“It is our choices, Harry, that make us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Over the last few years, I have come to realize that there is a lot of truth to this statement. Choices are what decide whether we’re good or bad, not what we’re capable of doing. Choices also determine our character more than the bad things we put up with in life. There was a banner on the wall of my high school gym: attitude is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. That is the difference between a villain and a victim.
Like a lot of Americans, I sat down this last Sunday and watched the Super Bowl. Like a lot of Americans, I enjoyed a lot of the trailers we saw during the commercial breaks for the game. There was a trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, featuring some great looks at Bee-Bop and Rocksteady and the Krang. There was a great Jason Bourne trailer, featuring Matt Damon’s return to the series. There was a Deadpool trailer featuring more reasons why I will not be seeing the film. And, of course, there was a Civil War trailer with more hero vs. hero goodness. There was even a Jungle Book trailer that looked pretty decent. All of these were prominent, geek related titles that are coming out later this year. All of them made some part of the geek population somewhat excited.
Another week is in the books, and we are bringing back our “This Week in Geek” feature. In this feature we are going to take a look at a few of the stories that happened this week in the world of Geek. We aren’t a news site, so this won’t necessarily be a comprehensive list, just a few highlights. If you see a story throughout the week that you think should be featured here, then send it along to me and I will include it. You can send it directly to email@example.com. Alright, let’s get to This Week in Geek.
2016 is here, and that means we have a whole new year’s worth of movies to look forward to. 2015 was all about The Force Awakens. What will be the big hit for 2016? So far it looks like Captain America: Civil War may be the king of the year, but it has plenty of competition. This is my list of 10 movies I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there are a ton of really cool movies coming out this year. My list may not be the same as yours, but these are the 10 movies I am looking forward to. They are listed in order of when they are coming out.
Hello. It’s me…I was wondering if after all these years, you’d like to meet…Sorry, it feels like it has been a lot of years since I was here on my blog writing regularly. I have been focused on NaNoWriMo for this past month, so most of my writing energy has been spent there. That’s over, at least for now. I will have to go back to what I’ve written and make it a lot less, well, not good. The nice thing, though, is that I won’t be under some crazy time crunch, like I was this whole month. In any case, I am back, and hopefully better than ever. Some of you may be thinking that won’t be too hard. To that, I say thank you. I like low expectations because they are easier to meet.
This past Monday saw the premier of the latest DC television series, Supergirl. The series is brought to us by the same folks who brought us Arrow and The Flash, so expectations were pretty high. I was curious to see if the quality would be just as high as those two shows, or if this would be just a “girl version” of a superhero show. More on that later. It seems like the reception for the pilot has been pretty positive, which is a big deal. Make no mistake, she may wear the “S” ( I know, it’s not really an S) on her chest, but this was still a really big risk for DC. Historically speaking, female driven superhero titles have not been huge sellers. Partially, that’s because female superhero title haven’t been very good, historically speaking. Well, I have watched the pilot for Supergirl now, twice, and I have to say, I have a lot of hope that this series could rewrite history for the genre.
In today’s world, it is hard to just look forward to a movie without finding anything out about the story. In fact, you don’t have to scour the internet to find out a lot about most of the big blockbusters. Leaked footage and photos come out on a daily basis, and random Hollywood reporters are siting anonymous sources with this story detail or that. Sometimes they prove pretty accurate, like when everyone knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan. Other times they are way off. The point is, the only thing that seems to stir up more excitement and speculation on the internet than the latest superhero films is the next iPhone.
So, I have two choices. I could sit here and rant about how perturbed I get when every detail ever is already leaked about a movie, or I could join in the speculation fun. I am joining in the speculation fun. If people can postulate that Jared Leto’s Joker is actually Jason Todd, then why can’t I sit here and ponder on a Superman theory for the upcoming Batman v. Superman film? Now, all of this is speculation, but it could potentially be right on, so read with caution. If you are trying to avoid spoilers at all costs, maybe think real hard about reading any further. After the picture, I am going into my theory…
For those of you that are still here, let’s have some fun. Well, maybe fun isn’t the right word for it, considering the nature of my theory. Calling it my theory is probably not totally fair either. To be fair and honest, I have adopted this theory and raised it into my own, after hearing it on the Superman Forever Radio podcast, episode 92. In the episode, the host, Bob Fisher, mentions the rumors that Doomsday may be in this new film. We know, according to the plot synopsis that some kind of threat rise relatively quickly and we see that they are doing something with Zod’s body, and that could mean Doomsday. As Mr. Fisher points out, Doomsday was created in the comics for one reason, and one reason only: To kill Superman. His fear, then, is that Warner Brothers is planning on killing Superman at the end of Dawn of Justice. Which he is audibly upset about. So was I…until I thought about it some more.
