The Batman Vs Superman In Depth Review YOU NEED

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Spoilers ahead, and some profane language. I’m going in, no holds barred. I’m going to be making wild speculations that could be completely wrong or totally right. Comments will be open for dialogue for all of my fellow comic followers!
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Ok If you’re still here I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie OR you’re one of those strange hellspawn type individuals that like spoilers.

I’m going to take you through the stages that I watched this movie so that you, dear reader, can understand exactly where I’m coming from. A lot of “stuff and things” have been said about this film. So I’m going to try to filter it all out and get to the bottom of it all.

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The Story

So the first 30 minutes were boring. We relive Bruce’s parents being killed. Interesting point here, Thomas Wayne attempts to punch the mugger. This doesn’t usually happen, and when it does it usually denotes some sort of, alternate universe. When it happened in Justice League, it was Batman’s favored reality brought upon by Mongul’s starfish creature. Now of course, this time he still loses, but this tiny change could be an indication of a fractured universe/timeline, especially since we see flash come through the speed verse specifically to tell Batman “you were right all along.” A clear allusion to the Flashpoint run, one of the biggest game changers in the DC universe. Brings about the new 52, changes hero origins, puts superman and wonder woman together, completely mishandles Static Shock. You know, the big stuff.

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We were all disappointed bro.

Thomas Wayne’s fist clench initiated that whole line of thinking. Different universe, fractured timeline. Now the question is, what’s going on? Superman has already shown he’s willing to kill, Luthor threatens his mother, who, we’ve already seen what he did the LAST time that happened (Zod). So I’m thinking maybe Justice Lords? (more on that later)

Back to the movie. Lane goes to some desert in order to follow a story. Shit hits the fan, superman comes in and tackles a guy(presumably human) through two buildings, apparently that doesn’t kill him, or it does, whatever who cares at this point, everyone’s dying. And that’s the point. The next scene an African woman who was there describes in detail to the US Senate, the horror she felt when seeing him come down from the heavens, bringing his wrath.

This whole time Lex Luthor is discovering a giant piece of kryptonite and figuring out how to use it.  While, as usual he has legitimate concerns about a seemingly all-powerful being operating under no one’s laws or supervision, his plan to handle it is devious and flat-out evil.

The movie gets a bit confusing (ok a lotta confusing) if you don’t follow the comics and or TV shows at this point. Dream sequences are thrown in apparently willy-nilly and are not explained at all. The desert scene with Batman would seem completely nonsensical. It actually made me angry how completely out of the loop the writers and directors left the  casual film goer. Batman is tricked into believing the kryptonite is in the truck, they turn on him killing everyone. Batman starts fighting, takes a gun, starts shooting. As all of this fighting is going on all of a sudden from the sky, Mosquito men come down.

(Ok I always called them that since I was a child, but I was informed by Lord Darkseid himself they are called parademons).

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Get it right

But anyway, ALIENS COME DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS. With no explanation. Batman is knocked out and wakes up to Superman killing two of his comrades.  Then he wakes up again and is in front of his batcomputer and Flash comes through the speed force to tell him “Batman you were always right about him.”

WTF kinda fevered ass dream was that? If you don’t know about justice lords, Darkseid, Apokolips, AND Flashpoint you’re gonna be completely in the dark. Reason one why I can understand a lot of people giving this movie bad reviews. You shouldn’t have to have prior knowledge of 3 separate timelines in order to “get” a film.

A great part of the movie is the bombing scene. Where the Senator slowly realizes her tea is “granny’s sweet peach tea”, and allusion to an earlier conversation she had with Lex, the bomb goes off right after, leaving superman the lone survivor in the building.

Batman breaks into Luthor’s building and steals the Kryptonite, of course, he meets Wonder Woman there. Her role is pretty small, but opens the door for the Justice League to form.

Anyway following some great fight scenes with Batman, and some Messiah like scenes with Superman, it’s time for the final battle.

The hardest thing to write, I believe, must’ve been that fight. But I give all the kudos here. It was extremely well done. Full disclosure, I’m a Batman fan so I know why Superman fans are mad but go ahead and take the losers cape so you can be super mad at this. Batman beat his ass. At one point Bats LITERALLY DRAGS HIM. Now I don’t say this often, but at that point I was like YES DRAG HIS ASS!

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The way the fight goes, it’s clear that Batman had the upper hand the entire time. He knew they’d end up at the bottom, right where he’d planted the spear (why a spear, idk, probably something about Jesus).

The fight was a great battle and showcases the difference between the two, brute strength vs skill. The fight ends right about here–

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The only thing that stops Batman from killing Superman, is Superman begging for the life of his mother. As she happens to share the same name as Bruce Wayne’s mother, he pauses. It’s an extremely thin thread but they hang the plot twist of “let’s be friends” on it.

While Batman is saving Martha, Superman is watching Lex birth Doomsday. Strange that he let Luthor sit there and talk when he could’ve stopped him…

There’s a giant battle between Superman, Doomsday, and Wonderwoman. It’s a flashy battle with of course, lots of CGI. But It gets the point across I suppose.

