Closing the window on this baffling Cubs team

There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair regarding the astonishingly horrible first two weeks of the Cubs 2021 season. There’s also a lot of gnashing of teeth and griping about those who turn so quickly on the team after one of the worst starts in the last 120 years of Cubs baseball. One tweet stated that “if you don’t love the Cubs at their worst, you don’t deserve them at their best.” 

That’s all fair.

At the start of any given season, it does take time to settle in and adjust. Some excellent teams need time to get in the swing of things, literally. Meanwhile, some other teams start off with an explosion of action, get a bunch of early wins, and then eventually settle into the basement.

Quality will out in the end. 

But I don’t think any of this is happening with the Cubs. Their bats have consistently continually gotten deader since 2016. It’s almost as if the Cubs were given a potion in early 2015. It began taking effect, and got stronger and stronger by the end of 2016 until it reached maximum efficacy in October and early November.

Then sometime in 2017, it started to wear off, until finally, around 2019, they were getting back to 2013 or 14 levels. That’s what it’s felt like anyway. 

Is it all mental? Sure. Superstition? Baseball is thick with superstitious nonsense. 

But it really IS baffling what’s happened. For at least a couple years after 2016, you had the same bunch of guys. On paper, these SAME GUYS should have been either in or close to the World Series in ’17, ’18, maybe ’19. 

Winning the NL Central, by the way, is not a great accomplishment. At least not in the past few years, as the division has been the weakest in baseball. These days, you measure the quality of your play by going up against the Dodgers, or other teams who have to face the Dodgers a lot each year. 

The Dodgers are an interesting history lesson too. They HAVE been legit contenders for the past five years, getting close to or IN the WS. In fact, if not for the fact that both the Astros and Red Sox were both slimy cheating machines, the Dodgers WS win in ’20 might easily have been their third in a row. They would have had a legit dynasty going on. They still can, as right now, they’re running away with the best record in baseball and are the odds on favorite to win it all again.

I hope they do, only because they did get ripped off by the cheating scandal a couple years running. I usually have nothing but disdain for the Dodgers, but Houston and Boston have made them sympathetic victims.

But the Cubs. Unlike the Dodgers, they have no good excuse. Not for these first two weeks– forget that, as again, it’s not just this season’s start but the last five years. You can only only blame a “World Series hangover” for just so long. In fact, it’s rubbish. 

The one I feel most sorry for is David Ross. When he stepped in last year as manager, he made a point of saying he was going to hold the players accountable. Didn’t happen. Oh, the COVID shortened season, oh, we’re grinding out at bats, oh, we just have to trust the process, oh, blah blah blah. 

I understand the manager and players have to say *something* each and every day to the media, but Jesus Christ, there are only so many cliches we can stomach hearing for the 568th time.

These guys are good, we know it! 

But ARE they … anymore?

The Cubs are now trapped in a glass case of panic.

What’s left of the championship core is down to a handful of guys, and most of them are on the edge of free agency. They are as good as gone after this year, because general manager Jed Hoyer has not extended them. 

Everybody loves everybody, and respects and cares about everybody. Right.

But the second Hoyer traded away Yu Darvish, it was clear where priorities lay. If you’ve got a valuable player, SELL! QUICK! 

See, usually, a player headed into free agency will try his best to have a career year, to up his value for his own sake and get that sweetheart big, multimillion dollar contract. 

Meanwhile, a guy like Hoyer hopes that they do indeed have a great early start to prove their value, so he can trade them and make loads of money. But… if Rizzo, Baez and Bryant are still performing like this in June or July before the trade deadline, no one wins, especially Hoyer. He’ll have a bunch of worthless trading chips. 

Meanwhile, amongst the daily media interviews on zoom, where the players look more like hostages reading prepared statements, it’s the same old thing. “We’re not worried”. “We do our homework.” “We prepare for our opponents.” “Etc.”

Doesn’t really seem like it.

Maybe it’s going into the phantasmagoric, multimillion dollar clubhouse reminding them of what they used to be. Maybe they just keep waiting for some miracle to flick the switch on again. Maybe there’s a toxic element that’s taken hold in the back of the player’s minds. There’s a reason we refer to the Baseball Gods. They are mercurial, malicious and murky. They reside in player’s minds, no matter what they might say.

I think at some point, the ’21 Cubs are going to go on a huge tear and have a hell of a run. Because every team does at some point during every season. Just like they have horrible stretches. But it all comes down to how long and how much, resulting in what kind of team materializes at the end. One of the things I DON’T want is them scoring a boat load of runs one day, get cocky, then go hitless for three games. That’s been a common pattern for the past few years as well.

This team could very likely win their weak division, or maybe more. Or end up staying right here in the basement. No idea.

Because the potion wore off.

Is This… The END of Daredevil?

I do love the vast majority of what the Marvel Cinematic universe has put out. Even the least of which have been quality productions, albeit with issues– but it’s been rare. 

On the streaming end, Netflix/Marvel’s also delivered, putting out something like 13 seasons of content in something like four years. Three seasons of Jessica Jones, two seasons each of Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Punisher, one of The Defenders and perhaps most importantly, three incredible seasons of Daredevil.

A lot has been made of the various, upcoming Disney+ series, and WandaVision acquitted itself pretty well in its first season. There’s plenty more to come as well, with “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Loki”, and a bunch of other properties. 

But where exactly does this leave Daredevil? 

There’s absolutely no denying the love fandom has for DD on Netflix. Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/DD), Deborah Ann Wohl (Karen Page), Elden Hensen (Foggy Nelson) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk), are some of the best casting choices this side of Chris Evans as Cap. No argument. 

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, and Elden Henson attend the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil” New York Comic-Con Panel & Cast Signing at the Javits Center on October 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Possibly the MOST impressive embodiment of a character is D’Onofrio as Fisk. In the comics, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, is THE mob boss of organized crime and a virtual man-mountain of dangerous muscle, housed within what some might mistake as simply the frame of a fat man. This live action portrayal has been a revelation. As cliche as it sounds, D’Onofrio was born for this role. 

This is to take nothing away from Cox, Wohl and Hensen, who play a magnificent three musketeers at the office of Nelson & Murdock, attorneys at law. 

And we can’t forget Scott Glenn as Matt’s mentor, Stick, or Wilson Bethel as the chilling Ben “Dex” Poindexter, aka Bullseye. Whoever did the casting for this series should get any and all applicable awards ASAP. 

If DD was entered into the MCU ranking, the series would rate very, very highly amongst the films. If you look up “binge watching” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Charlie Cox there. It’s that good.

But when Marvel bought up the Fox film properties like the Fantastic Four and the X-men, and planned out Disney+, there was no mention of Daredevil. They own the property, and Cox and company have proven to be WILDLY popular. 

So what’s the problem? 

One hurdle was the expiration date on the Netflix property. To the best of my knowledge, Marvel wasn’t technically allowed to produce anything new involving the Netflix properties for two years after the final seasons were broadcast. Meaning Marvel couldn’t really think about utilizing a character like Daredevil, or adding him to a production until 2020, two years after DD season three came out of the streaming service. More on this in a moment.

There is another hurdle, but it might be moot now. Where as Kevin Fiege was THE man in charge of the MCU, Ike Perlmutter was the guy overseeing Marvel’s tv output from a corporate standpoint for a while. Perlmutter has long been known as a corporate tightwad and a pain in the ASS. He had tons of power, and was highly placed in the hierarchy of both Marvel and Disney. Perlmutter made life difficult for Fiege, until Ike was taken out of the equation. There was a time when any utilization of the tv properties would benefit Perlmutter. That’s possibly one reason why no characters from ABC or Netflix ever appeared in an MCU film. It might in some way benefit Ike. Bottom line, there was no love lost between the two.

But again, time has passed, Perlmutter can no longer muck up the works, and Fiege can now do what he wants. PART of that is giving fans what they love and crave.

Case in point, the mid credit sequence of Spider-man, Far From Home. J. K. Simmons portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi movies was an impossible act to follow. That’s part of the reason the follow up Spidey franchise starring Andrew Garfield didn’t dare recast him. But KNOWING how much the fans love him, Fiege brought him back, albeit for a cameo, playing a doctored video by Mysterio, framing Spider-man for murder and outing Peter Parker’s identity. It was a mind blowing reveal.

When the third Spider-man entry in this franchise hits theater’s this December, what exactly will we see? Is Peter and May on the run? Is he in jail? *Does he need… a lawyer?*

I guarantee you, the vast majority of Marvel and Spidey fans knew that Peter would indeed need a lawyer. And we know a guy. 

Hell, there’s been several reports that Cox has been filming scenes for the movie, but there’s been no official statement. And when asked, Fiege just smiles. But he knows what we want. 

The big question though, even if Daredevil, and/or Matt Murdock ends up in the next Spider-man film…. where does he go from there?  Does he make the jump to film? Myself, I would vote no. The producers of the Netflix show had a 4th season all planned out. Bring it to Disney +. Make it happen. There’s a rhythm and flow to how this property works as a series. Maybe they can make it work as a movie, but I say stick with what you know. 

One way or another, they can’t just let Daredevil fade away. 

Star Trek, TNG’s greatest missed opportunity

Near the end of Star Trek, The Next Generation’s sixth season, there was an ep titled “Second Chances.”

Enterprise visits a planet to locate important research data. It just so happens that it stems from a mission 8 years earlier, where a young Lt. Will Riker *almost* didn’t make it off the planet via transporter. Turns out, there was some nasty interference, but thankfully, Will got off the planet. 

But Will did NOT get off the planet. 

He was stranded on that planet for 8 years. So when the away team beamed down, imagine how awkward it was when Lt. Riker came face to face with Cmdr Riker–with a neater beard!

Those transporters, much like the holodecks, are a LOT more trouble than they’re worth. The nasty interference back then produced two identical patterns in the transporter buffer and boom. One Riker beamed up, one stayed put. Two exactly the same Will Rikers. Only one was MUCH lonelier. No one realized a Riker was left behind. Why would they? He came back!

So, both Rikers return to Enterprise. What follows is awkwardness between Deanna and this new Riker, because they were still an item back then. Our Riker eventually chose career over counselor and broke Troi’s heart. Now we knew the rest of the story. 

Of course, Riker on Riker interaction throughout the ep, as they set about retrieving said research data, or doing *anything*, is like two squabbling brothers, as you might expect. As new Riker resumes pursuing Deanna, old Riker cautions her to be wary so she doesn’t get hurt again. Because you know, a Riker is a Riker is a Riker.

By the ep’s end, new Riker decides to transfer to another ship to get away from himself, since he’s his own superior officer, again, awkward. He takes Thomas, his middle name, as his first to differentiate himself from his twin. Deanna tries not to even let him in again for fear that history will repeat. End of episode. Tom is never mentioned again in TNG. 

What an interesting episode. What a load of chickenshit producers and creators. 

Hey, producers and creators!

You had an all new, all different Riker. A Lt. from security division. One who had never met this crew, and was more in love than ever with Deanna. 

Meanwhile, you were quickly running out of excuses for why Cmdr Riker was passing up his own command every other weekend. Could no one in the office see the OPPORTUNITY you were giving yourself? Of COURSE you did. You just chickened out. What, too much trouble? Were you tired?

You had them both stumbling around on the cliched death bridge on planet, and new Riker almost fell to his death. You get credit for not letting the cliched death bridge earn its title. It took a tiny bit of guts to keep a second Riker around. But then you shipped him off. That’s Weak Sauce. You could have gone into season 7 electrified, but you decided to coast.

Here’s an alternate solution. You tell me if you think this might have been more interesting.

Cmdr Riker decides to kill two birds with one stone. He takes that week’s offer of another command. He finally gets his ship (maybe there actually one he was waiting for?), and gets away from this other him. Maybe there’s some guilt at play as well. Toss this poor bastard a bone. Allow him some time to serve on the Enterprise under the great man, while you stop mooching. Maybe new Riker actually has the chance to make Deanna happy. Meanwhile, you are the master of your own vessel. 

Okay, that Riker’s gone, so everyone gets a shift or promotion, or both. This opens up SO many new possibilities for new interpersonal and professional relationships on the show, it’s crazy. Picard has to pick a new first officer. Obviously, it’ll be Data or Worf. Somebody’s getting a new red shirt! Data had already shown he’s got command chops, but Worf’s natural fire would be a good compliment to Jean Luc’s diplomatic, measured ways. What a *wonderful* problem to have in a writer’s room!

As for Jonathan Frakes, maybe he no longer gets second billing, but he doesn’t lose screen time. Lt. Riker gets a bump to Lt. Cmdr.  He probably also gets head of security, keeping the gold shirt. *And* he resumes his relationship with Deanna. Having *just* got a promotion, he’s good to stay put for at least the rest of the TNG run, thus, time for him and Troi. 

