Segarini Finally Reviews Batman v Superman (kinda) and Returns to (Ab)normal….

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If you have ever noticed the cut-phrase in our masthead, you know that DBAWIS’s mission statement is this:

“Dissecting Pop Culture Since 2011. Great Music. Great Stories. Great Googa Mooga!”

From Stamp Collecting, to Politics, to the Importance of Hair, to all forms of entertainment…we cover the waterfront.

…and in case you have ever wondered where ‘Great Googa Mooga’ came from…it came from this….

Listen closely to this 1956 Classic….

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Six years before this record hit the radio I was already immersed in the world of 4 colour comics full of capes and cowls, bright red boots, and damsels in distress caused by everything from Giant Robots, to Men Who Do Evil, to tripping over their own feet and falling off of buildings/cliffs/railroad trestles, and various landmarks.

damsel in distressBack then, Superheroes could always find time to save the plucky ladies, (and all the plucky ladies were constantly snooping in the wrong places or just plain clumsy), and still get back to disarming the Hydrogen Death Bomb threatening to blow up San Franangelos and all the orphans and puppies gathered there for the Annual Orphans and Puppies FunDay War Bonds Fund Raising Box Lunch Picnic, where Mr. Atomic was making an appearance to have his picture taken with dozens of puppies and orphans sitting on his flexed arms and then signing the photos for the little tykes while their mothers swooned and presented him with homemade cookies and pies, and the occasional racy photo of themselves with their number written on the back and their husband’s work schedules.

I am thinking Mercury was always in Retrograde or the moon was perpetually full.

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If you did your homework assignment (see last week’s instalment of this idiotically drawn out story) and the dog didn’t eat it, you will know that almost as soon as Superhero comics appeared, Hollywood saw dollar signs and hopped aboard…first with serials which ran during Saturday afternoon matinee’s ( created for children and utilized by moms everywhere as a baby sitter before television came along) and drew kids back to the theatres every week for months. Why would the kids always come back?

Captain Delta on the Miracle Mile Stockton California

The Actual Stockton Theatre where I Attended the Matinee Every Saturday

Just to see if Amazing Flying Boy caught Radio Reporter Carrie Clumsy before she hit the ground like a Letterman thrown watermelon after tripping over her handbag at the end of last week’s episode and seemingly fell to her messy and gruesome death from high atop Professor E. Ville Science’s Secret Lab on the top of the Entire State Building in downtown Cosmopolitanopolis.

The serials were exciting, fun, and allowed us ‘chillen’ to see our heroes come to life, even if they were bursting through cardboard walls, tore their capes, and battled bad interchangeable henchmen wearing suits, fedoras, and the same pencil thin moustache, the Official Henchman Uniform that made them indistinguishable from one another in every damn serial. They should have worn name tags that said, “Hello. My Name is Carl. I take a beating for Gord The Crime Lord in all of Gord’s thwarted nefarious plans.”

Henchmen! Fedoras! Pencil Thin Moustaches! Racially Inappropriate Villains!

What boy could possibly live without seeing every episode?

…and when you’re a kid…who cares if all the actors are 4-F C-listers who didn’t go off to war, and your plastic Halloween costume was sturdier than the one Batman was wearing in “Chapter 12 – Robin Gets Crushed by The Living Boulder!”

What mother didn’t need to drop off the kids, then go home and empty a bottle of wine or gin before father came home from playing golf or the track?

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So now it’s come to this.

Superheroes have forgotten the kids.

Well…most of the kids.

They have decided to focus on Angry 12 Year Old Boys, and grown men’s Inner Angry 12 Year Old Boys, and  give them nothing but action and females with bodies that make Barbie look positively frumpish, complete with breasts and butts that have raised expectations in boys far beyond Playboy’s airbrushing and augmented strippers.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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They have also done the same for the men in comics. Breasts and Butts a-bounding, in spandex so form fitting that even mom takes a gander occasionally.

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There are exceptions to the rule…but they are rare…and chances are good those comics will never hit the Big Screen. Ever. Believe me, if Star Wars had initially been a comic book, Yoda would have had a nice rack and a round butt by the time the comic was opted for the movies.

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Now, instead of waiting a week for the next chapter of a Superhero movie, we wait a few years. When Marvel does it, the wait (so far) has been worthwhile.

DC/Warners…not so much.

To Summerize….

The Superman….

Supermandreas-Final-3Richard Donner’s Superman heralds the return to movies of the classic comic book superheroes.

Supes is almost perfect.

Clark Kent is ridiculous.

The ‘chapters’ get worse as the franchise stumbles along until the fourth film does Kryptonite’s job and kills Superman dead. Lex Luthor didn’t need Kryptonite…he just needed a really bad idea, matching script, and a studio full of executives who were more familiar with Escort Services than Superman, comics, or creativity.

The Batman….

3870592-8019811212-ValKiBurton nails most of the true Batman mythos and tone.

Keaton’s “I’m Batman” becomes a catchphrase.

Vickie Vale is actually cast as a hot, sexy woman who keeps her clothes on.

Nicholson chews a bit of scenery, but captures the Joker of yore, surpassing Caesar Romero’s marcel-haired Clown Prince of Crime, who came complete with non-moustache moustache twirling and eye-twinkle.

Joel Schumacher turns Batman into a Broadway Musical sans music, that only the boys in the chorus would want to see. Ethel Merman should have sang the theme song, and Lisa Minnelli should have played the love interest…or the love interest’s beard.

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George Clooney was given nice nipples as was Robin. The Bat Codpiece was introduced. Arnold was so bad, the only job he could get after playing Mr. Freeze was the Governor of California, and he continued to shit the bed in that role as well.

Superman Returns….

c_320_320_16777215_00_images_superman-returns_scr-4…after spending 5 years visiting the pebbles that used to be Krypton (under a red sun, where he would have lost his powers and would still be floating along in the debris of his home and native planet as a stiff, stupid, corpse) the somehow still alive Supes comes back to Earth to stalk Lois Lane, shoe gaze, and throw a pity party.

Luthor, now looking more like Kevin Spacey than Gene Hackman, has remained obsessed with real estate and is getting better fashion advice than the first real estate obsessed Luthor. It seems that Lex is into real estate, like Lucas penned Star Wars films are all about trade agreements and crooked politicians.

Lois has mousy brown hair and is pretty much mousy herself. She is also a fickle, selfish dork. Singer throws in a super powered kid for the kids in the audience, of which there were none.

Superman, the world’s most recognizable figure next to the shape of the original coke bottle and Mickey Mouse, has now been killed off TWICE by research challenged writers and studio execs.

The Nolan Batman….

Financially successful, loved by the Angry 12 Year Old Boy crowd (from 6 to 60) and regarded as the rebirth of the character, Batman Begins reduces the World’s Greatest Detective to a dim-witted kung Fu martial artist taken from the more current re-_1452560275imaginings of the character, where he proceeds (over the course of 3 movies) to become the World’s Worst Detective, a brooding loser, an easily outwitted, outmaneuvered slowpoke, and quitter. The REAL Batman NEVER would have let his girlfriend get blown to smithereens. A Paris sidewalk cafe for vino and a quiche? The REAL Batman would be slugging back bourbon at a waterfront dive and picking fist fights with asshole low level crooks and beating the snot out of them, then going back to Wayne Manor…putting on a tux, and driving the Lambo to the Country Club and banging a couple of Kardashians in the groundskeepers shed.

Man of Steel….

Instead of a totally dull ice planet like Hoth, this time around Krypton is a barren, mountain covered ball of dirt populated by a race of highly advanced people who live in caves and ride buglizards instead of flying cars and jet packs or teleportation?  They grow their kids in what looks like seaweed, and GAVE UP space travel 100,000 years ago because it was …what…icky?

Jonathan Kent becomes a paranoid isolationist and treats his son like a retarded WWF wrestler who might accidentally beat up a bigger, stronger, bully? …or even better, use heat vision to keep melting asshole kid’s shoes to the ground and watching them fall over…or remove everything except their underwear in school with his superspeed? …or burn up their homework, or curdle their milk in the cafeteria, or weld their lockers shut, or…or…or…but that would have been clever and fun. Nolan doesn’t DO clever and fun.

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…and Ma Kent ‘doesn’t want any trouble’, and Clark FORGOT he could have simply used his (invisible heat vision or super-breath) to either dissipate the tornado or simply blow it away or apart? …or fucking freeze it solid where it stood? Or simply removed Zod and his hench-aliens breathing apparatus and protective suits, watched them pass out from being able to hear everything at once, have their vision go wonky, and keel over from not being able to breathe, load them into their little space ship, and send it back to the Phantom Zone with his father’s ‘holo-help?

Stupid writers.

Stupid Director.

Stupid movie.

…and why wash out the colour from DCs most colourful character?

Oh.

David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan not only wrote this ‘story’…NOLAN was one of the producers.

watchmen_smiley-wallpaper-1920x1080Zack Snyder, the director, did the absolute best adaptation of Watchmen possible. Brilliant, true to the original story, and the change he made to the ending actually improved on Alan Moore’s original plot.

But everything else he has ever done? Like 300…where, in an apparent nod to Joel Schumacher, he delivered a Castro District movie stuffed with greased up buff men in loin clothes hacking each other to bits or wrestling, while an also greased-up looking heaving breasted beauty gazed lovingly at whatever she was gazing at…I will not hazard a guess.

Angry 12 Year Old Boys love him.

I do not.

…and adding Christopher Nolan to this in the name of commerce was like throwing gasoline on a kitchen fire.

If Superman and the DC/Warners Movie Universe was America…well…you know what that makes Nolan.

All he needs is the shitty hair style and a raft of ill informed followers…what?…wait…he already has those.

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Segarini vs Batman v Superman – The Review.

Batman-V-Superman-Wonder-Woman

This movie was/is not to my taste.

It is not a step forward for the DCU (Detective Comics Universe).

It may have been a step into a bottomless pit.  Sooo….

From an Alternate Earth in the Multiverse….

Superman and the Last City of Krypton (Alternative Title) Superman and the Lost City of Kandor                                            

5 out of 5 Stars

After the financial and popular failure of Warner Brother’s Man of Steel, fans of the Big Blue Boy Scout were afraid the planned sequel would not only end all hope of a continuing Superman franchise,  but would also destroy any chance of ever seeing a Justice League Movie or a connected DC Universe similar to Marvel’s incredibly successful one.

For almost 2 years, fans of the comic book company that created the genre and for almost 80 years have enthralled generations of readers, were afraid DC would be left in the dust so badly, they might even opt out of creating a movie universe altogether, and instead, concentrate on building on their already successful television shows.

At one point, word that the second film in the new Superman series would again be helmed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (also onboard as executive producer and consultant), a large segment of the fans and potential audience for the film joined together to write petitions, magazine and online articles, and created constant social media interaction decrying the ongoing murder/suicide of  what they considered to be an important part of pop culture and the childhoods of generations of action and adventure film fans who were now demanding that something be done to right the wrongs and give the fledgling film universe a chance.

Among the most vocal were well respected members of Hollywood’s elite, as well as many people whose stakes in the success of Warner’s planned series, expressed doubts in continuing their financial and industry support, if serious changes weren’t made.

As unbelievable as it seems, Warner’s listened.

Some of the decision makers responsible for the lack of relative success in the mishandling of Man of Steel even lost their jobs, and Snyder, Nolan, and Goyer, were shown the door.

When the smoke cleared and new deals were in place, anticipation for the follow up film (which at one point, according to those who read the script written by Goyer and Nolan, was more of a Batman movie than a Superman movie, and was set up as the introduction to the Justice League using the death of Superman as a catalyst!) began to grow instead of shrink. When word of the now abandoned script was leaked on the internet, and details emerged, the absurdity of the premature lead in to the JLA, the inclusion of Batman and Wonder Woman and cameos from the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, (Cyborg? Where the heck is Martian Manhunter?), turned the planned Superman sequel into what looked like a desperate, last minute, and rushed, attempt to catch up to Marvel’s dominant position, by using the supposed Superman sequel as a trailer for what DC was hoping to do in the future. Had this film been made as planned, chances are good the whole DC Universe would have been put in jeopardy, with planned films being cancelled, and more than likely leaving the company rudderless and lost on a sea of bad decisions, and desperate choices.

Thankfully, this didn’t happen.

…but what did is an absolute, miraculous victory.

There is not one box office record that hasn’t been broken…and there is no end in sight.

Comparing The Last City of Krypton (or The Lost City of Kandor if you prefer) to the previously planned “Batman v Superman“, let’s touch on some of the highlights of the current runaway hit.

WARNING: CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS!

The film opens with a shot similar to the fly over of Coruscant  at the beginning of the shelved sequel to The Phantom Menace, the film that unfortunately ended the Star Wars series for the foreseeable future (but gave us the great phrase, as in; (“He Jar Jared his marriage when he cheated on Bethany”), But the initial spires poking out of the clouds is where the similarity ends.

Kandor

As we drop lower and the clouds start to thin out, we see the city of Kandor, the capitol of Krypton and home of that planet’s World Council, and what a city! In contrast of the barren Kryptons of previous films, THIS krypton looks like a 1930s depiction of the future (an homage to 51u6eLKTh0L._AC_UL320_SR198,320_Superman’s early comic book stories). As we drop further down and begin to travel closer to the skyscrapers and into the wide canyons between them, the boulevards below teeming with vehicles and pedestrians, we are suddenly passed by one, then two, then more flying cars ala a 1940s Popular Science article, and men and women in colourful outfits, all wearing headbands and sporting crests and icons on their chests, smiling and waving at us as they whiz by. we drop lower and come to rest on a platform halfway up the side of an Art-Deco inspired yellow and red tower, and are whisked into the building on a moving sidewalk…through a long corridor lined with 30 foot statues of past Kryptonian legends, and into a vast chamber surrounded by the 100…Krypton’s World Council. We are deposited in the center of the high ceilinged room and the platform we are standing begins to rise to eye level with the Council while a podium emerges in front of us from the base we are standing on.

We are Jor-El…and we are here to inform the 100 that Krypton is doomed.

…and that is just the first 5 minutes. Shot in Technicolor and the most astonishing 3D I have ever seen, at that point I just wanted to watch that scene over and over. But the rest of the movie just kept taking me upward and onward. THIS is the world of Superman. THIS is the Superman who, through all his reimagining, reboots, and re-jiggering, pays tribute to his earliest creators and artists, and is the BEST of both the Golden age and Silver age Superman comics.

Krypton5

The dour, dark, and ‘realistic’ posturing of his later incarnations are put aside and rendered moot, and instead, we get a Superman who literally lives up to the name…and as intense and as exciting as the movie is…I took my grandkids to see it the second time around, and we ALL enjoyed it. THAT’S story telling! Like a roller coaster ride…the screams of terror were laced with laughs. Now THAT’S realistic!

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The Story….

While Jor-El is explaining why Krypton will explode within a week or two, the ground begins to shake, and an eerie green light begins to grow in intensity outside the chamber.

As Jor-El runs back down The Hall of Heroes to his Flying Car and races off toward his home in Kryptonopolis, 1000 miles away, the green light turns crimson and dust begins to obscure Kandor behind him. As he turns to watch, the dust continues to rise, thicker now, and Kandor’s towers and spires begin to disappear from view.

But Kandor is not being destroyed. It is being stolen by one of Superman’s most iconic and powerful foes, and as the spires of Kandor shrink out of sight, we stay with Jor El lands and runs into his home, yelling, Lara get the baby!” as Krypton’s demise, triggered by the forces that were put in play back in Kandor, begins prematurely, dooming almost all of the 10 billion Kryptonians who have no time to escape. Jor-El is also doomed for the same reason, but we do see a tiny ship escape Krypton’s gravity as the camera pulls back from the destruction, and we also glimpse an alien spacecraft as the small ship flies past it.

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Thus begins Superman’s biggest adventure, and by the time the movie is at the halfway point, Superman is on the greatest quest of his career, resulting in the movie ending in cheering and applause, because, not only is the film an achievement in its own right, the Man of Steel becomes, like Superman Returns, a forgotten mistake, and no longer considered part of the DC Universe.

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Having obtained a copy of the original script for the proposed sequel to Man of Steel, I read it after seeing LCofK and only then did I realize the full meaning of what I had just seen.

If ‘Batman v Superman‘ had been made instead, I doubt Warner Brothers and DC would have known what to do. They would probably be beside themselves with doubt.

First of all, the movie was to be called Batman v Superman. Batman gets top billing? In a Superman sequel? Huh? So before I opened the script to the first page, I was already upset…and then I opened the script to the first page.

Are you sitting comfortably?

The SUPERMAN sequel…opens with…are you ready? THE FUNERAL OF THOMAS AND MARTHA WAYNE AND YET ANOTHER RETELLING OF THE BATMAN ORIGIN!

I flip back to the cover page…yep…this is the Superman sequel script. Just how bad was Man of Steel? It obviously must have rattled Warner Brothers more than they let on…why else would they get Nolan involved and make Batman the centre of attention? Greed and the pursuit of money over the quality of the story telling as destroyed more than one motion picture studio, so, continuing to understand why Man of Steel failed, they hire the very same people who caused that failure to fix it.

Like hiring the arsonist to put out the fire he started.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Reading from there, I discovered page after page of bad ideas and worse dialogue. Pa Kent has a cameo in this and gives even dumber advice than he did in the previous film. Ma Kent tells Clark, “You don’t owe them (human beings) anything”.

Jimmy Olsen

jimmyJimmy Olsen, one of the highlights of The Last City of Krypton, doesn’t even get 10 minutes into the film before the script has him MURDERED by terrorists after he is found to be a CIA operative. WHAT? When asked in an interview about why the script was rejected, Snyder said, Oh, we didn’t have room for the character (in this film) so we thought we’d kill him off as kind of a fun ‘tip of the hat’ to Jimmy fans. Really. Fun?  What a relief it was to see Jimmy in the movie that did get made in his uniform of checked sports coat, khaki’s, bowtie, and the iconic red hair and freckles. He also does a turn as a “superhero’ himself in the action packed showdown at the end of the film. I wish I had a Superman signal watch!

Lois Lane

Lois Lane’s part seemed to be reduced to the old “Damsel in Distress” trope, and add to that a mistake so inane it leads to Superman’s death. That’s right. Thy kill Superman, skewing the worst comic book series DC ever published that was done solely to attract more readers. Did Goyer and Nolan even LOOK at any of the far superior Superman HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Actress Margot Robbie attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)tales from which to draw their inspiration, or were they told to just go after the cash? I love Margot Robie‘s take on Miss Lane, and am in love with how she looks as a brunette. Smart and sassy like the Lois we love, and her wisecrack after Clark reveals he’s Superman to her (not a spoiler, this was in Entertainment Weekly last week) got big laughs. When she looks puzzled after he tells her, she says, “How is that possible? You two barely share a passing resemblance”. Supes explains while he shows her, “It’s simple Lois, I compress the molecules in my body to look a bit thinner and shorter, I stoop ever so slightly, and I vibrate the molecules in my face just enough to soften my features”.  Lois looks at him for a beat or two and, deadpan, says, “Well, could you tweak it a little bit, you look like an accountant from Ohio trapped in a bad marriage. No wonder no one pays any attention to you”, turns and walks away, saying as she leaves, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

Lex Luthor

I honestly don’t think they would have done this. Lex has been misused damn near every time he has been portrayed on screen, with the exception of Michal Rosenbaum’s smug, aloof portrayal as a young Lex in television’s Smallville. So how was Lex written in B v S?

2bc7861acfAs a ADD Silicon Valley Hipster Nerd with Skater Boy hair, sneakers, cheap suits and t-shirts, who’s dialogue is babbling and meandering self aggrandizement, giving us an actual Angry 12 Year Old Boy as a character in the movie, and missing the mark completely. Thank God Billy Zane was cast as Lex in LCofK, complete with bald head, and scientific background, and is mostly in the shadows until the last 30 minutes of the film.

Batman

downloadBatman…who shouldn’t even be IN this script, comes across pretty good, in fact, when Ben Affleck picks up the reins as Batman in the Justice League movie next year, he may prove to be the best Batman ever. His brief “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo in the clip during the credits not only clears up a plot point in the movie, but got cheers from the audience at the screening I attended. You could see that he and Superman are close friends, but won’t really see why or how until Justice League: The Hollow Earth opens next year.

About the only other ray of sunshine in the script is the description and dialogue of Wonder Woman’s small role (yep, she’s in it too), and the only smile or chuckle in the whole thing is when she shows up and Superman says to Batman, “Is she with you?”, and Bats says, I thought she was with you”. About 2 more hours of similar dialogue, and this script might have actually had a chance.

We get the corpse of Zod from Man of Steel as the ‘bad guy’ again, and we get beat over the head with all the destruction caused by Zod and Superman’s battle in Man of Steel. A simple scene indicating Metropolis had been evacuated before the fight started would comic-book-men-kevin-smith1have gone a long way toward making Man of Steel at least tolerable.

We have Kevin Smith‘s direction (with help from the very busy JJ Abrams) and the script co-written by Smith, James Gunn, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely,. to thank for this stellar Superman masterpiece. Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Markus and McFeely (Captain America: Civil War, deserve a LOT of credit and must have cost Warners a fortune, but DC did the right thing…hire the Best for the Best…and in doing so, gave us back a Superman for the ages.

We are very lucky to have gotten this film instead of the original one that was planned.

If, as Marvel and DC both believe, there are multiple universes, multiple Earths…I feel so sorry for the one that ended up with Batman v Superman…and what the hell does ‘v’ stand for, anyway?

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Any Questions or comments, please write them in the Comment Section below.

Your Comments Are Welcome

Segarini’s regular columns appear here whenever Lois Lane gets shoved off a skyscraper.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Tilda January 2015Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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