Saturday Morning Opinion: This Is All Christopher Nolan’s Fault

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Last Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con:

Marvel Studios starts off their evening presentation in the legendary Hall H with some of their most anticipated films—Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and, of course, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron portion of the panel kicks off with Robert Downey Jr. hurling roses into the audience to the strains of “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” After the rest of the cast assembles, he welcomes to “the Marvel Family” (his words) Aaron Taylor Johnson, who dances out on stage before hugging Chris Evans, Paul Bettany, James Spader, and Elizabeth Olsen, who Downey gives a white rose.

“This is supposed to happen,” sighs moderator Chris Hardwick, surveying the impressive line-up.

As they answer his light questions, the word family comes up a lot. In fact, the atmosphere is that of a family reunion, with Robert Downey Jr. playing the role of Proud Papa and the audience six thousand cousins. They hoot and holler and cheer at every self-deprecating remark, joke, and reveal. Mark Ruffalo pulls up Chris Hemsworth’s shirt sleeve to reveal his astonishing biceps. Chris Evans and Johnson crack each other up while Jackson fields questions. Olsen’s use of the word “mutant” is oooed at, and someone has to explain to Hardwick the family in-joke that mutants—with the X-Men’s film rights currently in the hands of Fox—are off-limits for Marvel Studios at the moment.

Kevin Feige screens a clip from the film for the audience. The Avengers, at a party, try to lift Thor’s hammer for a laugh. Captain America manages to shift it slightly, but the party is interrupted by Ultron. Several scenes are glimpsed in brief, shutter-like glimpses. One of these clips finds Black Widow calming down the Hulk in the middle of a battle by pressing their hands together; the last finds Iron Man staring, horrified, at the seemingly dead bodies of his fellow Avengers.

This is all after a signing at Marvel’s booth, where the cast chatted with attendees.


Last Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con:

Warner Brothers starts off their morning presentation in the legendary Hall H with one of their most anticipated films, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After showing some concept art, Zack Snyder screens some footage from the film. An armored Batman, his eyes glowing white, pulls a tarp off of the Batsignal. The light of the Batsignal reveals Superman above him, rage in his eyes. In fact, his eyes are red with it, his heat vision gearing up to incinerate the Dark Knight. Batman grimly stares him down.

The clip ends there. Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are trotted out onstage, to the cheers of thousands. Those cheers swell when Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman, join him. They smile, wave, and take a selfie with Chris Hardwick.

They leave without saying a word.


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Saturday Morning Opinions: Shame in a Time of Superheroes

batswing

On Wednesday, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice writer David Goyer visited the Scriptnotes podcast and ended up accusing She-Hulk of being a giant green porn star created solely to couple with the Hulk. (You know, her cousin!) It’s alarming that Goyer is so unfamiliar with female comic book characters that he knows nothing about one of the most popular Marvel ladies who consistently headlines her own books; it gets terrifying when you realize that this guy is in charge of introducing Wonder Woman to the silver screen.

But the next question Goyer fielded is much more telling. When a fan asked how he would translate J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, to film, Goyer scoffed, “He can’t be fucking called the Martian Manhunter because that’s goofy.” This was right after accusing anyone who had heard of the character, who has made appearances in Smallville and Justice League, of being virgins. Which, as an insult, is shorthand for a great many supposed social failings, but in this context carries the exact weight as if Goyer had bellowed “NERDS!” at his audience. He went on to outline how he would write Martian Manhunter, by totally obliterating the character’s backstory and retaining only his name.

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Saturday Morning Opinions: Five Things I Learned Watching Bond

Tom Richmond's "Secret Agent Men" print

With yesterday’s review of Quantum of Solace, my year-and-a-half long Bondathon has come to an end. What I thought would be a simple string of action films was instead a fascinating look into the mainstream Western psyche in the last fifty years. Between Bond and the Beatles, I learned a lot of things about the twentieth century in 2013. (Pro-tip: start your kids on the Beatles early. The sixties make way more sense with them.) But my education wasn’t all historical context, so let’s take a look at the five things I learned in the course of twenty-three Bond films.

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Saturday Morning Opinions: 2013 in Review

2013 has been a pretty big year, for both me and the blog. Not only I have I graduated college, completed a publishing program, gotten my first job, and moved across the country, but I’ve also tinkered with my writing style, format, and various features here at the Literary Omnivore to build a leaner, meaner bookish machine. So, for the first time in the Literary Omnivore’s history as my live reading journal, I present to you this year in review on the last Saturday of the year.

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Saturday Morning Opinions: Hobbit Production Diary #12 and Trailer #2

The Hobbit - The Desolation Of Smaug Movie Guide - Luke Evans

Despite my hot-and-cold reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, my excitement for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been ramping up. Some of it is the inclusion of baby!Bilbo in the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, some of it is the prospect of elves (including Tauriel) in Desolation of Smaug, and some of it is the fact that Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-Earth will always be near and dear to my heart. All of which is to say, it’s time for a frame-by-frame reaction to both the new diary and the new trailer.

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Saturday Morning Opinions: God Moding

Day 10 - The daily grind.

Last week, friend of the blog Renay posted the second installment of her new column at Strange Horizons, in which she discussed and expressed discomfort with creators (or authors) walking into fan (or reader) discussions without invitation. The ensuing maelstrom was entirely disproportionate, but, as things have died down, there’s been some good discussion. Renay herself did a round-up over at ladybusiness.

But the one thing that I think is missing from the discussion (and the reason I’m jumping in at the last moment) is the larger historical context of fandom—the why for the skittishness of those of us who identify as fans around those whose texts we consume. I disagree with Renay’s position that all reviews are fanwork, so the following doesn’t apply to all or even most book bloggers, but there are plenty of fans who write reviews, be it as structured as a book blog or as loose as a comment on TrekMovie.com.

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Saturday Morning Opinions: Harlequinade

If people think Wonder Woman is hard to write for (an idea Christopher Bird examines and demolishes here), then the very thought of writing for Harleen “Harley Quinn” Quinzel must surely generate nightmares. She’s brassy, sharp, and cute as a button. She’s violent, immature, and quick to anger. She’s one-half of comics’ most legendary abusive relationship and one-half of one of comics’ most legendary female friendships. And that’s when you’re doing it right.

Harley and Ivy Continue reading