Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pretty Little Liars, Season 7A

I enjoyed it, don't feel I have much else to say.

Spoilers Ahead

Spencer being Mary's kid is illogical, why then was it Aria's file stolen with Noel's?

I think ALi is lying about being Pregnant to get with Emily.  It came completely out of no where, and no I don't think that one scene of her puking is sufficient foreshadowing.

I know people are trying to deny that Toby is dead, but that steering wheel was embedded deep in his skull.

I think A.D. is Charlotte.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

In the Comics Rupert Thorne was a politician not a Mob Boss.

Yet Rupert Throne continually becomes a Crime Boss in adaptations.

Batman The Animated Series seems to be largely responsible for popularizing it, yet they didn't do it first, first was Sam Hamm's original Script for the movie that became Tim Burton's Batman, where the Carl Grissom role was played by Rupert Thorne, (and Eckhart was Harvey Bullock).  But since then we've seen it in the Cold Open of the pilot of The Batman animated series, and in The Joker Blogs season 2, and other fan films.

But he was originally in the 70s and early 80s Comics a powerful corrupt politician, a member of Gotham's City Council.  Mayor Hamilton Hill was a corrupt mayor who worked for Throne, and Peter Pauling was a corrupt cop they arranged to have replace Jim Gordon as Commissioner.

I have no idea what caused this character to be so consistently changed in adaptations, it's not like the Comics don't provide enough Mob Bosses to work with.  In his most notable BTAS appearance he replaces Maroni in Two-Face's origin story.  And for a Mob Boss used only to be one The Batman takes down in the prologue right before the rise of The Joker, Falcone would have made more sense.  And for the Batman89 script, a Mob Boss employing the guy who shot the Waynes was Lew Moxon in the Pre-Crisis Earth-One continuity.  And The Joker Blogs was using him in it's version of the Mask of The Phantasm story, which itself was re imagining elements of Year Two.

Seeing the political corruption in Gotham City would be a refreshing new subject for a Batman movie or Cartoon.  And you could easily connect him to a Mob Boss if you wanna keep that element going.

If I were in charge of the Court of Owls story-line, I might have connected Thorne to them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I love watching Fan Trailers on Youtube

Most of the ones I've watched are DC based with a heavy bias for Batman.  I have a playlist on Youtube of many of my favorites.  The first video on that Playlist is one I wrote myself, I had the idea in my head for awhile, but I have no real video editing skills, but because I made a thread on the subject on IMDB SolyentBrak1 wound up editing the idea together for me and he did a great job.  I have other Brak fan trailers on the playlist as well.

Most in that playlist are Fan Edited trailers, but there are a few full on Fan Films that are really just trailers like Grayson.

I first discovered them in the era of trailers being made to speculate what the third Nolan movie would be, The Riddler was popular.

I've seen many more then what I've put on the Playlist.  I want to mention a few things some do that for me personally at least take me out of it, and so I'd recommend avoiding.

Using any audio from Animated projects, whether voice over, dialogue or even music.  Even if I haven't seen the animated project being used it always sounds like a cartoon to me.  Plus I want the voices to match the physical actors.  Whether it's using voices from the Dark Knight Returns cartoon, or Flashpoint, or even Amanda Waller from Assault on Arkham or the DCAU, that actress could be a good live action Waller, but from those projects her voice always sounds like animated voice acting.  So for DKR or Flashpoint it may be an easy way to get direct quotes of the Comic in your trailer, but it's just not worth the awkwardness.  The worst offenders are those Batman/Dracula trailers that use the narrator from the commercials for The Batman vs Dracula.  The best Batman/Dracula trailer is the one in my playlist with Burton's Batman and Hammer's Dracula.

Every rule has one or two exceptions they say.  In this case a lot of people would like to see Jensen Ackles as a Live Action Jaosn Todd/Red Hood, and in fan trailers based on that premise using Jensen's voice work from the Under The Red Hood animated film tends to work.  The voice does match the actor, and I think also Jensen simply wasn't doing it like usual voice acting, which would normally tick me off in an animated film but his performance was good.  However even in some of those if any other actor's voices from that same movie is used it ruins it, I like Bruce Greenwood's Batman voice, but I don't wanna hear that when I'm looking at Ben Affleck or Christian Bale.

Also using visuals from Video Games like DC Online or Injustice, or the Arkham games.  Unless it's something that absolutely would be fully CG in a LA film anyway like a Darkside or Doomsday, or maybe Brainiac, that just never looks right.  And even then it needs to be a really high quality graphics video game, PS3 level at least.  But I've seen trailers do it for Batman and The Flash.  And using the Black Mask or Deathstroke from the Arkahm Origns trailer is really popular.  To me it always stands out awkwardly.

It amazes me how often someone makes a bad decision in the music/score department.  There are now a few Superman/Batman trailers premised on it staring Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton.  Most use neither's Iconic score, one uses the Williams score but for Batman uses the Nolan theme, that simply doesn't match.  Keaton without the Elfman score works sometimes, but if that specific nostalgic crossover is the gimmick, I wanna hear both Iconic scores.

Those are my constructive criticisms.  Now I'm going to throw out into the ether some ideas I'd like to see that haven't been done yet, not that I can find anyway.

