Tag Archives: sucks

Who the Fuck Decided Ryan Reynolds Would Be a Good Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern Movie?!

17 Feb

I know what you’re thinking. “Who the hell are Ryan Reynolds, Hal Jordan, and Green Lantern?” If you’re part of the one percent of the world that cares about comic book superheroes and their characterization in other media, then you might be thinking, “Here we go again, another vitriolic blog about how untalented Ryan Reynolds is and how unfit he is to wear the emerald ring of the Green Lantern.” If that’s you, I’m picturing you wearing a plastic viking helmet and a tight Camel cigarettes t-shirt from 1992 while sipping a 64 oz. Slurpee from 7-11. Just so you know.

This is not another essay about how Ryan Reynolds is a talentless hack who isn’t fit to wear Green Lantern’s domino mask. I mean, Ryan Reynolds is a talentless hack, but that isn’t why he’s poorly suited for the role. It’s not like I expected Harrison Ford to get it, there’s no point in using a good actor for a role that consists mainly of feigning astonishment at the cgi objects your magic ring will create in post-production. No, my problem isn’t with Ryan Reynolds being Green Lantern at all, it’s with his being Hal Jordan. Because anyone that knows anything about Green Lantern would say that Ryan Reynolds would make a better Guy Gardner.

It’s not exactly common knowledge that there’s more than one Green Lantern. There are dozens, in fact, each belonging to the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force that keeps people from parking spaceships in the wrong dimension or something. Space is divided into sectors, and each sector has one Green Lantern to patrol it, except (of course) whatever sector contains Earth. For some reason, our sector requires several Green Lanterns to patrol it, Hal Jordan being only the first (well, second really…but I’m not going to get into that bullshit again). There’s also John Stewart, a rare Black superhero that doesn’t have the word “Black” in his name, and there’s a relatively new Green Lantern named Kyle Rayner, who is a cartoonist or something. There was even a chick Green Lantern named Jade and a leprechaun Green Lantern who served for a special issue called Ganthet’s Tale.

You really have to wonder why unemployment is so high when the Green Lantern Corps is hiring left and right. Who isn’t a member of this goddamned space clique? Anyway, yet another Earthling member is named Guy Gardner. He’s kind of the hard ass of the Green Lantern Gang, he’s got red hair (and is therefore a fiery, temperamental Irish lad) and wears a leather jacket and generally clashes with authority. He’s kind of a wry prankster with a violent streak, which is exactly the kind of role Ryan Reynolds was born to play! He’d be like Van Wilder meets George Lutz from The Amityville Horror. His brand of quipping douchebag would fit the role nicely.

Why there are so many fucking Green Lanterns patrolling Earth is really beyond me. The Justice League cartoon switched over to John Stewart as their primary Green Lantern because the producers knew that his being Black is the only thing that makes the character remotely interesting. With this summer’s movie we’ve got a mediocre actor portraying a fairly boring white dude. I hope there’s a lot of space boob in this movie.

The Flash is a Shitty Superhero Part 2: Silver Age Skid Marks

8 Feb

In my last essay, I showed how the first incarnation of the Flash, from World War II, sucks. However, that Flash is kind of quaint and evokes a simpler time, when men were men and our enemies were distinctly evil and mostly white. Far shittier is the Silver Age Flash, who sucks so phenomenally that as you read this, scientists are still discovering vast pockets of sucktitude in the Flash on a sub-atomic level.

I already described the Golden Age and Silver Age of comics in the last essay, but I think it’s important to view the two periods in historical context in order to understand the comic book works that came out of them. The Golden Age was a time just preceding and during America’s involvement in World War II. Having crawled out of a devastating economic depression into a war of unprecedented scope, Americans were feeling battered and beaten, but they were also tenacious and brimming with hope. The superheroes of the time reflected this, many of them nothing more than wrestlers and acrobats who decided to put on a cape and domino mask in order to beat up Chinese wizards with legal impunity. Heroes with super powers usually attributed their gifts to “magic,” that catch-all reason which is undefinable. How does Dr. Fate shoot fire from his hands? Magic. What’s magic? Fuck if I know.

