It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU. It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU. So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general. Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do. Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.
Has Aquaman ever looked cooler?
Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film. We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.
There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April. Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’
I knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.
So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that. Ok?
I want to see this reboot build characters individually. I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over. If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up. Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.
Thanos’ snap was more powerful than we all realized.
The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while. It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers. I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start. Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them. There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it. Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman. This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.
I’m a big fan of the Arrowverse. I watch every show, including Back Lightning, which doesn’t technically seem to be part of the Arowverse and I personally hope it stays that way. But there have been a few pieces of evidence that suggest the shows may be connected. Don’t forget, when Supergirl premiered on CBS and even for a few months after, it was definitely not apart of the Arrowverse. But things change and I suppose we’ll have to see. Speaking of The Girl of Steel, I’m even a defender when people like to talk about their least favorite one (which tends to be Supergirl). I think what they’re doing on that channel is great. But not amazing.
I think each of the shows right now has one element that seems to be holding it back from achieving something amazing. With Arrow, I think it’s Oliver as the Green Arrow. Let me explain that explain that. I really like Oliver, but whole idea of juggling his two lives is played out to me. Earlier this season, he stepped out of the role, and John Diggle became the Green Arrow, and honestly, I loved that. Arrowverse Trivia: In Legends of Tomorrow season one, John Diggle’s son, John Diggle Jr., is the Green Arrow protecting Star City, decades in the future, under the assumed name of Conner Hawke. Anyway, I wish Dig as Green Arrow had been a season long arch, maybe with Oliver being forced to take up the mantle again towards the end of the season. That could have the show go out with a real bang at the end of season six.
I also hope that they are able to make Ricardo Diaz a really cool village. Up until now, he’s just been in the background as a puppet master, so he couldn’t really be in the forefront of the story. Otherwise it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise when the revealed he’s the one orchestrating everything. In the comics (and they reference this on the show) he goes by the name Richard dragon, one of the greatest martial artists on the planet and formidable thorn in the side of characters like Batman, Nightwing, and of course Green Arrow. I’ve always wanted to see him on the show and I hope they do him justice now that he’s been revealed is the true big bad. It’d be pretty cool if he started going by Richard Dragon for the rest of the season, I’ll be honest I’ll be disappointed if they don’t.
Before I move on to the other shows, I want to touch on something else that all of the Arrowverse shows are guilty of: Many of the really interesting, major changes seems to be resolved way too quickly. Season 3 of Flash began with Barry having traveled back in time, changing the timeline and arriving in Flashpoint, within 3 episodes he was back in the regular timeline. Yes, there were consequences for Barry later in the season, but I think everyone would have wanted to spend more time in the Flashpoint timeline. They had set it up at the end of Season 2, and it seemed like over the summer they said “oh shit, we cant pull off such a massive world change!. Let’s fix it asap.” The same thing happened this season with Legends of Tomorrow, the final shot of last season showed them appearing in San Francisco with modern architecture and dinosaurs running around. That would have been a crazy season, but within minutes of the first episode, the anachronism was fixed, as if they realized it wasn’t in their budget. It’s a bit frustrating.
Anyway, back to each show’s big flaw. I think The Flash’s biggest flaw has been the villain. We got three season of speedsters and honestly they were each great in their own way. Thawne and Zoom inparticular where fantastic villains. But 3 speedster villains was one too many and the show needed some variety. So as we entered this season and you got The Thinker. The guy they got to play him was amazing, then they killed him off and put his brain into another guy’s body just as soon as you become invested in him as a villain. This was hugely disappointing even if it did land Barry in jail for several episodes (which did end up being it’s own highlight). Now Barry’s out of jail, facing an able-bodied Thinker (part of the appeal of the character was that he was so smart that he would be able to beat Barry with just his brain, while sitting in his hover chair).
Other cool heroes:
Then there is Supergirl. I might be in the minority here, but I do like Supergirl, I just think it has some major flaws. Most superheroes stories derive their success from action sequences and thrills, but the best parts of Supergirl are the character moments . There have been less of these great character moments that make the show so good. This season for example, the highlight has been Kara’s sister Alex’s personal turmoil over her romantic life, and her desire to be a mother. Alex’s struggle last season with her sexual orientation, and discovering she was a lesbian, was the highlight, and this season expanding on that, breaking her heart has been the most intriguing. The problem then falls on the action, and the “A plot,” and unfortunately, it’s just not keeping up. It’s serviceable, but it’s not special, it’s not captivating like Alex’s life is.
Finally we come to Legends of Tomorrow. Before I get into it I’d just like to say, Sarah Lance, whom I disliked during her run on Arrow, is amazing on this show. She’s the Han Solo of the Arrowverse, and honestly, even though I’d really want Barry’s powers, ultimately if I had to BE anyone character, it would be Sarah Lance (She even has her own Millennium Falcon!).
Legends is probably the most fun show of the lineup. It definitely keeps improving year to year. It is amazingly fun every week and definitely the best of the Arrowverse, at least for now. Also, the cast’s natural rotation, and the structure of the show allow for it to always seem fresh. So what is wrong with it? It’s unoriginal. The idea’s cool, that’s not what I mean. The Wave-Rider, the team’s time-machine is suspiciously similar to, as I mentioned before, the Millennium Falcon, there are a lot of Doctor Who similarities, and while I loved the episode this week, it was Groundhog’s Day. None of these things ruins the show for me, in fact I like them all, but I do think it keeps the show from achieving the ‘amazing’ status certain other genre shows achieve.
I mentioned before that I hope that Black Lightning doesn’t become part of the Arrowverse, and I just want to clarify that is just because it’s a different kind of show. The Arrowverse may touch upon issues of the day, but mostly they’re fun fare, where as Black Lightning as far as we’ve seen it, is a drama, with some comic book elements. They don’t really mesh, and so I hope they don’t try to force them to.
Black Lightning is the latest superhero drama from The CW, which has made DC superhero shows it’s bread and butter. Based on the DC Comic of the same name, Black Lightning follows Jefferson Pierce (played by Cress Williams), a former Olympic medalist and retired consumed superhero with electricity powers and who gave up the life of superhero/vigilante Black Lightning, to focus on his family. Today, Jefferson’s main focus is raising his 2 daughters with his estranged wife and helping his community in a different way as an award winning high school principal. His oldest daughter Anissa is a medical student who inherited here father’s desire to help her community by protesting against the violent local gang The 100. Meanwhile his youngest daughter Jennifer, a senior at Jefferson’s high school, is going through her rebellious teenage years. Which of course drives her father nuts.
What makes this series stand out is that it tackles issues of race, violence, and the antagonistic relationship between the police and the communities they protect, head on. Before the opening title is even shown, our hero, Jefferson Pierce is driving home with his two daughters and is pulled over and harassed by the police solely because he’s black. The police don’t even offer an apology or explanation when they realize they have the wrong man. It’s ugly and feels all too real. Like thousands of other police stops around the country that are a razors edge away from becoming a tragedy. It’s an opening that grabs you and gets your attention without any superheroics.
Black Lightning is a surprisingly intense series for a superhero show on The CW. Maybe it just feels that way because much of what happens in the story is so similar to what we see on the news everyday. Considering that the main character is a meta-human with electricity powers the show feels more grounded than any other superhero show on The CW.
There’s a great scene where Jefferson has to come to the rescue of his daughter Jennifer, when she gets in some trouble with members of the very dangerous 100 gang at a local club. Despite being out of the game for awhile, Jefferson can still kick ass and take names. After he absolutely fucks up the bad guys in the club, which is pretty damn cool, the cops show up as Jefferson is leaving and immediately pull their tasers on him (I should note that Jefferson is in formal wear throughout this scene). After yelling some racially charged orders at him, the cops tase Jefferson, at which point he’s had enough. When the taser has no effect on him, he electrocutes the 2 cops (without killing them) and blows up their police car. It’s a very cathartic moment. Cress Williams, who plays Jefferson, conveys very well that this is probably something that has happened to the character before and this time he’s not going to take any shit.
There’s a lot to like in this series. There’s even a little bit of a “Dark Knight Returns” vibe. An aging hero comes out of retirement to find his city worse off than ever and he’s forced to confront a particularly vicious gang. There are definitely some parallels there. Also, any big DC Comics fans could guess where some of the stories may go for certain characters.
Overall, Black Lightning was surprisingly good and a welcome addition to The CW’s DC Superhero line up. It’s not completely clear if this show takes place in the “Arrow-verse”, but we are told that other superheroes exist in other cities in this world. Unlike those other DC Superhero shows, Black Lightning seems to have something of a bit more substance to say, which is always welcome in the genre. The characters are likable, especially Cress Williams in the lead roll, the story is appropriately timely, and there are some excellent action sequences. Black Lightning is definitely a show to check out. Highly recommended.
Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights on The CW at 9PM!
This week on “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”, we present Part Two of our monumental episode looking back at the Best and Worst, Films , TV shows, Comics, and more of 2017! In Part One we mostly talked about the best and worst TV shows we’d seen over the past year (with a little bit of talk about movies). In Part Two, we shift focus to our favorite and our most disappointing movies of 2017. Plus, towards the end of the episode I cover some of the big comic book news of the year and list a few of my favorite graphic novels! So, definitely check it out. It’s a great episode. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
Now this is more like it! This was geek heaven. As I knew it would be, it was the perfect way to cleanse the palette after the disappointment of Justice League. More so than any other crossover The CW has done, this just felt like one big 4 hour movie (well, a 3 hour movie with commercials by the time we see all 4 parts). Tonight’ part one was 2 hours of pure superhero fun. The individual shows don’t even get their typical openings, the title card was only Crisis on Earth-X, which made the whole thing feel a little more special. During last years crossover, there was definitely more of a focus on the characters and the story of each particular show throughout the crossover, like Arrow for example. That’s not the case here at all. This is clearly a movie spread out over 2 nights and the event is far better for it. Personally, I absolutely loved the first night of the annual CW DC Crossover Event. Warner Bros. executives take a look, THIS is how you do an Epic Superhero Team Up Crossover.
Especially if you’ve been watching all of these shows from the beginning like me, the fun little character beats and interactions makes this more than just wall to wall action. Just like the scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron where the team is having a party, just relaxing and they all take turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer. It’s fun just to watch all of these characters play off each other. Even with all of the characters involved, it never felt over crowded. It’s redundant at this point to keep saying this, but every scene with Mick was gold. I love how a man whose literally tried to kill the groom multiple times, was invited to this event (or he just tagged along for the food and free booze). I loved how chill Sarah was about her one night stand with Alex after the rehearsal dinner. Yet another reminder that Sarah is kind of the Han Solo of Legends. I want to keep this review relatively brief, so I wont go into too much more detail, but it was so much fun seeing these heroes work together and fight the bad guys. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing Nazis’ getting their assess kicked?
When it comes to the villains, a big highlight for me is that we got Tom Cavanagh playing Eobard Thawne again. This wasn’t an alternate Earth Thanwne, this is the same man Barry’ s been fighting for his entire life. I’m not sure how it’s possible (and frankly I don’t care) as good as Matt Letscher was as Reverse-Flash, Tom Cavanagh will always be the true Eobard Thawne to me.
I thought making Earth-X Oliver and Kara a couple was fun and unexpected. Even in an alternate Earth you would expect someone like Barry to be with Kara, so that relationship was a nice curveball (I’m not 100% sure, but I think they might actually be married).
Of course, I’m sure there were a million fans out there who loved seeing Tommy Merlyn return (even briefly) as Earth-X’s Prometheus. You could really see the pain in Oliver’s face seeing his long dead friend only to lose him all over again. Sure it wasn’t HIS Tommy, but that doesn’t really matter to Oliver in that moment. There were so many moments and Easter Eggs that any DC fan would love to see. Hell, we got to see Metallo show up, like full blown robot, no skin, Metallo. What a treat.
This wasn’t perfect of course. I have one or two nitpicks. Considering the level of the story they’re telling, with a lot of action set pieces and the use of fully CGI characters like King Shark and Metallo, the budget for this undertaking must have been pushed to the max. As a result, some, but not all, of the VFX looks a little rubbery. Also, considering how many doppelgängers were in play, it was sometimes hard to keep track of who’s who in some of the fight sequences.
I should have mentioned it before, but super villains crashing the wedding of a superhero is a staple of the superhero genre. I’m really interested to see who the “modern day Hitler/ leader” of Earth-X is. My guess is Vandal Savage, which is cool on paper, but he was never well liked as a villain on Legends. The comic book version of Vandal Savage is much more interesting . Ras Al Ghul is another possibility. In the comics at least, he wasn’t afraid to use the Nazi’s as a means to an end. But who know? I’m REALLY looking forward to tomorrow night because, so far this is shaping up to be the best Crossover Event they’ ever done with these shows.