Dear Warners & Geoff Johns – We Need The True DC Heroes In Our Movies Now More Than Ever

25

Regardless of how you voted, or where your personal politics lie, or how you feel about the outcome, there’s no denying the recent U.S. Presidential election has left a trail of tribulation and strife in its wake. It’s become painfully clear that the nation is split right down the middle, and the rancor and trauma born out of this divide is sure to have long-lasting ramifications across the globe. There’s a blanket of anger, uncertainty, and darkness over us right now, and It’s during times like these one of the things we can collectively do to cope with negativity is turn to our entertainment sources for an escape. Two or three hours at the cinema can be an amazingly cathartic experience; it’s a place where we can discover adventures that send the human spirit soaring, fill our minds with endless possibility, and perhaps most importantly, provide us with inspirational heroes who show us ways to rise above adversity.

For the most part, the major film studios are providing us with plenty of fun, idealistic material to fuel our imaginations and distract ourselves from the tedium of reality. Paramount Pictures is planning on dazzling audience eyeballs for years to come with a steady stream of shiny robots in disguise blowing each other to smithereens in the Transformers movies, with further plans to continue the beloved Shrek property in the near future. Universal Studios continues to charm crowds with the one-two punch of The Minions and Despicable Me animated powerhouses; and naturally, they have no intention of putting the brakes on the high-octane fun of the Fast & Furious flicks. Sony will feed us slick, smooth, action-packed James Bond movies until they lose the rights, and they stand to make a pretty penny with their partnership with Marvel on the fresh, bold, new iteration of Spider-Man in 2017’s Homecoming. 20th Century Fox has several Avatar 3-D eye-poppers planned whenever James Cameron finds the time to shoot them, and they can always rely on the half-superhero, half-societal allegory of the X-Men saga (especially now with the funny-bone tickling antics of surprise hit Deadpool).

The king kahuna of fantasy escapism, though, is Disney, which shows no signs of stopping the good vibes anytime soon, churning out a steady stream of their traditional feel-good animated fare, live-action remakes of said feel-good fare like The Jungle Book and the upcoming Beauty & The Beast, and dependable franchises like Pirates Of The Carribean. Of course, they also pony up the money and distribution for Kevin Feige’s juggernaut Marvel Cinematic Universe, which offers audiences bright, dynamic superhero spectacle, rife with likable characters that fully embody the spirit of their comic book counterparts. Then there’s the unstoppable force—pun intended—of the Star Wars saga, whose latest entry, Rogue One, is a timely tale of a group of diverse heroes—led by a woman—who band together to prevent a faceless, totalitarian Empire from gaining complete dominion over the galaxy and imposing their cruel will over all beings.

rogue-one-star-wars-story-images

Sound familiar to anyone?

However, as the former DC superhero known as Kid Flash, aka Wally West famously says in DC Rebirth #1, “I love this world, but there’s something missing.” I believe that something is the true, iconic interpretations of the DC Comics superheroes within the framework and context of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) – the interconnected series of films produced by the one studio I neglected to mention above, Warner Brothers. See, Warner Brothers is in pretty big trouble these days, for two huge reasons: firstly, in recent years they’ve seen their profitable, lighthearted escapist franchises like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit come to an end, and secondly, they’ve doubled down on darkness, dread, doom, and despair in the DCEU – completely mishandling the one franchise that could lift audience’s spirits and keep their ledgers in the black for decades to come.

In 2013, Warner Brothers had a golden opportunity to reintroduce the greatest hero of them all, Superman, to modern audiences utilizing the latest in special effects techniques to fully realize the potential of the character on screen – an advantage the old Donner/Reeve movies lacked. They also had the opportunity to bring an idealistic, dynamic director like JJ Abrams or Brad Bird on board to steer the hero into the new Millennium. Instead, they clung tightly to the gritty, “realistic” tone and aesthetic established by Christopher Nolan, who delivered the massively successful Batman Dark Knight trilogy for the studio.

With control over Superman granted to Nolan and his brother Jonathan, the brothers immediately enlisted Dark Knight writer David Goyer and hired 300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder to essentially be the captain of the entire DCEU ship beginning with that year’s Man Of Steel. Sadly, we all know now how that turned out. Snyder made the short-sighted, selfish decision to pander to edgy millennials, hardcore gamer-bros, and frat boy-esque “fans” by openly mocking the pure and virtuous traits of Superman that made him so beloved to millions of people. He chose to deconstruct him, positing the Last Son Of Krypton as a tormented, conflicted alien outsider burdened by his powers and fearful of humanity. He also turned him into a straight-up killer; a decision that Christopher Nolan strongly disagreed with. The Nolans both cut ties with the DCEU to work on other film projects after Man Of Steel, and while the disagreement over the betrayal of Superman’s core values may not have directly facilitated their exit, I think the writing was on the wall for them following the controversial act.

unnamed

On the left: Superman. On the right, some murdering asshole.

From there, the bad creative decisions, awful casting choices, and the further “grounding” of the DC pantheon cascaded down like a waterfall of raw sewage. In Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Snyder thought it best to depict Batman as a lost, ultra-violent, old and beaten-down xenophobe out for bloody vengeance on a reckless, possibly tryannical alien endangering humanity. For Snyder, It was less about thinking logically and starting a universe with a Batman in his mid-30’s in full on detective mode, and more about an excuse to crib iconography from the pages of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns without any build-up or context. Even worse, Lex Luthor morphed into a twitchy, screeching, psychotic, long-haired Mark Zuckerberg proxy.

In later DCEU offerings like Suicide Squad and in the trailer for DC’s attempt at Avengers-level box office glory, Justice League, Aquaman became a tribal-tatted, booze-chugging, grunting barbarian, while The Flash suffered a wholly unnecessary armor-plate makeover – an unfortunate byproduct of the “extreme” Injustice video games and comic book alt-universe influence. DC’s iconic speedster was also horrifically miscast with the nebbish, joke-spewing Millennial actor Ezra Miller. The Joker switched from dapper, murderous lunatic to a thugged-out street pimp, replete with facial tattoos and gold grill, while his hugely popular gal pal Harley Quinn went from jaunty mad jester to highly-sexualized juggalette roller-derby queen.

Perhaps most worrisome for longtime DC fans is the treatment thus far of  Wonder Woman, who female audiences have been waiting a lifetime to see handled properly on the big screen. In what is possibly another egregious mis-casting, the most recognizable female superhero on the planet is played by the very wooden Gal Gadot, best known for just sort of hanging around in the Fast & Furious movies. Though she possesses an exotic beauty and a statuesque frame befitting an Amazon princess, she lacks a certain intangible magic the character needs, and delivers stilted dialogue through her thick Israeli accent. Diana is presented as a hardened, haunted, gloomy loner who turned her back on “the world of men” following the events of World War I.

wonder-woman-movie-casting-kidman-wright

Though the trailer for her solo film features some vibrant color (finally!), a gorgeous imagining of the island of Themyscria, and some exciting action beats, it’s undercut by more doom and gloom in the opening voiceover:  “I used to want to save the world…this beautiful place. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness within.” So, the impressions of this great female icon we are left with after her brief (and utterly pointless) appearance in Batman V Superman and the information presented in the solo movie trailer, are that Wonder Woman suffers a devastating emotional loss at the end of World War I, then refuses to be a hero and disappears for 100 years. That’s pretty damned bleak. Where is the hope? The warrior spirit? The inspiration? Apparently, nowhere, as Snyder seems to think these are antiquated concepts.

At the end of the day, we have the framework for an entire cinematic universe for the greatest comic book superheroes of all time built upon the foundation of an old, broken Batman, a reluctant, sullen Wonder Woman, and a dead Superman who barely resembled the character before making his senseless sacrifice. Even hardcore Snyder defenders and DCEU apologists have to admit this a massive creative problem going forward. Though they’ve reaped some decent box office returns out the films, Warner Brothers have consistently botched and bungled their way through the development and production process of their fledgling franchise, turning off fans and critics at every turn, spending ungodly amounts of money on budgets, making terrible editing decisions, and losing directors at an alarming rate (The Flash solo movie alone has lost three!) Rather than thrill and entertain moviegoers with straightforward, traditional superhero adventures, Snyder and “creatives” behind the scenes at Warners seem to be far more concerned with using them to bluntly hammer home ponderous religious, political and philosophical allegories, but with Snyder’s legendarily terrible storytelling ability, these metaphors are handled with all the subtlety and nuance of a toddler smashing two action figures together.

I’m not making the claim that just because we’re going through tough times as a nation, and I have a personal distaste for the tonality and direction DC has taken in the films, that there is no place for operatic bombast, dramatic storytelling, grim n’ gritty aesthetics, or even deconstruction of these characters. I am simply questioning the decision to start a universe with these elements, instead of presenting these icons to a new moviegoing generation in the best possible light. Dawn Of Justice is a story that would carry far more weight and be ten times as effective coming 14 or 15 films deep into this universe, when Batman and Superman have some history built up with one another. The reason classic comic book deconstructions like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns work so well and the satire cuts so deeply is because their premises are predicated on decades of earned context; the simple, black & white/good vs. evil motivations of the subjects. Snyder simply doesn’t get that. His obsession with so-called “adult” themes have driven him to try to have his cake and eat it too; he’s performing an autopsy of these beings before they can even take their first steps.

img_2359

TOP: A payoff to decades of context. BOTTOM: Empty visual iconography

Pundits continue to equate DC’s efforts to build an interconnected movie universe with a futile struggle to ape Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios profitable empire. The “DCBros” constantly worry that their world of grit and perpetual thunderstorms will be taken away from them, replaced by beaming smiles and snarky quipping. But I don’t believe DC has to use Marvel as a template for anything; all they have to do is show some faith in what makes their characters special and sets them apart. The Marvel characters and the universe they live in has always been about “the world outside your door” — it’s a world where the heroes are deeply flawed and struggle with very human problems we all have to deal with on a daily basis, and the storytelling is steeped in sociocultural issues like discrimination, alienation, and diversity. Whereas the Marvel heroes reflect who we are, the DC Heroes represent ideals for us to strive towards. They are Gods from Olympus who walk among us; symbols for righteousness, valor, honor, willpower, strength, courage, truth, and justice.

The problem is, those words and those values feel  corny and outdated to a huge swath of fandom. The buzzword you always hear out of these people is “relatable.” “I liked the changes to Superman in Man Of Steel, because I could relate to him!” Well, I fully disavow any and all notion that movie superheroes have to be grounded or relatable in any way. Why is this a requirement? It’s okay to look up in awe at a character; It’s okay for them to have a level of purity and power you could never fathom having. Maybe I can’t relate to Superman, but I sure as hell like him! We could all also learn a thing or two about being better versions of ourselves via his selfless acts. In this current cultural and sociological climate, with citizens at each other’s throats and a general air of unease, we could use paragons of virtue like Hal Jordan, with his green power ring shining in brightest day, guiding us all through the blackest night, or Barry Allen speeding to our rescue in a blaze of crimson and gold streaks. We need the King Of The Seven Seas, The Big Red Cheese, The Man Of Tomorrow, The Emerald Archer, The Caped Crusader, The Boy Wonder, and so on…

So now, in one of our nation’s darkest hours, I call upon Geoff Johns, Warner Brothers, and DC to abandon deconstruction and darkness, and tell us stories about forces for positivity and hope banding together to protect us from monsters and tyrants; to defeat hatred and stand up for what is right. We need the true, iconic iterations of these bold, beaming superheroes more than ever before. Now is not the time for introspection, desconstruction, and heavy-handed religious metaphor, it’s a time for the triumph of good over evil — for innovation, adventure, spectacle, and imagination.

tumblr_m2xgjipubs1qg17yuo1_1280

We don’t need a Wonder Woman lost in despair and haunted by the world’s evils; we need her grace, her love, and her unyielding fighting spirit to bring unity to the world.

We don’t need a murderous Batman blinded by rage and a xenophobic fear of outsiders; we need his relentless resolve and steely determination in the face of terror.

