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Best Robots From Movies (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

robots

It’s much more laid-back on ATAIG this week, because we decided to talk about some of our favorite (and possibly least favorite) ROBOTS from movies, in celebration of last week’s low-budget sci-fi thriller Upgrade (not technically a robot, but we thought it was close enough). Listen as the ATAIG crew discuss some of the most well-written, interesting, bizarre, or ridiculous mechanical beings to grace motion pictures (which is a fancy way of saying that Sam totally nerds out while Anthony and Jason calmly discuss some sci-fi movies). Enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

Question for you: Who are some of your favorite Robots (Robits?) from movies? The more obscure the better! Also, what Robot would you want as your personal sidekick?

Go on…Best Robots From Movies (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

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Marvel Has Been Successful Because It’s Better at Being Different

marvel better different

Until the end of the “superhero golden era” finally comes, we won’t be able to analyze the full impact that Marvel Studios has had with its cinematic universe of movies. But even though we don’t have the full picture at our disposal, everyone has their own reasonable guess for how and why Marvel been the dominant superhero movie franchise for nearly a decade, in terms of both critical and fan reception.

Some of the effects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are quite obvious, and I think that’s why vague observations about Marvel Studios are tossed around by its naysayers. When you think of shared universe movies — that is, movies that share the same characters and other sandbox elements without being direct sequels — you might feel the urge to groan a bit, especially if you watch and keep up with a lot of different movie franchises that all strive to replicate what Marvel did so well with Iron Man in 2008.

Sony tried to kickstart a Spider-Man shared universe of villains and ultimately failed. Universal has long been planning a shared universe of monster movies, citing they could have the “Avengers” of Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Wolfman, and more. Even a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe is reportedly in the works, planned to kick off with a new Scooby Doo movie. And this year’s Ghostbusters ends with a universe-setting teaser straight out of the ambiguously defined Marvel formula.

Marvel’s most direct rival, and for several obvious, yet key reasons, is DC Comics, which Warner Bros. owns the exclusive rights to. After a hugely successful trilogy of Batman movies, all helmed by Christopher Nolan and universally praised by fans and critics, Warner Bros. took the next logical step toward establishing a shared universe of their own that could do for Wonder Woman and the Flash what Marvel managed for Iron Man and Captain America, just to name a few.

marvel better different

Remember, just one year after Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. released Man of Steel, the perfunctory beginning of what was meant to be something completely different compared to anything put out by Marvel Studios.

Except, well, Marvel has already  been “different” by its own standards for years, and it’s found great success doing so, while DC Comics hasn’t. At least not on the same scale.

To be fair, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were not financial failures, but they did fail to live up to their profitable potential, making less money domestically than Deadpool, which is based on a character far less popular and recognizable than Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. And even more recently, Suicide Squad has been panned by critics for sharing a lot of the same flaws of these movies, though it will still open to huge box office numbers, regardless.

What’s odd, then, is that the films have been criticized by many for being too different, using phrases like joyless and dark to color a picture of a movie that doesn’t deliver the same experience viewers got with most of the Marvel movies.

marvel better different

Supporters of these DC Comics movies have a right to call out this opinion for being intellectually dishonest. Of course a movie like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is different, they say. If it were the same formula as a movie like The Avengers, then critics would complain just as feverishly.

Both sides of this argument have it wrong, then. Because what they both forget is that while there is a bare-bones formula to the Marvel movies that makes them feel cohesive — that is, it’s easy to believe the movies exist in the same universe at all — none of them are all that similar to any of the others in just about every other way, unless the movie is a sequel, and even then, Marvel movies have a habit of changing entire subgenres in between their sequels.

One of the best and most famous examples of Marvel being “different” involves the entirety of what sets up the first Avengers movie, which serendipitously released the same year as The Dark Knight Rises. The very concept of setting up an ensemble superhero film after several standalone pictures that establish the characters was brand new at the time and, more importantly, untested.

