onsdag 25 januari 2012

A quick update

This is not a proper entry. 

I've removed three of the old entries of this blog for now. One because it didn't feel related to what I want this blog to be about and the other two because I wish to redo them when I have rewatched Justice League as well as had the time to write a proper review of Young Avengers Presents #1.
This might take a while, though, and with school starting up I find myself with a lot less time on my hands.
But I will do my best to keep updating once in a while, I just have to get into watching and reading things properly again.
It is likely that I will write an entry or two about the new season of Sherlock, as it airs here soon and I want to watch the episodes at least once more before I express my "official" opinion.

torsdag 5 januari 2012

Batman and Robin #1-4- Women? What women?

So, after having read the first four issues of the new Batman and Robin I feel it's definitely about time I share my opinion on it so far.
I'm going to start with the negative part of this "review" and bring up the great parts of it later. The only seriously bad thing that actively bothers me when I read this is the lack of women. And for those of you who have not read the first issues, let me make it clear to you that I am not talking about there only being one woman and she is a love interest or something like that. No, this series actually has yet to introduce a single female character. So far we have only seen flashbacks concerning Talia and Poison Ivy appearing in one panel in the beginning of the fourth issue. In total there has so far been three women in a total of six panels, meaning every character has appeared in about two panels each. And none of them have actually said anything. In all fairness, though, one of the women were not in a flashback but was being robbed in an alley as she is walking home with her husband. She wasn't really a character though, so I wont be giving any points for that.

Red Robin #13
I am aware that the comic is about Batman and Robin and that they are both male. I am also aware that there isn't a very big cast to begin with and that they can't very well change Alfred's gender. But the heroes are men, the villain is a man and the few side characters are also men. And I refuse to believe that they could not have written this any differently and thus adding a single female face to the story, especially considering there has been four issues already. It's not even like it's a lot to ask for. Though I admit I would prefer if it was not done like in Nightwing, where Raya and Dick had sex already in the second issue. Not because I have a problem with characters having sex, but because I really hate the characters who are being cast as love interests immediately. It doesn't matter if they manage to grow out of the main characters shadow after a couple of years because in the end, they will always be defined through their relationship with the protagonist. So, for example, Raya will forever be the girl Dick slept with, no matter what has happened since I stopped buying the comic. First impressions are important, and it seems as if the impression the author usually goes for when introducing a woman in the dude dominated world of comics is "she's attractive!", sometimes followed with an "but deadly" to give her some more depth.
I would like to provide you with examples from the new Batman and Robin issues to prove my point, but since there are no women you'll just have to do with a panel from Red Robin that I read earlier today. It is a great example of how not to introduce the women you are trying to pass off as actual characters.
It immediately sets the focus of her character on her being "Sexy" and supposedly into Tim. So naturally, when she actually appears in the comic; this will be what I, as a reader, pay attention to.
So you could say that Batman and Robin dodged a bullet there, not introducing any women atleast means you can't do it wrong, I guess.

Secondly, is this a good starting point for new readers? Well, it isn't ideal, but it's doing a pretty decent job considering I'm a relatively new reader myself and I understand most of the things. There were however some questions I found myself with, such as "who is the guy on the first page of the first issue?" which really doesn't sound like a good start now that I type it out. However, I'm pretty good at ignoring things I don't understand if they don't frequently appear and it's safe to say that the man on the first page has not been in the comic since. At least not long enough for me to actually notice him. I am also not sure if it's so wise to start with an entirely new and unknown villain? Perhaps they are just warming up or want an entirely blank canvas to set up the story without doing something with a major plot, but it's always fun to read about the more iconic villains. Especially if you only know Batman from Nolan's movies, it's probably more appealing to read a story featuring someone you actually recognize. I, for example, got into buying comics because I saw one that had the Riddler in it; my childhood favourite.
Also, in the first issue it isn't really explained who Damian actually is. He refers to Bruce as his father and it's made clear that they are related, but a new reader would probably react with great confusion. It wouldn't have hurt to add a line or so explaining something about his origin. But on the other hand, this is taken care of in the beginning of the second issue so provided the new reader sticks around to buy a copy of that, that solves the problem.

