all over theaters this last week.
Until We Share the Aired, Edited Version of Our Appearance,
Enjoy Lil’s Prior 2 Appearances on Cosmic Geppetto:
Meryl Streep aside, the 2017 Golden Globes was Textbook 101 in why award shows without live performances shouldn’t be on television at all.
(TL;DR: Being a public figure calls for a modicum of self-awareness, a trait these award shows and their attendees lack in shovels and spades.)
Why do we watch ceremonies like the Golden Globes in the first place? The 3 G’s: The glitz, the glamor, the gossip.
Some of us watch for what’s apparently on-trend in upcoming fashion seasons, some to see what certain celebrities’ new faces look like, and a marginally few even watch to support their favorite works of art or to bemoan which ones got good ol’ snubs:
What don’t we watch for?
Not one of us watches in hopes that Meryl Streep will share her stunning sociopolitical belief that Hollywood actors are in the marginalized segments of society… or that Clint Eastwood will start stumping for Trump in front of a chair (Right-wing or Left, STFU about your politics at entertainment award shows! It’s not a Nobel; thank your mama and get off the stage. Hold a press conference on your own time!). None of us watch, either, for our personal stake in the movies or shows getting showered with gold (quite literally). These televised ceremonies target viewers who have nil to do with the entertainment industry. All in all… we only watch because it’s a guilty pleasure, much like the Real Housewives of [insert city].
These broadcasts, year and year again, repeatedly show a willful ignorance of this fact. Instead, they opt for self-indulgence, not unlike our buddy King Lion here:
3 Compelling Reasons Why the “Award” Part of Award Shows Need Not Be on TV:
1. The lack of entertainment on a show celebrating entertainment:
We love Jimmy Fallon, but boy, did he fail Sunday at this whole hosting thing. Keeping with the theme of self-indulgence, Fallon opened with, in lieu of a raunchy, satirical monologue like his predecessors, a cutesy cold open that only those who have seen the film La La Land (which is 2% of Golden Globes viewers) will appreciate. The rest of the night was spent with him doing the intermittent ’80s hip-hop parody… because.
As someone who has watched the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. with glee from a very young age, I have only noticed this pattern in adulthood: The shows that invite cynicism from the viewers (mainly due to boredom) are ones that provide little in the way of comedy and/or live performances.
The Oscars, while still managing to be way too long each year, at least sprinkle musical performances throughout the evening. The Tonys are very much a show in that their theatrical skits encapsulate the magic of what the night was meant to celebrate in the first place. Same can be said for the Grammys; each year, people tune in for their favorite artists’ performances of their latest and greatest, capitalizing on the Grammys’ huge production budget.
Then there are “shows” like the Golden Globes and Emmys, which rely entirely on the talents of the host to eke by, praying for controversial moments that will end up talking points the following week. In the past, Ricky Gervais and the dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have buoyed the Globes with politically incorrect jokes taking direct aim at Hollywood inhabitants in the room, assuming the point of view of those at home. When we the viewers hear Tina and Amy joke about where Leonardo DiCaprio likes his supermodels or a tipsy Ricky Gervais demand Mel Gibson explain what sugar t*ts are, we feel included in the night. A part of the glamor and self-celebration.
2. The insufferably self-important speeches relevant to no one not in the industry:
Ok, Meryl, try to “empathize” with this:
On a show in which every movie star is decked out like a show pony and liquored up to the nines, someone suddenly taking a moment to preach their political views to the masses is not only being tone-deaf, but appearing to hijack the entire night’s spotlight for themselves.
Besides Meryl Streep, Tom Hiddleston also failed to get this memo (or just ignored it in true lack of self-awareness). Accepting his trophy for his role in AMC’s The Night Manager, Hiddleston also took home the win for Biggest Humblebrag of the Night. He told a long story about how, on a trip to South Sudan, a bunch of Doctors Without Borders had approached him and claimed they binge-watched his miniseries while working to lend help to the war-torn region. Hiddleston declared how moved he was by “the idea that we could provide some relief and entertainment for people who are fixing the world in the places where it is broken.”
