Tag Archives: justice league

THE FLASH: Ezra Miller over Grant Gustin. WHY?

Ezra Miller (below left) is The Flash in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Grant Gustin (right) is not.

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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.

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Official concept art for Justice League: Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash

We’ve all heard Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be helming Justice League, give his decidedly canned excuse for why the insanely popular and critically acclaimed Grant Gustin wasn’t a “good fit” for The Flash of the cinematic universe he created. Basically, Gustin and his CW series about the speedster superhero were deemed too tonally light for Snyder’s depressing and ever-moody features.

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Sorry, Grant, you’re too happy to be The Flash apparently.

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.

There has been a lot of retconning in both DC and Marvel comics lately to make characters non-white or a different gender or sexual orientation, with the most recent example being a black and female Iron Man:

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15 year-old RiRi Williams is inheriting Tony Stark’s mantle as Iron Man (Iron Girl? Iron Woman? Iron Badass B?)

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:

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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.

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Ezra Miller (far right) with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

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:

  • The Avengers
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Agent Carter (recently cancelled)
  • Daredevil
  • Jessica Jones
  • Ant-Man
  • Deadpool
  • Upcoming Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher
  • Upcoming MCU films: Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, etc.

DAMN.

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.

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Courtesy of Mic.com

DC don’t want none of that action. Sorry, Grant. They’re just too lazy? Who knows?

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Forget Sad Keanu Reeves. Say hi to Sad Grant.

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.

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TV: If You’re Not Watching These 3 Shows, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Part 3: Conclusion

Part 1: What’s Show #1?

Part 2: What’s Show #2?

FOR SHOW NÚMERO TRES, we chose something a bit… controversial. This trilogy of show recommendations was never meant to suggest they are necessarily la crème de la crème, simply worthy mentions that deserve a special spotlight in the waves of critical praise being hurled at so many shows these days.

AND… BA-BA-BA-BUM…

3. Legends of Tomorrow,  CW // Thursday, 8PM EST

 “If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…”

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WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER “GREAT TV”? If it is a piece of entertainment that keeps you lingering on every word and plot turn and endears the characters immediately to your heart (a.k.a. gives you “the feels” for them), then DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is “great TV,” regardless of one’s genre-preference.

A show premised on a motley crew of elite fighters, killers and thieves from the DC comics banding together to stop an immortal tyrant from annihilating the world in the future, Legends of Tomorrow (LoT) seems to be typical superhero/sci-fi action fare at first blush.

We implore you to get to second blush.

For a storyline fraught with such densely packed supernatural elements (our protagonists include two winged, reincarnated Egyptian demigods, a time-traveler with a time-traveling ship, and two men with the ability to absorb and project nuclear energy once fused into one body), it is the most grounded of all superhero-driven vehicles on TV right now. While each episode is framed around a noble attempt on their grand mission, the real focus is on the ensemble of characters and their collective chemistry as well as individual story arcs.

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Hawkgirl and Hawkman at play, two members of this motley super-crew

Let’s break down exactly what makes LoT give you the feels:

CHARACTER WORK

LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe. Nobody on this team is supremely powerful, altruistic or experienced in superheroics the way Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of DC’s Justice League are. They each have noticeable flaws and weaknesses to which they must attend and confront throughout this show, especially when crammed into a time-ship with seven other colorful characters. Two of them, in fact, Captain Cold/Leonard Snart and Heatwave/Mick Rory (played by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, respectively, from FOX’s Prison Break) are stone-cold robbers who originally joined the mission so they could steal objects of mass value throughout history.

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Familiar faces? Prison Break says hi. Left to Right: Dominic Purcell as Heatwave and Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold

Yet unlike the Suicide Squad, none of them are archvillains forced by G-men to perform acts of heroism. Everyone here is a volunteer. Even the two professional robbers hilariously conjoin their original selfish mission with the grand, nobler one:

  • e.g. they can’t swipe a Pentagon official’s keycard to save the world without also lifting her wallet in the process:

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LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe.

The character arcs are laid out such that the darker members of the team often turn out to be more conscientious than the surface Boy Scouts. But don’t get us wrong: This isn’t one of those shows that beat you over the head with “don’t judge a book by its cover” morality tales.

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The resurrected assassin known as the White Canary/Sara Lance, as played by Caity Lotz.

What truly fascinates about Legends of Tomorrow is that it took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member… whether they lived or died…whether they are happy or sad…thanks to the seamless manner in which the show interweaves character-driven dilemmas with the larger plot of each episode.

Legends of Tomorrow took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member.

PREMISE

Time-travel. Mankind will be as obsessed with this theory as we are with zombies for as long as we are on this Earth. A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.

As usual with time-travel stories, the danger of disrupting the present and future timelines by traveling to the past is presented, keeping the characters and audience on their toes.

A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.

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The “Legends” aboard the Waverider, their handy time-traveling ship

 STOP-THE-CLOCK QUOTES

  • “I’ve watched Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall.” – Rip Hunter, the aforementioned time-traveler from the future, during a motivational speech to the team he assembled.
  • “Where–when–I’m from, you’re not just heroes…You’re legends.” – Rip Hunter again (He’s the team leader–it makes sense that he gets the heart-soaring quotes)
    • Speaking of the show’s human touch, a gut-wrenching plot twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes in his time but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world. “Your life meant nothing,” is basically what they learned. This show is propped up on their desire to alter that fate.

A gut-wrenching twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world.

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They don’t look like nobodies.

ITS FUN, WHACKY BOLDNESS

  • An elderly, meekish professor who is the brainy half of Firestorm (the aforementioned two-men-fusing-into-one Nuclear Man) ROOFIES his significantly younger counterpart into going on a mission together. It is simultaneously creepy and hilarious.
  • Someone steals a joint from the 1970s, leaving us to wonder if this will cause temporal disruptions on the show:
    • If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…That’s the fun, whacky train of thinking this show provokes that makes it so refreshing from other superhero shows.
  • The cojones on the showrunners to KILL OFF a major character in the second half of the pilot. Like, what?! We applaud their sheer audacity.
  • As discussed, the juxtaposition of two multi-convicted criminals now having to jaunt around on a spaceship with people like a tech-billionaire do-gooder and a quantum physics professor is charming and WTF at once.
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The two halves of Firestorm: Left to Right: Victor Garber as Professor Martin Stein and Franz Drameh as Jefferson Jackson/the physical manifestation of Firestorm

ACTING ACE IN THE HOLES:

There are some big gets for this show acting-wise, beginning with the time-traveling leader himself, played by Arthur Darvill, ironically enough a former Doctor Who actor himself.

  • The roofie-ing professor is played with perfect precision and flair by living legend Victor Garber.
  • The Atom/Ray Palmer is none other than Brandon Routh a.k.a. Christopher Reeves Reincarnated a.k.a. Superman in that-Superman-movie-that-was-awful-but-not-because-of-Brandon. Routh has carved his career out of being the good-looking-but-bumbling funny guy and he nails it here, as well.
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Brandon Routh as The Atom/Ray Palmer
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Brandon Routh, born to play as many superheroes as humanly possible

Legends of Tomorrow is so enjoyable that you easily forgive the slight-if-many plotholes sprinkled throughout this show. A show about time-travel and superheroes is bound to have miniscule details brushed aside for the grander scheme of storytelling. Just hop aboard, lay back in your seat and get comfy for the fun and trippy ride.

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