Yet The Avengers is the highest-grossing superhero film of all time and was universally acclaimed by moviegoers, which holds up even today.

marvel better different

It’s fair to judge Marvel for being good at being different based on the fact that people loved The Avengers, despite how risky the structure of it was, and because it provided a sizable return on investment both financially and even culturally, hence we’re even having this debate about superhero movies being different.

What’s even more interesting, though, is the fact that Marvel movies have continued to be different and surprising, even though they have a proven formula they could repeat on end to minimize the risk of failure.

For example, the Marvel films that have truly defied expectations include Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, arnhich were both proven hits for the studio, despite being completely different from any other Marvel film in tone, structure, and many other crucial elements.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an action comedy set in space, and most of its characters aren’t even human. That’s a far cry from any other comic book film, period, let alone Marvel movies like Iron Man and even Thor. The premise of Ant-Man is absurd enough, despite the movie actually taking place on Earth. Yet it feels so different as a superhero movie because first and foremost, it’s really a heist film with bits of Edgar Wright’s unique editing style thrown in.

marvel better different

The upcoming Doctor Strange, set to release this November, is also a movie that — judging by the marketing and previous knowledge of the character — looks and feels different from previous Marvel offerings, because it seems to be tackling unchartered territory in terms of fantasy elements and dimensional science for the hero of that movie to experience.

These movies, excluding the as of yet unseen Doctor Strange, have been hits with both critics and casual audiences because yes, they’re different. So it’s strange, then, when both critics and naysayers of Marvel movies speak as if this cinematic universe has a firm license on vague storytelling elements, like humor and quipping. There’s a desire for DC to be the other side of the coin, different and more progressive than what might be called a mainstream superhero franchise with Marvel.

The problem with that desire, though, is that Marvel has already been the other side of that coin, and the other side of many coins that they, themselves, have inserted into the zeitgeist of superhero films. They don’t always get it right, of course, and some of their risks have been paid off better than others, but if DC should take notes on being “different” for the sake of surprising and delighting its fans, it should really be paying more attention to Marvel. Not less.

Because being different, while a good start, is not a merit on its own. Fantastic Four was different, which we can all agree on. But that definitely didn’t improve what was inherently flawed with that film. A non-Marvel movie that’s great at being different is Deadpool, made by Fox, proving that a superhero film doesn’t have to be made by Disney in order for it to be beloved by just about everyone old enough to see it.

marvel better different

I still have high hopes for DC Comics moving forward, though not nearly as high as I used to three years ago. But if you’re reading this and feeling a bit alienated because you want DC Comics and Warner Bros. to keep taking risks and producing films with these iconic characters that demand to be different from what we’ve seen before, then you can definitely take solace in one, major thing: The DC Comics movie universe under Geoff Johns — their new Chief Creative Officer and co-developer of The Flash on CW — kicks off next year with Wonder Woman.

And from what we’ve seen so far of that movie, the future could still be quite bright (not dark) for DC Comics.


I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: That Martha Moment in ‘Batman v Superman’ Is Smarter Than You Think

martha batman v superman

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

I didn’t care for Batman v Superman, but you have to admit that the movie has at least succeeded in getting people to talk about it. And I applaud any fan of the film who is continuing to defend it in a way that’s constructive and meaningful for both sides of the debate.

But at some point, your defense of this movie becomes more akin to speculation, rather than an honest interpretation of what’s presented. What I mean is that it’s easy to fall into a trap where you’re adding an interpretation to your defense that makes the movie seem better, except that it doesn’t flow from what’s been set up in the narrative. This is one of those times.

John Campea is a skilled critic, though I disagree with him often and certainly with this movie. One of his latest videos is titled, “Defending the ‘Martha’ Scene in Batman v Superman,” and it’s his case for why the movie is smarter than people give it credit for.

I obviously disagreeSpoilers for the movie from here on out.

I know the movie’s been out for months and months and months,

It’s only been two months, so don’t sweat it.