Now, to end on a positive note. Because I really do like Batman and Robin so far, despite there being some elements of it which irks me. In short the art is really pretty and the story is interesting enough for me to keep reading (which is where most of the titles of the relaunch have lost me). But the best thing is honestly Damian. I don't really have any political reasons for liking his character so much, it is basically all based on the emotions that he gives me. I will admit that I am really weak for characters who give me emotions and make me honestly care for them, and I have found that I really do care about Damian.
I was skeptical at first, missing Dick as Batman and being afraid Damian and Bruce would pull each other into the darkness and that the whole thing would turn out horribly brutal and emotionless without Dick there to make things a bit brighter. Luckily, while Nightwing turned out to a great disappointment, Peter J. Tomasi proved that he could take this concept that I had such difficulties looking forward to and make it into something brilliant. I'm sure I have mentioned before that Tim Drake is my favourite character in the DCverse. But what amuses me about the relaunch is that while Tim seems to have turned into a major douche in Teen Titans, Damian has actually started showing some other emotions than anger. I feel for him as he tries to come to terms with his father not being everything he hoped for and not being trusted because of his background. The feeling of hurt, being left out and not trusted is portrayed beautifully, especially in the fourth issue where he stands at his grandparents's grave. It is definitely one of my favourite moments of what I have read of the relaunch so far, it's just such a painful reminder of how young he actually is. It's especially nice because even though you can tell that he's going through such a hard time, he doesn't completely fall apart. He is merely stating facts, which makes it all the more painful.
So all things considered, I'm really excited about Batman and Robin so far and I will simply keep my fingers crossed that a woman will appear soon enough.
Batman and Robin #4

torsdag 29 december 2011

Watchmen- Please, go home.

Spoiler warning for the Watchmen movie. I wont be giving a recap of the movie since if I did, this would be even longer than it already is and I doubt people would read it.

Not until I watched Watchmen was I aware that I could hate a movie with such burning passion. Such a poorly executed concept with boring characters and a hurtful attitude towards women as well as a serious lack of non-white characters. And I'm sorry, but the fact that it's an alternate timeline does not excuse it since it is watched and taken in by people in our world. And since there was no actual criticism towards these things as much as an attempt to ask "is it really so wrong?" I consider myself having the right to be seriously offended.

Never have I watched a movie where women have been referred to as "whores" so frequently before.
I started feeling slightly sick in the beginning where a lesbian hero and her girlfriend (?) is murdered and has "LESBIAN WHORES" written across their wall with blood. We have only seen this hero previously in a scene where she walks up to a woman she doesn't seem to know and kisses her. Please don't kiss people you don't know unless they give you consent. Protip: not struggling is not the same as consent. This isn't followed up but simply seen as a good way to show how superheroes were murdered. This "character" is not only defined through her sexuality but also showed right into the refridgerator, setting the tone of the treatment of women in the movie. It also seems as if the men of this movie can be corrupted and evil while the women are stuck just being "whores". Assuming they are referring to prostitution I feel the need to point out that there is nothing wrong with being a sex worker. It is a demand being supplied and I don't see why, in this alternate world, it is one of the signs of how everything that has gone wrong.

And never have I watched a movie which starts with a rape but ends with the rapist being seen by the other characters as a pretty nice guy.
Rape is never alright. You can not justify it. It doesn't matter if she was in love with him or discovered her emotions for him later. Neither does it matter that he gave her a daughter. Rape happens in established relationships between lovers, it does not make it less terrible. If anything it can be even more hurtful to the victim as the trust for another person, whom they are close to, can be completely destroyed.
And that whole thing about how the Comedian saw the worlds true face. Was that supposed to make him worth my sympathies? So besides raping, using and killing women (and men) he also accepted how the world was supposedly beyond rescue and used this in order to hurt others for his own enjoyment. That is bullshit. Even Rorschach seemed as if he was trying to save the world, and he was supposed to be the most questionable one of them all. 

