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668 hits since 15 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse15 May 2017 3:14 p.m. PST

…Brief New Footage of Ares.

"There have been some complaints that Warner Bros. hasn't been marketing the film enough, which I feel is a bit unfair. I think we've just come to accept that all blockbusters must have a deluge of marketing, and anything less than showing us the entire movie must be an attempt to hide something. Yes, there are times when a stunted marketing campaign could mean trouble behind the scenes, but for the most part, these campaigns are planned out alongside the actual production. Demanding more trailers for Wonder Woman won't make them appear, but it doesn't mean the studio has no faith in the film.

Additionally, I'm not too bothered that we haven't seen too much of the villains. The film actually has three: Dr. Maru aka Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya), rogue German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston), and Ares, who hasn't been fully revealed yet but could be hiding in plain sight in human form. And yet the focus of the marketing has largely been on Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), which is fine with me. Their relationship is what drives the movie forward, so I don't really need to highlight supporting characters who most likely won't be seen again since the film takes place in the past…"
Main page
link

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 415 May 2017 3:22 p.m. PST

It takes place during WWII like in the comics ?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2017 3:37 p.m. PST

Even better – World War I.

"yes, but these Fockers were Eindeckers….."

grin

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member15 May 2017 5:35 p.m. PST

LOL 20th. :)

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2017 6:58 p.m. PST

Now THAT is a joke I have not heard in a long time

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2017 9:44 p.m. PST

I have read much about this being a "troubled" production, with much hand-wringing at the studio about how to fix it before release. Could be a lot of cooks stirring this broth.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 3:54 a.m. PST

DC/Warner have had their head screwed on backwards when it comes to superheroes for nearly two decades now.

Where Marvel Studios had the freedom to do their own thing and work out a winning formula which gives them great freedom to come up with very different styles of movies, DC not only came late to the party, they didn't seem to have a clue until Nolan's Batman, which is far from being perfect, but only helped to compound DC/Warner's problems down the road.

They hired Singer, the guy who put the X-Men on the map to reboot Superman. He ended up making a tribute to the Christopher Reeve movies that felt like a dog frantically humping a leg for far too long.

They then tried a more comedic approach with Green Lantern, because who doesn't love a movie centered around a totally irresponsible man-child who happens to have that one special talent that saved him from flipping burgers at the local grease joint and gets that one in a googlepex chance to go from underachieving zero to hero.

Nolan's Batman was a huge hit, except that it was never meant to exist outside its own universe. Because this Batman was a deeply flawed, barely capable Batman, who was a wreck and an invalid a few years into his career, and is beaten up by a 5'8" invalid on steroids. He's also the Batman who quit as soon as his pretty girlfriend got killed, talk about becoming a recluse in your Kane-style mansion the second somebody threatens to turn on the heat in the kitchen. You want that guy to compete with Superman, Wonder Woman and face off with beings like Darkseid ?

So you have two complete failures and proof that anyone in a Batman cowl no matter how mentally weak, stupid and fragile will be loved by all.

Logically DC/Warner would have helmed their new universe with a Batman reboot, except they didn't.

Superman Returns bombed, but they decided that Superman was the guy to reboot their new cinematic universe.

But it wouldn't be DC/Warner if they didn't decide to paint themselves into a corner before they even started.

The problem was that they were terrified their films could be mistaken for a Marvel one and cause members of the public to accidentally buying a Marvel movie instead a DC movie, so in an attempt to make sure nobody could ever mistake a Marvel film for a DC film they set a number of rules. Their heroes were all going to be uniformly dark, grim, humorless superheros, with muted colours, no jokes and everything as close as possible to how a really dark Batman movie would be made. They were this close to renaming Superman "Cape Batman", Wonder Woman "Chick Batman", Aquaman "Water Batman" etc …

You could tell how much faith they had in Superman because they wouldn't even use the name in the first movie, except for a passing remark. They were keenly aware (read : utterly terrified) that Superman is perceived as a goodie two-shoes boy scout, so they tried everything to make him more "hip". So they took the original story and simply reversed every major element in an attempt to make Superman more dramatic, conflicted and therefore more "interesting"

So, rather than have young Clark grow up with a kind and loving family of salt of the earth farmers, who raise him to become a good and decent guy who figured that having awesome powers and not use them to help others would make him the most incredibly selfish dick in history they figured that's not good enough for DC/Warner's awesome new hardcore universe, so he's raised by a paranoid suicidal misanthrope and Ayn Rand. In the original Superman movie Clark's adoptive dad Johnathan Kent dies of a heart attack, it's an incredibly poignant and strong character moment. The death of Jon Kent in Man of Steel is a big action setpiece that makes no sense. Clark has super-speed can move fast enough and the tornado has everyone so occupied that most people would rather assume Jon was saved by a miracle than suspect that his son might be an alien with super-powers. But instead we get this fake grand moment where Jon "sacrifices himself for the greater good".

See where the flaw is ?

The whole business of stories, characters, movies etc all works like an equation, input all the right data and you get the right result. Change the variables to make them look cooler and then pretend you get the exact same result is not genius, it's the opposite thing.

Another problem is that unlike Marvel DC doesn't want to waste time on giving its characters an arc or any semblance of growth, change etc.

When in a Marvel movie a character like Iron Man or Captain America appears on screen, people cheer. Tony Stark is at his core a conceited douchebag billionaire, but he learned a valuable lesson when one of his own weapons came back to lodge a piece of sharpnel near his heart. He discovered that he could be more than a superficial merchant of death. Cap was the guy who couldn't punch his way out of the proverbial wet paper bag. He became a hero fighting nazis and becoming a symbol.

DC/Warner are too hip for all that character nonsense. They assume that if Superman or Batman appears on screen, they have enough cred for people to cheer anyway. But when you mistake drama and violence for "character" and do everything to make Superman a troubled, pseudo-nuanced character who doesn't seem to care much about people, you don't get a free ride by adding a huge dramatic statue and saying everybody now loves him as a hero. You never see him actually rescue anyone other than his mom and girlfriend. The other moments are done in shortcuts that aim for high art, but look more like a really bad pulp novel cover. You see Superman looming over people sheltering on a rooftop to IMPLY he's a great hero, he's shown killing Zod for maximum grim cred, bro, but the people he saved are IMPLIED to be ok and grateful, because actually showing human emotion would be unhip. In another scene they show the aftermath of another IMPLIED rescue where it looks like a very iffy Jesus painting that tries to convey something awesome, but has absolutely no soul, it's the equivalent of giving yourself a medal for merely showing up.

Take Suicide Squad, the only movie in the DC murderverse that has a semblance of actual characters, but still falls far from the mark. The character of Rick Flagg has a relationship with the woman possessed by comically huge eyebr- I mean the Enchantress. Their relationship is done with such a minimalist exposition that even if you didn't blink you'd still probably miss it. Anyone who has done any kind of writing class would know that when it comes to the dramatic moment where Enchantress is vulnerable the protagonist most involved with her would be the one to take the shot. Not hip enough for DC/Warner, let Deadshot do it because Will Smith.

Zack "What do you mean gratuitous violence doesn't give you a warm feeling between your legs ? LOL !" Snyder need a huge finale for Man of Steel and what better than to level an entire city ? And because Snyder has a little less empathy than Hannibal Lecter and an understanding of what violence implies that is less than that of Beavis and Butthead. He got so engrossed by his own destruction porn that he completely forgot that such things have consequences and people noticed. They realized that they were being lied to. And Snyder took it personally ! As soon as the reviews were in and people complained that the destruction porn was simply gratuitous, Snyder must have realized he was the only red-blooded guy in the world and everyone else was just a pussy. His response is in Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice, it's the "That part of town is uninhabited" mention, it's his way of saying to the audience : "Are you happy now, you buncha sissies, nobody gets killed so don't get your precious snowflake feelings hurt !"

You can't have a guy like Clark bullied, told by his father it's better to let people die because keeping your abilities secret is much more preferable go through that arc and pretend it's the revered Superman. You can't have a protagonist who appears to have a short fuse and completely demolishes a guy's truck and his livelihood because he was rude to him (which never seems to raise an eyebrow after it happens) A guy who flies into a blind rage as soon as you do not speak of Ayn Rand, his mom, in less than awed tones let alone threaten to kill them. You can't just randomly change the variables in the equation and expect to get the same result.

