ABC’s Quantico And Why It Matters

I’ve had my share of issues with Quantico in the past – the constant soap opera drama sometimes overshadowing the plot, lots of plot threads that never went anywhere, unsatisfying conclusions to some subplots, excessive focus on certain characters and relationships at the expense of the story. But despite all of those issues, Quantico still mattered to me.

This is a story where the main character is an Indian American woman that’s a non devout Hindu, and the first season was about her being used as a scapegoat for a domestic terror attack. Because it was easy to frame the brown girl. Alex Parrish is an incredibly important character. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s beautiful. People are attracted to her throughout the series, but her ethnicity is never fetishized or even brought up in that aspect of the show. She’s a beautiful brown woman. But people aren’t attracted to her because she’s brown or despite it.

I stopped being excited about the season three renewal when I learned that Nimah and Raina won’t be in it, because aside from Alex, the Amin sisters were the other main reason why the show mattered to me. These were two Lebanese immigrants from a Muslim family. They were twins. And as Simon put it, they may look alike, but they were very different people.

This show mattered because their minority characters were never tokens. Nimah and Raina were allowed to be vastly different. Nimah was the more outwardly rebellious one, but Raina was just impulsive and would do whatever she thought was right without wasting time arguing about it with anyone. Raina was religious, Nimah wasn’t. In the first season, Nimah spent most of her time with Alex, Shelby, and Natalie, while Raina was closer to Simon and the other male trainees.

Quantico mattered because despite how often the white characters – Shelby, Caleb, Clay, even Harry, a little – got excessive focus and irrelevant sideplots, the women of colour still got to be characters and not stereotypes or racist caricatures. This was a show about terrorism where the terrorists weren’t the Muslim characters or the brown characters. Where Raina was probably the most moral character on the show while still allowed to be flawed and human and real.

Simon and Raina’s relationship was one of the most poignant ones written in recent shows, and certainly the most important in Quantico itself, despite how little screentime it got as compared to Shelby and Caleb, or Alex and Ryan, or even Alex and Drew. These were two people from different backgrounds, different races, different faiths. But their story never tried to be an “accepting others” Aesop. It was just a story about two people that loved each other, and as such, it was a step towards normalizing interracial relationships in fiction, to getting a romantic relationship featuring a person of colour that’s more than just the token minority couple. There wasn’t drama for the sake of drama. They got to be characters, not cheap storytelling props. They were the characters through which both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict were criticized, but their relationship was never about that.

The representation in the first two seasons was far from flawless. But it was a product of people that tried. It was a result of people wanting to make a show about people, not stereotypes. It clearly came from people that cared about not being racist or subscribing to hurtful cliches. It was unapologetically liberal, and it pointed out clearly, and often through actions and not words, that the statistically most dangerous demographic in the United States is the white male. The writers and the showrunner proved themselves to me in the first season, proved that they were doing their best and that I should be forgiving of missteps because they were trying. It let me be much less wary while watching season two.

am nervous about season three. Two of the main characters are going to be gone. There’ll be a new showrunner. I have no way of knowing whether or not the season while remain true to the spirit of the first two seasons. I’m not asking for perfect – the first two seasons weren’t perfect, but they still good, still clearly trying. So until I see an episode and see that it’s not the show I enjoyed, the one that treated its female minority characters with as much respect as they would any white male one, I’m going to say that Quantico still matters.

Justice League, Anticipation, and Geeking Out A Ridiculous Amount

When Wonder Woman came out, it felt surreal. It didn’t feel like it was actually happening until I was sitting in that theatre. It felt like a movie I’d been waiting for forever that I was in shock I was actually getting to see. Justice League? It’s going to be that feeling times ten.

The movie isn’t coming out until November. That’s five months.  That’s still a long time to wait. But compared to how long I’ve been waiting to see it, it’s no time at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly excited to see Wonder Woman. And I loved it. But that was just Wonder Woman. Justice League is going to have her, Superman, and Batman together again in the same movie, like in Batman v Superman, except there’ll be more, because she’ll be more than an extended cameo, she’ll be a character. It’s going to have Aquaman and the Flash and Cyborg, for the first time ever on the big screen. It’s going to have Mera. The League is going to fight Parademons together.

