Tagged: Dark Knight

The Point Radio: KILLING JOKE’s 30 Year Trip To Animation

In the wake of Comic Con, so many fans were talking about just one thing – BATMAN:THE KILLING JOKE and the new R rated DVD release. Cast members Kevin Conroy,Tara Strong & Ray Wise join us to talk about their respect for the classic story and how it was transformed from page to screen.

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Mike Gold: Our Own, Personal, Joker

Dark Night DiniDark Night: A True Batman Story, written by Paul Dini, drawn by Eduardo Risso • Vertigo Comics, $22.98 hardcover, $13.79 digital.

Wow. This one is tough.

It’s tough to read, it must have been tough to write, and knowing that makes it even tougher to read. Of course, doing so is at the reader’s discretion. The writer had no choice but to live it.

Dark Night is subtitled “a true Batman story” and, well, it is. It is true, and it is a Batman story. And it’s Paul Dini’s story.

Paul is one of those people who needs no introduction. However, if I don’t give him one I’ll be taunting the ghost of my junior-year high school journalism teacher, and after reading this book I don’t want to piss off anyone in the ecto-sphere. Mr. Dini is the well-celebrated writer of animation, television, video games and comic books. He’s perhaps best known for his work on Tiny Toon Adventures and on Batman: The Animated Series. Oh, yeah, and he co-created Harley Quinn with animator Bruce Timm. Now that I’ve made the late Mr. Koerner happy…

Paul_DiniSome two dozen years ago, Paul was walking home in the dead of the Los Angeles night and encountered a couple of muggers who proceeded to beat the crap out of him. Surgery saved his sight and time put the rest of his pulped body together, although – of course – the psychological scars are far more enduring. Your brain scoops up all kinds of life-long memories and turns them up to 11, distorting them like two elephants mating on a wah-wah pedal. The inner-dialog never really ends, even while you try to figure out how to stuff it in its place. In this telling, Paul uses the characters of the Batman, the Joker, Two-Face, the Penguin and, yes, Harley Quinn as that inner-voice, all the while revealing the youthful neuroses common to those of us pop culture fans of baby boomer vintage.

It’s a harrowing experience made all the more horrific for the reader by knowing it’s a hell of a lot easier to read than it is to live. For those few who have never endured any degree of that experience, let me tell you this: releasing the story might be cathartic, but taking another peek into Pandora’s Box is risky to say the least.

Paul Dini is and has been one of the best comics and animation writers of the past 30 years and if all you’ve done is read and watched his stuff, you might not have known of his travails. While writing Dark Night might be his crowning achievement (after all, how you do top your own bloody, painful near-death experience?) in so doing he has taken American graphic novel writing to a whole new level, combining his life, his obsessions and his lifelong fictional posse to reveal a journey no one in his or her right mind would ever want take. People will be studying this book in writing schools forever.

I said this is Paul’s story, and that story is so overwhelming that at first reading you might miss the power and proficiency of artist Eduardo Risso’s work. Don’t worry; it’ll hit you once you wrest your nose from your belly button. Known for his work on 100 Bullets, Alien Resurrection, Wolverine and that other Dark Knight book released this year, his efforts are every bit as worthy as the story. Whomever put together that creative team – Paul, and/or editor Shelly Bond (who will be missed at DC) and/or others – hit the nail right on the head.

A non-fiction story co-starring Batman. Damn. This one was tough… and worth it.

Personal note: Really glad you made it through, Paul!

Mindy Newell: It’s Really Cool!

Batman beanieThe other day at work I met a young man who is a surgical technician. Since I’m an operating room nurse, that’s an everyday occurrence. But what caught my eye was his scrub hat, which was a pattern of Batman’s insignia. So of course I immediately said, (duh) “So I’m guessing you’re into Batman.” And everything else was forgotten for a little while as he and I shared tales of our membership in Club Geek.