Essentially, he patted himself on the back for lending entertainment to the people risking their lives helping the less fortunate in Sudan. Scandal star Joshua Malina summed it best when he tweeted:
“Thank you to Tom Hiddleston and all actors who dare to perform in projects that are shown in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.”
3. The Inevitable Technical Malfunctions:
Not all actors are blessed with the gift of improv, which is fine, except when the Teleprompter fails and they have nothing to read.
Every goddamn year, without fail, the Golden Globes has at least one instance of this. This year, it happened as soon as Jimmy Fallon made his way to the stage. What we, the entertain-ees, are left with, is a steaming pile of blushed cheeks and Fallon hemming and hawing. What is it with Dick Clark Productions and uncoordinated tech? Maybe Mariah Carey is onto something. Maybe DC Productions is not trying to purposely sabotage the poor souls on stage, and ruin the viewing experience for all, but one does wonder: Are they comfortably incompetent because they are passively chasing that “moment” in this age of instant viral social media?
The 3 positives from this year’s Globes?
People who still wanted to entertain… and Me:
Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig:
Blake Lively? She’s Been Slacking since Gossip Girl!
The #WritersBlockStruggleBus was real coming back from our 2016-2017 winter hiatus. More unfortunately, the world had just lost Carrie Fisher, geeks everywhere lost their first love in Princess Leia, and the Star Wars universe is now devoid of both Han Solo and General Leia Organa… all on the tail of a triumphant reception this Christmas season of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
This wintry whirlwind of all things related to the galaxy far, far away makes us harken back to a happier time–one year ago, in fact, when J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise to end all franchises and made Rey (…Skywalker?) a cultural icon for new generations to come.
Hot Topic’s Her Universe line features this cardigan from its 2015 Fashion Show Audience Winner, Leetal Platt, who turned Rey’s scavenger gear into something wearable at school and work… as well as Comic-Con.
“Rey’s costume immediately called for drape and the sleeves made us want it to be a sweater. We thought if the fronts were long, they could be crossed and the front, paired with a belt, and also serve as cosplay, so, double duty!”
– Leetal Platt, designer
Plus Sizesalso available. Both options currently on sale!
mustardbrand also produced a sartorially elegant version of Rey’s robes. This rendition is much more subtle, unless one is searching for its connection to Star Wars. In that case, you can find a faint silicon Rebel Badge on the left upper arm sleeve:
We are happily blown away by the exquisite level of detail the design took in adapting Rey’s original outfit to 2017’s fashion sensibilities:
The cross-body styling on the sweater’s front is a modernization of Rey’s wrap top; it leads to an asymmetrical back hemline.
The subtle pintucking on the forearms mimics Rey’s arm wraps. No Jakku sand included.
“The subtle silicon Rebel logo on the upper arm lets you share your allegiance with those who get close enough – but it’s not evident if they’re not looking for it!”
And coming soon from Hot Topic Her Universe:
Anddd Coming Soon in 2017 from LilGripes.Com:
Hey, So-Called “Feminists”: Give Wonder Woman Her Ambassadorship Back!
DC v Marvel: Who Has Better Female Heroes and Villains?
*SIGH* Let me begin by stating that I so wish people weren’t thisobsessed with race. We don’t need to inject race into discussions where it doesn’t belong, but nevertheless, racial controversy has bled over into conversations about nerd-centric movies and TV shows. This applies to gender in equal measure. So… let’s do this.
Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One
INSTEAD OFthrowing a collective hissy fit when a Hollywood star who happens to be Caucasian is cast in the role of a canonically non-white character, we should be acknowledging and cheering on the increasingly diverse casting that is happening in Superhero (and general Geek Culture)-Land as of late. Progress is happening, but people have a tendency to focus on the negative and controversial rather than all the good.
