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T&A In Comics: A Rant January 22, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Comics, Rants, Sexuality.
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Children, look at this image of X-person Psylocke:


Fig. 1: Chiropractors in the comic book world must be insanely rich.

Jesus H. Tebowing Christ from Vulcan. This is an image taken from Generation Hope #15. The woman with her tits and ass in such an absurd, spine-breaking position is supposedly X-person Psylocke. THIS is why we need more women artists and writers. I guarantee that you’d NEVER see Wolverine or Cyclops drawn wearing butt-floss and arching their posteriors like that. You’d NEVER see Spider-Man drawn thrusting his throbbing package in your face (well, you won’t see that in the mainstream comics–I can’t speak for what you’ll find in the form of fan art)*.
*warning: link is NSFW

As others have pointed out, if mainstream comics drew male superheroes the way female superheroes are drawn, fans (largely fanboys) would lose their shit. CNN would likely do at least one report on the sexualization of comic book heroes. Ever noticed how Batman, Superman, Thor, Spider-Man, etc., etc., are always fully-clothed? Ever noticed how most male superhero costumes are functional in some way? Granted, they are designed to be skin-tight and accentuate the exaggerated musculature, but never will you ever see an exaggeration of their crotch. Never. You will also never see a male superhero designed so that he is bare-chested, unless he’s Tarzan or Conan.

Folks, male comic book artists need to come into the 20th century and get it right. Even more so, the major companies (Marvel and DC) need to get it right. It might have been cute at one point to draw women that way, but holy mother of Spock, come on.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek! September 8, 2011

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Fig. 1: 45 years of (mostly) awesomeness!

First Look: Henry Cavill as Superman August 4, 2011

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Are you ready for some awesomeness? Of course you are!

(Image: www.joblo.com)
Fig. 1: Yes!!

I’d write more, but I’m busy having a nerdgasm.

Ok, I can write more now. What I find interesting about this suit is—if it is indeed the suit we’ll see on-screen—that it borrows from an older interpretation of the “S” shield. I like the metallic/leathery look of the suit; it retains the familiar elements of the uniform (thank Spock that they didn’t follow the color palette of the “Superman Returns” uniform), while adding some touches that make it look distinctly “alien.” It will be fascinating to see more shots of Cavill in the suit—if I have any nitpicks (and honestly, what kind of nerd would I be if I didn’t), it’s in the form of a question. Where’s Superman’s trademark spit curl?

Superman Isn’t Shakespeare (A Rebuttal to io9) July 18, 2011

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As you all know (or should know by now), I am a huge Superman fan. This should seem obvious as I’ve written about Superman or mentioned him no fewer than four times on this blog—so if you’re not a Superman fan, you should probably skip this blog entry. Anyway, over on io9, there’s this hackneyed attempt at comparing Superman…to Shakespeare. Apparently, Dan Venning isn’t a fan of either, or something. I don’t really know, because I skimmed as much of this tripe as I could tolerate. Here’s the very first paragraph:

I have to confess, I’ve never really liked Superman. I find DC Comics’ flagship enterprise to be, ultimately, boring. Some of you will probably feel (and this is correct) that I just haven’t read enough of the series, or found the proper arcs. But my main problem is that Superman, himself, seems too perfect: he’s profoundly moral, a pure do-gooder, and utterly invincible.

Are you kidding me? First, Venning says that he “never really liked Superman”—fair enough; Supes isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But then to say that he hasn’t read enough of the comics to even really justify his argument? That is absolute nonsense. It fairly screams, “I’m hip because I just totally shat on a fictional character that a lot of people love. Aren’t I hip?” I won’t even get into the non sequitur of comparing Superman to Shakespeare in the Park.

If that’s not douchetastic enough, he goes on to say what is chief problem is with Superman: he’s just too good and “utterly invincible.” That is usually the argument proffered by people who are familiar with the general existence of Superman and have probably only watched the 1978 movie, but then feel it their duty to denounce Superman as though they are experts on the character. I’m going to enumerate what’s wrong with Venning’s moronic assertions:

1. What the hell is wrong with a fictional character being good?
Seriously, when did we get to the point that our heroes all have to be like Batman or Wolverine? I swear, when I meet fanboys who sniff at Superman as though it’s personally offensive that a superhero would act altruistically, it makes me think these are just sociopaths who want a fictional character to justify their own anti-social stupidity.

