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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

And Now The End Is Here. #NaNoWriMo

And Now The End Is Here. #NaNoWriMo

Picture courtesy of the NaNoEdMo website 

It’s official! Another #NaNoWriMo is over and in the books. If you participated, I hope that you enjoyed the crazy, hectic, stressful but satisfying experience and accomplished every goal you set for yourself and your novel. If you didn’t participate this year (like me), then I hope that you at least cheered for the participants. Some of these writers were doing this for the first time and giving it their all and that should always be commended.

The idea of finishing a novel in under a month is, hopefully, not as daunting now that many of you have done it. You are now part of the small group of people that have gone from saying, “One uh dees dayz, I’mma write me a novel,” to, “Holy crap! Dude, I wrote a novel.” (side note: Quotes may not be direct). So feel proud that you are no longer one of those if-I-only-had-timers and that you are officially a doer.

So what next? Well, unfortunately, now comes the hard part. I know, some of you are like, “What? The hard part comes now?” Trust me, if you weren’t having some real fun while writing, then you’re never gonna get through this next part: editing and revisions. Remember what I said in my previous #NaNoWriMo post: “Stray far away from attempting to do any editing and revising during the primary writing process during the month, even if you finished your goal early.” People will always try to argue for stopping and going back to fix things but I’m telling you that it can mess you up more than help you. With December being a month full of cheerful holiday greetings, sweet stuff, family and all-over holiday busyness, this month happens to be the month of nothing. Sit back, relax and enjoy yourself, your family or whatever other work that you do.

But even while relaxing, always be open to any little details, facts, factoids, or just cool twists that can impact the story you’ve just written, whether those things come to you on the back of mythical muse’s wings or if you overhear them at a party or wherever. Sponge them in, because January happens to be National Novel Editing Month (or something like that). That month will challenge you to edit, revise and re-edit the book that you wrote in November. You will have had a month to sit on the book and either think incessantly about it or not worry yourself with it at all. And when you come back and read what you wrote, and read all of your notes and whatnot, you might have a new perspective on what you wrote that could completely change your vision of the book or strengthen the vision you already had.

Editing a book that you’ve finished and getting it ready for people to read is the most trying, pressing, stressful work that you can do in this industry, so it is important to make sure that you give yourself every advantage you can. Indulge in your favorite activities and desserts this month, be around people that you love and care about, but also make sure that your mental acuity stays precise and razor sharp, and that your wit is not lost in the mire of sugar-sweet holiday sentiment because the real work, the not-so-fun part of writing a novel, the month where everybody who knows about National Novel Editing Month is a little on edge because half of them are realizing that maybe they need to toss a quarter of their book—that starts in January.

But again, don’t worry. If you are unable to finish the challenge, it’s OK. Many people are never quite able to finish said challenge because as long as it takes to write the book, it oftentimes takes twice as long to edit it on average (my observation). But this is the point where you can really shine, because as great as all of those cheerful, positive quotes about how “if you want to be a writer, then write. Now you’re a writer,” are, the truth is that anybody can write something, but that doesn’t mean they should be considered writers. Real writers take the time to try to polish their work to as pristine of a shine as possible. Here is where we will see if you will be one of those, “Oh, I wrote a book once,” people and that’s where the conversation ends, or if you’ll be a “I wrote a novel and edited it and sent out letters about it and tried to get it published and/or self-published and...” and the conversation gets interesting. Don’t just be a writer, don’t just be an editor, be interesting!

So, how was your #NaNoWriMo experience if you participated? Was it fun or a slog? Was this your first time or are you a veteran? Actually, I’m quite intrigued by that third question because it seems like most of the people I ran into out here on these internet streets were first-timers and I was wondering if people ever really sign up to do it a second time after either succeeding or failing at the challenge. I succeeded but didn’t do it again this November because I had other projects that needed tending to first, but I’m curious about others’ experiences. Anyway, leave a comment below about your experience. If you didn’t participate, then tell me why. Oh, and I’m still looking for people willing to review my new psychological thriller/mystery in the vein of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, so please leave a comment below if you are interested because I would love to have 50 reviews for this book by the time I release it. Thank you. In any case, whether you just want to comment on NaNo or if you are interested in reviewing my book, I would love to hear from you.

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 4 coming summer 2018. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary on Amazon. Season 2 of that coming real soon. And look for the mystery novels The Knowledge of Fear #KnowFear and The Man on the Roof #TMOTR coming this fall/winter. Twisty novels as good as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you won’t want to miss them. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “Hey, Mom, Dad, I was readin’ in a book that—”
‘Holy crap! You read a book, son?’ (dad)
“Yes, I read a book and—”
‘He said it again. He admitted to reading a book. Like, a full book?” (mom)
“Gah! Yes, a full book.”
‘Hmph! Probably had pictures.’ (sister)
“No... OK, well, yes. It had three pictures, but it was really long. Like, 300 pages.”
‘Well, what was it about?’ (mom)
“I don’t know. It was a mystery.”

P.S. Just admit it, you liked that joke. You liked the whole thing. You liked the setup and lame payoff. You snickered. Admit it. Admit it! I’ll try to come up with a much better, much shorter sign-off next time.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Predictions Hold True, Unfortunately #JusticeLeague #recap #review #comicbookmovie #DC #WarnerBrothers

My Predictions Hold True, Unfortunately #JusticeLeague #recap #review #comicbookmovie #DC #WarnerBrothers

All pictures courtesy of Warner Brothers and DC studios

Sigh! Head shake. What to say about this movie? See, this is one of those times where I really wish I actually had a good camera to film myself or at least a good microphone on my computer so that I could record myself and post a long 20-minute rant to Youtube about this movie. But I don’t, so I can’t. Knowing the circumstances surrounding the making of this film, I don’t want to go all the way in on the film because I want to at least have some respect for the people behind the scenes and in front of the camera. At the end of the day, they are all just people. And they all have passion for something (though I, having some connections at WB, could make the argument that they don’t all have passion for comic book movies) and they all have their own ideas about what and how things should go, what they should be, how to create magic. And there was some sorrow and some loss on the way—RIP, and my sincerest condolences to the Snyders and their family. I know it couldn’t possibly have been anything other than difficult dealing with the death of their daughter and then having to try working on a film that deals with fear, death and resurrection and trying to be the hope and light in people’s lives. So, as a fan of these characters I would (and I know I’ll get flack for it) ask that other fans be more considerate in their criticism of Zack Snyder about this film. I am not saying he is above reproach here. Far from it. But just remember that the personal stuff coupled with the fan hate may have helped in demolishing what little vision he had for this project even before the Whedon reshoots. OK? So, with all of that said, is Justice League better than the critics are making out, or was it another surefire miss on DC/WB’s part? Read on through this spoiler-filled review to find out (I’ll warn you when we start getting into spoiler territory).

