Category: reviews

Dawn of Justice trailer review: Revealing Superman’s true identity

The expression on Superman’s face at the beginning of the trailer for Dawn of Justice really sums up the tone:

“I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m clumsily destroying their city.

“But if you’re going to make me explain myself…” (sigh) “…I’ll humor you.”

(It doesn’t help that Henry Cavill plays this disdainful character perfectly.)

I’ll admit that this trailer made me more excited for the movie than I had been. The previous trailer looked as if Zack Snyder was just redoing Watchmen, only this time with more valuable intellectual properties. Almost entirely thanks to how great Ben Affleck appears to be playing Batman, I’m significantly more excited — but not without skepticism.

I hated Man of Steel. I thought it was a terrible movie that made no sense as a Superman movie.

“If you want to make that movie,” I thought to myself and said out loud to anyone who would listen, “why make a Superman movie?”

Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly that the destruction in Man of Steel was always part of the point — that there would be consequences for what happened.

Barring anything short of leaked emails from screenwriting discussions before the production of Man of Steel, I would be willing to guarantee you Zack Snyder is lying.

And the main piece of evidence is the movie he made.

Half the city is laid waste, and what does Superman do? He stops to make out with Lois Lane.

There is absolutely zero acknowledgment of the consequences amid the damage. Absolutely none! Snyder has gone on to say that the “thesis of Superman” is “that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.”

Beyond the point that WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN THE THESIS OF SUPERMAN? (which supports the idea that Zack Snyder was not setting out to make a Superman movie, but an indulgent Zack Snyder movie using DC’s properties) that theme was not reflected in Man of Steel at all.

Snyder’s defenses betray an exasperation — “I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m making epic films for them.”

And I’m afraid that explains what we see in this trailer.

Given the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for Snyder’s claim in the film he made, his defenses come off as baseless rationalizations. He has to pretend this was what it was all about to begin with.

And now he’s made a movie to bring those rationalizations to life.

The theme of this trailer is clearly that Superman is a benevolent godlike creature who is here to save us in spite of ourselves. Whether it’s our rash and cruel judgment (Batman) or our cynical fear (Luthor) only we as humans can really deny ourselves the salvation we desire.

The symbolism reflecting Snyder’s disingenuous quest to legitimize his blockbuster blunder suffering under the knife of jealous critics and insecure fanboys is a little creepy.

I really hope I’m wrong about this. Visually, Dawn of Justice looks like it’s going to be exciting. And I am fully aware of the fact that you can’t judge a movie based on a selectively edited trailer.

CJzHAU5WgAAfa0mAnd I hope that’s the case! Because when you peel back the spectacle and step back and look at this, what do you have?

A contemptible Superman who offers audiences absolutely nothing to sympathize with.

A Batman who appears set up to be a rage-fueled madman hellbent on crippling Superman for no real reason.

Humanity, through the form of the masses and the politicians, who appear to desire nothing more than to be led.

Who wants to watch a movie like that?

I’m clearly skeptical, but also hopeful this might end up being halfway decent, so I showed my girlfriend the trailer to get her opinion. She liked Avengers and the Thor movies (largely because of Chris Hemsworth) but has no dog in the comic book movie fight. She never saw Man of Steel (which is a good thing, because the movie is terrible).

Her first words — “My jaw dropped.”

I was surprised — maybe this looks good after all! So I asked, “You’re excited to see it?”

She was, but for one reason — to see Batman kick Superman’s ass.

“It took me about half a second to be on Team Batman,” she said.

As cool as Batman looks here (He wears armor! He’s in an inexplicable fight in the desert!) there’s little about this trailer, through the apparent moralizing and positioning, that suggests Batman is going to win this fight.

It concerns me that Snyder and DC are so unaware of their completely unlikeable take on Superman that they’re setting up a downer of a movie.

Doom & Doomer: Avengers: Age of Ultron


avengers age of ultron posterJIM DOOM: So I remember being in the parking lot outside the theater in Bellevue after seeing the Hulk, or Incredible Hulk — whichever one was part of Phase 1 — thinking, “This is going to build up to an Avengers movie someday, but that is so far away.”

And now not only did that happen — they’ve done it again.

So now that we’re at the conclusion of Phase 2, I’d like to ask you this question kind of in two ways — how are they doing in terms of the movies, as in, what are your top-level thoughts on Avengers 2, and how are they doing in terms of the long-form universe-building?

DOOM DELUISE: It’s interesting that you put it that way, and I want to get back to making a point about the phrasing of that question, but, to just go ahead and answer it, I think they’re doing a pretty great job on both fronts. When it tips too strongly toward ignoring the long-form storytelling (Iron Man 3), it’s obviously not a very good thing (though I personally loved that movie), but the same can be said for when it goes the other way (Iron Man 2).

But the Avengers movies are in a really weird, never-before-seen-in-movies spot, in that they have to blow off an entire “Phase” of movies, but they also have to lay the groundwork for not only the next “Phase,” but also the next chapter of Avengers movies themselves.

That’s not much of an answer. I think Avengers 2 struggles with this problem, and it probably is the number one strike it has against it, as I feel it sometimes spends too much time trying to shoehorn in stuff for what’s coming next.

That said, it still delivers a really great movie, and I loved it. (more…)

The Doomino Effect for Jan 21, 2015

I forgot to do this column for the past 80-some weeks so let’s get back in the swing of things, shall we?

Speaking of swinging, that reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man #13, part 5 of Spider-Verse.

I cannot tell you the last time I thought a crossover was this much fun. I think on paper, this is probably everything I would hate about crossovers. A lot of the action happens in other series, and there are a lot of other series in which that action is happening, meaning if you want the whole story, you have to buy a lot of other books. There are ridiculous characters, such as a spider-pig and a 1960s Spider-Man, and one that appears to be newspaper Spider-Man, presented in all their absurd glory, and often presented for laughs. Much of the storyline is little more than let’s fight, flee, argue, repeat.

But my goodness, it is flawlessly executed — story and art — and incredibly fun.

Podcast of Doom (transcript): Survivor Series 2014 Predictions

[SFX: Intro music]

JIM DOOM: Hello and welcome to the latest Podcast of Doom. I’m your host, Jim Doom, and with me as always is Doom DeLuise.


JIM DOOM: Ever since Fin Fang Doom declared us to be a wrestling site also, we’ve made a little more effort to talk about wrestling —

DOOM DeLUISE: Definitely more of an effort than we’ve made to talk about comics.

[audience laughter]

JIM DOOM: — and last month, we previewed WWE Hell in a Cell. I don’t remember how we did, but shall we take this month like we did last month, and start from the bottom of the card and work up?


Doom & Doomer: Thor: The Dark World


loki thor 2 the dark world posterDOOM DELUISE: So Thor 2.

You attentive readers out there may remember, when Jim and I sat down to review the first Thor a few years ago, we were in agreement that we both enjoyed the movie.

As Jim said at the time, he thought it was better than Iron Man 2, but not quite as good as Iron Man 1.

Now that some years have passed, and we’ve seen several more Avengers-related movies, how would you rank this new Thor edition in the Marvel pantheon?

JIM DOOM: Well, since you teed it up that way, I’d like to say that I recently re-watched Thor 1, and I thought it held up incredibly well.

DOOM DELUISE: Ditto! I liked Thor 1 even more the second time I watched it, about a week and a half ago.

JIM DOOM: And in some ways, I would put Thor 2 above it.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Thor 2 — it did much of the things I loved about Thor 1, and improved on the things I didn’t.

I did not see that coming.

I figured it’d be enjoyable, but I heard it was getting some poor reviews, so at best I was hoping for a decent filler movie.
I guess when it comes to the Marvel movies that set up the Avengers movies, I should’ve known better.

Though I’m glad I went in with low expectations. That’s always more fun. (more…)

Doom & Doomer: The Wolverine

the wolverine posterDOOM DELUISE: Several years ago, after the abysmal X-Men 3, Fox funded a Wolverine standalone movie, which took place prior to the events of the X-Men movies, that everybody pretty much agreed was stupid.

Somehow, though, at the same time, everybody agreed that Hugh Jackman is still a pretty great Wolverine.

Flash-forward a few years, and we have The Wolverine, another new Wolverine standalone, still starring Hugh Jackman, which takes place AFTER the events of the X-Men movies, which is still, in my opinion at least, a stupid movie.

The main difference between the two is that this is a bad Wolverine movie, whereas that last one was a bad Wolverine movie that included idiotic depictions of fan-favorite characters like Gambit and Deadpool.

But, far be it for me to be the only person with an opinion around here. Jim, how would you compare this movie to the first Wolverine movie, and how do you think this one does on its own?

JIM DOOM: Well, I remember the first Wolverine movie being awful, but not long ago, I went back and re-read my review at the time and realized I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I remembered I did.

That said, I think this new one was much better, and this one could have almost been — dare I say — a GOOD movie, if they had made one somewhat minor change.

And that would be to eliminate that stupid Viper lady. (more…)

The Doomino Effect for August 28, 2013

My comics from the past two weeks are all mixed up so this is two weeks’ worth of comics all mixed up. Not that it’s probably worth noting that they’re “all mixed up,” since it’s not as if I review these things in any kind of order.

Speaking of order, that leads me to Justice League #23, part 6 of 6 in the Trinity War, but the first issue I bought. That’s out of order!

I avoided Trinity War from the start for several reasons. 1) I had dropped Justice League a while back because I had stopped enjoying it. 2) I dropped Justice League of America after issue #1 because I never enjoyed it. And 3) I have never had any interest in reading Justice League Dark. So when you put it that way, I’d be pretty silly to start reading this crossover! It’s like “Hey, here’s a big story that crosses over between three books you don’t read!” And then in case that sold me, Doom DeLuise’s review was the nail in the coffin.

That said, supposedly Trinity War was what was leading into Forever Evil, and I suppose I’ll have no choice but to read Forever Evil tie-ins, so I was curious enough to pick up this issue.

It was okay! I love Ivan Reis’ art. My lack of familiarity with most of the characters didn’t matter (I’ve known many British people over the years. I lived in England for a year. I’ve never known a single British person to actually say “Blimey.” But I can tell Constantine is supposed to be British, because that’s how Geoff Johns writes him! See, you can get to know these people right away) because the action was easy to follow — except for when I had to keep turning the book sideways for those double-wide splash pages that were vertically oriented. This was embarrassing because I was reading my comics in public (sometimes already embarrassing enough) but then I kept having to turn the book sideways, and I was wondering if people thought that my comics had a centerfold in them.

I have some questions though. Why do they call that skull “Pandora’s Box” ? Who is going to see a skull and be like “Let’s call that thing a box” ? I think any reasonable person, from this world or any other, would call it “Pandora’s Skull.” But one might say “Historically and colloquially, we know Pandora’s little vessel to be called a ‘box.'” Ok, then in that case, just be like “Hey, Ivan — quit drawing jewelry skulls and draw a freaking box.”

Doom & Doomer: Man of Steel

Welcome to the latest installment of Doom and Doomer, where Jim Doom and I take a back-and-forth look at comic book movies.

Today we discuss Man of Steel, which most of you probably saw awhile ago. To explain: We live on opposite sides of the globe, so it’s difficult to find times where we’re both awake and not busy with other things. But we finally did it! Enjoy.

DOOM DELUISE: So Man of Steel came out a couple of months ago. Its success in its first weekend led to all of the key players almost immediately signing on to do a sequel, and, in the subsequent time, we’ve learned a lot about where they’re headed with this franchise.

man of steel official posterThe main question, though, is whether or not that direction will be any good, and in order to figure that out, all we have to go on is the quality of Man of Steel.

Based on Man of Steel, how confident are you in the much-hyped Superman/Batman team-up movie?

JIM DOOM: Well, it’s funny you ask it that way, because I think Man of Steel was truly terrible in almost every way, but I don’t know if it necessarily makes me any less interested in the sequel.

I shared my thoughts on the Ben Affleck casting in the comments of Fin Fang Doom’s post, and the basic idea there was that by casting such a well-known name, Affleck has the potential to overshadow the character.

But I also think that he has matured enough as a film presence that I could see him maybe not wanting to be in a movie as bad as Man of Steel was.

I was also under the initial impression that they were going straight from Man of Steel to Justice League, so I’m somewhat relieved that they’re going in these relative baby steps.

DOOM DELUISE: Yeah, it’s interesting how everybody online is reacting to this news as if they just cast Reindeer Games Ben Affleck. He’s changed a lot in the past few years.

Unfortunately, whether his performance is great or not, I don’t see how he can do THAT much to make this series any better or worse than it already is. As far as I’m concerned, as long as they have David S. Goyer writing it and Zack Snyder directing it, we’re in for nothing but absolute crap. Like Man of Steel.

JIM DOOM: So let’s talk about what made Man of Steel such crap. (more…)

All-New X-Men is kind of brilliant

I normally would do a Doomino Effect this time of week (if by “normally” you’ll accept “once every couple of years after previously doing it every week”), but this past week I only bought four comics — two issues of the new Ted McKeever book (my shop only had #2 and #4, because I only just realized there was a new Ted McKeever book, and since I only have #2 and #4, I didn’t read it yet), something I don’t remember, and All-New X-Men #15.

I’m not going to carry out my gimmick so I can write one segue between two issues, so instead I’ll share with you why I think All-New X-Men is such a genius idea.

I was looking at the cover of issue #15, with Beast kissing Jean Grey, and thinking about what this series actually is. It’s Brian Michael Bendis writing adventures of the original X-Men. Let’s say one day Bendis woke up and was like “I want to write some adventures of the original X-Men.” He would have several obvious options, and I probably wouldn’t have read any of them!

1. It’s a series of “lost” adventures, taking place within continuity back in the old days.
The stories might have been fun, but if they took place within continuity, then we’d know that there were really no lasting implications. Therefore the stories are ultimately inconsequential. I would skip it.

2. It’s a series of “What if?” adventures that takes place outside of continuity.
These stories too might have been fun, and they may have lasting implications for the characters, but being outside of continuity, these stories too would be ultimately inconsequential. I would skip this too!

So what has the guy done? He’s figured out a way to write what are probably going to end up being fairly inconsequential stories anyway, but he’s come up with a pretty unconventional way to do it. By yanking the X-Men out of the past and putting them in the present, but establishing from the get-go that they’ll eventually be put back in their normal time with their memories of these events wiped from their minds, Bendis can have all sorts of interpersonal fun with the original X-Men, as long as they remain not-killed, but there can be lasting implications for present continuity without damaging the playthings from the past.

Aside from the fact that this is one of my favorite ongoing series and one of the main reasons I’m enjoying comics as much as I am this past year or so, I’m really impressed by the way he built this playground for himself!

The Doomino Effect for July 31, 2013

So a funny thing happened. I was doing this weekly review called The Doomino Effect, and then I just stopped doing it for about two years. And then there was like a two year gap before that. But before that, I went strong for like three years!

But speaking of things that go on for about seven years and then just sort of end, that leads me to Batman Incorporated #13, the conclusion to Grant Morrison’s epic run on various books with the word “Batman” or “Final” and “Crisis” in them. This run has seen its ups and its downs, but it’s something that has definitely kept me strung along over the years. I think a big part of what hooked me was the belief that there was going to be some kind of satisfying payoff at the end of it all.

But no. In no uncertain terms, there’s not. Much of those oddities cast throughout the series had no meaningful place in the finale. I’m not kidding, but the way this resolves — SPOILER ALERT — is that you find out all along that the drama and suspense didn’t really matter, because Wayne Enterprises had secretly outsmarted Talia Al Ghul all along and her secret death trap wasn’t really a threat. And the final battle between Batman and her didn’t really matter because Jason just tricked Talia into giving Batman the antidote. And the day was saved when someone who was supposed to be dead just turned out to (surprise) not be dead.

What a weak, uninspired ending. As if, nearly a decade ago, Grant Morrison was sitting down thinking “I have this great climax where Batman loses a fight but somebody gets him an antidote and then someone else just walks in and shoots the bad guy. But I’m going to need about seven years of story to build up to it.”