For example, when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Tibetan sorcerer Ancient One in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, people flipped out. For every “Ancient One casting,” however, there seems to be double the instance of reverse whitewashing (colorwashing? brown-washing?) and gender-reversing (see: 2016’s Ghostbusters) going around…
“Progress is happening, but people focus on the negative rather than all the good.”
Yes, let’s start here. Everyone complains about white male hegemony (a.k.a. “The Man”) but the fact that they cast Tilda Swinton, an actress acclaimed for her daringly androgynous roles, as a powerful male sorcerer is actually quite forward-thinking. Tilda may be “white,” but the Ancient One is one of the most powerful entities in Marvel comics. He is a teacher to many fellow superheroes and without him, Stephen Strange would not have become the Sorcerer Supreme. They chose to endow his skill set and title upon a female. Funny how this is never brought up amidst the controversial cloud that looms over this casting choice, but that is incredibly socially inclusive and progressive.
2. Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot (portrayed by Will Smith in Suicide Squad, 2016)
This is not a colorblind case of a minority actress being repackaged as an all-white character. Actress Chloe Bennet is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian in real life, but Daisy Johnson is 100% white in the comics. They rewrote her character for the TV adaptation so that the actress’ Chinese lineage played a major factor in Daisy’s own identity. As the earthshaking superhero, her powers apparently originate from her Inhuman Chinese mother, who was a major villain in the second half of season 3.
4. Elektra Natchios(portrayed by Élodie Yung and Lily Chee in Daredevil, 2016)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
Young Elektra (Lily Chee) on the show:
One of the most iconic female anti-heroes in Marvel Comics history, Elektra Natchios, the main love interest of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, has always been closely affiliated with her Greek lineage. Well, in the Netflix adaptation of Daredevil, they finally switched her character’s heritage up. This time, she’s a woman of indeterminate Asiatic descent who was adopted by a Greek diplomat at a young age. One can’t help but think this change was to accommodate the actress’ actual half-Cambodian ethnic makeup.
5. Iris and Joe West (portrayed by Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin respectively on The Flash,2014-present)
CHANGE: White ⇒ Black
Comics ‘ Iris West v The CW’s Iris West
Comics’ Joe West v The CW’s Joe West
Many were initially shocked at the momentous casting of Barry Allen/The Flash’s love interest and her father/his foster father as African-Americans. While race had little-to-no impact on their characters’ context, this was major cause for celebration of racial inclusion because of Iris’ major role in Barry’s life. She is his Lois Lane and she has never been depicted or portrayed as anything but Caucasian before this version. Even the most cynical of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) should be loudly applauding this moment in pop culture history.
So nice they did it twice! While Warner Bros. turned their back on Grant Gustin from the CW’s The Flash for the titular speedster big-screen role, they adopted the TV adaptation’s idea of casting Iris West as a young black woman.
10. Jimmy Olsen (portrayed by Mechad Brooks on Supergirl, 2015-present)
CHANGE: White ⇒ Black
Not only is this the first non-white Jimmy Olsen, it’s also the first time we’ve seen Superman’s photographer BFF look like a buff leading man instead of a scrawny, goofy sidekick.
Again, SJWs, not only did they change an iconic protagonist from white to black, they made him pinup-worthy… and Supergirl’s love interest. In fact, the actor’s second-billed on IMDB as the leading man to Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El.
11. Dr. John (now Joan) Watson (portrayed by Lucy Liu on Elementary, 2012-present)
CHANGE: White Male ⇒ Asian Female
The classic “Elementary, My dear Watson” line now refers to an Asian-American female instead of a British male war veteran. The fact that the show has been a continued hit for CBS for four years now and little raucous has been raised over this double-identity swap suggests the public is readier than most think for gender and race-bending entertainment.