As one of the people who like Batman v Supermanthere’s one criticism that movie always gets (you still see it joked about all the time all the time) and I wanted to give a defense of it. And the moment I’m talking about in Batman v Superman is the “Martha” moment. You know what I’m talking about. You see the jokes all over the place online, right? 

Sure, but not just jokes. People genuinely criticize the movie for this moment without poking fun at it. Hopefully, your defense will cover this, and not just the knee-jerk meme reactions that turn the opposing argument into a straw man.

I just think that that scene has been misunderstood a lot. 

In a soft way, he’s basically saying here that there is a correct way to interpret this scene, by saying most of us “misunderstood” it.

Because then he goes on about three times, saying what boils down to, “your way of interpreting this scene might have been different than mine and that’s cool.”

Well, which is it?

…I actually see that scene as a strength in the movie as opposed to a major major flaw in the movie.

If a film falls down in a forest, but no one is around to hear it…wait, no, that’s not how i goes.

My point is that even if you’re right, and we’re all just too blinded by the Spidey-light to see this moment’s greatness, the fact is that this scene, the most pivotal point of the film, was in fact a massive failure for the majority of moviegoers when they first experienced it. That doesn’t make the movie bad on its own, but it is a crucial flaw of the execution that you need to accept.

Batman and Superman finally have their fight. They had a definitive winner. Batman was the winner of the fight. And of course, Batman is about to deliver the killing blow to now a downed, helpless opponent. And Superman raises up his hands and says, “Save Martha.” And of course, Batman has his freak out, like “what did you say that name, why did you say that name.” Here is how I interpreted it the first time I saw the film, OK.

Here we go.

Look, Batman is the detective, right? 

Clearly not a good one, like at all,  in this movie, but go on.

And what we know as an audience up till that point is that Lex Luthor has actually been playing him and been playing both of them. Even when Bruce thought he was playing Lex, as it turns out, Lex was playing him.

He was? Because here’s what really happened with Bruce and Lex in this movie. Bruce steals a bunch of Lex’s information about metahumans and uncovers the secret about kryptonite. Then he steals the kryptonite to build weapons to kill Superman. Lex was never “playing” Bruce or manipulating his actions here. He simply allowed Bruce to carry out his plans, while somehow also knowing he was Batman for some reason that’s never explained, and then manipulates Superman, which let’s admit is not hard to do in any interpretation of the character.

Sure, Luthor says to Superman that he’s been playing them because he’s been fueling the animosity between both characters. But one of my main issues with that scene is that this line makes no sense. Luthor had nothing to do with the opening scene where we see why Bruce hates Superman to the point that he does.

If we’re to believe that the blowing up of the congressional hearing is all it took for Bruce to take action (which isn’t the case because he was already gearing up for the fight), then we have to believe that Bruce is a total idiot for “detecting” Superman’s involvement in any of these situations he’s obviously being framed for.

martha batman v superman

Even when Bruce is justifying his decision to kill Superman, he seems to admit that the guy hasn’t done anything wrong, yet. But the “if there’s a 1% chance” line along with his nightmare where Superman really does kill him has everything to do with his fueled animosity toward the guy, not Luthor himself.

But by all means, continue.

He thought, “Oh, I was so smart. I broke into his house and his party. Got that information. Turns out, that’s what Lex wanted all along.

Really? His plan was to hope that Batman would show up and steal something from him? That’s the extent of his manipulation?

Of course, nothing in the movie actually sets this up or leads us to believe any of this is part of Luthor’s plan, but that’s probably why Campea’s interpretation is so much different from, you know, pretty much everyone else’s.

Anyway, so here you have Bruce Wayne, who is the detective, and he figures all this stuff out on his own, normally, and he has this moment where…remember that one big conversation he had with Alfred, where Bruce has convinced himself, thanks in no small part to the manipulations of Lex Luthor, that Superman is actually a monster.

Yes in small part. In the atoms of that small part. Because at no point does Luthor steer Bruce toward wanting to kill Superman. That’s all been established by the first 20 minutes when his character watches the collateral damage from Man of Steel occur.