The potential is out there to make a decent Dark Knight Returns trailer using material from the Nolan Batman films and Batman V Superman.  They all take some elements.  Begins has thanks to the fear toxin the mot surreal moments, TDK has the gun touting Batman copycats.  Rises has the cop saying "you're in for a show tonight" line, and Alfred talking about Bane being in his Prime is similar to what Alfred says in DKR about the Mutant Leader.  And BvS has Batman fighting Superman with many of the same elements, and a nuked Superman being healed by the Sun.

In costume which Batman you use shouldn't matter, but I'd favor Affleck who looks older for Bruce Wayne, yet Michael Cain for Alfred due to the scene I mentioned.  And Snyder's take on the killing of the Waynes and falling into the cave fits better, just leave out him flying.  Only appearance of Harvey Dent I'd put in the trailer is him saying "There is no Escape from this".  Also throw in stuff from the Gotham Tonight special features segments to help get the whole Batman in the news vibe going.

Leto's Joker would fit this more then Ledger's.  Use scenes from Suicide Squad trailers, or that Music Video.  Use the Gotham skyline from Gotham on Fox since it has those twin towers similar to yet distinct from the World Trade center.  Include stock footage of Ronald Reagan as President on TV.  And throw in the Bat Demon from the bat-cave in Batman Forever and it's deleted scenes, also use Forever's establishing shots of Arkham.  And you could make a pretty convincing DKR live action trailer without any need to cheat by taking audio from the animated movies.

A few cool Teen Titans fan trailers have been made, they can show us where to start.

But my main disappointment is none are able to include either Wonder Girl.  You'd have to be creative but you can find a way, there was a time when we had Gal Gadot as WW in fan trailers when we hadn't seen her in costume yet.  I want a trailer that looks like either the Wolfman/Perez 80s Teen Titans, or the Geoff Johns 2003-2006 Teen Titans line ups.  (I don't want just the animated series line up.) Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy/Changling and Starfire (and maybe Jericho) are part of both those, they go from being the new team members to the older ones.

Troian Bellisaro has become an ideal pick to me for Donna Troy.  I haven't seen much of what she's done outside Pretty Little Liars (just the two episode of NCIS).  But I know on that show in Season 4 Episode 1 we see her investigating a burned down building, in a TT fan trailer that could easily make fans think of the orphanage in Who Is Donna Troy?

There was a TV spot for that old Cartoon Network show that had what looked like a convincing real life Titan's Tower.  Perhaps you could throw that in.

But you have to use the Arrowverse Deathtroke over Smallville's horrible one, (or maybe the DCEU one that is now coming soon, but on Arrow he interacts with potential Titans characters).

The existing trailers have a tendency to mix and match the line up, I'd prefer to avoid that also.  If the Robin is Dick Grayson then Donna should be Wonder Girl, Wally West should be Kid Flash (we have him in Costume now from the Flash season 3 previews) and Roy Harper as Speedy/Arsenal, and only this older lineup should have Terra.  If Tim Drake is the Robin then Cassandra Sandmack should be Wonder Girl, Bart Allen should be Impulse/Kidflash, Mia/Thea for Speedy and have Conner Kent/Kon-El/Superboy.  Bart and Conner would have to be taken from Smallville.

I used to think the ideal Batman Beyond fan trailer needed Clint Eastwood as Batman, but he's more DKR Batman, which I do prefer to see as distinct.

There is a trailer on my Playlist for a Dark Knight Returns film starting a contemporary Michael Keaton.  It's cool but doesn't feel like it references anything specific from the comic.  And Keaton simply isn't a harsh enough character in any role for that.

But it got me thinking that a version of Batman Beyond with Michael Keaton could be cool.

I still like Stephen R McQueen for Terry McGinnis (and maybe Chad McQueen for his father), Malese Jow for Dana Tan but perhaps Janel Parrish for a second choice.  And either Jessica Parker Kennedy or Zendaya for Max Gibson.  And Sasha Petierse for Chelsea Cunningham.

Angie Harmon for Barbara Gordon because she played an authority figure on Law and Order, so maybe she could be the second rare exception after Jensen Akcles.  In case you don't know she voiced Barbara in Return of The Joker.

Not entirely sure what to do for The Jokers.

Perhaps Cameo Appearances from modern Kim Bassinger, Michelle Pheifer, and Billy Dee Williams, or the actor who played Knox if he's done anything recently.

I don't have a compelling suggestion for Derek Powers or his son just yet.

I like the idea of taking the original The Dark Knight teaser trailer and replacing it's blue tint with red.  The Nolan bat-symbol is similar in shape to the Beyond one.

Some Batman Beyond fan trailers have already started using Beyond Fan Films for Terry in Costume.

Last but not least, Crisis on Infinite Earths or Infinite Crisis or anything vaguely like that.  Multiverse ideas.

These became more popular over the last year, Season 2 of The Flash provided the key exposition source material needed.  And some made already I quite enjoy.  But none have used George Reeves.  I want him as the Earth-Two Superman, he was in color in the latter seasons.  Earth-Two Superman is the most important, he, Kara and Barry make the key heroic sacrifices.  George Reeves was a WWII vet and had the right basic look by the time the show was in color.