Never have I seen such inconsequent characters, changing the basics of their personality through half of the movie. Okay, to be honest that isn't completely true because I watched The House That Drips Blood On Alex once. But my point still stands since both Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II turn into completely different characters when interacting. Their romance felt really forced which was a shame because in the beginning I was happy that this movie had bothered to create a female character who had, not only a romantic interest, but also a friend. A friend who she could talk to when she was having troubles and it was even better that this friend was a guy as it encourages men and women to be friends. That attempted rape in the beginning has already contributed to the feeling of no one being trustabled, so seeing this gave me back some of my hope. Of course this turned out to be all wrong and after a scene of her in bed with one of Dr Manhattan's clones, she leaves him and ends up making out with Nite Owl instead. Because that's just what girls do when they have just had their heart broken! Watch and learn, guys. If you're nice to the girl, she will reward you with sex. I just wish a girl and boy could have a close relationship where they share their troubles without falling in love.

 Please stop putting wanking fantasies in superhero movies. Thank you. 

And since it unavoidable, let's talk about Laurie Jupiter aka. Silk Spectre II. I'm sure I mentioned before how much I hate action heroes wearing heels and I swear that the day they stop existing I will stop whining. Today is not that day. Laurie wears insane heels while running through a burning building, she also wears some sort of latex swinsuit. I don't understand, wasn't this supposed to be a realistic movie? No woman would dress up like that to fight crime in a world where they are so victimized. Especially not if the court system is so corrupted and the view on women, even among heroes, is terrible. If she had been wearing a bra beneath it and the suit had been attatched to the boots with actual fabric instead of just straps, it could have been considerable; but barely even then. The actress, Malin Akerman is really pretty and don't get me wrong when I say that the makeup and perfect hair bothers me. I'm all for heroes who care about their appearance, but having your hair like that when you're fighting instead of atleast wearing it in a pony tail which would make it a hundred times more manageable is just stupid. It bothered me especially during the scene where she runs out of the burning building and the fire is just centimeters away, yet she comes out without any scratches or stains. Just comparing the poster featuring her with the ones featuring the other heroes makes it seem even more as if she's just in this movie to look good and make out with people. Also, please note how the quotes on Nite Owl's and Comedian's posters are focused on how they are heroes, while her's is about how she is a "bad girl".

And that twist might have been a good idea if the characters had managed to raise some sort of emotions among the viewers during their two hour long performance. Instead I just found myself with millions of questions that could have been easily answered with a little effort from the creators, such as: Why was Ozymandias' and Nite Owl's costume so stupid looking? I thought this was supposed to be a realistic story. If a story about superheroes is going to be realistic, you have to explain basic things! Just look at Batman Begins where we are told how Bruce Wayne learned to fight as well as got all his gadgets. With these bisarre looking outfits it's a wonder they have been able to keep their identities a secret and not raised suspision when buying them.

Dr Manhattan was the only character who could actually be considered interesting. He started out as a human but when we see him in the movie he seems to lack the most humanly valued characteristics such as empathy. This gives him potential to emotionally evolve and become a more lovable character through the process of the movie. But as the movie decides to focus more on the Comedian and the other, less interesting, characters this potential feels pretty wasted. I think it would have benefitted from not trying to tell the story of all characters. Perhaps if it had been divided into two movies, with one focusing on the first generation of heroes and the other focusing on the next, some of the issues could have been avoided.

So, in conclusion I completely loathe this movie and I regret spending 2,5 hours of my life watching it.

All images from http://www.watchmencomicmovie.com/watchmen-movie-posters.php

söndag 25 december 2011

The Doctor Who Christmas Special- In which I show my true face

The Doctor Who Christmas Special just ended, and because of all the emotions it gave me; it definitely deserves its own post.
So, spoiler warnings for that.

The episode is a Narnia-inspired story about two children and their newly widowed mother. The Doctor shows up, being his ordinary goofy self, and brings a giant blue box. One besides the TARDIS, that is.
One of the children decides he cannot wait until christmas to find out what is inside the present and opens it in secret, during the night. This fucks with the Doctor's plan to take the family on a guided tour on one of the safest planets he knows because "nothing bad ever happens there" because he is forced to bring the other child along in order to find the first one. The mother also wakes up and discoveres that they are all missing, as well as something being strange with the present. She crawls through the portal it turns out to be and enters the forest where the rest of her family, as well as the Doctor is wandering around.
I loved this episode and it made me cry, not once but twice. My favourite part about it was definitely seeing the Doctor being his ordinary, happy, self as opposed to the rather dark character he has been presented as in the latest episodes. I did, however, have some issues with it and I guess this is where that spoiler warning applies. So, if you don't want to be spoiled; stop reading.

