Coming Up Next: Mad Men

Hi everyone! I’m currently re-watching “Mad Men”, a series that I can easily rank in my top five favorite TV series of all time! The show is such a brilliant work of art and I can’t wait to pick my brain on everything that I enjoy about it. Stay tuned!

When the theme song comes on…
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Where Have I Been?

Hi everyone!

I’m so glad that many of you have been checking out my posts! I’m definitely working on a few new things, but I’ve been gearing up for grad school and just trying to decompress. It’s only May and I already feel like it’s been a long year.

With that said, I’ll try to have some new posts here for the summer before I dive into my first semester of school!

Take care and watch lots of TV!

Ke’ara

TV: Roswell

Music Recommendation: “The Way You Are” by Mackabella

Guys! Guys! GUYS! I finally watched the Netflix hit Stranger Things and it is amazing. Like, as an 80’s sci-fi fan, I was in awe of the score, the tone, the characters, the creepiness, the cheese-factor, and of course just the production of such a great addition to the sci-fi television hall of fame. With the new year, I started thinking about my favorite science-fiction television dramas and I’ve already posted about Buffy, Smallville, and Supernatural. I  have a strong emotional connection with Roswell and you can’t get more sci-fi than aliens, so here we go…

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The series dares to delve into the world of science-fiction, while at the same time stays human. It has everything that I love about television (and film and literature to be honest). It has all the genres: drama, sci-fi, romance, comedy, and a little horror / the ‘spook factor’. Plus, it premiered in 1999, and you all know how I love my 90’s television!

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It’s cool and interesting and the characters keep me invested and I just NEED to be a part of their squad, which is built on trust and loyalty. I just hate that I decided to finally watch the show so late in the game – back in 2012. From the pilot episode, I was hooked!

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Some background: I always knew of Roswell as I grew up watching shows on The WB network. I would see ads (Max and Liz can be seen starting at 1:28) for the series. Also, here’s another one of my favorite The WB ads. I also recognized Shiri Appleby from the Gavin Degraw ‘I Don’t Want to Be’ music video. You know the One Tree Hill theme song. I kept telling myself that I’d watch the show later. Then, later became years and time passed by…

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Flash forward to my third year in college and I’m living in my first apartment and pretty much living in my own little bubble. It was the year of self-improvement and peace. I had caught on to the flow of classes and I was getting stuff DONE while being comfortable having enough time to myself…to watch TV. I needed some new shows to ‘study’ and obsess over. Then Amazon had a ton of shows free to view through Prime. I decided hey, let me watch all those shows on my list that I always said that I would get around to. Keep in mind that at the time, I was a hardcore Buffy, Smallville, Charmed, and Angel fan. Science-fiction was one of my favorite go-to TV genres. I saw Roswell listed, watched the pilot episode – BOOM, I was in love. Just like that. I bought all three seasons on DVD after I finished season one on Amazon!

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I love it! I love it!

Before long, I found myself in a daze. All I could think about was the show. In class, I was thinking about the show. In the shower. While eating lunch. Dinner. Rare occasions where I ate breakfast. While sleeping. While walking. And even while talking. Lucky for me, the series is only three seasons long. Otherwise, I would be forever in a Roswell cosmic trance.

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In high school, I spent [wasted] a few precious moments watching (and reading) the Twilight series. I truly have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the series. But the films (and books) did clue me into more of the sci-fi/teen drama/romance mixed genre: the human girl falls for the ‘outsider’ [non-human, vampire, werewolf, alien] guy.

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Stop and stare.

Plus, the show just hooked onto my teen drama heartstrings. Shall we journey down the hallway?

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Seriously, Roswell was right up my alley. Something that I truly love about it is that the show includes the ‘love triangle’ trope that most of the other teen drama series like to hammer down hard on us, but you clearly know the two who are actually meant to be and there isn’t too much of a dilemma in deciding who you’re rooting for.

This is nice because I like to see two people make up their minds about who they’re in love with and the show can focus on the growth of their romance. And there is absolutely no doubt or debate that the two are soulmates (cough, Felicity). Max and Liz are honestly meant to be – despite them being different species and despite the world (and other worlds) trying to tear them apart. They just, somehow, naturally and seamlessly fit. Liz is the soft-spoken, wide-eyed, sweetheart and Max is her intergalactic prince charming. They are literally star-crossed lovers and sparks fly when they’re together. Simply, no ordinary love.

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What I also love about the show is that the aliens are two siblings and a best friend, so one of them is ironically the outsider. Brendan Fehr said during the ATX TV Festival reunion (around the 10:30 mark) that he enjoyed that Michael was the “outsider of the outsiders”. Years after their ship crashed and the aliens came out of their pods (I told you how hardcore sci-fi the show is), Max and Isabel were found by loving parents while Michael had to be put in the system with a not-so-fatherly foster dad. It’s an interesting take. There’s always a power struggle between Max and Michael as well as with Isabel (being the lady of the group) having to fight for her right to voice an opinion and make important decisions. Be her own alien-woman.

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Side note: When I was really young, I had a deep appreciation and love for the Disney Channel and their movies. Wish Upon A Star was one of the first movies that I absolutely obsessed over. I loved Katherine Heigl and this was all before I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. And yes, I am aware of her less-than-stellar acting reputation these days. What a shame!

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Back to Roswell: If it were up to Isabel and Michael, they all would have stayed below the radar. However, Max fell in love and he is the leader, so hello story. With Michael, it is always the question of who gives Max the right to be in charge and is he just suppose to fall in line because his ‘earth home’ is crap? Because he doesn’t get a family breakfast and dinner? Because his assumed earth identity is ‘beneath’ the others?

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I’m leading for once.

What if he was rightfully the leader on their home planet? What if they were all related and shared the same social status? The show just makes you think on a deeper level about being separated from your birth right and not knowing who you really are. The three stick together for the most part until they allow their new human friends and lovers in on their big secret. Even then, Michael always feels like the lesser of the three and watching his growth throughout the series is a part of why I enjoy the show so much.

Adding to the mix is their newly found human friends and companions: Liz, Maria, and Alex (and later Kyle and Sheriff Valenti), the three aliens become torn between having the chance to learn about who they really are. They have to decide between “going home” and “staying home” and where their hearts are. They also have to figure out who to trust, including themselves. Their motivations fluctuate from time to time and sometimes they need those on the outside to remind them how to feel like they belong.

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There’s a lot of action and the sci-fi stuff can get heavy, but the show does a great job letting the characters’ “human side” shine through all the chaos. It’s great television.

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It’s science.

I’ll talk about some of my favorite episodes (mostly from season one and two). I’ll also talk about my favorite character moments and relationships. I hope you all enjoy!

The Opening Credits

The show’s opening is mainly focused on Max and Liz at the Crash Down – watching and longing for each other as they are separated by a glass window. With Max on the outside and Liz on the inside, the two seem to merge into one as the glass reflects one onto the other. They are one despite their literal and figurative separation. The opening can be interpreted as Max being almost angelic and watching over Liz or Liz keeping Max grounded – pulling him close to something as earthly as a diner. Max’s background is the desert and basically emptiness. He appears out of nowhere.

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Dido’s “Here With Me” goes perfectly with the story and Max and Liz’s romance. Liz is home and Max won’t go until he’s with her. She’s it. He’s it. They can’t ‘be’ themselves without the other. Plus, there’s almost an alien-like/sci-fi sound to the song. Especially the “I am what I am” part. Big kudos to the music department of the show, because it’s a perfect song for the human side of the story, but it diverges a bit into the alienness – but not too much to smother us. The rest of the opening consists of scenes from the pilot with the other characters’ titles.

Favorite Episodes

“Sexual Healing” from Season One

Before this episode, I found Liz and Max’s budding romance to be sweet and innocent. But as I watched this episode, I constantly had to pick up my mouth off of the floor. They were hot and the tension was building and exploding as they were drawn to each other and it was breathtaking. Seriously, I was out of breath. All Liz and Max could think about was, well…you know…

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I like to think the “draw” was more than sexual, but also a matter of love. Why else would Liz be getting the flashes other than that there was a true connection between her and Max? What other way is there to describe love but “out of this world” and seeing the stars and galaxies from the moment that you touch the one you love?  Sure, it’s also the ‘alien thing’ tying the episode together, but it’s also a brilliant metaphor for love. True love. Being blasted off into space and soaring into nothingness. Bright lights and strobes of color opening up your senses.

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The hilarious thing about this episode is Michael and Maria. Liz raves about this explosive feeling that she’s getting while kissing Max, so, of course, Maria has to try it out on Michael. And after hearing about it from Max, Michael has to experiment as well.

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The funny thing is that Maria isn’t feeling anything from Michael. Well, not like Liz. The episode does hint that Michael feels something for Maria, but he plays it off like he doesn’t feel anything either. I’m still unsure if this means that Liz is special and is linked to Max after he saved her life with his healing powers and that all aliens can feel, but it’s rare that humans do. So, maybe Michael does feel this incredible feeling, and he’s offended when Maria doesn’t. They, of course, fake it as long as possible not to be overshadowed by Max and Liz.

“Blind Date” from Season One

Through and through, this is one of the cutest episodes. It’s Valentine’s Day and as Max and Liz dance around their budding romance, Liz wins a blind date contest for a radio station candid camera feature. Liz describes her “dream date” and it’s definitely a draw-up of Max: a serious, dark-haired, mystery man from an exotic place.”

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She ends up getting another Mr. Perfect, so, of course, this makes things very interesting. I’m sold. I got my popcorn in hand. The episode also reminds me of the “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” episode of Buffy. Max is clearly crushed and Kyle can’t help but feel smug, but at the same time relate to Max. Max did steal Liz away from him, after all.

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The two unlikely fellas bond over their mutual adoration of Liz Parker and get drunk. The cool thing is that Max’s drunkenness is amplified due to his alien nature, so things spark up a bit. Kyle is as oblivious as usual to piece together the strangeness, but seeing Max open up and cut loose is so much fun to watch!

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Max is honest and candid about his feelings for Liz. All of the brooding and ‘us against world’ cautiousness is thrown out of the window. It’s the moment when the guy that you love is saying all of the right things and saying everything that you have been waiting for him to say.

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It’s also like a ticking time bomb because you’re falling into the madness of the moment and you know that it’ll fade eventually. It’s like a dream and you know that you have to wake up. The question is, why get swept up in the overwhelming feeling of love? Because why the hell not!

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Also, Liz looked absolutely gorgeous in this episode. Shiri Appleby really has the looks of an angel.