And Lynda Carter is naturally the Earth-Two Wonder Woman.

Some more of my thoughts on the DC Cinematic Multiverse I discuses in my last Batman V Superman post.

And with no particular idea of what fan trailer to feature her in, I've recently thought of Ashley Benson for Stephanie Brown.

So those are some ideas I'm throwing out there.  Feel free to use them.  Let me know about any Fan Trailers you've made or seen you think I might like and if I do I'll add em to the Playlist and promote em.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harvey Dent can have a happy ending.

We're used to thinking of Harvey Dent as having no hope for redemption. This starts with what Frank Miller did in Dark Knight Returns, which was a very powerful scene.  Then continues with BTAS consistently making sure every villain's attempts at redemption fail, and then it's clear Nolan wants us to think Harvey Dent died at the end of TDK, I still choose to imagine otherwise however.

But it wasn't always this way.  The Golden Age Two-Face, the Harvey Dent of Earth-Two (sometimes called Harvey Kent) did find redemption and a happy ending.

He was introduced in Detective Comics 66 in August 1942 "The Crimes of Two-Face".  The origin story part really isn't drawn out how modern re-imaginings do it, he's scarred at the start of the story.  His second appearance is in Detective Comics 68 where he is still conflicted.  His third story was in October of 1943, Detective Comics 80 and in it he's redeemed, and the Earth-Two Two-Face never relapsed or reverted.

He appeared in three stories involving other people taking on the Two-Face mantle, the most interesting one being Paul Salone in Batman 68, he was the middle one of the three.

Then in Superman Family 211 we see him attend Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle's wedding. in 1955

So the original version of the character was never meant to be hopeless.

The Golden Age Batman comics are often alleged to be what most inspired Tim Burton.  Lately I started imagining in my head a version of Batman Beyond that followed the Burton films with Michael Keaton as Batman.  And figured It'd be cool to do an episode with Billy Dee Williams to show he had became Two Face but also found redemption.

With that animated Batman Return of the Caped Crusaders cartoon coming out starting Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmare.  It has me thinking about similar things you could do, an animated return for the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman I think would be fitting next year.

And also, since Billy Dee Williams seems to like to do animated work as Lando Calrissian.  Perhaps he'd be up to returning to the role of Harvey Dent?  Even if he's the only actor from the films to return it'd still be worth it to me.  Two-Face is the main Batman villain to not get a spotlight in an animated film yet.

So, who agrees?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Movies being too long, vs movies being too short.

One common criticism of certain movies I'm not inclined to agree with is criticizing a movie for being too long.  It is my biggest disagreement with the film reviews of James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd formally known as the Angry Nintendo Nerd).

I like long movies, I like things fleshed out, I prefer adaptations that add (like Prince Caspian) to adaptations that remove.  Those are general rules though and there are exceptions, I do feel there are times when a movie can be longer then it's story justifies.  And I do think a over 4 hours is too much to be watched in one uninterrupted sitting.

But thing is I tend to lean towards being interested in the movies that justify longer lengths to begin with.

The reason studios want shorter movies, considering 90 minutes enough to qualify as feature length, making 2 hours about the average and rarely allowing any blockbuster with a high budget because of action, adventure, SciFi or Fantasy elements to near or pass the 3 hour mark, is purely financial.  They want movies shorter not because they think audiences will like them less but because a shorter movie can have more showings on the same screen.

But it seems simply that being the standard has conditioned audiences to think that's how it should be.  But Gone with the Wind, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur were long movies that audiences were willing to sit through.  Not to mention most of Shakespeare's plays were written to be 3-4 or even 5 hour experiences. But now prices to see movies have gone up while longer films have become less common.

To me if a movie's story doesn't justify 2 hours it doesn't justify the Big Screen, that should be a 2 part episode of a TV series or a made for TV/straight to DVD movie.

And it annoys me that Oscar Bait kinds of movies are allowed 3 hours far more often then Comic Book or Pulp inspired movies.  I feel it is the action and adventure that helps justify a longer length.  I'm more likely to be bored by a movie without that stuff going on forever.  None the less I like The Godfather films.

But to show that even I have standards, I will list the handful of examples where I felt a film was longer then it needed to be.

The Hobbit movies, mainly the second and third, the first was relatively fine.  LOTR was absolutely worthy of 3 three hour Theatrical films and 4 hour extended edition DVDs.  But The Hobbit is a very different kind of story, you can maybe justify splitting it in two films.  But this length issue overlaps with wanting it more like LOTR in tone also, The Hobbit is a simpler more fun and comical story.  It gets a little dark at a certain point, but it really stands out when that darkness happens.

Related to that, but I can't judge entirely since I haven't watched any of them.  But I feel like anytime a YA novel series last book gets split in two for the adaptation it is simply going to cause it to drag.  Whether it's Harry Potter, or Twilight Breaking Dawn, or The Hunger Games, or Divergent, though I don't recall if the Divergent films did that or not.

Also Peter Jackson's King Kong from 2005.  And again I have other issues besides the length, and overall I like it.  But such a simple story didn't need LOTR length.  Now I'm all for making it longer then the 1933 original film.  Most of what I'd remove is probably stuff from before we first see Kong, 40-50 minutes before we see him works, you do want to build that up, but over an hour is too much.  After that I'd cut the voice over quoting that really racist novel, and do what I could to trim the overblown T-Rex battle, 3 T-Rexes was overkill.

Once again, I'm forced to mention the existence of Superman Returns, I don't like being a hater.  A shorter length would hardly save this film, but it's notable that it is the only film that is under 3 hours that is still able to make me of all people think it was longer then it's story justified.

A Superman movie absolutely could justify being that long or longer, but not without an actual super powered villain for him to fight.  A remake (disguised as a sequel) of Superman The Movie doesn't need more screen time then the original, especially when it lacks the mini-movies about Krypton and Smallville.  It's also the biggest offender in my book in going on too long after it's climax.  It's justified for ROTK because it's the end of 3 movies not just one.  Batman Begins was a little shorter and it felt like more happened.  The Dark Knight was the same length and it's my favorite movie, it felt like a 5 act play, not 3 stretched out acts.

Last, let's discus a movie that I am on many levels conflicted towards.  Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

It's Ultimate Cut is 3 Hours, how do I feel about that?  For the DVD it's fine, like the LOTR extended versions or Watchmen, that extra stuff on the DVD versions aren't needed but they are fun.  For home viewing you can pause the movie to take a break, to use the restroom or eat something, or in this film's case watch funny YouTube videos to relieve the stress.  You can also skip scenes you personally don't like but that others might appreciate.

But theatrically, no.  A Batman/Superman crossover film absolutely could justify three hours in my opinion, if it had some levity and brightness and overall more variety in the emotions in evokes.  At one time I felt like The Dark Knight Returns would have needed 3 and a half hours, but upon watching how well it was done as two 70 minute animated films, I now feel it wouldn't need more time then The Dark Knight Rises even if you made a point to do more then those Cartoons combined did.

However what I would cut and keep for the theatrical version would be different.

As much as I love the Injustice like Future Vision and then immediately The Flash trying to tell Bruce something from the Future.  We don't need that, what it tells us about Bruce's motivations we more then got from seeing his experience at the beginning and what he says to Alfred.  So I'd cut that or at least trim it down to a 30 second montage.  Also when Diana opens the file Bruce sent her taken from Lex, I'd show the three logos, that's all the Justice League tease we needed, I'd save her watching the three videos for the DVD extended edition.

What isn't in the Theatrical version and that I'd still keep out is first the Steppinwolf scene, it looks cool but isn't needed, and only a subset of even nerds recognized the character.  And I'd keep Batman confronting Lex in Prison as it was theatrically, adding the reference to Arkham is cool for Nerds but wasn't needed.  That scene as it was theatrically gives us all the future movie threat set up we need.  And since she wound up not being a comics character, Jena Malone's scenes weren't needed, they just elaborated on Lois's story-line which was handled fine in the theatrical cut.

What the Theatrical Cut absolutely did need was the additional Screen-time and Dialogue for Clark Kent/Superman, the actual main character, especially his investigation of Batman.  It needed the elaboration on what happened in Africa at the beginning as much as I hate confirming that CIA agent to be Jimmy.  It needed showing that the branded criminals being killed in prison was orchestrated by KGBeast presumably on Lex's orders.  And it needed the additional stuff with the woman from Africa and the Senator, and her being killed.

I could go either way on the football game.

That hypothetical edit might still be longer then the theatrical cut we got, I'm unsure.  And it wouldn't save the film's joylessness problem.  But it would be a far better film.

But I ultimately feel like there are far more films that needed more time to flesh out their details, then there are films that dragged too much.  In general I feel if you want the film to end you're simply not enjoying it, and if you don't want it to you are enjoying it.

For some reason the first example of one to pop in my mind is usually The Haunting of Molly Hartley.  It's not exactly a film others would think of in terms of run-time debates at all.  But I really like the premise, it's an Omen like tale but with a young woman, and I enjoyed most of it as is.  I would end it's narrative sooner actually, the ending graduation and putting in her dad in the institution scenes I didn't need.  I wouldn't add anything to the first act or maybe even first half, but it does need more fleshing out and development before we reach the climactic sequence.

Batman Forever is a movie I like as is, but could be a much better film if you add all the DVD deleted scenes and re-arrange the first act so the sequence of events is more like in the novelizations.  I've heard there are Fan-Edits that have done this, I haven't gotten to view them yet because torrents are to complicated for me.  I wish there were streaming sites like pirated Anime has for Fan-Edits of Hollywood films with available deleted scenes and/or disputed length issues.

Superman IV The Quest for Peace could be similar, but not all it's deleted scenes are found and many lack needed polishing.  I also had an imaginary ideal edit of Superman II in my head once, which may be longer then either the Lester or Donner cut.  I'll need to watch them both again to fully remember what it was.  The deleted scenes that made neither cut were also a factor, though I wouldn't add all of em.

The movie version of the Les Miserables Musical is as it is in my top 10 movies of all time easily.  But the thing is I like everything added that wasn't in the original Musical, but lament that other stuff got removed because they still wanted the total run-time to be the same.

Every movie version of The Count of Monte-Cristo.  I think it's an uphill battle enough as is to try telling the story as a stand alone single movie rather then a more serialized format.  But every attempt becomes more pathetic then it needed to be by not allowing itself to go over 2 hours, while at the same time not skipping the Origin Story part.  If you are going to include the backstory, it should be a 3rd to a 4th of the story, not half of it.

My opinion of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith is interesting, it is overall by far the best of the Star Wars movies.  Yet it is also the only Prequel, in fact the only George Lucas produced Star Wars film, I have any real criticisms of at all.  Those issues mostly relate to it's handling of female characters.

Much of that could be fixed by adding not all of the deleted scenes, but just the origin of the Rebellion plot-line.  It gives Padme Amdiala, the female lead of the trilogy, something to do in the first half.  Same with Bail Organa so his becoming a main protagonist during the second half doesn't come out of nowhere.  And Mon Mothma being in the film would give it more female representation.  It would give context to when Padme tells Anakin about feeling like they might be on the wrong side.  And the last scene that also adds another Palpatine and Anakin scene has him plant the seed to distrust Padme giving more context to his getting paranoid and force choking her at the end.

Many old movies of the 30s and early 40s, like some Warner Gangster and Universal monster films, I feel are kept from true greatness only by lacking more time to flesh out their stories.

I could and might make a separate post on the issues many DC Animated movies have from being limited to 70 Minutes (Especially Year One).

I think there is a chance The Incredible Hulk could have been saved by adding some of it's deleted scenes.  Many including the suicide scene didn't even make the DVD special features, and I now think that is best left as a story he tells in The Avengers.  I really like the movie as it is.  But it particularly annoys me anytime a Superhero film is under two hours.

I'm sure I'll later think of more examples that I'll be mad at myself for not remembering now.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rey is a Skywalker but not by blood.

First, I want to say Rest in Peace to Kenny Baker, the actor who portrayed R2-D2 in Episodes I-VI.

Some people are so invested in Rey being Luke's daughter they're saying they'd feel like the narrative lied to them if she isn't.  I feel like there are a number themes being overlooked by them.

Rey is told by Maz Kanata that her parents are her past not her future.

Kylo Ren says "that Lightsaber belongs to me" with a sense of entitlement.  That to me makes it choosing Rey over him far more meaningful if she's NOT a Skywalker by Blood.

Star Wars draws on ancient mythological motifs, many of which have a strong emphasis on bloodlines like much of The Bible.  But The Bible also has Galatians 3 which I talked about on another bog recently.  So adoption is also a theme in mythology.

Galatians 326-29
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Perhaps the Sequel Trilogy is the New Testament of the Star Wars Legend.

In the talk of parallel roles between George Lucas' two trilogies.  It hit me recently that a parallel exists between Padme Amidala and Han Solo.  Both are the only person in the main three who aren't Force Sensitive.  And also both are members of the Skywalker family by marriage, not by biologically descending from Shimi Skywalker.

Han Solo becomes a father figure to Rey in The Force Awakens, he effectively adopts her, and that is why she inherits The Millennium Falcon.  That makes her part of the Skywalker family regardless of her bloodline.

Something else about family themes in Star Wars that I noticed recently.

In both Lucas trilogies you can say that the Skywalker battles their Father in the final film.  Anakin defines Obi-Wan as his father figure in Attack of The Clones.  Now Obi-Wan viewed their relationship different, he called Anakin his brother in Revenge of The Sith.  Maybe their viewing their relationship differently is part of why it was doomed to failure.

It does seem clear there is something going on with Rey's origins.  I like the clone of Palpatine theory still.  I'd also like it if she too was convinced by the Midichlorians.

From the latest Rogue One Trailer, what if there is a connection to the Donnie Yen character?  With the Staff based fighting style?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

How much of BvS was Snyder's original vision?

And yes I'm talking even the ultimate cut here.

One reason I'm doing this is I find it so ironic people want to blame Snyder for what they see as DC doing a Shared Cinematic Universe wrong, while I'm certain a Shared Universe was NOT his original plan at all.

There is much I love about the film and much I hate.  And I'm not saying Snyder's original vision would have had none of what I dislike, since I do have issues with MOS.

But, I think MOS under performing did make Warner change direction.

The-Fanboy-Perspective insists Batman being in the sequel and starting a shared universe was always the plan.  And I do think execs at Warner always considered it an option.  But I think while he may never admit it, originally Snyder was as against the Shared Universe idea as Nolan was.

Now a director being pressured to change his original vision is not necessarily synonymous with hating the experience or the film he wound up making, by the time he was filming I think Snyder loved getting to play around with Batman and Wonder Woman and The Flash and the allusions to Apokolips and Injustice.  And sometimes people change their original plans without external pressure at all, so it not being the original plan does not make it inherently invalid artistically.

And I think we do still have a version of his original plan.

Batman V Superman is still very much the middle act of a trilogy.  And because of that it was always going to be darker then Man of Steel, but maybe without Batman and specifically the DKR aspects it would not have been as unrelentingly dower.  Because MOS did have a sense of Humor, and so did Watchman and Sucker Punch and literally every other Snyder film.  Yet his reputation has become joylessness because of this one single film.  Much of this film is way more typical Snyder then Man of Steel was, but it is also far far darker and grittier then typical Snyder.