2. Superman is a symbol of our own aspirations towards a better humanity
As many comic writers have explained—most notably in Action Comics #775, Superman repeatedly uses his powers to inspire humanity, not to rule over them. He fights for the weak and defenseless in order to inspire humanity to fight for the downtrodden. And what could be wrong with that? Oh, right; if you’re a fan of grimdark bullshit, you’ll find that “corny” or “cheesy.”

3. Superman is not invincible.
Geez. This Venning sounds like the hordes of idiots who have gotten their grubby, unimaginative mitts on Superman and have thought (or worse, said in interviews), “Gee, Superman’s too powerful. I’ll ignore his vulnerability to kryptonite, magic, or the dozen or so stronger villains in the DC Universe and have him go on a fucking year-long walk across America! Nevermind that Superman hasn’t had the power to move planets in, oh, decades; I’ll just have him cry or be mopey about something.”

Venning’s screed has another gem:

The one time I’ve been even slightly interested in Superman was near the end of Kill Bill (Part II), when Bill himself, played by the late, great (and kind of kinky, apparently) David “Caine” Carradine, expounded on the comic. What Bill –- here, clearly speaking for Quentin Tarantino -– finds interesting about Superman is the hero’s implicit critique of humanity. Superman is the real guy: it’s Clark Kent that’s the costume. And Clark Kent is foolish, fearful, indecisive, and a silly glasses-wearing intellectual. Kind of like me. And that’s how Superman sees humanity.

Personally, I’m much more interested in darker comics that portray frayed heroes who struggle to avoid being overwhelmed by the evil that they themselves fight. Until its recent bizarre space-alien arcs, I’d gotten a kick out of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable because it asks the question we all wanted to know about Superman: what the hell would we do if he went crazy, or decided to kill us all? This is the real problem with any immense power, whether it be an authoritarian government or spandex-wearing alien with a perfect jawline.

The wrong and the stupid in the above paragraphs is vast. Superman does NOT see humanity as “foolish, fearful, and indecisive.” Clearly, this fool hasn’t read a Superman comic…ever. Since 1986 and John Byrne’s awesome “Man of Steel,” Superman has been the disguise and Clark Kent has been the “real” person. If there’s a critique of humankind to be found in Superman, it’s here:

Superman sees humanity as possessing the capacity for good, the ability to solve their own problems. That is not a critique that presents humanity as foolish, or stupid. Perhaps Venning should ask himself why people wear shirts bearing the “S” shield or why Superman is easily one of the most recognized fictional characters in the world. Failing that, Venning should, I dunno, actually read more than two Superman comics in order to get a sense of just who Superman is. Also, if you’re getting your understanding of Superman fourth hand from a Quentin Tarantino movie, you really should reconsider the validity of your argument. Last I checked, Tarantino hasn’t written any Superman comics or movies (and for that, we should breathe a collective sigh of relief).

The whole point of Superman is that he is bright, optimistic, and good. Simply compare his origin story with that of, say, Batman’s.

Compare this:

to this:

Batman’s origin is clearly based in fear and trauma. Now, Superman’s origin is no less traumatic—after all, he’s the sole survivor of his entire planet and race. However, he doesn’t let that trauma define him, while Batman is completely defined by his trauma.

Venning completely misses the point. The point is that Superman has all this power, this vast, earth-shaking power. What does he do? He chooses to do the right thing. He chooses to use his powers to help humankind. He chooses to do all these things without reward. He doesn’t demand anything in return from the person he rescues from a fire or from humanity when he thwarts another of Brainiac’s schemes. Up until very recently, Superman didn’t mope or wonder why he was doing what he was doing—he simply did it. In sum, it’s the clarity of Superman’s moral vision that makes him an appealing character. Take a look at the world around us: would we be in the economic mess that we’re in if investment bankers, loan officers and everyday people had thought about the consequences of their actions. Look at News Corp and how the publishers of The News of the World ran roughshod over people’s privacy. Look at the venal politicians we have in Washington and tell me that we couldn’t use a hero who, instead of being grimdark or mopey, is bright, optimistic and good.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” July 15, 2011

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Verdict: Suitably entertaining, but not a home run.

Writing a review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is a bit difficult for me. For one, I think that Part 1 has to be taken into account. As the second part of a movie, I think it functions quite well. It doesn’t require the viewer to catch up…too much. Of course, if you’ve never seen any of the other movies or read the books, you’ll be lost—that should go without saying at this point.