The more I thought about, the more it started to make sense, and it started to grow on me. For those of you who don’t know, Superman is my favorite, always has been. For me to say that any movie that ends up with Supes dead is going on me is a big deal. I don’t want this to be the case. I want to continue to see him on the big screen, or I did, but now I am all sorts of confused. What if this really progresses the story better? What if the Justice League will be better because he died, than they would be if was part of their ranks? These are all the questions in my head right now. I’m not even thinking of the business side of things. The practical side, like the fact that there is no stand alone Superman sequel scheduled yet, and it’s not even rumored until 2020, after everything else comes out. That date isn’t even close to official, either. It’s all rumor and speculation at this point. If Batman and Superman were going to continue to be the two pillars of this new cinematic universe, wouldn’t we see a Superman film sooner? Unless there are no plans for a sequel because Superman dies. I’m not even thinking about that in my theory. I am just thinking of it from a story standpoint.
At the end of Dawn of Justice, we should be seeing the beginning of the Justice League. We should be seeing them come together and starting on the path that will m,make them a team greater than any other. At the beginning of the movie, we see Batman and Superman at war. Somehow, we need to get from there to the beginning of the Justice League. I don’t think just introducing a major threat like Doomsday is going to do it. At best, they may work together to beat the monster, but the team dynamic would be stressed at best after that. Somehow, somewhere in the battle, they are going to need some kind of defining moment, something that stands out that brings them together and makes them so unified, that they become the Justice League, that they see they have to stick together. They need an Agent Coulson moment. If you remember back to The Avengers, they were a mess right after the hellicarrier scene. Loki had ripped them apart, and they were better at fighting each other than the bad guys. It did not look good. When Coulson died though, it was a turning point for them. They started coming together and working with each other, because Coulson died. They saw his sacrifice and knew they had to get past their differences and become a close-knit unit. For the Avengers to become the Avengers, Coulson had to die. That’s why Fury doesn’t tell the Avengers when Coulson doesn’t stay dead.
DC may be thinking that the Justice League needs a Coulson moment, but they have to be different from Marvel. One thing that has made it hard in the Marvel movies is that it has never felt like any of the main characters have ever really been in danger. Maybe it’s because we already know that they have all signed on for so many movies, or maybe in the back of our minds we remember that we are really just watching a Disney film, where the good guys never die or lose. That’s ok, I am all for happy endings, as I have mentioned before. DC and Warner Brothers may see this as an opportunity, though, to be different. They may decide they want to get our attention and let us know as an audience that in this Superhero world, the heroes can die and they will be in danger. That could make for more interesting stories coming up.
None of this, as I thought about it, really convinced me that I liked this idea. I still would have rather had Superman live, than die, but then I thought how the story could progress, if WB doesn’t mess it up. Superman battles Doomsday. Batman and Wonder Woman clearly recognize that he is the most powerful, so they leave him to battle Doomsday, plus Batman probably figures out that there is some tie between Doomsday and Superman, so he blames Superman on some level. This battle between Doomsday and Superman goes very differently than the end battle of Man of Steel. Superman has learned from that battle, from his mistakes, and now he is much more controlled and he is controlling the fight so as to protect as many innocents as possible. As Batman witnesses the fight, and realizes that Superman is the real deal, he decides to try to engage. Wonder Woman too. As they get to the scene of the battle, Doomsday delivers the deathblow, and Superman goes down. He is weakened now, so Wonder Woman and Batman (and possibly Aqua-Man and the Flash) are able to engage the monster, and together they take him out. The result is that the world sees the heroes come together and unite, and they see the greatest her fall. Batman realizes that not all the metahumans or aliens are dangerous. He helps Wonder Woman form the Justice League in Superman’s memory. It could be a very powerful moment. It could be a death that means something. If done right, Superman could become the most important member of the Justice league. It’s one thing to say you are willing to give it all you have, and Batman might think it is especially easy for someone like Superman, but it is another thing to go out and give everything, all you have. When Batman sees Superman do that, he gains a whole new respect for him.
Or, Warner Brothers and DC could just blow the whole thing. That is also a possibility. What do you think? Could we see the end of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Or am I just taking crazy pills? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had mentioned a while back that I was going to be reviewing some classic graphic novels or comic collections. Part of the reason I wanted to do this was to review this particular story. I have been interested in reading it since we have found out that it will be a big influence on the upcoming Batman V. Superman movie. I’ll be honest, despite considering myself a bona fide geek, I had never read this book before. There are a couple of reasons for this. Number one, I am not a big Batman fan. I am sure I have mentioned that before, but I’ll mention it again. Bats is dark and dreary, and I just don’t like it. I can only take so much of it before I feel dark and depressed. Number two, I did read Batman: Year One, and it was ok. It was definitely heavy, which in itself is not a bad thing, but it was that heavy mixed with the dark, and somehow, even pulling for Batman, you still feel like you’re pulling for the bad guy. Because of those two reasons, I had avoided this book.
