So, it was confirmed today that there will be a second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why!
I know a lot of us are still getting back to our normal selves after watching the first season. It’s been about a month now, but I still find myself staring off into space thinking about how hard this show hit me. I couldn’t eat or sleep during the couple of days that I spent binging it. I had to pause and step away during some of the episodes, so it took me damn near a week to finally get to the last episode. Honestly, I had to pace myself, because the story lines sent me on a roller-coaster of emotions and I found myself having to catch my breath while watching.
Which brings me to this track – “Bored” – and no, this show was anything but boring. I have so much to say about this show, but I won’t be able to really talk about it just yet. I need to give myself an honest re-watch to pay attention to other things and not solely on the emotional aspects. Listening to Billie Eilish’s “Bored” puts all of my emotions into one song. When it opens, there’s this sigh of relief as if Billie is taking a deep breath and coming up for air after being bottled down with so much emotion.
As I really listen to the song, it reminds me of how “bored” I am with mundane things like gossip, trying to look pretty for certain people when they probably could care less, keeping up with the “cool people”, and just trying to impress people that I honestly do not care about and who honestly do not have any significance in my life. Kind of like the “joys” of high school, huh? But if I’m being candid, these mundane things have followed me beyond high school into my adult life and it’s time to shed them! “What makes you sure you’re all I need?” Seriously, I’m so bored with all the crap that people my age worry and care about when there’s this large world out there that deserves my attention, effort, and breath. “Giving you every piece of me.”
And maybe this song is about a girl bored with her romantic relationship. She puts her all into the relationship and the guy always comes up short. The effort just really takes a toll on her and she finally realizes that she’s bored. She’s bored with the idea of the two of them together, because he really doesn’t matter. She should be adored instead of ignored. And all of her time and effort spent on him is just not worth it anymore.
Then of course this song perfectly brings Hannah’s thoughts to a close observation from 13 Reasons Why. All of the stress and harassment that she received from the kids at her school just made her bored. She became bored with her own life, because they were a part of it. Bored with having to continue the routine of going to school and trying to feel excited about something and to have a bunch of bullies snatch it away from her. It’s very sad and heartbreaking to watch and Billie just gives Hannah ANOTHER voice beyond the grave to try to understand her emotions. I don’t agree with Hannah ending her own life, but if you asked me if I’ve ever felt a similar way – I would be lying if I said that being a teen was smooth sailing. During that time, the world is just so small with the hallways and the classrooms. It seems like anything else beyond those four years are light-years away or impossible to achieve.
I am grateful everyday that I made it out and that I got the chance to meet my baby brother who was born during my sophomore year. Freshman year took a toll on me and there were moments where I wished it all would fade to black. I’m just glad that a bigger presence out there beyond this world allowed me to hold on and wait for the good part. Wait for the spark. Wait for the worthiness of life.
This song just brings it all to the surface. And for anyone who is struggling with depression or harassment in school and even outside of school, please keep in mind that life is rich and those that try to taint the way you journey through it are insignificant. They are merely pebbles that you have to kick away from you so that you can clear your path.
Take a deep breath and take it all in and please don’t be bored with life and find something that truly makes you excited to wake up everyday. Give this song a listen and really take it all in. Peace and love to all of you!
To keep up with tradition, I thought I’d post a little something for my favorite Halloween music. Cat Power’s cover of Michael Hurley’s “The Werewolf” has definitely been one of my favorite tunes this October. Hurley’s original track is just as haunting and transcendent. It gives me absolute chills, which is perfect for this Halloween season.
I don’t know about you guys, but this October has been really stressful. Honestly, I feel like I haven’t been able to catch my breath. I’ve just been pushing through, and trying to smile and mask it all. It’s been a heck of a month and I cannot wait until November. Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays as I feel like it’s the time for childish and outlandish behavior, which gives permission to people to not act like themselves. I didn’t go into October thinking, ‘oh, I’m going to be someone different!’ It kind of snuck up on me and I involuntarily felt like someone else all month long.
Being in disguise kind of takes a toll on you for an entire month. Looking into the mirror and not recognizing the eyes staring back at you is frustrating and kind of heartbreaking because I’ve just been trying to find my way back to myself. Feeling trapped while someone else reaches the surface is surely a recipe for stress and depression.
With all of that said, Cat Power’s “Werewolf” has been a familiar and uncanny anchor for me to feel like myself. Her voice just always clears my view through all of the fog. It’s like I can hear her energy and it jolts me back into reality. There’s a glimmer of myself that I can catch, even if it only last a few minutes. Also, a song about being a werewolf is just another snippet of relatability. Having to transform into something unfamiliar and untameable to wake up not remembering who you were for a moment of time? Yeah, I copy that loud and clear.
I wish I could say Happy Halloween…but to sign off on a positive note, Happy end of October!
Every day I try to block my thoughts about how lonely I really feel. I keep pushing myself towards goals that I only set for myself and setting obstacles that only I believe will get me to these goals. It’s tiring. It’s exhilarating. It’s also just a way for me to stall. I’m stalling myself from living fruitfully and honestly.