Wanna Join My Band? Let's Talk Over Brunch
OK, so let’s get to the setup and know that this movie is more of a direct sequel to Batman v. Superman than it is to Wonder Woman or Suicide Squad for that matter. That means that I will be speaking about spoilers from Batman v. Superman in this section before spoilers kick in, OK? Good. So, as I say, Justice League takes off nearly right after Batman v. Superman. There is some reference to before Superman died and we get some kids trying to interview him which is really just a sad attempt on Warner Brothers’ behalf to try to soften Superman or even give him more dimensions to his character. Then we also see a little bit of Superman’s burial and of Clark Kent’s gravesite, which has also been changed, so it seems, from the Batman v. Superman location, but I digress. And while I did say that you didn’t need to see Suicide Squad to watch this film, if you did see it, you might be slightly confused because there is a time discrepancy that isn’t really addressed in the film. You don’t really know if this film takes place in the months between SS and BvS or if it comes after SS (Note: from this point on, I will be referring to the other movies usually by initials only). And granted, that is even after SS said that Superman was dead in that film but it’s hard to tell.

So, from here we move to some trailer stuff without revealing the entire plot. This villain Steppenwolf is from a different planet and comes to the world to, um... I don’t really know what his motivation was. I guess it was to rule the world and/or make this world into his own world, but in both cases neither reason was given that much weight. But what you do need to know is that to do his plan he has these helpers called parademons, which you saw in BvS during the Batman nightmare. Anyway, he also needs these three boxes they call the Mother Boxes which didn’t appear in the original theatrical release of BvS but apparently did make an appearance in the extended R-rated three-hour version. These boxes are a conundrum as well, but they are essentially cubes of energy that can bond together to form the tesseract. I’m sorry, not the tesseract—that’s Marvel. I was trying to say the tesseract. The tesseract? Damn it, I keep trying not to say the tesseract but all my fingers will allow me to type is the tesseract. Basically, it’s a big cube of power that is able to destroy and create at the same time, ie. God in a box.

So, to stop Stepps, Batman and Diana, who both know about the impending doom, must cobble together a team because... reasons. Where do they start? The list of curiosities left by Lex Luthor in the first one. So they gather up Cyborg, Aquaman and the Flash, and go to battle. And that’s about where the movie non-spoilers end. The interesting part, however, is that that is almost the entirety of the movie. You can guess how the movie ends because it’s a superhero movie and it ends pretty much the same way all superhero movies end, with the exception of Captain America: Civil War. Yes, the bad guy fails. Outside of that, there’s one other surprise, but even that is not all that surprising because if you know about Justice League, then you know what I’m talking about.

What’s my grade? I give it a D. I know, this is far different than how I usually recap/review movies but I’m trying to cut down on spoilers for all you 21 subscribers I have. Hi! So, now we are going to go into spoilers, so you are forewarned.


This film was forgettable. The worst thing about this film is that it was not only forgettable, but it was bad and forgettable. OK, I said a week ago that I thought Thor: Ragnarok was forgettable, but now that a week has gone by, I can still remember some stuff from that film. In fact, I can still remember the entirety of the film. And it was good. Here, I can’t even remember the actual ending of this movie before the two credit scenes. I remember the boss battle but the denouement after that? I don’t know. I don’t know what Aquaman did or where he went, what happened to the mother boxes, what happened to the Flash or any of that stuff. I do remember a Knights of the Round Table reference with Batman and Wonder Woman in Wayne Manor but that was about it. Oh, and Cyborg developed some more armor. But what was Superman doing after the Kent farm move? I don’t know.

So, here’s the deal, this movie was bad. Not as bad as Suicide Squad but near close, and it troubles me that this actually got a higher rating than BvS because if I’m comparing the two, this was much worse. Yes, fans complained about the darkness in both tone and picture quality of BvS but when looking back on that film, at least the tone stayed consistent and felt OK for what the film ultimately turned out to be. Here, the mixture of tones with comedy and darkness and grounded and comic bookish felt like they were trying to constantly add more and more salt and pepper. When it got too salty, they’d add water to cut down on the salt. When it got too peppery? They’d add water to cut down on the pepper. And they just kept adding and adding until it made the whole tone bland on all sides. Some people will say that this was funny. Eh! Not really. It had a few good jokes but a lot of them were misfires to me in the same vein as this year’s earlier Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-man: Homecoming. It just felt bland and generic and, interestingly enough, like something we’ve already seen. Some people might say that it’s hard to hate, but no it isn’t. In an era in which we are so niche-oriented, so choose-a-side-oriented, a film that rides the fence is so aggravating that I can totally hate this film. But I’m actively trying not to hate it.

Where do I actually start with this film? OK, the first thing we should look at are some of the same problems that BvS, SS and Wonder Woman all had in common, and complaints from the entirety of the DCEU. We first start with the editing. Jumpy editing and quick-cuts from one scene to the next were the exact thing that sunk BvS and SS. We started BvS with about six scenes that you only stayed with for two minutes tops, after the opening of the Wayne’s deaths. We cut to Bruce driving around the city, then to people digging up kryptonite in the ocean, then Lois in the desert with Jimmy Olson, then Batman doing something, then Superman and on and on. Suicide Squad did some of the same stuff, and guess what? Justice League does it too. We started with the kids interview, then the burial, then Batman fighting, then Wonder Woman fighting, then they’re doing something else and something else and it just seems to never pack any sort of emotional connectivity into the scenes at all. You don’t get character development, you barely get character introductions, and you really don’t get much story development here. There’s a lot of stuff going on and flashs and bangs and stuff but that doesn’t really give us anything. It comes off again as nothing more than a collection of scenes. This is the third time that they’ve given us an opening which is really a collection of scenes rather than something that develops and seems like it will lead to something.

The editing leads directly into pacing. To me, all of the DCEU films have had a problem with pacing, with SS being the biggest offender, followed by a tie between WW and BvS. In my WW review/recap, I said that they could’ve easily taken out about an hour or so of the film and would’ve lost nothing. Same goes for BvS. But in JL, they commit the same crime as SS where it felt like they were rushing. This movie is less than two hours, making it the shortest runtime of all five DCEU films which is the strangest, stupidest thing probably ever. So you’re saying that individual films for superheroes are long as hell but when they all team up, they can get everything done in less than two hours? Really? And the strange time constraints set within the film made the final battle bizarre to me because of the family. I’ll get to the family later, but just know that the pacing here was too fast at some points and too slow at other parts. And the worst thing is that it feels like, even though there is a ton of stuff going on, it never really feels like anything actually happens in the film, except a few fights. There is no tension which I will talk about later during the plotting section.

This WW Is Not The One You Get In JL

Next we have the characters. OK, so we get the main characters of the JL but they are hardly developed. WW, coming from her own film, is once again watered down in my opinion. Yes, she is like the mother hen of the team, but her character seems all over the place for an Amazon that has been living in the world of men for a century. The tension between her and Batman is good but outside of that I didn’t really feel anything for her. It’s strange but as much as I disliked WW I would’ve preferred seeing that version of the character over this. And yes, she was oversexualized which I will talk about later.

Batman, even though he was the father of the team, felt bland. Where as in BvS he actually felt like a jaded superhero, someone who’s been doing this for a long while, someone who has seen some really crazy stuff, here he doesn’t come off as that at all. I’m not sure if Ben had already checked out after fans and critics didn’t like BvS (I will totally pull out that sad Batfleck meme again) or if this is just how the character was written but he felt more like he didn’t care about what they were doing than anything. Now that I think about it, the film comes off as so bland because there is no conviction about anything from anybody, including the villain. Yes, he wants to rule the world or whatever but the guy had a chance to do that the last time and wimped out and fled. So, it’s like, eh! He’ll probably flee again if he’s given the chance. And you know what? He sorta does. They didn’t even kill the villain. They let him be taken up in a tractor beam expecting for the parademons to have killed him.

