Thursday, 11 August 2016

Monday, 8 August 2016

(UPDATED) Sexism Covering Female Athletes: Help Me Make the Bingo Card!

Edit (August 9) well... here is some nice vindication. As well as some leads for my bingo card! Ironic that it's published by The Korea Times (see below).



Literally one after the other on my Facebook feed this morning, were these two articles:


1. Government Website Under Fire For Sexist Content
Screenshot taken August 8
Yes. Those clueless, ignorant, sexist, bad government website people sure don't know what sexism is! The article describes an internet backlash against a page on a government health portal, about "healthy breasts" which includes a detailed description of the shape and proportions perfect breasts should have. With helpful drawings! (Of COURSE KT included the drawings.)

And then... just to make sure we know The Korea Times doesn't actually understand what the problem was... this article published by them came right after:

"Boyfriend a tall order for 192cm South Korean volleyball star"

The write-up includes digging all the way back to 2010 to find a comment from the player about the height of men she'd consider dating. A comment I'm 100% sure she made in response to a sexist question from a journalist who cared more about her relationship status than her volleyball game or ambitions.
screenshots taken August 8


The OlympicsTM are on. The quadrennial orgy of nationalism, people pretending to care about sports they don't care about for the sake of cheering for their country, increasing corporatization and censorious brand-protection. For once, female athletes (whose medals add to countries' medal counts just as much as men's! Score!) will be given as much attention as men's sports... leading to people who have no idea how to write about women asking dumb, sexist questions and making dumb, sexist comments and focus on their bodies, family situations and relationship statuses instead of the fact they're badass athletes who made it to the f***ing OlympicsTM.

Imagine if men got asked these same patronizing, brain-fart questions: (explanation)



So... tell us how Kim Yeon-koung trained. Tell us what she brings to the team. Tell us how she inspires little girls to excel in sports. Tell us the strategic benefits having a very tall player gives the women's volleyball team. At least friggin mention that she's an otherworldly talent who won the MVP of the 2012 London Women's Volleyball tournament. But this shit, which was the closing line of the article: "The average height of South Korean men is 174.9 centimeters. Regrettably, it would be better for her to look for a boyfriend somewhere outside the country." Just fuck on off out of here with that.

Keep trying, Korea Times.


Readers!

You know the idea of the bingo card: here's the "Men's Rights Bingo Card" -- see if you can fill it out while discussing gender on the internet! Or, for a challenge, see if you can fill it out in less than an hour while discussing gender on the internet.

Image warning: Misogyny ahead.


Let's fill out the "Covering Female Sports Bingo Card" which I managed not to find online after a few google searches... so hey. Let's make one! Suggestions in the comments: we've got 5x5 to fill out.


UPDATE: Final Draft





Monday, 25 April 2016

Goodbye, Prince








  When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain
Before high piled books in charactery
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain
  When I behold upon the night's starred face
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance
  And when I feel, fair creature of an hour
That I shall never look upon thee more
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love--then on the shore
  Of this wide world I stand alone and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do think.

That is a poem by John Keats, the most poetic of English poets. Others were more important, more popular, or more often studied, but John Keats made English more beautiful than any writer has before or since. He gave us the Odes (to a Nightingale, to a Grecian Urn, and my own favorite, on Melancholy). His poetry is the most vivid, most sensuous, most alive poetry I've read, and to read it is to celebrate being alive.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

John Keats died before his 26th birthday. The poem above meditates on how fleeting his life might be, and his fear that his death might come before he had written out all the poetry churning in his brain, which is exactly what happened. To love John Keats is to be forever teased by the would have, the could have, of a poet whose poetry reached heights few other poets ever could, but who was robbed of the chance to write more, just as we are now robbed of the chance to read it.

I woke up on Friday morning to the horrible news that another perfect artist, another artist whose work transcends time and language and genre, whose art, at its best, skips blithely past our defenses and strikes something deep within us like a dart, has been taken from us too soon. Prince is dead. How can we go on? Prince is dead.

