This movie is exhaustively bad.

The tagline for this should have been “Pandorum: Definitely not a sequel to Event Horizon!” in big happy words. This is yet another attempt at the doomed-to-failure space-slasher genre, something you may have seen in other high-budget-yet-crappy movies like “Sunshine.”

Whoever wrote the script for this was clearly a big fan of Event Horizon (which was actually a really good movie). And, I’m gonna be honest, the script for this… wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible. It seemed to have an adequate premise from what I could gather and a few instances of strong dialogue (like the one guy telling his story about little indians, that was nice even if I don’t know what he was talking about).

It was visually good. The designs of things like costumes, weapons, and monsters (gasp, spoilers) were all really pretty well-done.

The acting was good (except in the case of Dennis Quaid). Ben Foster and Antje Traue gave particular strong performances, even if… well, let’s say Antje practiced her English a lot between Pandorum and Man of Steel. Her voice is melodic and expressive but the words she forms really mean nothing about 80% of the time. The movie is also wise enough to have her deliver the majority of exposition (in other words, you never get to know what’s going on).

What this movie really is, is a directorial disaster. It’s gloomy and grimy, too dark to see. The scenes are choppy and the storyline is incredibly challenging to follow. About halfway through I more or less gave up on trying to figure out what was going on, and just figured, “Oh well, space monsters.”

Even that, however, proved to be boring. Focusing closely, I felt like the action scenes were actually decent. But something about the pacing and the music just made me not care, like my eyes drifted away from the screen to look at more interesting things, like my desk, or that guy over there’s unsettling mustache.

I can’t go into too much detail, both for fear of spoilers and because I didn’t understand the majority of the plot, nor care. That’s fortunate, however, since this film doesn’t really deserve to be gone into in detail. If you decide to watch it because the plot sounded interesting, just rewatch Event Horizon. If you’re watching it for Antje Traue, just rewatch Man of Steel. If you’re in it for Ben Foster, just rewatch 3:10 to Yuma. And if you’re in it for Dennis Quaid… get out.

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before this moment. Frozen is Disney’s current golden child – even after the massive success of Tangled and the slightly-less-massive (but still massive) success of Brave, this movie has blown everyone’s expectations out of the water. People absolutely love this movie, in an almost creepy way. I’ve never heard an unkind word spoken about it. So it was only a matter of time before I got off my lazy ass and actually watched the damn thing. I did that last night.

My feelings were immediately mixed, and I decided to give myself some time to chew on it. I thought and talked about it all night, annoying family members with my proto-review of the film and, inevitably, humming “Let It Go” as I went to sleep. Waking up refreshed and with my coffee in hand, I’m ready to give this film a proper review and tell the world what I think.

But where do I start? I realized a few hours after watching it that this film has a lot going on, even if it isn’t apparent at first. Unless I’m overthinking it, there are actually a lot of highly conceptual ideas lurking in this movie, complete with subversions and little tricks.

I’ll start, I suppose, with the music. The music was… admittedly, underwhelming to me. I went into this after hearing the hype for it, so I figured that, twenty seconds in, this thing would rock my socks off. It really didn’t. Most of the songs felt recycled from other Disney flicks (The Little Mermaid, specifically), even if they were very well-sung. At points there were songs that were barely even songs, but simply characters holding a conversation that consisted of normal sentences that they decided to sing (normally I don’t have an issue with this, but it felt… forced, to me).

The film makes up for this weakness in a small way, with a single song – “Let It Go,” which pops up around the twenty-minute mark and is also played during the ending credits. I actually was immediately blown away by this (both the song and the singer) and got chills a couple times. This song was powerful, and conveyed a specific message very strongly, and very well (more on that a little later).

So, overall, the music didn’t impress me. The singing was good, but of course it was. The songs themselves just… didn’t grab me.

Next is the characters, of which there are a good few. Some are amazing. Some are less amazing.

Elsa is the film’s antiprotagonist (I made that up! Yayyy) and I’ll have a lot to say about her later in this review. For a quick, superficial summation of her character – she’s okay. She starts off as a total ice queen, but she has her reasons. That’s cool. She then becomes more of a tragic figure, also with good reason. She’s more of a plot device than anything, though she brings the largest amount of heavy emotion to the production.

Anna is the real protagonist, which isn’t obvious right off the bat, but becomes moreso in a short time. I have to say, I was really impressed with her – Kristen Bell puts out a genuinely spectacular performance in this, and Anna was my favorite part about the movie before I start getting into the contextual stuff. Anna is innocent, vulnerable, and lonely. She’s awkward and real in a way that is actually befitting of a Disney movie, in that she’s just over-the-top enough to stand out, but not so over-the-top that she loses her organic quality. She performs her “everyman” purpose perfectly, while still having enough character to stand out and be worth having an actual name of her own (not every everyman can pull that off).

Kristoff is, um… Kristoff shows up. He also has a reindeer. And while I really want to say something about him, I just don’t have anything to say. He never really felt like more than a stock character to me, and while he has his “talks to himself/his reindeer” thing going on, it never really felt like enough to give him a personality. His dialogue didn’t stand out in any specific way, his design was bland, and overall he felt like a void in the film that could have been replaced by pretty much anything else. Maybe I’m just not appreciating him properly, but Kristoff just never felt like any more than another plot device/stock companion.

Then there’s Olaf.

Oh, Olaf.

I’ll admit it right now – when Olaf (the little snowman guy) came onto the screen, I outright groaned. Here comes the token slapstick comic relief character, who will show up, act stupid, talk stupid, and look stupid. He will do stupid things to make children guffaw but he will subsequently cause my brains to melt out my ear.

Only that’s not what he did, at all. I mean, a little bit. He did look stupid. And his voice was a little goofy, but it wasn’t that goofy. The thing is that Olaf actually carried jokes, real jokes. With punchlines and stuff. And, though I hate to admit it, he was… well, funny. He didn’t rely on slapstick or goofiness to get a laugh, he said and did things that were actually worth laughing at. Now, while the humor wasn’t this film’s strong point, Olaf alone did his part in turning that around. The kicker is, not only was he funny… he knew when to get lost. When he wasn’t needed, or comic relief was otherwise not wanted, he either found a way to disappear or he toned himself down. A lot of movies can’t boast a comic relief character who’s handled this well.