Now having read it, I feel pretty justified in those reasons. I’ll try to be objective in my review here at the beginning, though. Taking a step outside myself and looking at this book, I would say the story is well written and intriguing. Having Batman be a little older and retired at the beginning is an interesting place to start. His body is worn down and broken after years of fighting crime in a style only Batman could pull off. After doing that for years, though, it is hard to get and keep it all out of your system, and that is how we find our hero in the beginning. He is retired, but he is itching to get back out there. One really depressing thing is that Gotham doesn’t seem to be any better off after his years of cleaning up the streets. In fact, Gotham may be even worse off just 10 years later. This really puts into perspective what Batman is really trying to accomplish, and leads the character to wonder if he needs to push it even further, do more to take control, and how much would be too much. How much can he bend the rules before he leaves that morally grey area and ends up in the black? He toils with this throughout the book as he is fighting criminals, including the leader of the Mutants and the Joker. Each fight, he seems to get closer and closer to that edge, almost going over it in his battle with the Joker, breaking the clown prince’s neck, but not technically killing him.
In addition to Batman’s own inner turmoil, we have the city responding to his return. There is a lot said in this story about the media and society and how we judge events and people in the spotlight. Is Batman good, despite the fact that his little regard for the laws and rules of the land? Or is he a criminal like all the psychos he helped put away? There is a psychologist, who, throughout the story is claiming that all these super villains are a result of Batman existing. This is an interesting debate, and one that is explored in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Is Batman there, fighting these insane criminals because he is needed? Or are they there because of him? It all escalates based on Batman being there, so they have to get bigger and badder. Nolan asks this question, but Miller asked it first.
Then there is the battle between Batman and Superman, which was really only a small part of the story, relatively speaking, so it will be interesting to see how much influence these scenes will have on the new film, which is also rumored to feature Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, and a partridge in a pear tree. In the graphic novel, Superman is sent by the President of the United States to stop Batman. Batman knows he is coming, so he is prepared with his own super armor suit-
no Kryptonite-(as pointed out in the comments below, Ollie does show up, a one-armed Ollie, to shoot a Kryptonite arrow at Supes) however, Superman is weakened after just being involved in a nuclear explosion, so he is not at full strength. The two duke it out, and this really the battle between two very different ideologies. Superman has always believed that mankind can become better. He always sees the potential in everyone, and is always optimistic. Batman sees the worst and is always suspicious. He doesn’t trust in mankind or have hope that they will get better on their own. The two iconic titans duke it out, and eventually, the battle ends because Batman has taken a drug that nearly stops his heart, to make everyone think he is old and worn out and has died. It fools Superman, until the funeral, when he can hear Batman’s heart going again. To be honest, the battle was so hyped up in my mind, that it was a little anticlimactic for me, plus, I still say that in any battle, Superman would eventually beat Batman, Kryptonite or no, but that is a debate for another time.
Now, stepping back into myself and my biases, I will say that this is as dark and heavy as Batman gets. It was really kind of sad and depressing to see this old man unable to let go, to the point where he almost dies. To the point where he almost becomes the criminals he is trying to stop. The story started dark, and got darker with each new chapter. If dark brooding Batman is your thing, then this story is great for you. If, like me, you prefer something a little brighter, a little happier, don’t pick this up. In all honesty, though, every comics fan, whether die-hard or casual, should read this at least once. Not reading it is like saying you like fantasy books, but you have never read Tolkien. That might be a stretch, but we’ll stick with it for now.
What are your thoughts on the Dark Knight Returns? Is it a favorite of yours, or did you not really care for it? Let me know in the comments.
There is a problem in the world of geek, and it’s not a small one. No, it’s a large problem, and one that doesn’t seem to be going away, even in the forward thinking, super tolerant society that we have become. It’s one that has been around forever, but I really started noticing it on a personal level about six years ago. It’s basically this: Go down the superhero aisle of any toy store and you will find a lot of different characters. You will find Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine, etc. You won’t find any Black Widow, or Batgirl, or Wonder Woman. In fact you’d be lucky to find any action figure type toys that represent any strong female protagonist. Yes, you might find some purple and pink Superman logo or Batman logo merchandise in the girls’ section, but that’s probably it. I am also not talking about the collectible figures that cost $25 that are targeted to the collector and not the kids. Why can’t you find any of these female characters in the superhero aisle? Simply put, boys don’t want to play with girl figures. This is what the marketing people believe and what the toy manufacturers believe. This was highlighted recently when a toy was released, based on a scene from The Age of Ultron movie, in which Black Widow is launched from a Quinjet on a motorcycle to help Cap out. Problem is, in the toy version, it is Cap on the motorcycle instead of Black Widow.