Also, I think that, like the “Lord of the Rings” movies, one has to consider how this movie functions as part of a larger narrative. As part of the entire Harry Potter franchise, this movie acquits itself well. It hits all the high points and strikes most of the right chords—however, there just seemed to be something missing. It seemed as though getting to those chords and moments felt rushed. Having read the final book, I knew there were two scenes that I wanted to see (Molly Weasley’s confrontation with Bellatrix Lestrange and Neville Longbottom being the hero of the day)—and while I did see them, they weren’t nearly as satisfying as they were in the book. I will say that the development of Snape’s character was as powerful as it was long overdue and served to be the strongest part of the movie.

Oddly enough, I found myself far less interested in Ron, Hermione and Harry and more interested in the other characters—I can’t say that this is a fault of the movie, however. It was a reaction I had when reading the Deathly Hallows as well. That said, Harry as a character has finally grown up. We see that he has learned the lessons taught to him in the seven previous movies (and six books), and frankly, it’s a good thing. I was getting a little tired of the last couple of movies’ penchant for turning into a Harry Potter Mopes About extravaganza. In this movie, Harry is determined, focused, and yes, grown-up.

I think that, like the aforementioned “Lord of the Rings” movies, it is necessary to evaluate this movie as ending a particular phase in popular culture and entertainment. Frankly, I think that that last consideration is far more interesting than the first two points. As such, I don’t really think of this as a movie review. I think of this as more of a reflection on the passage of time and our investment in sagas.

Ten years ago, two movie events happened that I had absolutely zero interest in. My friends dragged me to both “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” If memory serves me, “Sorcerer’s Stone” came out before “Fellowship.” After the Harry Potter movie, I thought, “Well, that was nice. Cute.” After “Fellowship of the Ring,” I couldn’t shut up about how much I loved it; after dinner, I raced to Borders (amazing what changes in ten years, right?) and bought the books as well as Howard Shore’s score. I devoured the books in the span of about a month and spent the next three years writing my dissertation to the music from the LOTR movies. I was as much a fan of the LOTR movies as my friends were of the Harry Potter books and movies and while Harry Potter didn’t “do it” for me the way the LOTR books/movies did, I understand what was happening. You see, both of these fantasy books and movies came and went during a time of great change. Obviously, we all know that during the latter part of 2001, the United States was dealing with the terrible events of September 11. I think that both “Fellowship of the Ring” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” came along when people needed a simple yet fantastical narrative to take their minds off of the shock, the grief, and the anger.

When I say that the Harry Potter movies are fairly simple, it’s not an insult. These movies and the books upon which they’re based address simple themes of love, good versus evil, and loyalty. Further, I think they serve as a form of wish-fulfillment. We watch these movies and we the viewer begin to inhabit the stories presented. For me, I could relate to LOTR and often characterized graduate school as “bearing the One Ring” or “going to Mount Doom.” Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, has to learn how to be a decent human being—certainly, the world of Harry Potter is a world of magic, but it is still a world to which we can relate. His story is the story that we all think we’re in, especially as we grow up and—as in the case of 9/11—are forced to deal with a radically changed and frighteningly uncertain world. While I may not have thought this finale to be as emotionally satisfying as the end of the Lord of the Rings movies, I do understand that for millions of people, this finale represents the end of an era.

Nerdrageous! June 14, 2011

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The images surrounding DC Comics reboot/revamp of their comics lines have all been released. Children, the nerd rage over the past couple of days has not been pretty. But then again, neither have the revised versions of Superman:

Fig. 1: Who is this? Hipster Superman? (h/t to Rima)

Fig. 2? Is this Superman? Why does he have kneepads and crazy boots?

Children, I have no idea what DC Comics is doing. Sadly, I don’t think they have any idea either. They’re claiming that these redesigns and revamps isn’t a rebooting of the DC Universe. However, as the rumors are flying fast and furious, it is, for all intents and purposes, a reboot. Concerning Superman, here are two more troubling rumors:

1. Superman might be shacking up with Wonder Woman.

I cannot begin to count the FAIL in this. Now, I’ll be a good fanboy and eat my words with broccoli should they find a way to do this and not make this suck harder than when Marvel magically erased Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage, but as of now, if that rumor is true…wow. The next worst thing is to let David E. Kelley start writing Superman.

