Stop Wasting Money

Now one might think this piece will be about Washington’s profligate spending an inability to cut even the most absurd budget items, but, thanks to Courtney Kirchoff‘s horrible taste in movies, we have to revisit yesterday’s article on the other DC’s ineptitude.

I have not seen Batman v Superman, I will never see, but I will excoriate it unapologetically. I can capably do so because I have see Man of Steel and read Zack Snyder’s numerous utterances. When you claim you’re trying to “grow up” a COMIC BOOK character and that’s what turned people off, and furthermore when your idea of how to “grow up” a character is to have him mope around until finally killing someone, then something is seriously warped within your mind. It is an indication that besides just not understanding the source material, you are flawed artistically and perhaps personally. This isn’t just spurious speculation when Snyder is dismissive of and confused by criticism of Man of Steel‘s callous indifference toward destruction and loss of life and shrug it off as “collateral damage” with comparisons to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“This is troubling on many levels. For one, Zack Snyder seems to have a different definition of “collateral damage” than the rest of the world. Collateral damage is incidental to the damage being inflicted; in the case of The Force Awakens, collateral damage would be a spaceship that got blown up after being hit by debris from a destroyed planet.

But mostly, it’s the fact that it was THE BAD GUYS who were responsible for silencing those billions of lives. While Kylo Ren and The First Order deliberately fired the Starkiller weapon at those five worlds in an act of mass genocide, Rey and Finn were on another world entirely.”

If you think the central conflict for Superman should be that he’s a god among men, then I wonder if you can even find Kansas on a map let alone know how people who live in that kind of Americana raise their children. Understanding Superman shouldn’t be that hard:

“Superman isn’t good or special because he’s an alien who crashes on Earth and ends up being incredibly powerful. He’s special because after all that he becomes someone who always does the right thing because he was raised by a couple of decent people from Kansas. That’s it.

He is someone with the power to be the most selfish being in all of existence, and he decides to be selfless because he was raised by a couple of kindly farmers. And the beautiful idea behind him is that we don’t need to be bulletproof to be that way — we just have to be decent people.”

This encapsulates not just an understanding of him as a character, but his vast appeal for nearly a century. But Hollywood in general and Snyder in particular are completely clueless about where Superman comes from so they continue to make movies based on “some of the worst assumptions about the character.”

And it’s a slap in the face to more than just a fandom. Superman has been around for nearly a century. It’s one of the first mass media crossover franchises. Your mom knows who Superman is. More than that, even your mom knows who Superman is supposed to be. Superman stands for Truth, Justice, and the AMERICAN way. Superman is as much a symbol of Americana as Coke, apple pie, baseball, and Adam Baldwin. So when you destroy and distort Superman, you’re not just damaging a pretend character on a page, your being contemptous of the people who live where he comes from and still hold to those supposedly simplistic ideals. A contempt for idealism which Snyder doubles down on in BvS.

“In fact, when Clark is trying to get the Daily Planet to have some basic journalistic integrity, Perry White says “it’s not 1938 anymore”, referencing the year Superman debuted. And that gets down to the core of what Snyder believes and the root of all these problems I have. His movie has a disdain for the idealism of the source material. There is no moment of joy in this movie, no moment of hope or light or awe that you typically expect in superhero media…instead it’s grim monotony.

He thinks the modern world is too corrupt and cynical to want a Superman and Batman who have ideals, who give us hope the world can get better. He thinks that’s best left to 1938.

And that is nonsense.  The world is no more corrupt now than it was in the 30’s (World War II was on the horizon back then, after all). People can still enjoy heroes who have integrity and they still need light in their lives.”

Beyond just basic criticism, the general principle at play here is that it’s high time consumers start demanding with the dollars instead of just complaining with their thumbs. We complain endlessly about the substandard content we receive, but how many of us actually do something about it? Especially when it comes to the hype-train of entertainment. How many people are still lining up to buy the next big Triple-A title of the video game no matter that it’s the same as the last one, or that it’s nearly unplayable due to bugs, or that it’s not even a whole game until you spend even more money on DLC? How many of us groan at the constant move reboots but line up for the next one with a flashy trailer and social media buzz? No. No more. I may be a nobody, but DC/WB will not receive a dime from me until they prove they are both willing and capable of putting out quality product. I think Erick Erickson came close when he called Suicide Squad generic cola, but he didn’t go far enough because DC/WB are slapping name-brand labels on cheap imitation garbage and trying to con us into paying for the real deal. So I don’t care how much it hurts my inner nerd, I don’t care that I have to go to bed holding my Aquaman action figure and crying because I’ve been a big Jason Mamoa fan since Stargate: Atlantis and was apoplectic his Conan didn’t lead to a revival of the franchise, I refuse to see a single thing from DC/WB until they prove themselves. Keep all the actors who have been very good, fire the entire creative team who have proven themselves illiterate, start over from the beginning, and build a franchise properly. In the meantime, I’ll be standing in line for Dr Strange since Marvel established they can and will.