All together, the dynamic between characters is adequate, but not amazing. The majority of characters don’t interact with anyone but Anna beyond a few words, so she has to carry the film’s relationships on her own. She does alright, but it’s a big job – character dynamics beside Elsa/Anna are generally lacking in depth.

Did you notice that, while mulling over the cast, I never mentioned the core villain? I didn’t, did I? That’s because I… really can’t. This brings me to my central point of this film – the morality.

The morality in this is actually interesting, in that a lot of the characters fluctuate and change over time. Check it out:

  • We have the Lawful Neutral Elsa. By the time the events of the intro have passed, we get “Let It Go,” which is entirely about her shift from Lawful Neutral to Chaotic Neutral, all in one go. After the events of the movie progress some more, she eventually shifts to a warm, cozy Neutral Good. These changes make her an absolutely fascinating character from a moral standpoint. She fills the role of the villain for much of the film, but she is obviously never actually evil, and getting to watch her fluctuate and grow as a person is really amazing.
  • We have the Chaotic Good Anna. Technically she doesn’t really change her views, but that’s because she’s, y’know, the hero.
  • Kristoff starts off as a very firm True Neutral, outright stating that he doesn’t give a damn whether or not Anna lives or dies. Of course, by the end of the film he also progresses into more of a Neutral Good role.
  • Olaf is a silly snowman and doesn’t count. But while I’m at it, I’ll peg him as Chaotic Good too.
  • The Duke of Weselton is a very brutal kind of Neutral Evil and it shows pretty quickly. But I didn’t list him as the villain, did I? That’s because he’s not.
  • The true villain is so devious, so cunning, so vile, and so utterly, adeptly, masterfully well-hidden that he shall remain a mystery. For those who have seen the film, you know who I’m talking about. For those who haven’t, I won’t ruin the twist.

Now, how many films (let alone Disney films) can boast that amount of moral ambiguity and subtlety? Sure, none of this is really going to flip you upside down, but for a kids’ movie the actual depth and organic development that goes into these characters is pretty amazing. “Let It Go” is the catalyst here, as the herald of Elsa’s initial change, and it was when I started to realize that there was more to this movie than met the eye.

Though, there were other hints. The film is self-aware in a small way, such as its quick and brutal subversion of twenty-minute-marriage Disney love, and the concept that romantic love is not the only (or most powerful) kind of love out there.

Though, that reminds me of something else.

What the hell, movie?! When are you going to get it through your head that if you’re trying to establish a platonic, familial relationship, it has to look and feel different from a romantic one? There were at least three (I think four) points during the film where I was compelled to say “…Now kiss.” The sisters would wait until the most tender and emotional moments, the music would soften, they would grow close together… and then it would jarringly break to something else. It really feels like the sisters could make out at any moment (though obviously we know that they can’t do that; society would crumble and fall apart) and even the culmination of the film leads up to a “true love’s kiss” that doesn’t end up happening because the true love is Elsa, so it has to be a “true love’s hug” instead. Now, I’m not a filmmaker, so I’m not going to suggest any alternatives. But seriously, Disney, figure out what you want, because the amount of femslash out there is in no way unfounded (not that it would need to be founded to exist anyway, but still).

Now, at this point it probably sounds like I really liked this movie (I certainly have a lot to say about it, don’t I?) yet at the beginning I mentioned mixed feelings on it. Well, yeah – the movie was fine. It was good, and I can see how people liked it. Honest.

Now, do I believe it lived up to its hype? Was it the best thing I’ve ever seen? Even the best Disney movie?

…Nope.

It was good, but it wasn’t great. The music needed to stand out a bit more. A lot of the humor was just not that funny. A good deal of the ending just didn’t really hit home, and the touching parts were only so touching – they lacked that raw moment of “holy crap is this actually happening” usually exhibited by animated tear-jerkers, and there was never really the serious moment of fear that is needed to elicit a sensation of sorrow/hope/happiness. Even the moment where it looks like Olaf is about to melt could have gone a lot further – he starts getting a little soggy, says he’ll risk it and stay anyway, but then ends up just leaving with Anna and being totally fine. The saddest point is in the very beginning (where Elsa starts avoiding her sister full-time), and the rest of the film fails to live up to that brief spark early in the beginning.

That said, it wasn’t bad by any means. Even its worst parts were only mediocre, and it was mostly good as a whole. But is Frozen the divine’s gift to Disney, a miracle that will revolutionize animation, filmmaking, and storytelling as a whole?

Nah.

(To view this article with images, you can find it on the front page of ComicVine.com or just follow this nifty link!)

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“Superman doesn’t have any good villains!”

“A hero is only as good as their villains!”

“Why do all of Superman’s villains suck?”

I get around. I hear stuff. And a lot of what I hear has some basis in truth. The sad fact is that certain mediums are just more… important than others. Superman’s rogues gallery has gotten pretty big over the near-century he’s existed, but only a fraction of his enemies have escaped the pages of comics.

Now, obviously, I am a big fan of comics, and I know a good few of these villains. What they’re capable of, how they challenge Clark Kent, and why they are better, or at least equal, villains compared to… certain others.

But I digress, slightly. The point I’m trying to make is that, while Superman himself has had a great amount of films — both live action and animated — his rogues gallery has barely been dipped into. The Man of Steel has had more feature-length brawls with Batman than, say, Bizarro. Hell, he has had rumbles with characters who are not even his rogues gallery at all; for instance, Black Adam, or The Elite.

So, the purpose of this to put a bit of a spotlight on a few of Kal-El’s foes that have not been in a feature-length film, live action or otherwise. The underdogs who, despite being awesome foes in the comics, have had little to no attention in any other medium.