"But he saved Metropolis and probably rebuilt it."

No, you got tricked because again like so many things DC/Warner doesn't want to bother with in their eagerness to get the multi-billion dollar bandwagon going is that they IMPLY everything and show nothing.

We go from Clark punching the "giant ray of doom™" to saving his girlfriend to an office as if nothing had happened followed by Clark wrecking a spy drone.

It's never mentioned anywhere that Clark even so much as lifted a finger to rebuild Metropolis, they were too busy adding badass elements like destruction of government property as a statement.

"Oh, but they will show it in the next one !"

They didn't and what if MoS had tanked so bad Warner/DC buried the whole thing. Where would be your Clark rebuilds moment then ??? No, the reality is that Warner/DC (or Zack Snyder) were much too busy trying to sledgehammer a round peg into a square hole. Again you got tricked by a shortcut meant to imply that Superman does care, has rebuilt the city, but if you look at the actual stuff shown on screen, he's a complete jerk.

Man of Steel wasn't a hit and even the panic reaction and the emergency Batman insertion wasn't enough to make Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice the undisputed hit Warner/DC expected . Again because they assumed that just showing a guy in a cowl and a growl would have the public go ecstatic and throw money at the screen.

I'll have to say that Zack Snyder did one thing right in Batman v Superman :Dawn of Justice, that's to make Batman as devastating in a fight as he is in the comics. Nolan's Batman would probably defecate into his Bat-pants and quietly sneak out if he saw Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice's Batman in action. The downside is that there was a bit too much sadistic glee involved, yeah, it's still Zack Snyder.

I can totally imagine Snyder in full tactical gear carrying a fetishistically tricked out airsoft rifle going through his mansion blasting away at imaginary bad guys and terrorists, pretending he's kicking them through walls and blowing their heads off with one well aimed shot, all in the name of awesome righteous justice bro !

The constant problem is that DC/Warner wants their own universe, they think they can write their own rules, but they are self-imposed restrictions that only serve to limit their movies and make them worse. They end up having to rush everything, imply far too much rather than take time to show us, like the arc they jury-rigged for Batman V Superman : Dawn of Justice, which is that Batman's war on crime is a huge failure and that he started to make sure the guys he puts in prison end up dead rather than come out again to haunt him as is IMPLIED by the Robin costume defaced by Joker.

Wouldn't it have been so much more interesting to make a Batman movie where what's shown with two shortcuts is actually fleshed out ? Remember how in Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice Batman breaks into Luthor's lab and steals the kryptonite ? They use a f-ing shortcut !!!

You know why these movies are so f-ed up ? Suicide Squad, as if they hadn't shown (or dare I say IMPLIED) that Amanda Waller is pure evil, they have her shoot her own operatives with no real reason other than that a writer decided it made her look more evil.

I desperately want to be cautiously optimistic about the Wonder Woman movie. It seems that the tiny incremental improvements and lessons learned are finally seeping through and WW may yet be the best in the series. I can only hope that if makes enough money and the reviews are positive and they put previous Warner/DC movies to shame they will finally learn to accept that they can do superheroes without having to go through a minus habens like Snyder.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 5:16 a.m. PST

I didn't think about it quite so much – I came out of Superman V Batman thinking I'd seen a really good Superhero film, as good as anything from Marvel (this is pre- Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2), Suicide Squad was huge fun as well, using a supernatural villain effectively which isn't easy. I'm very keen to see Wonder Woman, I think it'll be a great romp of a film.

Green Lantern – the real issue with this (for me) was that it introduced GL, and a new GL, and the WHOLE of the Corps in a film that lasted just 114 minutes. Too much. Apparently DC agree, as the next Green Lantern film is due in 2020 and will be a GL Corps movie – could be DC's Guardians of the Galaxy if they handle it right.

Legion 416 May 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

So this version of Wonder Woman is in WWI … should be Interesting …

Vigilant16 May 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

To me the general problem with Superman movies is that Superman himself is boring. Without a good villain there is no threat and without threat you just get a lot of effects for the sake of it (same problem with the last B one movie – no threat). I enjoyed Dawn of Justice mostly because of Batman and Wonder Woman and despite turning Led Luther into a start-up man child rather than a proper villain. Suicide Squad was fun, mostly due to Harley Quinn's totally crazy performance. I'm looking forward to Wonder Woman because I think that Gal Gadot has got the hang of the character. Not so sure of the setting in WW1 instead of WW2 as per the comics, but I guess DC/Warner don't want to get it mixed up with Captain America. Fingers crossed.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 11:39 a.m. PST

Wow! Patrick R pulled no punches (heh-heh) and nailed it pretty much. Esp. how Zack Snyder is singlehandedly doing his heroic best to ruin ALL the DC character movies he comes within $200 USD million of.

The best and most enjoyable DC comic book movies have been some of the animated ones, esp. the Batman productions when Bruce Timm and Paul Dini were involved. They knew how to write and direct. Or "All-Star Superman", based on an outstanding graphic novel of the same name. Or the Justice League "Crisis on Two Earths," excellent stuff there.

Superman comic titles managed to provide entertaining stories for decades because they once had editors at DC who could spot and cultivate writing talent. Superman may not be easy to write, but a number of skilled scripters did so for years. What they might consider doing for the movies is changing the approach, take a lighter tone (as the Silver Age Superman titles did), or consider adapting one of the classic comic book stories for a movie instead of relying for scripts from a committee of formulaic hacks. I'm particularly thinking some of Cary Bates' longer tales in the annuals (like the Luthor/Brainiac team up from 1977 or 1978) or one of Alan Moore's justly celebrated Superman stories (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, or For the Man Who has Everything (this latter even has Bats, Robin, and Wondie guest starring! It's a natural! Too obvious for movie studio morons.)

Personal logo nvdoyle Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 12:09 p.m. PST

@PatrickR – Holy crap, that was fantastic.

"felt like a dog frantically humping a leg for far too long"

I'm stealing that to describe The Force Awakens…

And to echo Piper909, the DC stuff also struggles because it exists in the shadow of some fantastic animated versions, that had character, than had development, that were good.

I point to the scene where Superman finally gets to unload on Darkseid, but still doesn't kill him, and the conversation with Batman afterwards…

brave face16 May 2017 12:23 p.m. PST

I also appreciated Patrick R's post.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 12:37 p.m. PST

I think Man of Steel was a complete mess.

As bad as some parts of Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice are, it was a huge improvement over MoS, you could feel the tanker was starting to respond to the helm.

Suicide Squad was another incremental improvement, at least they attempted to make the characters slightly interesting.

If I can end on an optimistic note, the current universe is not beyond salvage, we just have to sneak in a guy with a sawn-off shotgun when Zack Snyder is pretending he's Scarface, that should solve about 50% of the problem. Next assign Timm and Dini to helm both the animation and the live action and let them run things for a while until the DC cinematic universe finally gets its footing. Make Superman smile, make him actually save people for a change, stop pretending he has to be this conflicted guy with a dark side.

With a little luck WW will be another step forward in the right direction.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 4:54 p.m. PST

I would also pay good cash money to see a faithful adaptation of Dini and Timm's "Mad Love" in live action. Or their equally wonderful "Harley and Ivy." Batman, the Joker, Harley Quinn (the real one), Poison Ivy, genius.

Or to get off the Bat-track, how about an animated OR live action film on Dini's superb "Bloodspell" graphic novel, starring those fishnet fatales Black Canary and Zatanna? Maybe non-comic fanboy audiences are ready for some fresh characters from DC for a change.

Personal logo Tacitus Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

I liked Suicide Squad. I didn't feel like walking out of Batman v Superman. And I think Gadot has a good grip on the character. Off topic: I've heard her name pronounced by the media (including ads) both with and without the T. Anyone know for sure?

Ghostrunner17 May 2017 10:28 a.m. PST

Gadot with or without T's?

Man, you're killing us here.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2017 12:19 p.m. PST

I'd assume that being Israeli, the "t" would be pronounced -- it's not a French name, is it?

"Waiting for Gadot," heh-heh, the media has probably run that pun to death.