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“285 South” from Season One

I didn’t really care much for Maria during the first few episodes of season one, but when I watched this episode, I couldn’t help but love her and her interactions with Michael. All I could think of during the episode was: “Of course, these two would make a cute couple! Of course, these two will be the comic relief!” And it all started with Michael trying to steal Maria’s car.

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It’s just exciting to see the budding romance of another important couple. One couple would foil the other. Maria can also stop obsessing over Liz’s newfound romance, and focus on something that’s hers. What I love about Michael and Maria is that Michael is the outsider and has a tough exterior. He needs someone to challenge him and keep him on his toes. Maria suffers from word-vomit and is a little neurotic. She needs someone who’s frank and a little hard to latch on to. At the same time, Michael needs someone who isn’t afraid to try to latch onto him. With their time on the road and stay at the motel, we’re introduced to a lighthearted tone of the show as well as a chance to humanize Michael and soften him up a bit.

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Their constant bickering and one-upping in this episode is only the beginning. From the first moment that they have to spend time together, it’s like they’re an old married couple. Their relationship totally tones down all of the drama and brings in the laughs.

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We also get to see Liz and Isabel’s relationship in this episode. Liz has become more and more important to Max and he’s exposed so much of himself and Isabel and Michael’s secret to her. You have to wonder how this makes Isabel feel because for the longest time she’s been the only girl in Max’s life that knows the real him. All of a sudden, Liz has taken over and become something of the dominant female. The two bicker on the road and we see Isabel fighting to let Liz know who’s boss.

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From a certain perspective, it just looks like the girls are fighting like normal teenage girls do…even like sisters. The whole telling humans their secret is all new to Isabel too, so she’s figuring out what the humans mean to her. What Liz means to her. Isabel knows who she really is and in a sense, her life is in Liz’s hands. She has to open herself up more and trust Liz. She has to adapt to this new situation. Liz is just falling in love. It’s all a bonus that she’s accepted into this crazy world of aliens and the supernatural. When it’s all boiled down, she doesn’t want to take Max away from anyone or hold him back from discovering more about his true identity. She just wants to help, because of her love for Max. For her love of all of them.

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“Independence Day” from Season One

Michael is the center of this episode as we get to see his home life at the trailer park. His foster dad is a real son-of-a-gun and uses Michael as a punching bag. Sure, we’ve seen the tough side of Michael, but to see him being hit reminds me that he’s just a kid (more or less) with feelings. He came from the same place as Max and Isabel, yet he gets the crappy lifestyle. Why? Why is this fair? Michael also finds solace in the arms of Maria in this episode and we get to see her home life with her single mom. Guys seem to come and go (including Sheriff Valenti), so Maria is going through the normal emotions of a teenage girl when trying to figure out the guy that she likes and her mom is there to remind her to be careful with her heart.

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What’s amazing is seeing that Michael is feeling a whole new set of emotions. He’s always been closed off and to see him break down a wall to let in Maria instead of Max or Isabel when he’s at a low point is a huge change and growth in his character. He’s also been treating Maria pretty crappy lately, so she fights her feelings to let him in.

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Go away!

Also, this episode has one of my favorite songs (at least in the DVD version) – “Did You Disappoint Your God?” by Neva Dinova. It’s a great way to show Michael’s vulnerability and basically to center his importance in the show. Though I love Max and Liz, it’s a more fulfilling viewing experience to see the character growth of other characters. And here is where I began to love Michael. I also would like to mention the 180 in Sheriff Valenti’s character here. He goes from being the villain and the guy that you better watch out for to a regular man flirting with a woman. It’s pretty hilarious and a nice way to show the comedy of the series. Each character is so complex and there’s always more to them than meets the eye.

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“Heat Wave” from Season One

Since this is a show about aliens AND teenagers, you have to respect the show’s full understanding of the teenage mind and the similarities with the science-fiction genre. The show blends both of the genres and it’s themes of loneliness: wanting to be accepted, to be loved, and to be understood. The highlight of this episode is Alex. So far, he’s been on the outside of this whole new alien crew. Max and Liz are falling for each other, Maria and Michael have been getting closer, so that leaves Isabel and Alex. Isabel has always had Max and Michael and Alex has always had Liz and Maria.

Roswell TV Series, Shiri Appleby (Liz Parker), Katherine Heigl (Isabel Evans), Emilie de Ravin (Tess Harding), Majandra Delfino (Maria DeLuca), Jason Behr (Max Evans), Brendan Fehr (Michael Guerin), Colin Hanks (Alex Whitman), Nick Wechsler (Kyle Valenti)

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However, Alex is now on the outs as his besties have paired off without him. Isabel luckily is “in” on the whole alien thing…because she’s an alien and has had to give some sort of approval of letting Liz and Maria in on the big secret. But Alex is totally out. Liz and Maria have been lying to his face – calling the aliens “Czechoslovakians” when he’s around. I guess they just expected him to just not question them. To not be smart enough to figure out that something has been up with these three new friends that Liz and Maria have been hanging out with.

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Shh, don’t tell Alex.

Honestly, in my first watch of the series, I discounted Alex as well. I figured, if Liz and Maria didn’t let him know the truth from the start, then he must not be that important. I was wrong, though. See, Alex is the conscience of the three humans. His existence keeps me judging the others and wondering whether or not who they are and what they’re doing is right. I mean, it’s very suspicious and questionable to hide aliens and the supernatural. What about the public? Should everyone know what’s around them and what’s really out there? The aliens need to be accountable for their actions, because what if they wanted to invade? What if they wanted to keep the humans in check?