If I had it my way, I’d be living in a whimsical little town where I’d shop at a farmers market and I’d write about everything that made me happy. I would KNOW what made me happy. I would meet people that shared my views and we would have fulfilling conversations in coffee shops. I would travel to see music artists that made time stop and I’d feel like I was on top of the world. Artists like Patrick Watson.
I wouldn’t live in fear. And not just fear of the unknown or outside forces, but also fear of myself. Guys, I’m honestly afraid to live my life the way that I truly want it to be. And it’s not entirely about failure. It’s not about me not being strong enough to pursue my dreams. It’s how I go about them. I give myself these little limitations to keep myself in check. I like having some kind of control over myself, which means that I allow others to have control over me as well. That way, I’m not truly free to get myself into situations that may be hard. But honestly, living means that you face all that life has to throw at you and you can’t always come out on top. You have to be unafraid to step out there and soar as high as you can. There may not be a perfect calculation or formula to how you get to achieve your dreams. It may be messy. It may be a little unpredictable.
I put myself in a stronghold to feel some kind of security. I honestly don’t know what it is, but I’m afraid of something. Maybe it’s failure. Maybe it’s loneliness. Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, the point of this is that this song tends to bring out these emotions and these thoughts. My entire life, I’ve felt like I’ve just been so lost. I’ve been moving in circles or moving in misdirections trying to get to some mirage. I’d think that I’ve found my destination, but it’ll move further and further away from me the more steps that I took towards it. I push people away and I stick close to people that are poisonous to my mind and spirit. Sometimes that means family.
I also push people away or keep them at an arm’s length. But I also stick close to people that are poisonous to my mind and spirit. I don’t have a real idea of what love is or what it feels like to be in love. I also don’t know if it’s a necessity of life, but I feel like it should be. I think I’d be ok with looking up and seeing someone from across the room that made everything feel right. That made it all seem beautiful. And I’d equally make them feel the same way. When it comes to that sort of thing, love or romance, I become something of a droid. Thinking that if I say this or if I behave exactly like that – it’ll be correct. It’ll be the way to show exactly how I feel. But no. It’ll just make me look and sound like someone else.
Songs like these are what open my mind to all the beauty in the world. I forget sometimes that the world doesn’t revolve around me and I am a part of something huge. Something that my mind can’t fathom. But while I’m here on earth, I should try to let joy in. I should try to give myself a little breathing room and not bully myself. I should be more open and be more myself. I should just be.
Basically, this song is truly a love song for robots.
I first started listening to Cat Power my freshman year of college. I don’t even remember where I first heard her, but I can bet it was from Pandora. No, I take that back. It was from Bones. Brennan was listening to The Greatest and I grasped so hard to the song that I continued on to play it just about everyday while in college. It just holds so much meaning and opens up my mind and pretty much wakes me up. It’s ironic, because Cat’s voice is very raspy and she generally sings in a whispery sort of fashion. So, for this song to wake me up means that I drop everything, clear my mind, and focus.
It’s just a beautiful track. “Once, I wanted to be The Greatest.” What does it mean to be the greatest? What does it mean to be all that you are and above all that you are? It takes a lot of courage to surpass your own strength and rise up. Be brave. Challenge yourself. Then, as a woman, this song really throws that feminist punch. “No wind or waterfall can stall me.” It’s easy to lose focus and dwell on feelings and emotions from those around you. Even romantic ones. And I’ll open up a little right now and say that not so long ago I almost let myself fall hard for someone and change all of my plans based on whether or not that someone would finally realize that I was pining for him.
And, I won’t punish myself for this moment of weakness. I allowed myself to feel and open up, but at the same time it just wasn’t something worth what I was willing to give up. Fortunately, I have moved on and gotten my head back on with my eyes peering forward. Romance is nice, but you have to truly and wholly love yourself and what you’re doing first. Be completely happy with who you are and all that you have accomplished before you share that love with someone else. At the time, my mind was too clouded and I wasn’t happy with my personal journey. I just wasn’t finished with my plans and I wasn’t focused enough. Diving into something like a relationship could have ruined me.
Anyway, this song always just drives home that feeling of being in control. Yes, I am allowed to be emotional. To be strong. To be selfish. To be happy. To be focused. I am allowed to be the greatest…compared to others and compared to myself. I am allowed to rise up.
There are just certain musical artists that speak to me. Ryan Adams, Coldplay, Radiohead (Thom Yorke), and Cat Power. It’s like, Ke’ara, shut off everything around you and listen. Focus. I’ve read a lot about Cat Power’s personal journey in the music biz, and some of it is heartbreaking and most of it is encouraging and inspiring. She’s gone through a lot and has had some breakdowns on stage and she’s had some blossoming moments of pure beauty.
Because live music shouldn’t be this brief, mindless, performance in front of strangers. It should be a moment to feel every once of emotion that you put into the music. It’s your song. It’s your story. It’s your soul. And sometimes it’s not pretty. It’s not perfect. It’s not some robotic, straightforward, constructed thing. It’s bits and pieces of all sorts of rushes of feelings. And it should show. It should reach out and smack those in the audience. It should make them feel… you.
Cat Power does that and I think with this entertainment industry, her truths and raw emotion just doesn’t get read or understood the way it should. Because those people just aren’t prepared for it or on that same wavelength. There are just too many facades in the entertainment industry, and Cat Power is basically one in the handful of artists who are just beyond those standards. Way beyond. She’s one of the greatest.
Sadly, Hans Zimmer just announced his retirement from scoring superhero motion picture films.
I’m going to go ahead and tackle on this big one. Normally, I don’t review new films – mostly because it takes me a while to actually get myself interested in all of the new stuff that comes out. But this film, guys – this film is what I have been waiting on for years. Even before it was announced. Sadly, though – I left the theater not knowing how I felt about Batman v Superman. There were just so many things going through my mind and even as I type this, I still don’t know how I truly feel about the movie.
I didn’t hate it, but there are so many things that are keeping me from saying with out a doubt, I loved it. The goal for this post is to air out all of my feelings and hopefully come to a decision about how I feel about Batman v Superman. The title still makes my cringe, so that can’t be a good start.
As an avid DC Comics fan, I have been wanting a live-action Justice League / more than one DC hero collaboration film since I started watching Bruce Timm’s influential DC Comics animated series including Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Justice League, and Justice League: Unlimited. Especially those last two.
These series are normally what I use as my DC Comics bible and guide. When and if I miss a few comic issues, I feel like the series are the holy grail for the main and most interesting story-lines and transitions throughout DC Comics. In fact, a lot of the animated series and films are great references to know what’s going on in the comics. JL and JLU just seemed to get everything right and keep me entertained and educated in my DC Comics familiarity.
And I understand that the animated series were just another method of telling the stories of our favorite DC Comics heroes – just like the comics, live action-television series, and films. The main reason that I love Smallville is because I like how the series includes plot points and characters from the comics. They aren’t exactly like their comic versions, but the show allows me to see what I have been reading live and in living color, so to speak.
Confession: Early in my Smallville watching days, I used the animated series as my reference guides while watching the show and became angry during times when I thought the show missed out on capturing stories and characters exactly like the animated versions. I understand now that that was ridiculous and unfair, but at the time it was just how much faith I had in the animated series. I wasn’t accepting the concept that Smallville was another creative version of these characters and another way to depict the classic stories while bringing in new stories…and characters.
The founding members of the JLA for me were always Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Jon Stewart), Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. They were the league. The core. Seeing an ensemble of superheroes calling themselves the Justice League without ALL or most of these members just never seemed truthful or right to me. I loved Smallville’s version of the JLA with Clark, Green Arrow, Impulse (Bart Allen), Aquaman, and Cyborg – but deep down I felt like it was an off-brand version of the true JLA. Later on, Hawkman, Stargirl, Black Canary, and Martian Manhunter joined the league as well. Even though these characters were actually rightful Justice League members, I wanted my Batman and Wonder Woman.
In JLU, nearly every DC Comics hero is invited into the league, but the founding seven were the head honchos. The decision makers. When I would see the outlier heroes fill in or be spotlighted instead of the seven, I felt like something was missing or that I wasn’t getting the full story. With the exception of The Question, who really brings his A Game. None of the less, it is amazing to see The JLA in live-action form on Smallville. The current DC Comics television series like Arrow and The Flash are also great with their superhero collabs. I still have yet to invest some time in Supergirl and Gotham, but I’m sure they’re doing their share of DC Comics hero assemblies. The Flash just made his way over to Supergirl – a crossover to another series and network. How cool is that!
With all of this said, let’s talk about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The actual purpose of this post. And yes, HUGE spoilers are ahead.
Batman…the Demon Knight?
One of the most exciting things for me about the film is that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman finally meet on the big screen. Warner Bros had to reboot the whole Batman character (again) just to make this happen. Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise is just totally different from the path Zack Snyder is taking these characters and the DC Cinematic Universe. Although Nolan’s darker depiction of the DC Comics world really kicked into gear the tone for future films. His films are more grounded in realism, whereas Snyder doesn’t hold back with showing the super in superhero. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and The Bat Vigilante of Gotham is every bit of what I loved about the animated counterpart.
All the doubt and outrage about Affleck’s casting should be hushed down to a complete silence. I actually never doubted him as I am one of those people who actually loves the Daredevil film. We’re a rare group, apparently. Affleck is brooding as Batman and hell-bent on giving the bad guys their justice. He’s even charming as Bruce Wayne – when he’s not hung over. I am a little iffy on how hungover he is in the film and how vengeful he is towards his regular ol’ street foes. The gun wielding also kind of struck a nerve just like Superman’s last encounter with Zod in Man of Steel. My SEVEN YEAR OLD BROTHER was like…why the fudge does Batman have a gun?
Batman also seems stupidly blind by his rage and too unreasonable to understand who Superman is and what his beliefs are. He doesn’t even try to look beyond the media’s portrayal of Supe’s and all of the blasphemy about the destruction to the city as a modern God among men. As I watched the film, I really was like ‘Bruce, come on! Wake up and smell the coffee and put down the scotch!’ I realize that he’s been Batman for years, way before Clark came out as the Man of Steel, and he has seen his fair share of misfits and dangerous foes – like The Joker. But there’s just something off about how angry Bruce is at Superman. Bruce Wayne would have the means to arrange a meeting and just hear Superman out. They probably could have skipped the whole fight and became friends sooner rather than the inevitable later.
I also wanted to see more of the playboy high-roller Bruce Wayne that made his way through the hearts of even the strongest of ladies. Even Lois Lane. Maybe it’s because (and I am almost positive it is) this version of Bruce has been a vigilante for so long and he’s become more Batman than his normal self. He’s ticked off throughout majority of the film and when he finally does crack a smile or quips, it stays with you. Just like in JL.
I love how cocky he is when he meets Clark Kent for the first time. He throws it in Clark’s face that Metropolis worships Superman, an alien from another planet with the ability to take over the planet if he wanted to. So why so much hate on the Bat vigilante, Clark? In their conversation, Clark becomes less of a boy-scout and stiffens up more like Superman when he basically gets dissed by Bruce, who also turns off the charming act and his rage festers through as Batman.
It reminds me so much of when Clark and Bruce meet in Superman the animated series. I couldn’t tell here if they realized at that moment who each other really were. Well, Clark probably does due to his super hearing allowing him to overhear Alfred tipping Bruce off about what Lex is hiding. Then again, he may just think that Bruce is some sort of spy or federal agent. I like to think Clark is smarter than that, though. Even Jimmy Kimmel isn’t buying it.
Bruce in BvS is kind of how Smallville’s Clark becomes between seasons 7-10. His exterior is harder, colder, and his personality is drier than his younger self. He has seen too many bad guys and has had his heartbroken. His destiny gets in the way of him having a normal life. His best friend, Lex, officially turns evil and his father dies. It’s all enough to turn good men cruel as Alfred says in BvS.
By the way, I love this version of Alfred. He looks like he has so much swag. No, but seriously he seems to have more of a valued friendship with Bruce rather than just being his older guardian, butler, and confidant. He’s still the one that tries to talk sense into Batman.
Alfred is tech savvy and makes Bruce’s Batman gear. I do agree that he looks more like Commissioner Gordon here, but Jeremy Irons is fantastic as usual. He’s the cool Alfred for the new generation.
Superman…the Man in Question?
I actually really wanted to see more of Clark Kent. Yes, Superman deals with a lot of crap in this film as Lex frames him to be this God-like tyrant. Superman has this very solemn demeanor when he’s saving people and when the government and media blast his name and try to define who he is. He’s just too darn sad and offended.
On the other hand, Clark Kent had some fight in him, personality-wise. He’s happy with Lois and he pushes Perry White to shed light on Batman rather than settling to write about sports. When he’s Superman, he’s either pissed at his foes or he’s heartbroken to see that the people he’s saving and fighting for can so easily misunderstand who he is and his intentions. There’s no middle ground. I need to see that middle ground, where Clark and Superman meet.
We’re rushed into this story and we don’t really get a chance to see what happened to Clark after Man of Steel. How has he been dealing with his journey as Superman? He just figures out about his true identity and origins in Man of Steel and his first spat with the bad guys is less than graceful. In BvS, we hear a lot about how Bruce has been affected, but not how Clark is coping. He just shows up to save Lois here and there, saves civilians who worship him like a God, and gets slandered by the government. Then he runs away and I couldn’t help, but slap my knee in anger.
He eventually comes back home, but it bothered me how easily he would just up and leave – giving up on us, I mean, the civilians in the film. With such a big opinion on Batman, I feel like Clark’s perspective on Superman and his ambition should be spelled out for us. What type of hero do you want to be, Clark? Do you even consider yourself a hero? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It’s also nice to see moments with Martha Kent when Clark feels like the world is against him. She reminds him that he doesn’t owe the world anything and he could just hang up the cape and live his life under the radar. There’s also a dream sequence where the deceased Jonathan Kent appears to Clark and gives him some sage advice. Though, I was too distracted by trying to figure out what was going on to pay enough attention to what he tells Clark.
What I love about Smallville is that we get the journey of Clark Kent with his parents and friends. We get to see him grow into the hero that he wants to be and make decisions about how separate his ‘human’ identity lifestyle should be from his hero one. Sure, it gets muddied and blended often times, but atleast we have the opportunity to see Clark chose a path rather than just having him thrown into one. The Kents really play a huge part in guiding him.
There’s just so much Bruce Wayne in BvS, that I feel like Clark Kent gets the short end of the stick. We get Bruce’s motivations, even if his origins and history as Batman is more unknown apart from the tidbits that we get in dream sequences and him mentioning his dealing with clowns. Plus, there’s the graffitied Robin costume hanging up and his parents’ graves that act as sore reminders that he has lost those close to him.
We need to know what’s going on in Clark’s head. As the future leader of the Justice League, I want to see that leadership role taken seriously. He needs to be the one to keep his conrads focused and motivated to do good for Earth and the intergalactic space. To work with various governments (especially The United States) and to personally form a connection to Earth that grounds them to avoid the team becoming an isolated powerhouse. Those that could flip the switch and start chaos. That were the aliases come in. Or, their assumed true identities.
Lois Lane…the Key?
What makes the Justice League human enough to fit in and appreciate the human race? For Clark, it’s his connection with his adopted family and Lois Lane.
We get a feel for their relationship in BvS, and how Clark and Lois have have fallen madly in love with each other. Clark is there for Lois when she’s a damsel and when she’s being reckless. I was scratching my head to understand how and when they became so close to the point that they live together and Clark has a ring for Lois by the end of the film. This is that missing time after Man of Steel where Clark makes some big decisions and we aren’t given the opportunity to see them before we get BvS. Sure, it’s lovely to see that Clark and Lois have taken their relationship to the next step, but for Superman to rush in to save her neck even in the most dangerous of situations where he risks his own reputation – I want to see the first date and the whole decision to move in together! I need substance.
In Smallville (though the whole Lois and Clark relationship gets rushed around season 8 after Lana Lang leaves) we get to see Lois falling for Clark after all the time she lived with him and The Kents. They annoyed each other and Clark found Lois to be reckless and a little over the top. Lois found Clark to be too much of a boy-scout. Little did they know that they were opposites destined to attract.
I want to see Lois and Clark get on each others’ nerves and pick and prod at each other before realizing how perfect they are for one another. Sure, I absolutely love how sexy Clark/Superman looks when he’s with Lois, but at times it’s a little too mushy – making Lois look a little needy. I love Amy Adams, but she makes me want to smack Lois at times. I feel the same about Erica Durance’s Lois in Smallville during seasons 8 – 10. To me, Lois should be headstrong and not too much dependent on her super hunky man. But to eat my words, I love when Superman sweeps her off of her feet.
Do We Need a Superman?
As for his reputation, Superman is really in a bad place with the media and government. All of the mass destruction from Man of Steel divided the people into two factions: those that believe in Superman and those that distrust him. Some people clearly see that he tried to save the planet from Zod and his Kryptonian followers, but some see only the destruction caused by the battle. Bruce is one of those people and so is a good portion of the government. Senator Finch tries to find justified sense in all of the chaos.
She believes that power corrupts individuals (Lex Luthor is a prime example) and wants to exercise her strong belief in democracy. She invites Superman to defend his actions before the people who judge him. Finch believes in fairness and doesn’t want to jump to the conclusion that Superman is too powerful to be trusted. Lex Luthor tries to manipulate her, but she doesn’t sip the tea he is serving. Literally.
The hearing doesn’t go well and Lex sets Superman up to appear a part of a conspiracy that leads the entire Senate building and those in it (including Senator Finch) in crumbles. Superman is obviously left standing looking hella heartbroken that again he’s going to be blamed for another catastrophe. I honestly feel for Superman in this moment. He’s obviously going to be the last man standing simply due to what he is. Him standing there in the middle of it all makes others believe that he had something to do with the explosion or that he caused the explosion. All he wanted to do was air out the truth, which could have saved Bruce a lot of time and effort planning his battle with the Man of Steel and allowed the people all over the world to know that Superman means well. He’s genuinely a good guy. Roll the credits! Skip to Justice League!
The situation reminds me so much of JL when the league is criticized for having too much power. Sure, the government (creating Project Cadmus) is right to be wary of such a large number of super-powered beings. They could, if they wanted to, take over the planet. Case in point, The Justice Lords.
They dubbed themselves divine beings, with the power, audacity, and authority to have control over the world. The thing is, the Justice League are the good guys. They constantly prove themselves when they save the world from evil and destruction. However, even Batman begins to recognize that forming an unlimited league accrues too much power and humans wouldn’t be able to do much if the team decided to go rogue. Superman and the rest of the core seven reach out to the government and form an alliance. But who says the government isn’t corrupt?
Look at Amanda Waller. She and Batman both believe that The Justice League are far too powerful, but their different tactics to keep things under control make them butt heads on many occasions. I can’t wait to see Viola Davis’s portrayal of Waller in Suicide Squad.
I’ve always been torn on Waller’s beliefs and motivations. On one hand, she wants to keep super-powered beings from taking over the world, but on the other hand, she uses corrupt methods to do so. Creating a team of super-villains to do good just lends itself to allowing them more access an opportunity to do more evil. And her definition of ‘good’ is relative. She gives the government too much power. It’s like a lose-lose situation. No one side should have more power than the other nor have all of the power. Like Senator Finch says, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I do have to admit that Amanda Waller is an amazing character and her dialogue on JL really makes me think critically about government and power and philosophically about what a government is. Waller is a bold woman with strong beliefs. She acts on them without a lick of fear from those physically more power than she is. And that really says something, because she can kick some butt.
Sometimes Waller’s associations are more corrupt than the superheroes that she comes head to head with. Lex Luthor, for example. Now, Lex Luthor is my favorite villain in DC Comics. He’s intelligent, cunning, obsessive, rich, and good old-fashioned evil. His motivations vary, but they are usually along the lines of him wanting to take over the world and have control over super-beings or metahumans to do his own evil bidding.
In JLU, he’s the most enduring villain. Ever. He plants seeds to give himself power in the government for access to totally classified research and documentation of metahuman and super-human existence. He even runs and gets elected to the presidency in an alternative reality. This really sends Superman off the deep end.
His obsession with power and knowledge is also referenced in Smallville, where Lex’s character is probably the most well-written version that I’ve ever seen or read. Here, he becomes so obsessed with Clark’s and metahumans (re: meteor freaks) abilities that he spirals into a cold-hearted killer and unforgiving foe. We get to see his journey into the nemesis of Superman as he gets sick and tired of all of the lies and deceit from Clark and those around him. He takes matters into his own hands and answers his own questions.
When he succumbs to his darkness, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Michael Rosenbaum totally nails Lex Luthor and you can’t help but root for the bad guy. Clark tries to cover up so much and in return, Lex becomes outraged with how naive Clark thinks he is. There’s often humor in Lex’s reproach to Clark, other essential characters, and the many scientists and researchers he often has doing his dirty work.
You can’t help but laugh as Lex one-ups everyone. There’s a very Shakespearian and poetic relationship between him and Clark, as he initially just wants Clark to trust and love him like a brother. His own father doesn’t show much approval or affection towards him, so he seeks out love and acceptance from the Kents. Of course, they never trust him enough to let him all in. Jonathan, especially.
As much as I can go on about Smallville andBruce Timm’s animated version of Lex Luthor, I have to talk about Snyder’sversion, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
I’ll start by saying that yes, he made me laugh, but I absolutely did not take him seriously as Lex Luthor. His mumbling about gods, demons, and power came off as unhinged and annoyingly snarky. Basically, he was his TheSocial Network Mark Zuckerberg character in a Zack Snyder world. Actually, he was just Jesse Eisenberg in a Zack Snyder world. And that wig! It would be more tolerable if the wig was acknowledged as a wig on Lex’s bald head. But to pretend that it was Lex’s actual hair just makes the character appear more ridiculous and clownish.
I want to see someone with a more authoritative and strong demeanor play Lex Luthor. I can throw out a ton of actors’ names like Ralph Fiennes, Michael Fassbender (who’s busy playing Magneto in the Marvel/Fox cinematic universe), Thomas Jane, Julian McMahon, Luke Evans, Mark Strong, hell even Michael Rosenbaum could reprise the role and take it to new heights on the big screen. But no, we get Jesse Eisenberg. It would be nice to have someone stand toe to toe with Superman and Batman in stature and strike the fear in those around him. Jesse Eisenberg is more annoying than anything else. I had a hard time trying to figure out what he was saying (or why he was saying it) and what his motivations are besides the fact that he’s Lex Luthor, so he has to be the bad guy.
Here’s what Zack Snyder said about his version of Lex in Entertainment Weekly –
“He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course. Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.”
Since this is a revamped live-action Lex Luthor apart from the Smallville and Superman Returns Lex (played by Kevin Spacey who is acceptable as the old fashioned Lex Luthor), I imagined that he would be a closer version to his animated counterpart. Proving to be undoubtedly evil, funny, strong-willed, and even kind of dashing – in that bad boy sort of way. These previous versions of Lex were just as adamant about their desire to be in control, and we didn’t have to solve a ton of riddles to figure that out.
When he kidnaps Lois in the film, I wanted her to throw a punch or shove him. I’m 100% sure that he couldn’t take her. He would probably frail on the ground. She just calls him “psychotic” and he feels like he has just been complimented. When Superman shows up, I just shook my head in disbelief that he didn’t just throw Lex off of the building (onto something that wouldn’t actually kill him during landing) or quickly and easily knock him unconscious. But no, the little twerp spews out his dangerous plan and runs the show.
Now, what would I do to have seen Superman and Lex actually go at it. That would have been more satisfying than seeing Batman and Supes fight. The battle suit that Batman has could just as easily have been the green kryptonite suit that Lex builds in the animated universe.
Wonder Wonder…Is She With You?
We finally get to see Wonder Woman on the big screen…with Superman and Batman! It’s really a huge milestone and something that DC Comics fans have been waiting for since forever. I mentioned how much of a pleasure it is to see the Justice League in live-action, but to finally see Wonder Woman in a live-action film is something that I really cannot put into words. Sure, there were a ton of expectations. From what you’ve read so far, you can tell that I put a lot of faith and respect in the Bruce Timm animated versions of these characters. So yeah, I was looking forward to seeing that type of Wonder Woman in BvS.
The animated versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are self-assured and forthright. In BvS, they seem to be holding back or second guessing or slightly less confident in themselves (with Bruce Wayne / Batman as an exception). Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is confident (cocky) and she definitely kicks butt, but her Diana is more blah than the version in JL. She kind of just appears and disappears and takes her time getting to the Doomsday (and I’ll get to him momentarily) fight. Of course, she shows up just in time before Batman becomes a shish kabob.
I want to see more of Diana Prince and what she is up to throughout the film – other than just going to lavish parties, riding in jets, and chilling in her hotel room checking email. There’s also something a little off about Gal Gadot’s acting. Don’t get me wrong, she does an amazing job, but she seems a little detached. I get that the character is this Amazonian warrior princess, but Gadot’s ‘dead eyes’ made me feel like she wasn’t really Diana / Wonder Woman, but just an actress doing what she thought the character would do. Saying the lines. Going through the motions. Maybe we’ll get more from her in the Wonder Woman solo film. I’m excited to see Diana’s origins story and I’m rooting and ‘waiting for Gadot’ to show more expression in her damn eyes.
I would also like to add, once again, that it was fantastic to see Wonder Woman on the big screen. However, I feel like when she finally shows up to the battle, the CGI becomes a little over the top-top and I couldn’t really enjoy the fact that Wonder Woman was freaking battling Doomsday on the big screen. I do love that Snyder allowed Diana and Bruce to flirt like in the animated series.
