News to amuse - May 06, 2015

Last week Rahul Gandhi continued his make over by visiting Vidarbha where few farmers had comitted suicide. I don't know who to pity: the depressed, futureless and the hopeless or the farmers.

Tired of the condescending attitude of Indian media after earthquake, Nepalese started #GoHomeIndianMedia campaign on twitter last week. Of course, to make it the trending topic, they had to ask the Indian media personnel on Twitter to RT their tweets.

TJ Jose, Inspector General of Police, Kerela, was caught copying in the LLB exam. Unbelievable! Our country is going down the drains. The guardians of law are not following the law themselves - why did he not bribe the invigilator to keep the matter hush.

Young players of W.Indies like Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Jason Holder deliver superlative performance as W.Indies defeat England in a test for the first time in six years. Now that they have proved themselves, hopefully they would get to do what the best players in W.Indies do - play for CSK, RCB and MI in IPL.

Roger Federer won the Istanbul Open yesterday. In other words Djokovic and Nadal did not play Istanbul Open.

Viswanathan Anand finished second in the Shamgir Open yesterday. In other words Djokovic and Nadal played Shamgir Open. Wait! That doesn't sound right.




Man of Steel vs. Avengers: Age of Ultron - Let's talk about the destruction

Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally in U.S. theaters and comparisons to Man of Steel have already begun. In Joss Whedon's sequel to The Avengers, an especially big focus is placed on the Avengers doing everything they can to make sure innocent people aren't harmed during their explosive and crazy battles. Obviously, this is pretty different from Superman's struggle with Kryptonian forces who sought to terraform Earth -- a process that would kill every single human on the planet. Do I think Superman could have done more in his conflict and he made a few foolish decisions? Absolutely. However, I do think the handling of destruction was used to illustrate different points in both movies. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, it's there to remind us that being a hero is all about saving people. In Man of Steel, it's all about showing the seemingly unbelievable nightmare Kal-El had to overcome in his very first conflict as a superhero.
First and foremost, I feel obligated to point out differences that should be obvious. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the team is mostly full of experienced characters who have worked together and they follow Captain America, a guy who's just oozing hope and he makes you want to be a better person. When a train is speeding through a crowded area, would Quicksilver have saved civilians if Captain America hadn't given the order? If it wasn't for the super-soldier, would the speedster have focused on grabbing his sister, Scarlet Witch, and raced both of them to safety, only to then feel heartbreak as he realizes how many people were killed by that swift decision? With everything happening so quickly, I'd say it's a possibility and it's one worth thinking about. That just goes to show the influence Steve Rogers can have on even an inexperienced individual. In addition to being an experienced team led by a tactical genius with a heart of gold, it's worth noting the Marvel team had prep time and way more resources. As a battle with Baron von Stucker sent explosives into a city, Tony Stark had the means to order robots into the city and had them warn the people to evacuate. They don't listen to Stark's technology, but hey, A for effort, right? In the final conflict, the Avengers had time to warn the authorities about what's coming their way and did everything they can to help people evacuate. And then when everything did hit the fan, they still tried to save people while fighting plenty of Ultron robots. Each of them had their own task and they were often spread out. For many, the balancing act of saving people and defeating the immediate threats was fairly doable. They have experience in the field, many teammates, a whole lot of resources, and they even had time to prepare. DC's powerful hero didn't have any of those luxuries.

It's a pretty common misconception that Superman destroyed most of Metropolis. While Superman does make some errors in his fights -- don't worry, I'll address those in a bit -- it's the World Engine that's responsible for a vast majority of the destruction in the city. Some people called Zack Snyder's handling of those sequences "disaster porn." All of the violent madness didn't have me cheering or exclaiming "awesome!" It's not there to enthrall you; it's there to shock you. To me, it shows just how ridiculously formidable Superman's first challenge is. How can anyone hope to overcome something so disastrous? The movie didn't pull any punches; it showed us Zod's forces are heartless and they had no problem slaughtering humanity. They viewed us as ants and had no hesitation whatsoever crushing us under their absurdly strong and durable feet. This wasn't a threat that had me saying, "Yeah, Superman will obviously win and all will be well." It's a threat that had me thinking, "Superman needs to stop this right away because this is freaking insane and humanity has no chance stopping it on their own."
I would have loved to see a more inspiring big screen version of Superman, but instead what we did receive is one that I believe feels more appropriate for the DC Cinematic Universe's "realistic" tone. They're going for something different and, so far, I'm liking it. Clark spent his entire life holding back and avoiding conflicts. Now, his first day as a superhero is against characters who are just as powerful as he is and they're more experienced in combat. With civilians out of the way in the Smallville battle -- a luxury the Avengers didn't have -- this novice hero still attempted to move the fight twice (he failed both times as his enemies grabbed him). Even though the odds aren't in his favor, he's still able to save a few troops who are unlucky enough to be in the war zone. He obviously can't save everyone when two powerhouses are on top of him, but you can't really say he didn't try to, either.

"Why couldn't he fly Zod out of the city?" That's a question I often hear. It's just a one-on-one brawl, right? Well, I imagine it's for the very same reason that Iron Man couldn't take Hulk away from a populated region. Clark spends much of the skirmish getting handled; he's still new to using his powers against others and he's spent his entire life trying not to get into fights. He's the one who's knocked into orbit! During that encounter, much of the damage is caused by Zod's attacks. I'm not saying Superman didn't cause any damage, but it always baffles me how someone can watch the Battle of Metropolis with an open mind and say, "Yeah, Superman destroyed most of the city." When Zod throws Superman through multiple buildings, are we really blaming Big Blue for that destruction? Or what about when Zod takes down a building with heat vision? Or all of the damage the World Engine unleashed? When Superman does briefly have the edge, he's punching Zod between and around buildings. He's not smashing the villain through anything and everything he can -- a tactic that Zod used just moments later against the hero.