We don’t need a glowering, bitter Superman clouded by doubt and resentment towards the people he protects; we need his unwavering morality, his ability to make people aspire to be better, and his promise to always be a beacon of light to help us find the way.

So please, DC, give us our real heroes. Give us hope.

maxresdefault

Share.

About Author

Jeff Carter

Jeff is the defining voice of his generation. Sadly, that generation exists only in an alternate dimension where George Lucas became supreme overlord of the Earth in 1979 and replaced every television broadcast and theatrical film on the planet with Star Wars and Godzilla movies. In this dimension, he’s just a guy from New England who likes writing snarky things about superheroes, monsters, and robots.

  • SwampSpectre

    Yes. Nothing can ever change. Everything has to always stay the same. And people wonder how someone like Trump could be elected, when most people can’t even handle change when it comes to their favorite fucking cartoon characters.

    • Congrats on completely missing the point.

    • Id

      And the winner for best whining millennial on the internet is SwampSpectre!

  • Charade

    Catharsis through escapism, I will have heard anything. From our beloved bringer of knowledge wiki the pediatric teacher:

    >>Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art[1] or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body.<>The term catharsis has also been adopted by modern psychotherapy, particularly Freudian psychoanalysis, to describe the act of expressing, or more accurately, experiencing the deep emotions often associated with events in the individual’s past which had originally been repressed or ignored, and had never been adequately addressed or experienced<<

    That's BvS on a silver plate, trauma recovery, that's the ground for everything in the movie, the converging point. All that relation of male-female, the mother figure and mother-earth archetype, as well as the mythology that surrounds it (Wounded King and Prometheus, prosperity and fertility of the land and birth of mankind) A good read that complete many theme, and myth, the movie use very well: http://howellgroup.org/parsifal.html.

    It's about going deep … and talking a walk. There is no point making the Hero's Journey if you don't get deep down the cave, close to death, away from your regalia and swell. Hero's Journey which is, by the way, a parallel structure reminiscent of the five step of grief, something Snyder used in Sucker Punch, which was all centered around trauma recovery process, again. It's a process, needs to rain for the flowers to blossom, and the more you tear it apart, the more raw and in depth you get, the more meaningful and impact-full the experience will be.

    Catharsis through escapism my ass, that cannot happen, it happens through near death experience and such, if it has to be meaningful. There's no safe place in those moment, that's not something that will start change, quite the opposite.

    But don't worry Snyder made his sexual symbolism and made Superman a true solar figure, fertilizing the earth with his very self, colors and regalia are on their way … but there is no daylight without the darkness and grim desperation of the night, the confusing play of dancing shadows when all there is to see … is a candle lighting

    • I find it very difficult to believe Snyder was up on his Wounded King and Prometheus and Mother Earth allegories while shooting this ponderous turd, but your research is appreciated.

      • Charade

        It’s not like dry land characterizaed Bruce and his haunting vision, of course related to his mother death and inability to find a new mother figure, which is arc consist of. Krypton and Lara-El burnt, Bruce trauma recovery is to save her from fire (after he got a glimpse of Earth as Krypton, dry and with lava column) whereas Lex burn all his mother/womanly figures (his associate and Senator Finch, want to Martha). Bruce wants to leave a “legacy” but Alfred doubt their will be a “next generation”.

        Plunging the spear in the water is a fertility rite. It’s a sexual metaphor. We’re talking about Snyder, he made a castration metaphor with a baby dragons neck and then made a sexual one when the girl slay the dragon after it “reached the gate”. Which, to remind you, is a scene about girl accepting her rape trauma. Snyder favorite movie is Excalibur and he loves mythology, I highly doubt he wouldn’t be aware of that.

        MoS already had it, birth symbolism. Jor-El dies to help send a “seed” to earth. Kal-El dies (with frame composition parallelism) and is send as a seed in the earth. Death and birth comes together.