Now, away teams are different. Instead of Riker, Data and Worf… it’d be Data, Worf and Riker. The new arrangement wouldn’t matter to the new guy at all, and probably not Data too much either. But the dynamic between Worf and Tom would be interesting. Especially in season 7 when Worf goes after Deanna romantically. 

Again, more rich, layered, wonderful, character twists to be had. 

It’s such a shame, because Frakes could have really stretched himself as an actor here, as the rest of the crew adjusted to this new head of security, and he adjusted to his new normal. This sloppy lack of follow up, and timidity regarding taking chances, making bold moves….seems like the lame stuff Voyager would do on a regular basis.

Ah well, TNG would only reach a certain level. Not every Trek show can be Deep Space Nine.

Yes, DS9 actually did have the cajones to bring back Tom Riker, had him steal the Defiant masquerading as Will. Turned out that poor Tom ended up with the Starfleet officers turned terrorists, the Maquis. At least *someone* took the reigns on an interesting character. Things did not end well for Tom, sent off to a Cardassian prison, sacrificing himself to save his crew. 

It really didn’t have to end this way. There were some good eps in TNG’s seventh and final season, but a lot of dead wood too. Could have been MUCH more interesting. 

I just really hate missed opportunities, because the Thing IS. 

The Snyder Cut, Part 2: Knowing your characters

Having praised TSC for being an expansive, superior film over the theatrical cut of the Justice League, I feel I must offer, not an opposing viewpoint, but a little clarification, in case the Snyderites out there think I’ve drunk the Kool-aid.

Yes, the Snyder Cut is unbelievably longer, which certainly helps flesh out the characters, or at least give them more screen time. It gives a more complete story. It has an over all consistent visual style, but this is one of the advantages of having ONE director at the helm.

But make no mistake, Snyder is not a genius, nor was this a “masterpiece”. Just a more internally consistent production, making for a smoother delivery in the end.

Although I found the hybrid nature of the theatrical version to be jarring at times, it did have one clear advantage over the Snyder Cut. It has a far more recognizable Superman. Snyder has never understood Superman. 

Really, there are many characters Snyder doesn’t understand, probably because he doesn’t understand what a hero is– that’s why he constantly puts his “heroes” in impossible, no win situations, where the only way out is by tortuous killings and murders. And in some cases, just has them kill for the hell of it because it results in cool property damage shots. 

Like Wonder woman liquifying the lead terrorist at the museum in front of the school kids, and blowing out the whole side of a building because Snyder loves property destruction. The leader was scum but a simple hand crushing his gun, or even his hand would have been more than enough to stop him. Slamming your bracelets together to disintegrate him to jelly, well, at least one of the little girls declared she wants to be JUST like Diana when she grows up! Kid also seemed intense. But I digress. We’re supposed to be talking about Superman specifically here in The Snyder Cut…

For instance, in TSC, after coming back from the dead, there was no good reason for him to come back in the black suit, other than Snyder thought it looked cool. Yes, they did that briefly in the comics but A) that was in the ’90’s, an era known for shitty fashion trends in comics but there was also a Kryptonian medical angle involved at the time. None of which should have come into play here. Especially since we also got a drawn out fashion show while Kal El wandered through his closet picking out his next outfit. Superman would not come back to a glorious return in anything but his natural colors. 

In the Doom future flash forwards, when Lois has died and Supes has gone rogue, yes, then he’d be wearing black, but even there, in this latest dream, Snyder puts the murderous Kal in red and blue, just to be irreverent or contrary I guess. 

As much of an asshole as he is in real life, Joss Whedon *does* understand Superman though, and he at least gives us a more true take on the character. There are several bits and pieces in the film where Whedon tries to let the true character come out but maybe the most silver age goodness is evident in the good natured race at the mid credit sequence between Superman and Flash. Simple and fun. 

This doesn’t usually go over well with the “Kewl kill krowd” but that’s their loss.

In the end, neither of these films are glowing examples of cinema, but each have things in their favor.

For instance, a small scene between the veteran Batman and newbie Flash, where the kid is nervous because he hasn’t really done this life saving thing much. Batman’s advice of “save one person” to get the ball rolling is a nice, small, vulnerable, human moment. The sort of moment that we usually don’t get in TSC.

But I wish. I wish that Warner Bros. executives and Chris Nolan had gone a different, smarter direction when expanding the DCCU. I wish *they* grasped the concept of Superman, and how he’s a very different character than Batman. How ALL these characters are supposed to be different. They’re not ALL supposed to be dark and badass like Batman. 

I wish that circumstances where different and that if Whedon had to do a Justice League movie, it was his concept from start to finish, with no mitigating circumstances and horrible conditions and/or personalities in the mix. 

Of course, the best possible scenario would be the Russo Bros. and writers Markus and McFeely doing a Justice League movie, because when it comes to comic characters in films, I don’t think anyone truly gets how it works better than those guys. 

Are they… available?

The Road to Justice League’s Snyder Cut, AND A Review

A few years ago, Zack Snyder was tasked with making two Justice League movies, a year apart. This was to be in the vein of Marvel’s Infinity War and Endgame, as far as a huge one-two punch at the box office with the biggest heroes around.

Snyder completed pretty much all the principle filming on the first film, just needing to get the rest of the post production done, including effects.

But there were two obstacles to the finished product. One was tragic. 

The executives at Warner bros. were, at this time, some of the weakest, sniveling worms ever to infest a backlot. Any time a DC superhero film didn’t meet the expectations of one of their bean counters, they’d hike up their petticoats and rethink the schedule for years to come. Mind you, the box office could have been impressive, but it wasn’t reaching the heights of the corresponding Marvel films, so, in their minds: FAIL.

Also, Zack Snyder’s version of a mopey, dark, “real world” Superman in Amanda of Steel put off a lot of fans. This also made the Warner execs nervous. Even though Snyder was supposed to be the master planner and architect of the DCCU, his dark, grim … everything was giving Warner pause. Their confidence in Zack was starting to get shaky. But again, it was the Warner execs who welcomed Zack with open arms on the recommendation of Chris Nolan, fresh off giving us the Dark Knight trilogy. 

Sadly, it was around this time that Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. 

Having come so far on the film, Zack decided to work through the pain and finish the movie. The final running time was going to be over three hours. Warner asked him to get it closer to two and a half hours. He did. *Then* they asked him to get it down under two hours, effectively cutting half the existing film. It was at this point, Snyder bowed out. Relentless, brainless interference from the studio making him decide to leave or him just deciding it was time to go home? We can’t know for sure, but what Warner execs did next was interesting. 

They hired Joss Whedon to come in and finish the film. Whedon had performed brilliantly bringing the Avengers to the big screen, and was responsible for a 1.5 billion  dollar box office bonanza for Marvel. So who better to bring in to save the Justice League? It certainly seemed reasonable on paper. There was also a mandate that Whedon should lighten things up a bit, not have everything be so dark. 

Well, we didn’t really hear too much until well after the fact but I don’t believe it was a happy set for anyone. A lot of the stars were well on board with Snyder’s vision, so Warner plopping Whedon down in the middle of everything with orders to change it all probably didn’t go over well. Ray Fisher (Cyborg) was extremely unhappy that so much of his backstory was cut, and would later come out publicly regarding allegations of on set abuse against Whedon and co-producer Geoff Johns. Unhappy set.

The biggest, stupidest obstacle of all was Henry Cavill’s mustache that he grew for the latest Mission Impossible film. Evidently, he had a clause in his contract that said  he could NOT shave it off. So when they assembled the cast back for massive reshoots on the Whedon version, Superman… had a mustache. That they had to digitally remove in every frame of the film. They did so. Poorly. 

The rest of the Whedon film was much the same. It was a bit lighter, it was…there. It had some moments, but it turns out, the best moments were left over from the Snyder version. The Whedon version was “okay”. That’s about as much as I can say about it. All the CGI in the Whedon version seemed rushed, especially Steppenwolf, which was very surprising, given the stakes involved, and the inevitable comparisons to Marvel’s Thanos. 

But whatever, you had a placid, lighter Justice League, with a Superman with a weird lip running around. It’s as if in addition to everything else, Warner told Whedon “Hey, thanks for stepping in, unfortunately, Zack took 95% of our budget, so good luck reshooting most of this film.” In the end, Justice League ended up in the same category as Green Lantern, a middle of the road misfire. Not horrible, not great. 

Turns out, Snyder was not happy with what Warner and Whedon had done with Justice League. His friends actively tried to stop him seeing it because they knew what his reaction would be. Time passed.

We had a pandemic. And a lot of people were staying home. 

I don’t know exactly what started the events in motion, but it was probably a couple things. I suspect it was partly Warner desperately wanting content, to get something big on HBOMAX, their new streaming service. Perhaps the other half was Snyder wanting to set the record straight on what his movie was supposed to be. 

Snyder had well over three hours of footage already filmed. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, among others, volunteered to return to help with any additional voice work or filming, to help Zack see his vision through. Snyder even shot an additional 20 minutes of all new footage. Finally, word came down that The Snyder Cut would be available in March 2021 on HBOMAX. Its running time: four hours. 

Okay, at this point, I should point out all the things that could go wrong with a project such as this. 

First, a running time of four hours. Maybe Warner learned their lesson, or just wasn’t as anal about trimming it down since it wasn’t going into the theater, just TVs at home. But four hours is a leviathan of a movie, and it has to keep you interested all that time. Not an easy task. 

Second, how’s the CGI going to hold up, considering this is kind of being done in strange, pandemic conditions?

Third, after seeing the misshapen mess that was The Donner Cut of Superman II, I was a little worried that this might not be all that, quality wise. There are a lot of rabid Snyder fans out there, and this would have a lot to live up to.

Fourth, this is a “part one”. The big story with Darkseid was not going to be resolved in this film– and there would be no part two! Imagine Infinity War ending and there would never be an Endgame?

Fifth, Snyder himself. He has a history of screwing up things with his endless disaster porn, non stop skull splitting and ill-conceived usage of mother names. Now, he was being let loose to go hog wild, with seemingly no constraints what so ever, with an R rated Justice League movie. Sorry kids, you don’t get to see this Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Adults only. 

So yes, a lot can go wrong, and this was going to be a challenge.

Well, Zack met the challenge. Color me impressed, truly.

I mean sure, there are a couple F-bombs, and the trademark Snyder skull splatters as bad guys get tossed into walls, but over all, not as much as you might expect in a four hour film. If anything, what this cut gives you is a deeper look at the characters, most notably Cyborg and Flash, and just a more well rounded, fleshed out story.

In the Whedon version, I had absolutely no use for Cyborg, because his entire backstory was jettisoned. Here, we see it all, and Ray Fisher is a very good actor. We also see more of Barry’s life, but I think ultimately both characters suffered mostly from Warner’s insistence on slimming the movie down to under two hours.

Having absolutely nothing edited out, the ultimate director’s cut, as it were, there really wasn’t much I would have excised, surprisingly. Maybe a minute or two here and there, like when the women were sniffing Aquaman’s sweater and singing about it (I can only imagine the smell), but seriously, out of four hours, there were maybe only 15 minutes I didn’t need in there. And all the grand cinematic Snyder visuals were on display.

Now, storywise, this isn’t the deepest superhero epic to hit your screen, but it’s got far more depth than the Whedon version by a mile. The big confrontation at the end is far more satisfying on every level. The CGI on Steppenwolf is a vast improvement. When Superman shows up for the big fight this time, it’s very cool. You end up caring a lot more about this team here.

Bottom line, this is a far superior picture to the one we got in theaters, but it’s not all that surprising. As I’ve said in the past, give me a pure Snyder version or a pure Whedon version, but not some shoddy hybrid that serves no one.

And I gotta say, it doesn’t really end on quite the cliffhanger I thought it would. There’s enough of a resolution to the story we’ve just seen, so as not to make us miserable that they aren’t doing a part two. 

Which brings us to part two. 

Let’s take a brief look at this DCCU film track record with this incarnation of heroes.

Man of Steel: good film about a dark, Superman “like” character, but not really Superman, loaded with way too much disaster porn, divided the fan base and had –according to Warner–disappointing box office around 670 mil. Snyder.

Batman v Superman: very good film which choked during the pivotal moment, same problems as Man of Steel but at least Batman fit right in. Box office was 870 mil but considering it had a good chunk of the Justice League in there, considered a flop because it was only half the Avenger’s take. Snyder.

Wonder Woman: considered the one true hit because this single hero was a critical darling and it did 820 mil. Win win. Jenkins.

Justice League: critical and box office flop. 657 mil. Whedon. 

Aquaman: critics hated it, but wonderful visuals and I guess the acting power of Jason Momoa and Dolphin Lundgren (?) propelled it to a billion dollar box office. 

Shazam: critically liked but only 366 mil box office.

Wonder Woman 1984: released simultaneously on HBOMAX and in theaters, The Jenkins follow up was not well received. Box office was affected greatly by the pandemic, so it’s hard to say how well or poorly it would have done, but it was a stinker.

The reason I shine a light on the track record here is because even with all those films, featuring characters just as or far *more* popular than the ones at Marvel, there hasn’t been a lot of success. Only a couple to be considered box office wins by Warner, and only a couple really well received by critics and fans.

So, depending on how well The Snyder Cut is received, and how well it does for Warner’s bottom line—I have to imagine there’s an algorithm or equation for determining how much they gained in HBOMAX subscriptions and how it would compare to box office numbers etc.—

Is it conceivable that Warner considers having Snyder do part two? 

I mean, a hit IS a hit after all, and Warner has not had many superhero hits at all since 2008’s Dark Knight. 

If they did decide to do it, you have to wonder if solidarity would bring the band back together again. Affleck was in and out and in and out on the proposed Batman trilogy, but it was clearly Warner’s flip flopping and endless tinkering with Justice League that drove him out, and I really can’t blame him. Cavill, I believe, was still under contract for one more movie, be it the MOS sequel or the second Justice League film. Gadot, I believe, is just carefree enough, and loyal to Snyder that she’d be in. Really, I get the feeling that as long as Warner doesn’t make the same mistakes, and as long as Whedon’s not in the picture, who knows?

Yes, Warner not making same mistakes… that might just kill it there, but you never know. 

What the Snyder Cut does set up by the end is that there is potentially another three or four hour epic in the offing, with bigger stakes and even more heroes. But will it happen? Well…

Marvel was seemingly never going to get the rights back for the Fantastic Four… until they did.

Michael Keaton was done playing Batman… until he took the part in the upcoming Flashpoint.

The Snyder version of Justice League was never going to see the light of day… until now.

So yeah, stranger things have happened. 

Justice League: The Snyder Cut – 7.5 out of 10

COMPLAINT DEPT. — in regards to both versions. When Supes has risen from the dead, and has the big confrontation in the park with the rest of the League at his broken monument, Lois and Batman both keep calling him Clark– in public, in front of cops! Way to go regarding Secret ID security there, gang. 

Also, I know it might have been too easy, but all the creatives involved knew perfectly well that after Supes got skewered by Doomsday at the end of BVS, all anyone *really* had to do was fly him up and expose him to the sun. I mean, Jesus, people, he’s a living solar battery. Come on, now. He’d HEAL.

A big complaint is team membership, or lack thereof. Listen, I know Warner thought they were being smart adding Cyborg to the team because he’s black and he’s a tech oriented hero like Ironman. But in truth, it’s just lazy. If you want more diversity, open your eyes to the popularity of the animated series and bring in Jon Stewart’s Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. 

Poor Cyborg has been sacrificial goat, staking out his natural place on the Titans, getting thrown onto the JL, and also being added to the Doom Patrol. You know, DC, Warner…..you guys HAVE other black characters, really good ones, like Black Lightning, Vixen, the aforementioned Jon Stewart. If you spread one character too thin, that helps no one.

And now… SPOILERS AHOY! This last bit is all spoilers for the Snyder cut.

I can only imagine that in part two, we’d see the Atom appear, since Ryan Choi appears prominently in TSC. Same with the Martian Manhunter, who, I’m sorry, he’s been posing as a general for god knows how long, yet he doesn’t lift a finger when all these events are going down? Here’s a guy who’s a telepath, super strong, a shape changer, has heat vision, flight, and can phase through solid objects. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HELP AGAINST STEPPENWOLF! Sure, it was nice of him to stop by Bruce’s place at the end and say he’s available… after the fighting’s over. Grumble.

The mid credit sequence on Luthor’s boat had a very different discussion from one version to the other. In the Whedon version, Lex mentions putting together an Injustice League. In the Snyder cut, he simply outs Bruce Wayne’s ID to Deathstroke, which makes more sense, since Batman rattled him before. It’s made all the more interesting since in the ‘Doom Future” flash forward, Deathstroke ends up on Batman’s team. 

Jared Leto joined in for the newly shot epilogue material. He comes off better here without the “gangsta” look, grill and tats he had in Suicide Squad. I think they tried to steer him a bit closer to Ledger. Anything would have been an improvement. 

On HBOMAX, they also have the black and white version of the cut, which is interesting. I may have to dive into that, or hope it’s an option when it comes out on blu-ray. 

Lifetime Supply

When it comes to looking at the world, some people are “glass half full”, and some are “glass half empty”. 

I look at it as “Hey, is the water cold, and is the glass clean?”

A while back, I made the mistake of realizing the three bags of cheap, plastic, flossing devices I bought on Amazon were probably a “lifetime supply”. I floss roughly three or four times a year. Time passes quickly. But I’ve probably got like 70 of these things. You do the math. Not sure, but the last thing I want to do is delve deeper into whether the flossers are going to outlast me. 

Unfortunately, the floss thing put a whole new “thought category” in my head. The “lifetime supply” thought is both grim and reassuring. On one hand, you’ll probably never have to buy said item again! Woo! OTOH, the reason is a bit unfortunate. 

In fact, I currently have no other “lifetime supplies” that spring to mind– that’s good, because even though I’m sure I have some, I’d rather not dwell on them.

But now we had to buy a car. The old Saturn was falling apart, and at this point, we were throwing good money after bad, so a change needed to be made.

My hope was that it would hold up well enough to get Matthew through college, and it did, although the pandemic eased the pressure on the last half year with the lockdown. Hey, turns out COVID *was* good for something! 

But after 22 years and only 50,000 miles, it was dying from a thousand cuts that would cost me yet another thousand dollars. It’s on its third or fourth exhaust system, second set of tires at least, had work done on most other elements in the past, and still bears the marks of the front quarter panel smash in from six or seven years ago. The cost to repair it *then* exceeded the cost of the vehicle itself. So it had to go.

We couldn’t have three of us and one car, because even though I don’t drive much, I do need a car once in a while, and junior does too, here and there. 

Buying a car, in my experience, has been a nightmare as often as not. Buying the Saturn was the only TRULY pleasant car buying experience I ever really had. And Saturn no longer exists. The Honda Odyssey wasn’t that bad an experience, but I also was in a good financial situation at the time to pay cash for it. Hmmm, as I think back, I think maybe I only had one really bad experience buying a car. 

It was 1999, and amidst all the prerequisite partying we had to do like it *was* that year, I needed a new car. I think my old Honda Accord was on its way out, and I was in the mood for a VW Beetle. They had made a stylistic resurgence. Unfortunately, after hours negotiating with the salesman, with him pulling all the old tricks “okay, I’ll have to run that price by my boss”, we finally made a deal, they were transferring my plates from the old Accord to the new Beetle, paperwork was produced. Then I noticed they tried to stick me with an extra that cost an extra grand. 

NIAGARA FALLS!  (Look it up, kids)

This slimy SOB tried to pull a fast one at the last second, and thought I wouldn’t notice. I said the deal was off, got my plates switched back and away I went. 

To Saturn, and a lovely experience. No negotiating, just tell them what you want, they give a whole price list, boom. The down side was of course having to make car payments, and I hate being on the hook, so I paid it off in six months, instead of four years. 

Honestly, the Beetle deal put a very sour taste in my mouth though, and the upcoming new purchase was stressing me out big time, because of it.

Enter, the blog, a friend that serves to open ones’ mind.

Really, this blog helped me get into a good head space regarding having to buy a new car. I started remembering just how lucky I’d been in the past, when it came to acquiring cars. I’ve been very fortunate. So I ended up doing a mental 180 on the whole thing, thanks to this entry.

In fact, the whole thing went surprisingly smoothly. I figured we’d be laboring, sweating and miserable, traveling to several places to find a good deal. No, it actually took four hours total. Linda went online, found a used 2017 Honda Civic at the local Honda dealer, with only 29,000 miles on it with a nice price. We made an appointment, checked it out, did a test drive, had to wait on hour for the finance guy to finish up another client, wrote a check and boom. Home into the garage. Drives like a dream.

And the Saturn? Donated it. Yeah, to the annoying Kars4kids place with the horrible song. But hey, if there are other places who will come and pick the thing up in 24 hours, no muss, no fuss, well, these other places certainly didn’t have very good placement with search engines, because Kars4kids was first in line. And, if by some miracle, they sell it to someone, I get a tax deduction up to $500.

There’s no way in hell they get more than $50 for the thing, but you never know. 

But hey, there you go, a shiny Civic in the garage. This one will actually get driven LESS than the Saturn, so I expect to get at LEAST 30 years out of that thing. It might be the last car I ever have to buy!

Hey, lifetime supply of car! Woohoo!

The old Saturn takes its leave…

Comics can’t really follow films off the cliff

We like to think comics are a fun, creative bit of entertainment, and sometimes, they are. But just as much of the time, it’s all business, gimmicks, sales and money. Because yes, it’s a business. Of all the strategies comic companies employ though, taking direct advantage of their character’s films can be highly profitable, or possibly disastrous. Sometimes, it can be an interesting and harmless change. Or it can just seem really cheap and pathetic. You be the judge.

After the Batman ’89 film with Michael Keaton, the DC comics version started shifting the caped crusader’s costume more and more to an all black motif, moving away from the grey tights. They eventually came back, as the black and grey work well together, but the light blue is long gone. 

After the Sam Raimi Spider-man films in the early aughts, Marvel decided, after 40 years, to shift Peter Parker’s web shooters from being mechanical, to organic, mimicking the conceit of the films. I loved the first two Raimi films, but the organic web shooters notion was a misfire. The fact that the Marvel head honchos felt the need to follow this path for several years in the comics was, frankly, a calculated risk. I’m not sure just how popular or unpopular that was. I’m guessing MORE popular than One More Day (look it up, kids), anyway, but eh, low bar.

Now, the current Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed quite a bit of the comics world where possible. Black Widow and Hawkeye more closely resemble their movie counterparts in the fashion department, although Widow wasn’t that much of a stretch. Funny thing with Iron man is that after 45 years in the comic, once Robert Downey jr. showed up as Tony Stark, suddenly in the comics, we actually got a Tony with an expanded personality, not just a drinking problem. 

That’s just one of the great things the MCU has provided us– elevated characters, or at least a more fleshed out, fully realized version of them than we’d seen in the comics up to that point.

Because of the films, Marvel comics has responded across the board with even more varied Avengers titles on the stands than ever before, same with its various members in their own titles, and of course, thanks to the good relationship with Sony, we’ve got more Spidey movies and loads of comics as always. 

Speaking of studio and comic company relations or lack there of, there was a good chunk of time where the Fantastic Four comic and any possible merchandise were basically trash canned, because at the time, Marvel big gun and all around heel Ike Perlmutter hated FOX studios so much, that he refused to have the comic’s merchandise even made available to the public. The idea was to not support the FOX FF and X-men films in any way possible, and even spearheaded a campaign to eliminate the word “mutant” from the comics. Partially because the MCU films didn’t have the rights to it (?!).

The BIGGEST reason Perlmutter hated FOX was that because of the inept and crazy-stupid deal MARVEL negotiated back in the ’90’s SELLING the first on rights to them, FOX actually made more money off all the FF and X merchandise than Marvel did. So it was Marvel’s fault, but Ike is also a known “man of frugality” and didn’t want to give FOX the satisfaction or another dime.

The point is moot now, because Disney and Marvel have control over the Fantastic Four and X-men rights, and Perlmutter has been de-clawed and sent to a farm upstate to run freely.

This all just goes to show how the films affect the comics and vice versa.

The comics have been the big story generators for the films, but the end result is the films taking the controlling hand in the character’s destinies. There are a lot of former comic fans I know who’ve just straight switched from comics TO the movies, as they now follow their favorite heroes solely on film. The Infinity Saga has been a hell of a “comic run”. 

Here’s where it gets tricky. Like any good story, it has to come to an end. In the comics, the story is, of a necessity, ongoing. The tale of Spider-man, Captain America, you name it, can never die, and they’ll all stay pretty much the same age until the end of time. This makes it a lot easier to repeat yourself, unfortunately. Comics just have to hope that the current crop of readers weren’t around the last three times they did a certain story. Again. 

But in the movies, actors do age and they eventually need to move on. Thus, Tony Stark and Steve Roger’s stories have definitely come to an end on film. Sure, some day down the line, in another 15 or 20 years, after Kevin Fiege has given us the breadth and scope of all the other Marvel properties, he will eventually leave. Then, of course, there will be a reboot of another MCU, because Hollywood never lets anything Rest In Peace forever. But since there are plenty of other huge Marvel stories and characters to bring forth, there won’t be a recasting of Tony and Steve until that far off time in the future. But it will happen. 

Meanwhile, comics have to come out every month with their continuing stories, not every two or three years. They can’t have their Tony Stark stay dead for 20 years. Oh sure, he’ll undoubtedly die a few times in the comics DURING those 20 years but in comics, the sad, pathetic truth is, the characters die on a regular basis, and pretty much no one even cares anymore because it’s now become meaningless.

The comics actually had Stark dead for a while well before Endgame but had already come back. Meanwhile, comics Steve Rogers is still in his prime, between deaths and going about his business.

Because the comics have to keep grinding ’em out every month, no matter what the films do. 

Hangin’ with Dr. Z!

Everyone has a specialty. A certain niche where they not only fit in perfectly, but they reach their pinnacle. That mountaintop where they can plant their flag and rule supreme. The role they were born to play.

Dana Gould has been a respected and successful stand up comic for several decades. He’s also had his hand in more failed pilots than an air force proctologist (his words). He also created “Stan against Evil” for IFC and was a writer on the Simpsons for 8 years. 

But that magic niche that seems to fit him so well? Well, of COURSE it’s dressing up like Dr. Zaius from the original The Planet of The Apes. 

Gould has been doing it for the better part of a decade or more. I can only seem to track down YouTube videos of him doing this for roughly the past eight years. Dr. Zaius has appeared on stage in a tribute to Mark Twain, sung Sweet Caroline dressed as Elvis and done impromptu guest spots on stages all over. 

Thank god Planet of the Apes had its 50th anniversary a couple years ago– it really opened things up for this would be simian and suddenly, it was a madhouse! Well, not really a madhouse, but the occasion allowed Gould to once again get into full authentic costume and make up as Dr. Zaius. Several times. 

Dr. Zaius appeared on Turner Classics as part of the intro to the celebratory anniversary showing of the film, as well as other stage celebrations and interviews to honor the event.

Here’s the thing… the make up is perfect. His costume is perfect. His mannerisms are perfect. His Maurice Evans is perfect. (Evans originally played Zaius in the original film) and his knowledge is perfect, at least on the subject of the original Planet of the Apes. Does Gould have a life long love affair with the film? With Dr. Zaius? With simians in general? I do not know. But he not only knows his POTA trivia, but his ’60’s and ’70’s Hollywood celebrities, and all the hilariously dated in-jokes of that era.

Obviously recognizing that this might be his first, best destiny, Gould has turned this… hobby? Fetish? Curious choice for a witness protection identity? Into a fun, worthwhile, ongoing comedy gig on YouTube. 

It’s called “Hangin’ with Dr. Z”

“Hangin'” has — as of this writing — only amounted to 5 eps so far, and each only about 8 or 9 minutes, but it’s a fun ride. A classic talk show intro, a brief monologue, and a word with his one man band, the ever hapless Rusty Steele. They break for their own crafted commercial (sometimes the funniest bit), then on to the guest for the night for a five minute interview. Dr. Z is very much at home here, and Gould perfectly inhabits this simian showman. Think Johnny Carson, circa 1970, … mixed with an orangutan. 

If you do decide to give it a try on YouTube, I’m sure you’ll see some of his other appearances over the last few years. Well worth checking out. 

It sure beats the hell out of a trip to the Forbidden Zone.

Digital De-aging- It’s not for everyone

The second film in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Vol. 2, was every bit as fun as the original. It even added a few extra touching moments to the proceedings. The soundtrack was awesome as usual.

But maybe the most amazing thing about the film, was the open, seeing a spry, energetic, YOUNG Kurt Russell running through the forest with his lady love, Quill’s mother (Laura Haddock). It was a stunning piece of digital de-aging, taking 40 years off Russell’s then 65 year old look.

Technically, there were three elements to this transformation.

1)-the make up artists applied some prosthetics 

2)-the crew then digitally de-aged the actor

3)-Russell was also tasked with *moving* in a younger, more energetic manner during the scene, as body language is a huge part of the process. 

Side note: interestingly, Russell was only really aware of the make up prosthetics that were applied, and for quite a while, maybe even now, he thought that was it and he wasn’t in need of digital de-aging. He even bragged about it to the crew. But according to the digital crew, he definitely got the CGI de-aging treatment, and they even used a stunt body double for some shots, with mapping dots on the double’s face, so they could put Russell’s mug on there.

Bottom line, it was incredibly well done. The tech crew associated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly gifted with their almost human realistic characters, such as Thanos (Josh Brolin). Of course, the first feat of CGI wizardry in the MCU was  the pre-formula, skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Captain America, The First Avenger. I hadn’t been that impressed with CGI since the first Jurassic Park, some 15 years earlier.

Back to de-aging, there were at least two instances I can think of with Michael Douglas as the MCU’s Hank Pym. First, they took the actor, then about 70, down to middle age for the opening of Ant-man, which took place in ’89. Then back to his mid 20’s in 1970 for an appearance in Endgame. And in each case, wherever possible, they not only applied tech and make up, but also had him move in a more youthful way, when they weren’t using a stunt double.

At the beginning of Civil War, we see a digitally de-aged Robert Downey Jr. who successfully acts like his bratty, 20 year old self. at the end of Endgame, we see Chris Evans aged up as a 100 year old Steve Rogers, and once again, Evans provides all the necessary cues to make us believe the age change, in addition to the make up and the CGI accomplishment. Ditto Samuel L. Jackson as his younger self in Captain Marvel.

Those are the proper, well executed examples. However…

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman fails miserably in this fashion. When crafting this three and a half hour leviathan, Scorsese wanted to take advantage of de-aging tech, so Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, all in their late ’70’s, could digitally shave off decades. They mostly got away with it regarding Al and Joe. Not so with Bobby D.

Please make no mistake– I have the utmost respect for all these actors, as well as Scorsese as a director. I recently watched The Irishman for a second time. I often find that the second viewing allows you to look at the broader picture, maybe catch some details you might have missed the first time around. Unfortunately, it’s not DeNiro’s de-aged face that’s a problem. It’s his body and body language. 

Scorsese should have relented and recast the under 50 Frank Sheeran. When we first meet him, DeNiro’s Sheeran is about 35. We see him start to make connections and see him commit various crimes during this time. Through it all, he looks, moves and acts like a man in his late 70’s. He also is usually acting rather befuddled throughout. The most blatant example is when he brings his young daughter to the neighborhood store, so he can confront the store owner who had pushed her. 