Look, I'm not saying Superman's actions are without blame. Stuff like his punch after the "you die or I do" line is obviously a big mistake. Part of me wonders whether that building was already empty. Seeing as that takes place quite some time after an alien ship started attacking the city, you would imagine most people have fled the buildings in that region. The first building the two go crashing into -- the one that Zod destroys with heat vision -- appears to be empty, after all. Honestly, it probably wasn't completely empty, though. Aside from that punch and Superman smashing Zod's face against glass (which is pretty minor damage compared to what we regularly see in comics), I think a huge portion of the damage done in that encounter is because of Zod's actions, and with the alien general being on top of him, Superman doesn't exactly have time to fly around and pull everyone out of the rubble.
When the LexCorp truck hits a parking garage and blows up, Superman is left gazing at the chaos. I'd say there's two possible reasons for this. The first: the dude is simply staring at the blast and would probably love Michael Bay's movies. The second: he's looking in the structure to see if anyone needs help. I'd like to believe it's the latter and it seems safe to assume so, but seeing as Zod comes rushing in, there's no way to tell for sure. That said, I absolutely think Clark's responsible for taking at least a few lives in the Smallville fight. I mean, I do get what Snyder was going for when Clark lashed out. The hero spent decades holding back, but now, someone who can withstand his punches has crossed a line by attacking his mother. After years of attempting to keep it cool, Clark finally unleashes. He tackles Zod all the way through what appears to be power plants and they eventually plow through a gas station and the location explodes. There was at least one car at a pump and you know there's at least one employee in there. So, Clark snapping (I swear that pun is unintentional) absolutely resulted in killing at least two innocent people in that scene.

While I do think Clark made a few mistakes, it's important to remember this is his journey to becoming Superman and the guy just learned how to fly -- that really goes to show just how new he is to all of this. To top it off, he's on his own against overwhelming odds. I view it as someone doing everything they can to stand up against the ultimate threat and they'll push themselves as hard as they can to make sure the villain doesn't succeed. It may not be a "cheerworthy" action sequence, but that's also kind of why I love it; it's offering something different. He may not feel like the comic book Superman many have come to know and expect, but he held his own against a threat that seemed impossible to overcome. He didn't destroy the city. Because of his actions, much of Metropolis is still standing. (There's several shots that reveal just how vast the city is.) You may not like how he saved the day, but in the end, he did indeed save the entire planet and there were certainly more than a few instances of him putting himself in danger to save others throughout the movie. So, I still view Man of Steel as Clark's path to becoming Superman. Now that he's made his debut and protected Earth from its first alien threat, here's hoping the dude shows more of the qualities you'd expect from him in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first trailer shows how the world is reacting to him, but we've yet to see how he's responding to all of the praise and hatred. This will be a critical movie for the character.
If there's one thing both movies are guilty of, it's glossing over the ramifications of the destruction. In Avengers, the Battle of New York receives a little bit of follow-up, but it's mostly there to quickly say how the world feels about the team and then goes to offering more humor. In Age of Ultron, we see a statue is built that honors the humans who did what they could to protect each other on that day, but aside from a body count and talk of construction in Daredevil, the Battle of New York is basically forgotten before another large city (and in turn, the world) is put in danger. Tony Stark says he sends aid to the city ravaged by his fight with the Hulk and, in the big finale, the Avengers are able to get a majority of a city's population to safety. However, once the day is saved, it rushes to teasing the Marvel Cinematic Universe's future. We can assume Stark will once again send aid, but I imagine many people are now left without homes. A huge portion of the country was removed, after all. It would be fitting to see something like Stark saying he'll dedicate some of his resources to creating housing complexes and what not. You'd think he would feel a little guilty after his weapons previously caused so much pain and suffering to those people and now so many of them have lost everything they own.

In Man of Steel, we go from one of the most powerful scenes to a more lighthearted sequence. A major U.S. city just suffered a devastating attack and there's no follow-up whatsoever. There's no talk of Superman helping to search for people in the rubble or him helping them rebuild. It just jumps to business as usual. People are back in the city like nothing has changed! It's an odd move seeing as the world just witnessed such a colossal tragedy. Thankfully, it looks like the Battle of Metropolis will play a key role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's story. Better late than never, yeah?

Watching Avengers: Age of Ultron and then saying that's how the destruction should have been handled in MoS just isn't an opinion I agree with. They're totally different situations with totally different tones. I do understand why someone would feel that way, though. Could Superman have made a few smarter decisions? Absolutely. Do I think the handling in AoU is more inspiring? For sure. But to me, the horrifying and shocking way the destruction is handled in Man of Steel fits the story's tone. It goes to show just how staggering the alien invasion is and illustrates just how far Superman must go to save humanity. It's a movie that shows us how just one man stands against a devastating, overwhelming, and terrifying alien invasion. If people that powerful are going to clash in a populated area and it's taking a more "grounded" approach, the battle's going to be devastating no matter how much the hero tries to contain the damage.

Avengers: Age of Ultron reminds me why Captain America and his allies are heroes that deserve our admiration. As the world around them crumbles, they want to make sure they use their abilities to protect the people who are trapped in the middle of all the craziness. Man of Steel reminds me that Kal-El went through a ridiculously daunting and frightening experience to save humanity from his very own people. Both movies involve a whole lot of destruction, and both involve heroes doing everything they can to prevent the death of more innocent people. They just go about presenting it in completely different ways.

May day may be today

It is labour day today. Labour day commemorates eight hour workday demand : eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for traffic jam. In India, labour day is marked by labour rallies and meetings demanding for better wages, lesser privatization and cheaper movie tickets. As usual, labour day is celebrated in traditional brahmin families by not including onion and garlic in food.

Sometimes Labour day is referred to as May day. But you should know that May day has its origin in something completely different : a pagan spring festival celebrated in Rome during, when else, summer. When Christianity took hold in Rome, they replaced all the pagan festivals with their own version and May day was renamed as Lal krishna Advani day by Pope Modi the XI.

Of course May day has another significance as well, especially when it is phrased as "Mayday". It is the word broadcast by pilots of airplanes in distress so that television channels can immediately start their "Breaking news".

I am afraid I have to stop this May day post abruptly, you know, because this is a long weekend. You know what it means, right? Yes, our cook and maid has gone to their native place. So we have a lot of work to do at the household : go to A2B in the morning, McDonalds in the afternoon. Maybe, we will take it easy later in the night: order in a pizza.







Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #45 review

*Yes, this review has SPOILERS! Do yourself a favor and make sure you've read #44 and #45 before reading this.*

So, that happened. Unless you read the solicitation first or the internet spoiled you, odds are Donatello's vicious defeat at the hands of Bebop and Rocksteady was quite a jaw-dropper. The whole time that fight was going down, I kept thinking of different ways my favorite Ninja Turtle would make it out of the situation just fine. "Maybe Alopex and Nobody will show up at the last second. Maybe there's another device in the lab that'll save him. Maybe..." But no, nothing happened to save the mutant from the evil duo's brutality and I was left wondering just one thing: is Donatello really dead or is he barely alive? This latest issue wastes no time answering that question as we quite literally see that Donatello hasn't "walked towards the light" just yet.
Let's talk about the developments with Donatello since, you know, they're kind of a big deal. What Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, and Bobby Curnow are doing makes perfect sense. Even if you thought Donnie was dead, there's about a 0% chance you sincerely thought it would be permanent. Instead of dragging his fate on and on, they immediately present a way to keep Donatello "alive" that doesn't technically bring "him" back. This option also feels very fitting for this universe -- a place which is rich in technology and fantasy. It's also a solid way to keep Fugitoid in the loop; I was concerned he'd vanish for awhile after the conclusion with General Krang. It's a shame leaks blatantly spoiled this issue's cliffhanger for me (seriously, please remember to use proper spoiler etiquette, people), but that's not something I can hold against the issue.

