It’s Nothing But Superheroes, All The Way Down

Gird your loins: DC just announced it’s new lineup of superhero movies, ensuring that we will none of us ever be free from this onslaught. I wonder how long it’ll be before we all start measuring time in franchises instead of years. “Aw, your daughter is adorable, how old is she?” “One and a half Batmans!” I’m tired, friends. I’m so very tired.

On the plus side, the lineup includes a standalone Wonder Woman movie and three starring men of color (Aquaman, Cyborg, and Shazam), which is satisfying in light of Marvel’s Kevin Feige’s notorious evasiveness about when we might get an MCU film that isn’t White Dude 7: The Dudening. I’d be excited about that if DC didn’t seem so determined to turn all of their films into joyless, desaturated angst-fests. (Okay, I’m still a little excited for Aquaman, because at least we’ll get to see lots of shirtless Jason Momoa looking like a beautiful tropical fish.)

DC isn’t the only studio that’s released news–or, in this case, “news” this week, though:

A rumor that Captain America 3 is going to include the comic’s widely reviled Civil War storyline popped up in Variety, and people are PISSED. I saw so many angry Tumblr posts yesterday! And I feel them, because it’s a terrible idea that makes no sense in the current movie verse–which leads me to believe, like the author of that linked io9 article (possible spoilers ahoy), that if it happens at all, it’s going to be majorly tweaked for the movies, just like all the other comic arcs they’ve used have been. My guess is that someone got wind of the title, looked up the comic, and jumped to a whole lot of conclusions.

Anyway, this has all been a lot to take in, so let’s end with what remains, and will remain, forever, the greatest movie moment of all time:

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40 Responses to It’s Nothing But Superheroes, All The Way Down

  1. Wallflower says:

    It’s fall break! So, I get to comment on posts again. Yea! I am excited about a Wonder Woman movie if only because i would really love a cool WW shirt to wear. I had one in college and it was really tight (I can’t remember what we called those shirts back in the 90’s – girl fit? baby t-shirt? am I dreaming this?) Anyway, it was way too tight and white so it totally got armpit stains and I had to throw it away but I remember it fondly and I want another one. Though, not that tight because I’m too old for that.

    I’m very excited to see Birdman because I’ve missed Michael Keaton and I think he’s wonderful. (I know, not really a superhero movie but just wanted to put that out there.)

    Has Jeff Goldblum every played a superhero? That’s really the only superhero movie I’d be interested in these days.

    • I would be 100% on board with Jeff Goldblum playing EVERY superhero. (I’m also getting excited about Birdman! The reviews make it sound really interesting.)

    • welcometocostcoiloveyou says:

      Really looking forward to Birdman! Great cast, and the same director as 21 Grams and Amores Perros – 2 movies I loved at the time I saw them, but they might be too depressing to watch again.

  2. old man fatima says:

    I can’t complain too hard (jk I do what I want) because these movies all make a gazillion dollars and the studios would be big old dummies to not make nothing but superhero movies for the rest of time… BUT yeah I was pretty over them about 5 years ago. Thor brought me back into the fold with all the “THOR, SON OF ODIN, HUNGERS!” *smashes plate for no reason*, and the arms, but even he is getting a bit dusty. I can only gaze at your arms and laugh at you talking like a Norse asshole so many times, Thor.

    Theresa, you know I love you and I wish you and your fiancee the best and I am going to wear an American flag to your wedding, I assume as a bridesmaid, but Captain America is by far the most boring of all the major superheros. Lord knows I love a good fish out of water time travel gag as much as the next guy, but holy moly what a goody two shoes.

    • In order to preserve our friendship, I won’t go into an extended rant about how goodness does NOT equal boringness and why that mentality is an even bigger pet peeve of mine than the Han and Leia thing (DID YOU SEE WINTER SOLDIER?? DID YOU), and will just say that you are wrong and don’t worry, the bridesmaid dresses will be very tasteful and flattering.

