Saturday, December 9, 2017

The DCEU Should Not Be Canceled: Comparing Film Series Box Office

Some people, even fans of the DCEU, are openly wondering about a reboot of the film series in light of Justice League's underperformance at the box office. I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of the DCEU, also known as the Justice League Universe, and because it has been continually hounded by negative press and overreactions, I wanted to just look at how it actually compares to other film series from a box office standpoint.

Below is a graph that isn't fancy, but it has helped me to put the DCEU box office performance into perspective. I have collected the worldwide box office totals for 10 different film series (Star Wars includes only the modern era since Episode I; James Bond also includes only the Daniel Craig reboot series). I recognize that these are not all directly comparable, being in different genres and appealing to different audiences, etc., but I think this is useful nonetheless.

Box office totals from

A few observations from these data...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Justice League Scene 1

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 1 (cell phone Superman) of Justice League.

  • Opening logos and music
  • First scenes in Man of Steel and BvS
  • Superman as a public figure (echoed later by Wonder Woman)
  • Shooting video in portrait mode
  • Kids asking Superman questions
  • Hope from two fathers
  • Favorite thing about planet Earth?
  • Naming the trilogy
Follow @JLUPodcast on Twitter
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd @NBego

<Transcript below>

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Themes and Characters in JUSTICE LEAGUE

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Justice League's themes and character arcs. Scene-by-scene analysis will begin in the next episode.

  • What is the name of Zack Snyder's Superman trilogy?
  • Themes: How do we deal with loss? Collaboration is stronger than isolation. With support, one can come back from damage stronger than before. It is better to lead through inspiration than fear. Is humanity worth saving?
  • Major characters: Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg, Superman, and Steppenwolf.
Follow @JLUPodcast on Twitter

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd @NBego

Some scenes axed from the theatrical version:

DC Cinematic Minute Review of Justice League:

<Transcript below>

Monday, November 20, 2017

Top 5 Favorite Things from JUSTICE LEAGUE

Jason Book and I team up to talk about some of the many positive aspects of Justice League (Warner Bros), directed by Zack Snyder.

We touch on the following topics:
  • Character interactions and team dynamics
  • Superman fight in Heroes Park
  • Overarching themes of the film
  • Positive tone
  • Action scenes

Detailed analysis is coming soon from the Justice League Universe podcast.

Friday, November 17, 2017

JUSTICE LEAGUE Trailer Content Cut from the Film

It's no secret that Justice League, credited to director Zack Snyder, actually underwent some substantial changes in post-production under the guidance of Joss Whedon. It has also been reported that WB executive Kevin Tsujihara mandated a 2 hour runtime. So all of this means that scenes were certainly cut or replaced, and even scenes in the movie may have been trimmed down for pacing and runtime.

Many rumors swirl around the WB/DC movies, especially one as highly anticipated as Justice League, but rather than focusing on rumors, it is more concrete to look at the official trailers that were released over the past year and compare that to the theatrical version of the film. The video below contains all the shots and dialogue that were present in trailers but absent from the finished film. This is based on my memory having seen it twice, so although I think it's quite accurate and comprehensive, I can't guarantee that I caught everything.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of these cuts were just specific shots from a scene that was in the film. But other cuts seem to imply that whole scenes were removed. The scene-level ones that I miss the most are Victor Stone before the accident, Barry Allen with the glass, and Bruce talking about his dream.

In addition to the trailer content that was cut, I personally was also disappointed that what Ciaran Hinds described about Steppenwolf wanting to get out from under the oppressive rule of his nephew, Darkseid, was absent from the film, too.

Here's hoping for an extended cut on the blu-ray!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Preparing for JUSTICE LEAGUE: Characters and Questions

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on getting mentally prepared for Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder, from a story by Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio and a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (Warner Brothers Pictures).

There are no spoilers. This episode is written from the perspective of someone going in to see the film for the first time. The following topics are addressed:
  • Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
  • Arthur Curry / Aquaman
  • Barry Allen / The Flash
  • Victor Stone / Cyborg
  • Lois Lane / Ace Reporter
  • Clark Kent / Superman
  • Steppenwolf
  • 7 Major Questions on our Minds
Our detailed analysis will begin next week!

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd @NBego
@JLUPodcast on twitter

Short Recap of Batman v Superman:

<Transcript Below>

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Spoilerfree Reaction to the JUSTICE LEAGUE Fan Screening

Here's my reaction right after getting home from Justice League on November 13th, 2017.

Reviews will be released on the 14th and I am probably going to wait until the 17th or 18th to share my personal review. The @JLUPodcast analysis will get underway around the 19th. Right now, I'll just say that I think many people will be happy but for lovers of the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman trilogy-in-the-making, it's a bit of a disappointing conclusion. I will explain more of what I mean this weekend, but the good news is that I definitely want to see it again as soon as possible.

Also, all that fretting about the musical score over the last week or so was unnecessary. The score is not one of the main problems, in my opinion. It's not stellar, but it also doesn't hold the film back at all.

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 15

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 15 (Diana leaving Themyscira) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Diana's cloak and costume
  • Diana and Steve make a "deal"
  • The sailboat at the dock
  • Diana and Hippolyta say their farewells
  • "You may never return"
  • Reminder of the Ares mystery
  • Act 1 relationship building between Diana and Steve

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd
@JLUPodcast on Twitter

Man of Steel Answers:
Michael Schinke:

<Transcript Below>

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 14

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 14 (Diana and the tower) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Podcast updates and looking forward to Justice League
  • Diana's superhero moment of answering the call. -Patty Jenkins
  • Diana's leap (and the bull, aka Zeus?)
  • Emerging powers and connections to Man of Steel
  • Lasso, Shield, and the Godkiller sword
  • Thoughts from listeners -- Omesh Singh, Gustav Ramirez, and Wayne Buck

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd
@JLUPodcast on Twitter

Prepping for Justice League, BvS recap:

DC Cinematic Minute:

Supergirl Radio:

<Transcript below>

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Prepping for JUSTICE LEAGUE: What you need to know from Batman v Superman

This post is for people who are interested in Justice League -- the first live-action team up of iconic heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg -- but who either didn’t see Batman v Superman or aren’t quite sure what ideas to carry forward from that movie into the new one. I briefly cover everything you need to know from Batman v Superman, focusing primarily on the character arcs and mindsets of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, and the other heroes.
View this article on YouTube

Superman, Lois, and Lex

Clark Kent of course is Superman. Lois Lane knows this and the two of them are in a deeply committed relationship in Batman v Superman. A danger, however, is that Superman’s love for Lois can be used to draw Superman into compromising situations. Throughout the course of the movie, controversy begins to swirl around Superman and mankind becomes divided in their opinions of him. Some people worship him as a god, some are inspired by him as a hero, but other people come to resent him or hate him as an alien outsider, or they fear him because of his great power.

A lot of that controversy and hatred is stirred up by Lex Luthor, the brilliant billionaire CEO of his father’s LexCorp company. He orchestrates some tragic events linked to Superman and Lex manipulates the media and the masses and he preys upon their tendency to prejudge before all the facts are known. He stokes people’s fears of outsiders and he uses people’s private pains to manipulate them into directing their anger at Superman. All of this really hits Superman hard because he is just trying to help out as best he can, but the negative reactions make him wonder if he really is doing the right thing. The world of mankind seems to be a powerfully corrupting place.

All of this leads to the conclusion of the film where Lex Luthor thinks he has trapped Superman into a situation where he will be disgraced or killed, or both. But Superman finds a way to cut Lex’s gordian knot. The key is Lois Lane. Superman’s love for Lois and the fact that she loves him unconditionally gives him the strength and conviction to see his way out of Lex’s trap. Superman actually sacrifices his own life to stop the Doomsday monster Lex had created. This ultimate sacrifice confirms Superman’s inner goodness and wins the public’s adoration. Where Lex had been seeding fear and hatred, Superman’s actions resolved the controversies, and although he is no longer in the skies to protect Earth, he has inspired humanity and promoted self-sacrifice and love.

So going into Justice League, we can look for the continuing reverberations of Superman’s heroic sacrifice. And as for Clark Kent, we saw at the end of Batman v Superman that he had been intending to propose marriage to Lois, and she does actually receive the engagement ring from Clark’s adoptive mother, Martha Kent. Clark is buried there in Smallville, Kansas, though we get a strong hint that his Kryptonian cells are not dead and decomposing in the same way that human cells would be. And as for Lex Luthor, it’s important to note that before he was arrested, Lex managed to use Kryptonian technology to communicate with some potentially dangerous aliens and to tell them that Superman was no longer alive as Earth’s defender.

Batman and Wonder Woman

Moving on to Bruce Wayne. In Batman v Superman, he is in a very dark place. He has still not come to terms with the trauma of losing his parents, and then the arrival of Superman into the world heightens his feelings of powerlessness. Bruce is questioning whether his 20 years as Batman has really made much of a difference. From this damaged mindset, rather than coming to terms with his own issues, Bruce directs all his energy and anger toward Superman. He projects onto Superman the idea that everyone can eventually turn dark, and because Superman is so powerful, if that were to happen with Superman it would be an extremely dangerous situation. So Bruce takes it upon himself to secure kryptonite and destroy Superman, and in doing so, Bruce subconsciously hopes that he might relieve his feelings of powerlessness and finally do something that matters.

Throughout Batman v Superman, Bruce falls deeper and deeper into this negative mindset and it seems like he might even pull Superman down into a similar mindset, but thankfully, before it is too late, Bruce has a moment of realization where it dawns on him that he is becoming more like the criminal who killed his parents rather than a hero who would save them. And so instead of taking out Superman, Bruce is actually able to use his abilities as Batman to save Martha Kent, Clark’s mother. Bruce comes to see multiple aspects of Clark / Superman and understands that he is not the threat he had presumed him to be, and at the end of the movie, Superman’s sacrifice confirms that Bruce had been wrong about him and inspires Bruce to become a better man.

So overall, in Batman v Superman, Bruce went through a dark time and he became very isolated, but by the end of the movie, he is recommitted to the good fight and is ready to work well with others again. In particular, Bruce starts sharing with Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Diana has a small but important part in Batman v Superman. She is a mysterious antiques dealer who is interested in Lex Luthor because Lex had been digging around in her past. Bruce is intrigued by Diana for multiple reasons and in the final battle of the movie she drops in as Wonder Woman to save Bruce’s life. She then joins the fight alongside Superman and Batman and is also affected emotionally by Superman’s death.

If you want to know more about Diana’s mysterious past, you can watch this summer’s Wonder Woman film. But for Justice League, the main thing you need to know is that she has started to form a bond of respect with Bruce and they have a conversation at the end of Batman v Superman about the possibility of them working together to protect mankind in Superman’s absence.

Other Heroes and Final Comments

The final thing you need to know from Batman v Superman in order to be ready for Justice League is that there are some other super-powered beings on Earth besides Superman and Wonder Woman. Lex Luthor had been gathering information on as many so-called meta-humans as he could, and he found evidence of Aquaman down in the ocean, of Cyborg -- a young man who’s head and torso were fused together with a piece of alien technology called a motherbox, and of the Flash, who has super-speed and who also seems to eventually gain the ability to time travel. There was a scene with the Flash in Batman v Superman where he seems to come back from the future to warn Bruce about something, and Bruce has a vision of winged aliens and an Omega symbol across a wasteland that used to be Gotham City and Metropolis. That vision of alien destruction will still be on Bruce’s mind, I’m sure, in Justice League.

So that’s a quick rundown of some of the important, character-based information from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And I hope this helps you enjoy Justice League. You can find more coverage of the Warner Brothers DC Films on this blog or on the Justice League Universe podcast.

Monday, October 9, 2017

New Justice League Trailer Confirms the Centrality of Batman v Superman

Recently, a writer at Vulture tried to make the case that Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment were pivoting decidedly away from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This writer did include excerpts from interviews with Diane Nelson and Geoff Johns, but as the Suicide Squadcast pointed out, those excerpts were couched in an editorialized piece that seemed to be trying quite hard to draw a "DC is successful everywhere except the movies" narrative.

So where can fans of Batman v Superman (like us!) look if they want to actually find out whether or not BvS is being thrown under the bus as the cinematic Justice League Universe moves forward? One place to look is the new trailer for Justice League. And there we can see many, many clear indications that BvS is being honored and maintained as the centerpiece of the universe thus far.

Justice League Heroes Trailer Connections to BvS

First of all, the beautiful opening scene of the trailer builds right off of the relationship between Clark and Lois that was integral to the BvS story. It is also set on the Kent farm, which was the location for the closing sequence of BvS. And if that wasn't enough already, this scene also shows that Justice League will be following up on both of the threads leftover from BvS -- a lot of attention has been given to the death and return of Superman, which is very important, of course, but there is also the thread of Lois's engagement to a postmortem Clark. It is now clear that that will be sincerely handled in Justice League, and the trailer made this explicit connection by even including footage from BvS. (And by including the beautifully poignant Clark Kent theme by Hans Zimmer.)

Speaking of Superman's death, that was the heartbreaking conclusion of his arc in BvS and of course it will play a big part in Justice League. We get several indications of this in the new trailer, both visually, metaphorically (with Superman representing "hope"), through Bruce's dialogue ("The world needs Superman"), and again with direct callbacks to BvS ("If you seek his monument...").
Bruce, in this trailer, also talks specifically about the promise that he made to Superman, referring to the ending of BvS where he said that he "won't fail him in death," as Bruce rededicated himself to being a better hero and a better man.

Another connection that is fairly specific to this Heroes Trailer is the reference to Bruce's dream, aka the Knightmare sequence in BvS. Bruce talks about his dream ("It was the end of the world"), and yes, the parademons are back! But this narration shows that the vision he had in BvS will be explicitly included in Justice League.

Speaking of dreams, it also seems as though Snyder's narrative device of using dreams to reveal aspects of character's inner strife will continue in Justice League, at least with Lois Lane, if not others as well.

There also seem to be some direct visual echoes from Batman v Superman, that will make for a great cohesion between the films when we have Snyder's complete trilogy. And there is also the continuity of costume design, obviously, and the inclusion of BvS vehicles even beyond the batmobile, such as a new appearance of the batwing VTOL aircraft.

Finally, although this was already clear from prior trailers, we will definitely have the continuing growth of the relationship between Bruce and Diana, which began so superbly in Batman v Superman as Bruce met someone who was unlike anyone else he had ever known before, and who's mysteriousness intrigued his detective-oriented self. They will not only partner up to recruit the team but will also move forward substantially in terms of how they fight together.

We could go on, but those are some of the connections that stick out to me based on this new trailer. The links between the two movies -- Justice League and BvS -- clearly go much deeper than just the teases in BvS of Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash.

So having identified these strong connections between Justice League and BvS, who should we believe -- the blogger from Vulture, or the actual footage that we see with our own eyes, that was cut together by WB's professional marketing team to promote the forthcoming blockbuster?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wonder Woman Commentary

This special episode of the Justice League Universe podcast features our Wonder Woman team's commentary on the film directed by Patty Jenkins and released by Warner Brothers pictures. Included in this commentary are Sam (@ottensam), Alessandro (@raveryn), Rebecca (@derbykid), and Sydney (@wondersyd).

We start with some initial chatter about our reactions to the film but then we synchronize to the film at the 17 second mark, right when the WB logo disappears to black.

See also our other DCEU commentaries: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 13

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 13 (Diana and Steve in the infirmary) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Epione notices Diana's healing
  • Building up the Steve-Diana relationship
  • Production design and luminescent water
  • Reversing cinematic gender roles
  • The watch and the time theme
  • Steve and his father (foreshadowing Steve's death)
  • Amazons as a bridge (connection with Man of Steel)
  • MAJOR THEME: Do something
  • Steve's "do something" message resonates with Diana
  • Movement and editing
  • Steve the reluctant hero (from Wayne Buck)

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

DC Cinematic Minute:
I Love That Movie, The Big Lebowski:

<Transcript below>

Monday, September 4, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 12

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 12 (Diana and Hippolyta debate after the throne room interrogation) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Amazonian leadership and forms of input
  • Diana thinks it's Ares and the Germans
  • Hippolyta puts Diana down in her place
  • Hippolyta says to "do nothing"
  • Connections to the DCEU - parenting and optimism

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scenes 10-11

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on scenes 10 (Steve's lasso interrogation) and 11 (Steve's spy mission) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Using film, production design for the throne room
  • Flow and questions answered
  • Lasso of Hestia
  • Diana and Hippolyta's reactions to Steve's testimony
  • Weapons manufacturing in Turkey
  • First glimpses of General Ludendorff and Doctor Maru
  • Steve's escape and airplane flight
  • Hippolyta's fears
  • Returning to some past critiques of scenes in the DCEU

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

Available on YouTube:


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Suicide Squad Anniversary Special

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast features some final thoughts about Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, and then we answer a series of questions from listeners, covering the future of the DCEU, the history of the podcast, and other topics like comics and television.

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @wondersyd @NBego @derbykid

@JLUPodcast on Twitter

Listen to our prior anniversary special for Batman v Superman: 

Friday, August 4, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 44-45

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast closes out our analysis of Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer. It includes Rick Flag saving June Moon and the denouement with the squad back at Belle Reve.

  • Rick Flag and June Moon are reunited
  • Waller is still alive and negotiates with the squad
  • Zoe and Floyd love each other
  • Things have changed at Belle Reve
  • The Joker breaks in to break Harley out
  • Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne compete in league formation

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 42-43

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 42 (battling Incubus) and Scene 43 (battling Enchantress) of Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer.

  • Diablo meeting Enchantress
  • Diablo's people, his new family
  • Incubus, the unsurprising surprise
  • Killer Croc below and Katana saving Boomerang
  • Diablo shows who he really is
  • Minor editing critiques
  • Diablo and GQ sacrifices
  • Enchantress reverts to her smokey form
  • Final fight in the fog
  • Harley Quinn's con
  • Hate turns to love
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego

Available on YouTube: 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scenes 8-9

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins. We cover scene 8 (Diana and Steve's dialogue on the beach) and scene 9 (battle on the beach).

  • Blockbuster movie formula - inciting incident
  • Angelic imagery of Diana
  • Diana's first encounter with a real man
  • Heinberg on The Little Mermaid
  • The simplicity of good guys and bad guys
  • Battle on the beach, Amazon cavalry
  • Patty Jenkins' use of slo-mo
  • Hippolyta and Antiope in the fight
  • Antiope dies, her relationship with Menalippe
  • Diana's grieving
  • Amazonian clothing

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd
American Cinematographer:  


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

JUSTICE LEAGUE Comic-Con Sneak Peek Reaction

Jason Book and I share what we consider to be the best aspects of the Justice League (Warner Bros., directed by Zack Snyder) sneak peek footage that was released at Comic-Con.

We touch on the tone, visual style, Jack Kirby inspiration, characters, themes, and more, including a comparison to the art of Frazetta. The video closes with a list of interesting questions raised by the clip.

Here is the official footage from Warner Brothers:

Monday, July 24, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 39-41

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, scene 39 (the squad's strut down the street), scene 40 (preparing for the final showdown), and scene 41 (visions from Enchantress).

  • The Squad's epic strutting
  • Killer Croc going with the SEALs
  • Katana and her husband's soul
  • Boomerang and Katana
  • Visions from Enchantress
  • Deadshot kills Batman, Harley and Joker domesticized, Flag and June, Diablo owns his past
  • Poor editing

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego


Thursday, July 20, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 35-38

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, scene 35 (Harley reunited with the Squad), scene 36 (Enchantress reunited with her heart), scene 37 (Deadshot finding the binder), and scene 38 (the bar scene).

  • Harley in the rain and a crack in her facade
  • The team accepts Harley back, no questions asked
  • Enchantress and Waller, tables turned
  • Deadshot and the squad learn that Waller and Flag are behind the crisis
  • The squad follows Deadshot into the bar
  • Honor among thieves
  • Diablo's backstory and Harley's tough love
  • Flag opens up and releases his leverage
  • The squad's true formation
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego


Monday, July 17, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 7

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 7 of Wonder Woman, which is Diana's diving rescue of Steve Trevor.

  • Remarks about last WW episode
  • Diana's training outfit
  • The first time she turns her face toward the sky
  • Diana's dive
  • Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)
  • Diana rescuing Steve, Angel imagery
  • Musical cue with the new Diana theme
  • The Germans finding the island
  • Garden of Eden
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd


Thursday, July 13, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 31-34

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, scene 31 (the Waller twist), scene 32 (shootout with the Joker), scene 33 (Harley and Joker reunited), and scene 34 (Waller gets captured).

  • Twist - it's Waller!
  • Waller's excitement over Enchantress's army
  • The Joker arrives and Harley is rescued
  • Deadshot makes a choice - friends over leverage
  • The Joker and Harley reunited (briefly)
  • Waller gets another helo and gets captured

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Future of the Warner Brothers' DCEU

Jason Book and I discuss the potential slate of movies post-Aquaman in the DCEU Justice League Universe from Warner Brothers.

We touch on the following films:
The Flash
Gotham City Sirens
The Batman
Suicide Squad 2

Wonder Woman 2
Man of Steel 2
Green Lantern Corp

Justice League Dark
Shazam/Black Adam

Just for pure fun, below is my rough prediction of the DCEU order of release:

Monday, July 10, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 28-30

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, Scene 28 (Harley in the elevator), Scene 29 (Ostrander office building fight), and Scene 30 (Harley's flashback acid bath).

  • Enchantress dancing (revisited)
  • Harley on the elevator
  • Bruce Timm comments on Harley unpredictability
  • Harley hotpants
  • Critique of editing for the office fight
  • El Diablo finally unleashes
  • Harley and Joker acid bath

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego

Bruce Timm -
Reedited Harley and Joker scene -
50 Things Good About BvS -

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review of BATMAN 25: Jokes and Riddles Part 1

Jason Book and I discuss issue #25 of Batman (DC Comics), by Tom King, Mikel Janin, and June Chung. This is part one of the "War of Jokes and Riddles" story arc.

Overall, we thought this was a very effective kick-off to the story and it has the potential to be a modern classic in terms of the Riddler character. We also like the narrative structure tying the current events of Bruce and Selina with these past events that took place after Zero Year in Scott Snyder's run on Batman.

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scenes 5-6

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on scene 5 (adolescent Diana training) and scene 6 (adult Diana training and the bracelet blast) of Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Revisiting the gods on Mount Olympus
  • Legends of the Amazons
  • Diana at "age 12"
  • Diana not being allowed to speak
  • Hippolyta and Antiope's debate
  • Adult training - foreshadowing of future events
  • Things aren't fair
  • Gal Gadot's first appearance on Themyscira
  • Bracelet (aka gauntlet, aka vambrace) blast
  • How did our anticipations for the film hold up in hindsight?
CONTRIBUTORS: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

MoS as birth of Superman:

<Transcript below>

Thursday, June 29, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 26-27

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 26 (Enchantress converting the Bravo team into Eyes of the Adversary) and Scene 27 (approaching the Ostrander building) of Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer.

  • The squad still follows Flag's orders
  • Checking in on Bravo team
  • Enchantress's kiss and the Eyes of the Adversary
  • Harley's smash and grab
  • Deadshot's reminder of his daughter
  • John F. Ostrander Federal Building
  • Awkward editing
  • Amanda Waller as the unknown objective
  • DCEU thoughts about gods and saving humanity

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @NBego

<Transcript below>

Monday, June 26, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scenes 3-4

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 3 (Mount Olympus history lesson) and Scene 4 (gifts of the gods) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Diana's bedroom
  • Hippolyta and the merits of fighting and war
  • History lesson -- the Greek Gods
  • Ares and Zeus (but no goddesses)
  • George Perez Gods and Mortals
  • Musical hints of Superman
  • Diana begins her training
  • Many gifts from the Gods

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

Myth of redemptive violence:
Lakoff paternal vs. maternal:

<Transcript below>

Monday, June 19, 2017

Superhero Origin Films: Box Office Performance

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, has been making headlines not only because of its domestic opening over $100 Million, but also because of its astoundingly good performance in subsequent weekends. Rather than the typical superhero drop of 55-70% for the second weekend (because superhero fans often come out in hordes on opening weekend), Wonder Woman fell only 43%!!! This speaks to positive word-of-mouth and also a general appeal to all ages and to people who don't always come out for superhero movies. Throughout the weekdays, Wonder Woman was also consistently surpassing previous hit superhero films, and now its third weekend posted a mere 30% decline. This is incredible staying power on the domestic side, boosted somewhat by Pirates 5 having an underwhelming run in the U.S. If Transformers 5 also lightens up a bit in the U.S. compared to previous installments, then Wonder Woman will run strong through to the arrival of Spider-Man Homecoming. (Pirates 5 and Transformers 5 are bigger hits internationally, and that might be part of why Wonder Woman is rocking the States even harder than it's rocking the international box office.)

How does Wonder Woman's incredible box office run thus far compare with other recent superhero origin films? I am a mathematics educator by profession, so I enjoy seeing data visually. Here is a depiction of Wonder Woman's domestic box office tally compared to the six solo origin films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the other solo origin film in the DCEU (Man of Steel) and, to give us a sense of the top end, I've also included the runaway hit, Deadpool from Fox.

NOTE: This graph, with dollars in millions, shows the accumulation for the first 24 days of release, and then I included the final domestic total at the far right.

Notice that, for the opening weekend, Wonder Woman behaved very much like typical box office contour, tracking right along with Iron Man. But then right away on its first weekdays, we can see that Wonder Woman is doing something different than usual -- it slashes upward, bringing in higher rates each day and then for the second and third weekend, allowing it to move from the middle of the pack all the way up to Deadpool's heels (and Deadpool also had very strong legs). If Wonder Woman can keep up its pace for another week or so, we should already see it surpass Deadpool's domestic total at that point in it's run. I suspect that this will happen by Thursday, June 22nd. From then onward, if it can at least hold as well as Deadpool did, it will surpass $365 Million in the U.S. for a worldwide total of at least $730 Million. (Shameless self-promotion: back in February I predicted $725 Million for Wonder Woman.)

For those of you who enjoy more of the details of Hollywood accounting, join me below the fold.

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 2

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Wonder Woman, Scene 2 (Young Diana running through Themyscira and observing the Amazon warriors).

  • Diana famous?
  • Themyscira production design - nature and curves
  • Young Diana in the marketplace
  • Women of Color in the movie
  • Amazon warrior training
  • Diana's leap before she looks
  • Antiope and Hippolyta initial tension
  • Connections to the original comic book issues
  • Some new observations about MoS and BvS

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd

Our preview episode about Wonder Woman: critique of POC in Wonder Woman:

Vero Post about MoS and BvS:

<Transcript below>

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Wonder Woman Scene 1

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on scene 1 (Opening at the Louvre) of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.

  • Diana's opening narration (the world, lessons learned, and facing the truth)
  • Antiques dealer in the Louvre
  • Delivery from Wayne Enterprises
  • Connections to Batman v Superman
  • Connections to the DCEU overall
  • Why was Wonder Woman better received than BvS?
  • Text about the Mona Lisa from
Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd


DC TV Podcasts fundraiser for WWF:

Themes in the DCEU:
BvS by the formula:

<Transcript below>

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Themes and Characters in WONDER WOMAN

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast includes our preliminary analysis of the overarching themes and character development. Beginning at 47:31, we also each share some thoughts about a moment from the film that was particularly meaningful to us.

Contributors: @ottensam @raveryn @derbykid @wondersyd


Our BvS analysis:

Naive or dumb:


Saturday, June 3, 2017


Jason Book and I discuss Wonder Woman from Warner Brothers pictures, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. We stay spoiler free for the first 10 minutes and then touch on some spoilers for the last 5 minutes. (These is a verbal and visible warning in the video.)

Detailed analysis will get underway soon on the Justice League Universe podcast:

EDIT: Detailed analysis is underway now!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 24-25

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Suicide Squad, scene 24 (the first fight with the Eyes of the Adversary) and scene 25 (the aftermath of that first fight).

  • Katana's scars and kintsugi
  • Katana trained by Batman?
  • Eyes of the Adversary
  • Deadshot as the leader of Task Force X
  • Everyone's slo-mo moment
  • Deadshot doesn't cut and run
  • Diablo is not the fire bloke anymore
  • Are people still people? Can people change?
  • Flag still values duty over humanity

@JLUPodcast @raveryn @NBego


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Vague Review of WONDER WOMAN (No Spoilers)

I was lucky enough to attend the Wonder Woman fan screening on May 24th (here's me showing off my free poster), and now that the review embargo has lifted (critical reception seems positive), I wanted to briefly share my reactions. I am not going to give much detail at all in this post because I plan to have a spoilerfree conversation about the movie with Jason Book on June 3rd (here's us getting ready for Wonder Woman), and then the @JLUPodcast team will begin our detailed analysis by June 5th (here are our preliminary thoughts). So all I want to do right now is share in vague terms some of my reactions to my first viewing of the film.

First of all, the screening that I attended was a full house and the audience ranged in age from 4 to 84, and we appeared to be very racially diverse as well. Most of the audience was Wonder Woman fans who jumped on the opportunity for tickets like I did --- there were cosplayers and several sets of father/daughters, which was great to see. But there was also a substantial portion of the audience who were local members of the theater's mailing list who come to lots of free screenings, so they were there for a free move, not necessarily because it was a Wonder Woman movie. Even with this large amount of diversity, the film seemed to be received really well. Act 1 seemed to have everyone engrossed in the beautiful visuals and the introductions to the characters. There was a lot of laughter to accompany the humorous elements of Act 1, and there was still some solid humor in Act 2 as well. The filmmakers found great ways to weave the humor into the story -- it did not seem forced and it always fit the situation (e.g., not taking away from tension or action), and it actually came from a few different sources -- not only Etta Candy, but Steve Trevor and his crew, and even Diana in certain moments. The audience settled in more for the action of Act 3, which ratcheted up really well from the action of Act 2 -- there was good pacing, throughout. After the movie, my read of the room was that the Wonder Woman fans were basically over the moon with the experience while some of the general fans were pleased but perhaps not blown away. I talked to a few people and they all said they liked it, but it wasn't always effusive praise.

As for myself, I am currently giving the film an 8 out of 10 and I immediately had a strong desire to see it again (which I will do this weekend!). It does many, many things very effectively:
  • Strong development of characters, especially Diana and Steve, with good performances from the actors;
  • Compelling and memorable settings that are not just locations for action but also connect in to the messages of the movie;
  • Good pacing of the actions scenes where they all have a purpose and meaning;
  • Good choreography and execution of the actions scenes (there were only 3-4 brief moments where the CGI distracted me, but overall they were visual delights);
  • Wonderful musical score that fits well with the action and the visual style of the movie (only one scene stuck out to me as having mismatched, distracting music);
  • Awesome costumes; and
  • Coherent themes and some very well written connections across the movie, such as between elements and characters in Act 1 and then some contrasting counterparts in later parts of the movie.
The fact that the movie has coherent themes, which are developed across characters, plot, and visual elements, is very exciting for me and I can't wait to analyze them further. The only drawback here is that in a couple spots the writing became a bit too explicit for my taste, and I think the themes, though coherent, are perhaps not as multi-layered as certain masterpieces. But the upside to this is that the story and the messages are quite straigthforward, thus very palatable to a general audience. And the character of Diana / Wonder Woman was handled with remarkable care and there are a couple truly amazing scenes (interestingly, the two scenes that emotionally affected me the most were in Act 2 rather than Act 3, but I can't say anything more about that yet).

Overall, there is a lot to love about this movie. My wife and I, on the 90-minute drive home, talked about Wonder Woman the whole way, and we only spent about 5 minutes talking about negative aspects. There is much more to be positive about than negative, and I think we will see that in the general reaction this weekend. I can't wait to talk about this film with others, and I think the word-of-mouth will be strong.