There’s a great chemistry between Batman and Wonder Woman in JL. It’s along the lines of yeah, Bruce is a ninja, but Diana is something of a god and she falls for this brooding guy that dresses like a bat.
Then, she always seems to be the one to save him when he falls short to hang in there with his super-powered conrads. We even see this in BvS where Batman kind of hangs out while Wonder Woman and Superman fight off Doomsday. When Doomsday targets him, his best strategy is to run away as fast as he can. I think this is where some of the humor seeps in.
Wonder Woman kind of just shows up dressed in her warrior gear and Batman and Superman have to ask each other if she’s with either of them. Now, this confuses me, because I can understand Superman’s confusion as he hadn’t interacted with her before this point, but Bruce has and has seen her photo from the early 1900s in Lex’s metahuman files. Why was he asking who she was with? Maybe he just thinks all of the super-powered folks must roll together. He is just now on good terms to work with Superman. For all he knows, Clark and Diana could have been working together this whole time. He doesn’t know either of their origins.
I won’t even talk about the actual battle between Batman and Superman, because I was wincing the whole time watching it. It was just ridiculous (and predictable) and the reason Batman lets up is even more ridiculous.
The Rest of the League
And speaking of metahuman files, my favorite part of the whole film is seeing The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman make their cameos. Even though the setup is a little bizarre: Bruce shares the files via email to Diana. I think that Snyder could have structured the appearances in a less clunky and more believable fashion. And why the hell did Lex have the ‘cinematic logos’ on the files? Is he making the films? I feel like the clips were honestly just rough footage from the upcoming Justice League film. But nonetheless, I am pleased that their existence is included in BvS. The DC Comics super-powered team is actually happening on the big screen and I can’t stop smiling about it.
I’m excited to see what the group accomplishes together and how they layout roots for other members to join in the future. I want to see similar versions of the JL animated characters portrayed in live-action.
Smallville set the tone for ambition along with the current DC Comics live-action series. We got to meet, Aquaman, Impulse (The Flash), Cyborg , and The Green Arrow. I really want to see what can be done with these characters in the cinematic universe. There was so much expectation for Ben Affleck’s Batman and I really feel like Snyder can really make this Batman stick. Now, here’s to hope that Suicide Squad’s The Joker will be above amazing to counter Batman. Jared Leto has big shoes to fill after Heath Ledger’s stunning portrayal of the character. His Joker is big enough to last a lifetime. Pretty excited to see Harley Quinn on the big screen too.
Doom and Doomsday
While we’re talking about DC Comics villains, Doomsday is the big foe that comes in to deliver well, doom. Can I just say that I wasn’t surprised nor was I amazed to see this character. The trailers and promos actually made me numb during majority of the film. I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen – well the major plot points. I knew Wonder Woman was coming (she would have been a huge surprise if Warner Bros would have kept her appearance under wraps), I knew that Doomsday would show up and be created by Lex Luthor (I’ll get to this in a bit), and I knew that Superman and Batman would stop fighting and work together in the end to stop Doomsday. ALL of this was in the trailers.
The trailers took a lot of the fun out of the film for me. Sure, I had the choice to watch them or not, but I look to trailers to be made aware of upcoming films not to have them spoiled. And every time I watch a trailer, I smack myself for falling for it. For being lured in and having majority of the film spelled out. I’m really going to take this to heart and avoid any other trailers for Suicide Squad, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. I may actually avoid movie trailers and promos entirely. I can almost bank on how much more satisfying the moving-going experience will be for me.
What I am glad that wasn’t in the film is Superman’s fate at the end of the film. It could have been executed more gracefully, but it still came as something of a surprise. Though, I read comics so it wasn’t that surprising to the point that I jumped out of my seat screaming. I just nodded in approval that it was depicted in this cinematic universe. I can’t wait to see how Justice League takes off from here. Seeing Diana and Bruce at Clark’s funeral was great, but not that believable considering Bruce campaigns to take out Superman throughout majority of the film. Diana still hadn’t shared an actual conversation with Clark. So, how? It’s mostly because Snyder is just setting up Justice League and the audience needs to see that oh, they’re an actual team and believe in each other. They’re friends.
Bruce’s line about not letting Clark down is the nail in the coffin. I literally looked around the theater to see if anyone else was in as much disbelief as I was. It took all my might to not blurt out…WHAT? The whole patriotic funeral for Superman was enough to make me want to walk out of the theater. Wasn’t the government at odds with Superman and now he’s being honored at his funeral? We never actually got to see Superman and the government officials come to some sort of mutual understanding. Maybe in Man of Steel with the military, but not in BvS. We just get a montage of Superman saving folks in the early part of the film. Cry me a river.
And Clark leaves a ring for Lois? Again, I still want to see where their relationship develops into that level of commitment. Who’s name is on the lease at that apartment they’re living in? Then, there’s the very last scene…inevitable. No surprise. Superman might as well have punched through the coffin. I had to stifle my anger and try to hold on to the love I have for DC Comics and these characters. But, they were pushing it.
Just to clarify, I’m not mentioning all of this to support that I hated the film, because I honestly didn’t hate it. I was just not surprised and I was too distracted by plot-holes and unanswered questions. Was the film beautifully shot? You bet. Zack Snyder has a way with his camerawork and an eye for special effects. I loved seeing Superman’s flight and Wonder Woman moved like art.
I just had too many expectations for the film. It isn’t exactly a sequel to Man of Steel nor is it an origins story for the new Batman. It is kind of something to just tie us over between Man of Steel and Justice League. Snyder lays out the groundwork, but things were hard to decipher at points and motivations were unclear (Lex) while others were formed under false pretenses (Batman).
Why did we need Batman and Superman to be at odds? The film could have been about several future Justice League members (Batman and Wonder Woman) called together to support or defend Superman and allow his side to be aired after the chaos of Man of Steel. They could reflect on their own origins using anecdotes (flashbacks) of how they accepted their abilities to be able to save the world. A stronger Lex could have easily been the foe (with him obsessed with Zod) or a better drawn out creation of Doomsday and his rage on the city (and world) could have been the tie to have them all work together.
Bruce interacting more with Clark and the both of them meeting Diana then strategizing to stop Lex from gaining too much power within the government as he’s inspired by Zod – would have made much more sense, plot wise. Then, the Flash could zoom in from the future to warn them about Darkseid. Something that is actually great in BvS, is Bruce’s dream sequence of a Darkseid infested society with Superman clearly gone bad.
The Flash warning Bruce about [a rogue/dark] Superman and Lois being the key [to Superman regaining his humanity] is one of my favorite scenes in the film. I was only annoyed that these sequences were dreams and how Bruce just shrugs them off. Does he always have nightmares? Maybe they’re a result of seeing his parents killed right in front of him? Was The Flash’s warning not a dream, but something else?
Also, let me backtrack. I still have yet to see a satisfying version of a live-action Doomsday. I really wish that he could talk as that would make him more menacing. Also, wasn’t he just Zod, but deformed? Did Zod still have his memories? And how the fudge did Lex have such an easy access to Kryptonian tech and science? Seriously, if Clark could sense when Lois is near a fate close to death in her many hostage and reckless situations – how come he couldn’t sense when his planet’s tech is being used? Why the fudge hadn’t he known about it still being in the hands of the government after the whole Zod showdown? Shouldn’t he have been on a mission to keep Zod’s body and that ship away from prying human hands?
If Superman was to ever exercise a stance against the government, it should be to guard anything and everything Kryptonian from humans. He killed Zod, so wouldn’t he have had some sort of Kryptonian burial for him after how bad he felt when he snapped his neck?
Where was Jor-El’s corporeal memory to warn Clark about what could be created from Zod with the tech and science on the ship? Actually, what kind of tech and science was on that ship to even allow Lex to use his own blood to create a deformed Kryptonian beast as a weapon of destruction? I just have so many questions.
And honestly, Doomsday was more frightening in the animated series. The CGI in BvS just made him off to be another fake thing in the movie. Not believable and not effective. The Abomination in The Incredible Hulk was more exciting and scary. All Doomsday did was blow stuff up. The heated eyes didn’t phase me and his quick exit was just as much unsatisfying. Doomsday is a big and important foe in the DC Comics universe. He should have been shot up into space or weakened and locked up in a heavily armed and secured government facility with the ability to come back in future films. This would make him more incredible and more frightening. It’s basically what JL the animated series does and it works.
I really am excited for The Justice League live-action film, and I seriously hope that it answers a lot of questions and has far better writing and execution of events and plot. If Darkseid is the main foe, he should be larger than life. I also want to see Granny Goodness make an appearance too with her eerily manly voice that always creeps me the heck out. Since Superman is for sure coming back to life, his fight with Darkseid needs to be epic, again like in JLU. Superman gives an incredible speech during their battle. It’s absolutely epic.
So, my final verdict is that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (such a bloated title, by the way) is a great way to tie us die-hard fans over until Justice League premieres. The long wait and excessive promotion of the film created huge expectations, especially with what we know is possible with superhero assembly films like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men. There was just so much material that could have been used from JLU, a series that I feel is an exceptional depiction of some of the best storylines in DC Comics.
Again, I realize that Zack Snyder and Warner Bros have their plans to recreate or reimagine these characters and their stories. Maybe we need a Kevin Feige type figure to step in, or maybe WB has everything under control. I just hope that they aren’t too concerned with catching up with Marvel and Fox and in the process delivering a bloated mess rather than a careful planned out DC Comics cinematic universe. We’ll see. The film didn’t turn me away, so I will be looking forward to what’s to come.
Critic Rebecca Cusey from The Federalist describes the film perfectly –
Too competent to be universally panned, too disjointed to be universally praised, too anticipated to be a new revelation, too beloved in subject to be easily dismissed, the film will be one people either passionately love or passionately hate.
Despite critics overall panning of the film, it continues to flourish and be successful according to the the numbers at the box-office.
Plus, if I had to give only one reason to stick around, it would be to see Ezra Miller as The Flash.
P.S. Though it was under unfortunate circumstances, I loved seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the film. Glad to see him and Zack Snyder collabing again. He is amazing in The Watchmen.