      • old man fatima says:

        I did not see Winter Soldier! So I don’t get to have a say in this argument. He is handsome and you will have gorgeous children / cats, I will give you that.

        • See, the thing that frustrates me as a Captain America fan is that a lot of people have only seen The Avengers, where his characterization was totally off for the most part. I don’t know if Joss Whedon has trouble writing characters who aren’t witty quip bots or what, but in both Captain America movies (and the first one is just okay, but the Winter Solider is legit great), Steve basically spends the whole time refusing to follow orders, rebelling against authority, and even breaking the law in order to do what he feels is right, so the whole “We have our orders, we need to follow them!” crap in Avengers makes NO sense and basically reduced him to a foil for Tony Stark, so, incredible ass shots notwithstanding, I have a lot of issues with that movie.

          (Having FEELINGS About Fictional Characters: A Life will be the name of my autobiography.)

        • FRQ says:

          Basically, everything Theresa said is 100% correct (disclosure: life long Cap fan here). Also, the better candidate for most boring superhero is Superman. A goody two-shoes AND nigh-omnipotence? That’s the formula for some monotonous stories.

        • And re: Supes–or incredibly convoluted stories. I love his personality, but the obstacles the writers have to throw in his path in order to make the story any more complex than “And then he effortlessly saved the day immediately, because he can do almost literally anything” get so ridiculous.

        • FRQ says:

          I should note that I actually like Superman and know good stories can be written good for him, but DC can never seem to hire people to do so (at least as of 8 years ago).

          And going back to the original topic, Vulture posted this article after Winter Soldier was released, making a similar point, and in a rare moment of comment section greatness, readers came out in droves to lambaste it.

        • Ugh, I remember that terrible article–but yes, the responses were great. (A large part of me thinks that they knew exactly what would happen and published it to purposefully get everyone riled.)

        • facetaco says:

          I actually very recently had a great conversation with a friend about the Iron Man and Captain America movies. We ultimately came to the conclusion that which character you prefer depends largely on whether you place importance on casting and characterization (RDJ as Iron Man), or how well the movie is written (Captain America). Because the Captain America movies are good DESPITE him, not BECAUSE of him. He spends every movie having things happen to him and showing no development as a character. But they’re very well written. Iron Man, on the other hand, grows and changes, and RDJ is perfectly cast, but those movies are written terribly.

        • He spends every movie having things happen to him and showing no development as a character.

          Okay, I realize I’m incapable of approaching this topic objectively, but I’m honestly curious about how you figure a character who started out so desperate to be a soldier that he risked serious jail time, and then ended up dismantling a national defense organization didn’t make choices or change as a person…? (I also have to admit that I always kind of side-eye the “no character development!” accusation, because people tend to use it to mean “this character started out good, and is still good despite the obstacles he/she faced,” which is SO much more interesting to me than characters who either give in to cynicism or start out as assholes who need to be taught that being an asshole isn’t cool.)

        • facetaco says:

          Because he does what’s right. He doesn’t compromise, he doesn’t question that, he doesn’t see shades of grey. He does what’s right, every time, and that has never changed in any of the movies.

        • Hmm. I disagree; if that was true, then I think he would have, to use just one example, (SPOILERS) killed Bucky at the end of Winter Soldier. It wasn’t “right” for him to spare a murderous brainwashed assassin just because he was his friend; it was entirely selfish. And it also wasn’t right for him to effectively commit suicide by refusing to fight back (it seemed pretty clear to me that he didn’t expect Bucky to spare him). And I view his entire friendship with Natasha, who’s nothing BUT shades of gray, as a pretty big compromise on both their parts. But I’ll stop blathering on about this.

        • facetaco says:

          And what you’re saying kind of makes my point. He started out good and he’s still good. He has never doubted that or questioned it. While I can understand why you find that interesting, from a plot progression and character development standpoint, it pretty much forces everything to happen TO him, or AROUND him. Which makes him the least interesting part of his own movies.

