Categories
Comics Fantasy

Watched The Batman

Watched The Batman from m.imdb.com

When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.

I liked Robert Pattinson’s rendition of Batman a lot. This version feels like a real Batman could become — a traumatized, reclusive orphan obsessed with justice and vengeance, who dedicates all his resources to his obsession. Desperate to feel in control and empowered, he turns his time and money and energy to direct action when other courses would likely be more effective. He looks wan and sickly — a man who doesn’t see the sun, who sleeps too little, who pushes himself too hard and cares little for his body. His hair falls lank over his face — this is no playboy. Driven by emotion, he doesn’t take time to think or plan, but dives headlong into danger heedlessly. A risk taker who relies heavily on intimidation — he walks with swagger, radiating aggression, boots falling heavy.

I appreciate the nod to his detective origins. I also like the struggles he must face as the mystery unravels.

Visually this looked great. The vibe of the film is dark and gritty, even in the daylight scenes — this is a grim and dangerous city, dirty, treeless, lit by too few outdated sodium lampposts. There’s a cool fight scene lit by the strobe of gunfire. Bruce’s home is dripping with gothic ornamentation.

Selena and Gordon seemed well-cast. I love that Selena keeps trashing on rich people to his face.

Categories
Comics Society

Superman is irrelevant — which makes him relevant?

My friend sent me a screenshot that people saw someone at the January 6th attempted insurrection who looked like Clark Kent, and was like, they know Superman would never, right? I also was listening to Land of Confusion with the line, “Superman where are you now / when everything’s gone wrong somehow”

I’ve never liked Superman so I am admittedly biased — but I think Superman is particularly irrelevant and impotent today. His storylines worked in a time when good and evil seemed clear: America good, commies bad. America’s dark deeds and inequality could be shunted to the edges of society and glossed over; but now the veneer has been pried off and the rot at the heart of American culture and independent heroism is clear.

In contrast, Batman fits in a modern era, with his psychological trauma and heavy conscience and self-flagellating batter-his-head determination to pursue a thankless, impossible mission alone. He holds himself apart, making himself weaker in refusing to build real relationships, crippled by fear of loss, building bonds only through his secret second life. He is a hero of the shadows, born of darkness, hopeless yet grimly persevering.

Superman is the 1950s American hero: a strong man with clear convictions, willing to fight for his country! *Triumphant music* He’s a man for black and white problems with a clear solution. That doesn’t fit today’s problems — climate change, social division, a deadly and disabling virus, erosion of Americans’ civil rights, destruction of the democratic process — which can’t be punched into repair, can’t be muscled into a happy ending. Batman knows he’s not up to the task, but he’ll show up to fight anyway, not recognizing that filling the role of hero reinforces the divisions in the community and he thus defeats himself, tragically missing that it’s community and collaboration that are the key. That he will never be able to fix this on his own. Bruce is an elite, a 1-percenter, his very existence at the heart of the problem he seeks to fix. The systemic problems are beyond one man’s ability to charity his way out of, so his guilt drives him to bear personal responsibility by physically fighting the manifestations of his constant failure. He’s so tragic and lost, I love him — and he fits our world of gray morality and deification of the toxic American myth of the lone gunman, the independent hero. His despair is ours, his failure ours.

How would Superman react to the modern world? Where America often plays the villain on the world stage, invading countries and supporting coups and rebellions to suit political ends, and fails to live up to its ideals with the suspension of habeas corpus for brown terrorists while doing nothing to stop white supremacist violence, intensive mass surveillance of its own people, and permanent separation of children from their parents at the border as they flee their homes to escape violence. Frankly his impotence could finally make him an interesting character, when he loses the ability to save the world and his powers make no difference. When the nuclear arsenals are so large he could never stop all the bombs. When his helping the government is letting himself be used for the purposes of the nation state rather than the benefit of its people.

Yet he’d be a never give up hope kinda guy, even in his personal impotence a la Watchmen. Which could make him once more a powerful inspirational figure in leading the fight against fascism (from within), inspiring people to never give up, to never accept that they are powerless. Ironically becoming the hero needed today through his own personal loss of power.

Would he hang up the cape and spend his time on investigative journalism? Would he become a spokesperson (or social media influencer???) for climate action? Would he lead voter registration drives and phone bank? Would he become a protestor and chain himself to machinery, blocking construction of pipelines? Would he punchinate Mount Rushmore back into the indigenous people’s sacred form?

How would he grapple with the psychology of losing his identity of hero? Would it be a relief to be unburdened of responsibility, or a source of guilt and shame to not be able to set things right? Or would he let go the world’s bigger problems and keep his focus on the ones he can settle with his powers so he could remain a hero in his traditional form?

So basically I want a Vertigo Superman story 😉 Still sad about Vertigo…

(If anyone’s actually written Superman or Batman comics like this please let me know, I don’t follow DC or Marvel releases, too many to keep up with and too much lore. I tend to read one-offs like Frank Miller’s Batman.)

ETA 7/26: DC Films doesn’t know what to do with Superman – lol not without pissing off Nazis anyway

Categories
Fantasy

Read Trick of the Light

Read Trick of the Light (Anti-Heroes, #1) by Megan Derr

Karl leads a quiet life—quieter than he wants, especially since getting into a fight with one of the most powerful men in the city—but it could be worse. In a city where super heroes and villains can level a city block in a moment, it’s a good day when nothing is destroyed, especially for the man who sells super hero insurance.

After yet another date stands him up, Karl heads home for another night spent reading with only his cats for company. But a strange sound at the bus stop leads him to a shocking discovery: Trick of the Light, a notorious villain in possession of an impossible power, and currently the intense focus of a man hunt by the Grand Order of Defenders.

But Karl has never had much respect for the Order and its arrogant, cavalier super heroes. Whatever the risks, he’d much rather spend the night helping a villain, especially since once Trick is well enough to move Karl will probably never see him again…

Fun setup. Ending wasn’t what I expected but fit. It was a little unclear exactly what was going on for the finale. The lover’s identity was obvious but that’s fine. I would have liked more connection between Trick and Karl, so it was clearer just what Trick saw in him besides a nice guy.

Categories
Fantasy Political Commentary

Read Hench

Read Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking be…

Good commentary on gig work, justice, and policing. Enjoyed seeing the main character thrive when she landed in a situation that provided good health care, housing, support and empowerment. The climax was horrifying but fitting. The ending was not what I expected, but it worked (and hopefully there is a sequel to explore how her and her boss’s aims and feeling might have changed based on their experiences in this book).

Categories
Comics

Rewatched Spider-Man 2

Watched Spider-Man 2 from m.imdb.com

Spider-Man 2 is a movie starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Alfred Molina. Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

The character development was integral to the story, even if it didn’t totally make sense for Peter’s powers to be connected to his psyche. I was impressed how much this did feel like a piece of a larger story, carrying forward emotional arcs and setting up future plot. (Too bad the third movie sucked.)

This Spiderman came out when I was in college so it’s “the” Spiderman for me.

Interesting choice to have a horror director, but I feel like it paid off. He really went all out horror on one scene in the hospital, and it really worked for setting Doc Oc up as a monster. He did a good job including funny moments, like Peter in the broom closet, and playing them out fully, not cutting them short. Lots of little running gags showing how Peter just can’t catch a break in anything. I feel like he let moments play longer than films do today, giving them breathing room and more weight.