Superman sacrifices himself to kill Doomsday which I suppose solidifies his “good guy” status with Wayne because he seems kinda torn up about it. The movie ends at Superman’s funeral. Bruce is talking to Diana(Wonder Woman) about starting the Justice League. Dirt begins rising from Clark’s tomb indicating that, of course, he isn’t really dead.
Which brings up a problem because Clark Kent has been declared dead as well, though his death was regulated to a back page of the Daily Planet. Won’t it be weird if he comes back as soon as Superman does?

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Waaaaiit a minute…

All in all there were a lot of allusions to the comics…but that’s really a double-edged sword here. On the one hand, a lot of it was unfair to expect a casual film goer to understand. In the context of the dream sequence it was not explained, which was the problem with that. But some things like the weaponized Kryptonite gas, needed no explanation, but Frank Miller fans immediately recognized it. The line when the bad guy is saying “I’ll kill her!” and batman says “I believe you.” Classic, pulled straight from the comics and animated film. That kind of homage shows the respect and dedication that these people had to this film.

Themes and Philosophy

Woven intricately throughout the entire film are several intense questions.
What makes a hero? What makes a deed heroic? What is bravery? Is it saving a life?
If all it takes for you to save a life is you pressing a button and you have no consequence, are you a hero or merely a decent living creature with bare minimum empathy?
It’s always been an interesting theme to me and I’m glad they explored it here. What makes someone like Superman good or bad? If he sees a mugging and doesn’t help is he bad now? He has literally no risk associated with helping, so does that make him responsible? If so, his hearing has been demonstrated to be so strong that he can hear things around the world. So, is the only responsible thing for him to do is to sit in a chair listening all day? Because if he doesn’t, surely he will miss something and someone will die because he wasn’t paying attention. And wouldn’t that technically be his fault?

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I smoke to dull the pain of all of my failures.

“I’m worried I didn’t see it, because I wasn’t looking.” This hints that he may start his plan of bugging and watching everyone. Locking up anyone he deems suspicious or dangerous seems like the logical end to his current thinking. Which kind of takes away people’s lives and free will.

How about collateral damage?

So many people died in that fight with Zod. You saved the world, great, but there were times where you literally threw him through buildings which subsequently fell, killing and endangering even MORE people. It was great to see the ramifications of his actions there as well. Far too often it’s seen as “The good guy saved the day, the end.” But in this world of hardcore politicians, policies, and ever-changing structures, like they say in the movie “every action is political.” It’s never over. As Friedrich Nietzsche poses in the book Beyond good and evil, nobody is all good, or all evil. So, if Superman does even one thing bad, with his powers…what is that bad thing and how many people does that wipe out?

One of my favorite lines is “You aren’t brave, Men are brave.” It’s said in the midst of the big fight, but it’s poignant and necessary in the argument of who is better, Batman or Superman. Again, Supes has little to no risk associated with his “acts of heroism.” So for instance, when Bruce Wayne ran and saved that little girl from the collapsing rubble, he could’ve died.
That was heroic. That was brave. He put his life on the line.
For superman to do that? It’s laughable to call that heroic. I mean, it’s nice but, it’s clearly not the same thing. Another juxtaposition that, while isn’t back to back, is there in the film.

Superman does literally nothing to achieve his powers. He wakes up and he’s a chiseled, super strong, sonic boom flying, son of a krypton. In the film they show how hard Batman pushes himself in the gym BIG UPS to Ben Affleck properly conditioning himself to do that scene. Phenomenal work man.
And therein lies the true, huge difference.
Batman has mentally and physically pushed himself to the limit in order to become a person who CAN be a hero, Superman just has to get out of bed and passes judgement.

As Doctor Ian Malcolm once said-
“I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it.”
In the context of Superman it’s, you didn’t earn the power for yourself, so where’s your sense of responsibility? Clark Kent wields his power as if the only thing he can do wrong is NOT catch someone. In this film Batman sees this danger and goes to take care of it.
Because in this world, Superman, is a God. And what kind of God gives his people free will knowing they will suffer countless atrocities for it? The kind that wears a lab coat or a sweater and takes notes while silently judging you sure… But definitely not the kind that wears a cape and desires your love and acceptance.

A good point that Superman does bring up (as Clark Kent) is the fact that Batman has been hitting underprivileged areas hard, and because of this he believes the Daily Planet isn’t covering his attacks. Especially the act of branding that he’s been doing that is essentially a death sentence for prisoners. Batman’s “in the dark” methods stray greatly from Superman’s more “boyscout” style. However in this movie, both heroes are a bit more grim, and more willing to hurt people so, each character calling out the moral failings of the other are a bit muddy.

Overall

There are many reasons to hate this movie, but I’m already past 2000 words so I figured, I’d just talk about it in general. There are characterization issues mostly, and they just stopped the entire movie for an email attachment to tease Justice League, which could’ve been handled far better. Dream sequences all over the place with no real transitioning. A couple of the redundant plot holes like why would you let the bad guy press a button when you have super speed…
But overall though, the movie was fun and intelligent. They may have overextended themselves, but the message is still there. In the next films they won’t be trying to do so much outside of the main feature. So it should be a bit more put together. I’m look forward to seeing what comes next from DC.

Thanks for reading!

Batman Vs Superman: Spoiler Free Review!

