Category: rants & nostalgia

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.
bradshaw-cowboy
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.
bradshaw-JR
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…)



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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Batman vs Superman in the Comics

Batman vs Superman Dark Knight ReturnsUnless you’ve been living under Iraq (quick, what’s the statute of limitations on making puns about Saddam in his hidey-hole?), you’ll know that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is hitting theatres this weekend, and it seems poised to shatter some records at the box office, to say nothing of its title characters’ bones.

Now, personally, I have pretty much the same reaction to a screening of Zack Snyder’s version of this fight as I do to a dog eating its own poop: Yes, I know it’s happening all over the world this weekend, but I don’t much feel like seeking it out and paying money to watch.

See, to me, the most appealing thing about watching Batman and Superman get into a fight is in seeing the contrast between the two characters. Every time they lock up in the comic books, those differences are always highlighted so that the reader can easily pick a side in the fight (hint: It’s Batman. It’s always Batman).

But in the movie — at least from what I’ve seen of it in the trailers, which is probably all of it, let’s be real — those differences have all but been erased thanks to the efforts of DC/WB to make Superman fit into the world of the Dark Knight.

Instead of the overly-patriotic, relentlessly optimistic “Big Blue Boy Scout,” this film seems to be giving us a militaristic, angsty, tortured soul dressed in a dark costume and forced to scowl for two and a half hours straight. Cracking a smile is this Superman’s Kryptonite. (more…)



Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2016

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

Now, before we move into the current year, I always like to take a moment to reflect on the prior year’s releases and see how they fared.

Last year, we only had three big releases in the genre, and boy were they all over the place in terms of success. They were all three Marvel properties, though only two were released by Marvel Studios.

I’m speaking, of course, about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Fantastic Four. The first two were both critical and commercial successes, though the sequel to 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers (nobody calls it that) couldn’t help but be a bit of a let-down, considering the level of expectations surrounding it.

At the time of its release, Jim Doom and I discussed it at length, though my thoughts on it have changed a little bit over the past few months, and not in a good way. I think I’d be hard-pressed to justify ever watching it all the way through again, what with how long it is and how little happens in it.

Ant-Man was also a movie that came out last year, though I don’t know if I could tell you a single scene from it that stands out today (that I’m not simply remembering from the trailer, that is). It’s just a really forgettable movie with a formulaic ending.

And, lastly, we have Fantastic Four, the only non-Marvel Studios superhero movie that came out last year. The less we say about it, the better. I saw it. I regret seeing it. Let’s move on.

This is a new year, Jack! And if you like superhero movies, well, you’d better get ready to drop some serious coinage. In 2016, we have SEVEN new superhero movies coming out, and that’s actually down from what was originally slated, as Sony had to scrap Sinister Six after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shit the bed and ruined that entire “shared universe” that they were hoping so hard for.

The good news out of that whole debacle is that Spider-Man will appear in one of the movies coming out this year! And it’s alongside the other Avengers! There aren’t enough exclamation points for this!

We’ll get to that soon enough, though. For now, let’s run these films down, one by one, and we’ll talk about Spider-Man when the time is right. (more…)



New Japan Acquisitions: Is This WWF 1984 or WWF 1999?

The news this week that four New Japan stars may soon be headed to WWE has sparked some unexpected and intriguing speculation about WWE’s plans for this talent, particularly revolving around the former members of New Japan’s Bullet Club.

It’s the kind of thing that has me completely flipping my opinion on whether I’d like to see Finn Balor in WWE.

bc2Prior to this week, if you’d asked me if I’d like to see Balor get called up to the main roster, I’d have said “No” without hesitation. Whether it’s the embarrassing mishandling of money main-eventers (Sasha Banks) or the midcarders who still deserve better than instant obscurity (Tyler Breeze), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the creative force(s) driving WWE’s main-roster product have absolutely no idea what to do with NXT talent.

But the prospect of putting Balor at the helm of an American version of the Bullet Club on WWE TV has me more excited for potential storylines on Raw than anything has in a while–because Balor and a Club of talent that got big in Japan on WWE’s main roster would signal that they’re finally recognizing top talent can come from somewhere else. It’d be indicative of a perception shift that hasn’t budged since roughly May of 2001.

That excitement is because I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s making some assumptions as to what kind of acquisition this is. And there’s pretty good reason to assume this isn’t the kind of acquisition I’m excited about.
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Ma & Pa Kent: History’s Greatest Monsters

pa kent

So, if you’ve been online today, you probably know by now that the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – – the most happy-go-lucky movie of all time – – has arrived, as Warner Bros and DC Comics unveiled it to attendees at the San Diego Comic Con this weekend.

If you haven’t been online today… how are you here?