He has convinced himself that he is a threat to humanity. When he’s talking to Alfred, you know, it’s not just, “Hey, I know he’s a good man, but you know, if there’s a 1% chance he could destroy the earth, we gotta take that certainty.” No, it’s like, “That son of a b***h brought the war to us!” The movie gave us glimpses…he’s convinced that Superman is a monster and will be a catastrophe for the earth. 

Nothing says Batman like a guy who — instead of figuring out who the enemy is and understanding them — decides to just kill the guy to death because…well you’ll have to watch the Director’s Cut to get more “glimpses” of that.

He’s about to finish him off, and remember up to this point, we haven’t seen Batman kill an unarmed, helpless person.

Right, we’ve only seen him blow up criminals driving cars setting off chain reactions of other cars blowing up more criminals. No big deal.

Superman reaches out his arm and he says, “Save Martha.” And what I saw happen onscreen was, number one, we all know Batman is a little bit disturbed. We know that. We’ve always known that about Batman. But when he reaches out and in his last breath, he doesn’t beg for his life, he doesn’t say some ominous threatening thing that a super villain would say in that scene.

Really? A lot of super villains will say anything to get out of being killed, including, “if you kill me, she’ll die! Ha ha ha!” Not saying Superman was going for that, but the point remains.

He uses his last breath to plead for the life of somebody else.

No, Superman says, “You’re letting them kill Martha.” He doesn’t plead for anyone’s life. He basically throws a guilt trip at the guy in the hopes that he’ll put the spear down. Also, he’s doing this in a very odd way. He’s calling his mother by her first name instead of “Mom” for some writers-team-related reason. And how will Batman know who’s he’s talking about? Superman can’t say, “Martha Kent” because…well,  because then Batman won’t get confused and the plot will be halted. The writing team strikes again.

Eventually, Superman does say, “Find him…Save Martha.” But again, how are these pronouns and first names helpful in any way? Superman doesn’t know Lois Lane isn’t going to pop in and add some much-needed exposition.

They’ve set up in the movie that Bruce has some loose wires when it comes to memories and visions about his own mother.

Yeah, it’s almost as if the purpose of their existence was just to pay off this one moment in the movie, not to cohesively flow with the rest of the narrative.

This being Bruce had convinced himself was a pure monster…he sees him in that moment reach out and asking for the life of somebody else. He’s asking the guy who’s about to kill him, “Please go and save this person.” 

So that’s why your experience was so much different than everyone else’s! Because you apparently watched a screening with drastically different dialogue. I mean, come on, Zach Snyder’s version of Superman asking please?

That creates a disconnect for Batman. It’s a contradiction to what Batman believes about this being laying in front of him.

That’s why after this line, Batman puts the spear down realizing that Superman isn’t a monster.

Wait, what? Oh, that didn’t happen at all, did it. What really happened was, he kept the spear up and started yelling, “Why did you say that name? Martha? Why did you say that name? WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?”

What a disconnect, wow!

Lois Lane comes in and she throws himself (herself?) down on top of him. This creates another disconnect for Batman because he sees a famous, intelligent human being who loves this person pleading for his life.

Except, well, Lois doesn’t plead for Superman’s life. She says, “It’s his mother’s name! It’s his mother’s name!”

Which is why, class, everyone paid more attention to the fact that “Martha” was said as a coincidence, rather than this idea that Batman could have a change of heart. Few will disagree that your interpretation is what the movie was trying to do. But the execution was so sloppy and mishandled that audiences were forced into an interpretation that latched closer to what was actually happening onscreen.

Think about it. If these disconnects are so relevant and compelling, why did the movie have to also point out that their moms have the same name? By your logic, he could have just said, save my mom, and Batman would have gone through the same change of heart.

It’s not misunderstood. We know what Snyder and his writers were going for. You are simply misunderstanding the execution, believing its stronger than it really is.

Then it goes to a third stage of disconnect for Batman.

Seriously? According to you, the guy should have an aneurysm at this point.

She explains, “That’s the name of his mother.” Now you gotta understand that these are three points of disconnect for Bruce in this construct he’s had in his head about Superman, this monster that’s gonna be the destruction of the world.

The problem with this is that when you’re watching the movie, you don’t feel any real sympathy for Superman that can be related to what Batman’s going through. All of these arguments for why Batman should sympathize with Superman fly in the face of everything we’ve watched and learned about the character throughout the movie.

He’s violent, aggressive, and acts like he’s above everyone else because he refuses to participate in his own defense. Even when he goes to the court hearing, the script prevents him from ever getting a word out. So when we’re supposed to believe that he’s not a monster for arbitrary reasons like, “Well, he has a mom and some woman loves him,” we’re left wondering why that’s enough for Batman to drop his weapons and suddenly work with this guy.

batman v superman wrong

It’s not satisfying, to the point where we’re also left wondering if the “Martha” connection is meant to be a stronger emotional weight than it should be, which is where the criticism and a lot of the jokes come from. Again, the problem has more to do with the execution than the idea itself, so if you ignore the main flaws of how this plays out in the film, you’re going to like it more and find it weird that everyone else disagrees with you.

Campea goes on to explain that Batman freaking out over all this is somehow him “figuring it out” because he’s such a great detective and compares it to how a supercomputer thinks.

Seriously. Seriously.

“This guy has a mother, too!” won’t quite hold up in court, and it doesn’t negate any of Batman’s hatred for this guy who’s caused the deaths of so many people. Campea even argues that he’s figured out that this is all Lex Luthor, except that also doesn’t make any sense because again, Lex Luthor had nothing to do with the events that cemented Bruce’s hatred for this guy.

When a lot of people saw, (starts doing a jokey impression) “Wait a minute, Superman says his mom’s name is Martha, too, and Batman goes, ‘Oh, well we should be best friends!'” I get why some people saw that. 

Sigh.

What I saw was a complex, intelligent deconstruction of the great detective putting the pieces together when new information was brought into it.

What everyone else saw was, “Wow, this screenwriting is trying to be complex and intelligent but it’s doing a horrible job. Am I really supposed to believe what I’m seeing right now?”

This is exacerbated by Batman calling himself Superman’s friend ten minutes later, adding to the steaming pot of bloated confusion that is this movie.

Don’t get me wrong. Campea is a good guy, and nothing about this video is mean-spirited or meant to make people feel stupid for disagreeing with him. He’s simply offering up his own perspective and why he thinks that makes the movie better.

batman v superman wrong

That said, it’s also clear to me that a little reaching is going on in order to pass the movie off as better than it really is. And it’s veiled as deep film analysis in order to convince people that they missed something when they first saw the movie.

But no, this isn’t another one of those under appreciated films that will one day be celebrated despite the fact that it was somehow ahead of its time. Films like that have always been criticized more for their content and brazen style, not fundamental misunderstandings when it comes to filmmaking and how to tell a unique story.


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

 

Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Is a Low Point For the Superhero Genre

batman superman review

Somewhere in the deep recesses of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice lies a story that needs to be told. About how Gods and men should interact when the illusion of powers beyond our understanding become tangible. BvS also wants to use stylistic imagery to showcase how conflict is an experience that’s more than human, and that it’s a shared burden that unites heroes and creates bitter enemies. That no one is truly “good” or even evil.

The writers clearly had this in mind with BvS, but somewhere along the way, someone or some group of people (take your pick in this blame game) overthought and overdramatized what should have been an impactful, satisfying film. A character in this film asks, should there be a Superman? After two and a half hours of this character-assassination dressed up as a franchise starter, it’s easy to think there shouldn’t even be another Superman movie.

