DC’s New Monochromatic Universe

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DC stole the show at Comic Con last week with its presentation of the first footage from Batman v Superman and this image of the new Wonder Woman.

There was a collective internet explosion at the release of this pic and the updated outfit. Then, there was a kind of collective thought: ‘uhm, why is Wonder Woman dressed like a Xena clone?’ And that’s exactly what she looks like above, whether we like it or not, folks.

And so there continues to rage a massive internet argument over the outfit, with one side defending it as updated, less goofy, and closer to the origin story of the character. The other side claims it’s generic, Xena-like, and colorless. Personally, I fall into the latter.

Interestingly, though, there are pictures popping up on the internet that indicate that all may not be as it seems. Fans are claiming that the image is heavily red-filtered. They say that, with reduced filtering, the uniform should look more like the right side (image via Philly.com):

image courtesy:  www.philly.com

image courtesy: http://www.philly.com

While the picture on the right may or may not reflect the true look of Diana’s new outfit (it’s still questionable), it certainly has color and contrast to it. With brighter reds, the addition of blues and the contrasts in her bracelets, skirt, and possibly her boots, she looks a lot less like Xena and a lot more like an updated Wonder Woman.

If this is true, why release this misleading, coppery-tinged picture as the audience’s first look? This sounds like a terrible plan, unless one wants to create controversy that never needed to happen. Which is possible, I suppose.

Sucker-Punch1Zack Snyder is notoriously a fan of filters and very specific color styles. Sometimes he seems to hate color. Colors in Man of Steel were at times so washed out as to make people and their surroundings look pasty – even Supes. Other times he hits you over the head with it, as in 300 or Watchmen.

So Snyder is clearly an all-or-nothing kinda guy. And Batman v Superman, apparently, is falling into the ‘nothing’ category when it comes to color so far.

I should make it clear up front that my issues with DC’s approach don’t really have anything to do with the actors chosen, the storyline, or even the idea of a ‘darker’ take on superheroes than other studios are doing. (I do have other gripes, but that’s a different discussion.) My current issues are with the way its being portrayed and marketed to the masses. Because that’s all we have to work with right now, for certain.

And based on that marketing so far, Wonder Woman’s debut single-color look is just one more piece in the oddly-colored puzzle that currently is Batman v. Superman. The advertising has done its level best to remove color and variety from images. First we had Dark Grey Batman. Or, as I like to call him, Sad Batman. Sad Batman even became an internet meme, showing up to look depressed in various photos. He looks like he hates his job, frankly. And who doesn’t want to spend time with a superhero who appears to hate his job?

But I’ll forgive black-and-white Batman. Batman is the Dark Knight, after all, and the movie is generally considered reminiscent of “The Dark Knight Returns”. Black-and-white is an intentional aesthetic choice and it cleverly hides details from the rabid, slavering fanboys. It wouldn’t all be in black-and-white, right?

We also got a logo. That’s exciting! Kind of. It’s a passable logo, but it’s still a nearly dark, sad, static logo. Unlike many fan creations full of life and color and excitement, our official logo seems afraid to revel in its own magnificent idea — black weighs everything down, with only hints of faded reds managing to squeeze through (just in case we didn’t know that Snyder loves red!). For a movie with the word ‘dawn’ in the title, there’s precious little actual light in our movie so far.

bat v superJust to ensure that we all understand that this project is To Be Taken Seriously, Dammit(!), Snyder and Co. then gave us a grim and annoyed Superman. The trademark, gorgeous colors of the Big Boy Scout are so washed out as to nearly fall into the grey, dull generic background. He stands angrily in the rain for no apparent reason in what appears to be that most depressing city, Gotham. Perhaps those are just the tears of WB for letting Man of Steel dare end on a positive note?

image courtesy: www.usatoday.com

Is Superman sad because he doesn’t get his own sequel?

And, now we have a monochromatic Wonder Woman to add to the trio, either intentionally stripped of her famous colors or altered for marketing reasons I fail to grasp.

I understand that this is all a tonal choice. DC really wants to set its universe apart from what Marvel (and everyone else) is doing. They want to be ‘dark’ and ‘serious’. Somehow, for them, this translates into literal darkness and robbing images of color that might possibly hint at any fun. Because This Is a Serious Movie, People(!).

What it has ended up being, for me, is visually dull. Boring, even. A two-tone color palette, red and greyish-black, repeated over and over again.

That’s right, I just called the images from Batman v Superman ‘visually dull’ and ‘boring’. You may commence the assault, fanboys!

I’d like to see a fuller color palette. No one says that Snyder and WB have to make everything in vivid technicolor, but I’d like to actually see my superheroes rather than just their outlines, please. I’d like to see this movie show a little vibrancy and life.

Seriously, I want this movie to excite me. I want to eagerly await my opportunity to spend 2 hours with its characters. I want to want to rewatch it over and over again, thrilled by adventures and moved by characters I love. I want to be excited about the budding DC Universe.

But so far, the marketing does none of that for me. In the end, I am more enticed by images that embrace the beautiful and expressive variety offered by the medium’s comic book origins, such as these…

 

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Thor 2 Movie

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manofsteelcape

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…than by something that takes probably the most iconic superhero of them all – a costume that is visually brilliant and intentionally inspiring – and makes him look like he needs a laxative, a dry cleaner, and a bath.

image courtesy: www.usatoday.com

 

Review – Falling Skies, “Door Number Three”

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This week, everyone is back in the same place but far from on the same page.

In the kind of choreographed reunions that only happen on TV, the entire remaining Mason clan wanders into Camp Lexi at the same time. Great happiness and back-slapping ensues. Until, of course, they all hear about Lexi possibly being an enemy-consorting, half-alien superbeing.

Just to make sure things are really tense, Lexi picks this moment to decide to go all caterpillar/butterfly and build a cocoon. Cocoons do not make people in the middle of an alien war feel safer and more content. What Espheni cocoons apparently do is to make the Volm feel like moving their camp to the other side of the city.

While Lourdes and the Happy Campers believe Lexi is doing something magical in her cocoon, the 2nd Mass worries that she will emerge more powerful and dangerous. The Volm second their opinion. Even the Masons end up on opposing sides of this argument, with Hal and Maggie worried that Lexi is a threat to everyone. Tom and the others take up defense around Lexi.

Anne decides to try to draw out her memories of being on the spaceship with young Lexi in order to figure out how to help Lexi. While she is under a type of hypnotherapy, Lexi contacts her and assures her that everything will be okay and that Lexi just needs her mommy at her side.

And so we wait to find out what exactly will emerge from this ugly cocoon… caterpillar or butterfly?

What Hit the Target

It was small, but did everyone catch Hal’s brief mention of something odd about the moon? I feel like this is important, but I don’t know why yet. We’ve all been focused on the ground for the entire season, so it’s just about time to turn our attention upward again, don’t you think?

The bits with Anne being out of her body were done well. And it’s always nice to see Jessy Schram back, as creepy as ever.

Poor Tom, getting flack from his son for not immediately jumping into their next plan to save the world. Give a guy a break, Hal, you over-achiever!

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, or just a nerd thing… but I kept flashing back to Babylon Five‘s chrysalis episodes. There certainly were some similarities: an unknown transformation occurring while some worried and others lit candles, and that ended up serving as a bridge between two different species. Is it just my imagination, or did you see it to?

 

What Missed the Mark

Seriously, writers, did you run out of ideas so badly that you feel the need to run with this weird, off-putting faux-mance angle between Ben and Maggie? If you need to give Hal and Maggie some romantic conflict, there’s a whole world of ways to do that. If you need to give Ben something to do, why not bring poor Deni out from the rock you’ve been hiding her under? The Ben/Maggie stuff is out of left-field and kinda gross.

It seemed like the 2nd Mass kinda turned on Tom too quickly and with insufficient motivation. He walks out of alien spaceships unharmed and without explanation, and they take him back – repeatedly. But his daughter grows a cocoon, and they all form a lynch mob and take up arms against him. It might have worked better if perhaps it had been written less as an abandonment/distrust of Tom and more of a trust in Hal, who’s been the recent leader and had an opposing viewpoint. As it was, I expected better of them after all this time.

 

The Final Tally

This was a staging episode. It brought everyone back to the same storyline and essentially held it in place from the moment of cocoon discovery until the final seconds. Due to that, not a lot actually happened even though there was a lot of bluster and noise. I’m intrigued as to what the end purpose of Lexi’s existence is, and I suspect more and more that it’s not as evil as many believe.

 

 

‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Trailer Previews District 13 Rebellion

Originally posted on Variety:

Lionsgate has unveiled the first official trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1,” which Comic-Con attendees got an early look at this weekend in San Diego.

In the new “teaser trailer,” we see the first stirrings of District 13’s rebellion against The Capitol and President Snow, with Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen set to lead the charge against Panem’s repressive leaders.

The trailer features the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee as he attempts to convince District 13 leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) that Katniss is strong enough to unite the districts in an uprising. The trailer also features “Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer as Cressida, a director who flees the Capitol along with her camera crew and becomes a pivotal player in Coin’s campaign.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1″ arrives in theaters Nov. 21.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2′ Release Set for July 28, 2017

Originally posted on Variety:

Marvel has slated the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel for July 28, 2017, the studio announced on Saturday at Comic-Con.

James Gunn will return to write and direct the followup. Gunn and Chris Pratt announced the news in a mock video sent in from London that closed off this evening’s Marvel panel.

The sequel was teased in the end credits of the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which hits theaters next Friday.

The Disney-owned studio has already dated a slew of new untitled films through 2019.

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