Stuff I’m Sick Of Seeing

Fair warning: I am in a bad mood today.

Lots of reasons. This damn cold that’s been bugging me for a month keeps surging back whenever I think I’m finally done with it. I have to go get fingerprinted for school again because somehow my records are gone, they didn’t get transferred when the new agency took over the afterschool program from the YMCA; and the Thursday evening email telling me this closed with “it’d be awesome if you could bring the new card in on Monday!” (Fun fact: I have a full-time day job the rest of the week, so there was no chance Friday, and places that do fingerprinting — mostly police stations and licensing agencies — are not open weekends. So I have roughly an hour and a half between the end of my shift on the day job and the start of class on Monday to do this, or, the rules say, I’m not allowed to teach.)

What else? We had to blow off the Antiquarian Book Fair last week and the Jet City Comics show this week because of financial issues. We weren’t able to get our shit together at school with the new admins in time for my kids to table at a couple of shows we really like, particularly the Olympia Zine Festival. Three book projects of mine are apparently indefinitely in limbo, because of factors I have absolutely no influence over (illustrator is late on one, editor has screwed up on another, publisher is stalling the editor on the third.)

And on and on. Suffice it to say that Real Life and Adulting have been a heavier lift than usual the last few weeks. Normally in such times I seek refuge in the world of entertainment, but even that is annoying me; mostly because lately I am seeing nothing but rehashes of tropes that should have had a stake pounded through them before they ever became tropes in the first place.

So in an effort to vent some of this bile, I’m going to list a few of those irritating tropes for you and unload on why I hate them so much. Buckle up.

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“I’m re-inventing the character for the modern audience.”

Right now Joker is doing huge box office.

I hear it’s pretty good, but I’m mostly hearing it from people who are prefacing it with, “Normally I hate comic-book movies, but…” The worst one was, “I’ve seen comic book movies, but Joker is the first comic-book film.”

You know what? Fuck those guys. They can take their film school degrees, fold them till they’re all corners, and shove them up their clenched snooty asses. Joker is, as near as I can tell, a dark character study made for fans of stuff like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy who wouldn’t be caught dead going to see a Marvel movie, but bankrolled by a studio that couldn’t bear to give up their shot at that sweet superhero-blockbuster cash.

Guess what, edgy filmmaker guys? Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola still won’t like you no matter how dark you make your licensed comic-book movie. If you really think you can do better than Taxi Driver or American Psycho or, hell, Hitchcock’s Psycho, then step up. Show us what you really have. Do your own thing. Don’t paper it over with a licensed DC villain– especially since it’s the wrong one, for Chrissakes. The Bat-villain that’s made for a dark and tragic character study is Two-Face, Harvey Dent, not the damn Joker.

Even the people making the Adam West version of Batman, both comics and animated, understood that part.

There’s a whole column to be written about how badly DC has done by the Joker since Frank Miller and Dark Knight, and I’ll get to it one of these days, I promise. But for right now, let’s make one thing clear– modern audiences already understand the Joker. There’s no need to re-invent him. He’s an evil clown who thinks sadism is funny. See? That’s all you need. It’s not that goddam hard.

It’s not just the Joker. I hear these guys carrying on about how they’re “re-inventing the legend” from every direction. The HBO Watchmen is another one. Don’t take my word for it, here’s Damon Lindelof:

“What we think about superheroes is wrong,” Lindelof said in 2017 about his reasons for adapting Watchmen. “I love the Marvel movies, we saw Justice League, and I’m all for Wonder Woman and Batman and I grew up on these characters, I love these characters. But we should not trust people who put on masks and say that they are looking out for us. If you hide your face, you are up to no good.”

I saw the first episode of Watchmen and okay, it was interesting, except for the part where there was no need or visible reason for it to be called Watchmen at all. If there is a concept that absolutely DOES NOT NEED to be revisited, re-imagined, or re-invented, it’s Watchmen. Lindelof’s letter explaining how he finally caved does not make this any less true.

And so on and so on. But it keeps happening. Why? Because they want the guaranteed audience, the people that love the original. And the go-to move is always to make it darker, on the theory that this equates directly to lending a project dramatic weight. Nowhere is this more evident than in the new Titans TV series.

This I’m-too-cool-for-this-kind-of-material, let’s-make-it-darker-so-my-hip-friends-won’t-jeer approach has been annoying me since Mark Millar trashed the Avengers in The Ultimates and now the disease has spread to movies and TV.

