Monday, July 16, 2018

On A Positive Note...

Weekend Enjoyment

Anyway, I hope that it was a good weekend for everyone else in Internet land and everywhere else peaceful (unless of course you were video gaming) in the world. I did get a chance to see some good ASMR this weekend as well, I watched a movie that I'd been waiting to see for some time written by one of my favourite authors of all time: Stephen King. The movie of course was It, based upon his book of the same name. I read it years ago just after reading Tommyknockers (for the book click here) though I can't remember which one came first.

It was a phenomenal adaption, both scary and inspiring bringing back memories of having watched Stand By Me in terms of the atmosphere of growing up. The cast turned in great performances, with Bill SkarsgĂ„rd revitalizing and reinterpreting Tim Curry's performance of Pennywise The Clown. The movie certainly was not rushed in terms of its story, and movie goer and reader alike will be delighted to be rewarded with their faith by the end of the movie.

I recently saw Wonder Woman followed by Superman Versus Batman. Wonder Woman was an awesome movie that totally restored my faith in the DC Cinematic Universe. Don't get me wrong, I thought Man Of Steel was a good reinvention of the Superman mythos giving it a decidedly big twist from the Christopher Reeve Superman (whom for me is the ideal Superman).

With Christopher Reeve's Superman, he came to Earth and much like pseudo Christian folklore restored humanity's faith and perhaps their own covenant. Henry Cavill's Superman is much different and I am more referencing the character that the actor has to work with rather than the actor himself. His Superman has a debt to pay to Earth, for the destruction caused by his war with the eugenics favouring Kryptonian family nemeses: General Zod. Essentially much different than Christopher Reeve's Superman mythos which was closer to the original Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel origin story.

Bringing a myth to life on the big screen is a difficult task, for it involves overlaying the mythos onto whatever current social issues and challenges there may be in society at the time so that audiences can identify with the theme relevantly. These challenges change from generation to generation and that is what defines each generation, and powers its art and inspiration. It is no small feat for any creative person to bind the two worlds together so that the audience has something with which to relate. Wonder Woman did this perfectly like a masterpiece for the genre of film that it is. It is easily up there with others like X2: X-Men United, Spiderman 2, The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America: Civil War, The Dark Knight and Captain America (with which it shares many quips and easter eggs by the way).

After seeing Superman Versus Batman, I'm somewhat more forgiving of Ben Affleck's Batman than I initially was and with justification. I think that Ben Affleck did well with what he had to work with and that the movie was missing some key pieces to bind it together (maybe they're on the editing room floor?). There wasn't enough of a justification and build up for the two heroes to go toe to toe. It needed a bit more than the Heath Ledger-ish Joker looking Lex Luthor to pit the two of them against one another. Lex should have been good looking, charismatic and a genius rather than a sniveling scheming genius, though that is no fault of the actor Jesse Eisenberg. His weakness of course would be his enormous ego and his lack of hubris. A Lex Luthor who could have run for Office if he'd so chosen. Personally I would have written the whole Lex Luthor character to have been good looking, charismatic and with his baldness resulting from messing around with Kryptonite and Kryptonian DNA. Something that would have later fuelled his hatred for Superman as for men, losing one's hair is a battle for one's masculinity which can often drive the ego. With the loss of his hair, to him that would have gone a long way to losing his youthful masculinity as a result of Superman's presence on Earth. Not the core motivation for his hatred of Superman, but certainly a factor. Instead it seems that Batman ended up with that sort of an edge to his ego unfortunately.

Batman I'd have written a lot more as a quiet intellect and detective than a violent brute. Don't get me wrong, he would have had prime fighting skills to the best that a human being can possibly be, but his strength is not his brawn. Its his brain, technical savvy, deductive reasoning and his sense of perseverance. Ben Affleck could have played that type of role effectively, as the strong silent type with well crafted lines that hinted at his true potential. A lot of time focusing on acting with the eyes with and without the mask inspired by Michael Keaton's brilliant performance decades earlier.

Henry Cavill's role in the movie was about where it should have been given the introduction he'd been given in Man Of Steel. He works great as Clark Kent and so does Amy Adams as Lois Lane. She actually binds the whole thing together with the help of Gal Godot, whom I nearly cheered for when she arrived onscreen. A good movie all in all but I think that they could have done better if they focused more on character development, especially for Batman. The most interesting things about Superheroes rarely has anything to do with their superpowers, and more so has to do with their persona and how they deal with the challenges presented them. With Batman you want to keep the audience always wondering: where is he? what is he thinking? In a sense Batman's character almost always should be seen from the POV of the villains with little hint at his tactics or current whereabouts. Bruce Wayne should be the source of every clue with regard to Batman's motivations through his investigative efforts so that audiences are piecing together the mystery with him, while still befuddled when Batman shows up on screen. Instead, once again, Superman was given this presence when in fact it should have been Superman that was except for his alter ego, an open book.

So with Justice League coming out on TMN tomorrow, I think that I'll be watching it. I'm hoping that it manages to give back some dignity to the heroes and the characters more so than the last few times out at the box office. Let's face it, The Avengers, The Dark Knight, Wonder Woman and Christopher Reeve's Superman are hard acts to follow. I hope they do find their stride and a much like Wonder Woman did, a place where their mythos finds a home within a resounding challenge in society.

One thing that I will note is that when in Wonder Woman, she finally takes on her enigmatic super powered persona, I felt a sense of anticipation at what it would feel like to see The Butterfly Dragon from my book Heroes Of Our Own, make her debut on the big screen. Perhaps a dream that is a little of a ways off and perhaps one that might never be, but still a kind of fantasy. To see someone who essentially has lived in your words and your head come to life. Perhaps defending what it is that motivates you to persevere. I don't know if the world is ready for a super hero with Mandarin Chinese origins named Heylyn Yates (aka Ai Yuanlin Ying) who grows up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her best friend Alicia Westin, where they both become bigger than life as the Butterfly Dragon and Night Style. Its a good feeling to think that the kind of goosebumps that I get when I see my favourite Male superheroes take to the screen is a feeling that so many Women are getting to experience perhaps for the first time. Maybe the same kind of feeling a little girl had when they saw their Mother going to the polls to vote for the very first time in history. Maybe a little girl in China who saw the courageous Women marching in the Women's movement for the People's Republic Of China Revolution in 1948, that saw China find peace and stability after years of hardship post World War II. Regardless of your political views, seeing courage of that kind leaves a great impact upon the lives of those who witness it. The kind of stuff that heroes are made of. An experience that everyone should get to feel. Not every hero needs a villain to make them look good. Sometimes just overcoming the struggle is enemy enough to defeat without vilifying someone else in the process.

It would be nice to see Kelly, Lucy, Maggie or Miranda in such a role as the Butterfly Dragon but perhaps if it is ever worthy of such presentation there will be just such an actress perfect for the role, so long as the Mandarin Chinese heritage is kept with the role as it is a big part of the character's background and history. It is one of those things that I wish I'd found my calling of writing a bit earlier so that the energy I put into this work I could have included working up funding for a production. From this position in life such a thing would be very difficult not to mention the kind of people I'm around and their efforts to steal such ideas and efforts for themselves and their own credit while erasing the person they steal from. They'll get nailed soon enough.

No offense intended to the people who worked on those films, as I'm just giving my point of view as a writer and one who seems to have secretly impacted society in a somewhat positive way. I care about these characters as I grew up with Marvel, DC, Star Wars and many other science fiction and fantasy franchises.

Stay Safe and Be Well,

Brian Joseph Johns
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PS: I`m not Italian or Irish with all due respect.

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