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The biggest showdown in comic history. Bigger even, dare I say, than Civil War(Let’s be fair this is just two guys, marvel had to get literally every single hero they ever made in order to generate this type of buzz). These are the two titans that literally started DC comics. Superman and Batman. The light, and the dark. Who would win?

There’s been controversy about this film since the moment it was announced. For instance, when the news first broke that Ben Affleck would be playing Batman comic nerds everywhere had a collective sphincter clinch. Even I wrote an article about the stages the announcement sent me through. Rest assured though, after viewing this film it is clear that he learned from his past failure as Daredevil. He holds his own as The Dark Knight and his performance is one of the best parts of this film.

Now setting aside my love of comics and watching as just a casual film goer, this film is all over the place and makes minimal sense for the entire first, oh I’d say 35 to 40 minutes. Random dream sequences were forced in there (with no context for people who don’t follow the comics) for seemingly no reason. Honestly I’m still trying to figure out where the dreams ended and the real scenarios began. All of this mess happens extremely slowly as well.

It’s really the pacing that works against this film as opposed to acting or plot. Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman/Clark Kent and does a phenomenal job. Jesse Eisenberg was an interesting casting choice for Lex Luthor. He brings a sort of…psychotic twitchiness that fans aren’t used to from Lex. He’s usually a calm, collected individual. Charming and totally in control…until superman foils his plans, THEN he loses it. This version of Luthor has none of the charm, but all of the ruthless intelligence…and a whole lot more hair. But his socially awkward persona makes sense in the overall scope of this movie.

All in all here’s the low down. Ben was better than Bale(I said it, fight me). Jesse wasn’t better than Spacey(even though Returns in general was awful) but he was still pretty good. The fight sequences for Batman were far better choreographed and much more exciting than in the Nolan films. I can’t stress that enough. He actually threw a kick or two, you know, like a real martial artist would. The lead up to the big showdown was rather bland and sometimes confusing, but after those first 30 minutes it was great. Overall a really fun movie and a great set up for Justice League.

I’m giving it 4 stars on a curve. The curve being, it’s a set up movie, it didn’t try overly hard to be something it wasn’t, and it delivered beautifully on one of the biggest fights in comic book history.

4 stars

Directed by Zack Snyder
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters published
by DC Comics
Starring
Music by

Thanks for reading!  I’ll be making a more in depth Spoiler FILLED review soon because I really feel this movie deserves a real digging into, so stay tuned!

J.J Abrams steps up and diversifies.

J.J Abrams of Star Trek and Star Wars fame is stepping up his diversity game .  Inspired by the second year in a row of controversy surrounding the lack of melanin in the Oscars nominees, Abrams is moving towards a more inclusive casting experience.

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Look at how diverse that lens flare is!

This year, roles like Idris Elba’s in Beasts of No Nation and Michael B Jordan’s turn as Creed went unacknowledged, prompting the resurgence of the old hashtag. Prominent actors began to speak out against the problem and formed a boycott. Chris Rock completely rewrote his Oscars monologue. And amidst all of this turmoil the question at the top of the list was “how do we fix this.”

Now certainly these snubs which have come from an academy that is overwhelmingly white, male, and old have to be addressed. However another major point brought to light has been the lack of Oscar Award worthy roles for actors of color. You can’t win for roles that don’t exist. If you’re always playing a stereotype you’ll definitely be ignored for the big league awards.

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And the Oscar goes to… Black guy for his portrayal as pissed off Gang member number 1!

So J.J Abrams and his team have a plan. The want to make their films look like America looks, in front of AND behind the screen.

Abrams, who also produced the latest Star Trek movies, isn’t just talking about finding a few token actors: he’s directed the casting agency that works with his production agency, Bad Robot, to send him lists of people — writers, producers, directors — who are proportionally representative to the U.S. population.

“Any list that we have for projects, it needs to be representative of this country.”

Not only is this a big development in the fight for equal representation in Hollywood, Abrams will likely see more money at the box office for his effort as diverse films make more money.

This move hits all the right notes that many people may slip up on. It’s not just the “casting of the show” as fool Matt Damon would tell us. In front of the screen is only part of the issue, getting a diverse writing and production staff is another huge fight as those positions have been whitewashed since the beginning of film. Most of the time that’s forgotten but Abrams is going out of his way to be decent in a Hollywood that’s extremely racist. Kudos and fist bump to you sir.

Thanks for reading!
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jj-abrams-diversity-in-film_us_56d86d3ce4b0ffe6f8e860dc

Review: Race aka White people, please stop making these films.

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So, I was lucky enough to go see the new Jesse Owens movie before most people. This article will be full of “spoilers” unlike my usual review so…enter only ye who do not care. 2nd warning: I mean it’s called “Race” so if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like racial topics, or bluntly honest people…just leave now.

Let’s start from the beginning here because the failure of this movie is spectacular in its scope.