I bring this up because this Batman – that’s his actual nickname at work – absolutely loved Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. He has seen it three times, he told me, and wouldn’t mind going back for a fourth viewing. Being that this was the first time I was meeting him, I was polite and didn’t scoff or tell him that he’s an idiot. I did say that I hadn’t seen it yet, that I hate what Zack Snyder had done to the Man of Steel (pun intended) and that speaking I’m not a Snyder fan, that people I know with whom I work with and respect here at ComicMix have seen it pretty much hated it (see Mike Gold and Marc Alan Fishman’s columns, as well as Arthur Tebbel’s (review), and that I had decided to wait until the movie hits the streaming and cable markets.

“And I especially don’t like the idea of Batman using a gun. He’s not the Punisher,” I said. “The whole thing with Batman is that he operates, he lives, on that line between justice and vigilantism. It’s a tightrope between good and evil.”

Well, scrub tech Batman explained to me that Robin’s death (“by the Joker,” I interceded, to which he said, “Yeah, but the movie doesn’t show that,” to which I said, “Well, we know about it because of Dark Knight, but from what I understand his killing rampage comes out of nowhere, and don’t you think it should have at least mentioned the Joker for those not in the know?”) has driven Batman over the edge and that it makes perfect sense. “And it’s cool,” he said. “It’s really cool.”

Which got me to thinking later on – I didn’t ask scrub tech Batman how old he is, but he’s definitely a Millennial, and that’s the generation that’s come to adulthood in a world in which “death by bullet” is an everyday occurrence; in a world in which “guilt” and “innocence” doesn’t mean a thing; in a world in which fucked up wing-nuts use AK-47’s to settle arguments; in a world where police kill kids and beat up drivers for not signaling a lane switch; in a world where campaign rallies become Nazi Beer Hall Putsches; and in a world where Islamic fundamentalists fly passenger jets into buildings, kidnap and behead reporters, and burn enemies alive – all brought to them in living color courtesy of the news and the Internet.

So it’s not really all that surprising, if you think about it, that scrub tech Batman accepts the new paradigm of brutality, ugliness, rage, and “gangsta-ism” in their fictional heroes.

Anyway, it’s a theory.

 

The Point Radio: Michael And Sara Make IMPASTOR Magic

After his long run on SMALLVILLE, Michael Rosenbaum is back on series television with the new TV Land project, IMPASTOR. He, and adorable co-star Sara Rue, talk about the show and show off the amazing chemistry that makes it work. Plus we begin our look at JUSTICE LEAGUE GODS AND MONSTERS, DC’s daringly different new DVD.

More in a few days with more on JUSTICE LEAGUE GODS AND MONSTERS. Be sure and follow us on Twitter now here.

Dennis O’Neil: Wonderful Bat-Toys

batmobileWhere does he get those wonderful toys? the Joker wonders in the 1989 Batman and it’s a pretty good question. Where did the Batplane come from and how does it happened to be equipped with exactly the hardware Batman needs to thwart the Joker’s mass homicide? And that line-shooting gadget Batman totes: a device that stores a cable (or something similar) able to reach several stories into the air and whatever propels it, all crammed into something the size of a handgun. And the Batmobile… nobody notices it on the highways in and out of Gotham ad figures out where it must come from? Nothing in Tim Burton’s movie tells us that Bruce Wayne, bright guy that he is, has the kind of engineering/scientific smarts to devise such stuff and get it past the prototype stage virtually overnight. He just has what he needs when he needs it and we, sitting and watching in the darkness, don’t wonder how that can be. We’re being entertained, and entertainment is what we paid for.

We don’t ask how the gangster the Joker used to be mixed up some disfiguring chemicals and snuck in into (presumably) thousands of retail packages. Nor do we ask where Wiley E. Coyote gets those heavy objects he drops onto the Road Runner when they’re in the middle of nowhere, either.

Which is why, maybe, that I don’t have a name for the kind of screenplay Burton’s Batman is. It has to be a hybrid of crime story and cartoon and it works as what it is and, while we’re on the subject, the cartoon aspect is why we shouldn’t worry about collateral damage. Batman blows up an industrial plant and fills Gotham’s air with toxins? Does he poison his home town? If not, why not? Go away! You want hard facts, seek them elsewhere. That’s not what we’re selling here. And neither are we here to let you pick holes in a story that, really, doesn’t claim not to have those kind of holes. Fact is, in this context, they can’t be called holes. What, then? Narrative tropes?