        It’s really all about parallelism, which is often used for characterization and help structure a story, especially such big movies. Bruce brings dead flowers to his mother grave, in a dead land (recurring motif of the house in ruin too). A giant bat comes out of it and try to suck his blood, from his neck.(he wake up next to some girl). Clarks bring vivid flowers to Lois in her bath, she hid a bullet, passionate sexual act. The scene is paralleled when Clark gets the spear and Lois out of the water, she had hid the spear, sexual act in metaphor, no more hidden stuff.

        On the other hand Lex ends in a blood bath, source of all knwoledge, but to an impure usage. His complex about physicality is apparent. He also perform a sexual act giving birth to a difformity. Clar’s ark is to take Lois as “his world”. To hammer, though in subtelty, the solar archetype that Clark is (and which the king that perform the fertilization rite is evoking), we get white horses riding his coffin (sun charriot!), horses being another often used symbol in the film.

        All those are a clear running motif in BvS (linked to other things like violence, knowledge and innocence). I see great characterization and themes, symbolism and all, all around …

        … Sorry, I know …. I went ahead of myself, it’s only a ponderous turd.

        Anyway, I just didn’t like your use of the word catharsis. Farewell in the fairy realm :p

    • Sean F Gallagher

      I will grant you that it’s possible(though unlikely) Snyder was going for those themes, of trauma, recovery and purification etc. that you refer to, but (and this is a big BUT) he failed utterly in translating that into a story that carried his theme. The story is not deep at all. It is ham-fisted and clumsy, with no imagination.

      • Charade

        Possible trauma recovery … The main fight of the film is solved with trauma recovery. There is literaly a flash back and then he goes save the mom he never could. That’s far from “possible(though unlikely)”. All the characterization of Bruce is centered around that aspect, how the Metropolis carnage gets associated with his core trauma, how it comes back in his dreams, the powerlessness in both case (clearly symbolised with Wallace who loses his legs). Idk, I see those themes all around, it’s shown through and through. Knowledge, power, justice, innocence, truth, … The characterization is built around those, maybe you weren’t watching carefuly, which I can conceive since the movie is dense, but it’s clearly there. When a movie begin and a character says “Innocence is not the same as ignorance”, that’s an hint, “power can’t be innocent”, big hint, it’s all around and felt pretty glaring to me.

        • Sean F Gallagher

          You’re probably right, and yet I return to my closing statement. He is ham-fisted and clumsy in his execution which weakens, or even eliminates his attempts at higher concept. He utterly fails in his intent, if that is what it is. He has this long long LONG movie to show us his ideas and yet he tries to pound us over the head telling us about it instead. He’s a great visual artist, but should never be a director. He cannot carry the emotional elements. This has been a truth in his film-making from Watchmen, to Suckerpunch, 300, and Man of Steel. It doesn’t stop them from being at least mildly entertaining, but they fall so far short of what they could be. and certainly not even in the same league as the Marvel movies as a direct comparison of how to do super heroes.

          • Charade

            But the movie is mostly doing show don’t tell! We literaly have ten minute of it at the beggining of the film, all the themes are set out without dialogues, almost every visual element is important and becomes a motif (hole, dust/smoke, pointing fingers, movement of heights, reversal of them, etc) alk the themes are shown before they are, sometime, told, only to hint us, and then never spoken of. But the resolution happens, in act, even more important: you are let with the ability to interpret it you own way. I have seen people arguing that inded the movie tells us power is not innocent, I think otherwise. That’s the opposite of telling you. Where does the feelings of powerlessness of man goes? It is solved if you seat back and think a little. Batman messiah complex? Hinted a lot.

            You take Marvel movie as a template when Dr.Strange, for exemple, actually is all exposition, all the fucking time taking you by the hand and telling you what things are, for a freakin movie about parallel dimension! Even the knightmare scene was more cryptic and layered than that all movie! Allegory of the cavern where the light is literaly made a “beautiful lie”: check. Post traumatic desorder: check. Progressive insertion of fantasy: check (yoh BvS is meta). Projection of inner demons on another: check. Foreshadowing Superman death while reversing the role (Batman complex and crucifixion, all that went beyond the head of all those haters screaming Jesus symbolism, heh): check. Replaying the african incident, thus showing that Bruce got influenced by the media and Lex’s lie: check. Keeping the motif of a dry land and associating it to Krypton: check. Total badassery with elsworld shit: check. Foreshadowing the next scene: check.

            And that’s all showing. The actual problem that I have seen countless time with you guys is all that is shown, and more, but you don’t see it. It just seems people need to be told what is happening or confirmed about what had been set out, I saw countless bs discussion about non worthy stuff which only went in loop totally missing some great aspect of the movie. Jee, a superhero movie trying to make me think, … And I will be very glad if they don’t join the “Marvel League”.

  • flavortang

    Oh, fuck the doofus that wrote this nonsense. Go watch cartoons.

    • You seem fun.

      • flavortang

        Idiots drain the fun out of me.

        • So you think someone who feels passionately that iconic characters should be treated with reverence and presented in the best possible light is an idiot? Ok, cool story.

        • Id

          You must find yourself a massive drain every day then.

          • flavortang

            I’m the only thing keeping myself sane in a sea of idiots like yourself.

  • Cikioiki

    You do realize Nolan was involved in the decision of Superman killing Zod right? It has been stated in multiple interviews by Zack and others.

    • Nolan advised Snyder not to include it. He ignored him.

  • Kenny Kraly Jr

    It’s a interesting article and brings up some good points. However your comments about Gal as Wonder Woman I disagree with. Otherwise agree with everything else.

  • Victor Knievel

    Loved the write-up, other than crap like this:

    “…Rogue One, is a timely tale of a group of diverse heroes—led by a woman—who band together to prevent a faceless, totalitarian Empire from gaining complete dominion over the galaxy and imposing their cruel will over all beings.

    Sound familiar to anyone?”

    …puh-lease. Inaccurate analogy, but I get it. You liked Clinton. But she was not Rosa Parks, she was as establishment as it gets, and equally as corrupt to boot. This article would have worked fine without the drama queen antics of claiming the world has ended because your candidate lost the presidential race (after stealing 5 states, no less).

    Regardless of the state of the nation, don’t we need the REAL DC heroes/characters back, anyway? I feel like this article reaches a lot by trying to make things sound worse than they are with lofty, unnecessary political references (Zack Snyder would be pleased), when it could have just as easily and more effectively said “Hey, we need the REAL DC characters (with the proper costumes & trunks of course!) back because we’re being shortchanged at the movies and audiences are missing out and the current films/creative decisions are terrible, and the real characters are perfect the way they are, which is why they lasted over 70 years”. Boom. Done. No need to attempt to demonize the people who supported Trump and claim we ALL need these changes to dry our tears over the “traumatic transitioning of the United States into Nazi Germany”. Some tolerance would sure be nice — it would seem much of the left has forgotten that you don’t have to like or approve of something in order to tolerate it this year. I know they’re used to getting their way, but burning down buildings, blocking highways, and attacking people who voted for the candidate you disliked all because your presidential candidate lost doesn’t help anything. It only makes it worse. I didn’t do that when Obama won in ’08 or ’12.

    Now that I’ve tried to spit out most of the political bones in this article, there’s a few claims here about the characters I don’t agree with: chiefly, that the comic book, pre New Fifty-Screw, non Man Of Murder Superman was “NOT relatable”. I have no contempt for the word “relatable”, and have always found Superman to be relatable, that’s a big part of why he’s my favorite character. I don’t need a psychologically messed up or “evil” character to relate to them, I just need to be made to care about them and their struggles, but I have always liked Superman because he is good, going all the way back to his debut in 1938. He’s good because he chooses to be because he knows it’s right. Not in a dumb, CW-esque, mawkish “aww shucks” way, but in a mature, competent way, choosing to embrace the values he was taught by his farmer parents (not holy space ghost alien deity deceased hologram mom and dad). This was something John Byrne really got right, and of course Siegel & Shuster did. And that was plenty relatable and certainly likeable to me growing up. What is unrelatable is a Superman that has to kill, steal, and let innocent people die because they tell him to in order for him to learn not to do those things, a Superman who gains most of his morality after he puts on a costume, which he does because he was told to, rather than being motivated by his own morality to create the Superman identity and become Superman himself because he wants to help people. A first contact alien story instead of a story about a man from Kansas with strange abilities he has no idea why he has is what is unrelatable. Zack Snyder not only sucked the “super” out of Superman, he also sucked the “man” part out too.