Alex is so right to be pissed at Liz, his best friend, for keeping this huge burden from him. If she really does love him and wants him to trust her with his safety and everyone else’s safety, then she needs to be upfront with him. This is a guy she’s known forever and who has always been there for her. Why put him on the sidelines? Why bench him? What made Maria more important than Alex, to tell the truth to first?

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What kind of friend are you?

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Liz even asks Isabel’s opinion of including Alex in on the big secret. Isabel decides to ‘dream hop’ into Alex’s dreams to see if he is trustworthy. Come to find out that when he sees her in his dreams, he’s charming, charismatic, and sincere. Isabel feels drawn to him. She then feels as if he can be trusted and brings the issue to Max for his opinion. When it’s all said and done, Isabel wants to protect her family and herself, but she feels like Alex can be trusted as well.

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I get it that Liz thinks that she is protecting Alex by lying to him, but I think to leave him in the dark just makes him vulnerable and an easy target for danger. It just always breaks my heart when Liz and Alex are in the jail cell and Alex basically calls quits on their friendship if she doesn’t speak up. It’s painful to see Liz struggle with deciding whether or not she should just let Alex go to protect him or if she should be the friend that he holds her accountable to be and tell him the truth. She eventually tells the truth, but of course how easily can you believe in aliens?

I think the main reason, though, that Liz doesn’t want to tell Alex the truth is that she doesn’t know if she can trust him. He’s well aware that they’re all hiding something and Sheriff Valenti is aware as well. He wants to use Alex to give up the rest of them. Liz doesn’t think that Alex can keep it all hidden from Valenti. However, once Alex knows the truth (whether he believes it or not), he holds out on Valenti after all.

Another great thing about “Heat Wave” is Maria and Michael’s hot and heavy relationship. As they physically get closer, Michael worries that he’s going to hurt Maria somewhere down the line. I mean, he may well have to leave her and go back to his home planet soon. At this point, anything is possible. Getting close is just going to make things harder for the both of them.

Maria is holding him to the standard of being a good human boyfriend, but Michael is still trying to figure out the alien thing. Adding on being human is just a little more than he can handle all at once.They have their little make-out sessions, but someone is going to get hurt in the end.

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“Tess, Lies, and Videotape” from Season One

I guess we have to talk about Tess. We get to meet her in the previous episode “Crazy”, but here we get to see how the new girl affects the rest of the gang. Instantly, I hate Tess. Seriously, why on earth would Max be dreaming about making out with another girl when he has met Liz, the love of his life? He’s probably one of the most loyal boyfriends in all of the teen dramas that I’ve watched, and to see him fantasizing about someone else other than Liz really pisses me off. It’s like, we’ve come so far in getting Max and Liz together and we’ve fallen in love with their love and then here comes Tess.

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Who’s that girl? It’s Tess!

Of course, it has to be some sort of supernatural alien hypnosis that’s drawing Max in, right? The more I try to tell myself during this episode, the less I believe it. The same with Max – he’s trying to convince everyone that something is wrong and that they should be suspicious of Tess, but then he’s still drawn to her and he really does eventually make-out with her. And Liz sees him. Tess’s whole innocent pleas that she doesn’t know why Max is attracted to her is the infuriating part. She makes it so believable that Max is the bad guy and that she’s just innocently caught his eye and it’s a shock that he’s into her.

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Surely, Tess is doing something to Max. I mean, she has to be. It can’t be that Max is actually attracted to her because he’s feeling super guilty for being into another girl beside Liz. When it’s all said and done and the gang figures out that Tess is actually an alien and she’s put some sort of whammy on Max, the damage is done and I trust Max a whole lot less.

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I grew so fond of him and Liz and I believed in their love and to have someone come in and easily tempt him just sickened me. So yes, I hate Tess (trust me, it’s with good reason). And I still get upset watching Max fantasize about her.

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And I’m not the only one who’s upset here. Seriously, my anger has merit as Michael is even pissed about the situation. When he was dreaming about Isabel and they thought that they were having an alien baby a few episodes prior, he fought off the urge and didn’t let his alien nature take over what he was feeling for Maria. So, how dare Max drag Liz down this rabbit hole? She loves him and we all believe that he loves her. He shouldn’t so easily allow Tess to destroy all of this. Michael’s got Liz’s back…and mine!

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“Destiny” from Season One

After the last few episodes of Tess coming in and shaking up everything with Max and co. about their true heritage and nature, the gang decides that they need to know the truth about who they are. They allow Tess to guide them back to the cave where their ship crashed and where they get answers about their home planet and real relationship with one another. On their home planet, Tess is Max’s bride and Isabel and Michael are a couple. It just feels like too much is changing and everything is shattering. What about the humans that they have grown close to? Those relationships are the ones that I care about.

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Liz does not want to be in the way of all of this destiny news, so she breaks up with Max. It’s heartbreaking. I mean, who is she to stand in the way of destiny? She feels insignificant. Max fights to stay with her because he truly does love Liz and it’s as big as all the news of his alien heritage. Michael and Maria also say those 3 little words and the finale is very emotional for all of the characters. Alex and Isabel have also steadily become closer during the season, but just as they’ve gotten somewhere romantic, Isabel chooses destiny.