1. LOBO

WHO?: At this rate, Lobo will get a movie of his own before he shows up as a Superman nemesis. He was skyrocketed into popularity when the baleful 1990’s rolled around, to the surprise of absolutely nobody — while Lobo started out as a Superman villain, he was a parody of Marvel’s ‘gritty’ heroes, specifically Wolverine and the Punisher. Lobo used chains and hooks and guns, rode a motorcycle, smoked cigars, wore black leather, and had a cool Hulk Hogan moustache… so in the gloomy mindset of the 90’s youth, obviously, nothing could be cooler.

Problem with Lobo is that he got… sorta too popular as time went on. He completely shed his status as a Superman rogue and, outside of the odd Action Comics appearance and his single episode spotlight during Superman: TAS, has pretty much left his days of battling the Man of Steel behind him. He had his own solo series for pretty much the entirety of the 90’s, and nowadays he’s even a part of Stormwatch (which seems a bit weird to me but hey, I haven’t been reading the title).

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie Lobo could fill a lot of roles, though this film would likely have no choice to be a bit more light-hearted and comedic than some others. Lobo’s funny at his core, and to quash that would make it more worthwhile to simply use another character.

However, not only is he a great source of humor, he’s a great source of action. He’s one of Supey’s most powerful physical threats, and since he is nearly completely immortal this would lead to endlessly amazing brawls. Volleys of fully-automatic alien ammunition bouncing off of Clark’s chest, gigantic planetary attacks that would seem devestating, but eventually leave their recipient striding (or riding) back out through the dust. The kind of brawls that these two could have in a film would be absolutely amazing and, done right, would leave audiences salivating.

Another thing Lobo brings to the table is SPACE. Superman is an alien, a space-hero, so why is he always grounded on Earth in his films? Even animated movies where new landscapes could be drawn just as easily as normal ones, he stays in Metropolis. And sure, that’s his home city, and his humanity is a large theme of his core character. But honestly, besides the occasional glance at Krypton, why can’t he get into some trouble on another planet? Lobo brings new planets as a necessity. Even if Czarnia is not used (and it shouldn’t be, unless they are doing a lot of character-meddling), Lobo is an intergalactic bounty hunter. He has a motorcycle that is specifically designed for interstellar travel. A movie starring him will not be able to get away with staying in Metropolis, and it will benefit from it in a big way.

As I said though, this is wishful thinking. While Lobo very well may end up getting a movie of some sort, the chances of him starring as the lead villain in a Superman movie are approximately 0.15%… increased to 17.3% if you count animated films.

CASTING: I’ve already heard a few rumors milling around concerning Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being considered for the part, but I have absolutely no clue what may end up coming from that. Technically, I still feel like Dwayne would be better suited to play Black Adam – but I can’t really think of anyone for Lobo right now, so I’ll leave it at that.

2. MR. MXYZPTLK

WHO?: This one, I’m… well, not too sure about. He’s goofy and awkward in his way, but there’s no denying that he is an iconic enemy, especially among the older readership. Big in the Silver Age, Mr. Mxpshkdjfhak is a borderline-omnipotent, reality-warping, Fifth Dimensional Imp.

Oddly, considering how wacky and absurd the character seems in his futuristic orange jumpsuit and purple bowler hat, he is remarkably straightforward when you think about it. He’s a trickster who comes in and wreaks havoc, which obviously only Superman can stop by tricking Mxy into saying his own name backwards (which is drastically less challenging than one may think). This sends the goofy little gnome back to his own world and prevents him from returning until, y’know, the next time he returns.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A FILM?: While an appearance from Mr. Mxyzpaodjlajdhkkll in a film would surely excite a lot of more oldschool fans, it would likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of newer readers who are expecting something more cerebral or action-packed. The only action that Mxy could bring about would likely be environmental, similar to what went on in Superman Returns – Supes would have to use his great power to repair constructs and rescue people before eventually using his amazing wits to trick the Fifth Dimensional Imp. This set-up would make for what would inevitably end up a flop, even in an animated film.

However, it isn’t totally unheard of to see… um, ‘revamps’ done with certain characters. Turning Mxy into a more malicious creature who is more interested in doing evil than causing mischief may turn him into a more plausible villain, but at this point the essence of the character will be lost, and he may as well be replaced with a more popular and likeable rogue. Sadly, I have to count this off as another loss as far as films go – Mr. Mxyzptlk (hey I got it right that time) may still be a loveable and popular rogue within the pages of Superman’s comics, but his chances of getting into anything other than a low-budget animated film are all but nonexistent. He’s simply too… silly, to use for a long and serious story arc that doesn’t at least include another, more maliciously-minded supervillain.

CASTING: Wallace Shawn. Obviously.

3. MONGUL

WHO?: For The Man Who Has Everything.

Any comic reader who has even a cursory interest in Superman knows about it… Red Son, Kingdom Come, For The Man Who Has Everything – it’s a huge story, written by Alan Moore.

Now, since it was written by Alan Moore, it wasn’t entirely action-packed. It was steeped in emotion and the human condition and stuff like that, it was a deep look into the darker psychology of the Man of Steel, a story about loss and despair and hope and grief.

But a lot of people forget who was behind this story, for it starred a character besides Superman: it starred Mongul as the chief villain. Mongul hasn’t been a huge threat to Superman since Crisis but then again, neither have a lot of people – it doesn’t mean Mongul couldn’t be used to great effect in a motion picture.

Now, a problem may be that Mongul Jr., the spawn of the original Mongul, has been tied deeply into the Green Lantern mythos for a while now, and that it is probably more likely that he’ll end up there than in a Superman movie. Still, despite Junior being a star member of the Sinestro Corps, Daddy was an enemy of Kal-El, and boy did he lay a pounding on that poor little kryptonian farmboy.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Mongul, in his hey-day, was basically a more personal, less KNEEEEEEL-y version of Darkseid; he was big, he was beefy, he was yellow and the power of his punches alone were enough to make the Man of Steel feel pain.

He was also, however, an intellectual threat, which makes him an even more viable villain for a motion picture or other feature-length story. Mongul was a thinker, a planner, a warlord, and even on top of his great intellect and great strength he had another tool: Black Mercy.

This creates a full trifecta of villainy. Between Mongul’s plotting and scheming, his ability to bring Superman to his knees, and his use of the alien Black Mercy plants to add a deep, painful, personal element to the conflict, he is very nearly ideal. Sprawling, city-destroying action, battles of wits (which can also show some of Superman’s rarely-glimpsed intellect) and intense, aching storytelling makes for an obvious choice in a movie.

CASTING: Aw man. I’m bad at casting big guys like this. I don’t want to range into pro wrestlers because it seems like a chump’s way out, and there are just only so many gigantic lugs I know who are also decent actors. So I’ll let the casting directors figure this one out, it is their job, after all.

4. BRAINIAC

WHO?: Brainiac is about as oldschool as it gets. In fact, when your neighbor asks if you need the kid down the street to fix your hard drive, and you say “Who, Mikey, that brainiac? He has pimples!” the word you are using (brainiac, not pimples or Mikey) is actually derived from this character… not the other way around.

Now, Brainiac has had… well, quite a few different origin stories, so I don’t really feel like getting into all of those right now. The bottom line, however, is that he is a technological, artificial, robotic monster who can outclass Supes intellectually as well as take a good fight to him physically. He brings a lot to the table as a comic character and has shown up frequently – even far into the future, descendants of the same robotic intelligence are still alive (sometimes literally) and kicking.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie, Brainiac is another omni-villain, for several reasons. Given that he has multiple backstories and none of them are all that sturdy, a new canon can be created and nobody’s really going to blink, since most people have already forgotten what his last origin story was. This will allow the filmmakers to take as many liberties as they feel is necessary with the character, which should lead to incredible success.

He’s Tough: It wouldn’t take any effort to make Brainiac an extreme physical threat. Whether he goes full-robot like in JLU, with tentacles and rockets and drones and whatnot, or whether he is merely an enormous, suited, artificial alien who can lay an old-school pounding to the man of steel, he will be scary and impressive.

He’s Smart: Very smart, in fact, considering that he collects technology from pretty much everywhere and has a high-level synthetic intellect. If Clark’s brains come into play in the film, they will be severely challenged by an enemy like Brainiac.

A Deeper Glance at Krypton: In most incarnations (and almost assuredly in a movie) Brainiac is based on kryptonian technology and culture. So, in a movie like the recent Man of Steel where they want to look more closely at Krypton than Metropolis, Brainiac is a perfect tool to expose more about the alien planet.

CASTING: Casting? Eh. I dunno. He’s an evil robot. I’m gonna take the easy way out and say Doug Jones – seems like an obvious choice.

5. BIZARRO

WHO?: Who? WHO?! How could you even ask me a question like that?!

Bizarro is freaking BIZARRO. He is like, the Superman villain behind Luthor and Darkseid, a dark mirror of Kal-El, his opposite in every single way. Flame breath, freeze vision, all of that good stuff. Backwards talk. Yadda yadda yadda. You all know Bizarro, and if you don’t, I need you to force your head through your computer screen and out mine so that I can give you the slapping you so obviously need.

Bizarro is disregarded by many, due to a series of very… well, terrible appearance. Like Aquaman and the Wonder Twins, Bizarro was ridiculously bad in the Justice Friends, and continued to have very mixed appearances. While he has been fun at times, such as in the Harley Quinn solo series and the Emperor Joker event, he has more often than not been the Rodney Dangerfield of supervillains – he gets no respect.

Despite the fact that he threw Solomon Grundy into the sun.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Potentially, everything. There isn’t much more gripping in a comic book film than a sympathetic villain, and Bizarro has the potential to literally be the most sympathetic villain in history. Most people don’t get this, don’t see the potential, but one man has.

Paul Dini.

During Superman: The Animated Series, Bizarro made a few appearances. During these appearances he was destructive, chaotic, dangerous, and terrifying in his own way, attempting to destroy all of Metropolis and coming closer than anyone else had yet. But that wasn’t what made him riveting… what made him a great character was that he believed he was doing the right thing. He thinks he’s the hero and Superman is the villain, he believes that every outright damaged thing he does is actually what he should be doing to make the world a better place. A decent filmmaker can take this aspect and use it in a film, make you feel agonizingly sorry for the Thing of Steel as he goes about crushing the world before him – possibly trying to create a new Krypton, as he did in TAS, or some other reason (maybe to capture Lois, or to kill the “villain” Superman).

In addition to the fact that he can be sympathetic, a well-done Bizarro can be strangely “alien”. Whether by use of his backwards-talk or simply the way he acts, or perhaps the way his powers work, he will seem like a hulking, unusual, destructive mirror of the film’s hero. He can also be hilarious and will assuredly be a great source of the film’s humor (while not being sad or terrifying) – and then there’s the action.

Flame breath vs. Ice breath, Freeze vision vs. Heat vision, equal-power beatdowns, destruction of cities and countrysides. Superman, here, can truly fight a foe who is his equal in every way, a monster who can use his powers in every awesome way we never get to see from Supes himself. He can throw people/things into the sun, lift buildings and whack Supes with them, punch things into the Earth’s core, and all of that fun stuff.

CASTING: Whew boy, I dunno. Do we want him to look just like Supes? The idea of having the same actor play both the villain and the hero is kind of insane. I suppose it may be better to just go with a heavily-made-up beefcake in a gloomy, purplish Superman suit and make it look like he could be Superman if his face were a little different. That works, I suppose. Though I still don’t know who we’d cast him as with Henry Cavill off the table. As I said, I’m bad at casting big guys.

6. HONORABLE MENTION – JOKER

WHO?: “What?! Why the hell is Joker on this list? Joker is a Batman villain, not a Superman villain! He doesn’t belong on this list! He’ll never be in a Superman movie!”

No, he won’t. Not unless Hell freezes over (or we get an awesome animated film – that’s possible).

“Plus, he has already been in movies! He doesn’t fit the point of this list!”

He’s been in movies – lots of them – but he hasn’t been in any Superman movies. Nice loophole huh?

Anyway, I wasn’t sure who else to add to this list, and I needed someone with a purple banner, and, well… it hit me. Despite the fact that the Man of Steel and the Clown Prince of Crime rarely collide, when they do… things are devestating. Joker has proven multiple times (though usually in non-canon scenarios, sadly) that he can be more than a match for Superman.

Examples:

Emperor Joker: Hey, this one actually is canon! Joker steals Mr. Mxyzptlk’s powers (or, at least, 99% of them) and proceeds to unmake reality. It is up to Superman to stop him, and honestly, he really never does. If it wasn’t for Joker’s own psychosis and need to have Batman, he would have unmade reality, and there was nothing the Big Blue Boyscout could have done about it.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: This is the most plausible scenario, and it’s one I love. Joker uses a deadly combo of green kryptonite, Scarecrow’s fear gas (murdering Scarecrow to get it), and a lead-lined Submarine, relying on the rest of the Justice League to speed things along and staying twelve steps ahead the entire time. When all is said and done, Lois Lane (and her unborn child) are both dead, killed by Clark’s own hand. Things go downhill from there. There is no reason that Joker couldn’t actually pull of something like that in a canon comic (or animated movie). Speaking of animated movies….

Superman/Batman: World’s Finest: Written by Paul Dini and taking place in the DCAU, this one is pretty straightforward. Joker screws over Lex, and shows that he is a plenty sturdy threat to Superman, again in ways that are totally reasonable in a normal comic.

Justice League: Wild Cards: Another DCAU entry, in this one Joker takes on the entire Justice League. It isn’t quite as much fun, or quite as believable as some of the other examples listed here, but it is another showing that, when he sets his mind to it, Joker is an immensely deadly threat to Superman. Without something truly world-breaking such as the death of Lois Lane, Superman is also going to keep on being a boyscout… and Joker is going to stay alive, keep breaking out of his sandbox, and keep coming back to play.

Now, I love Joker as a Batman villain, honestly. I just think it’s time he cracked his knuckles and set to work on something he can have a bit more success with.

WHAT CAN HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: He can’t. He will never be in a real Superman movie. This last entry is 100% wishful thinking.

CASTING: I’d like to see Troy Baker give it a shot. We already know that he can do the voice, and deliver the performance… but the creepy thing is that he also rather looks the part, doesn’t he?

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So, honestly, who needs Luthor anyway?

In 1974, a horror novel by legendary author Stephen King was officially published. The book was called Carrie. The book was set five years in the future (1979) and was about an awkward teenage girl who discovered that she had telekinetic powers. Pushed to the brink by teasing classmates, Carrie White snaps and uses her new-found abilities to wreak complete and utter devastation.

The book was raw and ended up being a success. A film, starring Sissy Spacek was released two years later, in 1976. In 1999, a non-canon sequel was released. In 2002, a made-for-TV film of the exact same name was released. And finally, in 2013, we got yet another feature-length film, this one once again titled, simply, “Carrie.”

The big difference in this last film, was that it was actually good. And that’s the one I’m going to be reviewing today.

I’m not sure where to start, to be totally honest. I really enjoyed everything about this movie – it was a refreshing, realistic, and modern take on a done-to-death classic. The high school girls that taunt and torment Carrie (played by the staggeringly talented Chloë Grace Moretz) actually act like high school girls. Carrie’s mother (played by Julianne Moore, who I usually don’t like – in this role, however, she’s admittedly in her element) is a convincing zealot with obvious and realistic signs of mental damage (she reminds of my older sister, a little bit!).

And, perhaps, most importantly, we have Carrie herself. Now, let me set something straight – I enjoy Moretz’s performances as a whole. I’ve always thought she was good, I’ve never really thought she was great, and I’ve never been one to gush over how amazing she is. That said, she steals the show here, in a big way. She finds a spectacular balance to her character, and she also allows that character a chance to evolve from previous performances without “ruining” her. Moretz’s take on the 40-year-old character is an awkward, but otherwise intelligent and together young girl. She’s been sheltered and she knows it, she doesn’t want people to know about her home life so she doesn’t make it common knowledge. This makes her come off as a very realistic “weirdo”, acting the way an actual teen in her position most likely would. She questions her mother’s continuous indoctrination with reasonable protestations, shows spectacular degrees of conflict when confronted with challenging situations, and is, all around, one of the most well fleshed-out and real characters I’ve seen this decade.

The performances, however, are not where this movie’s strengths end. The cinematography is fantastic. The dialogue is amazing. The script is excellent. The movie teases the mind at every turn. It guides you to where it wants you to go and then firmly places you there, like a virgin being allowed to touch a breast for the first time.

What must also be considered is the challenge that this film was presented with. It was tasked with telling a story that everyone already knows, not changing the story in any way, but nonetheless making it a thrilling and engaging experience. We, as an audience, wait eagerly for the inevitable finale – and it isn’t just foreshadowed, it’s outright made clear. If, at the beginning of the film, a man walked onto the screen and clearly stated “at the end of this movie, Carrie will slaughter an entire school with her telekinetic powers in a fit of rage,” it wouldn’t be any more obvious that this is how the film will inevitably end. We all know it. We’re all waiting for it. And when it happens….

IT. IS. AWESOME.

Chloë Grace Moretz holds herself like some sort of goddess of rage, drenched in blood and directing her crippling frenzy against those who had tormented her. The kills are creative and powerful. There is no conflict, no shame, no holding back. Carrie becomes the spirit of vengeance and uses her ability to crush everything beneath her, eventually using her power to lift herself from the ground, floating as she brings the school to rubble. The extra climax with Carrie’s mother is equally intense, even emotional.

So, with everything said and done, 2013’s Carrie doesn’t leave you hungry for more – it leaves you satisfied, like you just sprang for the $30 feast at Red Lobster. Highly recommended.

Bizarro throw wish in well,
Ask Bizarro maybe he tell,
Bizarro try to walk backwards,
And bump into you.

Bizarro trade soul for nightmare,
Millions of dollars for punch in face,
Bizarro looking for missing shoe,
Now you in Bizarro’s way.

Your stare was dropping stuff,
You should fix your pants,
Cold night, Bizarro was chilly,
Where you think Bizarro’s going?

Hey, Bizarro not meet you,
And this am crazy,
But here am number?
So don’t ever call Bizarro.

It easy to look right,
At you baby,
But me have freeze vision,
So dodge it maybe.

Hey, Bizarro not meet you,
And this am crazy,
But here am number?
So don’t ever call Bizarro.

And, all of other girls,
Try to taze Bizarro,
But here am number?
So leave Bizarro alone.

You hurry up with the call,
Bizarro fell down, hurt knee,
You give Bizarro lots of stuff,
But you still in Bizarro’s way.

Bizarro gives bees to charity,
Me have hindsight but is wrong,
Bizarro didn’t know that you would
Never get out of Bizarro’s way!

Your stare was dropping stuff,
You should fix your pants,
Cold night, Bizarro was chilly,
Where you think Bizarro’s going?

Hey, Bizarro not meet you,
And this am crazy,
But here am number?
So don’t ever call Bizarro.

It easy to look right,
At you baby,
But me have freeze vision,
So dodge it maybe.

Hey, Bizarro not meet you,
And this am crazy,
But here am number?
So don’t ever call Bizarro.

And, all of other girls,
Try to taze Bizarro,
But here am number?
So leave Bizarro alone.

Before you came in Bizarro’s life,
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Bizarro had no idea who you were.

Before you came in Bizarro’s life,
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Me never met you.
Bizarro had no clue.

It easy to look right,
At you baby,
But me have freeze vision,
So dodge it maybe.

Hey, Bizarro not meet you,
And this am crazy,
But here am number?
So don’t ever call Bizarro.

And, all of other girls,
Try to taze Bizarro,
But here am number?
So leave Bizarro alone.

Before you came in Bizarro’s life,
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Bizarro had no idea who you were.

Before you came in Bizarro’s life,
Bizarro didn’t know you.
Me never met you.
Don’t ever call Bizarro.

When exactly do a new set of feats take hold?

When, exactly, do new powers and abilities get firmly considered, despite evidence to the fact that they shouldn’t be?

When do inconsistencies become consistent?

…When is it time to move on?

A lot of people can’t decide on these, as it seems to fluctuate from character to character how hard fans will hold on to a certain set of feats and abilities. From time to time, we get something like a reboot that firmly establishes a new power level – other times, the change is gradual, yet not pointed, or just seems to come out of the blue. These latter types are a lot more likely to get called out as stupidity on the writers’ ends… but when does inconsistent become consistent?

Let me skim over a few characters that have had… issues… with fluctuating power levels.

AQUAMAN: Aquaman is this article’s poster child. He’s gone from being mediocre-yet-superfluous, to sucking really badly, to being overly edgy yet still unimpressive, to being extremely powerful yet uninteresting, and has finally settled on being immensely tough in addition to being a very flavorful character.

And you know what happened? Everyone loved it. The newest, most physically badass Aquaman has gotten more love from fans than ever before, launching him to the status of one of DC’s most popular mainline characters. Almost enough to bring a tear to your eye, isn’t it? Yet it raises some questions – Aquaman’s look hasn’t changed. His attitude hasn’t changed. His backstory hasn’t changed. Is power level really that important to the popularity of a character? If so, how do characters like the Punisher ever achieve any sort of fanbase? How about…

WOLVERINE: Wolverine’s power level has been absurd since his conception, yet everyone seems to pretty much accept that a Wolverine is a Wolverine is a Wolverine, except when it isn’t a Wolverine (which is totally intolerable).

From the get-go, and consistently after that, Wolverine has been able to tussle with people like Hulk and Thing, every brick in between, energy-users, telekinetics, and everyone else ever and usually come out on top, or at least not looking too bad. The only exception to this rule is his own villains – if Sabretooth, Omega Red, or other specific Wolvie-centric villains get involved, suddenly everything’s different and he actually plays to his pre-established power set.

Yet people tend to not overly care whether Wolverine can jump eighty feet straight up, or whether he can get ripped to pieces by a guy with swords. Wolverine’s Wolverine… we’ve all acclimated by now. If he can fight Hulk – let him fight Hulk.

Which reminds me.

HULK: Hulk doesn’t need explanations for wild fluctuations in power level! Hulk can get knocked out by Captain America if Hulk want! Hulk only have small majority of Wolverine – Hulk no mind, Hulk get him better next time! What? Hulk not afraid of Namor! Namor not been able to beat Hulk since the 1970’s!

Thing is, Hulk goes from having relatively close bouts with Benjamin Grimm to thunderclapping planets out of existence. He goes from tussling with Wendigo to beating Thor’s face in. Whenever he’s in close proximity with Juggernaut, go ahead and flip a coin to see what happens. Not that that’ll stop Hulk from pummeling Silver Surfer to goop.

Yet… because his power “increases as he gets angrier”, people tend to not much notice the fact that he’s grown to a silly level of strength, they just dig it ’cause hey, he’s Hulk, and Hulk is badass. Pay no heed to the fact that his level of potential anger has increased exponentially since 1962 (hey, Hulk just turned 50 not long ago – congrats Hulk!).

Though, if someone else had such a radical power increase all of a sudden, it may not necessarily be as well-received. Someone such as…

BLACK ADAM: Since he broke out of the constant struggle with Billy Batson and started establishing himself as a noble anti-hero and a part of the JSA, Teth-Adam’s power level has increased exponetially. While Captain Marvel (do people really expect me to call him Shazam now? I’m not sure) and those of his ilk have always been tough cookies, they’ve never been anywhere near the level that Black Adam’s been at over the past ten or so years.