I’m getting off on a tangent. Just know that if you liked Affleck’s portrayal of Bats in BvS (which was one of the things I actually did enjoy), you aren’t getting the same one here. He looks good in the suit but he’s not given much of anything to do in any of the fights. In fact, he isn’t even given a cool parademon fight like how he was beating up the guards and shooting them in BvS during that nightmare sequence. He doesn’t use the same armor that he had on when fighting Superman and just stands around, once again, with a gun in his hand shooting down these insect-like creatures. What the frick! Didn’t we complain about Batman using a gun? In the film, they even make it a point to mention a few times that there is this particular chime or frequency that drives the parademons crazy and can kill them, so Alfred will have it installed into the suit. But does Batman ever use it in the final battle? If he did, I don’t remember that.

Then we have the new characters: Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. I remember back when Superman Returns came out and I went to see that with my mother (she likes superheroes) and she asked me the same thing that a lot of fans were wondering at the time: is the boy from the Smallville show going to play Superman? And I said no. And she asked me why not and I said because that’s its own thing. I never really thought that the TV versions of a character should rightfully play the film versions. Until I saw the Flash in this movie. I hated everything about the Flash. I really did. I don’t think I like Ezra Miller, frankly. I thought his voice was annoying—it sounded needlessly geeky and insincere. I thought his wide-eyed everything-is-awesome look was unnecessary (one of the things that annoyed me about Spider-man in CA: Civil War). I didn’t like the costume and I thought that a lot of his jokes were OK but could’ve been delivered much better by a different actor. Where TV’s Grant Gustin brings just enough gravitas and comedic charm to the character, Ezra felt like he was in a superhero spoof movie, like something from the Wayans brothers but even cheesier than that. And did anybody notice the goofy running at the end of the film? What the hell was that? Was he running like that the whole time and I missed it or just auditioning for a position in the Ministry of Silly Walks: Running Bureau (it’s an offshoot of the original)? Or is that how he really runs? I don’t know. It drew needless attention to the character in a very unflattering way.

Aquaman was rather a waste. Was he cool? I guess. He had some pretty nice poster shots, but outside of that he was just another punching bag for the other supers. Steppenwolf throws him around, he’s no match for Superman and even his underwater fight didn’t get me that jazzed for his solo movie coming out in 11 months. Wait, 11 months? Holy crap! That is a hella-long time. I just looked it up. Hm? Maybe it’s good that DC doesn’t have another film coming out next year because... Well, just wait for my predictions at the end of the article.

Aquaman. Sorry It Is So Dark
Anyway, at one point Aquaman reveals Batman’s secret identity and Bruce doesn’t even react. Granted, the people around don’t seem to speak English but who the hell knows if they do or not. Then there’s another scene in which he’s drinking from the bottle (this was in the trailers) and he slams the bottle onto the dock as the waves cascade over his body and I couldn’t help but let my environmentalist mind kick in and be like, “He does realize that all that broken glass is gonna wash right into the sea and probably end up hurting one of the sea creatures, right?” It’s a nitpick, but it really bothered me, especially because isn’t man’s pollution of the sea part of the reason why he exists? Isn’t his job to protect the sea and all of its living creatures? Wasn’t he supposed to be the eco-predecessor to Captain Planet? Even better and totally unrelated question, how old is he supposed to be? We know that Diana is hundreds of years old, at least. And we knew that back in BvS. Meanwhile this guy’s been comin’ in on the tide for how long? I digress. Aquaman was fine and for the first big-screen adaptation of him, he did his job.

Cyborg was just OK. I get the reason why they used him and not, say, the black Green Lantern but even with the mother boxes being part of him, I still didn’t quite get why he was so willing to become a superhero after one good talking to by Diana. Was he really motivated by his father being taken or was that just a thing that happened? This is never really made all that clear. And he had the lamest introduction of his powers probably ever. He just turned on his heel blasters to fly and was like, “I couldn’t do that last night.” Really? Hm. They wasted Joe Morton who is brilliant on Scandal. There isn’t really a big reveal of Cyborg either. Yes, he’s wearing a hoodie and whatnot during the first half of the movie, but when we see the rest of his body it isn’t during some amazing reveal, it’s just, “Oh, there’s Cyborg being all metallic and stuff.” And the weirdest part was about his interaction with the mother boxes, specifically where the hell it came from. I know he and his father had it in BvS but how’d they find it? Never explained. There’s not really much I could say about him even though he’s supposed to be somewhat of the heart of the team before Superman comes back.

Which brings us to the only plot twist in this film, which isn’t really a twist at all. Yes, Superman is back. And by back I mean he’s back to Man of Steel levels. Look, I’ll admit that it’s been a few years since MoS came out and most people were so disgusted with that movie that they actively tried to forget it, and that BvS is the freshest in people’s minds so they naturally go to the joylessness of the character in that movie. But with that said, if you go back and watch MoS again, you will see that there was some joy in the character, just not a lot. He did smile and he did make a few jokes here and there, and we even got that promising smile at the end of the film between him and Lois. But with the destruction porn overshadowing much of the takeaway from that film, most critics don’t remember those parts of the film and are inclined to say that this new Superman, the resurrected one, is much better. He is not. He’s about the same, honestly. But he’s not even in the movie long enough to be of any consequence character-wise. We spend, on my count, four scenes with him, with the third scene being the climax/final battle. And there, his quips seem more arrogant than funny. The fact that he’s talking about how they’re still having such a tough time dealing with Steppenwolf when he comes in repeatedly to punch the guy drunk like it ain’t nothin’ feels more diminishing to the other characters than uplifting to his character. It became another one of those comic book debate quandaries that fans have had for years: if superman is really “super” then why would he need anybody else helping him? It’s literally the same debate had between Jerry and George on an episode of Seinfeld. It negates the entirety of the team coming together, and if he wasn’t dead, this movie wouldn’t actually exist. Instead, it’d be MoS 2. 


The final character is Steppenwolf who leads us more into the plot because they tie so closely together. Steppenwolf is the villain who seems to have little to no purpose. Again his motivations are vague. I guess he wants to take over the world but I can’t quite figure out why. Unlike, say General Zod in MoS or even Ares (to some extent) in WW, we don’t get the same feel that this guy has a true purpose behind what he is doing and thus makes the entirety of pursuing him and trying to stop him as bland and pointless as this very review has been so far. As a side note, has anyone else noticed that every villain that has been featured in the mainstream of the DCEU (that means not including SS) has been a general of some sort? I would even make the case that Doomsday is really just a cobbling together of Zod and Luthor’s DNA, so he’s technically still a general. But Ares, Zod and now Steppenwolf are all generals. This is what I mean when I say that we most likely have reached comic book oversaturaion. It’s similar to how when we enter a recession in the economy but no one really knows it’s a recession until a few months in when the government economists gather all of the info from the last few months and can finally announce, “Yeah, we are actually in a recession.” The announcement always comes months into the actual recession. I am announcing it now that we are in a comic-book-movie market oversaturation. You all can doubt me if you want to, but when films keep recycling the same exact plot points, they either need a disruptor or they are going to dramatically decline. Granted, a few female-led superheroes will disrupt the industry and keep it bumping along for a little while, but it’s still on the decline.