I'm not sold on her as WW, personally. I just don't think she's striking enough. I'm also nonplussed by the new trend for Wonder Woman to be carrying and swinging a SWORD all the time. Wondie never used to do that in the olden days, no more than Batman carried a gun. What's up with this, is WW killing her enemies now? How do you set a sword to "stun"? Wondie went through a period of being all lovey-dovey and new age-y, preaching non-violence in "patriarch's world", and she got heavy angst in one storyline/reboot when she DID kill someone (and I think it was accidentally, or to save someone else's life, or to save the Earth, or something ridiculous to get so out of joint about). So much for the nasty violence of "patriarch's world", I guess. The new Wondie comes off more like a stupider clone of Red Sonja or Xena, from what I've seen, with a little feminism added for seasoning.

Poo.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2017 1:59 p.m. PST

The sword originates from Kingdom Come, where in the future, WW is a bit more militant than she used to be. They mention that she's not afraid of dealing permanently with certain foes unlike that self-inflicted Batman – Joker problem. She takes out a suit of armour and wields a sword made by Hephaestus, whith which she kills a facist-based supervillain. The idea stuck with subsequent writers and has been used and abused ever since.

Kingdom come is an interesting story, which has the benefit of Alex Ross doing the artwork and is a kind of reaction against the whole post-90's "Every comic book must be the Dark Knight" mentality of some people.

It tries to show what happens when the traditional Comic Book icons start to play by the rules of the generation of characters that appeared in the 90's.

The problem I think with Kingdom Come is that it sets up most of its characters as strawmen and to make things worse, Alex Ross, no matter how talented he is can't do a really good "over the top 90's villain". The main "bad guy", Magog never really worked for me. He's supposed to be the uber vigilante, the guy who murdered the Joker and got so much praise that Superman simply hung up his cape and walked away. When you get to the confrontation between him and the "old guard" he gets about two lines of dialogue to explain his side of the story, but he gives in by the third line.

Kingdom Come is an attempt to reconcile the spirit of the Golden Age with the modern times and denounces the over-the top violent characters that have taken over in the aftermath of the publication of the Dark Knight.

I'd say Kingdome Come tries to make an interesting point, but is deeply flawed because it doesn't feel like the conflict is real enough. It sides too easily with the principles of the Golden Age icons which in a real world situation is most likely to get broken really soon.

Watchmen pretty covers similar ground and is a far more effective story. It's the deconstruction of the Superhero. The original 40's Watchmen are a collection of dysfunctional individuals with serious issues and most end up dead or worse. Outside of a huge media buzz they never seemed to achieve a lot and it shows that their foes are in the same boat, take off the mask and they are just people living in a fantasy world.

The clever bit is to add a character who no only has actual superpowers, but his power set raises him above any ability another powered hero might have like super-strength or flight. Doc Manhattan could snuff them like a candle.

It shows us that with or without powers, the real world is far too complex to throw a cape at and hope that will solve the problem. Manhattan wins the Vietnam war, but it only encourages the Soviets to build an even bigger nuclear arsenal.

The second generation of Watchmen become involved in politics, they become political enforcers. A mask and cape doesn't give you immunity from due procedure or the liberty to act as you wish, and having the powers of a god only serves to alienate you from the world because what is terrifying to a person who is only human behind the mask, like the prospect of a nuclear war is insignificant if you can exist on multiple worlds at the same time and can see the universe on a level ordinary human beings can only guess at.

Watchmen tells us that the concept of superheroes is deeply flawed against the backdrop of everyday reality. If you're an ordinary guy with a mask and cape you can beat up bad guys all day long it's not going to change the world, and once you have the power to change the world you realize it's not even worth it.

These stories have been incredibly influential and one of the problems is that they tried to insert them into the DC universe. And this is the point where you put matter and anti-matter in close proximity and hope it will give something awesome.

Zack Snyder believes that because he adapted the ultimate comic book movie he has a special insight and that he can apply that formula to any superhero and create something awesome.

But the critical mistake is to believe you can have the ultimate comic book Superhero and the deconstruction of the genre rolled into one is trying to have your cake, eat it and think you have enough cake to share with everyone else and still eat all that cake as well.

