‘Batman v Superman’ trailer: Zack Snyder goes were Marvel Studios fears to tread

Batman v Superman 911The Batman v Superman trailer is out, and one thing is obvious: Zack Synder is going with a level of realism that Marvel Studios has shown no desire to duplicate. Anyone who lived through the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will not be able to see Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne engulfed in dust and debris without thinking of that day. If they decide to accept the director’s decision, then they can appreciate what the visual does for the story — while everyone else sprints away from the carnage, Bruce Wayne hurls himself head first into the chaos. That is the kind of bravery (bordering on psychosis) a man would need for him to seriously attempt to challenge Superman.

Batman v Superman flyThere are plenty of valid criticisms that could be made of Mr. Synder’s DC Universe, but it is hard to deny that his Superman exudes raw power. When he is on the screen, he demands respect. The argument that his costume is dated and cheesy just doesn’t fly (no pun intended), because if you can be led to believe that a character possesses the power to exterminate the entire human race, then you will respect him in almost any outfit.

Batman v Superman desertThe strength Superman wields is what will (understandably) cause Bruce Wayne to fear the alien and, at least for a portion of the film, seek to destroy him.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor telegraphs exactly what “Batman versus Superman” is about:

“Black and blue. God versus man. Day versus night.”

If a man had the power of a god — but he wasn’t God — wouldn’t he have to be destroyed? The same question would, of course, apply to a … Wonder Woman.

Batman v Superman Wonder WomanMarvel Studios has a track record of making great movies, but for the most part it has shied away from the level of realism embraced by Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and Zack Synder’s “Man of Steel.” Both kinds of movies can happily exist in the summertime blockbuster market, but Marvel’s problem is that there are only so many times the world can be demolished in a shared cinematic universe before the cotton candy-ish tone seems weird. Perhaps Marvel Studio’s “Civil War” will finally address that problem, but as of now DC has the pole position on superhero fare that makes an audience think about real-world issues.

If you plan on seeing “Batman v Superman,” then let me know what you think about the trailer or anything else related to the movie in the comments section below.

‘Justice League: War’: DC delivers action that may leave some viewers with battle fatigue

Superman Justice League

Is it possible to have too many explosions in a superhero movie? DC’s latest, ‘Justice League: War’ is 79 minutes long, and almost the entire run time is filled with things going “boom.” In theory that sounds great, but there are only so many hordes of Parademons a guy can watch get sliced in half, bashed and vaporized before one asks: “Is this all there is to it?”

For those who are unfamiliar with the tale, Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam, Superman and Wonder Woman find themselves together for the very first time, fighting the forces of Darkseid in a battle that will determine the fate of the earth (of course). The movie was adapted from the 2011 reboot by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee (although the animated movie replaces Aquaman with Shazam).

In short, ‘Justice League: War’ is great if you like endless strings of carnage and destruction, but less so if you expect at least a few scenes with emotional depth. Only Cyborg gets dealt a decent hand in the characterization department, and even that is rushed though as quickly as possible to get back to the front lines. While the final battle with Darkseid is impressive, the ease with which Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest dispose of Darkseid’s minions becomes tiresome after 30 minutes.

Perhaps the worst aspect of ‘Justice League: War’ is writing that directly undercuts the heroes’ complains that they’re irrationally feared by the general population. For instance, Wonder Woman acts somewhat incredulous that a group of angry protesters outside the White House are wary of super-powered beings, and then later in the movie she forces a street vendor to feed her and a child ice cream, free of charge, at sword point.

Could it be, Wonder Woman (i.e., writers at DC), that people “fear” you because of your “might makes right” mentality? Just wondering. It’s hard to root for a hero when her idea of “justice” is whatever she decides from moment to moment.

Wonder Woman Justice League War

‘Justice League: War’ also is diminished by gratuitous use of foul language. What could have easily been an animated movie for adults and kids to enjoy was squandered by the random interjection of “shit,” “ass,” “whore” and a joke about cross-dressing that seemed to serve no other purpose than to push the rating to PG-13. Does anyone ever watch a DC movie packed with action and say, “I would have given it an ‘A’ but Green Lantern didn’t swear enough for my taste,”? Of course not. Watch some old episodes of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ to see how top notch DC entertainment is done.

Batman Justice League War

Speaking of Batman, ‘War’ actually does get an ‘A’ for its treatment of him this time around. True, I was disappointed that Kevin Conroy wasn’t voicing the Dark Knight, but Jason O’Mara did a decent job. DC nailed Batman’s interactions with Green Lantern — they were quite humorous — and there is a scene between Batman and Superman that captures the dynamic between the two of them almost flawlessly.

Superman Batman Justice League

How many mortal men can hold up their hand to Supes like a traffic cop and get him to come to comply? Not many, but Batman is one of them. DC deserves kudos for writing the scene so it all transpires believably.

Wonder Woman Justice League War Darkseid

While ‘Justice League: War’ does tend to drag on at times due to the never-ending stream of Darkseid’s minions populating the earth, the final battle is rather satisfying. It truly takes the team to take down Darkseid, and each hero has their moment to shine. Nobody’s power is underutilized and nobody is treated as if they don’t belong. While all of them essentially know deep down that Superman is in a “league” of his own, they also treat each other as equals on the battlefield. In fact, it is a collection of inferiority complexes — not pride — that often threatens to derail victory. It is only when the warriors begin to feel comfortable in their own skin — and trust the hero next to them — that victory is sealed.