2. There will be no Kents. Superman will be a government agent (of sorts).

Frankly, that’s like changing the Jesus myth so that he’s no longer born of a virgin, but is instead an agent of Pontius Pilate. No Kents? Now, I know that DC has been in a battle with the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and that in 2013, some of the rights to Superman will revert to them. I know that DC is trying to find ways to hold on to as much of Superman as they can—this really saddens me. For all of Superman’s history—73 years and counting—Superman has been a stranger from a distant world, raised from childhood by a kindly couple and instilled with the values that would eventually make him the world’s greatest superhero. And for most of those 73 years, that kindly couple was Jonathan and Martha Kent. These people are at the core of who Superman is—I think John Byrne (whack job though he is) got it right in 1986 when he was tasked with revamping Superman. He emphasized the “man” over the “Super” and used the Kents as that touchstone of humanity. Losing that, you have an alien who may look like us, but isn’t at all connected to us. And why would that person even care about saving humanity?

Up until now, I’d been pretty optimistic about this relaunch. Frankly, there needed to be some good old-fashioned housecleaning. Superman’s origins had gotten too muddied, thanks to idiots like Dan Didio, Jeph Loeb and Joe Casey who had such a hard-on for the Silver Age, they kept allowing dumb shit that was best left in the 50s and 60s back into the comics. The revolving door of writers in the early 2000s left the Superman comics an incoherent mess. Even when there was a story arc in which Superman seemed to be getting some solid storytelling, the writers would be lured away from DC and we’d be back to square one. I won’t even touch the inconsistent artwork. You’d think that Superman was some third-tier superhero that people worked on just to get some experience, not DC’s flagship character.

Ah, well. Life is change, so I and all the other Superman fanboys and girls will get over it and move on with our lives. That’s the thing about myths; they change—sometimes drastically—but, if they’re rooted deeply enough, they endure.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “X-Men: First Class” June 11, 2011

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Verdict: An excellent superhero movie that surpasses its predecessors.

I have to admit that when I saw the trailers for “X-Men: First Class,” I put this movie on my “wait for Netflix” mental list. After the abominations that were “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” and “Wolverine,” I was ready to write off the X-Men movie franchise. Further, this movie was sandwiched between “Thor” and “Green Lantern,” two movies for which I was/am infinitely more excited, primarily because both movies have not hesitated to play up the beefcake factor. And for that, my shallow ass is eternally grateful.

However, I am pleased to report that “X-Men: First Class” is far and away one of the best superhero “origin” movies in recent years. It deftly balances weightier, philosophical issues with action pieces. At a running length of just over two hours, it doesn’t feel like it drags. Some critics have claimed that this movie is “too talky”—to that I say, balderdash. Do not pay those reviewers any mind. While I think it would have fared better at the box office had it been a late summer/early fall release, it is not so ponderous as to leave the viewer wanting more action and less talk (e.g., 2006’s “Superman Returns”).

One reason this movie works so well is that, even though it is a movie that revolves around a team, we focus only on two characters, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender). Picking up from the first scenes in the first X-Men movie, we see young Erik Lensherr, the future “villain” Magneto, come into contact with this movie’s antagonist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw is a sadist who is working for the Nazis; he wants to unlock Erik’s power, so he tortures young Erik. Meanwhile, in the United States, Charles Xavier meets another mutant, the future Mystique. Charles takes Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) under his wing, and they grow up together, but Charles appears rather oblivious to the fact that Raven loves him. This movie presents Charles as a brash, arrogant figure—and if you had his ability to read people’s minds and influence them to do what you wanted, wouldn’t you? We see that Xavier’s views about human-mutant coexistence emerge from his youthful naivete and arrogance; he does not take into account that he is able to “pass,” a point that both Raven and Erik point out to him. Erik especially functions as a counterpoint to Charles’s views about human-mutant coexistence. A survivor of the Holocaust, Erik has seen the worst of humanity and knows that humans would and could not tolerate this evolutionary leap. This is a nice nod to the way in which the X-Men comics have functioned as an allegory for, first, the Civil Rights movement and the tension between Martin Luther King’s arguments about integration and Malcolm X’s arguments about separation and self determination and second, the emerging gay and lesbian movement, the problem of “passing” as a heterosexual, and the question of “nature vs. nurture.”