This, however, has been received with… mixed results. While some people, fans of the character, have been “Hell yeah! Adam kicks righteous ass!”, others have found Adam’s propensity for defeating seemingly everyone who comes within ten feet of him to be distasteful. Apparently doing things like blitzing Superman, backhanding a Flash, flat-out dominating the entire Justice Society, and during WW3, taking on all of DC Earth, is a bit too much of a stretch in too short an amount of time. Many people still refuse to accept that certain things he’s done should even be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they occurred or are consistent with themselves – despite not being consistent with the things Black Adam had done in the seventy years before them.

Mayhaps DC’s reboot will give him a chance to re-establish himself in the image he has been attempting to establish for the past decade. We’ve seen that the reboot can be very helpful for that, like it was for Aquaman, and like it was for…

CHEETAH: WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO CHEETAH?!

Now I’ll be the first to admit that Cheetah is a very tough lady. She’s always been able to hang with Wonder Woman (impressive on its own) and she’s even shown that she’s quick enough to give a challenge to Flashes. That was before the reboot.

After the reboot she became an outright beast, a Leaguebuster capable of easily taking down Superman and the rest of the team. Not only was this totally out of left field, it was her first appearance of the reboot – right off the bat they established her as a very high-tier character, not one to be taken lightly. Wonder Woman herself doesn’t even seem to be a suitable adversary for her anymore, which in a way, circumvents the whole nature of the character.

And yet, what’s funny, is nobody really… minded. There were no calls of Cheetah being too powerful, barely even a brief gasp of awe at the changes. It was just accepted. “Hey, Cheetah’s tough as hell now – cool.” While it was not met with the abundant joy of Aquaman’s change, nor the disgust of Black Adam’s apparent amp, it just seemed to fizzle away as something unimportant and not worth acknowledging. Much like when the opposite happened to…

ETRIGAN: Even less of a burp (as if that were possible) occurred when Demon Knights came out, starring the Demon himself, Etrigan. Now, before the reboot, Etrigan was a force to be reckoned with, a man who could make Lobo look like he needed to work a little harder.

Yet, in Demon Knights, Etrigan was wholly… unimpressive. Now, he looked a lot cooler. His attitude was awesome. And hey, now he has wings – sweet! But what happened to his teleportation? His off-the-cuff spellcasting? Strength the likes of which can knock Superman out of orbit? Telepathy? ANYTHING?

Nope. Now Etrigan has very standard abilities… flight, fire breath, basic enhanced stats befitting his status. But he’s nowhere near the demon he once was… and nobody cares.

At the beginning of this article I wondered how important power level is when applied to a character’s popularity. With Aquaman it seemed to be a game-changer. Yet Etrigan’s popularity didn’t waver (in fact, it may have increased) when he took a severe dip in his mojo. So… what was the difference?

So, while I can go on and on with characters that seem to be a smidge inconsistent (such as Black Panther, Thor, Batman, and a heap of others) I’m going to cut this short and ask you the question. When should new feats take hold? How much does power level change a character? When do feats override on-paper abilities?

Give it a ponder.

Hey everyone! It’s me again, with an exciting new installment of… well, my usual reviews. But this one’s slightly different! Rather than reviewing a movie, movie series, band, or comic, this time I’m going to be reviewing a TV show! Specifically, my favorite TV show to date.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Positive reviews are boring! Do something vitriolic like your After Earth review!”

Well, I agree. Negative reviews are funnier. But, as I said, this is my favorite show, even after being canceled after two seasons. And dammit, I’m gonna review it. And, while not everyone enjoyed the show (how, I don’t know), I’m still going to talk about how completely fantastic and flawless it is, because I’m extremely biased and don’t care about what’s wrong with it. Well, actually, maybe I will point out a few small flaws, just to be fair – but know now that despite the fact that I’m going to acknowledge them, I’m still not going to attest to the show being anything other than perfect.

The show is Legend of the Seeker, directed by Sam Raimi and very loosely based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books.

Very. Loosely. Based.

When the show was actually noticed (it had TERRIBLE advertisement), it got a lot of flak for many different reasons.

  1. People thought the books it was based on were stupid.
  2. People didn’t think it mirrored the source material closely enough (six of one, half dozen of the other, huh?)
  3. People thought it was trying to rip off Star Wars
  4. People have no taste

So, between all of those deciding factors, LotS was nowhere near a commercial success and was canceled after the tidy ending of Season Two. I have yet to emotionally recover from this catastrophic event, and the cancellation has forever left a gaping hole where my soul used to be.

Anyway, where do I start? Why don’t I start from the beginning, the first few episodes that made everyone immediately dismiss it as utterly ridiculous.

IT’S STAR WARS!

You heard right, folks! It’s Star Wars. Specifically Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The story opens with Luke Skywalker– I mean, Richard Cypher– as a totally normal (yet suspiciously awesome) guy, farming moisture– I mean, chopping wood and building bridges and all that fun stuff. Evil storm troopers– I mean, uh, evil D’Haran soldiers suddenly come barging in from this unknown world that’s been sealed away for centuries, and adventure begins to ensue. We also get a glimpse at Darth Vader– I mean, Darken Rahl, who is the main villain of the first season and a recurring character of the second.

As events start to unfold, Richard meets a remarkably badass and extraordinarily hot Princess Leia– I mean, Kahlan, who is a Confessor. She can mind-control people into loveslaves, detect lies, kick ass with a pair of daggers, and telekinetically hold her bodice together while it shows off as much cleavage as she can manage.

Richard gets increasingly confused by the supernatural events around him, and finally confronts his uncle– I mean, father, about it. His dad tells him to go find the old man who lives in a shack not far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi– I mean, Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, who ends up being a jedi knight– I mean, wizard.

You still with me? Cool.

Anyway, Zedd and Kahlan tell Richard that he is the prophesied one, the Seeker of Truth, destined to bring peace to the world and destroy Rahl. He tells them to shove it and goes home, only to find that the D’Haran soldiers (specifically one soldier, who is a real piece of work) has killed his dad (gasp, spoilers!) and framed Richard for the crime. In light of the death of his parental figure, he goes back to Zedd and Kahlan and decides that he would like to be a jedi– I mean, the Seeker, after all.