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Sheriff Valenti now knows what Max, Isabel, and Michael are. However, he’s conflicted about his duty to do something about it, because they save Kyle after the evil FBI guy, Pierce, shoots Kyle. All in all, the events of this episode breaks up the crew that we have come to love, but also clears up a lot of the alien mystery. Kyle and Sheriff Valenti no longer have to be on the outs, but Liz, Maria, and Alex have been pushed aside as their alien lovers are pulled into a world much larger than high school romances.

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That feeling from “Blind Date” all of a sudden comes back with a vengeance as this whole romance with Liz and Max just feels like a dream and I all of a sudden have to wake up.

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“Skin and Bones” from Season Two

For season two, The WB took some cues from Buffy and wanted the teens to look hotter. I saw nothing wrong with how everyone looked in season one, but of course, sex sells. I have no complaints either, but the hotness kind of distracted me from the story at times.

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With all the stuff that went down in season one’s finale, relationships within the group have changed. Max and Liz are now broken up as Liz doesn’t believe that things can go back to how they were in the beginning between her and Max. She’s threatened by Max’s destiny with Tess, but Max tries to assure her that she’s the only one for him.

Michael and Maria are broken up too, as Michael tries to understand his alien-soldier destiny. Maria challenges him, but he stands firm on keeping his distance. You can tell that he still loves her, though, despite the new girl at the Crashdown, Courtney, constantly flirting with him. Turns out that she has a secret of her own. I honestly hated her character, so I’m not going to go into detail. I’m always annoyed when new characters join a season to break up the main cast and start trouble. Courtney was no exception and I became hotheaded every time she was on the screen.

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This episode really hits me, because I’ve fallen in love with the idea that these characters are in love. But now they’re separated and they’re pushing each other away. It’s like I’m being broken up with multiple times. The heart ‘stings’ keep on coming. The best part about this episode is Mackabella’s “The Way You Are” playing in the background as the characters go their separate ways.

“The End of the World” from Season Two

This episode is amazing. It’s probably my favorite out of the entire series. I’ve talked about how addicting and beautiful Max and Liz’s romance is and this episode solidifies their true love while at the same time rips them apart. Seriously, I cry every time I watch this episode because it’s such a tragedy to see true love destroyed.

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The beginning of the episode begins with future Liz and Max as they try to dodge some sort of doom coming their way. Future Liz tells Future Max to go back in time to make sure this doesn’t happen, which means that he needs to make sure that present Max and present Liz do not fall back in love. Their love means a terrible death for Liz in the future. What I love about this scene is seeing how long Max and Liz have been together and how strong their love has grown. It sucks that they’re still battling outside forces, but it’s bittersweet that they’ve grown older together.

Back in the present, Max tries to win Liz back by standing outside her window to serenade her. It’s definitely cheesy, but I can’t help but smile. Present Max isn’t worrying about the doom and gloom. He just wants his girl back. He’s not worrying about what the future holds or his alien destiny – he just wants to be Liz’s Romeo (but we all know how that story ends).

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Future Max appears to present Liz and of course, she’s stunned to see the older version of Max. It’s beautiful to see future Max seeing Liz back as she was when he first fell in love with her. It’s like all of those feelings rush back to him coupled on with the feeling of losing her in the future. He gets to spend time with her once more and she gets to see that for sure, Max is her end-game. However, the bad part is knowing that she meets her end because she falls and stays in love with him.

It hurts Future Max to see himself and Liz fighting and falling out of love and he knows that once she sees his future self and that longing in his eyes, that she still loves him and that he never stopped loving her. So what’s the point of fighting? What’s the point of pushing him away? Well, the point is that he is an alien and there’s a price to pay to be in love with him.

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Future Max needs to get Liz to fall out of love with him, but Liz knows that she loves him and it’s going to hurt her just as much to see present Max broken-hearted. The only way to do that is to enlist Kyle and pretend that they sleep together and to have Max witness them in bed.

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It’s nice to see Liz and Kyle catching up and bonding. Their friendship has surely blossomed over the years. Kyle is aware of the chaos of Liz’s life and how her choice to love an alien has affected everyone’s world. He just does what he can to let her know that he’s around and he still cares.

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Max knows that Kyle is just a friend and that Liz has to be in some sort of trouble to result to something so dire to push him away. However, she insists that she’s not in love with him anymore and Max has to accept this and walk away.

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The little set up does hurt all parties, including me. After all of the hurt, Future Max and Liz dance one last time to their would-be wedding song. Then, he fades away, leaving Liz alone. This episode just crushes me.

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“Meet the Dupes” and “Max in the City” from Season Two

This two-part episode is probably one of the most shockingly COOL episodes in the entire series. I really didn’t see it coming. The fact that we get to see different sides of the alien trio is amazing. Huge kudos to the acting chops of Behr, Fehr, Heigl, and de Ravin.

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I honestly felt bad for Tess and felt her vulnerability. Her dupe character showed a reflection of being the girl in love with a guy that was in love with someone else and she was just a pun in some larger end-game that she wanted no part of. She just wanted her own identity. Her own story. Even the real Tess could see this.

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Also, until this point, Max has been the good guy. He’s always been Mr. Right. Seeing his dupe version being so quickly dismissed and KILLED by his own crew reminded me of how much the real characters take his speeches and holier than thou attitude and self-righteousness. He stands up as a leader and this sometimes puts Michael and Isabel off. However, they love him and choose to follow him. The dupes…not so much.

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Michael and Liz’s relationship started off strained and he resented her for how easily Max exposed their secret identities because he fell in love with her. All of the chaos and big revelations can be traced back to the day in the Crashdown when Liz was shot and Max saved her with his alien powers. So for the most part, Michael and Liz bickered until Michael realized how much Liz loved Max, and Isabel, and himself. And he loved her too. She was now family. By the end of season one, Michael and Liz had an understanding that they were all in this together.

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The hilarious thing about “Meet the Dupes” is an alternate reality of Michael falling for Liz. It’s hilarious, ridiculous, and downright scary.

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Liz and co were lucky to have met the normal aliens and not the dupes, otherwise, this would be a totally different story.

“Heart of Mine” from Season Two

The thing about this episode is that it truly makes your heart hurt. It’s filled will joyous moments and then heartbreaking and then joyous again. You’re on this rollercoaster (as cliche as that sounds) and you feel like your world is spinning. You’re emotionally going through loops, spiraling, and coming to a screeching halt. We travel through this episode mostly from Liz’s perspective as she narrates. At the beginning, she’s seen spinning and dancing in her socks.

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By this time, the group has gone through the most, but they all come together for their junior prom. It’s time to push aside all of the alien destiny explorations, and boogie on the dance floor. Michael and Maria bicker as usual because Michael tells Maria that he’s not going to prom. For the most part, they’ve come to terms with their relationship and keep each other close by even though Michael puts distance in between them. He knows that he loves her. She loves him. They will fight, but they’ll make up somehow. It’s the sweetest thing.

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Michael really has become more human and has given into his love for Maria. She seems to be the only thing that makes sense to him. He even takes dance lessons with a mysterious Juanita to help him make Maria’s prom night perfect. It’s great seeing the look on Michael’s face as Maria realizes that she has been foolish and overacting and jealous. Michael knows it’s all out of love and it’s amazing that someone truly cares about him so much. I’m so glad that he decided to pursue Maria.

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Isabel finally realizes that Alex is the guy for her, and Max and Liz totally have broken up, but they decide to go prom together for old times sake. Liz has been hanging out more with Sean, Maria’s older cousin. By the way, it’s Brian Krackow from My So-Called Life.

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Kyle has been spending a lot of time with Tess as she has moved in with the Valenti’s.

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Since it’s a special occasion, they all put aside their differences and come together as a group, more or less. However, Liz warns us that all may not be smooth sailing as it seems.

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Liz’s narration: “And there we were. All together, with everything we’d all been through over the last two years. The battles we’d fought, the relationships that were formed, the feelings for each other, stronger than any feelings we’d ever known could exist. And somehow in this moment, I had this really strong, really upsetting feeling, that this was the last time we’d all be standing together.” 

Once they are all at prom (minus Michael…because he’s being mysterious about his whereabouts), the truth starts pouring out and the facade of normalcy comes crashing down for some of the gang.

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True feelings are shared: Isabel really does care about Alex…romantically, Tess only sees Kyle like a brother, Liz and Max can’t get back to how things used to be, and Michael shows up to woo Maria with his not-so-learned dancing skills.

But the big exchange of feelings is between Max and Tess. They finally give into their destiny and kiss. This really sucks, because Liz has a last-minute realization that maybe she’s being too stubborn to make things work with Max. But then there’s an awful blow to our guts as Liz sees Tess and Max.

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Oh my god, it’s REALLY OVER! Maybe it’s a good thing for Liz to have a way out from all of this madness and fall in love with someone normal? It’s bittersweet. At the very end, Liz begins writing in her journal again (like she used to in season one) and she states that:

“We try to live responsible, logical lives. But we can’t tell our hearts how to feel. Sometimes our hearts lead us to places we never thought we wanted to go. And sometimes our hearts can be the sweetest, gentlest things we have. Sometimes our hearts can make us feel miserable, angry, excited and confused. All at once. But at least my heart is open. And I’m writing again. I’m feeling. I’m breathing.”

She’s seen dancing and talking with Sean after catching Max and Tess share the passionate kiss. It’s the kiss that she’s been trying to avoid seeing, but she knew that it would come eventually.

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So, it happened…

I think Max was trying to avoid the same thing, but he knew that learning about his true heritage from Tess would bring them closer and through their nature – they were bound to become intimate. I mean she was his “young bride” on their home planet. After a little heart to heart with Liz on the dance floor, they both conclude that it’s “really over” and Max is shattered. Vulnerable. Tess just happens to come in and console him. Seeing Max sitting in the chair after he and Liz really break up really does hurt. He’s been doing all that he can to keep them together despite all of the alien heritage mumbo-jumbo. There’s been so much weirdness going on, but he’s been trying to stay grounded with his love for Liz. How can he love someone so much and not be destined to be with her? It just doesn’t make sense to him. How can someone else be his soulmate?

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Even though Liz knows that she and Max are supposed to end up together, she also knows that it ends in tragedy. Their whole relationship has been filled with love and tragedy. Whenever they would find each other, something else comes crashing in. Like Tess. When it’s all said and done in this episode, Max looks truly lost after sharing a kiss with Tess. Liz looks happy as she comes to terms with the breakup and talking and dancing in her socks with Sean. She’s getting to know someone else.

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On another note, it’s great to see Maria and Kyle bonding in this episode. Kyle has really become one of my favorite characters in the series for his comedic naivete and relationship with the other characters.

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“Cry Your Name” from Season Two

Something I’ve talked about a lot in my grad school personal statements is my attachment to characters in favorite TV series. I oftentimes use TV to escape the real world’s problems…especially today. I understand that TV is fiction, but when the screen begins to mirror reality, it’s a surreal draw into the story. Real life is fleeting and unpredictable. When people die, that’s it. They don’t return as part of some plot twist to explain their absence. Characters on TV become my friends and family and I root for them to survive the craziness of the plot. If they do die, I want them to wait in purgatory and return with stories to tell (cough, Supernatural).

In all seriousness, I only expect this in shows that are supposed to be rooted in science-fiction and fantasy. If a show like Grey’s Anatomy kills a character off (and it certainly does) and they return, there better be a highly logical and rational explanation for their reappearance. When any series, fantasy or drama, suddenly kills a character and they are really gone, I experience a sickening reminder of life and death. The characters have to cope. I have to cope with the loss of those whom I have become attached to. Roswell is no exception as Alex is suddenly killed off in “Cry Your Name”.

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It’s a complete punch in the gut and the episode is so eerie. The first time watching it, I was so sick that I had to pause the episode several times to get through it. I was hoping that it was some sort of alien-twist of fate, but when Max is unable to heal Alex back to life, I lost it. Just like Liz. In fact, Liz is basically me throughout this entire episode. I am upset that the creators allowed Alex to die just like how Liz is upset that her friends easily accept Alex’s death and try to convince her that her theories of foul play are nonsense.

And I’m not going to lie, Liz’s personality this season created some distance between my love for her character. In the beginning, I loved that she and Max had such a strong connection and that she was normal and kind. However, as Tess enters the picture Liz allows herself to give up even before Future Max assures her that the end for them is fatal. I don’t think that she had to accept that. She should have said screw it and fought harder for Max like he did for her. It was like she felt entitled to have Max’s affections and the fact that his destiny sensibly got in the way made her annoyed that he had to deal with things that were entering his life and not 100% focusing on her. She began to have this stone cold look on her face whenever Max would try to talk to her and it chipped away at how much I loved her in earlier episodes.

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You are cold as ice.

“Heart of Mine” actually revived my love for Liz and I accepted her maturity about her situation with Max. Now I was pissed at Max for allowing Tess to screw everything up for him and Liz. If it was true love, he shouldn’t have allowed it to be over. So with all of that, Liz and Max are more distant than they have ever been. At this point, them getting back together seems very unlikely. Coupled on top of that, one of Liz’s best friends is now dead. The person that she put on the back-burner for so long for Max and the alien A-team is now gone forever. Just like that.

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It’s like everything comes rushing to the surface for Liz and she is pissed. It just has to be the aliens fault. Even if they didn’t have a direct hand in killing Alex, the fact that Liz wasn’t paying attention to him as much as she could have been if she wasn’t dealing with Max and Tess could have made her more available to Alex and prevented his death. Liz puts it all on the aliens and doesn’t try to hide that she will figure out the truth. It’s “The Departure” from the once sweet and kind Liz to the ‘somebody-will-pay-for-this’ vengeful Liz. And I don’t blame her.

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This episode is great and a total wake-up call for me to watch these characters more closely and enjoy my time with them. I honestly took Alex for granted just like Liz and his absence certainly cuts deep. At least Michael stands by Maria to help her get through the pain. Alex was her best friend too.

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I also feel bad for Isabel, because she finally let someone in and found someone that she loved and trusted and he’s ripped away from her. If she would have admitted her feelings sooner to Alex, she would have had more time with him. Doesn’t it all feel just too real?

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“The Departure” from Season Two

Liz discovers the truth about what happened to Alex. Spoiler alert – Tess killed him. Liz knew that there was something fishy about the whole situation. Max ended up sleeping with Tess in an earlier episode and now Tess claims that she’s pregnant and the baby can’t survive on earth. How convenient.

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Before she completely fools Max, Michael, and Isabel to going back to their home planet to save the baby, Liz shows up to reveal the truth and it’s ON! Max is wrecked with guilt and pissed that Tess not only seduced him, but she killed Alex and destroyed his relationship with Liz. Now she’s supposedly carrying his baby that he has to save.

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Max ultimately wants to kill Tess, but he makes the right decision (I guess) and just sends her off back to their home planet.

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Tess, bye!

The sad part about this episode is that Tess used her alien powers to whammy Kyle to be her accomplice in Alex’s death. She makes him believe that he is putting luggage in the car, but it’s actually Alex’s body. Yikes! That’s going to scar him for life along with the fact that Alex died the day before Kyle’s birthday. Gosh, I hate Tess.

The best part about this episode is Michael realizing that he truly loves Maria and he doesn’t want to leave her. They sleep together and Michael is the most vulnerable that he’s ever been. He knows where is heart belongs and that is home.