Here’s the thing, marketing people and toy manufacturers are probably right. Most boys don’t want to buy the girl figures. I have two boys who would probably agree with that. But you know what? I have three girls who would probably love to play with a motorcycle toy that featured a girl instead of Captain America. And there is the real issue. There is a growing number of young, geeky girls today. Geeky dads and geeky moms don’t see gender when raising the next generation of geeks. In their minds it is just as necessary for their girls to grow up as geeks as it is for their boys. My girls love the superhero movies just as much as my boys do. I would buy them just as much superhero merchandise if there was any of it made for girls. It’s all targeted at the boys.
It extends beyond the toys as well. In the next 5 years, there will be a billion superhero movies made, and two of them will have a woman as the main antagonist, we assume. One will be Wonder Woman, scheduled for the summer of 2017, and Captain Marvel, scheduled for the end of 2018. Black Widow has been deemed a side character and will not be receiving her own film. Which is good, because she is not an interesting character at all (I know sarcasm does not come through in type, so let me just tell you that last sentence was oozing with it). We have heard that Captain Marvel will be the Carol Danvers version of the character, but who knows? Maybe they will instead use the original version of the character, who was a male. In any case, it is easy to see that women as the main protagonist are hard to come by, and that is frustrating as a dad.
Being able to share my geekiness with my kids is pretty awesome. I love it when they get excited about the stuff I am excited about. I love when my boys run around pretending to be their favorite heroes, and it makes me sad that the girls don’t because they don’t want to pretend to be boys. My oldest will usually pretend to be Wonder Woman, the one female character everyone seems to know. My other girls pretend to be Batman or Thor (imagine their excitement in finding out that there is now a female Thor). Unlike my boys, though, they don’t get to see women being heroes like the men on the big screen, or even the little screen, and that’s hard as a dad. Don’t get me wrong, I don;t consider myself to be super feminist or anything, and I am trying to not make this a political discussion. All I am saying is that I want my girls to see heroes on the screen who are like them, and are just as awesome as their male counterparts, instead of always playing a supporting role. I don’t view my marriage that way. My wife Dani both have the leading role, and we are equal partners. I just want my girls to have an opportunity to see some of that too. And, I want to buy them cool toys like I buy the boys.
So what does this have to do with Supergirl? Well, DC finally has a shot to beat Marvel and be ahead of the curve. With their upcoming CBS series, Supergirl, they have an opportunity to be the first of the two companies to have a show centered on a strong female lead. They don’t come much stronger than Supergirl. The preview for the show looks promising, and I hope it is a smash hit and really popular. Movie makers and show runners have it in their heads that girl superheroes don’t sell. I think that was probably true 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, but I am hoping it has changed. I am hoping that this series will be the one to break the mold, and show Hollywood that there is an audience for this.
If Supergirl is successful, it will open the doors for future series and movies. It could open the door for more girl targeted merchandise in the stores for both companies. It could be a real beginning. In a lot of ways, it would be kind of cool. Superman was the first successful superhero, and because of him we have all the different superheroes today. If he had not been successful, who knows where the comics industry would be. Now, maybe his female cousin can do the same for the super heroine. Maybe her success can lead to many more successful superpower females on the big and little screens and on merchandising shelves.
I know that Marvel seems to be ahead of the curve on a lot of things related to superhero stuff, but this seems to be one where they are holding themselves back. I should say, it’s Disney, not Marvel, that’s holding them back. Marvel has a stable of strong female characters, but none of them seem to show up on screen or on toy shelves. Disney has always had the strict boy/girl lines. They have their characters for girls (usually princess something) and now with Star Wars and Marvel, their characters for boys. It is going to take a lot for them to break this mold, and let’s be honest, they have had years and years of success in their marketing format.
DC and Warner Bros. are not hindered by that. They can finally beat Marvel at being the pioneers in something superhero related. I’m not saying it will be enough to put them on top at the box office, but it might start them on the path to discovery. There may be geeky parents who are drawn to DC simply because they show the same respect for their female children that they do for their male children. I am hoping it will be enough to at least keep DC in the game. I am still holding out hope that somehow DC will end up on top. In any case, I will be lining up to watch Supergirl this fall on CBS.
CBS just dropped a new extended trailer for Supergirl, and it looks pretty good. Yes, it looks slightly cheesy, but it also looks like it is worth a look this fall. Plus, it also looks like a show I would be comfortable with my kids sitting down and watching it. My girls especially. They need more heroines like this to watch and enjoy. My girls are all geeks, so I think they would really enjoy something like this. Plus, it’s as close as we are going to get to Supes on the small screen right now.