Check out ‘Justice League: War’ if you get a chance, but don’t go in expecting some of the weightier issues tackled by, say, ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood.’ If you do that, you probably won’t go away disappointed.

Related: Superman vs. The Elite explores the big dilemma: Christ or Patton? To kill or not to kill?

Wonder Woman’s Duds Aren’t the Problem: “World Community Woman” Is.

If you’ve read this blog before you know I’m a comic nerd.  And you know that I’m a fan of exposing the industry’s liberal bent, usually as it pertains to Marvel Comics. I’m also inclined to point out why certain characters embody the best of America, despite liberal writers’ uncanny ( X-Men-ish?) ability to ignore such traits.

So, although I’m not a “DC” type of guy, I feel as though the Wonder Woman costume hubbub needs to be addressed:

“The American-ness of her costume really dates from World War II, and it feels like it’s part of her roots, even if she is supposed to have come from an island full of Amazons,” Anders told FOX411.com. “I think making her look more ‘globalized’ isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but you have to be careful not to sacrifice what makes her distinctive and thrilling in the process,”…

“This new sleek and fashionable Wonder Woman will translate well to a film franchise centered on a female action hero. That wouldn’t have worked as well with the bright and flashy red, white and blue costume, and it definitely wouldn’t have played in the very lucrative international markets,” said the artist, who wished not to be named because of ties to DC. “

I think the question that needs to be asked is this: As comic books become more popular and are distributed around the globe, how will editorial decisions be affected by concerns of “international” readers?

I’ve talked about this before, but how many Captain America comics are in

Lasso of Truth around a jihadi nut? Naaaah. But Lynda Carter wants one around Bush. What a surprise.

existence of Black Ops in Afghanistan? During World War II Cap was punching Hitler’s lights out. Today? He’s scared of the Tea Party movement. Part of this has to do with the industry’s artists and writers liberal dominance, but over the past few years I think many editorial missteps are due to a desire not to offend the sensibilities of a more “globalized” readership.

One would think that in the wake of the September 11th attacks that Captain America could find some jihadi heads to crack overseas, possibly saving some American servicemen or innocent civilians in the process…but I guess not.

In the case of Wonder Woman’s new duds, I’m willing to cut DC some slack simply because Jim Lee was involved. Wonder Woman’s potential, for whatever reason, has never been realized, and a costume shake-up now and again is an easy way to generate interest (at least in the short term).  Spider-Man sometimes dons his black costume—which happens to be very cool—but he always goes back to the classic red and blue. I’m more interested in the quality of the stories than Wonder Woman’s outward appearance…but then again, I am a writer. When the Justice League of America starts wondering if they should get the United Nations’ approval before acting to stop pure evil that threatens the world I’ll be concerned. Oh, wait, that sort of thing already happened…

Finally, the thing that’s most misleading about the Wonder Woman costume story isn’t in the analysis of the character or her history, but the lack of context for Lynda Carter’s attitude toward the controversy in the first place:

Lynda Carter, the actress who portrayed Wonder Woman on TV in the 1970s, declined to answer Fox 411.com’s question about the removal of the American flag from the Wonder Woman costume. In a previous interview, Carter said she thinks Wonder Woman would want all the upset fans to just “get over it.”

“She’s got an attitude, and if this is the new thing she wants to wear, well by God she’s going to wear it,” Carter said. “And I like that. And I hope somewhere in the story someone mentions, where’s the old one? And she says, ‘Get over it.’”

What isn’t noted is that Lynda Carter is a liberal.

Lynda Carter says she’s never used the Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth on her two children, now teens. “I don’t think it would work on them.” But, referring to President Bush, the talkative actress adds, “I’ve often thought how nice it would be during this administration if it worked,” (Heller, Billy. Kicking Heroine: 70’s Star Turns to Cabaret. New York Post.)

We all know how liberals feel about proudly displaying the flag. The ignoramuses (myself included) unabashedly displaying the Stars and Stripes on any old day of the week are a hinderance to the “international community” the Beltway intelligencia believes we should defer to as we chart out our nation’s future. (Because, who doesn’t want dysfunctional nation states essentially run by warlords on equal footing with the United States?)

Of course Lynda Carter doesn’t care about the muted-flag aspect of Wonder Woman’s new costume. Just as there are a lot of liberals who wish Captain America would simply don a smurf blue helmet and call himself Captain Appeasement, there are a lot of liberals who wish Wonder Woman was Moral Relativist Woman, substituting the Lasso of Truth for the Lasso of Whatever.

In the end, I predict the new costume will disappear. Liberal stories, however, aren’t going anywhere…unless more people take notice.

PS: Great PR move, DC, at having this story hit right before the Fourth of July weekend.

Lynda wishes you would "get over it" when it comes to symbols of American strength and character. I couldn't get hold of her because she was counting the royalty checks her old (flag inspired) costume made possible.