You know why the Marvel movies have been so successful? Because they’re not at all embarrassed about what they’re doing, and because they understand that different stories have different tones. There’s been a ridiculous online kerfuffle the last few days about whether or not the MCU catalogue is art, but all I hear is “I’m scared the cool kids will laugh at me.” Get over yourselves and stop being ashamed of your material. Pro tip: darkness of approach doesn’t automatically confer seriousness. Often it just makes you look pretentious and silly.

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The Person I’m Talking To? I Hallucinated Him!

Jesus Christ I am SO DONE with this bullshit.

I understand that actors need someone to talk to and react to. But positing that the default reaction for stress and exhaustion is to somehow engage in long expository conversations with your dead relatives, or whoever, is absurd. It undercuts the main story by making your audience wonder how stable your hero really is. I’ve been stressed and exhausted over serious stuff like loved ones possibly dying, and my dead father never showed up to lecture me.

Although I have to admit Dick Grayson hallucinating a hectoring Bruce Wayne doing the Batusi in TITANS is pretty damn funny.

But that was a sight gag in an episode that mainly underlines the complete plausibility of the thing Dick is trying desperately to disprove — he really IS a bad leader and reforming the Titans really IS a bad idea. At this point you can’t help but think that clearly what Dick needs is a nice long stay in a sanitarium away from any sharp objects, and some serious therapy.

I get it, yes, it’s a dramatic device. But it’s a stupid one. Let it go. Find some other way to get there, writers.

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We Have To Stop The Big Beam Of Light In The Sky!

Do I really need to explain why this needs to go away?

When you’ve even got frigging Godzilla doing it, I think it’s worn out its welcome.

You know what’s really scary? Aiming your giant energy beam at stuff on the damn ground.

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“I’m your dark mirror image, your perfect opposite; you claim to oppose me, but we are really alike, you and I.”

Not gonna lie: I’m getting really sick of this one, no matter how well done it is.

You can trace it back to Darth “I am your father!” Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, I suppose, but I think it really got a foothold with the 1989 Batman, where it was needlessly shoehorned into the origin of the Joker.

But now it’s everywhere.

Possibly the dumbest and most unnecessary version was the Daniel Craig Bond’s version of Blofeld, in Spectre.

It’s apparently not enough that he’s the head of a global terrorist organization. No, what gives everything that extra little serving of EEE-vil is that Blofeld is really Bond’s forgotten, never-before-referenced stepbrother. Or something. It comes out of nowhere and it’s so completely stupid it pulls you right out of the movie; in fact, you can make the argument that it’s no longer really James Bond at that point. This is yet another case of getting everything about the basic concept completely wrong.

To quote the 007 Social Media project:

In all four of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, James Bond has gone rogue/off the grid/loose cannon. If Craig’s Bond cannot escape his childhood, he can never truly become James Bond. He’s more Jason Bourne, ceaselessly investigating the past he has forgotten, searching for connectivity. Jason Bourne isn’t protecting the United States; he’s engaged in a struggle with his former employer to find personal freedom. By fixating on his own past – whether it be the death of Vesper or his surrogate family, Bond has become a petulant superhero whose childhood traumas have driven him to a profession of crime fighting. Rather than a heroic protector, Bond had become a national liability.

That sums up the so-NOT-007 essence of the current take on James Bond so beautifully I have nothing to add. I loved Casino Royale, but everything after that has been a disappointment. Mostly because it’s not really James Bond at all. Larding the dark-mirror version of Blofeld on top of that makes it unbearable.

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Being Captured Is Actually A Key Element Of My Master Plan!

Seriously?

Because that’s a really dumb fucking plan.

Especially if you’re in a transparent cell with cameras on you all the time.

The only way this idea works is if your heroes are just adenoidally stupid. But screenwriters keep going there; it’s the dramatic-device thing again, it allows you to have long dialogue scenes where actors can intensely emote (usually about how I’m your dark mirror that’s why you hate me but we are really alike, blah blah.) The only time I ever bought into that kind of psych-out dialogue scene was in The Silence of the Lambs, and the reason it worked there is because the evil Hannibal Lecter was already in jail; all his psych-out stuff was because he was engineering a situation where he could get out.

That, at least, makes sense. But all the stories that followed where the bad guy gets himself captured just so he can do his sinister Hello-Clarice riff with the heroes before escaping with ridiculous ease? Come on. Enough already.

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Superhero Stories Without the Hero!