Do we really care?

Later Batman films do, in fact, fill some holes. The wonderful toys are supplied by a genius who works for Bruce Wayne’s family corporation and he’s had prototypes of them in storage because the company’s number crunchers couldn’t figure a way for them to turn a profit. But in The Dark Knight, Batman and his resident genius put together an apparatus that allows them to monitor every electronic transmission in a city of 7,000,000 and have it up and running in a couple of days. Even if the technology preexisted…a couple of days?

We don’t live in Silicon Valley, we lovers of the strange and unnamed fantasy-melodrama we’re discussing. No, find us in the disembodied realm of myth and fairy tale. Very sophisticated myths and fairy tales, to be sure, but nobody says these things can’t be sophisticated. Today’s Batmobile might have been a horse-drawn pumpkin in times past and… we still don’t have a name for it, do we?

Aw, who cares?

 

 

 

 

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Tweeks: Top 5 YouTube Channels

maxresdefaultIt’s summer, so we know that their kind has kicked-up their time watching online content.   As a matter of fact, we’re currently kicking back with our online video community at VidCon right now.  In celebration of all of that we offer up 5 of our favorite YouTube Channels.  There’s something for everyone whether you want pop culture musicals, thoughtful hip-hop analysis of literary classics, cute cats, comic culture in your kitchen, or dorky teenage boy advice. 

Beware the Batman Season 1 Part 1 Out Next Week

1000x1000_BewareTheBatmanS1BURBANK, CA (February 14, 2014) – The caped crusader continues to conquer Gotham City’s villains with the Blu-ray™ and DVD release of Beware The Batman: Shadows of Gotham, Season 1 Part 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. Batman and his trusted friends Alfred and Katana band together in the series’ first 13 episodes to face the twisted machinations of Gotham City’s criminal underworld.

BtB_345_930_Still05Beware the Batman Season 1 Part 1 is available for the first time on both Blu-ray™ and DVD next Tuesday, February 18, 2014. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment offers a two-disc DVD set ($19.97 SRP), while the single-disc Blu-ray™ is available from Warner Archive Collection for $19.95 via shop.warnerarchive.com and wbshop.com.

BtB_345_931_Still01Batman swings into an exhilarating new age, teaming with a powerful allies old and new for a thrilling new take on the classic Dark Knight franchise in Beware the Batman: Shadows of Gotham, Season 1 Part 1. The new action-packed detective thriller incorporates Batman’s core characters with a rogue’s gallery of criminals as the Caped Crusader faces some of Gotham City’s most despicable villains. Through the show’s first 13 animated adventures of this two-disc collection, ex-secret agent Alfred and lethal swordstress Katana join Batman to takes on an array of evildoers including the likes of Anarky, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad and Magpie. This thrilling series redefines what we have come to know as the “Batman show” and is sure to excite fans with cutting-edge CGI visuals.

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is delighted to begin this exhilarating animated Batman series with the release of Beware The Batman: Shadows of Gotham, Season 1 Part 1,” Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation and Partner Brands Marketing. “Fans will be excited to see their favorite super hero up against a whole new set of villains from the DC Universe to continue the expansion of the Dark Knight franchise!”

Episodes:

Beware the Batman Season 1 Part 1

  1. Hunted
  2. Secrets
  3. Tests
  4. Safe
  5. Broken
  6. Toxic
  7. Family
  8. Allies
  9. Control
  10. Sacrifice
  11. Instinct
  12. Attraction
  13. Fall

Marc Alan Fishman: Roguish Charm

Fishman Art 131207Happy Saturday, ComicMixers. I hope you all grew a bit too fat because of your gluttonous Thanksgiving feasts, fractured your hips whilst storming the gates of big box retailers on Black Friday (because you really needed that 65” 3D flat screen with cappuccino maker at 80% off), and have since settled back into the doldrums of another bleak and cold winter. Yes, that’s right. I hope for your depression. Your pain. Your sadness. Why you ask? Because, Mr. Bond… everyone loves a villain.