BvS starts as a spinoff of Man of Steel, playing off the events of that film in order to introduce a brand new (yet older to match his Dark Knight Returns roots) Bruce Wayne, played admirably by Ben Affleck. In a hasty and unintelligible opening sequence, Bruce Wayne hikes toward an office being savaged by the collateral damage of Superman and Zod’s battle in Man of Steel. For whatever reason, the people inside the Wayne Tower of Metropolis couldn’t evacuate unless Bruce Wayne was a mile away, ordering them to avoid obvious peril on his cell phone.

batman superman review

Then BvS clumsily slides into being a pure sequel to Man of Steel, rightfully continuing the storyline one would expect 18 months after the introduction of what everyone regards to as a god (this parallel, unfortunately, is so overused during the course of BvS that it becomes meaningless very early on).

The people of the world don’t know what to make of Superman. And for whatever reason, the movie uses short, unrelated scenes to drive this point throughout the first two acts in one of the most off-putting narratives I’ve seen in a superhero film.

It was as if the projectionist was shuffling between deleted scenes of the DVD at random. Think Game of Thrones, except none of what you’re watching seems to be adding up to much outside itself. A scene with one character will occur (usually with no dramatic buildup), only to be followed by something completely disparate that undermines the momentum of everything that came before it. Then watch this happen about a dozen more times.

It really is like a comic-book movie, in that it contains multiple threads and storylines that one would expect in a standalone story like The Dark Knight Returns. And yet, so was director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, a somewhat overly faithful, yet mostly amusing adaptation to the comic that has a lot of the same problems of BvS. A comic book and a movie just aren’t the same medium, as they both have different levels of energy and pacing that dictate the structure of the story. It should be obvious, but movies aren’t meant to be written like comic books, and vice versa.

For this reason, the most interesting aspects of BvS are buried by poor editing and a clearly overstuffed script. In between two of the most pivotal scenes of BvS, which includes the titular brawl, the movie inexplicably cuts to another character hundreds of miles away watching videos on a computer, which only exists to remind the audience that a “Justice League” movie happens to be coming out next year. This bizarre, transparent ploy to earn a reaction from the audience comes at the expense of what most of the moviegoers came to see, making it quite the opposite of “fan service.”

Ben Affleck plays a well-realized Batman, complete with an inspired costume design and the best fight sequence of the entire film. But all of this goodwill is immediately eviscerated by the impossibly moronic decision to make Batman a character who kills criminals with a gunMultiple times.

batman superman review

It’s not just moronic. It’s infuriating. Not because there’s no room for evolving the character of Batman, but because this updated take on the character still borrows heavily from a source material that makes no sense if Batman is an indifferent murderer. The movie even opens with the explicit origin scene that explains why Batman would never use a gun or kill someone. The disconnect between this vigilante who willfully calls himself a criminal while literally blowing people up and the “hero” he despises for being involved in a battle that had a lot of collateral damage is too unintellectual to ignore.

And that’s just one example of what sums up what is wide off the mark with BvS, from the script to how these characters are poorly written. Once again, Cavill is forced to play an unlikable superhero who earns the mistrust of the world at large simply because his dour half-grin makes him look like he’s about to kill everyone he comes in contact with.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor as a sort of “Diet Joker,” rather than the unique, imposing genius that makes the villain work as an antithesis to Superman. And even poor Martha Kent is given a disgusting line to deliver to Superman at his lowest point, effectively encouraging him to just abandon the world because it’s too difficult being a hero. Even though Clark’s parents are meant to be the instigators of his innocence and decision to help others, this nihilistic mistake from Man of Steel is made even more apparent in BvS. Gone are the days when Superman actually tried to be someone people didn’t have to be afraid of.

batman superman review

Some moments in BvS are enjoyable to watch, namely a few of the action scenes that prove Snyder is a pioneer in CGI fight choreography. But most of the movie’s substance relies completely on the preconceived notions of an audience that is already on board with Batman and Superman finally sharing the big screen together. A few explosions and some nice costume designs may distract some, but most moviegoers won’t be fooled for long by what is one of the most tone-deaf superhero movies of all time.