12. Nikita (portrayed by Maggie Q on Nikita, 2010-2013)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
Maggie Q as Nikita, the first Asian lead ever on a broadcast drama series:
Three previous incarnations of Nikita before the CW series:
La Femme Nikita has been a story told many times and many ways with many different starlets. The CW took a big-but-calculated risk casting this screen icon as anything other than Caucasian for the first time. Despite a decidedly shitty timeslot (Fridays at primetime), it amassed a huge cult following and excellent critical raves for its four seasons. Moreover, it made Maggie Q, previously known for being a model-turned-action star in Asia, an easily recognizable name and face in the American conscious.
13. Mercedes Graves (portrayed by Tao Okamoto in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
This change may feel merely ornamental at first blush. However, Mercedes (“Mercy” as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor fondly called her) is canonically not just a cog in Luthor’s evil entourage, but his most trusted advisor and personal assistant (and sometimes bodyguard/chauffeur). Mercy has caused Superman and Lois Lane a lot of grief due to her unwavering loyalty to Lex. The appearance of Mercedes in the film was a delightful Easter Egg find for comics fans and having her look Asian is majorly indicative of mass media’s increasing acceptance of all.
An iconic superheroine based in Norse mythology is being played by an African-American actress? Her character also will be playing Thor’s new love interest (He’s ditched little Ms. Natalie Portman apparently). What a great time to be alive! Run the streets streaking in pure ecstasy!
This is, perhaps, the biggest race swap in geek film and TV history. Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular superhero by far and Mary Jane one of its most endearing love interests. Mary Jane’s race is not integral at all to her character, but devoted fans may take umbrage with the discrepancy between the image of her in their minds and their beloved comics and the one on the big screen.
They’ll go along for the ride, though, and accept the change that has come… Because change has come. Significant progress has been made in diversity in La La Land and it would be foolish to complain about a few perceived slights and not proudly laud the bold steps Hollywood has taken forward. It’s a brave new world, folks. Accept it. Love it…
So in the latest DCEU news, Suicide Squad aint doing so hot with the critics. And that’s an understatement:
“[A] dank sewer of messy actions beats and misplaced machismo.” – IndieWire
“Bad. Not fun bad. Not redeemable bad. Not the kind of bad that is the unfortunate result of artists honorably striving for something ambitious and falling short. Suicide Squad is just bad. It’s ugly and boring, a toxic combination.” – Vanity Fair
“Enchantress is, let’s face it, the lamest DC villain since Sharon Stone stalked Catwoman.” – Variety
“There’s no big, meaty, iconic Joker scene for us to marvel at. [Jared Leto’s] occasional appearances detract from the smaller characters the movie is actually about, to the point you almost wish he wasn’t in the movie at all.” – Gizmondo
“A sports dream team whose combined efforts don’t nearly measure up to the talents of its individual players.” – The Hollywood Reporter
One bit of good news: This movie, if all else sucks, seems to have Deadshot and Harley Quinn nailed down:
“[Deadshot]’s underplaying is a relief. In this headache of a movie, he provides the aspirin.” – Chicago Tribune
[Quinn] is “radioactively watchable, swinging her baseball bat this way and that, selling this skeezy male-fantasy nut-job with wide-eyed enthusiasm.”– Chicago Tribune
1. DC needs Suicide Squad to do well.
At least at the box office. Marvel Studios/Disney has dominated the big screen for the past few years with multiple blockbusters a year, big profits and a consistently highly positive critical consensus. All the recent live-action DCEU films (Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been the only two for the last three years) have been critical flops, while the MCU kept upping its standard with each new release.
With the upcoming Justice League franchise and solo spin-offs, the DCEU could use a huge shot of adrenaline via Suicide Squad. It seemed like the perfect film to deliver the masses such a drug. Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths. Bad guys banded together to fight even badder guys. The perfect summer ensemble blockbuster. Well, until the reviews poured in, anyways.
Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths.