What Angry Joe hates the most was always going to be in the film.  The-Fanboy-Perspective is absolutely right that the Death of Superman was necessary, it's what makes this the middle act of a Trilogy and why in fact it works as that far more then The Dark Knight does.  Nolan read Joseph Campbell for Rises, but Snyder was drawing on him from the start.

Lex Luthor in some capacity I think was also always part of the plan, based on the constant LexCorp logos in MOS.

Aspects of what I'll say below could make it sound like I'm suggesting Snyder's original plan was almost exactly the same but with different characters playing the roles.  Obliviously that's not what I think.  I do not think any of the Flash, Aquaman or Cyborg stuff had equivalents in the original plan, nor the Injustice inspired future dream/vision, nor Clark investigating Batman though I hope he would have been investigating something, for many seeing investigative reporter Clark was their favorite part.  And certainly not the Martha stuff, which does happen to be what I loved most.

The Wayne Enterprises logo on that Satellite in MOS was seen as evidence of a shared universe even before they announced Batman V Superman.  But it was the same Logo from the Nolan films, no thought put into it at all.  There were all these fan theories that it might be relevant to how Bruce gets involved, and it wound up not being mentioned at all.  SR also mentioned Gotham and the Shumacker Bat-Films each mentioned Metropolis, those didn't lead to crossovers.

Instead we got Metropolis and Gotham being twin cities right next to each other, with the Bat-Signal visible from Metropolis.  Yet no mention of Gotham in MOS.  Originally when people said "where was Batman when Zod attacked" I was like, you're idiots, he isn't a global player and his concern is Gotham.  Once I realized Gotham and Metropolis were barely different cities, then I was like OKAY why was none of that mentioned? ever?

That twin cities decision tells me that whatever aspects of Bruce/Batman's role in this came from Snyder's original plans, were meant to be played by someone in Metropolis.  It might be two roles put together, with Alfred included to provide for when the role needed to be two people.  Or maybe not.  But if so I actually think that is a potentially brilliant way to write Batman into a story he wasn't originally in.

Maybe some of the Batman stuff was going to be a Metropolis urban vigilante like Steel or Gangbuster or The Gaurdian. And/or maybe Superman's fight where he nearly loses because of Kryptontie was meant to be against Metallo or Conduit or a Green Battle Suit Lex Luthor.  (Of course many details of that fight as finally filmed were clearly taken from DKR).

Actually the more I think about it, the more I think much of Bruce Wayne's role might have been the original plan for Luthor.  I think most of Eisenberg's role in this better fits a character like Maxwell Lord or Westfeild, someone corrupt in the Government who is good a greasing the wheels.

The-Fanboy-Perspective article I linked to also pointed out the significance of beginning and ending with a funeral.  If it wasn't originally gonna be Batman then how does that fit?  Maybe it was an idea that came to Snyder or one of the writers after Batman started being added to the script.  Or maybe it was going to begin with a Funeral of someone who died during the Zod attack?  Someone at the Funeral of their friend or relative who I'll call Jack who died during all that, who then flashed back to it.  I think the whole revisiting the ending of MOS from a more mortal perspective could have always been the plan, that was something I found really cool.

Remember that empty pod in the ship in Man of Steel? And the Prequel comic to explain it?  How there was all that speculation on it maybe setting up Supergirl?  What if Wonder Woman's role was originally meant for Supergirl?  Maybe someone suggested, this female character who's been on the Earth for centuries and has Superman's power levels could easily be replaced with Wonder Woman to set up her movie.

Man of Steel was a first contact film.  Michael Bailey talks about why that is central to what he doesn't like about it.  I think telling a Superman Origin story as a first contact film is a very valid way to do that story.  But it doesn't fit a shared universe where we learn later that all these Amazons and Atlanteans and Mother Boxes have always been here.

I'm not necessarily saying Snyder's original vision required Humans and Kryptonians as the only sentient species who exist in the Universe, (though aspects of MOS make it hard to believe otherwise, all that searching Zod and company did to find nothing).  But the Fantasy/SciFi hybrid of the New Gods mythos, the purely fantasy mythos of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and more Doctor Who like SciFi mythos of The Flash fit in many Superman universes, but not in Man of Steel.

I think something like the Steppinwolf reveal might have always been planned, but it might have originally been Eradicator or Brainiac, perhaps a more TAS/Smallville inspired Brainiac.

I also think Justice League is going to be a version of what Snyder always planned for his third Superman film, the final act of the Trilogy.  And even Superman not being in the first 30 minutes to an hour of it could have been the same, but with the original plan being a World Without A Superman/Reign of The Supermen kind of story for that part.  I think the Codex being in his DNA may factor into how he resurrects.  And maybe Wonder Woman and the male Leaguers are replacing Supergirl and the 4 would be replacement Supermen.   In the story being told now, Cyborg being made from a Motherbox could mean he'll get taken over by Steppinwolf at some point and have to fight the others.

I've defended how DC is setting up it's Universe differently then Marvel's, not telling 7 origin story films first, by saying I want to just jump into an already rich universe, like every new Comic Book fan does, and many Animated Films do.  The thing is, I knew all that time but avoided drawing attention to how Man of Steel being an Origin film goes against that effect, it's now made the original Superhero the youngest.