The Silver Age, in contrast, was during a more peaceful and prosperous time for America. Having won World War II, and convinced ourselves that we won the Korean War, most Americans were glad to settle down into a quiet life of family, work, and not seeing your best friend get his face blown off by a grenade. It was also a time of tremendous scientific progress, the Space Age. It seemed like every day, some new technology would come down the pike to make our lives easier and more streamlined. Gone were the billowing blouse superheroes of the 1940s, in came the buff dudes in tights.

From this mindset came the new Flash, a character with the same basic abilities as Jay Garrick from the Golden Age, but with an entirely different and way stupider origin. It seems that forensic detective Barry Allen was working late at the police station one rainy evening, when a freak bolt of lightning came through the window and struck an open bookshelf haphazardly stacked with chemicals. Look, I know I am reading a comic book here, and I am willing to suspend disbelief. I am willing to believe all kinds of freakish experiments gone wrong or radioactive materials turning people into octopi, that’s part of the game. But to combine all of these tremendously improbable things amounts to providing no origin story at all. Why this police station kept its dangerous chemicals on a bookshelf in front of an open window is just a piece of this ridiculous mystery. You’d have been better off saying Barry Allen got his power from magic.

But being bathed in an electrified mix of noxious chemicals is how Barry Allen became the Scarlet Speedster, and almost instantly it went all wrong. See, Allen lives on this planet Earth in a universe where the Jay Garrick Flash is…you know what, I’m not even going to get into all that nonsense. What’s important is that Barry immediately takes up the mantle of the Flash and decides to fight crime. He creates a suit (which is red, hence the horrible moniker Scarlet Speedster) but struggles with how he can conceal this secret identity when he is at his day job. He can’t just wear his wetsuit under his street clothes like almost every other superhero, no the Flash has to define how shitty he is by being different. So he decides to create a spring-loaded ring which holds an inflatable version of the suit that expands on contact with air.

It’s a matter of busting your balls the wrong way around. For one thing, the Flash is the fastest man on earth. He can run over water, he can run through solid objects by vibrating his molecules at super speed, he can even keep himself aloft by waving one arm around very quickly. Why can’t he leave his red pajamas in the closet and dash home whenever he needs them? Or, since he can travel faster than the human eye can follow, why bother with a superhero suit at all? Seems he could get the job done in his Air Max 90s and save himself some blisters, to boot. But okay, he wants a superhero costume, it is his right. Whose moronic and ill-formed idea was it to have it stored in a ring, and then illogically expand to the size of a full-grown man on contact with air? If such technology exists, let me tell you, there are a lot better applications for it than something to cover Flash’s shame.

I suspect the author read an article about inflatable life rafts, and tried to apply that science to the Flash’s red suit. Why do I think this? Because every fucking time the Flash launched the costume from his ring, a caption would tell us, “Just like an inflatable life raft expands on contact with air, so too does the Flash’s unitard.” As if that somehow clarifies things. Last I checked, an inflatable raft doesn’t compress into the size of a golf ball, so it doesn’t stand to reason that a costume would fit into a goddamned ring. Even if I could believe that, which I can’t, it still seems like an overly complex way to get the job done. Why even bother with a ring? Just stuff it in a gelcap and pretend its an antibiotic.

Besides the vastly more homoerotic costume, the Silver Age Flash came with some new powers over his Golden Age predecessor. They shared the same essential power: running really fast. But Barry Allen applied it differently, discovering he could use it to go forwards and backwards in time, and travel between dimensions. So these abilities become part of his arsenal that he can think about when he returns to fucking work as a forensic detective. Did dreams die or something? Who the hell would ever go back to their day jobs if they found they could slip between dimensions one morning? “I don’t think I’ll stay in this dimension today,” I’d think, “rather I will abscond to the Dimension Where Everything is Tits.” If time travel and spanning dimensions are part of my repertoire, I think it’s safe to say that it’s a wrap for fighting crime.

The final reason I think the Silver Age Flash is a complete and utter turd is because the people writing it, by and large, had the creativity of a four year-old with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. One of Flash’s earliest nemeses was Turtle Man, a guy who did everything super slowly. Okay, I get that. It’s the whole balance thing, yin and yang and all that. But then he had another villain, a guy who could freeze shit with an ice gun. His name? Captain Cold. And he wasn’t the only Captain in the Flash Army of Supervillains, no there was also a boomerang-throwing Aussie who wore a flight attendant’s cap that was named–care to take a guess?–Captain Boomerang. Over and over, we see this kind of redundant, lazy shit. At one point, Barry Allen takes on a sidekick named Wally West, a precocious young kid in the same vein as other kid sidekicks throughout comic book history. West also runs at super speed, having acquired his power in the exact same unbelievable and retarded way Barry Allen became the Flash! It was unbelievable the first time, now you’re just being fucking insulting.

Nothing will illustrate how lazy the Flash’s writers were, and how much the character sucks as a whole, more than to describe the character which became the Flash’s main nemesis, the Reverse-Flash. Yes, that’s right, the Flash’s main nemesis was the Reverse-Flash. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Imagine if Superman’s arch-enemy wasn’t Lex Luthor, but “Un-Superman?” Or if the Hulk was locked in eternal struggle with “Semi-Hulk?” Now, you might be thinking there’s a good reason that Reverse-Flash is called Reverse-Flash. Perhaps he does everything really slowly, like Turtle Man, or maybe he goes at super speed but only backwards. That would make sense, right? It might make sense, and it would certainly be more interesting than Reverse-Flash’s actual super power, which is to have the same exact motherfucking super power as the Flash. No, he is called Reverse-Flash for the dumbest, most ludicrous reason in the world: because his costume is reversed, red where the Flash’s is yellow and yellow where the Flash’s is red. Fuck you, Flash, you fucking piece of shit.

The Flash is a Shitty Superhero

7 Feb

Normal people who don’t give a shit about comic books might not know that there are actually two Flashes: one from the Golden Age, during World War II, and one from the Silver Age, which started around 1960. Actually, there are about a dozen Flashes, but to clarify this point would needlessly strengthen my contention that the Flash is a shitty superhero. So for the purposes of this writing, we will concentrate on these two Flashes.

The reason these two Flashes exist is because the character was created in 1940, and then retired after World War II in the wake of the Senator Kefauver hearings which resulted partially from Professor Fredric Wertham’s anti-superhero book Seduction of the Innocent. The character was revived in 1956 with a more modern look, essentially a red wetsuit with lightning bolts on it. Whatever Flash you’re talking about, the Golden Age Flash or the Silver Age Flash, they are both shitty. This essay will concentrate on the Golden Age Flash.

The Golden Age Flash sucks primarily because his origin is stupid. A college student named Jay Garrick is working in the chemistry lab late one night, when he pauses for a cigarette and inadvertently knocks over a bunch of glass vials and beakers which are part of an experiment to test the effects of heavy water. Here’s where the author’s lack of scientific knowledge comes into play: probably having read some article about runners who drink heavy water in order to boost their electrolyte and mineral content, the author decided that if your body was somehow infused with heavy water, why, you’d be the fastest man on earth! And with that erroneous bit of scientific mockery in place, Jay Garrick faints before the destroyed chemistry experiment and inhales heavy water fumes–yes, fumes from water–all night. This causes him to run at super speed.

Which, I should be clear, is a pretty kick-ass super power. I mean, running at close to the speed of light, that’s the stuff dreams are made of. It has all kinds of astrophysical implications, most of which will be dealt with and derided in my essay on the Silver Age Flash. I just want to make it clear that I don’t think having super speed is, itself, shitty.

So what does Jay Garrick decide to do with his new found power? Well, for one thing, he decides to cheat at football and win the affection of some co-ed he likes. However, Jay Garrick isn’t all selfish, he also chooses to use his super speed to fight crime, particularly crime which directly affects his girlfriend. To this end, he dons a superhero suit, a loose-fitting affair which was the style at the time. To disguise himself, he fucking puts on a civil defense helmet with wings. That’s all. His entire face is unobstructed and he fights crime in the same city in which he lives, yet we are expected to believe his identity is secret because he’s got a hubcap on his head. Never mind that upon discovering his ability, he ran around at super speed in front of everyone and their grandmothers. They must be amazed that there are two people with super speed in their city, and how remarkable it is that they look so much alike!

In a nutshell, that’s why the Golden Age Flash is shitty. He goes on to be one of the founders of the Justice Society of America, and fights several dozen colorful and villainous characters, but the Flash is still a shitty superhero. Not half as shitty, however, as the Flash who would take up the mantle a decade later.

Tron: Legacy Is a Piece of Shit

31 Jan

I was surprised at the rumors about Disney allowing the original Tron DVD to go out of print before Tron: Legacy debuted because they were afraid that people would see the original and not be enticed to watch the sequel. I saw Tron in the theater and it made a major impression on me, the film was groundbreaking for digital special effects and I thought the story was satisfying, if in a completely predictable Disney way. Sure, the haphazard and meaningless use of computer terms throughout the script is silly and the end is pretty underwhelming, but the movie is nothing to be ashamed of. Like anything, Tron needs to be appreciated in historical context. It’s not providing an Avatar-level experience but it’s a damn sight better than The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Surprise! This video game was awesome.

I was very excited for the release of Tron: Legacy for the same reason as most people: nostalgia. I hoped Tron: Legacy would be like Tron but with kick-ass Speed Racer-style special effects. I expected the story to be simple, and corny, with clearly-defined heroes and villains and a generic happy ending. And if they’d delivered that, I probably would have enjoyed every minute of my two-hour experience. As it is, I want to take the $17.50 I spent on ONE ticket and cram it up the Tron team’s collective asshole. Sideways.

I am not alone in this opinion. You can find plenty of Cheetos chompers deriding this movie from the safety of their blogs. Most of the kudos go to the soundtrack, composed by Daft Punk. I’m not a great fan of Daft Punk, but they did a pretty good job with the soundtrack. It compliments action on the screen, which is pretty much all you want out of a movie soundtrack. Except for the one gratuitous scene at the End of Line dance club–I am not making that up–the music doesn’t overpower the movie which is essential. However, if the best thing you can say about a movie is that its soundtrack is good, chances are that implies that the movie sucks.

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.
My negative opinion of Tron: Legacy can be boiled down to three problems. One: the story is overly complicated and generally blows. I understand that the suits at Disney are probably salivating into their ejaculating penises over the idea of successfully franchising this dormant property, but let’s write one movie at a time, okay? Maybe tie up the loose ends from the first movie before creating this vast new world of commercial possibilities. To describe the plot would be to insult both of our intelligences, but let’s say that it involves a maligned group of indigenous digital creatures who are nearly destroyed on the computer plane except for…yeah, let’s not even bother. To its credit, the good guys are obviously good and the bad guys are ludicrously sniveling, a hallmark of Disney plotting.
My second problem with Tron: Legacy is that the special effects are good, but shit: they could have been better. The original Tron did its best to simulate a computer world using cutting-edge technology at the time, which provided a kind of pseudo-depth but no real texture or round edges. Tron: Legacy takes the incredible graphic capabilities of today’s special effects wizards and does pretty much the same thing. Yeah, there are lots of crazy angles and the spaces seem much more massive, but it’s really not a lot better than today’s best HD video games or even Superbowl commercial graphics. Here was an opportunity to rethink the whole franchise, and the movie still ends with a cgi bridge disappearing beneath the characters’ day-glo feet.

But my biggest problem with Tron: Legacy, the one that dwarfs my other two gripes so as to render them completely insignificant, is cgi Jeff Bridges. Who the fuck cleared cgi Jeff Bridges? The movie’s plot revolves around Tron’s original protagonist, played by Jeff Bridges, having created a computer program called CLU that would do his bidding in the computer world while Jeff toked righteous bud in the third dimension. And because the movie’s screenplay writers are sadists who want to drive the special effects department unnecessarily insane, CLU looks like Jeff Bridges also. Not the current, well-worn Jeff Bridges but young Jeff Bridges from around the time of the original movie. So whenever we see CLU in this movie, and it’s a goddamned lot let me tell you, we have to fucking look at a ridiculous cgi mask of young Jeff Bridges, which looks more like Freddy Kreuger had reasonably successful plastic surgery. This aspect of the movie is so stupid and absolutely not necessary that it ruined the whole thing for me. Why does CLU have to look like young Jeff Bridges? Why make things hard on yourself? CLU could have looked like Leonardo DiCaprio, or Tobey Maguire, or even a cuddly plush robot dragon for crying out loud, but instead you had to make it look like a plasticine Jeff Bridges that makes you wince just peeking at it. Ridiculous. Save that shit for Christmas TV specials and sci-fi alien pornography.

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