1st thing is, Ludacris came to the front of the theater to say a few generic things about Jesse Owens. This struck me as odd, but I figured, maybe he was a producer, or perhaps an actor in the film. Nah, he was just some random guy that happened to be in Atlanta that they paid to speak.
Then the actor who played Jesse came down, fumbled through some off the cuff remarks, thanked everyone for coming and left. The fact that he didn’t know any personal stories about Jesse to share didn’t bode well.
By the way I know they thought the title “Race” was clever. Oh it’s about race as in skin color and race as in he’s running oh that’s deep. No it isn’t, it’s lame, predictable, and lazy. Stop it.
Um…Ok so the film finally starts. The amount of immediate exposition is almost unfathomable. The Grandmother is speaking to Jesse, she gives a long speech about having to cut out a tumor from baby Jesse’s chest, him going to college, etc. etc. Basically she tells us who he his EXACTLY, which is necessary because they do aprox. zero character development outside of this. Oh, and she literally never speaks again. Ever.

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                                                                      Shhhh, never again.

So right off the bat I know the writers are no good. About 30 seconds in I also realize there is absolutely no way anybody black had anything to do with the creative aspects of this film. Sure enough when I finally left and checked out who wrote it, 2 sub-par white writers Joe Shrapnel and Anne Waterhouse. None of their work before this was particularly noteworthy.
My critiques of the writers history isn’t insinuating that they aren’t capable of doing amazing work, it’s just that their lack of providing hits shows the lack of care the studios had for this story. If they actually cared they would’ve given it to someone who has proven, at least once, that they can churn out a hit. Indeed the writers they chose failed in this endeavor to create a compelling story.
The director, also, is white which is going to be a running theme here so, you know…
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The overall story was bland, predictable, and suffered from far too many white saviors. I counted 7.

1. The coach played by Jason Sudeikis, who teaches a black man in 1935 how to deal with racism. He is also completely not racist at all and they are “totes besties” by the end of the film (Even though in real life he went on to be an Olympic coach because of Owens while Owens was banned from racing and had to work as a janitor at the school).

2. Olympic Committee member- He does a back door deal with the Nazis but gets all righteously angry when Hitler wouldn’t shake Jesse’s hand after winning. Jesse stands there silently while the OCM gives the Olympic director a tongue lashing and the physically moves Jesse out of the room. Because Jesse is incapable of doing anything for himself. Or showing any emotion. Or…you know, walking out himself.

3 and 4. The Jewish members of the team that they pretty much made the whole movie about. Jesse again is waiting for another white person to tell him what to do here. The only real discrimination shown against anyone in the entire movie was enacted against Jewish people. Which most definitely you must show by all means (I mean it’s the Nazis). However when you’ve ignored anti-black racism as just something you can close your eyes and get over? At a time when anti lynching legislation was still being debated by congress? Completely taking over a black man’s story to tell your own is a big problem here.

5. The German Luz- The story has been embellished in this film. Yet again, Jesse is shown to be unable to perform without the help of a white man. Who is categorically not racist. He tells Jesse that a black man is better off in America than a white man in Germany(because they wanted him to impregnate some girl), to which Jesse is quite simply befuddled as to whether that could be true or not.

6. The woman Nazi filmmaker who is hell bent on telling Jesse’s story.

7. The little white boy- This one needs a little explaining, here goes. At the end of the film Jesse is heading to a dinner in his honor with his wife and coach.
Upon arriving at the hotel’s front door they are told that the “coloreds” will have to go around back. After some righteous white anger from Sudeikis Jesse and his wife calmly acquiesce and head around to the back. A few black people immediately recognize him and speak, Jesse ignores them and goes inside.
Immediately a little white boy runs up to him smiling in dirty clothes (because we have to show that everybody had it bad back then, not just blacks) and asks “Can I have your autograph?” This finally gets a smile out of Owens and he signs the paper for the child. They zoom in for a close up on the child’s (overly) happy face. Then they go to a close up on Jesse’s smiling face….And just like that, overt racism doesn’t matter, going around the back for your own celebration doesn’t matter, not meeting the president as is customary for Olympic Gold winning athletes, doesn’t matter….It wasn’t seeing his fellow black brothers and sisters back there (whom he treated as a kind of peasant fanbase), it was white acceptance. Because remember folks, white acceptance, even from a child, validates black existence.

Honorable mention. All of the white teammates who were just “so excited” that the black athletes were able to stay in the same dorms as them.  They literally jumped up and down with glee.

Race suffers from the usual issues films about black heroes written by white people face. Jesse himself has no real character, it’s all about creating a world in which, the racism in America (perpetuated by whites) is “ok” or otherwise dismissed because there are SO MANY “good” white people who just don’t “see color.” However this rainbow colored filter they put on the past immediately turns into Owens not being able to do anything for himself. He must rely exclusively on the teachings and actions of white people to either show him the right way or stand up for him because every single racist encounter isn’t about him it’s about showing good white people.
Yet, historically in this time period, we see people being beaten in the streets, hung up in trees, burned, shot, beaten, hoses turned on them…I wonder where those good white people were?
Here’s the thing. They didn’t exist. At least not in any number that makes any difference. The pervasive attitude throughout the country, was that of racism, that was the norm. If you can’t address that realistically in a movie TITLED RACE then I really just “can’t even.”
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When white people tell these stories they create characters they THINK they would’ve been, but, in reality they’d have been right there tying a banana around a man’s neck.
I’m writing like this because the truth is dirty, it’s gritty, it ain’t pretty at all. But in this film it’s portrayed as “oh they called me a name lemme ignore them.” Yay racism is over, thanks for showing us lowly Negroes how to handle systematic oppression, murder, redlining and other atrocities. ‘Preciate that.