2. Bad reviews don’t mean low box office.
The reviews may not actually affect the numbers, with its trailers pushing the charms of stars Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn HARD. Jared Leto as the Joker also feels like a must-see if only to gauge whether he’s a worthy successor to Heath Ledger’s legendary take on the iconic villain.
3. Justice League is too tonally different from Suicide Squad for audiences to connect the two.
Also, regardless of box office performance, the Suicide Squad franchise is tonally opposite from the Justice League films. These are a group of villains killing other villains, whereas every member of the Justice League is a Boy or Girl Scout when it comes to morals and ethics. If there is negative residue from Suicide Squad, it won’t drip onto the Justice League.
These are a group of villains killing other villains.
4. The trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman looked cohesive and substantive. The ones for Suicide Squad did not.
Just last week, I was telling a friend how I feared that Suicide Squad‘s trailer was so flashy that it seemed like the movie itself might lack all actual substance. And here we are.
Whereas Wonder Woman and Justice League trailers allowed glimpses into stories of self-discovery, organic formation of friendships and bonds of love (in addition to the occasional Flash whooshing into a room and Wonder Woman waving that Lasso of Truth around), Suicide Squad promos seemed to be all about zingers and highlighting myriad ways their main characters do what they do best–killing people with the utmost pizzazz.
Clear indications that a trailer for a movie is probably better than the movie itself is when it’s 100% action-packed CGI set pieces mixed in with “witty” one-liners. Throw in an exceedingly hip soundtrack and it’s hard to imagine that the editors aren’t overcompensating for a product much lesser than the sum of its promotional efforts.
5. Batfleck might be the best thing to happen to the DCEU in a while.
Although the theatrical version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (hey, could we get a longer title, please?) was generally trashed, Ben Affleck seemed to receive universal praise for portraying a better Bruce Wayne than perhaps even Christian Bale or Michael Keaton.
As a matter of fact, critics lauded Ben Affleck’s cameo in Suicide Squad, singling him out as a much-welcome “treat” who brings a few surprises with him into the film.
Hey, maybe Batfleck may not be the Batman we deserve but he is the one we need…to save the DCEU, after all.
P.S. We are BONKERS over Margot Robbie/Harley Quinn’s hair, wardrobe and makeup. Spot-on for the character yet very 2016. Expect to see lots of this in cosplay come October 31
I DON’T CARE FOR FEMINISM. I’m an egalitarian and thank God, the first live-action cinematic Wonder Woman/Diana Prince has embodied egalitarianism proudly and wholly thus far. The Diana we’ve seen so far and will continue to see in Justice League spin-offs (including 2017’s Wonder Woman) fights for justice wherever it is lacked. Her goals aren’t prioritized based on gender or any other creed. She loves men and many aspects of being feminine. FACT CHECK: She also doesn’t just fight for women’s rights; she fights for all’s rights. She is not sexless nor emotionless. We watched her flirt with Ben Affleck’s Batman as if he were a little boy (She is almost 5,000 years older than him, to be fair), using the power of her physical beauty and internal steeliness in equal measure.
As the actress who portrays her, real-life Israeli wonder Gal Gadot, says, “[Wonder Woman] has many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she’s a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence. She’s loving… It’s a mistake when women cover their emotions to look tough. I say let’s own who we are and use it as a strength.” It is silly to think being sexual or nurturing is somehow a depiction of weakness. You can have your seat at the big boy’s table while being gentle and vulnerable in addition to traditionally good-looking.
Wonder Woman doesn’t fight for women’s rights. She fights for all’s rights.
With that, and the new full-length trailer for Wonder Woman released at San Diego Comic Con 2016, let’s GIF Wonder Woman’s journey in order of real-life chronology:
Note: Diana was molded out of clay and given life by the Greek god, Zeus, rendering her immortal.
Early 1900s (Wonder Woman):
Princess Diana meets the first man she’s ever seen in her 4,000 years of life–crashed pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)–on the shores of her secluded home, Themyscira:
Wonder Woman loves men and many aspects of being feminine.
After meeting Trevor, Diana realizes the world is in peril and needs her specific skill set, hence her donning various early-20th century Western disguises:
And then fights baddies in her true colors:
That moment when Wonder Woman breaks a board with her friggin’ hips:
Part 1: LASSO…
Part 2: SLICE!
Oh yeah, I fight old-school. F*** your bullets! (NOT an anti-gun stand. Yay, 2nd Amendment!):
2016 (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice):
An antiques dealer now in the 21st century, Diana Prince is seen mostly in fancy civilian garb for much of this movie:
She suits up with heavy metal again in the film’s third act, when she flies in to save Batman from obliteration and joins forces with the Bat and Superman to fight Doomsday:
This face she makes. “Bad boy, Doomsday! Bad boy…I’m gonna cut off your arm now.”
She lassoes Doomsday so Batman and Superman can take their respective swings at him. Girl can work on a team!
Diana takes her licks in battle in stride. When she smiles at Doomsday for knocking her down… SO HOT:
Wonder Woman will return in 2017 in June for her solo film and again in November in Justice League:
Ezra Miller (below left) is The Flash in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Grant Gustin (right) is not.
Gripers (like me) gonna gripe,but grief is a process and it is time to move past the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression into one of Acceptance of this tragically appalling news. After all, Miller is already neck-deep into filming 2017’s Justice League with Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as forensic scientist Barry Allen-turned-fastest man alive, The Flash. He is also confirmed for 2018’s solo venture, The Flash.
The Bargaining Us would have retorted, “Have you seen Grant Gustin do dark on his show? When he cries, WE ALL CRY.” The Zen and Accepting Us spots THREE POSSIBLE- AND REASONABLE- ULTERIOR MOTIVES for why the DC and Warner Bros team made such a bizarre snub:
1. They wanted to cast a female Asian Flash without casting a female Asian Flash.
Here’s my official stance: If your core demo wants to see a character take on a different cultural, racial or sexual identity, do it! Comics’ business model, perhaps more than any other’s, has a direct line from Consumer to Business. That relationship between comics and reader is highly personal. For that same reason, however, it is unwise to go around retooling, willy-nilly, these hyper-iconic figures just to please a small-but-vocal group of SJWs who barely read the comics. Forced progress is never any progress at all.
… Which brings us to: DC seems to have gone for a sound middle ground with the selection of Miller for the role of Barry Allen, who has always been buff, blonde, and manly in the comics.
This hilariously off-color meme sums up not just the evolution of The Flash but the overall state of comics and comics-based movies and TV shows over the past two decades:
Miller is effeminate without being female and Asiatic without being Asian (The actor’s lineage is 100% Caucasian).
DC can avoid a potentially franchise-killing controversy for casting a non-white Flash while appeasing those who have been incessantly demanding non-Caucasian males on the small and big screens. The preternaturally boyish Grant Gustin isn’t the traditional Barry Allen in terms of looks, either, but his chameleon-like acting chops won the most purist of comics fans over the moment his pilot aired.
Plus, The Flash is not He-Man; a super-fast guy should look lithe and limber, not bulky and stout.
2. DC wants indie credibility.
DC is losing big-screen dominance to Marvel Studios/Disney and part of the reason is that MARVEL KNOWS HOW TO CAST. Their secret formula? Taking actors formerly famous for only being critics’ darlings and plopping them in the middle of these epic set pieces and storylines. Miller is the perfect get if this is DC’s newfound endgame. He’s exclusively known for small, non-studio films for which he’s received mucho critical clout inhabiting these quirky, prodigiously insightful characters. Gustin has no such reputation. Before The CW’s The Flash, he was only known for being a too-cool-for-school prepster on FOX’s millennial-centric musical Glee.