I did not grow up in Minnesota, like a few of my friends on Facebook, whose grief I cannot imagine. I did not know Prince personally, and I can't imagine what his loved ones are feeling right now. I did not even grow up on Prince's music: I was just a little too young to catch him at his apex. My musical taste's development caught the end of his prime as an absolute world-straddling hitmaker, and I have "7" on the mix-tapes I made by listening to the radio with my fingers hovering over the "record" button, but I was too young for Purple Rain, Sign O'The Times, and Kiss, all the more for 1999 and Little Red Corvette. I was around for a few of the "Prince or Michael Jackson" conversations, and for the Love Symbol replacing his name. Prince didn't belong to me: his activism, name-checking Black Lives Matter, naming the first song on his last album "Baltimore" and singing that if there is no justice, there is no peace: the struggles he sings about are ones I care about, but they are not my story. I admit it is impossible for Prince to mean as much to me as he means to other people.

There is no reason I should be quite as distraught as I am about Prince's passing: Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and David Bowie didn't make me feel this way. Pressed to it, I can't think of a single artist whose death would make me feel the same way Prince's has, and so I sit a step removed, and watch myself grieve, startled at how hard this hit me.

Which other celebrity could have the lights shone on public monuments turned purple, and for everyone to know exactly what it meant, and who it was for? What artist was talented enough to claim an entire color for himself (and not even an obscure one like puce or chartreuse, but one of the big, "in-every-crayola-box" ones), and for everybody to go "Yeah. OK. You can have purple from now on," like they did for Prince? What artist was big enough that you said "Prince" and nobody said "Prince who?" (even my royalist sister-in-law)? Nobody.

I play every version of Purple Rain I can find again and again, I plumb my friends' Facebook feeds for articles, tracklists, videoclips and bootlegs, I watch interviews and tributes, I read distraught articles by people who loved Prince like an uncle. In the absence of a friend who can come over, maybe this is how I can feel connected to the mourning: by sharing in the videos and articles that all the other mourners are also watching and reading. Thank you Michael, Regina and Jane. The links you've been sharing on your Facebook pages have helped me feel like I'm sharing with someone. And that poem by John Keats runs through my head when Purple Rain does not.

Prince was the most talented musician I will probably ever encounter in my life. He wrote every song, played every instrument, sang every vocal, and produced and mixed every song for Sign O'The Times: every single step of recording one of the best albums in my collection was completely and solely done by him. His songs all hit the mark -- whatever he's trying for, he does it. And then live, you can't take your eyes off him, and his guitar solos are all perfect combinations of wild unpredictability and technical perfection. All I can do is wonder, and reel in awe.

I am listening to what nobody knew would be Prince's final concert, on Soundcloud.



To impress upon my wife how important Prince is, I explained that for much of the 80s, "Who's better: Michael Jackson or Prince?" was a legitimate question. It seems Purple Rain didn't make as big an impact here in South Korea as Thriller did, but that seemed to be a good frame. But what that comparison doesn't cover is that Michael Jackson hadn't been relevant as an artist for a decade by the time he passed on. Until the end, Prince was recording music, performing, mentoring other artists, writing songs, producing, creating, and supporting communities and activists. That longevity (as well as staying out of tabloids) is why I don't think we can argue anymore that it's a contest between Prince and Michael Jackson. Jackson probably had a higher peak in terms of popularity, but Prince's footprints are deeper and wider spread.

And then I think that, like John Keats, I am sure that Prince had more music in his head, that we will not get to hear. I realize that this is a selfish thought, and also that Prince has done so much that it is right to celebrate him, and not to cheaply wish we could have yet more. But the world is poorer. Music is poorer for his passing. He had more young artists to mentor. He had more albums to make of his own, and more collaborations, and more stages to crash and songs to raise to a new level with a perfect guitar solo. His talent and his ability to perform stayed with him right until 2016.

I did not like Prince right away. In fact, for much of my 20s, I had an out and out prejudice against music from the 80s. My music taste developed in the early 90s (they say the music you liked around age 13-14 is the kind of music you will like for all your life), and at that age, grunge music was backlashing against the synth pop sounds of the 80s, so my distaste for keyboards and that "Hungry Like A Wolf" sound kept me away from 80s music entirely for years.