The outright awfulness of this movie is unforgivable. The writing is terrible. The main character can’t do anything without someone’s help except run fast. He has no thoughts of his own and is as 2 dimensional as plywood, only reacting, never provoking. There was too much blunt exposition. The scene that was clearly supposed to get Jason Sudeikis an Oscar nod was so absurd people in the theater actually laughed out loud. The race issue, which they thought it would be clever to name the entire film after, is almost never addressed. They really glaze over the fact that the U.S president, Franklin Roosevelt, never invited Owens to the white house as is customary.

This film about a black historical figure was not made for black people. But more so to appease the “white gaze”. They should stop trying to tell our stories since clearly they can’t help but insert themselves into them, completely destroying them in the process.

This film about Jesse Owens deserves better. It gets no stars. Straight F’s across the board. Well, I guess the acting was decent, they did what they could with the terrible script they were given. Half a star. Don’t waste your money on this. It’s destined to be the terrible movie the clueless history teacher rolls in on the TV cart (the one with the Velcro straps) and nobody pays attention to it.
Do better.

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Thanks for reading guys!

Boogeyman of the Black Neighborhood

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Boogeyman- a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults or older children to frighten bad children into good behavior.

Red, white, and blue lights flash in two separate neighborhoods. In neighborhood one, the children continue to play, they smile and wave at the drivers cruising beneath the lights, who smile and wave back. The Andy Griffith theme song seems to blast full volume across the subdivision, whilst the lessons learned from that wise old sheriff play in parent’s heads. Knowing that these people are around to protect and serve them is a weight off of their minds. No one will hurt their children while these guys are around, they are the quintessential good guys. They are a heavenly mix of Andy Griffith, John Mcclain, and Jim Malone, always doing what’s right for the people.

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Serving and Protecting with a smile, whistle, and a well timed joke.

When the children of neighborhood one come in from playing and ask about the lights and the men beneath them, the parents can proclaim with total honesty that they are here to help you, when you’re lost you go to them, tell them your name and address and they’ll get you home. Be grateful for them, they’re our heroes in blue, always have been. You can have a full out pumpkin riot, burning cop cars and not have to worry my child. You’ll be fine.

In neighborhood two the scene isn’t quite as picturesque. The same lights flash, the same drivers peer through the window. But this time the children flee, jumping fences, leaving their toys where they lay. Parent’s heads are filled with grotesque images as old as The Good Ship Jesus and as fresh as the loose cigarettes still burning on the asphalt. One mother may recall a San Francisco cop saying it’s okay to kill black people as “It’s not against the law to put an animal down,” before pulling their child in doors. Another father may recall the hundreds and thousands of lynchings throughout the United States aided and abetted by the police. And yet another would recall the recent shooting of a little boy named Tamir Rice gunned down for playing in the park. And another still would recall a woman named Rekia Boyd, being shot and killed for no reason while the cop who did it walked off a free man. When these guys roll through, their children are in danger, their wives, husbands, and daughters are in real danger. They are to be feared, but unlike the tales of the monster under the bed others may tell, this monster is real, and can kill with no consequence.

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Unarmed peaceful Ferguson protester

They must tell their children to do so many things to walk away with their lives from an encounter with these men in blue. Don’t sag your pants, don’t raise your voice, don’t move quickly, don’t wear that shirt, effectively micro policing an entire group of people. And even then, they may still be shot and killed. And what happens when Blacks know their rights and react with intelligence, rightful anger at an officer’s blatant disrespect for their consitutitional rights, and refuse to comply with illegal demands? Well…Sandra Bland.

These differences are why white people always ask “well why did he/she run”, and black people always say “of course he/she ran.”

The difference between the two neighborhoods is of course racial, the first being white and the second black. But it’s more than “just” the skin tone. It’s the history that has been caused by the vilification and criminalization of that extra pigmentation in their skin. Because this country and its infrastructure was built with the idea that black people weren’t human, and darker skinned people were the enemy, the intuitions meant to protect and serve only do that for a certain few, while they target and attack the rest.

Social conflict theory states basically that the more powerful groups use their power to exploit the groups with less power. We can see this currently with the immense wage gap between those of the 1 percent of 1 percent and the rest of the country. In the beginning though, the power structure was a caste system set by not only wealth, but skin color.

Imagine a society set up by poor people. A country founded by those who had nothing. Well laws would be different. They’d probably have something in there about sharing, about caring for someone who needs help. But a country founded by the wealthy would have more about protecting their own wealth. Nothing wrong with that, but replace that wealth with skin color, things get a bit more problematic. Add in the fact that after a huge civil war you’ll want these people to be functioning, contributing members of your society without giving them any recompense (land, money, or even trying to change public opinion) for what’s happened to them…and you’ve pretty much made it almost impossible for that to happen on a grand scale.

Due to being seen inherently as the enemy, black families must teach their children not to embrace the police, but fear them. Black families don’t need a fictional boogeyman, the police fill that role impeccably.

Often times members of white liberal society who genuinely want to help ask “why so angry? Why the violent rhetoric” without understanding that the anger and rhetoric used is a symptom, merely a result of the society that creates racist policing practices. Police, politicians, doctors, writers, we are all born into a racist, patriarchal, homophobic, transphobic society.