The spirits of the planet turns out to be in need of someone strong in order to use them a life boat to escape the fate of being melted down by acid rain. When the Doctor and the son of the family has been rejected, the spirits choose to travel through the mother, as she is the strongest. This causes the Doctor to draw the conclusion that "strong" in this context means someone able to bear life; a woman! He actually says that according to nature, men are weak and women are strong. I really don't like this use of someone's ability to pop out kids in order to decide if they are strong or not. Because a) Women being strong doesn't necessarily mean that men are weak. b) Not all women can carry children, does that make them weaker or not women?
If children and life was a necessary theme, couldn't the mother simply have been the strongest because of how she had to deal with her husbands early death as well as taking care of her children? And when the daughter was considered relatively strong, couldn't that have been because of how she took care of her brother? Not everything is about biological abilities. And it also feels pretty unoriginal to justify women being strong with their mothering abilities, instead of traits such as empathy or mental strenght, which both the women of this episode showed.
I also don't believe that the writer was trying to belittle men, but calling them weak because they can't have children is pretty, uh, mean. Besides, some men have bodies which are capable of giving birth. This has nothing to do with them being strong or weak, and neither does their body have to do with their gender.

Things always get so complicated when you try to use people's gender to justify things.

On another, also pretty important, note; in one of the last scenes, the Doctor asks the woman to tell him how she met her husband. She tells him that they met because he followed her home. No, not as in he followed her home after a date. He literally followed her home. And not only this, but she continues to speak about how he told her he would keep following her until they got married. I think this was an attempt at romance, although I'm not sure since there is nothing romantic about being stalked.
And no, that is not a nice way to show devotion.

torsdag 22 december 2011

Teen Titans #1- Oh Cass, why can't you be more like Tim?

I picked up Teen Titans #1 recently and to be honest I was super excited about reading it because Tim Drake is my favourite DC-character. The artwork is really pretty and I especially love Bart's new clothes. Sadly, this is not going to be a post about how much I loved this issue and how much I'm looking forward to reading the rest of them because after having started out pretty good with Bart and Tim being cool and hero-like; Cass appeared, and I'm sorry but everything sort of went downhill from there.
What is it that I don't get and why the hell am I bothered enough to write about it? Well, I admit that I have only red A Kids Game previously and thus I am not all that familiar with the Titans, but I'm pretty sure Cass didn't act like this before the reboot? Perhaps I'm completely wrong and whining about something that has been the case forever and I guess the only way to justify that would be that even if something has always been one way, that doesn't mean it can not benefit from change.
My image of Cass pre-reboot:
-Pretty nice outfit. Especially put next to Starfire her clothes almost look normal.
-Stubborn and always doing things her own way.
-Doomed to forever play the love interest of the most relateable male character of the team.

Now, post reboot. Since this was supposed to be a good starting point for new readers, I won't take much of the old Cass into consideration. If I did, I would probably fuck it up anyway because I don't know her well enough due to my poor research.
Let's start with the new outfit. Because it honestly doesn't make any sense. At first she is wearing a skirt and a loose top as well as some boots. Pretty ordinary clothes, all is well. But then she becomes angry with Tim and does some Sailor Moon thing, causing her clothes change into some glittery body suit which is held up by nothing but her wonder-tits.
My problem with this is first and foremost that she had a pretty cool outfit before the reboot and it's a shame that they changed it so radically. Especially when the other character's seem to be changed just slightly to make them look more realistic, why did someone go batshit designing hers? And did the person who designed it put any thought into the practical aspect of it?
This has been said before and I am so sick of it not being some sort of golden rule when designing characters:
Characters who can fly will not benefit from their outfit sliding down when leaving the ground.

The face of someone who just beat the shit out of a killer helicopter.