Batman V Superman is absolutely a sequel to Man of Steel in that it uses the same cast for all common characters, and draws on it's events (far more then The Dark Knight drew on Begins).  Yet it winds up for all the reasons I just said and some others I can't explain not truly feeling like the same universe to me.

The Comics themselves often have that vibe with all the Continuity re-shifting.  Following the original Crisis on Infinite Earths the Teen Titans were carrying on the same story-lines, but Superman's world is totally different and Wonder Woman started over, Batman was compatible at first but more and more flashback comics would rewrite his earlier history.  Or DKSA being a totally different kind of world to DKR.

Films did this back in the Universal Monster days.  Frankenstein Meets The Woflman references Ghost of Frankenstein events even though the town is a completely different kind of town, and takes place before it time period wise.

Man of Steel actually fits in the Nolanverse better then it does the 2016 and up DCEU.  The question of why Superman did nothing about Bane threatening to Nuke Gotham is because he didn't show up yet, he learned to fly a year later.  And it's Wayne Enterprises uses the same logo.  I'll designate it Earth-N.  And so those Fan Trailers of Bale and Cavil crossovers can be valid again.

BvS and Suicide Squad feel to me like the same universe even though they are tonally and stylistically different films.  But MOS does not.

Friday, August 12, 2016

There is a 97.6% chance of failure.

There may very well be.

I was a little bugged by this trailer, many will love it, it's more similar to the style of TFA's trailers then the last one.

First is the line I mentioned in the title.  Part of Star Wars is repeating themes I know, but there is something so on the nose about how they want us to think of that iconic line I've seen two different images use to make fun of Fi from Skyward Sword, that it took me right out of the trailer.

At the same time, it's that this doesn't seem to be being played humorously.

I just did a post on my concerns with future Star Wars films being too Dark.  And this definitely felt like it was going for a Dark tone.

But, I'm not as bothered by darkness here as I am for post ROTJ stuff.

The thing about TFA is that (as much as I enjoyed it) increasingly doesn't sit well with me, is how it virtually takes away the happy ending of Episode VI.  As much as I was never into the old EU, now called Legends, it seems like they told interesting new adventures, without taking away that happy ending.

Star Wars can get dark certainly, but I feel like the Galaxy's darkest hour should begin in the middle of Episode III and and end in Episode VI.  But since TFA it doesn't seem that way anymore.

There is a moment at about 1:05 or 1:06 where the score sounds to me a little like Elfman's Batman score.

The big thing is seeing Vader.  I thought it was meh.

I like seeing an Asian character finally, and seeing more of that the Force is revealed by non Jedi.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Aria and Noel Kahn are twin children of Mary Drake

If someone called this before me, I genuinely thought of it on my own.

I think Kenneth is Charlotte's father and Peter Hastings is Aria and Noel's father.

"But you ship Sparia and you just made Aria and Spencer sisters" I've shipped Incestuous Ships before.

Also the Aria is -A theorists are going to have a field day with this episode.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The standard Trilogy structure.

The term "Trilogy" is connected to the way plays in Ancient Greece often came in 3s (or 4s with the 4th being a Satyr play).  But I feel to modern audiences the definition of a Trilogy comes from the original Star Wars trilogy more then anything else.

Certainly no major Film trilogies predate Star Wars, The Godfather didn't become a Trilogy till after, and Coopola didn't even want to call that one Part III, it was never made with a Trilogy format in mind.

Remember Randy's scene in Scream III?  Where he attempts to lay out the rules of a Slasher trilogy's third film?  Well he had no actual slasher trilogies to cite and so instead just cited Star Wars. And even then got it wrong as the second film had the more shocking twist that makes us rethink the first film.

In prose literature there were trilogies, but they many only line up to some aspects of what Star Wars makes us think of as a Trilogy's rules.  LOTR was really one big book published in three Volumes, C.S. Lewis did not originally plan out of the Silent Planet to have sequels at all.  But again perhaps the first modern prose trilogy was Alexandre Dumas' D'Artagnan romances.

Lucas was trying to follow the theories of Joseph Campbel, so certainly his structure had a basis in what came before.  But it's also clear he wound up making conventions as well as following them.

Mostly the Trilogy convention I'm talking about is the assumption that the Second/Middle Film must be the Darkest.  And even when someone isn't going for a Trilogy they still feel the need to make the second film waaaay Darker then the first.  That's why The Dark Knight and Batman V Superman are both very dark in their own different ways.  And every time someone wants to hype up their second installment as being oh so dark they cite Empire as the precedent, and also Wrath of Kahn, a movie that was arguably Empire's first imitator.

First I find it an interesting overlooked lesson for the narrow mindedness of modern writers to point out that The Empire Strikes Back happens to kill less people then either it's predecessor or follow up, yet is undeniably darker.  ANH kills Owen and Beru, Ben Kenobi, and an entire planet right in-front of a woman who grew up there.  And then all but one villain between the Deathstar blowing up and what happens to Greedo.  ROTJ kills Yoda, and all it's villains, one right after being redeemed.  But Empire kills only random war casualties, and Imperial officers Vader force chokes after appearing in only 1 or 2 scenes, the one officer we spend enough time with to maybe care about gets let off the hook at the end.  And no notable good guys are killed, the most is one major character being captured.