This is the one time I’ll say this, it’s not your fault you became a racist, it’s not your fault you became a misogynist, it is not your fault you became transphobic or homophobic. It is your fault that you are STILL one. Your fight to remain firmly inside your privilege bubble is not a victimless act. It’s killing people as we speak.

The doctor that thinks twice before operating on a Trans man or woman just lost the second they needed to save a life because religion taught them that this is an abomination. The cop who barrel rolls into a group of teenagers and pulls his weapon on unarmed children because he’s been taught that black people are inherently dangerous through various media outlets. The young children who think it’s funny to beat up Homeless people. They do this because of the deafening silence that gives them the go ahead. They do this because the fight to keep the status quo makes them believe ideas about minorities that should’ve been thrown away with the dismantling of Jim Crow. But because this fight to keep everything the way it is has been going on for so long, ideas and opinions are formed with no basis in reality, which in turn literally kill people. This unwillingness to admit that something is terribly wrong with this society, is what haunts each generations fight for justice and equality.

And therein lies the real struggle. I had a teacher that always stressed the importance of how a group of people are regularly portrayed on television. For many this seems insignificant, “it’s just TV right”? But please if I may… In many places of this country people live in groups that are mirrors of themselves and their parents. We are still very much a segregated country. So there may be a white person who goes their whole life form birth to 18, never interacting with a black person. Never getting to know an Asian or Native American, transgendered person, or a homosexual person. So where does this person get their ideas on how these people act? Why films and television of course. Now this person sees the slanted media coverage showing black crimes over and over while not showing the reality that whites are more likely to commit dangerous crimes like rape and armed robbery. So they think, this is the real danger, THEY are the real problem, and when they go online and hear blacks talking about hard facts and statistics they say “no I’m the real victim” and then they walk into a black church full of misplaced self-righteous bullshit anger and shoot 9 people. Or they join a fraternity and chant gleefully about a “nigger not joining SAE.” (That fraternity has produced some very influential members several senators, governors, and even a President.) Or they hunt black people in Mississippi. Or they join hate groups and infiltrate police ranks. Or they become Senators, Congressmen, Police officers, and have all of these prejudices and pass laws to “control blacks”. These politicians aren’t feared like the cops are, but they are the ones that facilitate the means for the boys in blue to be monsters in the black neighborhood. They pass drug laws because drugs make Blacks think they are as good as whites. Because it’s more than blacks being portrayed as less than human, it’s about blacks being portrayed as problems. The problem is “they want our women”, see birth of a nation, the problem is they are taking over the country see the Charleston shooter, the problem is they aren’t capable of greatness see every whitewashed Egyptian/biblical film.

Now to the work. See the call for justice in cases of police brutality against minorities, is really a call to just say, hey you can’t do this and get away with it. This is very important to note because we haven’t even gotten to the point where people are saying stop doing it. It’s just being asked that those who do it pay for it so that maybe, others won’t do the same.

It’s about changing the culture, changing society, it’s hard and easy at the same time. All it would take are classes that are taken seriously, changes in media to reflect the diversity of character that a group of people truly can encompass. How many more people have to die before our humanity is recognized and respected? It’s been going on for too long, the stakes are high and there are solutions, but who’s listening? At this point it probably doesn’t matter, it seems Black America is demanding a change and an impasse will come, the result of it, is up to all of us who refuse to give in to the boogeyman.

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Sources: FBI, Society Pages, NY times, Gawker, LA times, Youtube.

Top 10 Bad Ass Super-heroines

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I love that comics have become such a huge cultural fixation. Honestly they’ve always been, but with the introduction into the film world, they’ve found more followers than ever. Amidst ever-changing social acceptances and norms, comics are changing too. This means the comics that were once so white and male they’d have been lost in the snow and not have been able to see anyone to not ask directions from, are kind of getting a face lift. It’s about time.

These creations, though loved for years, were originally created in a culture that praised the racist, misogynistic, homophobic viewpoint. Thus they became white males by default. With the exception of a very few (that were created by Stan Lee who faced great opposition) minorities were pretty much shut out, though they enjoyed the comics just as much as their majority counterparts.

So now that comics have moved to film races are changing, genders are changing and that’s great because it’s a step towards fixing a tainted legacy and including all of those people who love and support this industry. Later I’ll do a list of the best comic book heroes who’s race or gender has been altered.

However today I’d like to salute those women that came before all of this, before Blade made it profitable to be a comic book hero on the big screen. This isn’t a ranking in order by the way, these women were selected because they are bad ass and in some cases, broke barriers. If they are “alternate dimension” versions or versions made primarily to capitalize off of a male hero’s popularity they aren’t on this list. So anything with “she” in their title ain’t on here.

This list was created in response to the lack of knowledge people have in regards to women super heroes and the desire to see a list about them that didn’t involve the words “hot”, “sexy”, or “boobs.”

#10 Wonder Woman

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Has to be on here of course so I just went ahead and put her first. First appearing in December of 1941, Wonder woman came on the heels of a new exciting interest in comic books.

With Superman and batman leading the way, detective comics wanted to find a way to really capitalize on the comic book medium. Diana was created by the already very successful psychologist William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth. He’d already invented the polygraph (lasso of truth inspiration) and had been hired as an educational consultant. Though her past after his death was a bit rocky, she was quite objectified for a while and dumbed down. Each issue had a different “pin-up” poster of her.

Eventually though they got it together and she regained her bad ass status as a warrior of the Amazons. In addition to succesful comic books, she had her own very successful television show.

“Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world”, Marston wrote. With her bad ass attitude, fighting prowess, magic lasso, sword, armor, flight, and super strength, if she says she’s ruling the world. You’ll be fighting her, not me.

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Pictured, Batman agreeing with me.

#9 Storm

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Another one that HAD to make this list. First appearing in 1975 in the book Giant X-men, storm was originally supposed to be a male named Typhoon. However as they didn’t want an all male team, they combined two of the characters into one Storm Ororo Munroe. Born in Harlem to an African princess and a photojournalist, she didn’t have the cushy life one would expect of such noble birth. After moving to Egypt, her parents die leaving her an orphan.

Eventually she discovers her ability to control the weather and fly. She wanders through Cairo and the Serengeti using her powers to bring water to drought ravaged areas which eventually leads to her being praised as a goddess.

If that isn’t bad ass enough she eventually defeats Cyclops to become leader of the X-men, marries the black panther which literally makes her a queen of the most advanced civilization on the planet, she’s a diplomat, trained wolverine and most of the x-men in hand to hand combat, and is one of the most respected and widely known heroes ever created.

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#8 RocketScreenshot_2015-03-01-10-44-07

That’s Rocket. Flying through an attacking alien spaceship. In this issue she takes on a Gauntlet of 6 of the strongest alien warriors in the galaxy, and whoops all of them. Rocket has a pretty unique character arch. After discovering Agustus Freeman’s unique abilities, she is able to convince him to start helping people under the moniker of Icon.

There’s a whole arch where she gets pregnant and her best friend takes over as Rocket until she gives birth. When she comes back she’s stronger than before and a lot more willing to protect the planet. She’s teamed up with Static, Star chamber AND Shadow Cabinet, Super Boy, Static, and many more.

You probably got used to her on television’s Young Justice. Determined, Strong willed, and infinitely creative Rocket is one to follow with this new relaunch of Milestone.

Screenshot_2015-03-01-10-44-18Screenshot_2015-03-01-10-45-27Oh yeah Rocket “Never back down, Never Surrender.”

#7 Black Canary

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First appearing in 1941 she appeared to be a villain. Turns out she was infiltrating a criminal gang. She eventually became popular enough to take over the comic she originally was only a side character in! Dinah Lance is an extremely adept hand to hand combatant and in different incarnations can utilize an ultrasonic scream.

She helped found the birds of prey(if you get a chance check out the birds of prey episode of Batman Brave and the Bold). A time endearing hero, she’s been featured in almost all of the incarnations of the DC universe from Justice League cartoons to the Arrow live action television show.

Black canary is one powerful hero.

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Just stay out of her way.

 

#6 Amanda Waller

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I want you to look at that cover. I mean REALLY look at it. Joker doesn’t even talk to Batman like that. You know who does? Amanda “The Wall” Waller Ph.D. First appearing November 1986 shes been a “good guy” sometimes and a “bad guy other times.” But her motives are never selfish. What she does she does because of her un-matchable ability to see the big picture. Always calm and collected she’s got a plan for everything. No super powers but hangs with the biggest and baddest of the DC universe from Brainiac to Darkseid. She started the suicide squad and has been a government agent for years. She’s basically the Nick Fury of the DC universe. She’s been played by Pam Grier, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and now Viola Davis.

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Don’t mess with the U.S or anybody under Waller’s protection.

 

#5 Iron ButterFly

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That’s Iron Butterfly liberating a refugee camp from the evil soldiers that had taken over. She’s a Palestinian Muslim and has ferrokinetic control of any and all metallic substances. As a young girl she had to flee from persecution in her home town. Eventually her family ends up in a refugee camp that begins testing gas chemicals on them. As she watched her family die in front of her, she was gifted with her powers. At least that’s the story she tells people. A founding member of the Shadow Cabinet, she’s saved the world more times than we’ll probably ever know. Completely militaristic in her dedication to her task, she is no-nonsense and fights with great intelligence and perfect utilization of her powers.

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She never backs down from a fight and has the strength, tenacity, and strategic skills to walk away a winner.

#4 Donner & Blitzen

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Yes I know it’s a “two-fer” but these two are truly a pair. Donner is the super strong, bullet resistant, stoic one and Blitzen is the super fast, super smart, wise cracking one. After becoming unsatisfied with the Shadow Cabinet, they start their own faction called Heroes including Iota, Payback, Starlight, and the one and only Static Shock. They move to New York and immediately stop an alien invasion. Oh and they are lesbians, openly, which is kind of a big deal in comics, especially 90s comics.

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Always ready to go fight at the drop of a dime, these two teammates work together splendidly.