Anyway, back to Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf’s motivations are so vague and bland—we’re talkin’ Marvel-villain bland—that they can be easily explained in a rather clumsy Diana storytelling sequence. If you recall the opening storytime in WW where Hippolyta tells little Diana the story about man and the island and why the Amazons are there now, they did a fine job of going all the way from one point to the next and giving us a coherent backstory. But in JL we have Diana and Bruce strolling down the side of Wayne’s little pond as she sorta jumps around in the story and gives us this strange Lord of the Rings-esque tale of how, apparently, Stepps has been on earth before and the Atlantians, the Amazons and the regular humans all fought together to defeat him. Even the gods joined and he was defeated and embarrassed because his soldiers forced him to retreat to live another day rather than die on the battlefield. In this story we also get a quick glaze-over of who and what the parademons are by seeing people turn into these insect-like things. And it’s basically like, “OK, you’re all set audience.” That’s it. There’s no build-up of his evil, there’s little explanation of why he wants to conquer these planets, it just tells us that this guy is bad, the whole world came together to defeat him and that the three mother boxes were all separated amongst the three main groups in order to keep Steppenwolf from getting them. And therein lies one of the problems.

So, we had that little intro which, if they had better writers/editors, they would’ve known that that story should’ve gone at the beginning of the film instead of the Superman death thing. We’ve already seen BvS and SS which both show us that Supes is dead, so we don’t need a third reminder that, “Holy crap! Superman is dead.” Start the film with the battle against Steppenwolf and have him make this grand declaration about how he will be back and about how he will come back stronger and better and the world will be powerless to stop him and all of that. Do it that way and you don’t need the narration. Have one grand 300-esque battle without explanation, then have Diana tell the story later and it all makes much more sense and has a better flow. But no. Instead they fit his story in with a tiny slip-in of everything that needs to be known about him, which really is nothing. But even worse, the entirety of the importance of all of the three big groups getting together is negated by how easily Steppenwolf finds the boxes. Dude literally has the first box within five minutes of getting back to earth, the second box about five runtime-minutes later and has the third one about an hour into the film (he arrives in the film at maybe 30 minutes in. And the taking of the boxes, outside of the one guarded by the Amazons, is so incredibly easy that it’s frustrating. For god’s sake, he takes the third box while the entire group is outside dealing with the resurrected Superman. They basically just let him have that. Like, Batman or the Flash or someone couldn’t have grabbed it before leaving? Let’s just leave this giant delicious cookie in the middle of the Cookie Monster’s table and expect him not to eat it. Dumb! And let’s not even get into the fact that Zod’s spaceship (even though I could’ve sworn the entirety of that crap got sucked into the phantom zone in MoS) is still sitting in the middle of downtown Metropolis. Sigh. God, there’s just so much here. There’s always too much to talk about in these DC films.

They couldn’t be bothered to give Stepps a real personality, save but to make him a huge monster. And even more to the point, if you saw the extended version of BvS or the deleted scenes, then you probably saw a Steppenwolf that looked nothing like the one that they ultimtely used in the film. In that sense, I guess I can see why they deleted him from BvS.

So the plot is to resurrect Superman (the pure “god” that will fight with the others), and stop Steppenwolf. That’s it. That’s the movie. Granted, I know all superhero films can essentially be reduced to that but here that is literally all that happens. There’s barely any chemistry built between the team members and even the stuff between Batman and Wonder Woman is good but feels hollow and I don’t know if that’s because both Affleck and Gadot aren’t very great actors or if they weren’t given enough direction or leeway with their performances. It’s garbage.

There’s so little to the plot that it’s hard to talk about it. There’s things that get mentioned and sorta are interesting like Martha having to leave the Kent farm after foreclosure and Lois not being able to really write after Clark died, but this stuff is so glazed and glossed that you never really care. The film doesn’t spend enough time to build any emotional gravitas to anything. And some of that is editing and pacing, and some of it is the actual plotting. While this has a better plot than SS, I would contend that BvS, while convoluted, has a better plot than this. And of course WW has a better plot.

Even more, there’s stuff in here that, even though you know it’s coming, it feels like it doesn’t need to be in there. For instance, the entirety of Atlantis and Atlantians does nothing for the story. The battle to take the cube lasts a third of the time that it did for the Amazons and shows an even smaller contingent of mer-peoples. They don’t show Aquaman talking in the water, but rather in a bubble which is fine but the conversation has nothing to do with anything. It’s almost as if we were already supposed to know everything about his character or a lot of backstory and you’re pretty lost. They fit Mera in but there’s no point. As much as I would’ve liked to get excited for Aquaman and maybe see a little more of Atlantis before having seen this film, I now wish they would’ve completely cut these water scenes and just had Aquaman mention that the box was stolen from Atlantis, or even have him about to dive off a boat to swim down to Atlantis only to see the beam of light and Steppenwolf making away with the box. It felt needless. And it felt even worse with the Flash’s character-build being chopped down to one meeting with Batman that you already saw in the trailers. You don’t get to meet Iris West nor do you see that glass shattering scene from one of the earlier trailers. Oh, and if the fact that Aquaman seems unable to talk underwater is freaking you out about his movie, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to make it happen. Or they won’t and it’ll be a disaster. Whichever.

I know I’m jumping all over the place here but, again, there’s lots of stuff wrong in this film that also jumps all over the place. Let’s next talk about the comedy. Hannn! Sigh. Shaking my head again. OK, so lately I have been trying to train myself to be more instinctive. In writing and creating stuff, I always go with my instincts and act upon a decision immediately when it comes to narrative and character building or going with a particular story or plot. But when not writing, in business and in life in general, I have been very off on my instincts for about 13 years now when I used to have very good instincts. I mention this because I think that DC has the same instincts problem. Their problem—and this includes everybody behind and in front of the scenes (Geoff Johns, Snyder, Whedon, whoever)—is that they all have terrible instincts when it comes to DC properties. And before you defend Whedon, just remember his WW script that came out earlier this year.

DC’s lack of instincts can’t really be blamed wholly on them. This stems mostly from the fans. Fans complained that BvS, MoS and even SS were all too dark and weren’t light-hearted. Honestly, this complaint, while partially legit, was also full of shiznit because these films didn’t need to be funny or full of humor and camera-winks to be good. The Dark Knight was great and it wasn’t always funny. Something I’ve learned from watching and reading so many reviews and recaps of entertainment stuff is that when fans can’t properly identify what they dislike about something they will always fall back on one big thing. For books, it is always, “The characters were so unlikable,” as if all characters must be likable. No, you don’t need to want to sit down and have a cup of tea with the characters to enjoy the book, you need to understand the character and their motivations. Characters need to be interesting. In movies, especially in comic book movies, the line is always about how “dark and gritty” the tone is. No, these movies don’t need to be filled to the brim with gags and jokes to be good, they need to properly accomplish what they are set out to do, which is show heroes overcoming things and becoming heroes. DC’s films have yet to do that in any good fashion. For me, even Wonder Woman failed at this, but again, it shines because of the dreck it is associated with. For Wonder Woman there is never a real struggle for her to overcome. For MoS there is never really an acknowledgement of his heroism as something he chose and not something thrust upon him. Same goes for BvS. SS is a different creature because that movie would’ve been good had it been longer, and unchopped by savages in suits, and if Leto was given better direction.

Get Your Superman-scented Candle For Christmas Now!

With all that preface, I say that DC tried to overdo it with the comedy. This was so evident just by the line, “You smell good.” ‘I didn’t before?’ If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. It’s more cringey than funny. There are plenty of Flash one-liners that, instead of making the character seem smart-quirky, made the character seem young-stupid. Again, it feels like someone who doesn’t like Millennials trying to write what a Millennial would say and how they’d act. It’s dumb. Even Batman played as a comic relief, which would’ve been OK had he not also been useless in the fights against Stepps and the insects. Then Wonder Woman is not really given any humorous lines, but rather is stuffed into the stereotypically sexist box of her sexiness being the butt of jokes, which is what feminists so promptly complain about. The Flash pushes her out of the way to save her from being crushed and falls flat on her, face to breasts, then pops up and looks like the awkward nerd who has never touched a woman’s breasts before. And she gives him this wink-wink smile and we’re supposed to sorta chuckle at his Sheldon-like social miscue but it’s not funny. I half expected her to get up grab the back of his head and smash his face back into her breasts and yell, “Motorboat for your life!” in that accent of hers. Gasp!

Trying to bring levity to things during battles should be banned from now on. I can see maybe at the very beginning of a battle, but once you’re fist to face with the villian, you shouldn’t be joking about how hard you can hit and how great you are at saving people, or any of that stuff. It’s stupid and it feels dumb. We honestly think that soldiers or firemen (you know, real heroes) are doing this during tense action? Probably not. Some said that they didn’t feel Whedon in this. I felt him too much. I think most of the one-liners came from him because they felt like rejected lines straight out of the Avengers. For instance, that thirsty Lois line? Come on. You can’t tell me that wasn’t a Whedon request. “Quick, try to put some current young-people slang in there to make it funnier.”

DC doesn’t seem to know the difference between situational comedy and one-liner comedy. Situational comedy is always much better than one-liner comedy when it comes to films, especially in comic book films. The exception is for characters that are completely far left-field comedic and over-the-top ridiculous like Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t take either of those films or superheroes seriously and wouldn’t care if those characters died or got rebooted or anything. Here, I’m supposed to care about the people in the Justice League. I’m supposed to care about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and they’re really pushing me to care about Aquaman. But I don’t give a single damn about The Flash. I don’t want to see his movie, especially if it’s going to be full of in-your-face comedy. He’s the most, “Go home, Roger” character of 2017. When you have superheroes constantly risking their life it’s better to have situational humor like when in the Avengers Thor hits Iron Man with some lightning and instead of shorting him, he actually gets more power and Stark is like, “Oh, well, look at that.” And then he delivers a nice blow. That is situationally funny and not kitschy. Here, it’s just terrible humor and The Flash gets most of it.

Then there’s just some stuff that’s plain ol’ stupid. Wonder Woman does her bracelet smacks a few too many times. It’s like, is that all that you have? I loved the entrance of her where she’s blocking all the bullets and stuff, but then the rest of the film she just keeps smacking her bracelets, smacking her bracelets, smacking her bracelets—enough already. Do something else. And that’s not even considering the film anomalies of her sword and stuff. So, she destroyed the “god killer” in WW, so that sword she has in this film is probably not the same one. Fine. But did anybody notice how the blade lit up gold in some scenes? Or how she was able to sharpen it with a plain rock? I don’t get it, is it a special sword or not? And if it is special then how are you sharpening it with the rock from Charlie Brown? OK, that was really just a pet peeve but still.

Another stupid thing: where the hell were all the other people that aren’t stupid? Did anyone notice how, outside of the main cast, you didn’t get to see hardly any other real people in this film save for at the very end? The only people we really had—outside of the main cast including Jim Gordon and Martha Kent—were a reporter whose dialogue could’ve been cut and the scene retooled, and this idiotic family in Russia. I have no idea what the hell that family was doing there. They literally only existed so that the heroes could actually have one heroic moment in the film. Again, DC listened to the fans too much about all of the destruction and decided, “OK, they don’t like when superheroes fight in the middle of crowded cities with people running everywhere, so let’s take them to a town where you literally don’t see any other people, save for one dumbass family that should’ve left the city days ago when they saw some crazy alien race land in the middle of town and start setting up shop. It’s the same stupidity as was in SS where Amanda Waller just stays in the middle of the city along with a bunch of other people. They just stay even though the city is being taken over by a superpowered being because... reasons. Yes, everything shouldn’t be all about destruction and huge buildngs falling on people, but my god make it seem like there is some peril in this thing. Hell, did the world even know they were in danger in this film? Or that another alien invasion was on the way? During MoS you at least got that gripping sense of dread and fear at, “Oh my god, we are not alone in this universe... And some of the other inhabitants are just as evil as we are.”

DC on humor, tone and this lack of people didn’t follow their instincts and trust in whatever it was they previously had, and instead tried to make all the changes that fans asked for, but went overboard in the wrong direction with said changes. This was one of the things that ruined the film.

Speaking of the family, I hated how this film was shot. I know a lot of people will love the comic-booky nature of the visuals but I don’t. The skies in this film are never real but always some deep red or strange green or gray color. That, coupled with the bad CGI and the lack of people made this film feel to unrealistic. And this is what should be one of the biggest complaints for fans. In almost none of the films, save for WW, have they actually created environments/worlds that felt like they could be populated by real people. JL doesn’t have the feel of an actual world. It feels like a moving comic book or an unfinished video game. Maybe that’s cool for some, but not for most people. Nearly every scene looks unreal or out of place. You can’t lose yourself in the film, in this environment because it’s too flat in some ways and over-popped in other ways. It’s one thing to use a lot of green screen but another for it to be clear to people that you used a lot of green screen. Everything feels staged. It feels like they’re on a set. For instance, one of the biggest things I hated was the batcave in this. In BvS, it looked like an actual cave fitted with a tech lab inside. Here, it has windows going across the entirety of the side. It looks more like a hangar than anything and I’m like where the hell did they film this? Nothing about Bruce’s place felt like something Bruce Wayne would actually live in.

I also didn’t like the fight scene with the Amazons. Let me talk about the battle first, then we’ll hit the costumes. For me, that battle with the Amazons epitomized the reason why I didn’t like Wonder Woman: it had too many questionable plot holes that are big to the overall DCEU and it did nothing to make me care about anybody but WW. Again, what the hell are the Amazons powers? I ask because remember, one of them got shot to death by some human’s bullets. And I’m like, if you can get shot and die from it, or if Wonder Woman can actually get a scrape on her skin, even if it does heel, then what are they immune to? What really makes them better than normal humans? And on top of that, I really didn’t get to know the Amazons at all. Think about a few of these questions for me: Outside of the fight training, what were two key differences between Themyscira and the world of man culturally? Were there any love relationships there? Did Diana have any really close friends she agonized over leaving behind? Can you name one of he characters outside of Hippolyta, Diana and the woman who died (strictly talking about the film, not the comics). Were there others who dissented againsted Hippolyta? Outside of Hippolyta, who would miss Diana the most? Bet you can’t answer a single one of those questions. That’s why I didn’t get when fans and critics said they did a great job of introducig the island. No, they did a great job of shooting the island and making it look picturesque. They introduce Themyscira the place and Themyscira the people.

