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The Boycott of Superman (Article) - 2/22/2013 2:06:20 PM

PS: If you think it's so great for a company like DC to give more kinds of people characters to identify with, then where is the proudly straight, patriotic, Christian hero - one that ISN'T depicted as being a tongue-in-cheek joke?  Suddenly, we can have an openly gay and probably agnostic or atheist superhero, but from what I can tell, the only character to have clearly even tried to show overt patriotism and enter meaningful public service is Lex Luthor - A VILLAIN.  I've seen a whole slew of them that practice and believe in Eastern religions and spiritual beliefs - even a Muslim hero once or twice - but where are the Christians?  Or is that just not progressive enough?  Perhaps you think that the only true reflection of society is one that reflects the impending extinction of Christianity and related, American political conservatism, because despite your attestations of tolerance and embracing of "choice," that's probably where you want this and every other society to go. So much for inclusion - and I suppose tolerance should be applied to everyone BUT Conservative Christians because, well, they just all reap what they sow, right?  Again, if your real intention is to promote a specific agenda and viewpoint, then promote it.  Otherwise, anything and everything about choices, rights to opinions, tolerance and inclusion is disingenuous and borderline hypocritical. 

The Boycott of Superman (Article) - 2/22/2013 1:46:54 PM

'You think this is bad.  Try being even a moderately conservative Christian and still being a comic book fan when it's clear that, if anything, the leaning of today's comic book writers - like their other entertainment industry counterparts - is not even remotely to or tolerating of the "right" (in parenthesis, as MrEt puts it).  It's interesting to me, though, considering that the Old Testament story of Moses is so clearly at least one influence on the origin and character of Superman, who was created by Jews, which might not always be politically conservative in America, but can be religious... something today's mainstream media also seems to frown upon (spirituality=good, religion=conformity, prejudice, dogma, intolerance, SELF-DISCIPLINE, CLEAR MORAL STANDARDS and all those other "bad" things).  There's also a tendency on the part of America's mainstream to sometimes paint anything Christian as being more dogmatic or intolerant even than other religions and faiths, but common knowledge about Islam (though it shares roots with Christianity) should be evidence that there's at least shared culpability.  At its heart, the entire mainstream entertainment industry is, in some way, against us - and from time to time, shows it in unabashed ways. In 2005, I found that the author of the STAR WARS EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH adaptation took it upon himself to directly parallel former President and Christian Conservative Ronald Reagan with Palpatine by adding a line that goes something like, "It's morning in the Empire."  Subtle, but there - and totally unnecessary from a storytelling perspective, even if Lucas may have roughly the same opinion. From what I've read, the whole plot of the movie BEAUTIFUL CREATURES involves a group of pagan witches, the "protagonists," having to deal with a small town of evangelical Christians - the "villains."  You guys seem to forget that intolerance goes both ways , and while you might have the convenient choice whether or not to read a single author's work in a comic book, law abiding, Conservative Christians have little or no choice but to support people and/or an industry that is in some way AGAINST them just by trying to enjoy a comic, graphic novel, movie or mainstream television show that isn't also and obviously made by other Christians.  Unfortunately, most of the media targeted to the "right" SUCKS - and not for reasons having directly to do with ideology.  

My question to Mr. Rickenbach is if you really respect everyone's right to buy or not buy this sort of thing, why did you spend so much time cleverly painting all this as somehow MORE controversial than anything that might offend Christians or conservatives?  You write, "'I'm not writing this to tell you what to think, just to give you something to think about.'"  Yet, at the end, you make clear your disillusionment with Mr. Card after already having cleverly insinuated that, yeah, it's our choice, but the RIGHT choice is to boycott this man with the WRONG OPINION.  The title of the article implies/implied (to me, at least) that the boycotting has already begun, but not only has/have the issue(s) not been relased yet, but nobody seems to even know what Card's storyline is going to be!  I'm not familiar with Card, so when you say "anti-gay," I'm wondering if he's really anti-homosexuals or just "anti-" the act of homosexual intercourse.  Unless you think all homosexuals are defined solely by their sexuality and sexual acts, there is a distinction.  I'm a straight man with normal desires and such and even I think it's in bad taste to be overly lascivous in public, on the streets.  I'm not stupid (newsflash, I'm sure...) - I know it's been going on for thousands of years and it's not likely to stop - but that's just my opinion, one which I hold, in part, because I think it potentially cheapens and takes something away from the value of the intimacy a couple, straight or gay, can and should share in private.   