#3 Invisible Woman Susan Richards

Susan Richards had somewhat of a rocky start. When she first appeared in 1961 she was completely utilized as the damsel in distress. Being captured, running away to hide, or waiting for her husband to come save her was her M.O. But with the advent of her Force field projection powers she’s become widely recognized as the strongest member of the team. This is witnessed several times in the Civil War arch. She is strong and no longer defined by her husband.

Especially in Civil War she actually leaves him due to differences in opinion on the registration act and how things were being handled. From the comics, to the television shows old and new, to the films, this character’s growth has turned her into the heart and soul of one of the greatest superhero teams ever created.

#2 Vixen

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Vixen was supposed to be the first African woman super hero for DC. Unfortunately they canceled her series before it was made. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming one of the most recognizable woman superheroes of all time.

In ancient Africa, the warrior Tantu asked Anansi the Spider to create a totem that would give the wearer all of the powers of the animal kingdom, only if they would use the power to protect the innocent. Tantu used the totem to become Africa’s first legendary hero. The totem was later passed down to Tantu’s descendants until it reached the McCabes.

Growing up in a small African village in the fictional nation of Zambesi, M’Changa province, Mari Jiwe McCabe heard the legend of the “Tantu Totem” from her mother. Sometime later, Mari’s mother was killed by poachers and she was raised by her father Reverend Richard Jiwe, the village priest. Reverend Jiwe himself was killed by his half-brother (Mari’s uncle) General Maksai. Maksai wanted the Tantu Totem, which Jiwe had possessed. Mari ultimately moved to America, where she established an identity as Mari McCabe and got a job as a model in New York City. She used her newfound wealth to travel the world. On a trip back to Africa, she came across her uncle and took back the Tantu Totem, using its power to become the costumed superhero Vixen.

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Vixen subsequently has had her own limited series and has been featured in a wide variety of DC properties from television to video games.

 

#1 Lady Death Wish

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If you haven’t noticed this list has a lot of Milestone characters. Well trust they deserve to be on here, see that’s what happens when you make characters actually like people and not some stereotypical nonsense that fulfills your fantasy of what you want them to be. Take Deathwish for instance.

Now the original Deathwish has a terrifying backstory but Lady Deathwish (I know I said I wouldn’t have people like that but hear me out on one this one) has a pretty interesting tale and the entire series is told from his/her point of view.

Let me explain.

Deathwish starts off as male cop LT. Martin Rahm, but even then he knew deep down, this wasn’t who he really was (he still identified as male though). On a case he meets the original Death wish who shoves a gun in his face before realizing that Rahm was a cop searching the murder scene alone.

They fast forward four years and Martin Rahm is now Marisa, spoiler alert sex changes don’t make people any less bad ass. Marisa goes on a hunt for a sicko and ends up taking up the Moniker of DeathWish. Unfortunately only a limited series but there was plenty in there to solidify her standing as one of the biggest bad ass women in comic book history.

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Well that’s my list, hope you guys enjoyed it. Are there other’s you’d like to see? Agree or Disagree? Go ahead and leave a comment I’d love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Wiseguy Industries.

Why Diversity in films Matters for everyone. AKA BOYCOTTEXODUS

Before I get into why it matters for EVERYONE (especially you money makers) I’d like to start with a tweet.

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I know I’ve briefly touched on diversity in films in the past but this development has me diving back into the subject.

So a few days ago Rupert Murdoch decided to tweet something. I assume when his old wrinkly thumbs were moving across his blackberry screen he was clear-headed and not at all inebriated. But the tweet he sent out was ridiculous nonetheless. A tweet claiming that all the Egyptians he knew were white so whats the big deal about having an all white cast……for a movie filmed….. in Africa. While I don’t doubt uncle money bags only knows white people in Egypt. Your tiny little club of people you know in Egypt clearly doesn’t represent the entire country. And oh I’m sorry it’s not an all white cast, How silly of me. Here let’s see the cast.

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So…the main characters, the kings and queens. Those can be white, but for the slaves and assassins, now we have to be realistic. If all of the Egyptians Murdoch knows are white, why isn’t he complaining that the servants aren’t white as well? Blatant racism and whitewashing is why this film has been facing a boycott since its inception. #Boycottexodus is a pretty huge movement as minorities are tired of getting the old “heave-ho” whenever big productions feel like it. Which leads us to some very interesting statistics about diversity in film. Here are a few stats about Race and Hollywood based on a study done at UCLA.

Graph creater race Graph Creator graph leadThe lack of minority representation has always been known, but sometimes it’s good to actually see it. It’s actually sickening.  But here’s the GOOD news. Because of things like boycotts and people in general just being tired of this mess. There seems to be an upswing in people going to see films and tv shows with higher minority representation. This comes through in data obtained by

Movies with higher minority representation(21-30%) posted $160.1 million in global box office receipts in 2011. Films with lower Minority involvement(less than 10%) made just $68.5 million. That’s 91.6 million dollars MORE just for doing something you should be doing ANYWAY. I mean asinine, archaic Hollywood casting practices aside, the data is very clear. By being bigoted you are losing money Hollywood. Here’s the full report. See that’s why it matters for everyone, everyone makes more money, A LOT more money in the end. So do the right thing. Diversify your talent, your creators, your directors, hell diversify the agents at the agencies that represent these people. Watch your profits (which have been steadily dropping) soar.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sincerely,

 

Brian Bell