So when the Amazons fought Stepps in JL, I felt not a single bit of willingness to root for them because I knew they were going to all be slaughtered by his axe. In fact, I am baffled as to why the fight went on for so long. They should’ve been dead on the outset. And even the ones that didn’t die or were struggling, I couldn’t care less for. That woman who was pinned beneath the horse and Hippolyta stopped to help and weep over, who was she? What was her importance? Was I supposed to care more for her death than all the dozens of soldiers that died before her? Eh!

Now we finally get to the complaint of sexism and the costumes. This talk is twofold because I both disagree and agree here. OK, first I will say that the complaints about the costumes for the Amazons minus Diana, to me, was unwarranted. First off, we saw most of the warriors showing tons of skin in the flashback story of Steppenwolf’s first invasion. In fact, I swear to god Snyder snuck in a Gerard Butler cameo when the god is fighting against Stepps and the parademons. The guy is on the field of battle with his chest all out, a red cape on and little armor. Zoom forward to today’s Amazons and how they’ve matured. From what I can see, the armor is more akin to a clothing option and/or by rank, both of which make more since when judging warriors and medieval armor and stuff. For instance, when Hippolyta first enters that secret box chamber, she has on a full armor plate from shoulder to knees and armored boots. The girl on her left has quite a bit of armor on too, but not the same kind and not as much, and the girl on her right has a bare midriff with some breast armor but that’s all. But the thing is that we see various forms of armor on all of the women. Many of them inside the chamber don’t have the best of armor. But as you get farther down the hall and past the various drop stones, the women gradually have more armor and then when on the horses, you have some of the most armored women. This makes since not just from a fashion preference for some of the women (some women want to dress sexy to feel it, as Cate Blanchett said. And before you jump on me for that, it’s a known fact that most women dress for other women, not men, so a society devoid of men might also have some of the same patterns of though but of course we don’t know that because WW didn’t define the culture, as previously stated), but by rank. In olden times and still today, the highest-ranking and/or the best soldiers often got the best armor and technology. This was the difference between a true knight and a common soldier. It was expected for the knight to slay more enemies, so you wanted to protect them longer with better stuff. So it makes sense for the guards on the horses to have the most armor because they are expected to be the best warriors and the last line of defense against Stepps before the rest of the Amazonian army comes. So no, it wasn’t sexist and get out of here with that male gaze BS on the island.

Gold Leathery Bossoms
Off the island is a different story. While the rest of the Amazons aren’t sexualized, as I said before, Wonder Woman herself definitely is sexualized. Not only do we see pretty much everybody’s butt in this when they jump out of Batman’s tank-vehicle (save for Batman’s, who has his butt well-caped), but we see a literal chunk of Gadot’s ass. I literally sat in the theater and said outloud much to the dismay of the other patrons, “Oh my god! Dem is some booty cheeks. Dem is really some booty cheeks. Aw damn!” I don’t know how or why her skirt got so short or how her panties apparently got so non-covery, but they led to her ass being shown. I hadn’t seen that much of her butt since the Fast and Furious films and I was put off by it, honestly. Again, ladies, the male gaze thing is not something that always applies the way you think it does. Most men are not always just looking to see ass and titties in every movie. Sometimes it is distracting from the rest of the film. And guys aren’t just one-tracked. We do want a good overall movie with plot and story and character development. So don’t blame this on us. This is totally WB’s fault and I personally know that women and men made these costume designs and were proud of them together, so I’m not tripping off of it.

Let’s see, the CGI was bad and often not fully rendered. Again, the entirety of the environment in the film doesn’t look real. That should’ve been a good thing when considering Stepps’ rendering but it isn’t. Even in an unrealistic-looking world, Stepps still stands out as a poorly rendered video game mess. I didn’t know whether I was watching a finished movie or the renderings for a Disney cartoon in it’s second stage of animation development. It was very bad.

Finally, we get to the all-important score of the movie, and by that I mean the music, specifically the soundtrack. (deep breath in) Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? I saw another reviewer share my same sentiment and I should try to embed the video of the guy on youtube talking about musical scores in current films to give you a better understanding of just how important music is in a film. When there’s no music, you notice it. When there’s too much music, you notice it. When there’s generic music, guess what? You notice it. Well, this film committed two of those horrendous OST sins. For one, the film had far too much music. It was overscored and highly noticeable in it’s overscoring. For instance, MoS was also overscored, but you really didn’t notice it that much because Hans Zimmer effectively used the music to help build into the tone of the film. I don’t know what it was but I think it was a tuba or something that provides that little, dun dunnn, that you hear a lot in MoS usually when little to nothing is happening. You hear it most when he’s on the ship and talking to Jor-el’s image and learning about his past. Oh, and the film’s opening company logos play underneath that score. It’s subtle and it helps to build the narration beneath the dialogue. Here, in JL, the music doesn’t play beneath the narrative but sometimes battles with it, and I’m not talking about volume. It’s too busy and overpowering, trying to inject grandeur into places that didn’t need it. Scores like that, unfortunately, make you hear and listen to the music as its own intent rather than enhancing the scene. You couldn’t avoid hearing it which often alienates the audience more than it draws them in, because it makes them remember that they are watching a movie, rather than participating in an experience.

Steppenwolf About To Punch The Composer Some Janitor Guy

The overpowering music being far too much throughout the film would be forgiveable to some extent had it not been for the genericness of the music. This... SHIT was so generic, so overused that it made no impression in the film. Yes, I heard the few references back to the original Superman music and the Batman music from the 80s and 90s, but they didn’t bother to make something unique, new and intriguing for the listener. You take out those few callbacks to the earlier eras and you essentially get a soundtrack for an awards show. It’s cheap and makes no impression in the mind of the consumer. For those who have seen the movie, can you even remember the music from one of the action scenes that didn’t use the callbacks to Supes or Bats previous themes? Just a few chords like that dun dunnn from the opening of MoS? I bet you can’t.

I don’t know why they got rid of Hans and Junkie XL’s score and tossed Junkie out of the composer’s seat because Danny Elfman has rested on the good scores that he did in the 90s for years. He hasn’t done anything good and worth listening to since before the modern age of comic books that started with Tobey McGuire’s Spider-man 2. Hans and Junkie delivered something inspired, something different, something that you can’t lift from MoS and BvS and slap into a completely different film without immensely changing that film. Where as this JL music could easily work in the next or previous Avengers films, try ripping MoS’s musical score and putting it on the last Thor movie. It completely changes the tone and texture of the film. Danny Elfman’s score was probably one of the absolute worst parts of a film that had a ton of bad parts. It reeked of a composer that doesn’t really care and isn’t pushing himself to create anymore, and it reeked of a studio that panicked.