Prince is the one who brought me back. The song Purple Rain, specifically, was the song that went right past my guards and defenses, and convinced me to give the 80s another listen. It is the ultimate confessional song. It is the very sound of a person pouring their heart out in music, it is an absolute show-stopper, yet so moving and personal at the same time. How a man could create that song, which holds so much meaning for so many people, hits them so deeply, amazes me. It is one of the greatest songs I know, from beginning to end. It is a song that owns its greatness, wears its ambition on its sleeve, and actually achieves its moon-shot. Starting with the undeniable Purple Rain, Prince's music slowly, irresistibly  grew on me, and he steadily climbed in my esteem, until now, when he is one of my top two artists, and every song I can ever hope for from him is already in the bag, or the vault.

Prince is gone. I am sad, and I want to be around other people who loved him. But I also celebrate him. I celebrate his humanitarian work. I celebrate his genius. All those perfect solos and all the different personas he sang with. The way he could be passionate and confessional, fun, goofy, sexy, dirty, silly, whimsical, experimental or as "pop" as pop can be, without ever ceasing to be Prince: that he could contain so much inside him, still inspires and awes. Prince is the John Keats of music: a pure genius, unsullied even when he sings about ugly things. A perfect conduit of joy, grief, love, of all the emotions we have, making us all more alive, helping us experience the world more vividly and sensuously and abundantly, then taken from us too soon. So, thank you Prince, for the gift you shared with us for your time on the planet. Thank you for giving 80s music back to me, for moving your fans in so many different ways, for making my kindergarten students and my son dance, and for connecting everybody who is now sharing purple-themed grief on their websites and facebook walls. Music brings people together, and now, even in our grief, we are not alone, because we love you, and we will miss you.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Part 1: Batman v Superman v Zack Snyder

Following up my Star Wars review in January, once again a movie has put a bee in my bonnet, and I'll write about it way after the point. Batman v Superman underwhelmed me, or rather overwhelmed me in the wrong way. Fridge logic was jumping at me way before I had a chance to find a fridge, and that's a problem.

It is weird when people call a film that made over 800 million worldwide a failure, but that 28% Fresh rate on the Tomatometer stings. The yardstick for cinematic universe launchpads, Avengers, outdid it in box office (780 mill to 1519 mill worldwide), and acclaim (28% to 92% Fresh on the Tomatometer - all figures at time of writing), and achieved that with a cast of characters not nearly as well-known and iconic as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In fact, Marvel is eating DC's lunch even without access to many fan favorites like Wolverine, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Deadpool (and Spider-man, when Avengers came out), because other studios had those film rights. They beat Superman and Batman with their hands tied behind their backs. Soundly. Bottom line: Batman V Superman is a much weaker launchpad for fifteen years of related tentpoles than Avengers was.

However, before I am dismissed as a hater, and before I take a crap on Superman's lawn, I want to be clear about this:

I was primed to love this film. I wanted to love it. I maximized my chance of loving it: I saw it as early as I could, and avoided reading reviews, so my take would be unsullied by other opinions. I’ve always been a DC guy, and would have loved to be looking forward to all DCEU's phases, from now until the reboot. All my biases worked in this film’s favor. But then, I had to watch the actual movie.

From here, expect Spoilers. A lot of them. So if you plan to see it yet… move along.


Here is The Guardian's very funny "Everything Wrong with Batman v Superman."


There were things I liked about this film, in case three paragraphs ago isn't enough to show I'm not some kneejerk, butthurt nerd, or bandwagon pot-shot-taker.

  • Only Christian Bale is a better film Batman so far than Ben Affleck
  • Only Michael Keaton is a better film Bruce Wayne so far than Ben Affleck. 
  • Other than swinging Superman around like a wrecking ball, this Batman's combat scenes were the best we've seen in film. Batfleck is also closest to the Batman we saw in The Animated Series, the amazing 90s cartoon, which might be the definitive non-comic Batman treatment so far. Christian Bale's Batman was a ridiculously tough act to follow, and Chuckie Sullivan pulled it off. Zack Snyder gets what's cool about Batman... and let's be real: this is a Batman story.
  • Jeremy Irons' Alfred is also great, though he had too little screen time and it'll be hard to supplant Michael Caine as the best Alfred we've seen. 
  • Wonder Woman looks great so far 
  • Her music and her entrance were completely fist-punching-the-air awesome. Best twelve seconds of the film. 
  • If he had been written better, I would have said we have an extremely interesting, and definitely very original Lex Luthor, which is a very good thing in a villain. But I have reservations more to do with his writers and director than the performance itself. 
  • I even think Henry Cavill's Superman is still salvageable, but probably not while Zack Snyder is directing.


On to the problems, the biggest first:

1. Zack Snyder and His Writing Team Does Not Understand How to Make Superman Interesting, Who Likes Superman, What Kind Of Story Superman Stories Are, Why We Like That Kind of Story and just, basically, Superman.

I'm a Superman guy from way back. Watched every episode of Smallville, many with my Dad, who is also a Superman guy. I know Superman's dramatic limitations: he's just too powerful. Rooting for the guy who punches harder than anyone else is like rooting for gravity. The only way to make him interesting again is to put something on the line outside of the realm of raw power.

Really good Superman stories put the idea of Superman, his motivations and principles, into conflict. Christopher Nolan's first two Batman films were great examples of raising the personal stakes beyond mere punch-ups. The choices Batman made in dealing with Joker, Two-Face and Ra's Al Ghul tested the very ideas on which Bruce Wayne based his Batman. Those choices mattered. To make Superman interesting again the meaning of Superman has to be tested in the choices he makes -not just by things people say about him (of which there's a lot here). In two films so far, Superman made a surprisingly small number of choices: most of the time he just kind of watches, broods, and then reacts to events.

Here's an actual choice:


Other than that moment, for two whole films now, here are the times Superman takes initiative: 1. Saving the bus of kids even though his father told him not to show his powers. 2. Wanting to write a story about Batman for the Daily Planet. 3. Finding Batman and telling him to stop Batmanning! I think that's it. The only other choice he makes is "Should I keep being a hero, or not?" ...which is basically masturbation in a film that is a superhero movie. In fact, all that existential fuzz reminds me of a different hero than Superman.

The comic book movie Zack Snyder did before Man Of Steel was Watchmen, which features another all-powerful blue hero, Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan started out human, and got turned into a matter-manipulating demigod in a lab accident. Once he becomes capable of seeing protons, he slowly disengages from humanity, and eventually leaves Earth because he can't relate to us anymore, and likes atoms better than humans anyway.



"Should I Superman or not?" seems more like Dr. Manhattan than the Superman I know. So does the entire public discussion of/backlash against Superman (which also shows up in The Dark Knight Returns). However, the Superman I know does not lose his connection to humanity: he dives into it. A job, a secret identity, a girlfriend, visits to Smallville for Thanksgiving. His entire motivation to be a hero springs from his effort to connect with humanity, which is why the scenes where Martha Kent says, "You don't owe the world anything" ring wildly false. That's the exact opposite of Superman's entire heroic makeup. The best thing about Superman is how he embraces his adopted planet, and the best scenes in Man of Steel and this film were the ones where we see his connection with humanity: the scenes with his parents. The reaction when Zod threatens his mother in Man of Steel is one of the realest moments in the film. (It happens just before the famous The Smallville Esso/7-11 Product Placement Throwdown [brought to you by IHOP] - great scene!)

There's stuff you can change about a hero, and stuff you can't, or they won't be recognizable anymore. Take away the red underpants. Whatever. Bat-nipples... oookayyy. But Batman doesn't kill, and his parents were murdered. Spider-man's Uncle Ben dies. And Superman is good for the sake of being good because of his upbringing. That's the nature of the character. If you give Daredevil back his sight, or take him out of Hell's Kitchen, he's no longer the Daredevil we know. If Captain America starts cussing like Negan on The Walking Dead, he's not Captain America anymore. If Superman is a petty jerk who can be provoked by a mug of beer, who considers abandoning humanity because they graffiti'd his statue... then Lex Luthor is in the right, Superman is too alien to be trusted with all his power, and Batman should kill him. The innate decency is an inextricable part of Superman. It is the whole reason Batman should withhold his killing blow. Because Zack Snyder goes a different direction, he has to ass-pull the dumbest contrivance in comic movie history to justify why Batman didn't finish things off right there.

Source Dumb. dumb dumb dumb.
Without his moral compass shining bright, the reversal where Batman decides not to kill Superman falls from flat to ridiculous.

Now, who likes Superman? Kids like Superman. If you ask 100 five-year-olds to invent a superhero, 96 of them will invent a hero that is basically Superman and 4 will invent a Power Ranger, or a princess-robot-dinosaur-pony version of them. To grown-ups, Superman is kind of dorky and dramatically inert, because he's too powerful, and inevitability is no fun to watch, but to kids, that's awesome, because kids often feel powerless and wish they could fly, too. It makes absolutely no sense to make a Superman story that kids won't be able to enjoy, because that's his main demographic! A kid gets SO excited watching a Superman story, because the whole story is a build-up to the moment when The Super-Punch flattens that bad guy! Yay super-punch! Kids don't care if inevitability is less dramatic, because Super-Punch, daddy!

The other people who like Superman like him for childlike reasons: because sometimes it's fun to slip back into that innocence where good guys are good guys and bad guys get super-punches. We get tired of pyrrhic, morally ambiguous or bittersweet victories after a while. I didn't buy superhero film tickets to have difficult thoughts: I can get those anywhere! Ghost Pa Kent's story about how saving the farm drowned the Lang's horses violates the basic tenet of the moral universe in which Superman exists, and has always existed: one where good guys can win, because that's why we go see movies, gosh darn it! In a moral universe where every act of heroism might have a horrific consequence (like drowning horses), Superman's only responsible choice is to leave the planet. Goodbye, story. Sometimes I don't want a cynical Watchmen ending, where Dr. Manhattan looks at the Ozymandias and Nite Owl and says "Maybe we made the world a little less shitty at this horrific cost... but maybe not! Maybe this was just a bunch of really awful stuff that happened," and then abandons earth and humans to their own shittiness. Sometimes I want to escape, and see the bad guy get flattened with a super-punch, OK? Sue me. I know that the Christopher Reeve Superman cannot exist in a 2016 film, but there must be a way to make a Superman that is suitable for 2016, but is still recognizably Superman. Marvel has amply demonstrated it's possible to make a superhero film kids and adults can enjoy.

Different heroes are different types of stories. Iron Man is a story of redemption (from a wrecked personal life) through heroism. Captain America is a story about keeping moral clarity in a world full of grey areas. Daredevil explores the gap between law and justice. Batman is everyman reaching full human potential: we love stories like that: that's Rocky, Luke Skywalker, and Katniss Everdeen. It's The Karate Kid and Kung Fu Panda and the Last Girl in every horror movie. But Superman is not the story of surpassing limitations: Superman has no limitations. Superman takes the limitless -- the demigod -- and brings him down to us, and the things that humanize Superman make him interesting. That is the kind of story Superman is, and it's why we like him more than Martian Manhunter. He grew up on a farm in Kansas. He gets reamed out by his editor and given crap assignments at The Daily Planet. "Haha. Even Superman has deadlines and a ball-busting boss," makes us feel better about our crap days. It's no wonder the scenes with Ma and Pa Kent were the best parts of Man of Steel: as I said above, they are his strongest tether to humanity. And nothing is more fun in a Superman story than the contrivances he must go through to maintain his secret identity: dealing with Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, hiding his secret identity from them in the 1978 film were some of the best parts of the movie. That punching hard stuff? Superman's got that covered. But when Lois Lane is trying to trick Clark into taking his glasses off... that's where the fun of Superman is, because now the ultimate person-without-any-limitations, has to act within constraints.



Zack Snyder leaves all that potential for fun on the table. He scurries past it with eyes averted like the kid who snuck an extra dessert. Jimmy Olsen dies in the first scene of BvS, and Lois has always known he's Clark Kent. In the film's last scene, Clark Kent is declared dead in the newspaper (in the Superman's death saga, Kent was declared missing, not dead). Without Clark or Jimmy, and with Lois being in on it, Superman's entire fun side is wasted, and all that remains is the overpowered, inevitable super-punching bore.

TL:DR: Zack Snyder doesn't understand anything about Superman or why anybody likes him, and doesn't seem to care, either.

EDIT: Turns out his writer, David Goyer, is equally myopic on Superheroes who aren't anti-heroes. This article corroborates a lot of what I intuited here. Nice!


More in Part 2!

Part 2: Batman v Superman v Just Making a Two Hour Trailer

Continued from part 1.