        • I get what you’re saying, but I guess I just don’t uphold “goodness” as a measure of character development. People can become wiser, or more impatient, or more emotionally open or closed, or angrier, etc. etc., without becoming any more “good” or “bad.” I think in part I’m just really tired of the “asshole genius dude is an asshole–but a GENIUS, so it’s okay–but then he does something stupid and harmful and realizes that maybe…being an asshole is WRONG??!? So now he’s the best!” plot, which is so overused in Hollywood, so from that perspective, Steve Rogers, who didn’t have to learn any convoluted lessons in order to figure out that being a selfish dick is shitty, is such a breath of fresh air for me.

        • facetaco says:

          But goodness HAS to be his character development, because that’s all he has. It’s how he is defined. No other character traits have ever been given to him, so he has to be defined by how good he is, and when that never changes, and he never even questions it, you’re left with no development at all.

        • No other character traits have ever been given to him

          Disagree 210%, but I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. (I’ve enjoyed this discussion, if that wasn’t clear! I always worry that I come on a little too strong when I argue about stuff.)

        • facetaco says:

          Me too! There are few things I love more than a good argument, but often I’ll write out very lengthy replies to things people post on Faceabook, and then erase them because I don’t wanna look like an asshole. I just want to participate in a heated discussion sometimes, you guys!

        • FRQ says:

          FT makes a good point about Cap not having any character development, but I take issue with the implication that it makes him dull and he needs to develop. He’s not that type of character. He’s a wise, old man with solid morals and a personality that pretty much everyone on Earth (616) respects. Essentially, he’s already fully matured as a character and doesn’t need to go through that process. The conflict lies in him living in this inperfect society and attempting to develop other characters or make the world a little bit better. The Doctor is a similar type of character. If that’s not your bag, that’s totally fine, but I don’t think that type of person is an obstacle story writers have to overcome.

          Didn’t want to stoke the flames but I wanted to put another spin on things.

        • And I like this spin! I would say that movie Cap is still in the process of getting to that point (to me, for example, his stubbornness and unswerving loyalty to people he considers friends ARE flaws he needs to work on) (not to mention how terrible he is at hiding things; PEOPLE BUY GUM SOMETIMES, STEVE, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING), but yes, I definitely agree, and I appreciate how he fits in to the wider range of characters in the world of the movies.

        • facetaco says:

          From a comics standpoint, as someone who is fully developed and knows what he is and what he stands for, you’re right. He is a paragon of justice, and a role model/mentor for the younger characters. That’s great for the entire universe. But for the movies where we’re supposed to be focused on him for a few hours, it’s pretty crummy, because it means that the more interesting things that cause plot progression have to rely on other characters to do things, and for him to just be there.

        • I don’t mean to keep harping on this, but I’m honestly baffled by the idea that he doesn’t do anything in the movies and stuff just happens to him. In the first movie, he tries his damnedest to join the army, proves his worth to get the serum, chooses to take the serum, rescues the Howling Commandos singlehandedly (in violation of explicit orders, just because his friend was in danger–again, it all worked out, but his motivations were selfish), figures out how to infiltrate the main Hydra base (and then does it, obviously), and sacrifices himself in order to save the world at the end. In The Winter Soldier, his criticism of the Insight program is what kicks everything off because HE makes Fury question his own judgement, and then he (Steve) and Natasha uncover the plot and take direct action to stop it (and I’ve already talked about the Bucky stuff). Even on a personal level, the movie starts out with him very deliberately striking up a friendship after it was implied in The Avengers that he felt lonely and isolated.

          I promise I’ll stop now, and again, I’m really not trying to steamroll you here. You have every right to not be interested in a character, and you’re still invited to the wedding.

        • FRQ says:

          Again, good points, but I think it’s tough for me to discuss any further given my history with the character and that this movie is actually part of a greater universe. Things would be more clear cut if, say, John Wick was that type of personality. (Note: John Wick probably has zero depth, but I will watch anyway because BANG BANG BANG!)

        • msmessica says:

          Yes, yes, Theresa a thousand times yes! (I heard rumor the Russos would take over the Avengers after Age of Ultron. Not sure if it’s true but it’s now my dream scenario.)

        • Oh man, please, PLEASE let that happen. I trust them implicitly after Cap 2.

        • Winter Soldier is great. I don’t really have anything else to add to this.

  3. facetaco says:

    Umm, having just watched this week’s Batman Babies, let me just use this as an excuse to talk about Batman Babies again, because holy shit is this show ridiculous. Every week, the plot has been driven by someone’s sheer stupidity. This week it was the elected official who was killed while running away from a murderer when he was WAITING FOR THE ELEVATOR. I love this show so much, you guys.

  4. gnidrah says:

    OK I am terrified to post this, but here goes nothing – I have never seen any of these films. They do very well here, but I always assumed there would be nothing there for an old bore like me. So my question is, for a novice, what would you recommend as an entry level must-watch? To get me into the genre?

    • The Marvel movies have been fun, if not always exactly groundbreaking. I’d start with the first Iron Man and see how you like it, then the first Thor and Captain America movies (everything that comes after those three will be a little confusing if you don’t watch them first), and go from there. Just don’t start with The Avengers or you’ll be pretty lost.

      • facetaco says:

        I mean, the thing is, the characters are so iconic that you can MOSTLY just jump in anywhere. I saw Avengers before seeing any of them other than the first few Iron Man movies, but I was fine because I already knew the basic stories of the other characters. I imagine that as the universe expands, that will become more difficult to do. Especially if the X-Men get dragged in there with their whole thing they’ve had going on for the past decade and a half or so.

        • The characters are definitely iconic to people who are familiar with comics, but as someone who only really knew who Superman and Batman (okay, and Spider-Man and Wonder Woman) were before I watched them, I really had no idea what to expect from any of them except Thor, because I know more about Norse mythology than I do about superheroes.

      • gnidrah says:

        Thanks guys! I always thought Ironman looked like the one for me, so now I am convinced to give it a try!

        • hotspur says:

          Maybe I will too! I am not a big superhero guy and feel exhausted when I think about the options. Although I did have a very good time at Guardians of the Galaxy. Does that count as superheroes? The Guardians didn’t have special powers, though — except friendship. Maybe friendship is a special power.

    • Casey says:

      I haven’t seen nearly all of them, but I think the best of the post-Burton superhero movies has been Spider-Man 2 (the one from 10 years back with Tobes). They really nailed the character and his universe, and it stands alone fairly well if you don’t want to watch the first one, which was a little bit of a snooze/origin-fest. After that, I would give it to Singer’s first two X-Men movies and his eternally misunderstood “Superman Returns.”

      I think “Iron Man” is fantastic, but everything after it has seemed to want to cop that vibe so much and the sequels were flat out terrible, in my opinion.

  5. Casey says:

    Posting to remind everyone that “Dawn of Justice” is the most embarrassing superhero movie title ever and by a country mile, too.

  6. hotspur says:

    You guys need to see The Specials. Written and directed by a Baby James Gunn, starring Rob Lowe as The Weevil, and Judy Greer as Deadly Girl, and Paget Brewster and lots of others. They are the seventh-best superhero team on the planet, and the movie is set on the day their action figures are to be released. I love this movie. WARNING: Do not expect too much! Keep in mind it was made for zero dollars and takes place on a day when there is no global threat! Oh but it makes me laugh.

  7. I’m pretty pumped about the news that they are going to have Ezra Miller as the Flash. I like that tehre is going to be an openly queer guy playing a superhero on the big screen, it’s pretty incredible to think about. I just hope they don’t shove him back into the closet like some other big action stars when they get major roles *coughcough Luke Evans cough*

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