    I have never looked at or liked the comparison that the DC characters are like “gods among us”. This is so pretentious and far removed from why they worked in the first place and why people liked them, at least from my understanding. They’re not gods or “god-like”, if anything they are angel-like, some of them, maybe, but none of them are all powerful and so lacking in human elements that they could be considered “gods”. That whole notion, one that Snyder has exacerbated to its limits, is a stigma that DC needs to surgically remove from its heroes ASAP, which becomes apparent whenever you visit the most well received, liked, popular and true versions of the characters, like the wonderful Bruce Timm animated cartoons from Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Seres, to Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. All just told simple fun stories that accepted the characters for what they were, instead of trying to deconstruct them into shadows of themselves or inflate them into “gods”/religious allegories. They don’t work well that way, and make people feel very detached from them.

    I feel like me and the author of this article are on mostly the same page with what we want with the DC Universe, and I apologize if I have misinterpreted anything, but the implication that Superman was never relatable the way he was is one I have always vehemently shaken my head at. Same goes for the people who claimed Barry Allen needed dead parents to motivate him to fight crime. The original ’08 Flash: Rebirth is where Geoff Johns effectively decided he was going to ruin all that was great about DC and blame it on Barry Allen/Reverse Flash, which led to the awful New 52, of course, and the awful CW Flash TV show using this premise. The true comic book Flash and the one Geoff Johns wants to replace him with are like night and day to each other, the CW Flash has very little, if anything in common with the Carmine Infantino creation, and the snyderverse film version will have even less in common if that is even possible. Ezra Miller as The Flash is the worst casting in a superhero film of all time, followed by Gall Gagot as Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and Jason Momoa as Aquaman. The characters have all been turned into the awful actors cast to play them, all because the actors aren’t anything like the characters they’re playing visually or personality-wise (i.e., Wonder Woman is built like a pole and has an israeli accent because Gall Gagot is like that, Aquaman has dark dreadlocks, tattoos, and eyeliner because Jason Momoa does, The Flash looks like an androgynous asian Jimmy Fallon and acts effete and neurotic because that’s how Ezra Miller is, Lex Luthor is now Jesse Eisenberg because Jesse Eisenberg is playing him, etc.). When you cast actors with no foundation to ever become the characters they’re supposed to be playing, they can’t be turned into the characters, the characters can only be turned into them, which is what we’re seeing everywhere with the snyderverse and a big part of why the takes are so terrible.

    Then on top of that, they ruin the costumes. For the stupidest reasons, too. Superman has red trunks on his uniform for color balance. Batman has black trunks in his uniform for color balance. Wonder Woman is supposed to have white stars on her uniform. The Flash does not and should not wear armor (in fact, none of the DC heroes need robo-puzzle-collar-armor). The claim that the true suits were “dated” is an empty remark made by people more driven by their own “artistic” egos rather than the best interests of the characters. Trunks are no more dated today than they were in 1938, as all the real life people who wore them in 1938 like wrestlers, swimmers, strongmen, circus performers, stunt artists, etc., all still wear them today. And on the flip side of that, the Superman uniform was never a fashion statement. There is no decade where people walked around town and in shopping malls just wearing the Superman suit everywhere they went, like they did bell bottoms, poodle skirts, etc., so the Superman suit cannot be dated. You never hear these “dated” claims leveled at the cape, and truthfully, nobody has worn capes as a regular part of their outfits since the 1600s, making it the “dated” element on the suit if anything is at all, but nothing is dated on the Superman or Batman suits because they pulled inspirations from all over and forged them into one unique creation that is its own thing and has stood the test of time for nearly 8 decades. Something that is “dated” does not survive for that long, look at how much fashion designs change from decade to decade let alone year to year, yet the Superman suit remained through all of that, because it is timeless and perfect in its color balance and design. That’s why all the New 52/Rebirth junk designs appear so uneven, because they were conceived as more reactions to the iconic designs in trying to be “different” from what they were rather than trying to be an actual unique and creative design, like the original suits were.