2. Zack Snyder's Best Talent Ruined This Movie

What are Zack Snyder's two best talents? He can make a trailer that stops the world. He is so so good at making action look really good. So darn good. The problem is, entire sequences of the film, and whole scenes, seemed designed more to provide setup for some killer snip that went into the trailer, than for actually being part of a scene that was good as an effective scene. The dream sequence with Trenchcoat Batman. The crayon "You let your family die" on a newspaper clipping (which, misleadingly, resembled the scrawl on Robin's empty uniform in the Batcave... seeming to reference a Joker who did not appear in the film). "The red capes are coming" (a line which didn't even make sense in the context of the scene) "The oldest lie in America is that power can be innocent" (good line, but untrue: it's easier to find records of the idea that the price of liberty is constant vigilance). The trailer-bait took me out of the movie, and frankly, it's hard to pull me out of a movie. I try to get carried away.

The films that got Zack Snyder this job were recreations of Watchmen and 300, which worked exactly insofar as they hewed closely to the original graphic novels. Dawn of the Dead was also a very good remake: it might be my favorite zombie movie. When he takes a story that is already laid out for him, and his only task is to make it look absolutely great, he completely nails it. Ask him to create a believable reality and set a story within it, and you get Sucker Punch.
Read that Critics Consensus summary twice.

Watch the movie again, with an eye for this: every scene in the first half of the movie scans the way you tell a joke: with a setup, and then a punchline. The punchline is either a zinger of a cool line (trailer bait), or a revelation of new information (clumsy plot advancement). Again and again and again. Many of the lines work, and the some reveals make you go "ooh!" ... but that isn't enough to comprise a good scene, and a story with great characters like Batman and Superman needs a good scene writer.

UPDATE: Here is a nice video I found after writing this, that hits exactly on the nose what I'm trying to say here.
 

What Snyder is doing would probably work on a comic page: the Walking Dead comics I'm reading also have a lot of scenes that seem written as build-ups to a good line or a reveal, but what works on a page doesn't work in film. I just watched Netflix's Daredevil, Season 2, with scenes full of revelations, surprises, and characters at plausible and interesting cross-purposes, with reversals that make sense. Seeing all that great writing just underscored how cheesy the few exchanges between Batman and Superman were.


Terse cheesy tough talk out of an 80s movie is a huge waste of two actors who, I think, could deliver very interesting performances of the characters. But not with Zack Snyder directing them like a movie trailer crossed with an MTV video.

And when he DOES try to write an actual exchange between them...



 It's hilarious. For all the wrong reasons.

I am incapable of watching a movie without noticing the music. Not that it was possible not to notice the music in this one. The entire score here also seemed made for a two-minute trailer. When the action was flying, those dramatic close-ups and slow-motion and ponderous music stuff made it feel like something Important was happening... but that portentious music never let up, to the point that everything was getting "Hey! Pay attention! This is profound!" treatment. As any student studying from a used textbook knows, when everything is underlined, nothing stands out anymore. The whole movie come off as relentless and exhausting.

What I wouldn't have given for one clever, quiet scene as witty as this one, just for a break from Hans Zimmer launching BWAAMs at me.



One more thing about the music: when Hans Zimmer's overbearing score wasn't playing, for the background music in the mall where Lois got kidnapped, and for Lex Luthor's party, the music was done by a spoof lounge singer called Richard Cheese. Yes. A singer named Dick Cheese provided two songs for the Batman v Superman film. Now, the first time Dick Cheese worked with Zack Snyder it was in Dawn Of The Dead, where the song "Down With The Sickness" was the perfect meltdown song for a montage of claustrophobic people slowly going mad, while the song slowly disintegrated into f-bombs. These are substandard versions of jazz classics: even these would have been a step up. And a character even quotes one of them while threatening Martha Kent, as if they have thematic importance. If Zack Snyder is putting his buddies' crappy songs into the soundtrack, and nobody higher up put the kibosh on his bad choices, not only is Zack Snyder completely the wrong person for this job, but I'm beginning to doubt the whole extended universe's creative oversight. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson after giving Superman maybe a son in Superman Returns. This bodes very ill for the DC Expanded Universe.

Ben Affleck is an actor who is better or worse depending on what kind of writing he is working with. The only case more extreme is Nicholas Cage. So let's get the man an effing writer, and a director who understands how to do a scene, please!

PLEASE find a better show-runner for the DC Expanded Universe. Superman and Batman deserve it! I suggest Brad Bird, but I'm open to other ideas.


Conclusion in part 3 (yes, I get worked up about this)