A lot of people, I think, didn’t get past this. It’s simply too strikingly resemblant to the plot of the first Star Wars movie (or at least the beginning of it), and nobody took the show seriously despite solid acting, gorgeous scenery, amazing costuming, fun action, and good special effects. Pity.

Now that we’ve established that – the show is actually fantastic.

THE CHARACTERS:

The characters totally rock. It has a focused cast that never stretches beyond five central characters, and they’re pretty friggin’ loveable.

Richard: (Neutral Good) – Richard seems like he’s gonna be your standard reluctant everyman hero at first, and for a little bit he is. However, it doesn’t really take him all that long to embrace his role as the Seeker, and his personal moral code starts to take hold. Turns out, Richard has a heart of gold and never compromises his own ethics, almost to the point of stupidity. If he wasn’t such a badass, his wide-eyed perspective on life would have gotten him killed many times over. However, he is that badass, fair and square, and he manages to struggle past the obstacles in his path (taking his licks when he has to) and never compromises what he believes in.

Kahlan: (Lawful Neutral w/ Good Tendencies) – While she is personally my least favorite character on the show, other fans love Kahlan, and for good reason. She has cool abilities, such as the power to discern lies and the ability to “confess”, which permanently binds people to her and makes them her thralls. She isn’t exactly crazy about doing this but she does it a lot anyway, usually against D’Haran soldiers, officers, or other people that are going to get killed anyway if she doesn’t confess ‘em. She’s no-nonsense yet caring, but she does have a traditionalist facet that is intriguing if not endearing – her belief in what must be too often overrides her feelings of what should be, leading to her occasionally making some really distasteful decisions. Still, she’s affectionate and compassionate, along with being fierce and strong.

Also cleavage. Sorry, sorry. But seriously: cleavage.

Zedd: (Chaotic Good) – Why hello, Zedd, what do you have in store for today’s episode? What do you mean, ‘look at the script’? Oooh… I see.

This guy is a wizard of absurd power, which they often try to excuse with the fact that he is also super old and therefore liable to forget some stuff from time to time. This leads to Zedd’s abilities fluctuating by the episode, generally being dependent on whether or not the plot demands them. His magical abilities range from the ability to cast massive ritual spells and even stop time, to just tossing firebolts. However, no matter how useful stopping time might be, when it’d be too convenient for him to do so he seemingly forgets how.

Besides that, however, he’s funny, smart, and cool, and he always seems to be the guy who finds the third option when both of the obvious choices seem to really suck.

Darken Rahl: (Lawful Evil to the bone) – Lord Rahl is like, the ultimate villain. He’s sinister, intelligent, powerful, skilled, ruthless, and well-groomed, and you can even relate to him in a sort of crazy way (particularly in the second season, where we see more of his human side now that he’s not the main baddy). I’ll kinda lay off talking about him too much, because spoilers, but seriously, he rules.

Cara: (Does Not Compute – Lawful Chaotic – GACK) – Cara Mason doesn’t show up until the end of the first season, and she doesn’t join the core team until the beginning of the second. However, she is far and away my favorite character on the show. She’s one of the Mord-Sith – an ancient order of leather-clad, anti-magic, bisexual dominatrix badasses who are sworn to serve Lord Rahl. For [INSERT REASONS HERE] she breaks away from the other Mord-Sith and joins up with Seeker & Co., where she proceeds to be absolutely fantastic. Not only does she bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘badass’ (with her pain-resistance, anti-magic, and dual-wielded Agony Dildos), she is tragic while having a lot of really endearing character moments, and even has some of the funniest lines and moments in the show. She is also thoughtful enough to modify the traditional Mord-Sith uniform to show off more cleavage.

THE SHOW: Obviously I can’t do an in-depth review on the entire storyline of a 44-episode television series, but I can glance over some of the highlights.

Scenery: Holy crap. I mean, it’s set in New Zealand, so that pretty much explains its own self. The scenery is absolutely fabulous.

Costuming: This is kind of a weird thing to touch down on but I need to make mention of it. The costuming in this show is really fantastic – like really fantastic. You already get a glimpse from the core cast, but honestly, every lowly henchman or soldier or map-maker or garden-variety Mord-Sith just has truly amazing outfits, be it cool fantasy armor, robes, skintight leather BDSM-suits, or anything in between.

Plot: The overarcing plotline is standard enough – hero fight bad guy, hero save world – with minimal twists along the way, but it’s the individual episodes that give the show flavor. Each episode has its own mini-story, its own little quest, its own problem that has to be solved, and each time we get to see how Seeker & Co. handles things. Each new episode shows more personality and more cool abilities, shows more of each character’s moral code and shows more of the world around them, and the people in it.

Then, in season two, Hell opens up and zombies start to pour out! YAY!

Relationships: Whether it’s the romance between Richard and Kahlan, the devotion of Cara to Richard, the mentor-figure relationship of Zedd to Richard, the tense, subtexty rivalry of Kahlan and Cara, or the “I can save you” relationship between Richard and Darken Rahl, each relationship is driven home with fantastic execution. The dialogue is consistently vibrant and each passing episode cements the characters in your heart – it doesn’t scramble for shock value by destroying characters, but instead constantly builds on them by testing, tempering, and rewarding them.

THE VERDICT: I’ve probably said enough as is, and there’s no way I’ve held your attention for this long. So, without further ado, I’d just love to recommend the show and tell you that I really love it – it has a special place in my heart, a special enough place to warrant a nearly two thousand word review. The whole thing is even on Netflix’s instant watch, so if you are ever looking for something new to sink your teeth into, something with finite size but a satisfying climax, try taking a risk on Legend of the Seeker.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Unless it’s morning where you are.

In which case, just… goodbye I guess.

Anyway, remember that you heard it here first (unless you didn’t)! Be more like me, and do things I do, because I’m cool!

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