Grade: D+

Extra Credits:

  • My wish list for this franchise? Keep the cast. Seriously, just keep everyone, because they’ve been giving it their all. The look and feel of BvS isn’t the problem. It’s Zack Snyder and his writers.
  • A lot of people will give BvS a break because they don’t mind changing things up with these characters. And I understand that. But it’s not enough to alter who Superman is for the sake of making your movie seem more important. It also has to make sense and actually improve upon what already exists.
  • I haven’t rolled my eyes this much at an action movie since Jupiter Ascending. I also haven’t yelled internally this much since Pan. When it gets right down to it, I had a miserable time watching this movie.
  • I still have high hopes for Suicide Squad, which looks like a compelling ensemble with a unique vision. It helps that seeing the trailer again before this film reinvigorated my excitement for what might be DC’s first break in this DCCU.
  • One last thing: the marketing for BvS was horrendous. The trailers don’t just give away the basic structure and major plot points. Some of the best lines in the movie were spoiled in the trailer, making them fall completely flat in BvS. Such a missed opportunity.

No More Questions: Ben Affleck from ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

no more questions ben affleck

Welcome to No More Questions, where I ask the stars you know and love everything you want to know and love.

Tracking down Ben Affleck was the easy part. Getting him to sit still for at least 30 seconds was a challenge, for reasons that pertain to some subject matter I purposefully avoided mentioning. OK, his divorce.

Being unfaithful to Jennifer Garner aside, Affleck was gracious enough to believe that I really am a professional reporter for Jetset Online Network (or JON for short), and we had a remarkable conversation about life, family, fortune, and other topics that overtly sidestep his involvement in Daredevil.

Note: No More Questions is satire. It does not reflect the actual views of Ben Affleck, Jon Negroni, or anyone else mentioned in this interview. Some of the content in this interview comes from actual quotes by Ben Affleck in other interviews. Seriously. 

JN: What would you say is your biggest missed opportunity? Aside from not being the official sponsor of Aflac. 

BA: (shoots me a puzzled look) You know, it’s crazy what kind of stuff I’ve turned down. Some of it good, some of it bad.

JN: The Internet thinks most of it is bad. And that you’re bad as a person. Can you speak to that?

BA: Haters gonna hate, I guess. Maybe those Internets you mentioned should go to Blockbuster and rent Argo (laughs unironically).

JN: Ben…

BA: Yeah?

JN: You…you know what the Internet is, right? And that Blockbuster has been out of business for years because of…the Internet…

BA: What? Oh, yeah. Sure. The Internet is such an important thing, you know (looks around the room, dazed).

JN: So then, you’ve never seen this (hands Ben a picture of him and Matt Damon as Batman and Robin).

BA: Where did you get this.

JN: The Internet, Ben. It’s been making fun of you for years. Here’s a GIF of you two running (shows Ben the GIF).

BA: What’s a gaffe? What?

JN: You have a history of dating your costars, Benjamin. After shooting Batman v Superman, would you say you’re closer to a relationship with Henry Cavill or Jesse Eisenberg?

BA: Amy Adams, for sure. Actually, forget I said that. This isn’t on record, right?

JN: Is this because you and Henry look so alike? 

BA: (thinks intensely) Actually, that’s not so bad. It’s like looking into an even more attractive mirror.

JN: So you have no problem with the main characters of this big budget superhero movie being two white guys with dark hair? 

BA: You never asked that.

JN: Don’t avoid the question like it’s a call from Aflac.

BA: (leans in) Don’t tell me what to do. My lawyers got me a story credit on Good Will Hunting, pal.

JN: Most people hate the idea of you playing Batman. Do you think this is personal, or because they just hate you?

BA: With Batman, you have to be identifiable. For me, hooking into this character had more to do with…he’s a human being. He’s an easier entree.

JN: So people will eat him up? 

BA: Yeah, not like Green Inferno eating up, but like maybe Hostel?

JN: I didn’t want to bring this up, but now I’m hungry. Do you blame yourself for Daredevil

BA: Daredevil didn’t work at all, man. It was made before people figured out that you could make these movies and make them well.

JN: How would you make Daredevil now?