To me, placing Donatello's consciousness into Metalhead doesn't lessen the impact of what happened. It showed that, despite their dim-witted nature and goofy personalities, Bebop and Rocksteady aren't a duo anyone should take lightly and they clearly have no problem crossing the line and being incredibly cruel. They're oblivious to their own strength, and that makes them ridiculously dangerous. It doesn't change how much it impacts Donnie's loved ones, either. You'd be mistaken to believe putting his personality into Metalhead suddenly makes everything okay. We all know he'll eventually get back into his mutated body, but for now, this is going to create an interesting dynamic. Will they treat him differently? Will this change his personality? Will he want revenge? Or will this push him to hide once he does get back in his body -- you know, in an effort to keep himself safe? Given what we saw in Turtles in Time, that would make sense. Or would Donatello know that taking that path means the death of his brothers? I'm really hoping that future version of him isn't forgotten as the story moves forward.

As we see in this issue, Bebop and Rocksteady's violent actions aren't going to be glossed over. (I so can't wait for Raph to go after them.) As expected, Raphael is beyond pissed off and he's lashing out. This brought about a surprising response from Mikey -- it's nice to see his more serious moments from time to time, isn't it? -- and it's making Leonardo feel guilty over the decisions they've made. We all know Donatello will eventually be okay, but for now, this development is loaded with potential and its already taking the series in a more compelling and interesting direction, especially with his mutant brothers. Now, that's not to say it wasn't interesting or compelling to begin with; it's been consistently great! But something this traumatic should have a huge impact on everyone and it's looking like it absolutely will.
The stuff going on around Donatello's weakened body is solid, but I especially love what they're doing with the purple-masked turtle's spirit. As everyone else worries or works to save him, we see Donatello in another, well, dimension. As his spirit encounters his mother, and his father races to prevent him from accepting his end, Charles Paul Wilson III's pencils are the perfect addition to this sequence. Obviously, they're drastically different than artist Mateus Santolouco's work (he handles the rest of the issue), but given the fact it's a completely different setting and tone, it feels so right. With a soothing handling of the colors and location and an especially strong and skilled emphasis on compassionate expressions, these visuals really pull you into the scene and deliver a totally appropriate amount of emotion.

While a good portion of the issue is dedicated to Donnie follow-up and it's way more emotional, Casey Jones is given one simple task in this issue: give the readers some awesome action. Thanks to artist Mateus Santolouco's insanely energetic visuals, Ronda Pattison's consistently talented and eye-catching coloring, and some really badass and fast-paced choreography, Jones' brief role is a blast. It ends on a note that feels a little unclear (there's no way Hun was unaware of that brawl after the gunshot, so was it just a diversion?), but hopefully that'll be explained in the next issue. After April's parents bonded with the vigilante, I can't help but feel like they're in serious danger and we could soon witness a real death.
As if the spotlight on "dying Donnie" and Casey Jones wasn't enough, the villains also receive just a wee bit of love. We get a very brief update with the Foot (Karai, Bebop & Rocksteady, etc) and it's just enough of a teaser for what's to come, but the really good teaser comes from the new alliance that is forming between Baxter Stockman and Shredder. It's terrific this isn't your typical "evil boss and not happy yet still subservient scientist" dynamic. Stockman is done taking orders and he's taken steps to make sure he isn't taken advantage of or walked all over. His plan will probably fail miserably sooner or later, but it's great they're taking a different approach to the alliance and it makes the scientist seem way more formidable. There's a mutual "respect" here and I definitely want to see how this will continue to play out.

It really is impressive just how much story this team can pack into each and every issue. Not only do we get a satisfying follow-up to Donatello's situation -- one which takes advantage of this universe's mystical and sci-fi elements -- but you can also feel the tension building everywhere else. By the time you're done with this issue, you can tell at least three different plot points are ready to explode. Equally impressive is Santolouco and Pattison's consistently stellar visuals. Those two continue to bring a crazy amount of energy to these pages and Charles Paul Wilson III's handling of Donatello's scenes created the perfect atmosphere while also delivering powerful expressions. It's tempting to say something cheesy here -- something like "I love being a turtle('s fan)" -- but I'd much rather be blunt: IDW's TMNT is a damn good series. This publisher is giving us an unforgettable incarnation of the franchise and I can't wait to see what they'll dish out next. If you consider yourself a TMNT fan, you need to be following this series. If not, you're missing out on some truly great stuff.

Avengers: Age of Ultron review

Hey internet,

This week I was fortunate enough to see Avengers: Age of Ultron a few days before it opens here in the United States. (I'm sure international readers are saying, "Better late than never, Gregg.") Not only was I lucky enough to watch an early screening of Joss Whedon's ridiculously anticipated sequel to The Avengers, but I was also lucky enough to review it for Comic Vine! So, here's the spoiler-free review:
http://www.comicvine.com/reviews/avengers-age-of-ultron/1900-4072/


Zaab Kafe in Phuket Town

Update October 2016 - This restaurant no longer exists. Shame. There is a restaurant in the same location, but new owners, new name, not the same food.

And another new restaurant! I seem to be blogging a lot of food recently, largely because we've not really been anywhere for the last couple of months since our excellent day trip in Phang Nga Bay in February. But low season is coming soon meaning I can take some holidays and long weekends to get out and explore. Anyway, being "stuck" in Phuket is quite nice! There have been a few restaurants that I have meant to blog for a while. Zaab Kafe (with a K) has been open for about 18 months I think .. at least that would be when I noticed it. Zaab is on Yaowarat Road a couple of blocks north of the main part of Phuket Old Town. And yet, still very much in the old town - some buildings nearby are certainly not new.

Zaab Kafe

(above) Entrance to Zaab Kafe approaching on Yaowarat Road from the north

Phuket Old Town

(above) Over the street from Zaab are some classic old Phuket Town shop-houses

Old Building

(above) And next door is this old shophouse with a wooden second floor. Definitely a "fixer-upper"!

Zaab Kafe is a little more modern. Certainly adds a splash of colour to the street and just about tasteful enough not to spoil the old town atmosphere. Well, just about ... it is a little bit twee. There is a certain kind of Thai people who love a place like this with colorful decor, and seats where you can take your photo next to a Kitty or a big teddy bear :) Absolutely a place for the local market, which does mean very good Thai food.