Villains are more fun to write, are they not? Villains can do what we can’t. Say what we won’t. Fight dirty, and then laugh all the way to the loony bin. Villains can cheat. They can lie. And they love to steal. They vex our heroes, and force them to define themselves. In much of the fiction we nerds adore… it’s the villains that truly make our heroes. But what then, makes the villain great?

The keystone to all great villains starts with motivation. Without a driving purpose, a villain (or really almost any character) is a waste of space on the page / screen / what-have-you. At their cores, some nefarious ne’er-do-wells are ultimately about nothing more than pure chaos. Veritable forces of nature – think Doomsday and his ilk – tend to enjoy the decimation of the universe. Other thinkier sinners may have less base-instinct for kabooms, as much as a need to simply horde money, power, women, et al. Arch-nemeses existence ultimately centers around a singular entity through which their evil deeds all align towards. As we’ve seen in several instances, without his Dark Knight to motivate him, the Joker (perhaps the quintessential arch-nemesis if ever there were one) is rendered useless. Scratch that. Minus the bat, Puddin’ is merely banal. At the end of the day, it’s those underlying conjectures that are needed to add the gravity to real villainy.

Motivation aside, the quality villains come well-equipped. Be it with metallic tentacles, an Infinity Gauntlet, or just an amazing intellect, good villains trump their heroes’ arsenal at almost every turn. The ideology of solid story-telling is to create that all-too-important anti-climax, that moment where you truly ask yourself “How in the world can they win?” The best villains though, are more than means to an end. When faced with opposition, the best villains do the unexpected, be it with with sheer force in numbers, an opportune slight-of-hand, or a nasty reveal. Recall Lord Vader pulling the trigger on Alderaan. Or perhaps Ozymandias, what with his “Oops, I already enacted the evil plan… like 30 minutes ago, dudes.”

In pro-wrestling nothing is more beloved by smart-marks than a great heel turn. When Hulk Hogan sprayed that nWo logo onto the freshly beaten chest of the Macho Man Randy Savage, the crowd erupted. Children cried. Old men high-fived. After a decade of flag waving and vitamin eating, Hogan got to blame the fans and give out more than a few nut-shots. Great bookers (thems be the writers behind the scenes, dontcha know) understand that nothing puts their baby-face over harder than finally being able to topple the hated heel. Nothing makes that heel more hated than doing everything possible to be hated. Much could be translated into the rest of the fictional worlds we dilly-dally around in.

I started out this li’l column declaring that everyone loves a villain. I say it because without opposition, there’d be no reason for heroes. In the real world we seek to create villains to justify our actions. Not to be too political here, but let’s be honest: not too long ago, a very powerful man accused another powerful man of having doomsday devices in his secret lair. And like all good heroes, we put on our special capes and super suits, and all but salted the earth where that villain camped out in an effort to keep our loved ones safe. And while many would second guess the call to arms without real evidence… we all just knew that the villain was always up to something. I mean, crap, a while back, the guy had beef with our guy’s father! At the end of the day, these are the stories we need to tell ourselves to go to sleep feeling safe. In this world, real villainy is less a singular physical being as much as a collection of prejudices, ignorance, and abstracts.

Lucky for us, in the end, the villains always lose. Luckier still, the best villains we know will remain forever in fiction. As the poet Linnell said… “I don’t want the world. Just your half.”

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

 

Emily S. Whitten: Superman and Man of Steel

Whitten Art 130618As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been a Superman fan pretty much forever. Superman was my first encounter with superheroes, beginning with watching the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie when I was very small. Through the years, Superman has remained one of my favorite superheroes. Sure, I love Deadpool (obviously!), and I’ve always been a big X-Men fan… and Batman… and Spider-Man… and I could go on and on from there – but Superman, the most unequivocal and steadfast symbol of hope and ethical humanity in the whole collection, has always been there in the background, informing my appreciation of the rest of the bunch.