3. DC is unwilling to keep track of continuity.
Marvel Studios’ motto is “It’s All Connected,” meaning that all current Marvel Studios TV, Netflix, and cinematic properties are running simultaneous storylines in the same universe (officially known as the MCU). At the same time that Loki was plowing through midtown Manhattan with an alien army in The Avengers, Matthew Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil was already practicing his nighttime vigilantism in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC with just a bandana covering his face. The Netflix series had yet to even be developed when The Avengers was released but “The Battle of New York” is now constantly referenced as having impacted the events of Daredevil. These are just two examples. Off the top of my head, Marvel Studios has had to maintain continuity throughout all of the following shows and feature films so far:
In no particular order:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: Civil War
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent Carter (recently cancelled)
Upcoming Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher
Upcoming MCU films: Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, etc.
Marvel is already visibly struggling to keep all these stories synced chronologically and contextually. Casting Gustin as The Flash in the cinematic DC-verse would mean entangling every last piece of canon previously established on his show with those in past movies like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the upcoming Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Wonder Woman.
DC don’t want none of that action. Sorry, Grant. They’re just too lazy? Who knows?
DISCLAIMER: Ezra Miller is a fine young actor. My beef isn’t that I think he’ll underperform…It’s that it was entirely unnecessary to recast the Flash when Grant Gustin’s performance has been one of the most sensational and popular in recent superhero movie/show history. You are fixing what isn’t broken and taking a risk on a new unknown variable versus hedging your bets on the likability of a familiar face.
Get out now if you don’t want spoilers to one of 2016’s biggest pop culture phenomena, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
3, 2, 1, CLEAR.
“I LIKE THIS MOVIE, IN SPITE OF ITSELF.” – KEVIN SMITH ON FAT MAN ON BATMAN… PRETTY MUCH HOW LI’L GRIPES FEELS, AS WELL.
THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. It is not even a recap. These are just LI’L GRIPES‘ preliminary thoughts mentally recorded while watching this hyped-ad-nauseum blockbuster. It was Lillian and her official comic-book consultant, Joe (@Sheeplovr on Twitter and Instagram) in an IMAX theater (sorry, eardrums). We avoided the less-than-tepid reviews circulating the Internet (we just knew it was less-than-tepid at a 29% positive consensus on Rotten Tomatoes), as we wanted a completely fresh outlook when we actually laid eyes upon the finished product… which leads us to our first point:
MARVEL OWNS THE ART OF SUSPENSE: If you insist on pitting Marvel against DC cinematic universes, Marvel does win big in the trailer column. The BvS trailers gave a scene from EVERY FIVE MINUTES of the film away. It’s bad enough that we knew Wonder Woman will step in at some point to assist the titular heroes who why are they fighting again? … But it’s even worse that we got a clear glimpse of the third-act showdown against Doomsday, one of Superman’s biggest villains, in the friggin’ trailers!
THIS MOVIE OPENS STROOOOONG: And we don’t mean the title sequence featuring, yet again, a younger Bruce Wayne’s parents being gunned down in front of him. HEY, MAGGIE FROM THE WALKING DEAD PLAYS MARTHA WAYNE!
No, we mean the replay of the final battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) in Metropolis from this film’s precursor, Man of Steel, as told from the ground… from Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck)’s perspective.
We are big fans of the film and TV trope of playing the same scene again from a different POV and it is used here with great emotional heft (we see Zod’s World Engine ship severing a giant skyscraper full of people, which, it turns out, is Bruce Wayne-owned. Furthermore, we get to see, right off the (ha-ha) bat, Bruce amidst full-throttle heroics, running into falling buildings to save civilians, armor-free, from collapsing beams and debris.
WE ARE BIG FANS OF THE TROPE OF PLAYING THE SAME SCENE AGAIN FROM A DIFFERENT POV AND IT IS USED HERE WITH GREAT EMOTIONAL HEFT.
Batfleck as he watches Zod and Superman tear Metropolis apart
OK, BATFLECK KILLED IT: At this point, we have to applaud Ben Affleck’s nuanced performance as an older, more cynical Bruce Wayne/Batman. He could have easily phoned in an one-note performance, speaking in a grizzled voice the entire film and grunting here and there, but Affleck really dove into his character and he deserves critical praise for his performance alone.
DREAM SEQUENCES ARE KING: This movie, from the puzzling beginning shot of a young Bruce Wayne being levitated by bats in that infamous well, utilizes dream sequences heavily and perhaps too indulgently. It does allow for a very sinister alt-reality scenario, though, in which parademons, at a ruthless Superman’s behest, have captured Batfleck in some kind of dungeon.
Superman’s soldiers bearing his logo
Batman being overpowered by Superman’s Parademon forces in his nightmare.
YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IS KING? The Judeo-Christian God: SOMEBODY MAKE A SUPERCUT OF HOW MANY TIMES THE WORD “GOD” WAS USED IN THIS FILM. My God, are people in this film the praying type (down to a close-up shot of Martha Kent’s crucifix necklace)!
SO MANY SCENES COULD HAVE BEEN SHORTER: Lois Lane’s scenes are all too long. Jesus, Zack Snyder, we appreciate the effort to make a non-superhero figure as integral to the plot as the powered ones, but we all know Lois should be ornamental in a movie heavily featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman! Africa? That bathtub scene? Not the point of this movie!
Along with that, all Lex Luthor scenes were draaaaaaaged out. Why did they tell Jesse Eisenberg to go Full Schizoid with the Lex Luthor character? We could have easily done without the weird tics they inserted into this rendition of Lex.
EASTER EGG! MERCY GRAVES! Speaking of Lex, we were happy to see they included his fiercely loyal personal assistant, Mercy Graves, from the comics in a non-ham-fisted way. We are doubly happy they cast an Asian actress- supermodel Tao Okamoto– in the traditionally Caucasian role without raising a big fuss over the switch-up.
Mercy Graves and Lex Luthor in their animated renditions
Mercy Graves as played by Okamoto in BvS
WONDER WOMAN = ACE IN THE HOLE: Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Israeli beauty Gal Gadot) worked exactly as well as the movie intended her to work. She, not Batman or Superman, received an applause break from our packed theater in one particularly dramatic scene.
They nailed her–everything from her otherworldly background (“This isn’t the first time I’ve killed things from other worlds.” EASTER EGG! Hades!) to her shrugging off Doomsday knocking her down like it ain’t no thang to her mesmerizingly posh civilian wardrobe (more on that below) was ****ing AWESOME. GEEK-RRIFIC. THANK YOU, WONDER WOMAN, THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU.
OK, OK, DC. YOU GOT OUR MONEY: By having it very obviously pointed out to us (down to each superhero’s emblem) the other members of the soon-to-be-assembled Justice League, coupled with Wonder Woman’s successful introduction into the DC Cinematic Universe, we as an audience will be going to see those forthcoming movies, regardless of reviews.
Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller)
WELL, HOLD THE PHONE: Lil still resents DC for not, as Marvel so savvily does, connecting their TV properties directly to their cinematic ones, i.e. NOT having the universally-beloved Grant Gustin, who plays Barry/The Flash on CW‘s The Flash, play Barry Allen/The Flash in the Justice League films! Why not?! You would have made us and super-fan Kevin Smith, as well as a whole lot of other critics, VERY happy.
Happiness is not Batman v. Superman‘s endgame, as Kevin Smith also noted on his podcast, Fat Man on Batman (Download it for free on iTunes. As fellow comic-book geeks, we appreciate the utter and complete lack of cynicism on his show). It is clear that DC and director Zack Snyder are sticking to their firmly gloom-and-doom vision for this universe of the Justice League heroes.
WHICH IS FINE. WE LIKE SUPERHEROES. THE WORLD STILL LIKES SUPERHEROES.
WE WILL ALL BE THERE FOR THE SUBSEQUENT FILMS. YOU’VE WON THIS ONE, DC.