Inside Zaab Kafe

Kitty Welcomes you to Zaab Kafe

(above) Cuddly decorations at Zaab Kafe

Zaab Kafe in Phuket Town

(above) Inside Zaab Kafe

Lots of space inside with tables of varying design. Some with chairs, some for sitting on the floor, some booths, some smaller tables if you just want a coffee and cake and don't need half an acre of space for all your food dishes :) That is our style - we do tend to over order at places like this. Too many delicious sounding options. We've been half a dozen times so it's become a bit of a regular place for us now. Not really in the "cheap" price bracket, at least by local standards. I think our last visit the bill was 1700 Baht for 7 people. That's probably cheap if you are from the UK. Last year in my home town I noticed a Thai restaurant where simple Thai dishes like Pad Graprow were 15 pounds (about 700 Baht) per dish! Yes, so 1700 Baht for 7 is OK. It does depend what you order of course. Everything is tasty. My favourite so far is the Fried Laab (ลาบทอด) - Laab is a meat dish from northeast Thailand - normally made with pork and cooked with chilies and herbs. And if you then fry it, delicious! See the photo below ...

Fried Laab

The last couple of times I have been here, I have left with a slightly aching belly, too full and yet still wanting more! The menu is varied and they have all kid of drinks - different coffees, juices, shakes ... I had a very good mango shake last time. You can also get a beer. Here's a few of the dishes we have tried at Zaab.

Lemon Chicken

(above) Lemon Chicken - might not seem like a Thai dish, but I see it in many Thai restaurants. A good choice if you want something non spicy (not like the laab, which is spicy!)

Salmon with Rice

(above) Salmon steak with rice - a kids favourite.

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage

(above) There are plenty of fried rice options. This one made with Chinese sausage and salted egg.

DIY Vietnamese fresh spring rolls

(above) Make your own Vietnamese style fresh spring rolls!

And finally - and this one does go well with a beer if you have the chance to try anywhere ... Sun dried pork (beef also available), in Thai it's called Moo Det Deow (หมูแดดเดียว). I can nibble several plates of this!

Sundried Pork

Phuket Town is the place to find this kind of local restaurant. They are all a bit different, especially newer places that are built with a bit of an individual touch. Not just plastic chairs and tables selling the same old Thai food. We like to find something interesting with dishes that we can't get in other restaurants. I am glad that we live close to town because in the last few years there have been plenty of new restaurants and cafes opening up away from the more touristy areas of Phuket and offering some tasty treats.

More Phuket Town restaurant suggestions

Kopitiam on Thalang Road
Tunk Ka Cafe
Eleven Two & Co
Rider Cafe
Yellow Door

Zaab Kafe Location Map

Lititz Family Cupboard, Lititz, PA

We very much miss the Family Cupboard Restaurant and Buffet that was located in Bird-In-Hand, PA. That restaurant is now a Colman Store and the owner has gone to help run his parent's restaurant in Lancaster, Dienners.  Dienners is nice but it is not open past 6:30 pm on any night but Fridays. Several years back we found another restaurant that had been in this family - and sold to the Fisher family that retained the name and much of the buffet menu that it had when owned by the Dienner family. The Fishers are from Amish and Mennonite backgrounds and well know local cooking. That restaurant is the Litiz Family Cupboard.

The Valiant Movie News is Ridiculously Exciting Stuff

We all knew Valiant was working on bringing some of its characters to the big screen, but there hasn't been any especially detailed news in quite some time. We know some of the properties the publisher's interested in and we know it's teaming-up with DMG to make these movies happen, but now we finally know when the first set of movies will begin to drop and which characters will be the first ones to step into the spotlight. Working with Sony, Valiant is going to create two Bloodshot movies and two Harbinger movies before unleashing a Harbinger Wars film. To Valiant fans, this is obviously exciting news. To everyone else, there's understandable concern about the world having one too many comic book movies. Well, I'm here to tell you why you should be thrilled about Valiant creating its own cinematic universe.
I have a pretty big confession to make, okay? Before Valiant rebooted back in 2012, I wasn't a fan of the publisher. In fact, my only experience with Valiant before it reemerged was the Iron Man and X-O Manowar crossover game -- I have it for my Sega Game Gear. Despite that, the publisher's reboot won me over and several years later, they continue to earn my love and support. With a focus on quality over quantity, Valiant really has brought these characters back in a way that offers something for just about everyone. These don't feel like dated characters who are lucky enough to get another shot; these are intelligent and entertaining stories! This publisher consistently delivers and has yet to let me down.

Dinesh Shamdasani, Valiant's CEO & CCO, has obviously played an important part in the publisher's success and he's expressed in countless interviews just how passionate he really is about these characters. When it was announced Sony would be the Studio behind these films, there were some immediate concerns racing around in my head. Despite enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man movies, it's clear the studio did some major interfering with the story and that took a noticeable toll on the final product's narrative. However, you'd assume this would be a learning experience for the studio since The Amazing Spider-Man wasn't nearly as big of a hit as they wanted it to be. Even if that's not the case, the fact Dinesh is producing these movies puts my mind at ease. I can't help but feel like he wouldn't simply sit back and allow the studio to make absurd changes -- changes which could take a toll on the stories. This is a huge deal for the publisher and I'm sure he's well aware of just how critical this step is for them.

A Bloodshot movie has the chance to seem all kinds of familiar. We're talking about a brainwashed killing machine who's trying to learn about his identity, so it's easy to draw parallels to Wolverine and a gazillion other stories out there. How could they make this unique enough to pull-in more people instead of making many potential moviegoers shrug and say, "Looks like more of the same or just an action movie from the '90s." The comics are good -- especially the new Bloodshot: Reborn series (go read it!) -- but a vast majority of the people who will possibly buy a ticket likely haven't bought any of the comics, so the fact it's Bloodshot isn't enough to sell them on seeing the movie. Simply put, they aren't pre-existing fans, so the trailer needs to blow them away. But what will motivate them to see yet another action-heavy, shoot 'em up featuring a man who's trying to discover his past? I believe Bloodshot has two things working in its favor: John Wick's directors and the fact it's the start of an all-new cinematic universe.
On paper, John Wick is so generic. But thanks to David Leitch and Chad Stahelski's directing (along with several other factors, like the score and Keanu Reeve's performance), it turned out to be one of the more memorable action movies in the past few decades. I mean, it's no The Raid, but it's still really damn good. John Wick could have been cliche, yet they turned it into something truly special and fun. It was full of cheerworthy and intense action, attention-grabbing worldbuilding, and just enough emotion. Ladies and gentlemen, those three things are critical for Bloodshot. If the two can pull off refreshing action, a legitimate emotional connection to the lead, and the promise of a bigger and interesting universe yet again, it'll be well worth the price of a ticket and an exceptional way to begin this new cinematic universe. What they did so well in John Wick is exactly what they need to do well in Bloodshot. Otherwise, it'll be forgettable and that'll be a disaster for them. No pressure, right?