Some people say that Superman is a boring character. He’s too perfect. He’s incredibly powerful and can do almost anything, way beyond what most of us can fathom, and he’s constantly doing the “right” or noble thing. How interesting can someone like that be?

Very interesting, I think. It’s Superman’s decision about how to use his power; his nobility; and his steadfast idealism in the way he decides to live his life for humanity and constantly be striving to do that right thing that have made him a multi-generational symbol and inspiration. At the same time, it is also his choice to live for humanity that drives him to live amongst humanity, and thus empathize with their plights, and, eventually, fall in love with one of them – Lois Lane.

Lois is the other half of what makes Superman so interesting. She’s a strong character in her own right, as she has to be to match up to someone as powerful as Superman. But she’s also only human, with human difficulties. Lois humanizes Superman, she pulls him back to Earth from the skies in which he might otherwise constantly float above us all. Sure, as a child, Superman is in touch with humanity, anchored by his parents and their desire to raise him with a strict moral code that respects and teaches responsibility for humanity. But once Clark seriously takes on the Superman persona and is living far from his parents as an adult in a strange city, someone else’s influence is needed. Enter Lois.

In most iterations of Superman, Lois does not, for at least a significant period of time, know that Superman and Clark Kent are the same man. Various reasons for this remaining the status quo of their relationship exist, from the potential danger to Lois if she knows Superman’s secret identity to Clark’s insecurity about her feelings for him as Clark, or his desire for her to, essentially, “like him for him,” and not for being some kind of alien demigod. This dynamic not only serves to anchor Clark, but also to drive the story – as a lot of the drama, humor, and interest of the Superman story stems from Clark’s attempts to live a double life and somehow still win over the woman he loves and attain a very human kind of happiness.

Superman’s power and nobility, combined with Clark’s very human relationship with Lois Lane, are what make him such an interesting character, and what make me throw up my hands in disbelief when someone says that Superman is boring. Because how could an interaction of our human struggles with our human desire to be heroic be boring? How could it be just another story? Well, if people make it that way, I suppose. If people stray from what makes Clark-and-Superman great, and try to instead fit him into the box of every other superhero out there.

Now, let’s talk about Man of Steel.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

On a strictly is-it-an-enjoyably-watchable -movie level, I liked Man of Steel. Except for the overly long fight scenes (of which there were several), the pacing is pretty good. The cinematography is good. The story is fairly cohesive and easy to follow (despite some odd plot holes/questions, like how Superman’s costume was just hanging around on a ship that had been buried in Earth’s icy caverns thousands of years before the destruction of Krypton). Henry Cavill is delicious, and also shirtless in pretty much his very first scene. Shirtless and on fire. And it’s hot (all puns intended). Amy Adams is also adorable. Overall the acting is pretty top-notch. And there are many recognizable genre, TV, and mainstream actors to clap about (including at least two Battlestar: Galactica dudes, Tahmoh Penikett and Alessandro Juliani). There is also some blatant product placement…that works (Clark’s childhood friend Pete Ross works at an IHOP. After watching the movie, my friend and fellow journalist Alicia and I were forced, forced I tell you, to go to IHOP because we suddenly had IHOP cravings. But it was delicious, so that’s okay).

On a Superman mythos level, things get a lot shakier. One thing I did enjoy was the minor Superman character name-drops. Pete Ross, as mentioned, shows up in both Clark’s flashbacks and present day. Dr. Emil Hamilton is there as a military scientist or consultant. Steve Lombard is working at The Daily Planet. And there’s a wee Lana Lang on the flashback bus when it goes into the river. I also actually really enjoyed the first part of the movie, from Krypton through about the first two or so flashbacks. This is one film I’ve seen that actually world-built Krypton to a realistic extent and then spent some time there. Sure, there are echoes of what’s been developed before, and the combination of technology and organic, mythical-looking creatures was a bit weird at first, but I loved details like the floating silver orbs that are a combination of personal assistants and bodyguards, and also allow for a sort of 3-D video communication (or for a 3-D ultrasound!). And I liked the extent to which they managed to make the look of Kryptonian attire realistically tie in with Superman’s costumed appearance.