Eventually, Charles and Erik meet (Erik has become a Nazi hunter in pursuit of Shaw, Charles is working for the government). They learn that Shaw and his band of mutants are trying to incite World War III in an effort to eradicate the world of the sub-optimal homo sapien. So Charles and Erik attempt to recruit more mutants—leading to a cameo that is hilarious and ten kinds of awesome. Again, there are some critics of this movie who say that it is short on humor. And again, I think they’re dead wrong. This movie has more of a James Bond feel than a strictly comic book movie feel—and that works in this movie’s favor. Thus, the humor in this movie has a decidedly dry wit to it. However, that humor doesn’t overwhelm the seriousness of the situation. Indeed, we see how Xavier is injured so that he is confined to a wheelchair—and it is appropriately tragic. Director Matthew Vaughn and the bevy of screenwriters (Bryan Singer being one of them) have crafted a rare gem: a superb, action-packed superhero movie that doesn’t insult its audience.

DC Comics Decides to Reboot Everything…Again. June 4, 2011

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Well, children, it looks like DC Comics has decided to change everything. Again. Recently, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee said they had a bombshell announcement that would change the course of DC Comics. They also said that the announcement would come down on June 11, at the Hero Complex Film Festival. Well, the Internet being what it is, fanboys and girls were all atwitter with expectation. Would this be an announcement regarding the new Superman movie? Would this be an announcement concerning the Wonder Woman movie, which has been in development hell since forever?

Nope.

Starting this summer, the publisher will re-number its entire DC Universe of titles, revamping characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others from its 76-year history for a more modern and diverse 21st century.

The first book to be released under this new era: Justice League No. 1, out Aug. 31. The series by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee reunites the famous lineup of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

Johns promises a focus on the interpersonal relationships within DC’s trademark superteam. “What’s the human aspect behind all these costumes? That’s what I wanted to explore,” he says.

In September, an additional 51 first issues will make their debut, introducing stories that are grounded in each character’s specific legend but also reflect today’s real-world themes and events. Lee spearheaded the costumes’ redesign to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old.

(source: USAToday)

Fig. 1: Costume redesigns will totally make you buy new comics!

Of course, the announcement along with the first picture of what the core characters of this redesigned DC Universe will look like has set the Internet commentariat ablaze. As we all know, fanboys hate change. Every fanboy with a computer and a high-speed Internet connection has weighed in on this:

1. This is doomed to fail—remember what happened when Marvel did this?
A few years back, Marvel comics decided to kinda-sorta reboot their core characters…by killing them and then bringing them back for a “new generation.” It was universally loathed. Incidentally, Jim Lee had a hand in that clusterfuck as well.

2. This is going to screw up the longest running comic books! (to wit, Detective Comics, Action, and Superman)
Just last month, Action Comics hit a milestone when Action Comics #900 hit the stands. Assuming no interruptions, in about twelve years, Action Comics would be the first comic book to hit its 1,000th issue. With this reboot, every comic goes back to #1. Make no mistake: for fanboys, this is a very distressing prospect. Renumbering comic books for those of us who are avid/rabid collectors has something of a psychological impact. But I’ll discuss that later.

3. Change is bad!
Fanboys tend to loathe changes in their favorite comic books. If you change the costume or the origin story in any way, expect a firestorm of angry Internet chatter. Mind you, a number of superheroes have had their costumes change over time and have had their origin stories change, but fanboys tend to accept those historical changes as part of the evolving mythos of the character. Should sweeping changes occur currently, it is not an evolution of the character, but a betrayal.

Now, for the record, I am approaching this reboot/revamp cautiously. I am a fan of the John Byrne-era Superman (1986-2003ish) and DC universe. The stories were more interesting, stripped of unnecessary artifice, and the art was spectacular…and consistent. DC during this period had a fairly stable roster of artists and writers who turned out some awesome Superman stories. Unfortunately, the last ten or so years have seen the dilution of Superman via multiple competing origin stories, inconsistent artwork and tepid storylines. If this revamp gets Superman back to being Superman, and not some whiny, constantly grieving/crying/moping imbecile, then revamp away!

Oh, and before I forget, let me address comic book numbering. Like I said, collecting comics is something more than just a hobby for some. And we—I include myself here—find some sort of psychological satisfaction when a favorite comic reaches a milestone. For example, I posted about buying Action Comics #900—usually, those milestone issues are “special issues.” They can be the culmination of a storyline or the launching point for a whole new direction. I remember when Action Comics #500 came out. I was eight years old and getting my hands on this issue was a number one priority. Of course, back in the 70s and early 80s, comic books weren’t quite the serious affair that they’ve become. Even still, a milestone issue was a milestone issue. And, after hundreds of issues, I think that the comic book becomes part of a person’s life—in a sense, you become invested in the character, and the comic in which that character appears. A reboot in which years of previous continuity is erased might be traumatizing for some comic book fans.

But, as they say, everything changes. Including Superman.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Thor” May 12, 2011

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Verdict: The best superhero movie since “Superman: The Movie”

Children, I think I’m on record for not being a big fan of movies based on Marvel Comics superheroes. While I liked “X-Men” and loved “X-Men 2,” I absolutely despised each and every one of the “Spider-Man” movies (especially that third abomination), loathed “X-Men 3,” and found the “Iron Man” movies merely tolerable. The less said about both of the “Hulk” movies, the better. This, of course, is part of my DC Comics partisan fanboyism. A Marvel superhero movie has to be awesome for me to like it (see the aforementioned “X-Men 2”).

That said, “Thor” was absolutely awesome. Director Kenneth Branaugh took a story written by J. Michael Straczynski (I was surprised when I saw his name pop up in the credits) and crafted a thoroughly delightful and visually arresting summer flick. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking, “THIS is what a superhero movie should be!”

The story is fairly simple: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a cocky son of god Odin. Because of his arrogance, he nearly starts a war with the Frost Giants; as a result of his arrogant disobedience of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), he is banished to Earth. On Earth, he meets astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her band of merry scientists; meanwhile, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is causing all sorts of trouble back in Asgard. Needless to say, Thor’s time on Earth humbles him and he learns how to be a hero just in time to save the day and set up the impending Avengers movie. Unlike other superhero films, this isn’t about a human (or alien who finds out he’s an alien) coming to terms with superpowers. This is a simple story of redemption—Thor has been cast out of a heaven and has to reclaim his rightful place as heir to Asgard’s throne. As such, the movie flows fairly smoothly. There aren’t any spots in the movie where the narrative begins to drag and feel padded, even at an hour and fifty-four minutes. Frankly, the near two-hour running time flew by.

I have to say, I love how Marvel has structured their movies so that each movie (Spider-Man and X-Men excluded) is part of a shared universe. I think a major flaw in DC’s movie-making strategy is separating each movie franchise. For example, the upcoming Green Lantern movie will have nothing to do with Batman which has nothing to do with Superman which has nothing to do with either Batman or Green Lantern. On top of all that, Warner Brothers (the company that owns DC Comics) wants to do a Justice League movie! And as far as I can tell, they want different actors to play Batman and Superman in the JL movie—how stupid is that? Anyway, even though this movie is part of a shared universe, it doesn’t at all require having seen the Iron Man or Hulk movies. Frankly, I am interested to see how the Avengers movie turns out. How will they integrate all these superheroes in one movie without it turning into an incoherent mess? I guess time will tell.

While this movie will not be submitting any Oscar reels, I think that Branaugh got serviceable performances out of the actors. Anthony Hopkins didn’t have much to do, so there were times in which he seemed rather…listless. Natalie Portman shines in this movie; when she’s got a good director, she brings it. So, basically, her performance in the Star Wars prequels? All George Lucas’s no-directing fault. Anyway, she has amazing chemistry with Chris Hemsworth—it was reminiscent of the chemistry between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in “Superman.” Portman and Hemsworth’s rather chaste romance was actually believable and not (too) corny.

And can we talk about Chris Hemsworth?

Fig. 1: Well, hellooooooo, Thor!

Ok, let’s talk. While Hemsworth might be something of a putz in interviews, onscreen he has a magnetism that is…wow. He was an inspired–nay, perfect choice to play Thor. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s GORGEOUS. Seriously.

Basically, this movie is going to be the second Blu-Ray DVD I own.

Superman Returns…And So Do I April 26, 2011

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Fig. 1: FINALLY!

Children, it’s been quite a while since I’ve set foot in a comic book shop. A few months ago, I decided that I was spending too much money on comic books and the return on the investment was diminishing. I wasn’t enjoying many of the storylines I was reading—such as my aforementioned rant about the horrible “Grounded” storyline in Superman—and I realized that I had better things to spend my money on. However, tomorrow DC Comics will release Action Comics #900. First of all, I have to buy it just because it’s Action Comics #900. Second, although Action Comics hasn’t been as execrable as Superman has, it still has had an overly long storyline focusing on Lex Luthor and his quest for ultimate power and has been completely devoid of Superman himself; I am going to be glad to see Superman back where he belongs. Third, the culmination of this storyline promises to be epic.

I haven’t been this excited about Comic Book Wednesday in a very, very long time.