I sincerely wish you had either posted this with your opinion in clear view, with no qualifiers or clever attempts to adhere to any sort of journalistic fairness or lack of bias, or not posted it at all.  I think your view is also the view of your employers - otherwise, why is this even news yet?  You're "discussing" the potential boycott of something that, again, hasn't even come out yet, and a boycott based solely on the author's personal viewpoints that he has every moral and Constitutional right to express and which may OR MAY NOT even factor into what he writes for DC.  I'm not convinced that simple discussion is your goal. If so, then to what end - except to promote a particular choice, which is going to be made one way or the other?  With all due respect, if you know your audience of fellow comic book fans as well as you say you do and want to preach to the choir, then preach to the choir.  Don't insult anyone that might happen to stumble upon this with an alternate viewpoint by feigning tolerance for their dissenting opinion and the illusion that you don't regard one viewpoint to be absolutely RIGHT and the other to be absolutely WRONG.  Either way, you said you wanted discussion, so this is my contribution to that discussion. Enjoy.

The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 Blu-Ray Review (Article) - 2/2/2013 10:43:12 AM

I enjoyed it, but not as much as this reviewer did, and for the record, I don't think you'd be describing Superman as "ultra right-wing" if the president he serves in the movie wasn't a take on Ronald Reagan (per the comics) - nor do I think the character would have been depicted so negatively if that president looked like Obama.   I don't really care if the material takes a certain political stance, but it could at least be consistent. Does nobody remember that in the first part, it was Batman that was being called a Fascist?  Excessive government power and control is as much or more a staple of LEFT-WING ideology - the idea that "the people" are incapable of truly taking care of themselves, so an empowered national government micromanages the society from a centralized seat of power.  As it is, however, most of the issues and characteristics that would really justify said labels are absent from the depictions here, and what's left is a ridiculous, pseudo-apocalyptic depiction of Reagan's "Star Wars" concept that everyone always knew was nothing more than a bluff... a bluff that WORKED insomuch as it spooked the USSR to overplay its hand and prove that it could not compete in a cold war and still fulfill the promise of Communism.  As for the movie, itself, I'm not sure the excessive violence adds anything - at least in the scenes with the Joker.  Even if it is the whole point, I wasn't too keen on seeing Joker basically go on a suicide mission just to get Batman to "lose control," especially AFTER Batman has managed to make himself public enemy number 1 without Joker's help.  Anyone can run through a crowd shooting bystanders, but Joker is supposed to be a master-criminal with cunning and tricks up every sleeve.  The Superman-Batman fight is cool to watch, and I'm definitely a Batman fan, but as depicted, I'm not sure why either side - perceived government oppression or mob rule - would be more appealing.  After all, it isn't "the people" that take control, but Batman, Robin and Green Arrow that use the gangs as foot soldiers to tame the streets after the EMP.  At least a President, even Ronald Reagan, is elected to wield power.    

Iron Man 3 Japanese Trailer (Article) - 12/9/2012 2:34:19 PM

Call it sacrilege and unlikely, if you wish, but it looks like Iron Man 3 is taking some of its cues from Nolan's Batman 3.  Think about it:  Besides the pre-existing similarities of a millionaire being a costumed hero, Tony Stark - like Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises - is apparently going to face an enemy that already knows who he is (like Bane, Talia Al Ghul and the League of Shados did), have his home destroyed (Bruce's was burned down in Batman Begins and he loses his money in The Dark Knight Rises after Bane's sabotage/fraud on Wall St.) and will have to "come back" from  being defeated somewhere half-way around the world.  I'm sure most of it is coincidence and forgivable, at that, but there do appear to be striking similarities.  I just hope Iron Man 3 doesn't have as many story holes and obvious lapses in logic as The Dark Knight Rises.  Don't get me wrong - I still think Nolan's bat-films make up the best superhero trilogy ever made (on the whole and not having seen IM3 and with IM2 having gotten a lot of bad press), but the third film's story does drop the proverbial ball from time to time and take serious deviations from some things Nolan and cast said and/or promised from the beginning, like having the movies represent only the early years of Batman without Robin and that Cotillard was not playing Talia Al Ghul.  Though, in Cotillard's defense, when she denied playing Talia, it's possible that she hadn't read, let alone filmed, the ending yet - which seems like a bit of a cheap trick, though anyone that remembers how Ra's talked in Batman Begins can see it coming a mile away every time "Miranda Tate" talks about restoring "balance to the world" and the way both she and Bane talks about the fallacy of thinking that money buys power and control. 

Dark Knight Rises Sizzle (Article) - 10/18/2012 5:05:40 PM

It's too long, Bane's voice is awkwardly inconsistent, Catwoman is ultimately uninsteresting and unsympathetic, Bruce's prison escape is not believable and, yes, there are too many "conveniences," the two most blaring being the last minute inclusion of Talia and Nolan's end-run around his promise never to use Robin.  It tries to hit too many birds with one stone. I get why it was done, but I think it was a waste to have Bane take over the whole city and for Batman to only really deal with it at the very end. They could have at least waited until Batman had tried and failed to end the actual occupation once before "conveniently" sending him away.  Also, I read somewhere that Nolan had to be convinced into using the Selina Kyle/Catwoman character because he was initially reticent and I must say that while Hathaway does a good job with what she's given, Nolan should have either stuck to his guns or made her a more central character.  Granting that she was always going to kind of straddle the fence between good and evil and end up in some sort of romantic entanglement with Bruce Wayne/Batman, it should have been something DEVELOPED from beginning to end.  Instead, it's an afterthought which takes a backseat to the shoehorning of "Miranda Tate" as an excuse to foreshadow the relevance of the League of Assassins and turn her into Talia in the last few minutes, as she even talks like Ra's at the charity ball about saving and bringing "balance" to the world, etc.  And by the way, I can't judge her acting, but Ms. Cotillard's voice in this moive is, for at least 2/3's of it, almost gratingly high-pitched and aristocratic with an annoying (in this case) French accent.

Still, it's a very well-produced movies with good performances (if not great) and a story that might have been better had it been paired down and retooled a bit.  It DOES, I think, do what few thought could be done satisfactorily and end the story of Bruce Wayne as Batman while doing justice to and further illustrating the point of Batman being and his effectiveness as a symbol more than anything else.  Regardless of what Nolan says, at the end of the day, I think this really was a "contractual obligation," not just to Warner Brothers, but to the miriad of fans that have embraced Nolan's vision for Batman.  On that level, it really is a good movie and one of, if not the best "third" films in the cinematic superhero genre.  While I stand by my crtiiques, I have to say that I don't think they would mean so much had Nolan not set the bar so high and, of course, had he not been so insistent upon realism and believability from the very beginning before taking such blatant liberties with those things in a movie like this. 

Hannibal gets leading Lady (Article) - 8/3/2012 7:48:41 AM

In the books, particularly RED DRAGON, Blom is a minor character... and his name is "Alan," I think.  Either way, he's a man in the books.  I can understand the change, though.  Graham has a wife in the book RED DRAGON (who has a kid of her own, but it's not Wil's, I don't think), but she's not a very important or significant character in the grand scheme of things. 

Biel wants TMNT (Article) - 8/2/2012 10:54:19 AM

I thought the movie had been scrapped recently.

We Cast the Next Batman Movie (Article) - 7/25/2012 5:57:11 PM

I think the reboot needs to be centered around the introduction of Robin (a character Schumacher never really got right) and I think they need to hew more closely to the comics and introduce him as a 12 or 13 year-old.  Yes, I know this has been considered problematic in the past, and rightfully so: On film, it could make Batman look like he's endangering a child, not to mention all the regulations around child actors that could prove an obstacle for such a big production.  BUT... at least 2 out of the 3 main Robins have had ancillary skills.  He need not really fight (much) in his first appearance in a movie.  Also, it would give the movie a way of exploiting Bruce's origin without actually having to retread it.  You could feel Bruce's pain through his empathy with Dick Grayson.

As villains go, they should reset the tone and feel of the franchise - keep it kind of dark, but give some of the lesser-known, maybe more sci-fi'ish villains a chance.  Clayface may seem a bit too out-there, but he started out as just an aging actor in a costume killing off the cast and crew remaking his most famous movie.  Mr. Freeze was a disaster in B&R, but that was mainly because of Schwarzenegger and the one-liners.  In the comics, his accident is the result of building a cryo-gun.  Combine that with his animated series origins - creating the gun for the mob (which would shoot bullets made of hardened liquid nitrogen that would melt in the victim, leaving no trace other than moisture) in order to afford his own research into a cure for his wife - and you've got at least a plausible start.  The company he works for legitimately discovers what he's doing and the mob cuts his funding before they can be directly linked to him.  It makes him desperate enough to put his wife "on ice" until he can take his vengeance, using the very weapons against the mob that he'd been paid to develop.  As far as the accident and freeze suit goes... that's tough.  You could redesign the suit, I guess, but explaining the need for it without seeming ridiculous would be a bigger chore. 

Still, these are things I'd like to at least see attempted, whether they will be or not.  Frankly, I'm not really sure we need another Joker or Two-Face - at least not yet.

Star Trek 2 Uniforms (Article) - 6/5/2012 1:51:28 PM

I always suspected that the Federation modeled itself in part after... COMMUNIST RUSSIA!  LOL!  Or is it the Empire's uniforms aboard the Death Star in STAR WARS A NEW HOPE?  Either way, I'm not too worried.  The first behind the scenes footage to leak last spring clearly showed Spock and Uhura in the traditional blue and red uniforms, together battling whatever "bad guy" is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. 

The Dark Knight Rises Official Trailer 3 (Article) - 5/2/2012 10:24:53 AM

I was going to read ALL the comments before posting so I didn't look too much like an idiot by just repeating others' speculation, but I'm on the 4th page and have yet to see anyone that seems to be thinking what I'm thinking.  That's fine, of course - it's all just speculation, anyway - but for what it's worth...

I don't know if Bruce suffers long-term damage from his fall at the end of The Dark Knight, but based upon what we've seen and what I've read in Empire and other magazines and news sources, I think the absence of Batman for the better part of those 8 years is mostly just to honor the deal he made with Gordon and, of course, to honor Dent's memory.  Think about it - at the end of The Dark Knight, Gordon is as much a hero, almost, as Dent is thought to be.  Since Gordon doesn't actually WANT to catch Batman - knowing he's innocent - then to have Batman still on the streets all that time would make Gordon look bad because they'd just seem to be playing hide and seek.  Also, Batman's good deeds would eventually make Gotham question the conclusion that he committed Dent's crimes - especially with no real evidence and without Batman having been captured or his identity revealed (yet) - thereby further undermining the status quo that Batman's deal with Gordon is meant to create and protect.

What happens, I think, is that Bane is a leader (if not THE leader) in the League of Shadows which, again, has operatives in the Gotham municipal government and police force.  Recall the trailer before this one in which the city official talks of the mayor wanting to get rid of Gordon because his tactics don't seem suited to "peace time."  Obviously, if the League of Shadows wants to raise hell in a city like Gotham - AND to draw the Batman out of hiding - then their first task, ostensibly, is to get rid of Commissioner Gordon, or at least get him off the streets.  My guess is they try to do both - get him fired AND killed - hence him being in the hospital bed in the first teaser, but I digress.

Apparently, they're successful - at least to some extent - because some trading cards leaked a few months back with pictures of the characters and text indicating that Gordon becomes some kind of fugitive.  Whatever happens, I think it reveals to Gotham that Gordon never really intended to catch Batman and is at odds with the city and his own department, therefore he becomes something of a pariah.  With him out of the way and/or unable to act, Bane can come in and do his thing.  That, as one or more readers here already suggested, is probably to finish what Ra's Al Ghul started in BATMAN BEGINS - destroy the city by creating chaos and tearing down the vestiges of "modern civilization."  It's possible that Batman already knows Bane from somewhere - perhaps from his training with Ra's - but just doesn't completely recognize him at first.  Either way, Selina Kyle's Catwoman is probably someone that shares Bane's underlying sentiment, but realizes that whatever so-called moral imperative Bane claims to have, in the end, he's really just about total destruction.  I don't think she switches sides so much as she switches tactics, and I say this because in his interview with Empire, Christian Bale describes Bruce/Batman in this movie as a potential anarchist that realizes he has more in common with his adversaries than he thought or would like to believe. 

In conclusion, I think we're going to see Bane and Batman having more in common than otherwise thought.  I think what it comes down to is that, while they're both out to punish and root out corruption, Bane does it through deadly force and the denying of freedom whereas Batman refuses to kill and attempts the same goal by freeing people from the oppression of corruption and setting an example so that the "good people" can feel empowered to rise up and take action, themselves.  Batman is a would-be liberator while Bane is a would-be dictator - either way, they probably recognize the same underlying problems in Gotham.  Bane's hatred of Batman probably is exactly as speculated - that Batman took down Ra's and foiled the plans in BATMAN BEGINS.  It appears that Bane and his henchmen already know who Batman is and raid the new (for us) batcave - as indicated by the images we've seen in all of the trailers of Bane, his soldiers and, I think, in this new trailer, Bruce, himself, scaling up or down the big well we saw in the first movie that leads down into the cave.  When they first fight, they probably fight in that cave, which is probably where Bane is in this trailer when he throws down part of Batman's cowl.  However, I don't think Bane rips it off of Batman's head.  Bruce has a lot of cowls, so Bane probably grabs a spare one and breaks it in front of Batman as a sort of intimidation tactic - i.e., "This is what I'm about to do to you."  It's likely that Bruce's back is technically broken, allowing Bane to capture him, but it likely heals, at which point Bruce manages to escape and re-don the Batman mantle in order to take Bane down.

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jorson28
Date Joined: January 9, 2007