After Krypton, the first few scenes establish a Clark who’s wandering the world, interspersed with some growing-up time. These scenes are very enjoyable. The current scenes show a Clark that, like a well-developed Krypton, we don’t usually get to see much on screen. Clark’s soul-searching and wanderings as a young man are referenced in several versions of the Superman story, but we don’t often actually see them. And each of the early flashbacks shows a young Clark who is learning about his powers, and about his responsibilities, in a way that is organic and not heavy-handed.

Once the movie has spent some time on this, however, it moves more firmly into the present day origin story, with just a few more flashbacks here and there. These are of an older Clark and, while I get that teens are difficult and superteens perhaps even more difficult, these scenes are devoid of the familial love and warmth that marks the earlier scenes. They also include a scene in which Clark literally stands fifty feet away from his dad and watches him get swept away by a tornado. While the movie tries to make this into a character development point, it’s such a wrong note for Superman that I just couldn’t get behind it. Keeping his powers a secret or not, no Superman I’m interested in would be that selfish, even if his dad was telling him not to save him. It’s around this point that the movie also moves firmly into being, essentially, an alien disaster movie that happens to feature Superman.

Given the trailers we’d been seeing, and the fact that both Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan were signed on, I feared that we were going to get a very grimdark Superman in Man of Steel. And although the first several scenes were all fairly serious, since they cut back and forth it relieved the grimness somewhat, and I thought maybe my fears were going to be unfounded. Well, not so much. After the first few cuts back and forth, things turn continuously grim and grimmer in Man of Steel. Death and destruction (on a global scale) begin to appear everywhere and only increase for the rest of the story; and boy, is it exhausting to watch. It’s also not what I wanted to see in a Superman movie.

During Man of Steel, we are told by Jor-El that the S on Superman’s chest means “hope” to Kryptonians. And that’s exactly what Superman is supposed to be for us – a symbol of hope. He is our hope that there are people like him out there, and that it’s okay to believe they exist – which is important, because if they do exist, and succeed at existing, then maybe it’s not so unrealistic for us to try to be a little bit like them. Maybe we can be heroes too, at least now and again. In a way, Superman is the first part of that iconic last line of The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current…” Superman reflects the best of human idealism, and the struggle to move forward, despite obstacles, and to continue moving forward. Superman is a symbol of hope…but this is not a hopeful movie.

There are a lot of dark superhero movies out there. The recent movies of Superman’s sometimes-partner Batman, for instance, are dark; and that works for him. I loved The Dark Knight, but I don’t need a hundred Dark Knights. The world is depressing enough right now, and I don’t need to constantly see destruction and death on the big screen; because we see it every day. What I need right now, what I crave, is a movie that shows me a hero who strives and succeeds at being better than that. At being better than all of the “reality” we are facing both in reality and in our current media. At actually “saving the world,” and not being beaten down by it in the end. At being a steadfast constant who won’t break under the pressure. And what I really want to know, after seeing Man of Steel, which could have been the perfect vehicle for this, is: why couldn’t this movie’s producers have been “the brave and the bold” movie team who dared to actually celebrate an ideal and a hopeful future in which disaster is not an inevitable and acceptable norm? In which there is somebody who can actually stop the world from being destroyed before half of it is gone?

Instead, they opted for a Superman whose introductory film features a final body count that at least equals if not exceeds that of the villain, General Zod (and that includes General Zod, since Superman, albeit reluctantly, straight-up snaps Zod’s neck in the end). As someone on Twitter said, “There is no Man of Steel criticism more stark than the fact that Earth would have been better off had Kal-El died on Krypton.” And as writer Brian Reed snarks, a conversation between Zod and Superman that would easily fit in this movie could be: “I’ll kill all of these humans you love.” “I punched you through 30 buildings. I’ve probably killed more of them than you at this point.” That…is a sad state of affairs.

Along with all of the death, the film also features a metric ton of property (and Earth) destruction, and Superman and the Kryptonians constantly whaling on each other to the point where my soul was craving even a smidge of character development, and welcomed Perry White and Steve Lombard’s struggle to free some random Daily Planet intern from rubble. You know your Superman movie is in trouble when a watcher is more interested in that than in Superman. Maybe because your Superman movie tries but fails to show the complexity or nuances of being both Superman and Clark Kent? Because it’s too busy showing things blowing up and the whole world falling apart? Yeah, maybe that.

One way in which the movie does try to humanize the adult Clark is via the introduction of Lois, and his interactions with her. But in my view, this is another great failure of the movie. Lois, as a character in Man of Steel, is great. She’s smart and upbeat and determined and fearless and loyal and successful and kind and has a strong sense of what’s right. She goes after the story, and gets the story, and has earned the respect of her editor and fellow reporters, and she is all around the sort of Lois I want to see. Lois and Superman, in their interactions, are also very strong.

But do you notice what’s missing about the previous sentence? Any mention of Clark. The meeting of Lois and Superman in this movie is just that – a meeting in which Lois knows him as Superman from the get-go. Yes, his name might be Clark, and she knows that too, but that’s incidental to all of their interactions. And while that may not greatly affect the dynamic of this particular movie as a movie, what does it do to the Superman mythos and to any potential sequels? Well, it strips out the human factor, the fun, the heart, and the drama that all come from the original Lois and Clark dynamic. It strips out a large part of what makes that story great.

As mentioned, when Superman is forced to be Clark around the woman he loves, and to wonder if she’ll ever love him for himself, rather than just for his powers as Superman, it brings him down to Earth, and to humanity, and gives him a reason to strive to be a better human, as well as a better superhero. It also makes the story a lot more fun; even if eventually, Lois does discover the truth. The story leading up to the reveal makes the reveal that much better, and also makes the relationship that much deeper. But here, it’s like they decided to skip right to the third season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – when those first two seasons were what makes anything after them work at all.

To catastrophically misunderstand this dynamic to such an extent was so unbelievable to me that, even though it’s a weak storytelling element and has been done before, in Man of Steel I kept waiting and hoping for amnesia. I seriously thought that when Superman saved Lois from the burning Kryptonian escape pod and she said, “I’m sorry…” the sentence was going to end with, “…but I don’t remember how I got here.” I couldn’t believe that they’d seriously set up the entire relationship to be Lois and Superman-who-also-happens-to-masquerade-as-Clark-to-other-people. And yet, they did. What a disappointment. Sure, maybe they can make it work if they do another movie, or a Justice League movie, or whatever; but it won’t be the Superman I know anymore, or the Superman I love.

In our post-mortem discussion of this movie, my friend Alicia said that Henry Cavill, while very good, would never be her Superman. And while I love Henry Cavill, and think he acquitted himself as well as the script would allow, I agree with her with a bit of a rephrase (because really, Henry Cavill isn’t the problem). Man of Steel will never be my Superman. And while I realize that heroes can be re-made for modern times, and sometimes should be to keep things fresh, Superman is one of those rare few where messing with his core story too much just flat out ruins who he is.

Superman is known as the Big Blue Boy Scout for a reason. Sure, the nickname is affectionately snarky; but it’s also a great compliment – a nickname for a hero who always does the right thing and acts to help others, and who is always prepared to solve the world’s problems and deal with its disasters. The goal of making a movie about Superman should be to maintain the bright ideal he has always been when at his best, without making him unrelatable or cheesy. I don’t know what Man of Steel set out to do, but in the end, it certainly didn’t feel like that. If I don’t leave a movie about Superman feeling like there’s some hope in the world, then that movie is not about the Superman I love. And Man of Steel didn’t leave me with much hope.

Well, that’s about all the movie analysis I can manage for one day, but until next time, Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold