Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2019

spider-man far from home movie posterHello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote one of these, but that’s only because we haven’t had any new superhero movies come out lately. I guess they’re just not that popular with general audiences anymore.

But fear not! It’s a whole new year, and it looks like several of the major film studios in Hollywood are going to risk it all once again and roll the dice on a few of these properties. Hopefully they don’t lose their shirts!

No, but, for real, the stakes have never been higher than they are right now – last year, three of the top five highest-grossing superhero movies of all-time were released. At the domestic box office, six of the top ten highest-earners on the year were superhero movies.

Studios have a lot riding on this fad, and they’re determined to milk it for all it’s worth.

You thought Solo was a gross cash-grab in the Star Wars Universe? Well wait until you see the TV spin-offs for Scarlet Witch, Loki, and the Winter Soldier!

Drain ‘em dry!

But this year, we have more superhero movies coming out than ever before (don’t, uh… don’t fact-check me on that), so we don’t have any time to waste on looking back or talking about TV spin-offs.

Let’s get right into it!
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Doom & Doomer: Aquaman

aquaman movie posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom & Doomer, where Jim Doom and I sit down for a back-and-forth conversation about the latest superhero movie releases of the day.

Today, we’re here to discuss the latest of the surprisingly successful Justice League spin-offs: Aquaman!

Overall, big picture, what did you think?

JIM DOOM: I loved it!

And I really only went to see it so we could review it. I thought it looked comically bad (no pun intended) since the very first trailer. I hated Aquaman in Justice League. I hate Roman Reigns. So I was going into this trying to have an open mind, but fully expecting to hate it.

And for a while, I felt pretty justified in thinking I was going to hate it.

But then it won me over, somewhere in the first act.

DOOM DELUISE: Do you remember the specific moment where you were won over? Or was it more gradual?

JIM DOOM: There was one pivotal moment in the movie that set me on a course of enjoying it.

DOOM DELUISE: Was it the octopus playing the drums?

Because that ALMOST got me on board. (more…)



The Doomino Effect for January 2, 2019

I forgot to do this column for the past 200 or so weeks, and I tried several new series this week, so let’s get back into it, shall we?

We’ll start with Uncanny X-Men #8. It’s really hard to make a quality weekly comic book, and Uncanny X-Men is sure doing its best to prove the rule. Doominator dropped in a few weeks ago to share some thoughts on the series, but my general feelings tend to be “This is the kind of mess I’d expect from the Chuck Austen era, and not any kind of grand return of the team worthy of a restart to the numbering.”

One of the drawbacks of doing a weekly series is that it’s nigh impossible to have consistent art. And for me, inconsistent art styles equate to basically the storytelling equivalent of watching a movie and suddenly everyone is speaking in a different accent.

On top of that, the story really revolves around the petulance of four X-Men understudies, validating the fact that they’re treated like kids by acting like kids. It also ties into the Age of Apocalypse storyline from the 90s, which essentially every surviving homer blog tries to convince you was good, but was actually terrible.

So you’ve got this all-star crew of reunited X-Men, and the story focuses on some D-listers. Magneto is playing a marginalized supporting role. Apocalypse is in this story in order to spend the majority of it tied to a chair (though he is actually out walking around in this issue). I keep reading in the solicitations that after this storyline, Wolverine and Cyclops have to clean up after the decimation of the X-Men, and I’m like “sweet.”
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Doom & Doomer Two-fer: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse & Bumblebee

spider-man into the spider-verse posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom & Doomer, where Jim Doom and I sit down for a back-and-forth conversation about the latest superhero movie releases of the day.

Today, we’re here to discuss Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but before we get to that, let’s check in with Jim and see how he’s doing. Hi, Jim!

JIM DOOM: Hey hey hey. Let’s do this!

You know what today is the anniversary of?

DOOM DELUISE: Nope, what?

JIM DOOM: When we went to see The Spirit together.

Not to spoil the ending of this, but I liked these movies better.

DOOM DELUISE: Damn. Superhero movies have come a long way since then.

What year was that?

JIM DOOM: 2009. On the 10th anniversary of seeing that movie, we’re back!

DOOM DELUISE: Whoa! That’s crazy. Ten years ago, I was unemployed and going to see terrible movies with every bit of free time that I had.

Whoa! Nothing has changed! I’m unemployed again, and still seeing terrible movies all the time!

JIM DOOM: Is that a segue into what we’re here to talk about?

DOOM DELUISE: Yes, except for the fact that the movies we’re here to talk about were actually pretty fun (unless you want to talk about Aquaman, too).

JIM DOOM: I haven’t seen Aquaman yet, so let’s keep it to Spider-Man and Bumblebee.

We can give Aquaman its own review another day.

Although today at the comics shop, the lady at the register pointed to Aquaman on the cover of one of the comics I bought, and was like “Have you seen Aquaman yet?” I said no, I haven’t. She said “It’s really fun!” I asked “Is it good?” And she paused for a long time, and then replied “I think I’ll just stick with saying it’s really fun.”

So between Bumblebee and Spider-Man, where would you like to start? I saw Spider-Man first, so I guess maybe I’d like to vote for starting there, but I could be easily talked out of that. I saw them both the same day so it’s not like Bumblebee is all that fresher in my mind.

DOOM DELUISE: I saw Spider-Man a couple of days before Bumblebee, so I’m happy to start there.

JIM DOOM: I’ll start. I thought this was one of the best superhero movies ever. When we left the theater, I said “I can’t think of a single nit to pick!” Since that time, I’ve thought of one, but I thought it was fantastic. That’s my headline review. What about you? (more…)



Uncanny X-Men: History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But it Rhymes

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X-Men has, for too long, been floundering as a franchise. By my highly subjective opinion, since near the beginning of the Chuck Austen era, though I’ve found that many, many people hated the Grant Morrison run, which I find … odd.

The franchise has been at war with wanting to forge ahead and create new wild ideas with the Marvel insistence on a reset to orthodoxy. There have been sporadically interesting books within there … Mike Carey’s run, Legion, Wolverine and the X-Men, and, to an extent, X-Men Blue, but on the whole I haven’t connected with X-Men in years, which is a shame when it’s your favorite comic. One problem was the sheer length of Bendis’ run, who told an ambitious, but unfilling, long term arc.
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Sam Rockwell clearly needs to play Multiple Man

CREDIT: 	David Shankbone

CREDIT: David Shankbone


After X-Men: Apocalypse, the main lineage of X-Men movies seems to be waning. Supernova (or whatever the title ends up being) could resurrect interest in the franchise, or it could retread water and end up a moderately better version of The Last Stand. Whatever it ends up being, it needs to not be three hours long like Apocalypse.

But that brings us to something else: the recent success of the franchise hasn’t been in the sequels, but the sidequels. Logan drew rave reviews, even in untraditional places. Legion is setting a new standard of weird on TV while hinting at a bigger story integrally tied to the movies while existing as a separate entity. Deadpool is a verifiable cult hit. After a few missteps, the X-Men spinoff attempts seem to finally be hitting their stride.

This is exactly why Sam Rockwell needs to play Jamie Madrox in an X-Factor Investigations movie.
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JBL must go.

There’s no way around it—JBL has to go.

WWE’s bullying culture has been known for decades, but some unfortunate timing and sympathetic victims have launched the issue into the mainstream. Much of the judgment has swirled around John “Bradshaw” Layfield, a former cowboy-themed / occult-bodyguard themed / J.R. Ewing-themed wrestler-turned-Fox Business analyst-turned color commentator.
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JBL’s penchant for bullying has been well documented, but a confluence of two victims’ stories has recently focused a spotlight on his behavior. Play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo is likely done with WWE as a result of how JBL’s bullying preyed on Ranallo’s battle with bipolar disorder. Former ring announcer Justin Roberts recently published Best Seat in the House, in which he speaks frankly about his experience on the receiving end of WWE’s bullying culture.

WWE is hardly the first company—or organization—to have a history of bullying, but locker-room justice is a blunt object that’s hard to align with an organization’s values.

Veterans coming to JBL’s defense have been pointing out that this is a thread running back to the history of the business. Whether it’s sports, fraternities or the military, hazing and bullying have long been leveraged to build bonds between participants who need to trust their colleagues, and to preemptively weed out those who can’t handle the pressure before the eventual caving can cause damage. And in a business like professional wrestling, trust and reliability are essential to the safety of the talent.
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Culture has power; a 2016 DeLoitte survey showed 82 percent of global respondents believe culture is a competitive advantage. Companies are increasingly learning about the importance of clearly defining and taking ownership of their culture, cultivating it with care and harnessing its potential to drive their business.

And that’s why WWE needs to part ways with JBL sooner rather than later. For WWE to fully reap the benefits of its bullying culture, they need someone who truly excels at preying on the less powerful on all fronts; JBL is not that man. (more…)



I-Earn Fists:
Iron Fist: Episode 1

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Welcome to I-Earn Fists, the review of Netflix’s Iron Fist, where I assess attributes of each episode based on how many fists they earn. Given the limitations of the human body, these assessments will be made on a scale of zero fists to two fists, where earning zero fists means “bad” and earning two fists means “great” and earning one fist means “okay.”

Scratch that, I haven’t reviewed a thing yet, so let’s change the rules. Fists will now be earned based on punishment that needs to be dealt. If you earn zero fists, you’re doing all right! But if you earn ten fists, you’ve earned yourself a beating!

I’ll tell you why I called this audible: I expect bad things from this show. It’s terribly reviewed, but garbage like Daredevil got pretty positive reviews. If something as bad as Daredevil gets good reviews and this thing gets piled on, it’s probably going to earn a lot of fists.

Before watching a second of this show, I will tell you that I love Iron Fist, the comic book character. I became a fan late during the Brubaker / Fraction run, and I despise his rendition in the recent Power Man and Iron Fist series, where he’s little more than comic relief.

NEW POWER MAN AND IRON FIST SERIES: “How many fists do I-Earn?”
JIM DOOM: “You earn 10 out of 10 fists!”

fist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-small

There, that’s how it’ll work. Spoilers and fists follow.
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Doom & Doomer: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

batman v superman posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom and Doomer, wherein Jim Doom and I take a back-and-forth look at comic book movies.

Today, we discuss Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to 2013’s abysmal Man of Steel. Was this film able to rise above that one, or is this whole DC Comics Cinematic Universe doomed before it’s barely even started?

We’ll get to that eventually, but overall, in regards to Batman v Superman, what did you think, Jim?

JIM DOOM: I think I told you that I was going in with an open mind, ready to be pleasantly surprised. But I have to be honest, even with good intentions I was ready and eager to hate this movie with all my heart.

And it’s still not the movie I would have made, and I still won’t be all that bothered if Zack Snyder gets booted from the franchise (and it looks like that might happen sooner rather than later), but this movie at least did a lot of the things right that I think Man of Steel did wrong, and while that’s basically the measuring stick that I hold it against, it makes me more hopeful for the movies that are coming up.

So where should we start? All the things that are terrible about it? Because I really hate the terrible things, and there were plenty.

DOOM DELUISE: Sure, we can start with the terrible things, but then I don’t think we’ll have much left to talk about after that’s out of the way. (more…)



Triple H Is Leaving As Champ: Wrestlemania 32 Prediction

I’ve been saying it for months now, ever since Triple H won the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble:

He’s leaving Wrestlemania as champion.

It’s not necessarily for any one reason, but as is always the case when the winds shift at the last minute in his storyline favor—for a confluence of reasons that just happen to align at just the right time.

It’s no secret to anyone that Roman Reigns is not getting over as WWE’s lead babyface. Nor is it any secret, particularly after this past week when they had to cut essentially the same promo twice, that The Authority is a tired force lording over WWE programming. Furthermore, the talent roster is thin—particularly following some ill-timed injuries—and in need of an injection of fresh blood.

And Triple H just happens to provide the silver bullet for all of their problems.

wweSo first thing’s first—how does Triple H leave Wrestlemania as champion when they’ve spent so much time and effort building up Roman Reigns as the new top face?

I’m old enough to remember when WWE invested time and money into a particular anti-Authority wrestler, on a path to topple the power-abusers and show once and for all that they could be beaten. And then, even after the storyline had played out over two calendar years, WWE made the decision at the last second to change the finish and have Triple H go over, throwing away all of the buildup for a finish that made no sense.

That was last year.
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