Anyway, judging by the reaction, people are really excited for this movie, which is okay, I guess, though I personally think it looks like, well, it looks exactly like how I expected a sequel to Man of Steel would look.

In a word: Terrible.

But the most alarming thing to me, as a fan of comic books and storytelling IN GENERAL, is that Superman’s parents on earth are just absolute garbage people.

Remember, one of the key moments in the Man of Steel trailer saw a young Clark Kent asking his dad if he should’ve just let that school bus full of kids sink, if he should have just let all those kids drown, and Pa Kent replied, “Maybe.”

And, now, in this movie, we have a moment where he’s talking to Ma Kent, and she says, “You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”

Compare that with ol’ May Parker’s monologue to Peter in Spider-Man 2:

“Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.”

I dunno, I think there’s something to be said for acknowledging and encouraging heroism in superHERO movies, especially when your only job as a character is to INSPIRE THE HERO TO BE GOOD.

Using Ma and Pa Kent to teach Superman not to trust humans is a very weird, very unnecessary decision on the part of the screenwriters. The Kents are supposed to tie him to humanity. No wonder the guy levels half of a city without so much as a second thought – – his parents are the worst.

Anyway, Jim Doom is going to pop in here soon with his thoughts on the trailer, so I don’t want to say much more. It is just a trailer, and things could be completely different by the time it hits screens, but I don’t hold out a lot of “S” for this movie.



I would watch “Avengers ’78” so many times

I see from YouTube that this was uploaded three years ago, but I have just discovered it through the power of social media.



Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2015

Welcome to my annual blog round-up discussion thing for all the upcoming superhero movies of the coming year!

This last year (2014, duh) was a pretty big one for superhero movies, with two of the top three grossing movies at the box office featuring men in tights battling the forces of evil.

Predictably, those were a couple of Marvel Studios products: Captain America 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy. And not only were they wildly successful money-wise, but they were also really cool movies, to boot!

Sure, they both ended with giant spaceships or helicarriers hovering in the skies above a couple of major cities, raining hellfire down upon the innocent people below, but only one of them threatened the entire world with destruction. The other just sort of threatened the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Now that’s what I call restraint! And I applaud Marvel for changing up the formula from time-to-time.

The only other big superhero movie from last year that managed to be a heck of a lot of fun was X-Men: Days of Future Past. Surprisingly, it’s not a Marvel Studios property (it’s one of two Marvel franchises still produced by 20th Century Fox – – the other one I’ll get to in a minute), yet it still managed the feat of not being bowling-shoe ugly.

As a matter of fact, now that it’s all said and done, I think it was my favorite of the three good superhero movies of 2014, though it’s a very close call.

Of course, before we move on, I would first like to point out that X-Men 7 was the only surprise of the year. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Transformers 4 were predictably terrible, though they somehow were even worse than I expected they’d be.

We haven’t written reviews of either of them on Doomkopf yet, but real quick, I’d like to make it absolutely, 100% clear: Those movies were two of the worst movies ever made, superhero or otherwise. I can’t simply mention them, say they were bad, and then magically move on. I need you to understand this: Those movies were offensively awful.

Hopefully nothing that bad will come out in 2015, right?

Now, you may remember at the end of last year that all the Marvel and DC properties in production were given release dates, so that their schedules are now meticulously plotted out until the year 2072.

Of course, those release dates are subject to change, I’m sure, as nobody really believes we’ll ever see a Cyborg movie, because obviously. And the way the Suicide Squad production has been moving, it might have to be pushed back (apparently, nobody wants to star in what will inevitably be a depressing, angsty piece of over-crowded trash – – who knew?).

But, for the most part, we have things mapped out. We will be getting about a dozen superhero movies per year, from now until the end of time. It’s the way things are now. It’s what we do.

The question, however, is whether or not they’ll be any good.

And that’s where I come in. Now, for your reading pleasure, a chilling vision of things to come: (more…)



Comic Book Movies We Would Actually Like to See

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written before Marvel announced their plans for Phase Three of their Cinematic Universe]

With the upcoming slate of DC/WB superhero movies recently announced through the next twenty-five years, we started to talk amongst ourselves about how none of it really interests us all that much. I mean, we can only see the same couple of formulas play out on the big screen so many times before we start itching for something better.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy repeatedly watching the same climactic sequence involving a giant alien warship hovering over a city-in-peril, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice to have a bit more variety.

So Doominator and I decided to cook up a list each of comics movies we’d actually be pumped to see come soon to a theatre near us.

Feel free to comment with your own ideas of stuff you’d like to see, but, in the meantime, here’s what we’ve got:

Doominator

Dredd 2

Dredd (more…)