Since this is the movie that'll launch the Valiant Cinematic Universe, it's safe to say they'll do their best to make sure this one hooks us and leaves us wanting more. It'll focus on Bloodshot's story, but it'll also begin to slowly unravel a much bigger picture -- one that'll hopefully leave viewers saying they want to see more and they want to have some of their questions answered. Also, I seriously hope some promotions say "by the directors of John Wick," otherwise they'll have to do some major marketing to win over a large amount of people. Going to the movies isn't a cheap experience. With so many appealing films coming out, a fair amount of people decide what's worth seeing in theaters and what they'll eventually rent. John Wick earned one hell of a following and understandably so. I think they can bring that crowd to Bloodshot and it'll definitely help them at the box office. That story draws a few parallels to Bloodshot, but now it involves powers and there's the promise of seeing expansion of this world. To many of the people who've seen John Wick, that's pretty exciting news.
While Bloodshot hopefully offers some jaw-dropping action and just enough worldbuilding to hold onto your attention, Harbinger is the movie that'll offer something totally different. You probably won't find shootouts and non-stop action in this one; this will be Valiant's chance to offer something thought-provoking. If you had the power to change the world, would you? How far would you go? If you had astonishing telekentic abilities, how would you really use them? Harbinger impressed because it's a legitimately compelling, character-driven story.

While Bloodshot may be clever and impactful in its own ways, Harbinger is the movie that'll truly require a smart and gripping script if it wants to be even remotely as good as the source material. Bloodshot can get away with a not-so-great story if the choreography and action sequences are a blast. Now, that's not to say Harbinger won't have plenty of action. In fact, this one's going to need a really creative director because the displays of completely different powers has the chance to be truly stunning and immersive. It'll rely heavily on visual effects and it's the kind of movie that can appeal to your brain while also wowing your eyes with spectacle. This is definitely one that could take advantage of 3D.
The roster has someone for everyone to fall in love with (I'm on team Faith) and what made the comic so special is just how well it humanized and fleshed out each of the protagonists. No one here is one-dimensional; they each have relatable and powerful tales. Everyone is going to walk out of the theater with a different favorite character. I can almost see this as being a more grounded and a darker version of Guardians of the Galaxy. But, you know, with psionic powers instead of all of the sci-fi elements. In addition to a seriously likable team, it also has a fascinating villain: Toyo Harada. The most formidable psiot on the planet, Toyo wants to make the world a better place for everyone. Oh, did I say "everyone?" I meant "everyone who won't stand in his way." You can draw some parallels to Magneto and I recommend reading his origin story (Harbinger #0) to see the brilliant work the publisher has done with the villain. Unless he doesn't want the role or he's way too expensive, they should really get Ken Watanabe to play as Toyo. He'd be perfect.

"Sure, these movies have potential, but announcing two right away for both of them and then a crossover? Isn't that a bit premature?" Sure, it's a risk, but I'm guessing it's one they're willing to take because they're going to go all-out and have confidence in the movies they're going to release. Additionally, I'd say both Bloodshot and Harbinger are worthy of at least two movies. Bloodshot's whole first movie can be his "origin" and dealing with Project Rising Spirit. After that, he discovers about children being experimented on and sets out to do what he can about it. Harbinger would serve as our introduction to the team and this world, concluding with a major conflict involving Toyo -- one that obviously don't truly defeat him or even temporarily defeat him. The sequel could be this group's side of the story as they also discover about the children being trained and manipulated. As both sides do what they can in this mission, they move closer and closer to each other. Then, Harbinger Wars has the potential to deliver on four movies full of buildup. When I read Harbinger Wars, I thought to myself, "This would be an AWESOME movie. It has a ton of thrilling action and it's consistently epic." I'm sure a large number of readers had a very similar thought while reading it. Now, that's becoming a reality and I seriously hope it's as awesome as we all want it to be.
Imagine if Harbinger Wars has a credits scene involving X-O Manowar. Unless these movies totally bomb, it would be silly to think Valiant only has plans for these five movies. Bloodshot delivers gun-heavy mayhem and Harbinger unleashes exciting powers and a whole lot of emotion, but X-O Manowar would give Valiant, Sony, and DMG the opportunity to give us a sci-fi adventure. Shadowman could provide dark fantasy and supernatural elements. And Ninjak? Man, that would just be a phenomenal spy movie. Seeing as Matthew Vaughn is an executive producer on Bloodshot, I sincerely hope he gets to direct at least one of Valiant's movies. If so, he'd be perfect for Ninjak. However, that might be too similar to his other work. Honestly, I'd have faith in anything that guy directs.

Will these movies give the big two a run for their money? Probably not. Marvel Studios has spent years earning a following and DC has the advantage of incorporating two of the most recognizable heroes on the planet. I don't see Valiant's movies breaking the box office, but if they're even remotely close to the quality of the comics the publisher has been releasing, then we're going to be in for a real treat. If they are as good as we're hoping they'll be, positive word of mouth will definitely give these features a few more dollars and hopefully, quite a few new fans. There's a lot of comic book movies out there, but Valiant's been doing amazing things and has focused on making sure they're giving us the right stories. Valiant hasn't just rushed a character out there for a blatant cash grab -- that's why it took so long for the publisher to give us a Ninjak comic! If they're now stepping into the cinematic ring, I have a feeling it's because they're going to give us stories they believe are worth seeing in theaters. Let's hope I'm right. And if they do turn out to be disappointing movies, at least we still have plenty of excellent comics to enjoy.
Bloodshot opens in 2017. No word yet on who will direct Harbinger and Harbinger Wars or when they'll open. 

The Legacy of Luther Strode #1 review

Back in 2011, writer Justin Jordan, artist Tradd Moore, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro introduced the world to Luther Strode. Think Spider-Man meets Kick-Ass, throw in a lot of totally over-the-top gore and you pretty much have a decent understanding of this character. Luther and his girlfriend, Petra, have gone through a lot of craziness in the past two limited series, but now their story is apparently coming to an end. The Legacy of Luther Strode is expected to be the last chapter in Luther's tale, and thankfully, it's off to a ridiculously fun start.