EDIT: OK, so I was finished with this recap/review of the film and then I read the stupid comments by Danny Elfman when discussing this film. Know, for one, that his comments about the score epitomizes not only the cruddy mess that he created but the film industry as a whole right now, and is the main reason why he shouldn’t have been chosen for this job. For him to basically say that it was stupid for the filmmakers to throw out the original soundtracks to Batman and Superman, and that this was all just to feed the ego of the director and composer, and to cite Star Wars and Bond as examples is naive to say the least. First off, the new Star Wars are, arguably, not new. The Force Awakens was literally the same exact film as A New Hope. In fact, Disney, before JJ boarded the thing, was planning a full-on reboot of the franchise and then decided to make it a sequel. Some of the elements they had already constructed of the franchise remained in the film which is why some fans, even though they enjoyed it, felt that it wasn’t anything new. Bond is a better example, however, neither of these franchises take into account the fact that superheroes are not a continuing story from one reboot to the next. They can oftentimes be a completely different and wild take on a character that audiences may originally think they know but must take the time to get to reknow in a new and more compelling light. Some fans may see that as a scab against comic books but I see it more as a positive. I know, I have talked harshly about reboots in the past but in many cases it is good to reboot some of this stuff if the people still crave it because, with the timelines and stories you’ve already established and told, it is hard to do some cool stories from the comics that fans may want to see. For instance, we couldn’t do a young batman story in this current universe because Ben Affleck is already grown and we already know the outcome of that movie (Batman would survive). You can’t do another resurrection story in this current universe with Superman because Superman has already died and come back. Rebooting gives a clean slate to the new creators coming in and yes, that includes music.

Mr. Elfman has been in the game for a very long time. He knows the importance of music in a film. Music often sets tone and allows the director to fully realize his vision. By caging that director into using the same one theme, you could very well change the entire tone of a film, which is what I think happened to JL. As I said, the movie didn’t have much gravitas to it and that was mainly because the music was such terrible crap. It wasn’t sad enough when it should’ve been sad, not hopeful enough when it should’ve been hopeful. It was recycled garbage and clearly uninspired. A true artist is always brave enough to at least try to do something new and different and if you can’t do that or feel as if the new generation is stomping on what you did in your heyday, then you shouldn’t be working on a project that will require you to set the musical tone for the first time a massive fan event will be seen in theaters. You should politely decline the offer instead of giving us junk and then citing the fact that you had little to no time to compose something good for the film. Yes, people in the industry know that this happens a lot especially with music because it is often the last thing to go into a finished film. But don’t give me this crap about how we should have “done what works” because you didn’t want to give this project your absolute best. You let Junkie XL do it and I guarantee you it’ll feel like a completely different film. Hell, if you didn’t want him, then at least bring in a composer who is familiar with this new DCEU franchise and did a decent (albeit lacking compared to his other work) job on the WW soundtrack in Harry Gregson-Williams. The problem with this industry right now is that we have way too many people just trying to play it safe instead of taking decisive risks that could pay off. Don’t continue to encourage the snuffing out of artistry. Unbelievable!

Speaking of tonal changes and bad fourth-quarter decisions, the decision to bring Joss Whedon in was a bad one. And I say this knowing how much I have enjoyed his work in the past, knowing that comic book fans will forever defend him because he did The Avengers, and knowing that some fans think that he was the one who was able to effectively salvage the trash that was the original footage. (side note: there is no director’s cut of this film, but there is a rough cut that had a lot of the effects either fully or partially rendered. And from what I understand the majority of what Zack shot did make it into the film, and yes, that includes some of the jokes). To speak more on that side note, my contact at WB told me that it wasn’t Whedon who put in most of the jokes but that a lot of that stuff was in there long before he boarded for reshoots. Some of the stuff like Superman fighting the team, nearly all of the crap with Steppenwolf, the fight with the Amazons—was all in the original script. You want a scene that was added by Whedon and you could clearly tell it was? That damn news report. You know the one. The one where the foul-mouthed country bumpkin-looking woman claimed the aliens abducted her husband. Yeah, that was added. So was the other reporter coming to talk to Lois. And apparently the footage that constantly went back to the family was added also. And there’s a lot of scenes reshot for dialogue purposes, rather than completely new scenes added. Here’s the craziest part: even a lot of Whedon’s footage got cut in the two-hour mandate.

Well, remember, Michael, WB had to replace Snyder because of the emergency.” True, but they didn’t have to replace him with Whedon. I’m hearing that they actually bullied, then sugar-trapped Whedon with the job by first saying that he wouldn’t be able to do his Batgirl film if he didn’t finish this film, then by saying that they’d give him the next Wonder Woman film to direct if the first one didn’t turn out right. This was before WW even came out and they knew they had to reshoot a good grip of JL. Which of course explains why WB hadn’t signed Patty Jenkins to do the sequel until long after the film. Wait, have they officially signed her yet? Instead of using Joss, they could’ve used any of the other directors they’ve had on hand. Patty wasn’t doing anything, we know Affleck wasn’t doing anything as he had to be acting in the film, and David Ayers, as I can remember was finishing up the film Bright but should have been available at the time. All of these directors worked with Snyder before and had delivered successful movies for WB, even if said successful movies weren’t all comic book movies. But from what I understand, the problem was that they wanted Whedon’s name more than his input (hence, why they still cut the mess out of the movie even after he directed reshoots) and they wanted someone who can handle directing special effects which, surprise, surprise, Snyder did more special effects directing on WW than Patty did if my “contact” is to be believed.

The entirety of the film again felt just like what I said about Wonder Woman: it would’ve been good and acceptable had it come out in the 90s back when these comic book movies could be so goofy and stupid and easily dismissed that there was no way the films would make near a billion dollars. Even though MoS and BvS are critical messes in their own right, at least they fit into a modern paradigm of comic book films. This JL and WW could easily have been slotted into the theaters after Batman Returns in the early 90s and made a killing. But as a movie for today? A real dud. Highly forgettable, confused and meandering at times and a painful mash of weightless, stakeless fight scenes at others.

So, predictions for the future. OK, so let me refer back to some of my previous blogposts from yesteryear when I said that almost everything that has happened would happen. I said after BvS that Suicide Squad was a mess, that Wonder Woman would also not be good but that it would shine as being the movie that got the franchise back on the right track because it would have the golden glow of a female-led superhero film like what fans had been craving for decades and a box office driven by girl power, then that Justice League would return us to the doldrums of mediocrity and send WB into a bit of a panic. So, here’s what I called from a previous review of a DCEU film: half of the previously announced projects would be canceled or worse, just never spoken of again and pushed into developmental hell; the other half they would blaze forward with quite gung-ho about them and still not see the success they want; after this summer’s rather disappointing War for the Planet of the Apes, I’m personally not sure about a Batman movie from writer/director Matt Reeves but Batman has shown the innate ability to recover over and over again from the suck; The Flash movie will most likely never get made, but if it does it is not going to clear up anything about this universe. In fact, it will make everything even worse because they’re gonna definitely try doing flashpoint to reboot things and, similar to the strange timelines in the X-men universe, things are just going to get extra confusing with Affleck replaced as Batman with a different Bats. The funny thing about this whole idea of a flashpoint is that they can’t adequately get rid of some of the problems that some fans have. Sure, the tone will change, but if you don’t like the actors in their current roles, you’ll still not like the actors unless they’re all replaced. This is an even bigger problem because the Flash is the character I hated the most, and you kinda can’t replace him if he is the cause of the flashpoint. Even more to the point, the switch in tones within that movie is going to be so jarring and such a logistical mess for the director that most fans will not like it. Side note: if I didn’t mention this earlier, I was told that the scene in BvS where Bruce was sleeping and talked to the Flash wasn’t referring to a still-future event but was in fact supposed to be referring to Bruce’s “big guns” surprise that got Superman to calm down during his fight with the team. Snyder originally planned for the “angry Supes” to be a much bigger life or death fight that would only be solved by Lois, but it was scrapped because the budget was already inflating to considerable levels, so they toned it down to what you got in the film, a watered down albeit good scene. So, just in case you were looking for something more to happen with that, sorry to disappoint you.

