Friday, February 20, 2015

The Justice League movie is going to suck.

You can say you heard it here first. Not that I’m the first, technically. There were people saying that before there was even a movie in production. But I’m saying it officially. It saddens me to say it. I wish it were otherwise. But it’s gonna suck. That’s just the reality.

It will suck because the building blocks that will compose it are going to suck.  It cannot be greater than the sum of its parts. Batman vs. Superman (or is it Superman vs. Batman? I can’t remember, and I really don’t care) is gonna suck. And without the bedrock of this film to support it, the big Justice League film will collapse under its own weight.

So why, exactly, will the JL movie fail? Here are a few reasons, in no particular order.

>WB is rushing it.
The reason the Avengers worked was because Marvel took their time putting all the pieces in place. And they made sure that each standalone movie—Iron Man, Thor, Captain America—was worthy in and of itself. Time-Warner is in a hurry to get to the big payoff when they haven’t developed their independent properties yet.

>Too many characters.
Tied in to the whole “rushing it” thing is the desire to cram all the major characters into Supes vs. Bats. Remember what happened when they put 4 villains into Spider-man 3? Oversaturation, peeps, will sink any movie.

>Politics over tradition.
Yes, Jason Momoa looks pretty cool as Aquaman, I have to say. But Aquaman isn’t Polynesian. He just isn’t. There are several decades of established character history here that the studio is ignoring in an attempt to be politically correct and have a more racially diverse Justice League. And yes, in times past most superheroes were white thirtysomething males. There was a lack of diversity. But y’know what? That’s history. You can’t just discard it without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In this case, the “baby” is everything that makes the character who he is. And what’s with Cyborg being in the Justice League now, anyway? He was a member of the Teen Titans like, forever. But you gotta have a black superfriend, don’tcha, Hollywood? Tokenism does a disservice to minorities. It also makes for bad movies.

>This is the big one, peeps. Batman.
Simply put, none of it will hold up without Batman. By miscasting the character, they guaranteed that nothing they did afterward would work. Ben Affleck is a likeable guy, and he’s a good actor. He was great in Hollywoodland. But he does NOT possess the gravitas to pull off the Dark Knight. WB should have thrown as much money at them as it took to get Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale to be a part of this series. Hell, since they’re going for an older, grizzled Batman (which will lead to the necessity of the inevitable reboot, but that’s another problem), they should have brought back Michael Keaton!  Affleck just ain’t got the chops. And without Batman, there is no Justice League. The whole thing falls apart without him.

Thus the franchise as a whole is doomed. Don’t expect anything else. While I concede that I could be wrong, it isn’t likely. Where the geek movies are concerned, at least, I am almost never wrong, not even when I want to be. Hollywood studios could save a fortune if they just checked with me to see if a particular property would fly or not before giving it the greenlight.  For example, as soon as I heard that they’d cast Jamie Foxx in Amazing Spider-Man 2, I said, “Well, there goes that franchise.” And I was right. R.I.P.D.? I said it would bomb spectacularly, and it did. Same with Jonah Hex. Same with Whiteout, Total Recall, Jupiter Ascending, Night at the Museum 3. The list goes on and on. Based solely on my own interest, or lack thereof, in a geek movie, I can predict with 90% accuracy whether or not it will be a success. That’s how I can say with confidence that the whole WB Justice League franchise is dead before it even gets off the ground. Splat. I hope I’m proven wrong. I really do. But I don’t think I will be.

Oh, and as a P.S to all this, to underscore just how clueless the studios are when it comes to putting together a successful DC superhero movie, I offer as exhibit whatevah The Flash. They cast Ezra Miller. Seriously? Ezra Miller? Not only does this little twit lack gravitas to pull off the role, he’s in the negative numbers where gravitas is concerned! And by not going with the guy from the TV show (he ain’t no heavy hitter in the gravitas department, either, but he looks like a heavyweight compared to Ezra "the Twit" Miller), they’re alienating a sizeable chunk of their target audience right out the gate. SMH.

Lastly, lest any of you think I’m just down on DC, I also predict the upcoming Deadpool and Gambit movies will suck ass.
Channing Tatum makes even the Twit look like a good casting choice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What have I been reading lately? A book on the Marquis de Sade. I got the itch after seeing a couple of friends in a performance of the play Venus In Fur, inspired by the novel written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (from who we get the word masochism), deciding to check out the primary representative of the other end of the spectrum of perversions, the man from whom we get the word sadism. I’d read some of De Sade’s work previously, notably his 100 days of Sodom, which I had to stop reading way before the hundred days were up. I’d seen the excellent film starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis, Quills.  But that was as far as my knowledge extended. (Oh, and the Hammer Studios Horror classic The Skull, wherein the protagonist, portrayed by Peter Cushing, is driven insane after coming into possession of the De Sade’s skull.)  I didn’t really want to know any more about him, as his views, and his work, are rather disturbing, even for an aficionado of abnormal psychology such as myself. Sade was evil, I figured. There wasn’t much else to know.

Actually, there was. I may have misjudged the man. He was demented, I think, but instead of the black-and-white image I bore of his character—all black—the real man existed in shades of gray. Fifty shades? Probably more than that. (I hate to make any reference to that abominable book and forthcoming guaranteed-to-be-abominable movie, but as it is a novel featuring the practice of S&M, it’s appropriate.)
Here’s the skinny: De Sade believed that, beneath the veneer of civilized man, there existed a natural, instinctive and undeniable tendency towards cruelty, violence and aggression. He maintained that this ugly inner beastie (Think of Freud’s infamous Id, or of Donald Pleasance’s lines in Halloween 2: “Samhain is the unconscious mind. Every man is afraid of the dark inside himself.” I’m paraphrasing. ) is going to inevitably burst through at some time or other, that this is true of every man, and that the results will negatively affect society as a whole. I agree with this. But, rather than try to expurgate this primal tendency, which De Sade said was a futile pursuit, he argued that a man should find a way to release it in a “less destructive” manner, through sex. If a man unleashes his cruelties in the bedroom, De Sade claimed, he’d be able to keep them from showing forth in the world at large. It’s a little dangerous, a slippery slope—where do you draw the line?—but it’s an interesting theory nonetheless. Does it work? I sincerely doubt it, though it seemed to work for De Sade, at least insofar as he never killed anyone, was in fact a staunch opponent of killing. He even suffered himself as a direct result of trying to save the life of the one person on earth he had every reason to hate, his implacable lifelong enemy, his mother-in-law. When she was threatened with the guillotine during the Terror of the French Revolution and De Sade spoke out in her defense, he was sentenced to prison for being “too lenient” and thus not patriotic enough for the new psycho regime.

Of course he also got sentenced to prison for injuring  women during sex, so I’m not saying we should call the guy a hero, just that his was a way more interesting mind than I had previously given him credit for possessing.  
If you have any interests in the subject,--or if you want to give your inner perv a little more leash—read Justine or The 100 days of Sodom instead of Fifty Shades. They aren’t any more disheartening, and are better written.

Get the gimp!