    It’s just a darn shame that people like PAUL LEVITZ — people who CARED and blocked cash grab garbage like WATCHMEN sequels/prequel from happening for years — no longer run DC, and Dan Didio, Zack the hack Snyder, and bad Warner Butchers creative teams have driven the characters into the ground. It’s like they deliberately make BAD decisions, they turned Christina Hendricks away from playing Wonder Woman (with dark hair of course, easily a much better choice than Gall Gagot), and fired Joss Whedon from the Wonder Woman film, only to beg Zack Snyder to try to make them an “Avengers” flick as soon as possible. It seems to me that Warner Butchers/DC has no barometer for talent and quality anymore, and continue to let the wrong people make decisions.

    #MakeDCGreatAgain
    #Justice4Trunks
    #RedTrunks4Life https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45d37f5e43fa1dd70501da4b43956c9148d5f26960fdd062844c892686029d1b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc4595f09dd9a4abb8689a4cc8f2e5f8f416497c1df859a699db553d52a4b258.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f9e533b2bfb81ea39676ba96574073d7b2f361cde02cea14a9845999b981447c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/91b6e9a0c9338e7bfc1c8255daec1ea07224109ebb6e135a6d4f3f23db399e99.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/adee4ee151cee4e363b3ca77daec776e9aba4e1476ab7e20d0f27d86d5671547.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6936a14b14b3bcb3557a7874376841a13c9386830f9e9f2e02c65df2d8fe7f56.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5f3e52977e45ed1bab235e6c586ebed0eb0bd0af85af5e3f8a5e2d48541b9e55.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45acdaa7710fad852e6475a7ce87f0ea3e690951524ec390f59f18af57a2050d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/27161a6b2e661eda0b69fa073c5705d9749e71a6adddba135a8a4445540ccea1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76dfa72b63d6886639aeb5e0085736fba75531fb35fdf699f28973c2b11d8ec3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd0ff86aed847c46cf86885e119ec4f72ae27064eeb65fb33b1b6902850ad490.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/117ac1916088d54e9b4f8cc580df78f1f91af07232dc0bbb2db92c3a3210fb1b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae0241fe462ecac844015f87d19b29f55cc9b9b0475f9da86054955bb545931f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c26c592d3a1b0122e958fff812ce6c0f0badebae505e6f88f8876fa6592e8ee3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0dff29899bd40897a8efcbafbe119b83bf7067edbcc7f191a442a22cfea8ff1d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a6f8a3c6b4955da9032a054e54cc5de700c958e82f66c45d536a29de8d73aee2.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d5b62f16c1a14932759163711c0b7f1493d1a8518ba5417bc7d98bb58dd4a1c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bb6f022e155dbc47ff2ceaa2636443e19efd0d76fb9cff1c3f65edbd238fe6e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a7546bb32691beb8e073823111235813f43500f9f501000305f0947a041d6213.jpg

    • That’s an impressive number of memes! Anyway, thanks for the in-depth feedback on the piece. I’m not going to address anything political, as it will just be opening a Pandora’s Box that neither of us will be able to shut.

      Looking back, I do regret that the segment on relating to these superheroes, Superman in particular, is a little brief and muddy. I do agree that Superman is eminently likable, and he’s relatable just due to that and the fact that he’s a small town American at heart. I should have said that all the doom, darkness, fear, and trauma isn’t necessary at all to make him relatable. Just the wrong approach.

      • Victor Knievel

        Thank you for the kind and diplomatic response! Feel free to steal any of the memes for your personal use if you like haha, and keep up the great work! More people who are in favor of the REAL DC coming back need to make their voices heard! I am certain that the majority of anyone who is really passionate about these characters shares our opinion on them!

  • David Stewart

    Hear, Hear!! The best summation of this problem I have read in a long while. Thank you Jeff.

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Snyder’s Superman isn’t the Superman I know and love. But it does appear to me, based on the new Wonder Woman trailer which I really liked, that WB is listening to the complaints and making the right changes.