This entire scene A) falls prey to our knowledge of how a young DeNiro would trash this guy, and still— even if you’d never seen one of his movies, or had no knowledge of the de-aging, B) the scene is almost laughable, because even though the owner is laying in the street, allegedly helpless, DeNiro barely even touches the guy, can barely hold his balance, and can be seen just  *almost* kicking the guy. This was an unconvincing scene. It was so bad, I’m assuming there was no stunt coordinator attached to handle the finer points to this. The store owner/victim does everything HE can– he flings himself through the window, rolls out onto the street, and screams as much as possible. He held up his end of the bargain.

Is it possible DeNiro thought they’d also digitally induce a better beating? Seriously, I don’t know. DeNiro stated at the outset regarding the CGI stuff, that he wasn’t going to deal with any mo-cap suits, or dots on his face. It’s entirely possible that he thought the CGI was doing a lot more than it was. After all, why should Bobby D know how digital de-aging works? My mother doesn’t even do emails. Either way, this was a mistake, easily avoided and fixed by casting a younger guy for that stretch.

In the film, Sheeran is supposed to be this imposing, impressive, hitman. He’s neither of the former, and considering just how he’s presented here on film, I find it hard to believe that this Frank got the gig of the latter.  Throughout most of the film, I was having a tough time picturing this stooge being anything other than a run of the mill trigger man. Competent enough to know his stuff, but the superstar mob rep status, I felt, was very undeserved, at least as far as he was presented here. 

DeNiro almost seemed to be under the impression that his voice and body would be dramatically de-aged as well. I believe they attempted it on the voice, but the results weren’t impressive. 

As for the body, to convincingly get the message across, he had to move better, faster, and the tech boys would have had to get rid of the hunch he’d acquired over the years. Unfortunately, that sometimes comes with age. But all that work would have been exceedingly expensive, and Marty was already in budget trouble. 

So yes, as brilliant as de-aging tech is, there are limits in both quality and the financial corners. 

Marty should have cast a younger Frank for that initial section. This is on him. And I KNOW. He can’t help that he’s in his 70’s. It’s by no means his fault. But if he can’t pull off the scene, cast someone who CAN. Someone who, as a younger Frank IS imposing. IS impressive. Who CAN convincingly beat the crap out of a store owner. 

Hey, it worked for Godfather II.

Kick him grandpa, KICK HIM!

Superman and Lois are/is surprisingly good

I have a love/hate relationship with The CW. 

Part of the “house style” for their tv shows is teen angst, melodramatic soap opera nonsense and a LOT of heart to heart pep talks between characters. It can get really tiresome. The Greg Berlanti production group has peppered the network with multiple DC superhero shows. From there, you get different teams putting together different shows, with different heroes, to varying degrees of quality. Each show has certain habits, good and bad, that really stick with the program. 

*The Flash:  weeping, love, and constant, reassuring pep talks and super speed. 

*Supergirl: adorkable dummy who just wants to be a best friend.

*Black Lightning: treats the characters and stories WITH respect, & great action.

*Legends of the DC Universe: buffoonery, with cartoon idiots.

*Arrow: started as a soap opera, then a grim, depressing, repetitive slog.

*Batwoman: was pretty much a non-starter.

*Stargirl: uplifting and faithful superhero presentation, high quality, and fun. It originated in the DC streaming service, so may not have been weighted down by and he CW rules.

But now, the ninth CW/DC superhero has premiered, Superman & Lois. I was kinda dreading it, if I’m honest. Mostly because you never quite know what you’re going to get from a particular showrunner or cast. Or the CW. When I heard that the pre-existing CW Superman that formerly guested on Supergirl was getting his own show, I was intrigued. After all, Tyler Hoechlin played a very good Superman and Clark Kent whenever he appeared. He outshone Supergirl on her own show by a mile.

Then, I heard the show was going to be “Superman and Lois”, and they’d have two teenage sons. This made me nervous because this thing was starting to scream CW teen angst soap opera again.

And if I’m honest, this Lois Lane (Bitsie Tulloch) has this thing with her eye. She’s a good actress and a good Lois in the same vein as Margot Kidder… but the eye is slightly distracting. I’m not a nice man. 

Their kids, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin) DO seem a tad older than the 14 years old they’re supposed to be but they are starting high school, so okay, fair enough. So I went in slightly skeptical. I was imagining a lot of heart to hearts, with very little Super action.

But three eps in, so far, I’m digging this set up. 

I don’t know, maybe it’s because of where I am in life, or maybe this creative team knows *just* how to craft the stories for all four members of the Kent family. There is family drama, and heart to hearts, and yeah, some teen angst, but damn, the right *balance* is there.

After Ma Kent passes away, the family makes the decision to move from Metropolis to Smallville. This may seem unlikely, but again, it works. Jordan has anxiety issues and has never been very sociable. Morgan Edge is the new owner of the Daily Planet, he’s evil, corporate, scum, and soon, neither Clark or Lois are employed there. Time for a change of scenery. The one with the most to lose is Jonathan, but he makes the sacrifice for the family.

The one who really makes this work is Hoechlin. As Clark in public, he’s truly a likable guy. Old fashioned and sweet and a bit dorky. As Clark in private, he’s rock solid as a dad who, in addition to his actual work, is concerned about his family, the future and that is oh so relatable. As Superman, they put him in a costume very similar to the Cavill model but he rocks it. Having to carry around the 80 year history of a character like Superman, and actually make it interesting is no mean feat. But Hoechlin does it with grace and style.

Maybe it’s because this is technically the most “seasoned” Superman we’ve ever seen, as he’s very likely in his late 30’s, if not 40. But again, it. Is. Just. Right. We’re seeing the Man of Steel from a different angle here.

Superman has had his relevance questioned over the years. Whether it was from so-so creative teams on the comics who couldn’t seem to get him right, to the dour, moping, dark, Snyder version we’ve seen on film in the last few years. 

There’s even an all new, very surprising, fresh take on an old character, but I’ll let you find out that one for yourself. 

As of this writing, 3 eps in, the boys are making it interesting at school, Lois is still doing her thing, albeit at the Smallville paper, and Supes is saving the world one crisis at a time.

The character interaction within the family is just about as engaging as when Superman goes into action. THAT is a very good, very important thing. If you can make the civilian ID as interesting as the Super ID, you’re doing it right.

Now, they just have to keep it on the right track for the rest of the season. 

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