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.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wonder Woman Preparations

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on our preparations for the Wonder Woman film (Warner Bros.), directed by Patty Jenkins. It features the new Wonder Woman analysis team of @ottensam, @raveryn, @derbykid, and @wondersyd.

  • William Moulton Marston's creation of Wonder Woman
  • Historical context of World War 1
  • Women's suffrage and equity
  • Potential topics and themes for the film
  • Character arcs to look for
  • Questions we have going into the movie

@JLUPodcast on Twitter


Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Spoilerfree Reaction to the WONDER WOMAN Fan Screening

Here's my reaction right after getting home from Wonder Woman on May 24th, 2017.

We were asked not to post reviews until Tuesday, so all I will say right now is that I really liked it and can't wait to analyze it. My wife also really liked it, and the theater we were in was very diverse and the reactions seemed to be good. I think it will have a pretty broad appeal and the word of mouth should be positive once it opens.
Here are some thoughts that I had before seeing the movie: 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Top 5 Things to Look Forward to in WONDER WOMAN

Jason Book and I discuss what we are looking forward to in the forthcoming Wonder Woman film from Warner Brothers studios, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot.

Monday, May 22, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 22-23

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 22 (Katana and the Chinook ride) and Scene 23 (Slipknot mind games) of Suicide Squad.

  • Condolences to the Snyder family
  • "This is Katana"
  • "Pretty lights" in Midway City
  • Deadshot and Flag's rivalry
  • Chinook crash
  • Slipknot's moment
  • Deadshot and Harley's budding friendship
  • 3 Critiques of Suicide Squad (and remedies)
Thanks to Alessandro Maniscalco

Suicide Squadcast, Man of Steel Answers
@JLUPodcast on Twitter


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review of THE BUTTON: Batman and the Flash

Jason Book and I discuss The Button from DC Comics, written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King, with art by Jason Fabok, Howard Porter, Brad Anderson, and HiFi.

Overall, we really enjoyed the story and are completely intrigued by the narrative threads that began with the DC Rebirth Special, but we do have to wait until Fall to get the full answers we were looking for.

Monday, May 8, 2017

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Suicide Squad Scenes 20-21

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 20 (Enchantress and Incubus wreaking havoc in Midway City) and Scene 21 (the squad's formation at the airport evacuation site) of Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer.

Thanks to Alessandro Maniscalco

Suicide Squadcast, Man of Steel Answers
Follow us @JLUPodcast on twitter
Rebecca Johnson -


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review of the KRYPTON Teaser

Jason Book and I discuss the teaser trailer for the Syfy show KRYPTON. So far the show has a pilot order but not yet a series order. It will follow the family and political dynamics on Krypton during the era of Kal-El's grandfather. It is co-created by David Goyer, the writer of Man of Steel and the co-writer of Batman v Superman.

Here is the teaser from Syfy:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Anticipating Wonder Woman: Inspirations

Jason Book and I discuss some of the sources of inspiration that the new Wonder Woman film (Warner Brothers, directed by Patty Jenkins) might be drawing from. We touch on past films, the TV show, comics, and more.

Previous discussion of Wonder Woman: