Saturday, December 23, 2017

Movie Reception and Follow-Up Success: A Correlational Analysis

There has been a great deal of conversation among the superhero fan community about the reasons behind Justice League's underperformance at the box office. It is currently on its way to $650+ Million worldwide, which will place it as the 12th biggest movie of the year -- nothing to scoff at, but everyone agrees this is a disappointment.

What we don't agree about is the root cause(s) of the disappointment. There are two main contentions that I want to address in this post.

Contention A: Justice League is underperforming because Warner Brothers executives inserted themselves into the creative process, enacting reshoots (and a new score) that changed the tone of the film and altered characters in ways that betrayed the loyal fans of prior DCEU movies. Thus the fanbase is disappointed with the film (i.e., not giving it as much business) and the rushed final production resulted in an inferior film, which explains the relatively low box office totals. People in this camp are quick to point out that prior DCEU movies, even those that were critically maligned, earned more money at the box office than Justice League.

Contention B: Justice League is underperforming because the mixed reception of Man of Steel and the generally negative reaction to Batman v Superman have finally caught up to WB. A substantial portion of the general audience stayed home from Justice League because they either watched BvS once and didn't care for it or they never saw BvS and just accepted the pervasive notion that it was an overblown, poor-quality movie. (If you read this blog or listen to my podcast, then you know I wholeheartedly disagree with this assessment. I think BvS is a brilliant and well-executed film, but I've heard countless times at work, in stores, on TV, and even in political discourse people stating as an accepted fact that BvS is a bad film.) What about the higher performance of past DCEU films? Well, these were benefiting from the good will of prior films, particularly The Dark Knight trilogy (Batman and Joker boosted BvS and Suicide Squad both) and also Man of Steel to an extent (MoS was better received across the board than BvS, although not as universally praised as TDK).

Of course, the above are simplifications and many complex factors are at play, but the descriptions will suffice for the purposes here. What I decided to do for this post was actually test these two contentions statistically. This is just a rough-and-dirty correlational analysis, but I think it is revealing. And one of the contentions certainly does come out ahead.

What I decided to do was collect 22 film pairs (22 originals and 22 follow-ups, though the two sets are not mutually exclusive) in the modern superhero-movie era and investigate which of the following factors was most strongly correlated with the follow-up movie's box office performance:
  • Predictive Variables
    • Original film total box office
    • Original film Cinemascore
    • Original film user rating
    • Follow-up film Cinemascore
    • Follow-up film user rating
  • Outcome Variables
    • Follow-up film opening weekend
    • Follow-up film total box office
For consistent comparisons, all box office numbers are in the U.S. User ratings were taken from Metacritic. I didn't include critic scores because I'm tired of critics and I think they have too much power as it is, so I don't want to give them further attention. Full disclosure: I came into this analysis suspecting that Contention B has more merit than Contention A, primarily because Justice League's opening days were already substantially lower than expected, before any of its perceived flaws or its own word-of-mouth could take off. Moreover, millions of people seeing BvS and a year-and-a-half of nonstop online coverage and BvS-word-of-mouth seems like it would be more potent than a Justice League marketing campaign. But even though Contention B was my hypothesis going in, I chose the list of 22 film pairs a priori and did not add or remove any films to attempt to shift the results. I just ran the correlations and am reporting them now.

Note: I am using BvS, rather than Wonder Woman, as the lead-in for Justice League because the continuity of Superman, Batman, Zack Snyder, and the crew all indicate a close link between those films. The coverage of Wonder Woman over the summer also made it seem like its own entry in the superhero film landscape, and the announcement of a separate Wonder Woman sequel made it clear, and I think it was clear in the mind of the general audience, that fans of Wonder Woman should stay tuned for that direct sequel, while Justice League is a continuation of BvS.

Correlational Results

First of all, a follow-up's total box office is positively correlated with the original's box office. This makes sense, of course, and is why studios love producing sequels to successful films. The correlation coefficient in this case is 0.485, so that gives us somewhat of a benchmark for comparison. (The outlier visible at the top, by the way, is The Dark Knight, which performed much higher than expected given the modest box office of Batman Begins. Though, as a preview of results below, Batman Begins was highly regarded by audiences.)

Correlation: 0.485

Now, if Contention A is true, then a follow-up film's own Cinemascore and user ratings should be highly correlated with its box office performance. That would explain at least a substantial portion of Justice League's underperformance because it has only a B+ Cinemscore and a 6.9 user rating -- not bad but not especially good either.

However, looking across the 22 follow-up films in my sample, a follow-up's Cinemascore is weakly correlated with its final box office (0.263) and almost not related to its opening weekend at all (0.161). The user ratings tell a similar story, though they are slightly more correlated. Follow-up user ratings to final box office have a correlation of 0.415 and user ratings to opening weekend have a correlation of 0.373.

Correlation: 0.161

So overall we can say that a follow-up's opening weekend performance has very little to do with its own audience reception or word-of-mouth. This makes sense because, as I said before, it has just been released and so hasn't had any time to build up its word of mouth. Yet even the final box office total of a follow-up film is only moderately correlated to its Cinemascore and user rating.

On the other hand, if Contention B is true, then we would expect a follow-up's film to be more strongly correlated with the original's Cinemascore and user ratings. In other words, if people were left with a positive feeling about a movie, then they're going to be more likely to head to the theater to see the follow up. And indeed, that's exactly what the data show. For these 22 superhero film follow-ups, the original film's Cinemascore and user rating was more strongly correlated with their success. For original film Cinemascore, the correlation to follow-up opening weekend was 0.531 and to total box office was 0.524. For original film user ratings, the correlation to follow-up opening weekend is 0.528 and to total box office was 0.483. Each of these correlations is higher than its counterpart from the follow-up itself; that is, by all measures, the original is more predictive of follow-up performance than the follow-up is for itself.

Correlation: 0.528


As I wrote earlier, this is a quick-and-dirty analysis so obviously it doesn't prove anything, but the evidence here clearly supports Contention B over Contention A. Justice League seems to be suffering more from BvS's B Cinemascore (tied for the lowest in my entire set) and BvS's 7.0 user rating (bottom third) more than from its own merits or faults. Now, these correlations between the original film and the follow-up performance still leave a lot of variability to be explained by other factors, so this is certainly not the entire story, and one could still argue that if Justice League had been a better film itself, it could've overcome the drag of BvS. But the data indicates that that probably wouldn't have happened opening weekend anyway, because a follow-up film's own merits don't really seem to kick in until the second weekend and beyond.

But when told that BvS dampened Justice League's box office performance, some people might say, "That doesn't make sense, because BvS made quite a bit more money than Justice League is making." To this I would say notice that the correlation between original reception and follow-up success is actually stronger than the correlation between original box office and follow-up success. In other words, even if tons of people saw the original movie, if they weren't that thrilled with it the follow-up can underperform. This happened with TMNT: Out of the Shadows and Transformers: The Last Knight, and it is happening with Justice League too.

To close, I just want to make clear that although I like Justice League quite well, this post is not meant to be taken as an endorsement of WB's interference. I personally would've much preferred Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio's original vision for the film. But I also think -- and the data supports -- that WB was facing an uphill climb at the box office regardless of whether they instituted reshoots or not, because of the divisive/derided films leading into Justice League. Because that challenge was going to be there regardless, WB probably would've been wise to save the money they spent on the reshoots because the changes failed to turn it into a universally acclaimed film. But superhero production budgets are a topic for another post.

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: