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Sunday, November 20, 2016

TV Ate My Dinner Episode 265 - STAR TREK: BEYOND!


In one of TVAMD’s lost episodes from the yestermonths of yore, Sean, Andrew, Greg, and Lynn talk about Star Trek: Beyond, the latest and most promising installment of the most recent Trek reboot.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

TV Ate My Dinner Episode 262: PHANTASM!



Sean and Andrew return to talk about Phantasm, with a little discussion of the Rocky Horror Picture Show remake and some random musings on story construction and the art of critique.

Listen Now!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cloud City Social Club - A STAR WARS Podcast - CCSC007 - STAR WARS: Heir to the Empire, Part 1!



Sean and Andrew begin a two-part discussion of the 1991 Timothy Zahn novel, Heir to the Empire, which re-launched the STAR WARS Expanded Universe and introduced us to new characters like Talon Karrde, Mara Jade, and Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Listen Now!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A few questions about Batman v Superman from Sean Gilbert and Megan Mullins



To be fair, no movie could hold up to this level of scrutiny and, frankly, no movie deserves it, but Batman v Superman is kinda asking for it a little bit. The DCEU has been preemptively exalting itself as a more sophisticated, more intelligent spin on superhero movies. That invites a more critical response and, in the case of this particular movie, raises no small amount of questions.

Starting with...

The Africa Incident

Why did/how did Lex Luthor engineer this elaborate set up in the desert to lure Superman into a frame up then kill everyone on site with special experimental bullets made with a special metal that only comes from Lex Corp? Why were Luthor’s cohorts using special bullets that could only be traced back to Luthor in the first place? Have they not seen Attack of the Clones?

Why doesn’t Lois Lane know her entire African crew is made up of CIA agents? Isn’t she the world’s greatest investigative reporter? Did they not work for the Daily Planet? Where did she hire them? 

Was that Jimmy Olsen that got shot in the head with Lois in the desert? Hey Jimmy, 1950 called and wants their huge-ass tracking technology back. Also, timing - not one of Superman's powers. 



"Don't worry. Superman wouldn't let me get shot in the face. He's my pal!"


What was the tracking device’s purpose? If it was hidden inside the camera, how could he have planted it at the camp before leaving? And if the tracker was to allow someone to track Jimmy to the camp, why didn’t anybody do that? If they had, wouldn’t someone have been able to provide backup when Luthor’s goons started executing everybody?

Why is Luthor’s super secret agent a scarfaced Russian with a neck tattoo?

Why did Superman let everyone else get murdered before flying in to rescue Lois? If he were watching over her, shouldn’t he have also saved the others?

Why do people think Superman killed all those people in Africa? Do they think he shot those people? Since when did Congress start caring about a village in Africa where some people were shot?

Why doesn’t Congress call on Superman to testify at their hearings in the first place? Why didn’t he volunteer to defend himself?

Why is the CIA/US Government covering up for Lex Corp and throwing Superman under the bus after Africa? They know that Superman didn't do this, and that the experimental bullets came from Lex Corp. What do they have to gain by protecting Lex?


Kryptonite

Why is the World Engine just sitting in the Indian Ocean slowly turning into a reef? 
It's been 18 months. Why isn't every government and private corporation on the planet trying to salvage it? 

Shouldn’t Superman have carried this thing off somewhere? Just in case it might be... dangerous?

Why does Lex Luthor ask permission to bring the Kryptonite into the US? Couldn’t a billionaire get a rock across the border without anyone noticing, especially when he’s the only one who knows it exists?

Why does Luthor tell the government about Kryptonite at all? Why use Kryptonite as a carrot to gain access to the Kryptonian spaceship and Zod’s body, especially when possessing Kryptonite is more useful?

Why does the government give Luthor unlimited unsupervised access to the spaceship and Zod’s body if they’re not interested in the Kryptonite? 


The “Mysterious” Bat

DID WE REALLY NEED TO OPEN THIS FILM WITH THE DEATH OF Bruce Wayne's PARENTS? I've seen this so many times I'm starting to believe this happened to me.

If Batman has been fighting crime for 20 years and Gotham City has a Goddamn bat signal, why have the cops never seen him and why do they shoot at him when they do?

Why does everyone act like they don't know Batman even exists when he's been fighting crime in the SAME 1 CITY for over 20 years? They have a huge Bat-summoning light that everyone can see, and give him Carte Blanche access to the local prison to brutalize inmates in his own private Fight Club.

Why do the girls Batman saves call him a devil? After twenty years they have never even heard of Batman?

When the cops interrupt Batman’s interrogation of the sex trafficker, why does he just cling creepily to the ceiling instead of just leaving? How did the cop NOT see him the second he walked into the room?



"I think we're going to have to work on your ninja training a little more, Bruce."


So Gotham and Metropolis are so geographically close to each other in this universe that you can see the bat signal from the tops of buildings in Metropolis, but Superman is just now finding out about 20 year veteran vigilante Batman AND billionaire Bruce Wayne who owns Wayne Tower in Metropolis, and the well-known and respected Wayne Enterprises?

Why does Batman brand people? How does he brand them? Does he have a special self-heating brand that he carries around just for that purpose?

Really, WHY DOES Batman brand people? He’s been fighting crime for twenty years so incognito that no one even knows who he is, but now he’s literally branding people with his logo? Why the sudden need to advertise? 

Why is the bat brand a death sentence in prison? At first it seems that they’re implying that only the worst offenders like sex offenders are branded, so this marks them for retribution by other prisoners, but then at the end of the movie we see that Batman himself can magically break into prison any time he wants, so are they somehow implying that Batman personally comes back later to murder them?


The White Portuguese

How did Batman learn the name of the White Portuguese without learning what it was? If he gained the information while torturing a crook, why didn’t the same crook also tell him it was the name of a ship?

Why was Batman tracking the White Portuguese before he knew what it was carrying? Batman is only pretending to track a sex trafficking ring when it’s really the White Portuguese’s cargo – kryptonite – that he’s interested in; if this is the case, why does shaking down actual sex traffickers lead him to the White Portuguese?

How does Batman know that the White Portuguese is carrying Kryptonite? Do Luthor’s records not only reveal the name of the ship and its destination, but also the exact nature of its secret illegal cargo?

Why is Alfred always reminding Batman (as he does in this movie and the Dark Knight Rises) that Bruce Wayne is much more effective at helping the police fight crime than Batman is? Why doesn’t Batman ever believe him? Does he think that billions of dollars of crimefighting technology can’t accomplish as much as dressing up like Dracula and punching people?

Why does Batman think that if there is a 1% chance of something that they should treat it like an absolute certainty? Does he not know how numbers work? What else is he currently safeguarding against because it’s 1% possible? Does he have a Bigfoot strategy too? Why doesn’t he think there’s a 1% possibility that Lex Luthor might be up to no good?
Why does Clark Kent follow Bruce Wayne downstairs at Luthor’s library fundraiser when he could just look through the walls?

Lex Luthor has security camera footage of every Justice Leaguer, even Aquaman, who is under the ocean, so why is there no security in Luthor’s server room except for a lady in an evening gown? What's up with the security at Lex's house? Was it designed by Kryptonian ship builders? Why is evil mastermind Lex Luthor’s criminal computer server room adjacent to the kitchen, unlocked, and completely accessible to Bruce Wayne by a dangling coaxial cable? Who did the cable management for Lex Luthor’s server room? Why is there a loose coaxial connection that’s only purpose seems to be allowing easy access for hacking devices?

Does Wonder Woman think that she can steal a digital picture by downloading a copy of it? Is her understanding of modern technology the equivalent of any other 100 year old person’s? 



"I think he keeps his pictures on his facewebs..."


If Wonder Woman walked away from humanity in 1918 for 100 years, does this movie take place in the future? Even if we accept that the 100 year figure is a rounded number and not the exact amount of time she was gone, when did she have time to become a super spy if she hasn’t had contact with humanity for the last century?

Why does Wonder Woman want to get the 1918 picture back from Lex Luthor? Wouldn’t her involvement in fighting WWI be known, even if it wasn’t public knowledge? And the picture is of Wonder Woman, not Diana Prince, so why does she care if people know that Wonder Woman fought in WWI? If she wanted to keep her existence secret, why did she ever pose for a photograph in the first place?

Why is Diana Prince in metropolis at all? She says she left the world of men 100 years ago, now she's back because Lex Luthor has a picture of Wonder Woman. How does that picture threaten her in any way?


Luthor’s “Plan”

Why does stealing Zod’s fingertips give Luthor unrestricted access to the Kryptonian spaceship when in Man of Steel the robot scanned Superman’s body to verify not his personal identity but his Kryptonian DNA? That ship was 18,000 years old, so it couldn’t have personally known Superman, and the robot tried to kill Lois when it concluded that she wasn’t Kryptonian. Wouldn’t Zod’s newer spaceship have more enhanced security features? At least enough to know a human from a Kryptonian?

The ship submits to Luthor’s command because he impersonates Zod for access – why doesn’t it realize the ruse when Luthor drags in Zod’s corpse and commands the ship to resurrect it?

The first thing the computer says is that it contains the collected knowledge of 100,000 planets; Luthor thinks that knowledge is power, so with an Outer Space Alexandria at his forged fingertips, why is his first thought to resurrect Zod?

Suggested search: "Computer, what are the top ten ways of disabling Superman that DON'T involve creating an unstoppable poop monster?"



Superior space technology meets the greatest criminal mind of our time...
and this is basically what they come up with.


Luthor’s justification for wanting to kill Superman is that he’s a threat to humanity, so why did Luthor blow up a bunch of people to discredit Superman and create a Doomsday monster to destroy him? Why publicly discredit Superman if he was just building a monster to fight him?
Why does Luthor want to resurrect Zod as an unstoppable killing machine? Isn’t that exactly what he’s afraid Superman could become? Why does he hate Superman when he doesn’t seem to care that Darkseid is coming? Does he hate Superman because he has God-like powers or because people like Superman?

Why does the introduction of foreign (human) DNA aid in the cloning/resurrection/birthing of a Doomsday monster? Isn’t racial purity the basis of Kryptonian genetics? Wasn’t that Zod’s whole purpose?

Why did Luthor spend years doing petty things to turn Batman and Superman against each other, only to blow things up, build a Doomsday monster, and reveal himself and his plan to Superman?

Does Luthor lose faith in his Batman v Superman strategy or did he somehow predict that he would be able to use Kryptonian technology to create a Zod-cloned Doomsday monster?
If Luthor changed his strategy based on the fact that he could just build a monster, why did he break away from that just to kidnap Superman’s mom and force him to fight Batman? Did he actually consider the creation of the Doomsday monster to be a backup plan? What was Plan C, blowing up the entire Earth?

Why does Luthor believe creating the monster with his own DNA will put the monster under his control? If he doesn’t believe this, why doesn’t he think the monster will squash him too?
Why does Luthor need a Doomsday monster when he’s already discovered Kryptonite?
Why does Luthor spend years “subtly” turning Superman and Batman against each other when all he really wants is to kill Superman and he already has Kryptonite?

Why does Luthor spend years turning Batman against Superman when he’s already learned both their secret identities?

With all the unnecessary exposition and prequel nonsense in this film, why don't the filmmakers take time to explain how Lex Luthor discovered Superman and Batman's secret identities?

If Luthor’s plan is to kill Superman, why does he kidnap Superman’s mother to pressure him to kill Batman? Why does he think that will kill Superman?

Since Superman instantly complies to save his mother, why did Luthor waste two years building up to all this? Why didn’t Luthor just kidnap Superman’s mother in the first place?
Does Luthor mean for Batman to steal the Kryptonite in order to kill Superman? Why? Why not just use it himself? Or get his Russian cronies to do it? Why not offer it to Batman like he offered it to the government?

What was step 2 of the Doomsday plan after Luthor’s Doomsday monster killed Superman?
If Luthor knew about Wonder Woman, why didn’t he account for her in his master plan? Why doesn’t he at least consider her to be a threat, since she’s obviously in play as much as Bruce Wayne?

Why didn’t Luthor try to manipulate Wonder Woman into fighting Superman since she has super powers that rival Superman’s and Batman doesn’t? Why doesn’t Luthor hate her as much as he hates Superman? Why is he otherwise unconcerned about all the other metahumans he’s discovered?

Batman and Wonder Woman have both been tracking Luthor’s activities and hacking into his secret crime files. Why don’t either of them know of his plot to turn Batman and Superman against each other or his extensive research into creating an alien killing machine?




"I'm the world's greatest detective... Just kidding. I dress like a bat and punch people."




Knightmares and Vision Quests

Why are Batman and Superman plagued with wild hallucinations? Did Luthor poison them with crazy drugs to turn them against each other?

What's that big cairn of bricks Kevin Costner is piling up? Is he burying a bar stool? Why does he come back from the dead to basically tell Superman not to bother?



"Just came back from the grave to let you know that none of it means a damn thing.
Say hello to your mother for me. See you in Hell. son."


Why is Batman dreaming about a future where the world has been taken over by Darkseid’s parademons with Superman somehow in charge of them? Is Darkseid also trying to turn Batman against Superman? Why?

Why does Flash tell Batman that Lois is the key to what will presumably be the Apokolips invasion? Is he suggesting (as Batman’s Mad Max dream did) that if Lois dies, Superman will become a heartless world tyrant?

What the hell is Flash wearing in the premonition scene? 



"What, you expect me to go running backwards in time wearing tights?
That would make me look pretty damn silly, wouldn't it?"


Why is the "Knightmare" in THIS movie at all? We see Flash travel back in time to warn Batman that if Lois dies Superman loses his shit, but Batman never really does anything with this information. He never concerns himself with Lois' safety, and the whole thing is dropped. It only serves to take us out of the movie we've been watching.

What story are they trying to tell here? The Dark Knight Returns? Flashpoint? Injustice? Doomsday/The Death of Superman? Legends? The Fourth World/Final Crisis/Darkseid War? Did the DC multiverse just implode into this script?

Why doesn’t anyone making this movie realize that The Dark Knight Returns was satire? Why do they think they can juxtapose scenes and characterizations from that story into an otherwise “real” world without any adjustment in context?

Did Snyder know Watchmen was a satire when he made it or did he think that was a straightforward superhero movie? Does he think Rorschach and Batman are essentially the same thing?



Superman’s Ultimatum

Why does Batman shoot a ridiculously huge bat tracker onto the Kryptonite truck and then do everything in his power to destroy that tracker? Why is he chasing the truck at all when the very first thing he did was tag it with a tracker?

Why does Superman just show up and threaten to kill Batman if he answers the bat signal again? If someone’s using the bat signal, wouldn’t that suggest that the city is asking for Batman’s help?

Why does Superman stop Batman who is clearly chasing bad guys, then let those bad guys escape? Why isn’t Superman at all interested in the people Batman was chasing or what they were doing?

Why wasn't Superman able to detect that Kryptonite was being transported in that truck? Or located on Batman later? Wouldn't this stuff be so noxious and caustic to him that he could see it, or smell it, or feel it?

If at this point Superman knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, and he has super hearing that lets him hear Lois yelling for help MILES AWAY, why can't he hear or figure out that Batman is plotting to kill him since he is frequently talking to Alfred about this and mutters it under his breath while Superman is flying away?

Why is Batman a psychopathic, murderous moron in the movie? If his hatred of Superman is based on the collateral damage that occurred in Metropolis during the fight with Zod, then why is Batman’s response to rampage through the city blowing things up and riddling populated areas with machine gun fire?

Why is Batman using machine guns? Why does he have no regard for human life? Are the writers ignorant of his no-guns no-kill policy or did they just think that was lame?

Is the underlying message of the movie that morality is impractical and ultimately unnecessary? If not, why does that seem to be the message that gets communicated?


The Turning Point

Did anyone else notice that the second someone called for meaningful dialogue in the movie, everything exploded and the movie degenerated into an endless parade of mindless violence?



Here's how every scene in this movie should end.


Was that strange meta-moment where Holly Hunter stops the whole movie, looks directly AT Superman and says “we need less fighting and more dialogue" intentional? Is this movie a satire? 

Luthor’s entire strategy revolves around Batman learning about Wallace Keefe’s returned checks, so why wasn’t it part of his plan that Batman learn about it? If Batman hadn’t just randomly learned about this, then wouldn’t that part of Luthor’s plan have failed?

How did Luthor know to start stealing Keefe’s checks 18 months before the start of the movie? The second he learned about Superman’s existence, Luthor just hatched this plot to turn Batman against him? 

Why did Wayne Enterprises keep sending the checks without following up? Why did Bruce Wayne never check in on that guy? If he had, he would have uncovered Luthor’s plot almost immediately.

Why are they sending him checks through the mail at all? Who doesn’t have direct deposit?
Why did Keefe lose his office job because he was disabled? What the hell kind of show is Bruce Wayne running here?

If Luthor wants Batman to believe in the sincerity of the returned checks, why did he blow Keefe up? Shouldn’t this have tipped Batman and Superman off to the fact that there was a larger plan at work?

Why DOESN’T blowing up Congress tip Batman and Superman off that to the fact there was a larger plan at work? Do they believe that Keefe planned the bombing by himself?

How did Luthor know Keefe was going to turn into an anti-Superman extremist? His strategy depended on this being the case, but Keefe only meets Luthor for the first time when Luthor gives him the wheelchair, so how did Luthor insure that Keefe would behave the way he wanted him to? How did Luthor know that Keefe would not immediately complain to Wayne Enterprises about not receiving his checks? Why DIDN’T Keefe report this to Wayne Enterprises?

Why did Bruce Wayne never personally follow up with Keefe after saving him and setting up a trust to financially sustain him? He is lauded as a hero for saving Keefe, but we are supposed to believe that they were never in contact or that no one ever interviewed Keefe as a part of the news story? If Batman had discovered the checks were coming back earlier, wouldn’t he have also learned that it wasn’t Keefe who was sending them back? How did two years go by without anyone talking to anyone about someone stealing Keefe’s checks and pretending he didn’t want them?

If Keefe’s entire story depends on the presumption that he is financially ruined, why doesn’t anyone think it’s suspicious that he’s rolling around in a million dollar wheelchair? If it were public knowledge that Luthor gave him the chair, wouldn’t this directly implicate Luthor in the bombing?

Does Batman hate Superman because of his experience in Metropolis or because Luthor is manipulating him or because he has nightmares that make him act like a maniac? If his outrage over the destruction of Metropolis isn’t enough to make him want to kill Superman, why does Luthor think a few returned checks will tip him over the edge? Why do they?
Why did Luthor let his assistant get blown up when neither of them had to be there? Why was there a chair with his name pinned to it when no one even knew he was planning to be there?

Why couldn’t Superman super-smell that there was jar of urine in front of Senator Holly Hunter? Why can’t he smell explosive elements like gunpowder or C4 when he’s five feet from them?

Why was Superman still just standing there after the explosion like he didn’t know what had just happened? Could he instantly tell there were no survivors that might need his help or did he just not care?

Why doesn’t Clark Kent attempt to track the mysterious source that tells him Batman is bad? Isn’t that the first thing a reporter should do, verify his source?


The Justice League

Why did Lex Luthor take the time to give all the Justice Leaguers code names and logos?
Why are there only files for the expositional second-stringers that need to be introduced to set up the sequel? We know Luthor had files on Batman and Superman, because he knows their identities and has a 2-year Batman/Superman plan, so why didn’t they have logo apps in his database too? Did Batman take the time to delete his and Superman’s files before sending them to Wonder Woman? Why would he not send her Superman’s information? And if he is so concerned about security, why decrypt a database and send it to her via email? How does he know her email?

Why did Lex Luthor have a comprehensive video diary of Cyborg’s origin?
Why does Cyborg’s father have a Mother Box? Have Darkseid’s forces already invaded? What are they doing then? Laying low and giving Batman nightmares to make him go crazy?

What “clinical protocols” is Cyborg’s father violating by using alien technology to turn his own son into a robot man? What kind of government agency is okay with pinning your son’s living torso to a circuit board and doing experiments on it, but frowns on the use of a mother box to reanimate it? Just how specific are these protocols? Why was it only necessary to cover the camera lens and stop the video when the experiment started to work?

Why does the security footage of the Flash change angles from wide shot to close up?

Why was there an underwater camera filming close-ups of Aquaman? Why did he stab it with a trident? If he was protecting his secrecy, wasn’t getting in front of the camera and poking it the exact opposite of what he should have done? Why is he hiding in a shipwreck with a trident like a clownfish in a sea anemone? Why is his one and only effort at maintaining his secrecy to slowly glide toward the camera and poke at it with his stick before shooting off at super speed? Does Aquaman just swim around with a trident all the time, whether he’s in a fight or not, just in case he might need to poke something with it?



"What, did you expect me to be riding around on a giant seahorse?
That'd make me look pretty damn silly, wouldn't it?"


The Fight of the Century… or whatever

Why does Batman think cross fit will help him prepare for a fist fight with Superman? Isn’t that a problem that exclusively requires a technology solution? How is hitting a tire with a hammer a useful preparation for this, as if limbering up were what he had been forgetting to do this whole time? Is he training to fight Superman or box Dolph Lundgren?

Why did Batman want Lex Luthor to know that he stole the Kryptonite? He jammed a razor bat thing into the podium it was sitting on. Wouldn't the police who Batman works with on a daily basis be unhappy to see he stole it? 

Why does Lois’ kidnapper pose as a janitor? Why is it necessary to establish that cover just to grab her in public and run away?

Why does she walk up to him and ask him if she recognizes him? How does she remember that face but not remember the terrifying circumstances under which she’s seen him before?
Why did Luthor’s goons go all the way to Kansas to kipnap Superman’s mom, only to “hide” her in the one place they knew Superman and Batman were going to be?

Luthor provides no reliable proof of life and tells Superman he doesn’t know where his mother is. Why bother keeping her alive, then? Wouldn’t it have been more efficient and crueler to just kill her and pretend she’s still alive?

Why doesn't Superman take care of his mother the same way he takes care of Lois Lane? He didn’t even know she was missing and he has no way of knowing where she is. What’s up with that, Supes? 

Why does Superman think he needs Batman's help to find his mom? Wouldn't he have saved A LOT of time just finding her with his X-ray vision and super hearing, like when he heard Lois drowning thru the noise of the climactic fight?

Batman has a Kryptonite gun and a Kryptonite spear, so why does he waste time shooting Superman with machine guns? Why does he use the Kryptonite last? Why does he use it at all, since it’s obvious that Superman could have torn his head off twenty times already and didn’t?

Didn't it seem like Batman created a whole arsenal of weaponry out of that Kryptonite? He used 2 gas grenades and 1 spear. Speaking of that spear... It's the one weapon that can kill a Kryptonian, and Batman LEAVES IT lying on the floor. Not only is it incredibly dangerous, but it's incredibly useful. What's wrong with this Batman?

Why doesn’t Superman tell Batman what’s going on the second he sees him instead of getting pulled into a lame fist fight? Why does Superman fight Batman if he doesn't want to fight Batman? He has plenty of chances to say, "Dude, Lex has my mom, I need your help." But he keeps walking into Krypto grenades. They're both kinda assholes.

Why was this fight so boring? Was it because this punch had been telegraphed from so far that it was stale when it finally arrived or because we hadn’t been given any reason to care what happens to either of these two characters?

Why does Superman call his mother Martha?

Why is Batman only sympathetic to the fate of an innocent if they have the same name as his mother?

Why is Batman shocked to learn that Superman has a mother?

If Batman is the world’s greatest detective, how come he couldn’t detect that Clark Kent is just Superman with glasses when he’s stood nose to nose with both of them?



"Nope, sorry. I just don't see it."


Why does Batman go from being a murderous maniac in a frenzy for Superman’s blood, to being Superman’s friend and cracking jokes with him? How does the utterance of one woman's name change Batman's psychopathic, raging need to murder Superman into a desire to help him? He has spent years obsessed with and plotting to destroy Superman. He has nightmares, visions, AND his future self actually sent the Flash back in time to warn him that Superman would turn into an unstoppable dictator/theocrat. How and why is he suddenly cured of this mania?

How does Batman have time to change clothes between fighting Superman and going to save his mom?

What did Batman get out of cloning the data in the Russian’s phone, except the ability to track down Superman’s mom? Shouldn’t he have been tracking all the Russian’s movements? And if he were, shouldn’t he have noticed that the Russian had kidnapped two people?

Alfred puts Batman in the building on the second level because it has fewer bad guys in it, so why is Batman’s first move to jump into the middle of all the bad guys and fight them?
Why can Batman's suit deflect bullets, even multiple shots to the head at point blank range, but not a stab with a small tac blade?

Why does Batman choose to save Martha Kent in the way most likely to kill her? All Batman does is bust through the wall of the room where Superman’s mother is being held after letting everyone in the building knows he’s there and giving them time to prepare for him. Why not just bust through the window while you still have the advantage of surprise? Why does he have to work his way up to boss level like he’s Mario trying to save Princess Pauline from Donkey Kong?


Lois is Superman’s world

Is Lois Lane an alien in disguise? JUST LIKE IN Man of Steel, Lois Lane ALWAYS manages to show up in the nick of time to cause a scene to start or end. How does she always find Superman 9 seconds before he's about to die, kill someone, or fly off to save the day, or be emo?

Superman watches over Lois so closely that if she’s in danger anywhere in the world, he’s there to help her, to the point where if she’s thrown off a building he can catch her before she hits the ground. So how did she manage to get kidnapped?

Why doesn’t Superman watch over his own mother with the same vigilance he devotes to Lois?

Lois is a tough reporter who looks like she’s in good shape, so how is it she lets a 90 pound nerd boy billionaire throw her off a roof?

If Lois is Superman’s whole world and presumably his only link to humanity, why did he spend his life in Man of Steel wandering the world and doing good deeds before he ever met her? Why is Snyder crediting his relationship with Lois for his goodness and not the upbringing his parents gave him? Is it because he intends to kill Lois in the next movie as an excuse to make Superman act like a maniac?



"I mean, we're all just one bad day away from trying to
destroy the whole human race, am I right?"


Is Lois Lane the only thing keeping Superman from becoming a monster and dominating humanity? Why did he help people before he ever met her, then?

Why is Lois Lane in this movie at all? She only serves to neuter Superman's sense of agency. He never takes any personal action in this film that is not a reaction to her or another character. He actually states at the end of the film that he is choosing not to sacrifice himself for the world or for principles, or for his ideals, (which, by this point, Snyder has shown he is too ethically weak to have), but only for Lois. What's wrong with this Superman?

What is anyone in this movie trying to accomplish? More specifically, what would any of them be doing if they had never met each other?

Is Snyder’s message that there is no such thing as a hero?

What is the message of this movie?


Doomsday

Would detonating a nuke in the upper atmosphere not cause fallout to settle into the lower atmosphere? Is that how that works?

Can the US government just shoot nukes into space with a moment’s notice without even informing the rest of the world community that this is happening? Would this not trigger some kind of failsafe response from another country’s nuclear defense systems?



Problem solved.


Before he was nuked, Superman’s plan was to throw Doomsday into space. That almost worked, so why didn’t he just try again?

Does Wonder Woman take her suit, sword, and shield with her as carry-on luggage on planes?

Why were they planning live disaster footage on the plane just before takeoff? 

Why did Lois throw away the Kryptonite spear by dropping it in a hole that was about six feet deep?

When they decided the Kryptonite spear was the key to killing Doomsday, why didn’t Superman locate it with his X-ray vision and tell Wonder Woman where it was?

When they discover that Doomsday absorbs energy and gets stronger every time they hit him, WHY DO THEY KEEP HITTING HIM?

Why does Superman have to be the one to stab Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear? Couldn’t he just have given it to Wonder Woman? Or couldn’t someone have THROWN it at Doomsday? Isn’t that what spears are for?

If the destruction of the Genesis chamber in Man of Steel made it impossible to resurrect the Kryptonian race (as is specifically stated by Zod), then why can Luthor use it in this movie to resurrect Zod? Is it only good for making Doomsday monsters now?

Why would the filmmakers go to so much trouble to resurrect Zod, then replace him with a CGI Hulk-troll? Why not bring Michael Shannon back when they went out of their way to create a story reason to have him in the movie?

Why does Batman lead Doomsday back to Gotham instead of leaving him on the UNINHABITED Stryker Island? Why not go back, get the spear, and fight there considering that your WHOLE BEEF with Superman is that he had a big fight in a populated area?
Why does Lois go back for the spear? She doesn't know that Doomsday can be hurt by it at this point in the movie.

Is Superman’s suit as invulnerable as he is? And if it is, is it just as susceptible to Kryponite, since it becomes as vulnerable as he is when he is exposed to Kryponite?


God and Superman

Was it necessary for Luthor to remind the audience in every scene of the God/Christ allegory?

How much more of this insulting, heavy-handed, sacrilegious, and worst of all, clumsily executed, glowing alien Jesus imagery are we supposed to take? Can they fit one more moment of a Kal-el floating like a god over raving, paint-faced Mexicans, flood victims, in space, in front of Omega Marines, or with Lois gazing at him gape-jawed in awe (VOX.com describes these scenes best as: Creed album covers!!! LOL!!!!), then rising from the dead more than once, and being pierced by the Spear of Destiny? Goddammit. WE GET IT ALREADY. 

Why did Batman use most of the Kryptonite to make a spear when he had figured out how to make Kryptonite bullets? Was this imagery completely necessary to further communicate the Super Jesus metaphor?

Do they understand that if they have to constantly state it, then it isn’t a properly communicated metaphor?

How did those people paint that perfect Superman symbol on top of their house in the middle of a hurricane?

Why is it always Day of the Dead in Mexico, even when it is clearly NOT actually that time of the year? Does Snyder thinks it’s more believable to show a poor Mexican village worshiping Superman as a god than it would be to do the same scene in a normal American town?



No, this makes much more sense.



The Ending(s)

Why is everybody sad about Superman’s hero’s death when they thought he was a monster the whole time? Why does everyone like him just because he got killed by another monster? Did they have a hero’s funeral for Zod at the end of Man of Steel? Didn’t he die under the same type of circumstances?

How do people know Superman’s dead when they never see the body? Did Batman and Wonder Woman make off with off with his body, leaving Lois Lane there to explain what happened? Did everybody just take her for her word? Doesn’t anyone wonder what happened to his body?

Why does public opinion sway to Superman’s favor just because he mysteriously disappeared and Lois told everyone he died a hero? Why would they call him a hero just because she wrote that he was? Hasn’t she been writing favorable Superman stories this whole time?

What kind of community is Smallville? What was with the guy on the wagon and the bagpipe player?

Why does Batman “have a feeling” that bad things are coming? Because of his dreams and visions? Weren’t they the same dreams and visions that turned him against Superman, which turned out to be false?

How would Batman go about recruiting the other metahumans? “Hi, I’m the guy that spent two years plotting to kill Superman – what say we all pool our resources and you tell me all your greatest weaknesses?”

How is Batman honoring Superman’s memory by breaking into prison to torture Lex Luthor?

Why was Luthor in prison at all? What evidence tied him to any of what happened? Why was the government covering up the evidence of Luthor’s involvement in Africa only to let him get arrested for something else?

How does Luthor know Darkseid is coming?

Is hair not allowed in prison these days?

How is this the “Dawn of Justice”?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

TV Ate My Dinner Episode 256: Deadpool!


Sean and Andrew talk about Deadpool and the dawn of the R rated superhero movie. When done right, it can be a lot of fun, but there’s reportedly going to be an R rated cut of Batman v Superman. Deadpool is one thing, but does the world really need an R rated Superman?


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cloud City Social Club: A STAR WARS Podcast - CCSC005 - STAR WARS: The Force Awakens, Part 5!


Sean, Brooks, Andrew, and Lynn discuss the Resistance's planned assault on the First Order's Starkiller base in STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

CONTAINS SPOILERS!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cloud City Social Club: A STAR WARS Podcast - CCSC004 - STAR WARS: The Force Awakens, Part 4!


Sean, Andrew, and Brooks are back for more, discussing the Resistance’s third-act strategy of attacking the Starkiller base.

CONTAINS SPOILERS!



EXPANDING UNIVERSE - STAR WARS: The Franchise Awakens - The Knights of Wren


Here’s another interesting interpretation of Rey’s vision. Continuing with the idea that the Imperial research facility on Jakku was an extension of the Inquisitors’ experiments on Force-sensitive children, there’s a much more obvious possibility as to who Kylo and the Knights of Ren are fighting: They are fighting the Inquisitors themselves. 



Just imagine the figure on the left looking a little more like the one on the right.

This scenario assumes a number of direct connections between concepts introduced in the Rebels cartoon and the back story of Episode VII. The first assumption is that, as suggested earlier, the Jakku facility is engaged in experimenting on Force-sensitive children and Rey is one of them. The facility is guarded by Inquisitors, so Jedi intervention is called for.


I'm just sayin', that is basically the same guy as the one in Rey's vision.
He's even making the same face.

Here’s where things get tricky: Did Luke send Kylo Ren to Jakku or is Kylo acting on his own (or someone else’s orders)? In the vision Kylo appears to be saving Rey from one of the Inquisitors, so whoever sent him, he seems to have good intentions. But are the Knights of Ren his apprentices or his fellow Jedi? For this scenario, let’s assume neither. In the vision, the Knights of Ren all have awesome helmets and are definitely following Kylo’s lead, but he’s the only one who seems to have a lightsaber. So who are they?



These guys?

Drawing once more from the canon established by Rebels, I think the Knights of Ren may be Mandalorian. Why would I think that? For starters, they all wear armor and helmets that have a very Mandalorian kind of style. They all have weapons both ranged and melee, but none of them appear to have a lightsaber, so there is no reason to assume they’re Jedi or Sith. They look more like mercenaries. But that doesn’t necessarily make the Mandalorian connection. One possible connection suggested in the Rebels show is the Mandalorian clan from which the rebel munitions expert Sabine is descended. She is part of Clan Wren, which is itself part of House Vizsla. The head of House Vizsla founded the Death Watch movement, a violent faction that actually overthrew the Mandalorian government until Vizsla was killed by Darth Maul, at which point Maul took control of Mandalore and command of the Death Watch. Clan Wren was a warrior Mandalorian clan that fought with the Death Watch, and it would seem, indirectly came to serve Darth Maul. Could the Knights of Ren be descended in some way from Clan Wren? 




The final fate of Death Watch is unclear, except that they don’t seem to be around in the Rebels time period. The remaining warrior clans think of Death Watch as traitors, but the remaining clans are also loyal to the Empire. This suggests that any surviving remnants of Clan Wren would have no allegiance to the Empire. They also may have some Force training or at least be open to serving a powerful Force wielder since they served Darth Maul.



"I met this great group of guys, Grandfather. I think you'd really like them.
They're all about the helmets. We're basically a helmet club."

The Knights of Ren may be descended from the Death Watch itself, who in their own way were also rebels against the Empire. In this scenario it’s possible that at some point Kylo assumed a similar role to Darth Maul and became leader of the remnants of the Death Watch. Kylo Ren is, as the movie suggests, more of a title indicating his leadership of the Knights of Ren than a name.

Here’s an even more convoluted interesting idea: The Knights of Ren are descended from a splinter group that broke away from Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective (the re-branded Death Watch) and fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi. That group was led by Pre Vizsla’s former lieutenant Bo-Katan Kryze. Bo-Katan was the sister of Satine Kryze, who was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lover. Bo-Katan broke from the Death Watch after Darth Maul took over. 

Could the Knights of Ren be descended from the Mandalorians who abandoned Death Watch to fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi? In Rebels, Sabine says that her mother was with Death Watch. This might be true if her mother were Bo-Katan. Nothing is known about Sabine’s father, but could he have been Obi-Wan Kenobi? Sabine could have been the offspring of Obi-Wan and Satine, who was obviously in the same house as Bo-Katan. In that case Sabine may have assumed her mother was Death Watch even though in reality she didn’t know her mother. Sabine was raised in an Imperial Academy, so she was probably taken from her family the same way Finn would later be abducted as a child to serve the First Order.


Sabine’s questionable lineage aside, it is fun to consider the Knights of Ren as a direct extension of the group that broke away from the Shadow Collective and fought with Kenobi. That would give the Knights of Ren a historical reason to ally themselves later on with Obi-Wan’s last apprentice, Luke Skywalker. That link would afford Ben Solo the opportunity to join the Knights of Ren and become their leader.


I could stand to see a lot more of this kind of thing.
In this scenario, as in one of my previous wild theories, Rey escapes the research facility when the Knights of Ren attack, and is subsequently left on Jakku. Kylo would potentially know that a female test subject had escaped the facility, but wouldn’t have had any definite imperative to track her down. Hearing years later about a girl on Jakku who inexplicably helped a resistance droid and a First Order defector steal a map that leads to Luke Skywalker might cause Kylo to wonder if this were the same girl. This might also have been reason enough for Kylo to say “it is you” when confirming Rey’s power over the Force at the end of the film.

Just a thought.