Then there was the scene where she had stolen a car and was heading somewhere fast enough for a cop to pull her over. As he walks up to her she doesn't act like the bamf she was introduced as at all. Instead of trying to stare the cop down or just beat him up, which would seem pretty natural for her considering how she was hinted at being really hardcore; she just starts crying. I shit you not, this car-stealing badass uses her tears to get away from the police. And not only this, but when the police grabs her by her throat, she isn't the one to knock him unconcious. Tim is! Out of nowhere, Red Robin shows up and saves the lady in need. This bothers me so fucking much because of how sick I am of women being portrayed as if their only weapon is the fact that they are, well, women. Be it using their sexuality to corrupt honest, hardworking, men or just living on how guys feel sorry for them when they cry; it pisses me off all the same. Here is a list of reasons why:
1. There is nothing original about it.
2. It feeds the idea that the expression of female sexuality is bad.
3. It feeds the idea that women are manipulative, dishonest and evil.
(4. It makes some guys bitter because they honestly believe that we do this shit in real life and then I'm stuck defending us.)

I can't help but to feel a bit bitter that if a guy had been presented in the same situation as her, being given the same traits she supposedly has and the same powers, he would have thrown that officer halfway across the planet.

Image from Teen Titans #1, 2011

söndag 4 december 2011

The Sci-fi fair and shirts cut for women

I recently returned from the glorious event that was the Science Fiction Fair here in Stockholm. Dragging my father along with me I entered the amazing world of fictional science and to be honest I was secretly hoping for more superhero related stuff and Star Trek TOS as far as the eye could reach. Instead I was served as much Star Wars as I could stomach, which isn't all that much since I never really saw the charm in those movies, and a whole lot of cheap dvds. I ended up buying Cloverfield and Ironman 2 as well as two really cool shirts.
Actually, the main reason I am writing this post is because I want to tell you about said shirts. One has a picture of Harvey Dent as Two Face in the typical uncle Sam position with the words "We Want You" below. The other one has the Starfleet Academy logo (no one will ever question my knowledge again) so yeah I'm happy.

This is only here to make it seem less wall of text-ish and to make you want to buy the awesome Arkham City merchandise. 

The best part about buying said shirts was the fact that the company selling them had bothered to get female shirts too, as in; they were cut to fit the female body. This nice discovery neatly brings us into the subject of women and geek culture. Because, as hard as it may be to believe, it isn't always all that fun being a teenage girl and genuinely interested in Batman's adventures. Mostly because of the harsh comments being made on the internet by people who get some sort of satisfaction out of calling people they don't know "sluts" and "posers".
I am aware that most fandoms can be somewhat exclusive, but I don't think I have ever been a part of a more elitistic one than the one centered around Superheroes. Of course there are open minded people in it too who respect if you haven't got all the knowledge of all the heroes. But I have honestly never seen so much drama and so many angry posts concerning "lesser fans" in any other forum.
I honestly don't see the problem in someone wearing a Batman shirt because they think the logo looks neat. Mostly because it is a cool logo and if someone looks good in it, I don't see why they shouldn't wear it. I also don't understand why some people seem to consider it impossible to enjoy both makeup and heroes. So if a girl is wearing a Superman shirt, she is obviously just a vain slut who is trying to pick up geeks. If the girl, however, manages to prove herself an actual fan, the most important thing is suddenly to find out why on earth she is a fan. Does she like the hot guys? The gay undertones? Yes, that must be it! She couldn't possibly like it for the same reason anyone else does because she is an attractive female they only care about looks and boys.
What seems to be forgotten is that everyone has a different reason why they enjoy something. It can be anything from liking the artwork to loving the personality of a specific character and no reason is better than the other, because at the end of the day we are all fans. So why are the stereotypically "female" reasons for liking something seen as less good than the "ordinary" ones? (Because once again, male is the default and girl is the alteration from the default.)
Whatever the reason for this attitude among fans is, the point I am trying to make is simply:
Not all girls read comics to stare at Dick Grayson's ass. But even if they do, they still enjoy the comics and it doesn't make them lesser fans in any way. Just because the reason isn't something a straight guy can relate to, it doesn't make it less legitimate.

söndag 27 november 2011

The things you talk yourself into.

Like creating a blog, for example. Even when you have clearly shown yourself unable to write coherent posts about all those things you want to discuss.
But apparently you can use your google account to access blogspot and that is simply and offer I can not resist. See what I did there? I made a reference to a movie I have not actually seen. Which neatly brings us to the purpose of this blog; media.
By media I mean:
*Comics about men in tights.

Oh look, it's my life. 

So, what about media?
Well, I have been craving somewhere to share my opinions on things without making my friends hate me forever. A blog was clearly the answer, and thus here I am.
And that is really all there is to know.