When it comes to the bigger picture, Jordan isn't giving too much away. We get just a bit of insight into the big villain and then it's mostly a character-driven experience as Luther and Petra once again find themselves in all kinds of madness. You can tell there's a couple of building blocks for bigger plot elements in the issue, but this one really is all about telling us who Petra and Luther are and seeing what they're capable of. If you've been with them since the very beginning (if so, let's be friends because that makes you awesome), this is going to be a really rewarding and fun read. Petra's confidence and badassery has shot through the roof and Strode is doing his best Superman impression. He used to have no real problem obliterating any evil person in his way, but now he'll do his best not to kill a murderer who clearly cannot be reasoned with. With great power and all that, right? While Luther tends to be reserved, Petra's the polar opposite. It makes their relationship pretty adorable and considering how it's handled in this issue, I can't shake the feeling that one of them is going to die before this limited series concludes. Hopefully I'm wrong on that one, but if I'm not, I'm pretty confident that Jordan wouldn't give either of them a pointless and/or disappointing death.

The action in Luther Strode's comics are usually full of totally absurd and excessive amounts of bloodshed and brutality. They always embrace that and don't hold back at all. While there are more than a few twisted and amusing examples of this in the issue (someone kicks through a poor dude's head!), a lot of the ridiculous action is showing off just how powerful and dangerous these enhanced characters can be. Luther pulls off some insane feats in this one and watching two of these formidable beings leap around is a real blast. We may not be getting too much of the story just yet, but that won't be on your mind because you'll likely be loving every second of the purposely outrageous mayhem.
Tradd Moore's overly animated style obviously won't be for everyone -- art is subjective, after all -- but I continue to love it. I think his exaggerated character work is such a delight and it fills these fictional beings with so much life. None of the panels feel static to me; they're all packed with energy and emotion. And when the action kicks in, this guy sure knows how to bring it. I'm sure there's plenty of artists out there who could bring their own satisfying take on Luther Strode, but the way Moore escalates all of the impacts and motions is simply brilliant and it allows Luther Strode to stand apart from all of the countless other action-heavy titles that are out there. It's purposely all kinds of over-the-top and it's so damn exciting! There's a lot on Moore's plate in this one and he never appears to slack off or rush. Whether it's a giant army getting slaughtered in the past or a ludicrous pile-up, it all looks equally impressive. To top it off, there's a handful of creative sequences to enjoy in here. One is displayed above ( he allows the reader to move from one car right into the next one) and there's another memorable bit in a restaurant. I won't spoil that one for you!

I'm sure Moore's pages look terrific on their own, but colorist Sobreiro does an amazing job enhancing them and he fills this world with bold colors. There's a lot of strong contrasts here (as you can see above) and I especially love how the sparks are handled; it really makes the action feel more intense and gives you a better appreciation of some of the movements. All in all, Moore's style is perfect for Strode's world and Sobreiro's coloring is seriously praiseworthy and fills it with even more vitality. Thanks to these two, this comic doesn't feel like I'm looking at still images. Instead, it gives me a proper understanding of how everything would play out in motion. Thank to their work, I'm pretty much getting a Luther Strode animated movie in my head while I read the comic and I absolutely love that.

The debut issue of Luther Strode's final volume offers all of the crazy fun you'd expect from it. The bigger picture is off to a bit of a slow start, but that hardly matters when there's such an entertaining focus on Luther and Petra's relationship, consistently enjoyable and striking artwork, and a huge amount of thrilling and delightfully over-the-top action. It's good to have you back in my life, Luther Strode.

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Special IMAX Event

Seeing as I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice special IMAX event (as well as a guest ticket for my friend), I figured I should tell you all about the experience. As you can imagine, I went to the theater with very high expectations. Since the studio was forced to release a high definition version of the trailer after a low quality version of it was leaked, director Zack Snyder promised the event would have brand new shots -- shots that no one else will allegedly see until the movie opens. Well, "no one else" as in people not working on the movie, but you get what I mean, right? Additionally, we were promised some kind of "swag." The director tweeted two pretty cool promotional images the other day, but it wasn't entirely clear if these would be posters or t-shirts. It was easy to assume the former because the latter would probably be more expensive and a total nightmare since everyone attending the event would need to say their t-shirt size before getting one. That would cause some major traffic as everyone is leaving. Thankfully, it turns out they were posters. I already have plenty of Batman and Superman shirts, but posters? Not many.
When I arrived at the theater an hour and a half or so early, the person at the booth asked me which poster I wanted. I quickly exclaimed, "Batman!" and was beyond happy that I managed to get it. I was concerned we'd only get one and it would be random. As much as I love Superman, the Batman poster is simply badass. So, with a rolled-up poster in one hand and a Dunkin Donuts coffee in the other one, I then joined the line with my buddy. Much to my surprise, there were only 10 or so people ahead of us. Before heading to the theater, I feared we would get crappy seats (e.g. somewhere in the front) and a bad spot would absolutely ruin the experience. Who wants to look up and not be able to see the entire screen with ease? Thankfully, it looked like the odds were in my favor and we'd have no trouble finding good seats. We then spent the next hour or so talking with a fellow fan and his mother in the line. You can't help but love talking with the people you meet at fan events and conventions. Everyone there is so passionate about the things you love, so it's fun to act like total fanboys in person. For me, that kind of enthusiasm is usually limited to the internet since a majority of my friends aren't all that crazy about the comic book genre. Anyway, we discussed what we like and don't like about Man of Steel, what we think of the future of the DC Cinematic Universe, and we even discussed Avengers. It was a good chat, especially since we were on the same page about a lot of things. If you're reading this, Jared, thanks for making the wait in line an entertaining one!

After quite some time, a security guard announced that our electronic devices need to be turned off (so they can hopefully prevent "The Leak Returns") and they began to let us in two at a time. Finally, my friend, Scott, and I walked up to get our tickets scanned. It was here we received an amazing surprise: not only are we going to get both posters, but we're also going to receive a free ticket to see the movie a week before it opens! Combine all of this news with being full of coffee and yeah, you can bet I was in a pretty great mood. Seeing as I'm currently unemployed (and oh-so-willing to write for your site), I have no shame in admitting the last few weeks haven't been the best around and all of this was an excellent way to simply escape all of the stress and concerns I've been experiencing.