So I'm tired of modern TV writers going all "if we don't kills someone every other episode, or at least once a season, how will the show have stakes?", TESB had high stakes without killing anyone.

But back on topic.

I find it notable in light of that being so central to Empire's legacy, that the most notable Trilogy to defy this, "the Second must be the Dark one" structure, is the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.   Lucas defied an expectation he himself set, and I think that is at the heart of why the Prequels are so unfairly hated.

Now the "Evil must prevail in the end because it's a Prequel" premise could be said to be why it was unavoidable that this time the third film would be the Darkest.  But it's interesting that AOTC doesn't try to be noticeably Dark at all.  I mean it is probably darker then TPM, but in a lot of ways it's more reflective of what a Sequel was expected to be before Empire/Jedi defined the modern Trilogy.

In a lot of ways The Prequel trilogy follows the pattern of LOTR more then it does the previous Star Wars trilogy.  Return of The King in both books and films is the Darkest chapters of the saga, though it having the ending may balance that out, but the ending is bittersweet.  ROTJ had it's dark moments, but mostly those are only superficially dark, wanting us to think Luke could fall so that it's a victory when he doesn't.

TPM like FOTR is what one would expect from their relevant Fantasy sub-genre, (though TPM is more capable of working as a stand alone), and both have allegedly "boring" council scenes.  Then the Middle installment is about a War breaking out, while in the third the War ends.  Also ROTK and ROTS both reach their climaxes in a Volcanic setting, right from the teaser it was clear Mustafar would have a Mordor vibe.  And Frodo and Anakin are both consumed by The Dark Side in the Crack of Doom.

I also do not think it's a coincidence that Saruman and Dooku were played by the same actor, Dooku I think was intentionally a hybrid of Dracula and Saruman.  And both are killed early in the third film.

Another Trilogy that perhaps helps explain why The Prequels are so different from the OT as a Trilogy is the D'Artagnan trilogy.  That trilogy also ends in a Dark Place, but with the promise of A New Hope, that was for Dumas the coming French Revolutions.  Aramis also goes from being a Hero to a Villain by the end.

And now how should these observations help us evaluate the New Trilogy that just started?  We only have one film right now, but expectations are that this Sequel will again try to be Empire/Wrath of Kahn/The Dark Knight.  Whether or not that is how it must be is perhaps a difference between Prequel fans and Prequel haters.

The reaction to BvS has shown that audiences are getting tired of every Saga being a downward spiral (and Suicide Squad's unanimously good word of mouth in-spite of bad critical reviews shows you can't blame BvS's failure on anything else about the DCEU besides being dark).   And the legacy of Temple of Doom shows that a Lucas Film property isn't always praised when it goes dark. So maybe it's time to do something different from either Lucas Trilogy.

The Force Awakens actually is dark enough that we could see a Trilogy where the first installment is the darkest for a change.  TFA has been called the darkest of all seven movies currently, but you'll have trouble convincing me it's darker then Sith.  Still it's certainly a superficially Dark film, one that entered production when The Dark Knight Rises was big and being Dark in general was still the in thing with only Marvel defecting from that.  All three first installments kill the mentor figure, but Han's death is able to carry an emotional wait that Qui-Gon and Ben Kenobi's could not.

I don't think a franchise with "Wars" in the title should ever stop having some dark themes, but if Episode VIII turns out to be done with the objective of being the Darkest thing ever, at Christmas time,  I really don't think it'll go over well.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad was awesome

It was a fun, emotional and fast paced entertaining film.  Far more fun then Batman V Superman but not as artsy, which is what I prefer.

Will Smith was great, and Amanda Waller was perfect.  But Harley Quinn was the best.

Some might complain about the story structure early on, but I don't care, the film fits together better then The Godfather Part II did.

I've seen people talk about how The Joker only has 10 minutes of screen time.  As I've said before The Joker is a less is more character, since Leto's Joker is going to be in far more movies then any previous Live Action Joker, it's good with start with only a taste.  Batman also cna be a less is more character and that's why I loved his scenes in this movie.

The negative reviews for this should be ignored, the criticisms are the opposite of what Batman V Superman's were.  This is a movie that pretentious critics won't understand but Comic Book fans will.

This to me far more so then any MCU film feels like we're seeing a Comic Book universe brought to life.

See this movie, I highly recommend it, don't like the negative nellys be vindicated.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I've watched the Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition

I enjoyed it.  I don't know how much of it is the extra material and how much is just me being more willing to accept what bothered me on the repeat viewing, but I enjoyed it.

The movie still isn't as great as I was hoping, but it's a good movie.

Batman is not a killer in this, it's explained that the branded criminals being killed in Prison was also manipulated by Lex.

This is not a legitimate R rated, film, Warner promoted it as a R rated version and so the MPAA played along, but if this had been the theatrical version it would not have gotten an R, it shows less then The Wolverine's theatrical version did (and has the same number of F bombs).  And it is in fact a less dark film then the theatrical version of this was, thanks to how much better it paints Superman and Batman both.

I noticed something when Superman and Doomsday were killing each other.  The Score at that point really had me thinking of Dancing Mad form Final Fantasy VI, maybe it's just me.

So my advice to everyone is check it out.