BA: Easy. I’d cast Charlie Cox and deliver the whole thing on like maybe a service that sends you DVDs in the mail. Have it tie in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All that jazz.

JN: That’s already a thing on Netflix, Ben. 

BA: Net what?

JN: Who are you rooting for in this fight? Batman or Superman?

BA: Uh, that’s a stupid question for a lot of reasons.

JN: I know. Just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. Alright (clears throat), how positive are you that this new Batman is even close to transcending the performance of George Clooney?

BA: I’m not sure who that is, but let me just say that there is something about Batman as both a superhero and a normal man with vulnerabilities and weaknesses like we all have that makes his appeal kind of enduring, because he is not just super, he is also like us.

JN: We’re all rich orphans?

BA: Exactly, exactly.

JN: Ben, we have a surprise guest waiting just outside the door thanks to my clever idea to leave a sandwich right by the doorknob. He should be finished by now, so come on in, Henry Cavill!

HC: (walks in with his mouth stuffed) heyff effreyonff.

BA: I thought this was just you and me?

JN: Easy, Ben. Leave the duking it out for the major motion picture (laughs slightly). Henry, tell me something personal about Ben he made you promise not to tell anyone.

HC: (nods casually) No problem. His favorite episode of Hart of Dixie is actually—

(Ben and I gasp)

JN: You have an accent? 

BA: Since when?

HC: Since when? Ben, we shot the film together for months. You held my baby girl in your arms.

BA: Uh, you don’t have any kids, Henry. You’re not even engaged anymore.

HC: She’ll come around.

JN: Guys, we can talk about our personal lives once The View finally buys me out. For now, let’s talk about the movie. What was that episode of Hart of Dixie?

BA: (points to Henry) NO! Don’t do it, pal.

HC: (chuckles) Why, would it tear you apart? Like your nanny?

(Ben and I in unison): Whoaaaa, hey whoaaaa /JN: Not cool, man.

HC: We’re like brothers! Everyone on set called us Hen Affleck and Benry Cavill.

BA: That never happened once.

JN: Did…did your “fiancé” call you that, Henry?

HC: What? Oh, well…

BA: Is she in the room right now, H-Bomb?

(Henry starts sobbing in Ben’s arms)

JN: Well, that’s all the time we have today for No More Questions. Guys, thanks for getting to the real talk and letting people know why they should watch Batman v Superman.

BA: Anytime. I’m being serious, actually.

HC: (choking through the tears) I really like the name of your magazine.


Batman v Superman opens worldwide on March 25, 2016.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Comic-Con 2015 Roundup (Podcast)

comic-con

This week on the Now Conspiring podcast, I’m joined by Adonis Gonzalez, Kayla Savage, and Maria Garcia as we cover the best news and announcements coming out of this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.

Unfortunately, we recorded the podcast just before the trailers for Batman v SupermanDeadpool, and Suicide Squad, so we don’t cover any of those big moments. Still, we cover a ton of relevant news for you guys to dig your teeth into. It’s basically like you’re really there. Or your ears, at least.

Go on…Comic-Con 2015 Roundup (Podcast)

The First Wonder Woman Movie Will Be Set in the 1920s.

Gal Gadot will play the Amazonian.
Gal Gadot will play the Amazonian.

Rich Johnston | Bleeding Cool

I have been informed by those who have seen the greenlit treatment that the film will spends the first half on Paradise Island with warring Amazon factions vying for control.

An arrival of a man on the island changes that status quo, as he asks the Amazons for help. Not necessarily Steve Trevor either…

Because when Wonder Woman joins him on his return to the world of Man, we all discover that it is the 1920s. And the film will then show Diana exploring that world – a world where women have only just got the vote – from her… unique perspective.

He also mentions that the sequel (if it happens) would take place in the 30s and 40s, during World War II, and a third film could possibly take place during the modern day with the Justice League.

It’s not a bad premise. Slightly different from the Wonder Woman TV show, but still unique and adaptive for a new audience. Let’s just hope it really is the Wonder Woman movie fans have earned.

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