In this episode we’re joined by Samantha Nelson! Samantha is the Senior Editor at Escapist Magazine and creator of The New Mythology column there. She also contributes regularly to The Verge, The A.V. Club, and The Chicago Tribune. Samantha also podcasts for the Critical Hit podcast. In this episode we talk about the DCEU’s Superman, morality, and the antihero phenomenon that Matt and I previously touched on in episode 9 of the FYMPcast. We also touch on the world of manga, anime, and adaptations, as well as great cartoons of the 1990s.
Timestamp Recap (02:00) Guest Introduction: Samantha Nelson (06:47) Manga, anime, and adaptations (12:45) Formative fiction (19:53) Gargoyles and displaced heroes (21:41) The Superman Stories (24:01) How Captain America Defeated Superman (32:42) Morality, anti-heroes, and the Man of Steel
Stories Discussed Movies – Detective Pikachu, Battle Angel Alita, Pacific Rim, All-Star Superman, Batman vs. Superman, Man of Steel Creators – Joaquim Dos Santos, Zack Snyder Comics – All-Star Superman Manga/Anime – Battle Angel Alita (GUNM), Rurouni Kenshin TV – Gargoyles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, Batman Beyond
Dis/Honorable Mention Creators – Ryan Reynolds, Brandon Sanderson, Mark Millar, Christopher Reeve, George Reeves, Frank Quitely Movies – The Lion King Comics – We3 TV – Superman, The Animated Series, Lois & Clark, Batman: The Animated Series, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men Books – Dune, The Foundation Series, The Mistborn Series Manga/Anime – Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, One Punch Man, Death Note, Perfect Blue
Here are a few short intros to just a few of the films you can expect from Hollywood this summer. I know, the summer is half over already, but shut up. Don’t act like you’ve seen ALL the summer movies already. And there are plenty more coming out before it’s over. So you’re welcome.
Thor: The Dark World – Finally, the not-that-long awaited sequel to the beloved action movie whose plot you can’t remember. Wait, wasn’t it the one where… No, that was The Avengers. Thor and his enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, are back for another action-packed unmemorable extravaganza. Get ready to play “what was that movie about again” again!
(something about this, maybe?)
This is the End – Get ready to get your yearly comedy fix for this quarter of the decade. Though plenty of comedy’s are produced, Hollywood is only allowed 1 (maximum) actually funny movie per year; this is it folks. Insider tip: best ending of any summer movie this season.
The Lone Ranger – Get ready for the return of the greatest action hero your parents ever told you about that one time. Along with trusty steed, Silver, and sidekick, newly racist Johnny Depp, the Ranger will do his best to remind you why he faded into obscurity. As you watch remember that someone thought this was a good idea.
Pacific Rim – Giant Robots, extra-dimensional monsters, Ron Perlman in gold wingtips, Pacific Rim’s got everything! Try to follow the action as earth’s poorly thought out last line of defense battles its greatest, poorly coordinated threat at night and in the rain. Switch your mind off and enjoy the ride.
Man of Steel – Watch Superman the way you never wanted to see him: dark and moody with an incoherent origin story. Watch as Superman develops his moral code entirely independent of any positive influences in his life, and then disregards it completely for the rest of the film. If you like near-genocidal super heroes and mind numbing action, this is the movie for you.
After Earth – Watch as Will Smith, marooned on a far-future Earth, learns the harsh lesson that there’s only one thing that can negate his star power: Jayden Smith.
Kick Ass 2 – Watch the sequel to the inexplicably popular crapfest that was the first Kick Ass. Get your bad-taste violence, bad acting, and ridiculous story kicks for the summer all in one place courtesy of Mark Millar, the Michael Bay of comic books.
White House Down – A black/white buddy cop movie with a twist! The black one’s the president! Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service washout with a…. What? No one cares? Ok then…
2 Guns – A black/white buddy cop movie without a twist! Denzel and Marky Mark give us another derivative movie to round out the last 3 decades.
R.I.P.D. – Men in Black 4!
The Wolverine – Get ready for the sequel to the worst super hero movie of all time, and yes, that includes Spider-Man 3 and Green Lantern. Hugh Jackman suits up for another insultingly stupid, unforgivably poorly written and developed bag of garbage. Seriously, how do you mess up Wolverine?? Watch and see… again.
(if you think something cool is about to happen, you are wrong.)
I just watched Pacific Rim, and overall I enjoyed it. For all its flaws and illogic it was generally fun to watch and engaging enough to keep me interested the whole way through. However, despite my general enjoyment, Pacific Rim still fell into some of the same traps that so many of your contemporaries find themselves in. Because I like you, and because I want what’s best for you (and, yes, for me as well) I decided to write this letter.
I know that you are busy saving the world, exploring space, fighting evil, etc., so I’ll be as brief as possible to let you get back to that important work.
My first point has to do with light. We know that the alien invasions, monster attacks, epic battles, etc. wait for no man. However, for your audiences sake, please try to delay them by about 9 hours next time, giving the sun a chance to come up. We as humans do not share your ability to operate at peak efficiency night or day. As an unfortunate accident of evolution, our eyes are only made to function with 100% effectiveness in the light of day. For this reason, when your inevitable climax or mid-way battle takes place in the middle of the night or in a torrential downpour (or both, as we often see), we are often at a loss to appreciate the full magnificence of your victory over your opponents.
I understand, of course, that there are budgetary constraints with regards to the creation of special effects, and that nighttime and/or thunderstorm offers a protective fog that makes fooling the human eye easier without spending much more money on rendering. I also understand that your budget has to fill an hour and 45 minutes of a 2 hour movie with action in order to keep our goldfish attention spans engaged. But still, I propose a solution: instead of having 20 nighttime/rainstorm battles during your 2 hour run time, how about only having 15 battles overall?
Wait, just hear me out!
By having only 15 battles, the production funding which would have been spent on the other 5 is now available to augment your rendering of the remaining battles. In this way, we the audience can be spared the trouble of guessing what is happening during the majority of your action sequences. Yes, we understand that our hero or an enemy is now flying through the air. We assume he’s been struck or thrown. But we would love to actually KNOW.
My second point has to do with the stupid human brain. And I know this is not your problem; you have far greater concerns than what my simple ape brain can handle visually… defending the galaxy for instance. But I would still ask that you indulge me for a moment.
The simple fact is: my brain simply can’t handle all the visual debris that you throw at it.
When you start with a close up of a fist, then quickly switch to the face of a swiftly moving enemy darting past the camera, then zooming away (much faster than a human could ever move) before swiveling the point of view around, over, and under the two characters before the fist connects causing an explosion, my brain interprets one thing maybe: fist?
(get any of that?)
I need a few things from you, if you decide can help me out with this. 1) I’m gonna need you to slow it down. Not everything has to be in slow motion, but it absolutely cannot be in super-fast motion. Movies are a visual medium as I know you are well aware, and if I’m not able to actually see what is going on, it defeats the entire purpose. The IMPRESSION that something cool and epic may have just occurred is not enough. I need to know.
And 2) we get it, you are very good at realistically rendering debris. Thanks you. But now, we would like some more emphasis put on the characters themselves than on the destruction they create collaterally. Some of that is excellent, certainly. But when explosions, falling buildings, and shrapnel are actively obscuring our battling dynamos, whoever they may be, well then we have derailed.
I’d really like for us to be able to work together on this one. I think there is a lot of growth potential, and profit in it for both of us. I get a better viewing experience, and you get the satisfaction of a job well done. I know you’re capable of doing this, because you’ve done it in the past with great success. Let’s learn from our triumphs, [special effects driven film], and save the world together.