Superman is THE superhero, he's the good guy in his purest form, you may think that's stupid or old-fashioned, but he needs to function in a certain universe where his presence is required by the dangers of that particular world, from Lex Luthor to Darkseid. You can't have Superman simply taking on criminals and terrorists and be a tortured guy who needs to look over his shoulder because the government might decide that taking him down is the right option. The perfect example of this lazy method of character building is the recent John Carter movie. In the books he's quite aware of what he is and revels in his adventures, he's living life as one great adventure as opposed to the movie, where he speaks on growling tones, hates the world, tries to be the unattached loner only to have to drop the facade halfway to become a hero. If you paid any attention to the film you'll notice the small part played by James Purefoy, Kantos Kan, in those few moments, he's exactly what John Carter should have been …

The whole setup of Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice attempts to bank on the idea that transposing the conflict from the Dark Knight will magically generate the best movie imaginable.

The Dark Knight worked because when the comic came out most people still had the old TV series in mind when you talked about Batman, we were barely into the Bronze age and to most people Superman and Batman were still Golden age figures, a mix of old-fashion naive heroism and a ton of goofy crazyness.

Even the Burton Batman movies aren't really taken seriously today, as campy and quirky as they are, but at the time we had never seen anything like it and lots of people couldn't make the leap from the TV Batman to whatever it was they saw on the screen.

Flash forward 30-odd years and we're so used to main protagonists being growling, menacing,dark, troubled anti-heroes almost collapsing under the weight of the Weltschmerz that has been accumulated upon them to mask the complete lack of actual character traits other than a violent and dramatic back story that left them broke and dangerous until they are redeemed at the halfway mark to do the heroic thing.

The idea that a guy like Clark Kent doesn't need a traumatic incident to prod him into action is usually held against him. But a calling to do the right is exactly what motivates thousands upon thousands of real life cops, paramedics, firemen, soldiers, relief workers, doctors and all those people who decide to dedicate their lives to serving their community, their country or even the whole world, where ever they can help.

Superman is not just the guy with the set of powers that makes him utterly boring. He's the better side of human nature, our ability to come together when things get bad, Superman is not a guy with his underwear over his pants, he's those people who run towards the disaster rather than run away from it. Superman represents people who do the right thing without having to go through a suicide, an accident or a murder.

If you try to deconstruct Superman in his own movies without understanding what the character means and for a complete lack of imagination still require the character you so desperately tried to turn around a 180° still has to end up a glorious hero, you're definitely doing something wrong.

That's the definition of insanity, or at least of a complete lack of understanding.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2017 10:02 p.m. PST

Patrick R, I admire your incisiveness and willingness to take the time to lay this stuff out for all those not familiar with comics lore (esp. past lore). Very apt observations again -- we think alike, except that you are far more patient with the moviemakers (I have never been willing to see an entire Batman movie made since the 1980s, apart from the cartoons, and have skipped all the recent DC big screen efforts).

I like Alex Ross as an artist, very much, but when I read Kingdom Come years ago it failed to register. Maybe I should give it another try sometime, but I just couldn't get into that world with any comprehension or interest, or figure out exactly where the story was going.

I read DC comics steadily since the mid-60s (and reprints going back to the 40s), altho' often with periods of declining interest (much of the mid to late Seventies), but I sort of gave up in the mid-80s with DC's original "Crisis" rebooting, which I bitterly resented, and the "Dark Knight" series, which I disliked then and still do -- and then WATCHMEN came out, which I found utterly absorbing and fascinating, and that ruined mainstream superhero comics for me for a good, oh, 20 years, by and large. There just didn't seem to be anything more to be said after that.

Eventually I came back in the mid-2000s, gradually, a few books or stories at a time -- I'm still awfully hard to please -- enough to learn a bit about some worthwhile efforts since 1986, to appreciate some new writers (Morrison, Dixon, Dini, Beatty, Meltzer, Brubaker, Johns, Kesel, Straczynski), to see more clearly what had changed and what was the same.