This is another variation of trading on a property people really like just to get an audience to check it out, without actually giving them the thing they genuinely enjoy. How exactly were Superman fans supposed to stay interested in Krypton? Nothing that happens on that show is going to matter because we all know the entire planet blows up. But it lasted two whole seasons and every last episode hammered on the idea that THIS LEADS TO SUPERMAN even though Superman never shows up.

For some reason Batman is particularly susceptible to this. I already talked about Joker, but the poster child for this is, of course, Gotham.

Five seasons of constant coy Batman references, but no actual Batman, until a couple of silhouettes in the final episode.

Then the moment Gotham wrapped we got Pennyworth.

I think about the only Batman live-action adaptation fans were demanding less than a solo Joker movie was a solo young-Alfred-in-wartime-London TV show.

You know what I’d really like? An actual live-action Batman. Can we maybe get on that?

In the meantime, in fairness I have to admit we are digging Batwoman a lot.

We like Ruby Rose, and it amuses me to see Rachel Skarsten back in Gotham City after Birds of Prey. Certainly, it’s more justifiable than Pennyworth.

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That’s enough for now, I guess. Feel free to chime in with your own pet peeves down below in the comments. We can all be crabby together.

Back next week with something cool… and hopefully in a better mood.

24 Comments

  1. Donmilliken

    Have you actually seen that Banana Splits movie? What a weird friggin’ thing. Why it exists I have no clue, but at one point WB was working on an adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s, a horror video game series about animatronic characters that come to life and start killing people. It’s been stuck in development hell for some time and the rumor is this movie repurposed an abandoned script for that film, which is supposedly still in the works. None of this, of course, explains in any way why this film exists. So weird.

  2. I would like to take a moment to vent about the Flash, whose powers work completely differently depending on the situation, and it all comes down to humorous situations vs battles where he sucks big time.

    If someone wants something, Flash is across town and back again before whoever can finish a word, but in battles, they have the “cool” lightning effect, and Flash gets knocked out endlessly. His power is amazing, and better writers could handle it in such a different, better way, but it’s so formulaic.

    There was a scene in an old Impulse comic where Impulse was playing video games so fast he was “clocking” games in seconds and was SO bored, but… games don’t work like that! If anything, he should find the programming on video games absolutely boring because you CAN’T make them go faster.

    In Flash there was something similar where he was waiting in line for a coffee then had to go, so he sped made his own coffee and everyone else’s in line before leaving. How long does it take to steam milk exactly? How did he know what all six or seven people in the line wanted? When it comes to gags, Flash can do anything, even if it makes ZERO sense. It’s ridiculous. Find a better way to use his powers.

    And, I mean, I know it’s TV (the CW no less) but all their shows suffer from minimal budget, so you don’t see powers nearly enough (nowhere is this more apparent than on Legends, who all have pretty visual powers so they did this to themselves, really) so they’re always ham-fisting reasons in to stories as to why they can’t use their powers. (On Legends they constantly say they can’t use their powers or someone might see and change history forever. Why is this line written in a TIME TRAVEL show??)

    Oh yeah, and the lightning on Flash? Get rid of it and focus on writing better uses for his speed, which can be displayed using editing tricks used in the earliest of early silent films.

    Anyway, I watch it all, (well most of it) because even though I’m 40, this glut of comic stuff was NOT around when I was younger and REALLY would have loved it. Better late than never, (but not better than it could be).

  3. So so so agree with so many of these.

    Imagine for a second that all the superhero film and TV adaptations that DC licenses out were actually comic books. Regular titles for Supergirl, Flash, Green Arrow, Batwoman, Titans and Doom Patrol…But Superman? Batman? Relegated to a couple of guest appearances and one big graphic novel every few years. Ridiculous. Batman especially seems a perfect fit for a good live action TV series.

  4. Greg Burgas

    I LOVE Grumpy Greg! 🙂

    I’m down with all of those. I have been tired of the “villain-gets-captured-just-to-enact-his-master-plan” plot forever, yet it keeps happening. I know a lot of yours deal with comics-centric stuff, but I’ve noticed it in all kinds of pop culture, and it drives me nuts, because I don’t know why writers think they’re being so clever. They’ve seen other pop culture, haven’t they, so they know that particular trope is overused! Yet they keep doing it.

    I have a lot of examples, but I can’t go down that rabbit hole right now. Maybe tomorrow!