Thinking about this movie – and the fact that we’re getting another trailer in a month – makes me grin like an idiot. It’s going to come out on the anniversary of the Justice League cartoon first airing. The Justice League is finally going to come together, and we’re going to get to see all of them together. I’m going to be there opening night.

Even aside from the this is so awesome geeking out, it’s going to be so satisfying to watch this movie. It’ll be the epic conclusion to a three part story. We’ll finally get to see the entirety of Zack Snyder’s vision brought to fruition. Wonder Woman was excellent, and Suicide Squad was entertaining, even if it was a bit messy compared to the other entries in the DCEU, but Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League are/will be the core of this universe. Superman is the heart, and he was the catalyst for the formation of the League.

…Can it be November yet?

Cars, Pontiac, and Good Design: I Miss My High School Grand Prix

When I was in high school, I drove a Grand Prix. I learned to drive on a Cruze, so it was a little bit of an adjustment at first, but I loved that car.

It wasn’t something I really fully appreciated then, but since then, after driving other cars, I’ve realized just how well that car handled. It was very wide, which made it kind of a pain to park when I first starting driving it, but that and its low centre of gravity made it beautifully stable. It handled turns at speed excellently. It looked great. It was a performance vehicle with an excellent design – practical and functional without sacrificing the aesthetics.

I drive a Buick Lacrosse now. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. It drives fine. It’s somewhere between the Cruze and the Grand Prix for me – it’s a solid car, not difficult to drive at all, very comfortable for long distances, but none of the specific advantages of either of the other two. It’s very middle of the road, decent in everything, but nothing about it sticks out to me. It’s bigger than the Cruze, so it’s less easy to park anywhere. It’s heavier, too, so driving in the snow down the dirt road to my house isn’t as scary, but it doesn’t have as low a centre of gravity as the Grand Prix.

GM stopped manufacturing the Pontiac brand in 2010, and I understand why. They weren’t doing well, and it made sense to cut Pontiac loose instead of any of the four they kept making. But I seriously wish they were still being made, because my Grand Prix was a great car and I miss it.

Animorphs: A Children’s Series That Deserves To Be Remembered As a Science Fiction Classic

Remember Animorphs? That super ridiculous nineties series about kids turning into animals fighting parasitic aliens that opened with a character being eaten alive and ended with most of the main characters dead that was somehow ubiquitous in just about every library, even if no library had all the books because there were more than sixty of them? Yeah. That was fantastic.

Something that’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things that I still love about it -it had some of the most creative aliens ever. There was no all aliens speak English – the universal standard was something else; aliens were equipped with translators so they could understand each other; and they learned English when they were on Earth, some better than others. They didn’t all look humanoid – in fact, none of them did. Giant, cannibalistic centipedes with insatiable and uncontrollable hunger. Seven foot tall herbivores that solely ate bark and were covered with blades so that they could better harvest it. Mouthless centaurs with two additional stalk eyes and scorpionlike blades on their tails. Parasitic slugs that lived in the heads of other sentient creatures and controlled their every action. They were all different and fascinating and some of them were absolutely terrifying.

Animorphs had all the basic hallmarks of a traditional science fiction story. Freshman year, I took a class on Eastern European sci fi, and it struck me just how well Animorphs adheres to the main tenants of the genre, while not being confined to standard in any way. What is the nature of good and evil? What is love? What is life? What does it mean to be human? The books questioned the nature of right and wrong again and again. The fierce protectiveness and love the main characters felt for each other was constantly brought up. One of the supporting characters was an android, and the constant undertone when he was around was if he was really alive, and if his pacifism was at all justifiable next to the actions of the living things doing the fighting. A running theme was maintaining one’s humanity when fighting a war.

Animorphs is top tier fiction, because it’s completely accessible while embracing darker themes and working through hope, tragedy, humour, and heartwarming friendship moments in every book without it ever feeling rushed.

Animorphs makes me feel all kinds of emotions. There are scenes that I find horrifying and tragic and gutwrenching and all that, but they’re juxtaposed with some of the most ridiculously funny scenes I’ve ever read in anything. I’ll reread the books, and I’ll never not laugh at things like the lead characters’ incompetent rescue of an android using clothes from Tommy Hilfiger, a Bill Clinton mask, and a misspelled sandwich board sign, while they argue something stupid in the middle of a dangerous situation. It’s so hilariously nineties, that now even lines that would have been pretty neutral twenty years ago have me laughing. Then I turn the page, and it’s dead serious again. The same book that had an alien driving a yellow Mustang across a planet that neither he nor Mustangs come from while drinking Dr. Pepper had the same alien run away to Earth because he didn’t want to fight a war anymore.

The writing is geared toward children, and it’s blunt and direct and very far from subtle, but it doesn’t matter at all, because it’s effective. It’s simplistic and it gets the point across without ever getting bogged down in flowery language or needing elaborate symbolism. There are plenty of allusions to classics which allows for some really fun analysis, but the series stands perfectly well alone without needing to understand those references. Before all else, it’s an entertaining story. Most of the books are very short, but they still both address serious issues and entertain.

Animorphs is indisputably kind of weird and unexpected, but it’s fantastic. Sure, there’s some inconsistent quality issues and plot holes/contradictions – that’s to be expected when there’s so many of them and a large chunk of the series was ghostwritten. But the weirdness contributes to making it memorable, because it never holds back. It’s so, so good, and everyone should read it.

The Dark Phoenix Announcement

Fox announced their plans for X-Men: Dark Phoenix yesterday, and as excited as I want to be for another X-Men movie, one in which Wolverine will not be the focus, I can’t bring myself to really care.

I’ve talked before about how I have very mixed feelings about the X-Men movies, and I mentioned there how The Last Stand ruined the Dark Phoenix saga for me by missing the point. So shouldn’t I be excited for this? They have a chance to fix their mistakes and do it right! Wolverine won’t be in it, so it won’t become all about him again. But…I’m not. I can’t be. And there are a lot of reasons for that.

The release date being next year makes no sense to me. It’s almost impossible for them to meet it, and if they do, at what cost? It’d be ridiculously rushed, and I doubt it’d be good. It’ll be a cobbled together script and shot as quickly as possible, rather than allowing for time for improvements. It’ll be made because they said they’d do it and people will go see it regardless of whether or not it’s good.

Jean has been involved in a lot more stories than just the Dark Phoenix. I’d like adaptations to stop pretending like it’s the only thing that she’s ever done and that her only good story ended with her death. I want a story that actually explores Jean. This franchise already adapted the Dark Phoenix, and it wasn’t good. Why not make something else instead of trying it again? These characters have existed for half a century. It would be so easy to pick something else instead of adapting the same story again and again.

Some of my issues with the idea of this movie go deeper and are tied to my issues with the X-Men movie franchise as a whole. McAvoy Xavier and Fassbender Magneto are great to watch, but they’re getting to be almost as frustratingly everpresent to me as Jackman Wolverine was. I don’t even like Lawrence’s Mystique, but she’s coming back, too, and why should she or Magneto be in this film at all? The creators seem so afraid of trying something new, they refuse to venture away from the status quo, regardless of whether or not it’s good.

I would have been so excited to get this movie with Famke Janssen as Jean and James Marsden as Scott. Those two embodied their characters to me. They were such excellent, underrated casting, and in a movie without Wolverine, we could finally get more focus on their relationship, both as romantic partners and as teammates/friends. That would be the second chance at a storyline that was bungled the first time. Not this.

Marsden had the poise, the confidence, necessary to pull off Scott, the leader that forces himself to repress all doubt and insecurity. He had the charisma that would have been perfect for stories about him becoming the general of mutantkind like he does in the comics. And in general, he has the talent to carry a movie. He just never got enough screentime. Despite that, he still tried – his scenes in the beginning of The Last Stand were some of the most emotional in the movie for me. Can you imagine what it’d be like to see him deliver the iconic, Jean, you are love?

Janssen had all the necessary gravitas for Jean. She could do both the uncertain, scared, still coming into her powers Jean from most of X2 as well as the confident, bold, do-what-she-has-to-do Jean at the end. She could pull off the Phoenix. She got a little more material to work with than Marsden, if not much, and despite the script treating Jean mostly like an aside that existed because Logan thought she was hot, Janssen still put in the effort and made the character her own.

James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Halle Berry as Storm – these were the X-Men I grew up with. All of them are excellent actors, and they’ll forever be the ones I picture when I think about Scott, Jean, and Ororo. It was fantastic casting. It seems way too soon to replace them. I’m not ready to let go just yet. I remember when I saw Days of Future Past for the first time, remember that excitement and delight at seeing them back. I thought that would mean we’d get more of them. That we’d actually get them back. But no. Just a cameo that was their last appearance in the franchise. It’s so frustrating. Hugh Jackman got Logan as his swan song. He got an entire movie and a dramatic death. The other three? Just a brief cameo that brought them all the way back to the status quo of the first movie. Nothing real. Nothing conclusive. Logan could have been a great final adventure for all of them,  but they were unceremoniously killed offscreen.

DoFP brought back the X-Men and the school and stopped the Sentinels from ravaging the world. It  was beautiful and felt amazing to see. I legitimately loved the movie. But what happened at the end? Logan went right back to obsessing over Jean, despite her having been gone for years. I’d love to regard that as just him being amazed that it actually worked and that she was back and everything was okay, except he didn’t have that strong of a reaction to seeing Scott, who’d been dead for just as long. No look cast over to Ororo, despite the kiss in that deleted scene. It’s as if the creators think that undoing a bad decision is good enough, rather than having the characters learn or grow or change as a result of them.

I know I shouldn’t cling this much to the original cast. I don’t want to be like the Christopher Reeve fans who are unwilling to give any other version of Superman a chance.  But this feels different to me, because it’s new actors in the same franchise. It’s not a reboot, it’s just an altered timeline. It’s not just the new actors playing the younger version of the characters, it’s them replacing the originals. It’s barely been ten years since the last movie with all of the original cast. It feels too soon. And since they didn’t all leave together – Hugh Jackman got more solos, as well as a cameo in Apocalypse, and Patrick Stewart was in Logan – it doesn’t even feel right for them to be gone. Their stories feel unfinished. A Dark Phoenix movie with the new actors? It’s going to force me to accept that that era is over. I can do that, it just sucks to have to without proper closure.

Nothing against Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan, but the two of them seem too young to me for this story. They’re in that age where they’re technically adults, but they don’t really look it. It’s the awkward, haven’t quite grown into themselves look of people that are college age or a little bit older, like recent grads. They could probably be good in the roles – they weren’t bad in Apocalypse – but the Jean and Scott in the Dark Phoenix saga should be adults, not kids. It reminds me a little of Brandon Routh back when he played Superman – a good actor, even a good choice for the role, but still too young for the version he was given.

famke janssensophie turner

Turner doesn’t look like an adult yet. She doesn’t have Janssen’s experience, or her ability to embody the character and completely take over a scene. It still seems to me that she got cast for her name and fanbase, rather than for being a good fit for the role. I’m not saying she’s a bad actress or that she can’t pull it off, but I still barely see her as Jean. I can’t imagine her as the Phoenix.

The original trilogy meant a lot to me. X-Men (2000) pretty much invented the modern superhero movie. It was flawed, it was a little clunky and awkward, and some of it just didn’t make sense, but as a groundbreaking movie for the genre and through nostalgia, it still holds up. It was a pretty solid character intro. X2, First Class, DoFP, even Logan – those are still good movies as well. But I think the majority of the X-Men franchise has been an attempt to make a badass epic movie, an action adventure, rather than making something legitimately good. The timeline for this movie feels like it’s just going to be more of the same – just marking time, pushing out another movie that doesn’t have any reason to exist.

I don’t agree with people complaining about superhero fatigue. I love superhero movies. I love comicbooks and seeing them brought to life. But when I hear about movies like this one, I start to understand. I’m not sick of superheroes. But I am tired of studios making movies that fit the same mold again and again and never venturing into anything different. I’ve been torn about the X-Men movies for a long time, and as much as I don’t want it to be true, I think this one will be the one that pushes me over the edge into not enjoying them anymore.

Italy in the Summer

I took these in Italy in the summer of 2012. We went to Rome, Florence, and Venice, and while it’s tough for me to pick favourite vacations, Rome has to be one of my favourite cities in the world. Great food, sunshine, history, art – it’s unbelievably beautiful.

I’ve been pretty busy the past couple of years, what with school and work, and that hasn’t left me much time to travel. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to go anywhere until after I finish university. Hopefully, I’ll have a little time between graduating and starting work to take a trip somewhere. I’ve been to the three big destinations in Italy, so if I ever do go back, I’d like to go visit some other countries first, but I’d love to see Rome again, or go to the countryside or the Amalfi Coast. I wasn’t all that taken with Venice, so I’d be fine giving that a pass. It felt too much like one massive tourist trap to me.

My family’s Europe trips tend to be to cities and historical sites. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it at all. I like cities and history as much as the next girl. But it would be nice to do something different – visit some less popular destinations or smaller towns; have a more relaxed, less strictly planned vacation. That sounds like a great plan for the summer after university, just taking a week and lounging around somewhere gorgeous.

Rajasthan

Pictures from when I went to India last winter. I’ve been there repeatedly since I was little, but this is the first time I can remember ever going to the tourist sites, aside from once when we went to Agra in I think 2006 or 2007. I took these in/around Jaipur.

It was interesting to see because of how lively it was and how many people were there, but it didn’t strike me as anywhere near one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It was a bit grimy for my tastes. Chennai looked a lot cleaner and prettier to me.

Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and the Concept of Superheroes

Seeing I’m tired of all the people giving Wonder Woman backhanded compliments by taking shots at the previous installments in the DCEU, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss how Batman v Superman – and to a lesser extent, Man of Steel – makes viewers uncomfortable by deconstructing the concept of superheroes, and in doing so, tells one of the richest and most important superhero stories ever told.

It’s been more than a year since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out, and since then, a lot of people far more articulate than me have countered the common arguments against the movie, analyzed the layers and metaphors and symbolism. So I’m not going to do any of that. I’m just going to talk about why it means more to me than any other superhero movie I’ve ever seen.

Something remarkable about BvS is that nobody is neutral about it. People love it or hate it, but not many people saw it and thought nothing. And maybe part of that is the comicbook fan community’s penchant for dramatics and extremes, but I think most of it is a serious reaction. People remember they saw it. Even now, more than a year later, we’re still discussing it. Some movies are forgotten after a few weeks. Not this one. And I think a big part of the reason why is that it challenges viewers to think about what superheroes really mean.

As a child of immigrants, this story, especially as it pertained to the DCEU interpretation of Clark Kent, resonated with me. Zack Snyder deconstructed the concept of superheroes just by considering how people would realistically react to someone like Superman. Pointing out the xenophobia he would face rings far more true to me than everyone embracing the alien from another planet. Snyder tore down the idea of a classic superhero by letting him be vulnerable and willing to take responsibility, by building a world in which he’s not universally loved. He gave me a world where I can legitimately see myself in the hero and in which the narrative is on his side, and for that, I’m honestly going to love him forever.

This is a universe in which Clark struggles with his dual identity. He doesn’t know anything about Krypton in the beginning, only that he’s somehow different. Superman has always been an immigrant. But this story, for the first time, explored what that means. He actually chose – Krypton or Earth? And it was a clear choice, a bright line separating right and wrong. Zod the mass murderer, or an innocent family? But just because it was right, didn’t mean it was easy. Sometimes there are no simple answers.

And after that? After deconstructing Superman and posing the question of whether or not he can actually exist and stay good, whether or not his perspective on and approach life and heroism is the right one…Snyder reconstructs everything he questioned by simply answering yes. By saying that Batman – whom, from decades of pop culture, we’re all practically conditioned to believe is the awesome badass that’s right all the time – was wrong. That men are good.

We may not deserve Superman, but he cares about us anyway. He’s not a god – not some infallible being, nor a malicious entity to be feared and distrusted – he’s a child of Earth. He doesn’t want anything. He doesn’t expect to be thanked. He doesn’t like being revered as a god. He just helps because it’s the right thing to do. And him being that good man, sacrificing his own life because this is his world, even though people feared him and what he could do, was what inspired Bruce and Diana to come back from their lowest points and fight the good fight again. Bruce and Diana went to his funeral and they decided that they would form the Justice League in his honour. He inspired them to move past their darkest moments and become the heroes they once were again. And then at the end of the movie, the dirt on top of his coffin rose, because he will be back. There are heroes and good people. There’s fear and prejudice, but that can be overcome. People can lose hope, but still regain it. Suffering doesn’t last forever. Loss can be worked through. How is that not hopeful? How is that not idealistic? It’s not about being infallible and always smiling and perfectly optimistic and happy no matter what. It’s about continuing to strive to be better.

Throughout both MoS and BvS, it was made beautifully clear that Clark didn’t owe the world a thing. Having powers didn’t also give him responsibility. His parents wanted to protect him, because they were afraid for him. They wanted him helping the world to be his choice. It was never that they didn’t want him to save people, it was that they believed he mattered as an individual, not just as a potential saviour. Jonathan and Martha are parents – they’re human, they’re flawed and imperfect and so, so protective of their only child. They taught Clark his values and the importance of both helping others and protecting his identity. And that did cause Clark to struggle with what he should do. It was part of the reason he kept on the move so much. That doesn’t make any of them bad people. Because Jonathan did the best he could for his son and taught him the difference between right and wrong. Because Martha never tried to stop adult Clark from wandering the world or helping people or discovering his identity. Because despite being lost and uncertain, Clark still chose to help people because he could.

The idea of Batman was also rebuilt with this movie, and I think this is the first time live action has ever gotten him right. Some people want to see Bruce as his pop culture caricature – rich playboy that’s also a badass that goes out at night to beat up criminals, AKA the escapist Batman power fantasy. Others, like the people that enjoyed Batman: The Animated Series, do want to see his compassion. But BvS went so much farther. It mixed both ideas and pushed further to explore who he really is.

At his core, Bruce Wayne is a deeply damaged and traumatized individual. He’s obsessive and paranoid and obsessed with control. He’s a deeply compassionate individual that cares about his city and helping people, yes, but the DCEU version of the character is one that doesn’t have a Robin. Bruce’s children ground him and remind him of what he fights for. They give him hope. They keep him sane. But in BvS, he’s lost Jason. We don’t know what his relationship with Dick is like, but it’s probably not good. Tim hasn’t showed up yet.

Bruce in BvS is alone. He’s scared. He doesn’t want what happened in Metropolis to ever happen again. His emotions are totally understandable and fair. But how far he takes it? The way he becomes so violent and brutal he scared the victims as much as the criminals? How he’s willing to kill Clark because of his powers being dangerous? That crosses a line. His fear of and vendetta against Superman began because of one little girl that lost her mother. His return to caring about collateral damage, about the victims more than the criminals, that comes about because Clark is willing to sacrifice himself for the world.

What I really don’t get is that the same people who complain about the movie being overly grim and dark also complain about the Martha scene. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Bruce didn’t back off because of the name, and he and Clark definitely didn’t decide to become friends because of it. Bruce just paused for a second because he has intense PTSD, and the name was not only his mother’s name, it was the last thing his father ever said. It was Lois putting herself between him and Clark that made him put down the spear. It was her telling him that Martha is Clark’s mother’s name, that Superman does have a human mother that he loves and that was in danger that made him stop. Made him realize what he was doing. And after that, Clark trusted him because he had to. That scene was beautifully written and beautifully shot, and very possibly, my favourite scene in any movie, comic book or otherwise, ever.

I really don’t understand where people are getting the idea that this movie lacks heart. At its core, it’s about two men that love their mothers and a villain that’s never had that love. It’s about a man that was once a hero being torn down to his worst self out of fear and loss and grief. It’s about that man realizing he was wrong and actively seeking to become a better person again. It’s about another man that loves the world, even when much of it rejected him. It’s about a woman that’s emphatically not a fascist believing in accountability and not taking unilateral decisions. It’s about another woman realizing that she can’t just do nothing. It’s called Batman v Superman, but it’s about so much more than that.

Batman v Superman was heavily based on The Dark Knight Returns. And I personally do not like that comic. I think it’s poorly written and presents Bruce’s actions as morally right. But this? This took it and made it incredible, because it allowed Superman to have depth, and didn’t ever glorify Batman’s violence, and gave every character clear motivation.

This story is political, embracing all the questions of what it means to be a superhero in the real world, while never justifying Batman’s extremist, insane bigotry. It takes a perfectly reasonable stance – Superman must take responsibility for his actions, but not those of others. He can’t be judged on the basis of what he might do, only what he has done. The parallels to our own world are obvious. Maybe not to everyone, but as someone who’s experienced people looking at her twice because of the colour of her skin? They couldn’t possibly be clearer.

People are uncomfortable with a movie embracing the fact that Clark Kent is more than an outsider – he’s an immigrant, a refugee. They don’t like that story being presented, loud and proud. They don’t like the idea of Batman legitimately having a mental illness. They don’t like the idea of a movie based on comics being taken seriously and approached as meaningful art. But that’s what Snyder does, and in doing so, he’s crafted a masterpiece. It’s heavy, absolutely, and maybe not something I have the emotional capacity to watch all the time, but whenever I want to watch something honest something that tells me, “hey, the world’s a flawed, tough place, but it can be better and there are people trying to make it better”, I’m absolutely turning to Batman v Superman.

Now look, I love Wonder Woman. I think it is a very well done movie. But it does both the movie itself and the DCEU as a whole a disservice to ignore how they fit together, the running themes and the parallels between the characters. Diana is Steve in Batman v Superman – she’s become jaded and cynical, and at the end, she had to do something because she already tried doing nothing.

The different movies in the DCEU tell different parts of one story. They reference each other and tie into each other, as well as referencing comics and mythology and literature. They are stories that I can appreciate as a comics fan as well as someone that likes media to respect her intelligence. So far, they’ve deconstructed the superhero genre and begun to put it back together, and I absolutely cannot wait to see where they go from here.

The Cohesive DCEU Story

I love the way all the movies in the DCEU tie in to each other. Not just through characters, but through themes and the story. They don’t need post credit scenes to reference other movies – there’s direct cause and effect, and the movies are woven together much more tightly. Batman v Superman occurred because of Man of Steel and all the destruction caused by the Kryptonian fight. Suicide Squad described the world after BvS. Wonder Woman went back in time and explained how Diana became the woman we saw in BvS.

Each movie has its own style and setting and even genre, but they work so well together. They’re all essentially love stories at their core. I love that Wonder Woman is being acknowledged as such, but I’m still perplexed at how people don’t see that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman are as well. People claim that MoS and BvS are too dark and gritty and grim for the sake of being grim,  but I’m not convinced those people watched the same movie as I did. These movies are all about love and hope in the darkest of times!

In MoS, Jor El and Lara loved Clark enough to send him away so that he could survive the destruction of Krypton and build a better world than theirs. Jonathan and Martha took him in and raised him to become a good man. He travelled the world and helped people, despite not knowing anything about who and what he was because it was the right thing to do. Out of love of humanity, he destroyed the World Engine and killed Zod.

In BvS, Bruce charged head on into a disaster zone because there were civilians and his employees trapped, and he refused to sit back and do nothing. His fury towards Superman began with him seeing a little girl lose her mother. It was hearing his own mother’s name that made him pause long enough to listen. Lois loved Clark enough to stand between him and a maniac with a spear. Lois and Martha brought gave Clark hope and inspired him to keep going, reminded him of why Earth is his world and why he’s willing to die for it. His sacrifice made Bruce and Diana become the heroes they had once been again and form the Justice League.

Justice League is going to be the culmination of a trilogy that began with Man of Steel. They are past their darkest moments now. They’re going to become their best selves, inspired by love and sacrifice, and they’ll be the team of heroes the world needs. I, for one, can’t wait.

Wonder Woman Reaction

So I got back from Wonder Woman just now. I should probably sleep, because I have to be at work by seven tomorrow, BUT I HAVE TO WRITE THIS INSTEAD. Warning for possible mild spoilers.

It felt so surreal that I was actually going to watch this. It didn’t even feel real until it started playing. This is a movie that I’ve been waiting for for so long, and here it was. And it was beyond my wildest dreams.

It was such an incredible origin story. It was so perfect for Diana – her optimism and idealism, her horror at how terrible man’s world can be, her endless capacity for love. Her realization that maybe, she’ll have to step back and let humanity take whatever path it will take. It was heartwarming and devastating all at once, and if one of my coworkers hadn’t been sitting right next to me, I might have actually cried.

This was a story set in World War I that treated the circumstance with all the sensitivity it deserved. Despite it being a superhero movie, Diana couldn’t magically make everything better. Nor was the villain responsible for human cruelty. This was a story within the context of the war that never made any effort to shy away from how horrific it was, how both sides were fighting needlessly.

The scene of Diana rising from the trenches was quite possibly the most badass, heroic action in all of superhero movies. It was so beautifully shot and emotionally put together. I’m going to see it with a friend again tomorrow night, and this scene is one of the reasons I can’t wait.

We had all predicted what would happen to Steve. That wasn’t a surprise at all. But his character arc was still spectacular. The cynical, jaded soldier that knows just how awful the world can be being inspired by Diana, the embodiment of love and hope and goodness.  It was beautiful, and I’m heartbroken and inspired all at once.

Okay, it’s late, so I’m going to get some sleep, but I’m definitely going to be writing more about this later