Something that is inescapable in my view is the baleful influence of Alan Moore's WATCHMEN since its publication -- that and Miller's "The Dark Knight" series. A legion of imitators and wannabes have dogged comic book writing and editorial direction ever since. All existing characters, no matter how sunny and altruistic they may once have been, are now required to be DARK, to be GRITTY, to be REALISTIC (despite living in a total fantasyland of non-realism). Moore got it right in Watchmen, pretty much, thanks to his canny decision to NOT make his characters "superheroes" in the conventional sense -- except for one (Dr. Manhattan), who throws the whole deck into the air once he appears. This is by far the most realistic and engaging treatment of "superheroes" we've seen, and made a huge impact in the fanboy world. But in the hands of lesser talents, these "dark and gritty" themes, shoehorned into existing storylines and characters going back to the gentler 1940s, became the new comic book cliches. And now, a generation later, we're seeing this approach dominating the movies derived from those characters.

What would Siegel and Shuster say, if they could see what has been done to their Superman? What happened to Batman the Detective? DETECTIVE Comics! Since Miller's cynical and embittered take, Batman has become Rorschach with wealth and gadgets, a vigilante who seems to hate and distrust everyone (making the Bruce Wayne persona even more schizoid than ever) and acts no better than the villains he fights. Even the latest incarnation of Robin is a colossal, unpleasant, pain in the Bleep. It's ludicrous.

Zack Snyder keeps making the same bad movie over and over again. I had no use at all for "300." (As a serious student of Greek history, I was generally appalled at Miller's comic and everything I've ever seen from the film version.) His "Watchmen" was a commercial flop, if I remember, and only works as well as it does (occasionally) thanks to the strength of its source material, when Snyder stood out of the way and wasn't rewriting things (because he is so much smarter and more talented than Alan Moore). When Watchmen is almost unwatchable, it's when Snyder steps up to the plate and thinks he's Babe Ruth, now watch me hit this one to the bleachers! Sadly, this attitude of his appears to infect every movie he's allowed near.

The complete deconstruction of Superman in the cinema (if not also the comics) is a case in point of how the studios have no clue what that character is about or WHY. The arrogance of people who think they have license to screw up 60, 70 years of established tradition and "continuity" (that all-important fanboy buzzword) simply because they can is an affront. If these clowns can't come up with a good Superman story, it isn't because there's suddenly something wrong with the most important and popular superhero of all time, and so he must be revised and mutated -- it's because they're bad writers. But they'll never admit or recognize that.

So what's it all about? "Wonder Woman" will come out this summer, and either make a boatload of money or not; and either be given the benefit of the doubt by critics, or not. I suppose either way, DC gets its money. There doesn't really seem to be any penalty for making a bad movie these days, why else are there so many of them?

Parzival18 May 2017 9:29 a.m. PST

@Piper909 "For the Man Who Has Everything" was filmed as an episode of Supergirl, though with a different villain and resolution, and no Bats, Rob, or WW (though it does have J'onn J'onz and a very Elon Musk-ish Maxwell Lord).

Interesting discussion, if a tad strongly expressed. While I appreciated both Miller and Moore's work back in the day, in retrospect their efforts are highly misogynistic, with the female characters often being brutalized, or depicted as victims or prostitutes, unless they are "manned up" into almost masculine behavior. (Moore is particularly egregious on this point, though I have since heard that he grew up amid gross domestic abuse, so perhaps it's understandable).

I too would prefer a DC film world that appreciated the classic hopeful and light tone of its heroes and shelved the "Dark Knight/Watchmen" concepts.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 2:00 a.m. PST

Early reviews are in and they appear to be positive.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2017 10:11 p.m. PST

News today out of the DC movies camp: link


Snyder is out, Whedon is in. The ominous word "reshoots" is heard…

Ghostrunner24 May 2017 10:13 a.m. PST

'Reshoot' should be cause for celebration.

Better than trying to compensate for a missing plot-critical scene with a more over-the-top CGI sequence.

Parzival25 May 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

To be fair, Snyder is out in order to deal with his daughter's tragic death, not to bring in fresh talent. And 'reshoots' are not uncommon in the film industry, nor are they signs of a bad film, just a need for additional work to achieve a polished story. However, Whedon is a significant director choice for such things, which may well be a sign that Snyder is going to take this opportunity to pass the torch to others for future efforts in the DC franchise.

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