  5. Edo Bosnar

    Yeah, I agree with all of these to a greater or lesser extent, but especially the “having conversations and/or getting advice from a hallucinated (usually) dead relative/friend/etc.” It is so annoying, in that I guess it’s supposed to make whoever is experiencing it more sympathetic or even kind of cool or edgy, but – as you pointed out – it just makes me think this person really needs help (which he/she usually does not seek and does not get).
    And it seems to crop up everywhere, in all kinds of TV shows, movies or comics (I remember it even appeared once in an episode of Scrubs, for f***’s sake).

      1. Sorkin did it in Studio 60 before that. It was almost the same episode. Except that one blamed Matt’s drug use, which was sort of plausible. The Newsroom one was just completely out of nowhere and the most blatant example of what I think of as “theater writing,” which is that kind of Broadway-snob staging that you get from people who start in the New York theater scene and are currently slumming it in television; things that work as a one-off in a stage play, but just look silly on series TV. Sorkin does that a lot, and he recycles a lot. Newsroom was practically a catalogue of his recurring tics.

        1. Actually, now that I think of it, Sorkin did the same thing on the West Wing even earlier. Although in that case it felt a little more intrinsic to the story, as it pertained to a tragedy that had just taken place, and felt more like the main character was having a sort of fevered dream rather than just calm and rational conversation with someone who wasn’t there.

  6. My friend Ross’s quip was that “I”m reinventing this character for the 1980s” (or whenever) just means you’ll be obsolete ten years later.
    But it’s not hard to be better than Taxi Driver, which is an overwrought psycho-Vietnam veteran film that thinks it’s Making A Statement. But Scorsese almost never works for me, so I’m biased.
    2)Yeah, if it’s Not A Sequel, Not An Adaptation, it’s hard to see how it’s Watchmen. “In Name Only” adaptations are a longstanding annoyance, of course. As you say they want the original audience but as soon as the “not like the book” criticism starts it’s “Well, this should be judged on its own merits.” Funny how they never bring this up until after a lot of tickets have been sold). And yes, dark is always the go-to for a supposedly mature, sophisticated take.
    3)The dark mirror thing is cliched (nicely parodied in one issue of DAMAGE CONTROL), but what bothers me is that it’s usually done so badly. As we’ve discussed before, the Joker is not Batman’s dark mirror and doesn’t “get” him.
    4)Re being captured: rewatching Skyfall a few years ago, I realize how totally dumb Silva’s plan is. It depends on everyone in MI5 doing exactly what he anticipates at exactly the right time and there’s no way he can guarantee that. For example his escape relies on the train crashing through into the underground while he’s fleeing Bond and unless he’s the Mad Thinker he couldn’t possibly anticipate that.
    Raymond Chandler summed this up years earlier by saying any plan that hinges on people doing exactly what you anticipate when you have no way to ensure they do it is dumb.
    That said, I’m willing to overlook the cliche if it’s done well. But it never is.
    5)Despite hating Gotham, I don’t have a problem with “superhero shows without superheroes” as I just see them as a spinoff of a supporting character. Comics have done plenty of those, though rarely as high-profile as TV.
    6)Having Flash display actual lightning doesn’t work for me, but I can live with it. His super-speed powers not being used to full effect is true in a lot of comics too (he can round up a gang of hoods in an instant, but slows down against the bad guys). As I’ve always been a Flash fan I just roll with it.
    7)”Superman? Batman? Relegated to a couple of guest appearances and one big graphic novel every few years. Ridiculous.” Someone elsewhere commented that twenty years ago a debate over “Is Spider-Man capable of surviving without having Iron Man as a part of his mythos?” would have left him convulsed with laughter.
    8)”the most blatant example of what I think of as “theater writing,” Seeing a daydream/fantasy/hallucination on stage works well because when everything’s live I expect everything to be real, so to speak. On TV, having things dissolve into a fantasy just looks like a regular scene change.

    1. Oh, maybe a little, but I was already thinking about this. It did provide a couple of specific examples. But really it just crystallized my opinion about how much I hate, hate, hate the idea of a solo Joker movie.

      The more I think about it, the more it annoys me. The mishandling of the Joker is so deeply entrenched in DC’s current thinking that there’s really no salvaging it now. There is a whole column there, but suffice it to say that everything that reinforces the KILLING JOKE failed-comedian-schmuck version, even obliquely, does more damage to the character. Honestly the Joker shouldn’t have an origin at all. It lessens his menace. Which is why I’m dreading what Geoff Johns and THREE JOKERS is going to bring to the party. The last thing the Joker needs is for Geoff Johns to retro-rationalize all the previous versions.

      1. Edo Bosnar

        The more I think about it, the more I agree with you about the Joker not having an origin. The original Red Hood story from the early 1950s is all the explanation we need – and sometimes I think maybe even that one wasn’t necessary.

  7. jccalhoun

    I didn’t go to film school but I did get a phd in Communication and Culture and have seen lots of pretentious films and read lots of books about media. So let me say this: Joker is a terrible movie. All style over substance. It is the undergraduate who thinks he is so deep and meaningful but with no meaning and whatever it is trying to say isn’t all that interesting.

    I’m tired of many of the same things listed in this column. I would add I’m also tired of origin stories/prequels in general. One of the reasons why Spider-Man:Homecoming was good was that it didn’t go into how he got his powers.

    The pictures of the glass jail cell also reminded me of one of the things I am really tired of seeing in scifi: transparent screens. Whether it was a computer monitor or a handheld device, who would ever want a transparent screen? Of course, the real reason they appear so often is that the transparent screens won’t cover the actor’s face and it can also allow cool lights to be reflected in the actor’s face but it is just a dumb idea and pulls me out of the movie whenever I see it.

  8. Three things I’m tired of:
    1)Any origin that involves the protagonist on a reality show. It’s not bad per se, or even new (Roy Raymond was doing it in the 1950s) but I’ve seen it done at least three or four times (the New 52’s crappy Challengers Auction and Blood Pack to name two) and it doesn’t hold up to multiple uses.
    2)Sexist male protagonists. Thinking women are stupid/incompetent/inferior is not an appealing quality, even if the character’s shown to be wrong. Why yes, Orion of the Azzarello Wonder Woman, I’m looking at you (and wondering who the hell thought Orion As Douchebro was a good reinterpretation).
    3)Villains who prove their evil by some monstrously sadistic torture sequence. It’s been done so often, it doesn’t work. Ditto Geoff Johns’ endless fondness for having villains vow they’ll rip out the hero’s Important Body Part and Eat It/Crush It/Wipe Their Butt with it before his very eyes.

  9. Peter

    These are all great bones to pick with modern pop culture. The only one I’ll slightly disagree with is the “dark mirror” trope. I am tired of it, but that’s because it is so often done badly. I’m a sucker for a really well-done story like that. Just limiting ourselves to talking about Batman, it’s quite easy to illustrate how the trope can be used well or poorly. In pretty much every Joker story since The Dark Knight, writers have tried to make the Joker into a “dark mirror” of Batman even though all textual evidence points to them being approximately nothing alike. It also serves both characters quite poorly when writers cast them as being dually obsessed with one another. It removes unique motivation from both characters and makes them flat and tedious.

    On the other hand, the classic Mike Barr/Michael Golden one-shot with the Wrath and the first Prometheus arc in JLA are great examples of the “dark mirror” trope being used properly – those characters are actually quote similar to Batman, but they have their own motivation outside of just hating Batman! They’re interesting characters and the stories actually prompt the reader (and presumably Bruce) to contemplate whether human morality is really so frail that two close analogues could end up as moral opposites due to one or two small chance events. Even in The Dark Knight, the issue with Two Face reflects this theme quite well and conjures up a real interesting story with notes of real tragedy.

    1. I think one reason the Wrath story worked is that the bad guy doesn’t spend any time explaining how he “gets” Batman or the like, he just exists and we get to see the mirror image. It’s much more effective.
      Which reminds me of a similar annoyance, stories in which the bad guy gives any sort of philosophical lecture about why being evil is a better or smarter choice. At best it’s cliched, at worst it’s pompous windbaggery.

  10. OH GOD YES CO-SIGNED ON ALL OF THIS. I am so sick of all of this crap.

    Making things that weren’t designed to be dark all glum and “adult” so you can seem “edgy” (TITANS and what looks like most of the DC Universe streaming content).

    Co-opting the name of something and making a sequel that has next to nothing to do with it so you can draw in the fans of the existing property (HBO’s WATCHMEN, BEFORE WATCHMEN, DOOMSDAY CLOCK).

    Bad guys getting captured in the second act of a movie (AVENGERS, SKYFALL, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS), which I’ve also decried here, somewhere in our first year. Like you said, it worked in SILENCE and pretty much nowhere else.

    Personally connecting the villain to the hero to “up the stakes” but you just end up making it an example of Small Universe Syndrome and making everything contrived as hell (SPECTRE and the Green Goblin shagging Gwen Stacy are the most egregious examples that spring to mind). Isn’t the fact that they’re BAD GUYS enough motivation for the heroes to want to stop them?