My friend and I (along with the two people we met) snagged perfect seats and then we waited for about 15 minutes. During that time, the theater was full of commotion. People were talking, shuffling around, and making plenty of noise as they chomped on popcorn or sipped soda. But once the lights dimmed, the theater went silent and we all had our eyes glued to the ginormous IMAX screen. Then something went terribly wrong: the audio played, but there was no video! Before the trailer came an introduction from Zack Snyder. We heard him giving a basic teaser and many of us just assumed they only had an audio recording of it. So, no big deal. But then the trailer's narration began and there was still just a blank screen. That's when things got rowdy. Everyone began to make jokes. Some were just downright rude (this is a free fan event and there were quite a few kids present, after all), but many were lighthearted and legitimately funny. My friend claimed we were getting the Daredevil experience and I accused Marvel Studios of ambushing the event. The entire trailer played with no picture, and then it cut to more audio from Snyder. With still no video playing, we heard him talk about the new scene added to the trailer -- a sequence we didn't see -- and he said they were going to play it again so we could enjoy the new IMAX footage one more time. Then the trailer began to play again and finally the people in the theater were able to get the video working. Better late than never, right? To make it up to us, they restarted the screening right after it ended. So, I technically saw this new footage 3 times.
For the most part, this was the same trailer I've already seen multiple times. However, seeing it on the biiiiiiiig screen sure was enjoyable and the few IMAX shots were definitely appreciated. The sequence of armor Batman and Superman facing off? Seeing this formidable version of the Dark Knight on that screen was just surreal; it looked terrific. As for the new footage, my mind was previously racing about what it could possibly be. Would we see Wonder Woman? Additional stuff with Batman? Lex Luthor? Maybe even a minor Aquaman teaser? What we were treated to was a handful of extra seconds teasing the armor Batman and Superman fight. It begins with a close-up of Superman. His hair is wet and he doesn't look pleased. We then see armor Batman yet again, and then we witness a shot or two of the iconic heroes running at each other. It ends with a wide-shot of them racing towards each other and ends a split second before they clash. They were indoors, so this was probably shortly after their "tell me, do you bleed?" interaction. It seems like Batman must have smacked him into a building and then the fight continued from there. It looked great and it sure was one hell of a tease, but that was it for the new footage. Honestly, I couldn't help but feel somewhat disappointed. It's cool these few shots apparently won't be seen in any trailers until the movie is released, but the extra footage was maybe 5 seconds or so. On one hand, I loved it. I was able to see Batman and Superman on a freaking IMAX screen and they were about to go all The Dark Knight Returns on one another. On the other hand, I expected more. Maybe that's my fault; this is a free event for a teaser and the movie's a year away, after all.

Was this IMAX event worth attending? Hell yes. I'm disappointed by the lack of extra footage, but the opportunity to see this trailer on a huge screen and with such superb audio really filled me with happiness. Okay, maybe "happiness" isn't the right word since it's hardly an uplifting trailer, so I guess "awe" would be the more appropriate choice. While they didn't give us a substantial amount of new footage or really show anything drastically new, seeing the two charge at each other was kind of thrilling. It's such a simple group of shots, yet given how much I'm interested in these characters and the source material it's inspired by, I can't help but kind of love the fact I was able to witness it. Then there's fact I was able to talk with fellow fans and receive two solid posters and get a free ticket to see the movie a week early in IMAX! It's a bummer we weren't able to view more of the movie, but am I really in any kind of position to complain about that? They didn't have to create this event for the fans. They could have simply released the trailer on YouTube and called it a day. Instead, I had the opportunity to hang out with other excited fans and talk about DC's movies, walk away with sweet collectibles, and I left with the promise of seeing the movie before it opens... for free! It was incredibly cool of Warner Bros. to create this event. I may have left feeling let down about the lack of extra footage and the technical difficulties was a hilarious slip-up, but the experience was a good time and they sure made it worthwhile. This fan definitely appreciates it. So, thanks for that, Warner Bros.

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Trailer: Superman Soldiers

The very first Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was posted yesterday (click here if you want to know what I think about it) and as expected, people are debating over several shots. One, however, stands above the rest and I wanted to quickly discuss it. The scene I'm talking about is the one with soldiers -- who have Superman's logo on their armor -- kneeling before the hero when they're in his presence. I already see some saying this means the story is inspired by Injustice: Gods Among Us and that means Kal-El is a dictator. I don't agree with that claim. Maybe I'll have to eat my words on this one, but I really hope that won't be the case.
Nothing about this brief shot (seriously, it's 1.5 seconds long) makes me think Superman is a dictator and he wants this kind of reception. Some say Clark looks imposing and is demanding their respect. Me? I see a ladder behind him and based on that brief shot, it seems like this is the second or so after he landed and it's right before he begins to walk forward. I'm not sure why people assume this means this is his division of soldiers, either. What about the character from Man of Steel would leave you to believe he'd want his own squad -- one which worships him? The whole point of the trailer is to show how humanity is reacting to him; not how he's reacting to it. In our world, there are soldiers who wear Punisher's logo. In the DC Cinematic Universe's Earth, there are people who worship Superman -- he did save the planet, after all. The idea of them wearing his symbol because they choose to admire him seems way more logical than Henry Cavill's character saying, "You, my soldiers! Bow down and wear my symbol! It stands for hope, and I hope you're wearing it, because otherwise I'm going to punch you across the ocean!" I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but to me, it really seems like a group of soldiers who worship the Kryptonian because they choose to.
The trailer reveals some of humanity is treating Superman like a God; it's not saying that Superman is acting like a God or even wants this extremely high level of glorification. Kal-El's true response to all of this has yet to be revealed and I'm hoping the next trailer gives us more insight into the character. But for now, the thought of Superman wanting people to wear his symbol and bow before him just doesn't seem probable to me. Oddly enough, I wrote this quick post while wearing a Superman shirt. Go figure.

Update: @digital___rain and @derbykid pointed out something obvious that I was somehow totally oblivious to: this could be Snyder's version of the "Sons of Batman," an organization in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Basically, it's a group who strives to fight injustice in the name of their idol, but they aren't accomplishing it in a way that makes their idol very pleased. In this case, it would essentially be the "Sons of Superman." That theory makes perfect sense and I have no idea how it slipped my mind. I guess that's what happens when you write before having a sip of coffee?

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Trailer

Well, it's looking like the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is every bit as polarizing as Man of Steel. Some people loved the footage and think it'll be an amazing movie; others hate it and hope it's not an accurate picture of the entire movie. Me? I'm someone who loves Man of Steel (we can still be friends if you hated it, you know) and I've been very, very, veeeeeery excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So, did I love the debut trailer and it now has me exclaiming, "ZOMG BEST MOVIE EVER"? No, unfortunately I can't say that I loved it, and honestly, I was left feeling incredibly down the middle in the moments immediately after my first viewing. However, I do like it and if you'll give me a minute or two (because you're nice like that, right?), I'll explain why.
When Warner Bros announced the movie's first trailer was on the way, I immediately began to think about what it would include. You probably did, too. I envisioned a video that's full of cameos, some basic ways to spell out the plot, and a whole lot of spectacle. That isn't what we received. Not at all. The first trailer is purely story-driven and drenched in darkness. While Marvel Studios aims to win over a wide variety of moviegoers by making sure its films always have some amount of fun and comedy, it's clear Warner Bros is making the DC Cinematic Universe the opposite of that -- at least for now. The studio's going for grittiness and realism. While Marvel Studios embraces a trigger-happy, talking "raccoon," DC is establishing a dark atmosphere. When I say "realism," I don't mean anything involving how these characters act in combat -- it's clear Batman is going to be well-above what an ordinary human is capable of. I mean how the world is crafted and how it responds to this unreal situation.

Man of Steel ended with aliens attempting to destroy the planet. They unleashed a devastating amount of damage in a major city and even though Superman was able to stop them, his fight with Zod brought about additional destruction and it resulted in Kal-El snapping the neck of his opponent. I know it's ridiculous, but imagine this really happened. How would you feel about Superman? You don't know anything about him aside from the fact he's absurdly powerful and no government on the planet could hope to stop him. To top it off, you know he saved the planet by killing his enemy. Some of you will think he's just trying to do the right thing. Some will think he's a God. Many will fear him and think he can't be trusted.
"I lift things up and put them down."
What happened in Man of Steel is a ginormous deal for Earth and it's great to see it isn't simply being glossed over. There's huge ramifications and those are obviously being used to justify why the Dark Knight comes to blows with the Kryptonian. Just look at how the news industry tends to cover events. Something huge like this? Yeah, you can bet they'd have a lot of talking heads saying why the Man of Steel is worse than mega ebola and you can bet a lot of people would let that fear and hatred bleed into their impression of Big Blue. Obviously it won't affect everyone -- some view him as the next messiah and want him to fix just about everything -- but with Lex Luthor in the picture, you know he's going to do some manipulating and make even more people view Superman as a super villain. This trailer isn't showing us how Superman's reacting to this reception (something I'm VERY anxious to find out), just how the world is responding to his presence. It's a simple yet efficient way to give us some understanding of the bigger picture. I'm surprised we didn't see Lex or any especially huge moments from the film, but I'd much rather have them reserve the really good stuff for when we're sitting in a movie theater. Here's hoping Warner Brothers doesn't release a silly amount of clips as the release date gets closer and closer. I just don't have the willpower to resist watching those. I'm no Hal Jordan.

Sweet mother of all that is holy, Batman looks like a beast in this movie. The costume looks great in motion, the armor appears to stay very true to Frank Miller's classic comic, and Affleck's voice is so intimidating. We've yet to see a lot of the Caped Crusader and how his character is handled, but at least we know he looks and sounds all kinds of formidable. That said, one part did have me concerned. There's a bit with two vehicles (looks like the Batmobile and Batwing) and they unleash some attacks that blow up several gunmen. It seems like Bruce is the one who did this. I'm really hoping that's not the case and there's some context we're not getting. It immediately reminded me of Tim Burton's version who has no issue murdering anyone in his way. This version of Batman may be darker and more brutal, but the fact he can topple obstacles without killing makes him even more impressive and admirable. Otherwise, he's pretty much just Punisher but in a different costume. (That's not a jab at Punisher; I love the character.)
Everyone -- even Superman -- must bow down to Batman at some point.
The trailer provides a loose reason why Batman goes after Superman. The world isn't sure it should trust this ridiculously powerful being, so why should Batman? And wouldn't this be a bit of a blow to Bruce's ego? After all he's put his body through, there's now some flying dude who can go above and beyond what he's capable of. (Well, not unless Wayne has prep, but let's not get into that, okay?) We of course don't get all of the details, but seeing as the emergence of a seemingly surreal hero is a huge deal, it's only natural that a hero/brilliant detective/seeker of justice/ninja would want to find out what the deal really is with this guy.

Random thoughts:

  • Batman is definitely holding a rifle and it looks just like the one from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
  • I'm guessing the Superman statue/park is built on ground zero in Metropolis.
  • Seeing as we know Snyder's directing two Justice League movies in the future, I'm assuming this conflict will more than likely end with them gaining each other's respect. It may be called "Batman v Superman" and they may beat the living hell out of each other, but it'll more than likely end as them becoming great friends and admiring the others' strengths. So yeah, while the studio's cashing in on the pure fan service of seeing these two fight, at least the conflict will be the thing that produces their friendship. Plus, I'd be a total liar if I said I didn't want to see these two fight on the big screen.

This may not be the trailer I expected and it didn't totally blow me away, but it sure gives us a lot to chew on. There's one very important thing I'm left wondering about, though: What is Superman's response to all of this worship, fear and hatred? I understand why this trailer doesn't get into that (it's informing us how the world is reacting to him and what he's done), but it's a pretty important question, especially since this version of the character left fans divided. In this trailer, he seems kind of distant, cold, and even confused. These shots are all out of context and I'm sure there's more to them, but I can only form an opinion based on what we've seen, right? To me, Man of Steel ends with Clark Kent becoming the Superman many of us know. Before the conflict escalated, he's someone who spent his whole life holding back and hiding who he really is. He avoided conflict and aside from the Kents, he's clearly never had any meaningful relationships. When the credits begin to roll, he's finally used his powers to save the planet from an insanely dangerous threat -- one which impacted him emotionally -- and told the U.S. government he's here to help. No longer can he remain quiet, expressing himself mostly through body language. Now that he is Superman, we need to see him acting more like it. If the world is unclear about who he is and what he stands for, he should give a public speech in an attempt to clear things up. He should do everything he can to help but make it clear he's not a God; he can't be everywhere at once and save everyone from everything. If this movie has two brilliant humans -- Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne -- setting their sights on him, he's going to look like a fool if he doesn't exude more confidence, intelligence and warmth when interacting with others.

Given the themes this movie is handling and the source material it's inspired by, it should be a dark story. However, Superman's iconic personality and optimism should still be on display and receive more attention this time around. When the credits begin to roll, we should have a brighter future on the horizon and the start of a powerful friendship. If you watched the trailer and hated it, so be it. I understand why some may not be a fan of the tone and the direction the story's taking. To each their own and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised by the final product. At least you know there's plenty of other comic book movies that may appeal to you and there's certainly plenty of superb comics and animated shows/movies that feature Batman and Superman. But me? Yeah, I'm looking forward to this and hopefully after reading this post, you don't think that makes me absolutely crazy.