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“The Departure” is actually the departure of the greatness of this show. Season three has poor writing and most of the storyline seems rushed and not thought out too well. I mean there’s also a lot of weird things that go on in season two that are kind of annoying and less interesting (Michael’s human family? The skin aliens? Sean?). I’ll list what I think are highlights from season three and what are just “WTF” plot moments.

Highlights from Season Three

1. Michael is happier and less broody than usual. He’s often smiling, being quirky, and hanging out with Kyle, Maria, and Max. Also, I love his hair this season. When I first watched season three, I obsessed over Michael’s long hair. Also, the ‘Snapple’ episode is hilarious.

2. Liz and Max are back together. It’s great that after everything they have been through, Max and Liz are solid. However, their relationship seems to be off at the beginning of the season. I honestly feel like they have been brainwashed and are not the same Max and Liz from season one. Every once in an episode I’ll catch a glimpse of what they used to be. With all of that, I just love that they get married in the end. It’s beautiful.

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3. Kyle being Kyle and his relationship with everyone, especially Isabel. When Alex was around, I felt like maybe he and Isabel were an odd couple but I accepted that he loved her and she eventually fell for him. Kyle seemed to be focused on Liz’s well-being and later Tess’s. However, Kyle and Isabel are a duo that I totally ship. His comedy plus her sass is a pleasure to watch on the screen.

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Though there is a bit of a problem that gets in the way of Kyle winning over Isabel, and it’s not because he’s now a Buddhist.

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4. Seeing everyone hanging out and just being normal. This show is wild, but the gentle moments of the characters being regular teenagers and hanging out always puts a smile on my face. They’re more relatable.

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WTF Moments from Season Three

1. Liz and Max are rebels who wear a lot of black. When did they become rebels and why is Liz acting all bad-ass? It just doesn’t suit them. Is this another take on “Meet the Dupes”, because I miss my sweet and adorable Liz.

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We’re here for the Snapple.
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That’s better.

May I also include the WTF moment of Liz having alien powers? That whole plot was cringe-worthy.

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2. Isabel is barely recognizable with her new hairdo and she gets married to a new character. I don’t hate the haircut, but it’s so drastic that Isabel just doesn’t look like Isabel. Also, she just does it with little to no explanation. Her marriage is a shocker, because not only does she marry a new character but it just seems so out of character for her to put love at the forefront. If she was going to marry anyone, it should have been Kyle.

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3. Maria pushes Michael away. The fact that Maria plays with Michael’s heart this season frustrates me. I get that she wants him to keep up his place and be more ambitious, but breaking up with him and dating someone else when he’s become so open is just annoying. Look how long it took for him to shake away that hard exterior. In the end, he declares his undying love for her, but I honestly don’t know where they stand. She doesn’t deserve him.

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All in all, this series is amazing and got me through some of the most challenging times in college. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, I had Roswell to keep me sane and entertained. I hate that I missed the reunion at the ATX TV Festival. I was so close by! It seemed like fate that they would reunite so soon after I discovered them and in my location.

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Watch the show, guys! It took me forever to write this and I’m so glad that I can finally share it with you all.

P.S. I really love Kyle and I love how he turned out to be a completely different character than I thought he would from the pilot episode. He turned out to be so lovable and caring and I thought he’d be the typical high school jock/scorn ex-boyfriend that would vow to make Liz and Max’s relationship a living hell. Nope! He’s the greatest.

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‘Til next time!

 

 

Checking In!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know that I’m here and I’m watching a TON of TV. As usual. Ok, so I’m planning a bunch of posts for 2017. I want to talk about more TV, but also continue to spotlight some of my favorite films and songs, etc.

Here’s what I’m thinking: On a monthly basis, I want to have at least ONE extensive TV post and a film review. Here and there I’ll post about music because those are a lot easier and faster to do. I’ve been watching newer TV series lately, but I definitely want to continue talking about my favorite classics. This means that some rewatching is required.

I’m glad that you all have been enjoying my content as reading takes a lot more time to do versus watching reviews on Youtube or something. I hope you all are well and enjoying the holiday season!

Let me know what you’re watching. 🙂

‘Til next time.

Film: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Music recommendation:  Their War Here by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL

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.

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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. 

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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.

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Ta-da!

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.

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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.

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Hey Chloe!

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.

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Yeah, but where’s Batman?

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!

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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. 

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The Trinity

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Let me just add some swag…

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.

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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.

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You tell him Clark!

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.  

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 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? 

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Team Leader

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.

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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.

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With great power, comes great…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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!

JLA Divided we fall

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.” 

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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.

Lex Luthor?

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.

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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.

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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.

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Bye, Felicia.

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.

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As much as I can go on about Smallville and Bruce Timm’s animated version of Lex Luthor, I have to talk about Snyder’s version, played by Jesse Eisenberg.

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Sigh…

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 The Social 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.

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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.

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Wait, I’m getting to the best part…

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.

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I guess you didn’t like my evil plan.

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.

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Really?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hello…it’s ME!

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.

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Gotta go save Martha!

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.

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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.

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Green Arrow: I think you guys forgot someone…

Smallville set the tone for ambition along with the current DC Comics live-action series.  We got to meet, AquamanImpulse (The Flash)Cyborg , and The Green ArrowI 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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.

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Superman v doomsday

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.

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She was even on Smallville.

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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.

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Plus, if I had to give only one reason to stick around, it would be to see Ezra Miller as The Flash.

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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.

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What did you think of the film?

‘Til next time.