    And superhero stories without the superhero (SMALLVILLE, KRYPTON, GOTHAM, PENNYWORTH)… Ugh. What’s the damn point? Just give us the hero doing cool things. It’s not that hard.

    All of these tropes just show that you’re ashamed of the source material and wish that you could be doing something else instead of these stupid superhero things that are inexplicably popular right now. Just spare us.

    If I’m watching or reading a superhero story, I want it to be, above all else, FUN. The MCU movies are fun and they’re not ashamed to be superhero stories. If anything, they’ve leaned into even MORE of the superhero trappings over time. The heroes go through hardships, but they aren’t stories about how much it would suck to be a superhero. I have my LIFE to show me how much life can suck. I don’t need it in my escapist entertainment, too.

    I’d also add to the list heroes who do everything by committee with a dedicated support team to help the hero do anything more complicated than tying their shoes. All of the CW superhero shows lean on this WAY too much, probably to give their lead actors some time off, but over time, it just makes the leads look indecisive and ineffectual.

    I don’t mind the opposite number thing that much, but it can be overdone. Belloq’s “I am but a showy reflection of you” scene in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was great partly because that was the only time in the movie they did it. They didn’t keep harping on it in every damn scene.

    Good column, Greg. We’ve got a lot of the same fanboy pet peeves.

    1. Edo Bosnar

      Re: “…the list heroes who do everything by committee with a dedicated support team to help the hero do anything more complicated than tying their shoes.”

      Yes. And I love the way they kind of gently poked at this concept in Spider-man: Homecoming, when Ned proclaimed himself Spider-man’s ‘Guy in the chair.’

  11. Luis Dantas

    It is indeed clear that often the reason to thrown so much production money into nominally superhero-connected movies and TV series is because there is the expectation that a built-in audience will come with the brand.

    And very often that results in the actual content and the brand name being at odds with each other. The 2015 Superman movie and the Batman v Superman follow-up are among the clearest examples. Why did they graft Superman’s origin and name into a movie about a remarkably different character? Because people would pay before they learned better. But that hurt the brand’s commercial viability and the credibility of the character.

    The Netflix Titans series has its good points, but it is only marginally recognizable as having something to do with the comics. It would be a far stronger, if perhaps less commercially viable series, if it did not go out of its way to produce evidence that this is somehow a version of the Titans of comics.

    1. Doom Patrol is amazing though. And Young Justice: Outsiders has been fun so far (I stopped my subscription until DP S2 starts up).
      I’m not bothered by the committee backup system myself, subject to execution.
      I do find it annoying that so many costumes in the MU just look like armor. And I hate in the comics things like Batman having a built-in taser in his suit — it’s a logical thing for him to do, but it doesn’t fit my mental image of Batman at all.

  12. Le Messor

    “But we should not trust people who put on masks and say that they are looking out for us. If you hide your face, you are up to no good.”

    Apart from that horrible generalisation in the second sentence (so, uh, fire fighters are up to no good? Nuclear technicians? Surgeons?)… what’s the value of making us see superheroes in such a light in a world where they don’t exist? These are fictional characters, people! We can literally read their thoughts. I don’t think we have to overthink how much we trust them.

    “in fact, you can make the argument that it’s no longer really James Bond at that point.”

    Yeah, I laughed when James Bond started getting its plot points from Austin Powers instead of the other way around.

    “I’m your dark mirror image, your perfect opposite; you claim to oppose me, but we are really alike, you and I.”

    The insistence on Dark Mirror is one of the big flaws with the MCU for me – and I love the MCU. All the movies are on my shelf (except Spider-Man: Far From Home but that’s just because I haven’t got it yet. Maybe tomorrow.

    The problem is, they did it so much that after a while, it wasn’t so much about heroes saving the world from threats as it was about guys cleaning up their own messes.

    On The Flash: It’s always bugged me that speedsters on a team never get to the action significantly earlier than their teammates.

  13. “what’s the value of making us see superheroes in such a light in a world where they don’t exist? These are fictional characters, people! We can literally read their thoughts. I don’t think we have to overthink how much we trust them.”
    Well put.
    At least they can use the Don’t Trust The Masks trope effectively in Watchmen (whether or not they actually succeed) because it’s a standalone universe. It’s completely pointless in something like Dawn of Justice because no matter how much they talk pretentiously about the danger of trusting vigilantes, we’re not going to end up with a DC Universe where Superman’s hunted like Spider-Man. So what’s the point?
    For all the idiocy of Marvel’s Civil War, I give them credit for at least temporarily changing the status quo with the Fifty State Initiative.

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