I think that Aquaman will be fairly decent and will hover around a 60-70s on Rotten Tomatoes because people will have had a year to wash this film from their mind. But a MoS sequel probably will not happen. What they will do is test the waters with Superman again by sneaking him into another of the DCEU films to see if people really do like this “new” take on Superman. And that’ll most likely be in a Flash film but could be in Shazam or Suicide Squad 2. If that movie fails, then he’ll be scrapped for a whole generation until they are brave enough to completely reboot the character and/or the entire universe. Again, I don’t think there will be a second Justice League, at least not for a while because remember this thing was supposed to be a two-parter and they scrapped it. Frankly, at this point, I would much rather see an almost all-female populated superhero universe which would break new ground and could be very interesting. They’ve already announced Gotham City Sirens, and Wonder Woman 2. Move forward on Batgirl, and fit in a Hawkgirl movie, then come back with an all-female Justice League or something like that and see if that works because this current setup is not working. And I have said this before, so I will say it again, DC does not need to have the same type or level of humor as Marvel films. You can be different but you have to own that difference and not shy away from it. DC is too shy to stand in their bravery and it’s killing their properties.

The worst part about this movie isn’t actually the movie but, wait... OK, the movie is the worst part of the movie but the second worst part of this whole situation is not actually the studio meddling, though that’s a big thing, but the fans’ reactions. For those fans who like this, stop! Stop it! Like, if I have to hear and/or read another review that says, “it’s not perfect but it’s fun” or “they’re working/building toward something” or “they’re getting closer to getting it right,” I don’t know what the heck I’ll do. We keep getting this kind of garbage film because fans keep excusing this kind of garbage film. It’s like (and people are going to hate this metaphor but it’s true) an abused spouse continuing to go back to his or her abuser because they emotionally or physically don’t abuse them as bad anymore. Like, “Oh, it’s OK, because last night she only called me impotent as opposed to saying that I was an impotent, jobless loser who she never really loved who will never get another woman. See, she doesn’t emotionally abuse me as much now. She’s improving.” Like, no. Your wife is emotionally abusing you, or your husband is physically abusing you. People, you are literally saying that this film was a step in the right direction because it wasn’t as aesthetically dark and because the characters all smiled a little more. Seriously. The fights, outside of the one with Superman versus the team, aren’t even that great. It’s just blah! 

And you can’t keep saying that they’re working/building up to something. No. No! This—this movie—is what they were supposed to be working up to. They’re not working up to something when we’re literally five films into this universe. The work is supposed to be done, the building is built and carpeted, and it ain’t that stable and it ain’t that great. There’s this concept out—unfortunately the exact word for it escapes me right now—that embodies the idea of continually trying to wish for improvements on something while acceptting that something as it is. This is exactly what the fans are doing. You keep praising these films while hoping they’ll get better mainly because you are afraid that they won’t make any more of them if you don’t support these ones. Yet, you have no idea that by praising this, you are actually sabotaging the future of these films more than you are helping. Why? Because as big as the comic book community is, you are not big enough to get these films to the finish line that the studios are wanting to get. If so, this movie would’ve gotten to 100 million over the weekend.

As far as the petition to see a director’s cut, stop. Snyder was never able to edit the movie himself enough to make a coherent story before he had to step away. Is there a rough cut? Yes. But a rough cut is similar to a comic book turned coloring book. All the panels are there but the color is missing. And with Whedon stepping in during a lot of the CGI still being rendered and having him do his thing and still being overridden, it’s not much of a director’s cut from him either. What you can maybe get is an extended cut but even then that will not improve on the film because most of it will not be scored (although that may be a positive) and you will never be able to hear Junkie XL’s OST. This is far different than Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman. If anything, what you should seriously do is petition WB/DC to reboot the entire franchise and have me come in and write the first Superman and start from there. I guarantee you I could write and direct a better film. This may sound like some random guy on the internet talking out of his neck but remember this post because if I do ever get back to Hollywood and am able to pitch this idea, you can look back at this and say, “Well, maybe he knew what he was talking about.” Again, I can do this far better. I have only ever truly wanted to make three reboots/live-action movies of three different properties and I’ve said this before: Captain Planet, Superman and Justice League, and a Dragonball Z film (it’s weird that they are technically all from different decades). I can do JL just as well as I can do Captain Planet. I want to do both if I can. I’m gonna be working really hard to get there to do this to give fans something amazing because this ain’t it. And yes, while I do have some bias about these movies because I want to do my own version so badly, I suppressed the heck out of that bias this time around and rooted for both Wonder Woman and Justice League and didn’t come out particularly liking either. WW was far better, but it had many flaws from many angles, while JL was just a bad film that hovered just over the Schumacher level. I’m really sorry to see you leave under these circumstances Zack but maybe this just wasn’t meant for you from the start.

I'll Keep Watch Over The DCEU... Until I Can Get The Hell Outta Here. I'm Batfleck

What do you think? Have you seen Justice League? If you haven’t, do you think you will go see it? If you have seen it, did you like it? Are you happy with the direction the DCEU is going? Who was your favorite character? What was your least favorite thing in the film? And what are your predictions for the future of the DCEU? Let me know in the comments below.

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If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 4 coming summer 2018. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary on Amazon. Season 2 of that coming real soon. And look for the mystery novels The Knowledge of Fear #KnowFear and The Man on the Roof #TMOTR coming this fall/winter. Twisty novels as good as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you won’t want to miss them. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “Mother! Ah, yes, mother! Finally I will be able to rule with your power and--” (ring-ring! Ring-ring) “Hold on, it’s my real mother on the phone. Yes, hello? … Hey, mom. … Yeah … Yeah … Yes, I’ll be coming back for Thanksgiving. Can I call you back, I’m kinda busy right now. … Well, I’m trying to take over the earth. … Well, I don’t know why I’m doing it, mom, it’s just something to do. … No, Apokolips isn’t pressuring me to do it. … He mighta mentioned somethin’ about how it would make me look cool, but—hey, I’m trying to do something here, OK? I’ll call you back. … OK, smooches. Love you too.” (hangs up) “Ah, mother!”

P.S. Yeah, that corny little paragraph there totally could have made it into the movie and you readers who saw the film know it. It’s right up there with the two brunch jokes and Aquaman talking about how scared he was to die while they’re flying off to the fight with Steppenwolf. Classic Joss Whedon. Bad Joss Whedon. I’ll come up with a better sign-off next time.

P.P.S. OK, so I just read a review that mentioned the Green Lantern cameo in this and I gotta say that I completely missed it. I was too busy trying to compare and contrast the Amazons clothing with that of men and the gods to see if it was sexist or not to catch that glimpse of some alien Lantern. Sorry, but they should’ve had more than a few seconds if they really wanted me to recognize the presence of one back in the day. Or at least kept that line from the trailer about there being no Lanterns to protect the earth. Hate it when stuff from the trailer isn’t in a movie. Just hate it!

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