Friday, September 15, 2017

Superman saves everyone, regardless of who they are

I've neglected this space of late for various reasons, mostly working on a bunch of things. But I'm back today to talk about - surprise - Superman.

Specifically, the most recent issue of Action Comics, which I thought was pretty well done, but has apparently generated some controversy.

Long story short, the mysterious Mr. Oz, who has been pestering Superman and other DC heroes for the past few years, decides to unleash all manner of hell and havoc on the world. It's basically a Pandora's Box of the worst of 2017 - oil spills, poaching, racism - Superman steps in to try and do what he does to stop or lessen the impact of each of these things. Mr. Oz's point is that Earth doesn't deserve Superman.

The main point of controversy that, naturally, threw the Internet and the right-wing into a hissy fit was the moment that Superman saves a group of (implied, then confirmed) illegal immigrants from a hail of gunfire. The shooter is a Caucasian man wearing an American Flag bandana, firing a machine gun. The outrage from the right and the Fox News crew was basically "how dare Superman save illegal immigrants!"

The Man of Steel does his thing, crushes the gun, gets in the shooter's face and explains that the only source of the shooter's problems is the shooter himself.

This entire sequence is typical Superman. This is who he is and what he does. He saves people, he aims to inspire hope.

Let's get the obvious fact out of the way: Superman IS an illegal alien. You know, rocketed to Earth from the dying planet Krypton, found by kindly farmers in Smallville, Kansas... and so on.

If you have an issue with Superman's actions in this issue of Action Comics, you have no idea what Superman is, what he stands for or what he represents. One commentator that took issue with Superman's actions is Fox News host Todd Starnes here: Superman defends illegals against angry American.

Normally, I wouldn't give this type of thing the time of day, but anyone who knows me knows how I feel about Superman. Plus, my 3-year-old just discovered a new love for The Man of Steel and has been running around in a Superman cape for the past few days, so I'm in a particular mood in regards to The Last Son of Krypton.

So, Mr. Starnes, let's dissect your piece on Superman.

You come right out of the gate with an intended inflammatory statement: "The Man of Steel has now become a propaganda tool for the defenders of illegal aliens.

Is that really all you took from this? How long have you read Superman? Do you read Superman comics? Do you know the history of the character? Are you just referencing the Hollywood Reporter piece without reading the context? See, that's the problem with the Fox News types, you take things out of context to infuriate your viewers and drum up support based on false pretenses.

Do you prefer Superman let these people get mowed down and then high-five the shooter while chanting "#MAGA!"?

You say "Superman swoops in and blocks the bullets meant for the illegals." How about "Superman stops innocent people from being massacred"? Are you suggesting that white people upset with immigration laws and illegal immigrants should just start opening fire? The shooter is upset because he feels the illegal immigrants have stolen jobs meant for him. This is a valid complaint on some level, but in the real world I don't see these down-on-their-luck folks rushing out to fill positions held by migrants and or even undocumented immigrants. California could use the help:

Now your argument is that Superman should have swooped up the illegal immigrants and deported them. This is problematic for a myriad of reasons. First, Superman is not a tool of the US government. Furthermore, are you suggesting instead of stopping those people from being gunned down he should have just deported them. To where? They may not all be from Mexico. Do you suggest Superman divert his attention for world-ending threats to team up with ICE and do paperwork?

You also seem to take issue with Superman grabbing the shooter - who literally just tried to murder people - and telling him to stop, suggesting that the only hatred that has led him to murder comes from within. This is what Superman does, Mr. Starnes. He saves people, he tries to make evildoers see the error of their ways. It's not his place to deport people, but it's his place to save people from harm and to inspire hope in reflection in those who would do harm.

The suggestion you make of "Remember when Superman stood for truth, justice and the American way" is also problematic. In the moment of saving those people from a gunman, Superman stands for those three virtues. Part of the American way is helping those less fortunate, part of the American way is protecting the helpless and welcoming immigrants from all over the world. That's what America is - a country of immigrants. Yes, we have laws and undocumented immigrants crossing the border, but we have pathways and rules for those who contribute to society and most importantly, our economy. We shouldn't be condoning their murder at the hands of an angry white man. That's the attitude that breeds white supremacy.

The very idea of Superman is the idea of America, that an immigrant not of this country - in this case the world - can step up and be the best of us, always do the right thing and present us with an ideal to strive towards. That it doesn't matter who you are, where you are from or what you look like, if you are in trouble, Superman and America will fight for you because it's the right thing to do.

Finally, you turn your attention to Superman publisher DC Comics. Suggesting it's only a matter of time before they unleash "other superheroes in its corporate quest to defend the alien invaders."

Again, do you or have you ever read DC Comics? Or comics in general? Are you mad they sometimes get political? You do understand that superhero comics as we know them today first emerged in the 1940s with characters fighting crime and Nazis, right?

I would point you in the direction of the classic "Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes" from the 1970s, It's a story that deals with race, income inequality, drugs and other real-life issues that are still relevant today.

You make the snark remark about Flash wisking illegal immigrants back and forth across the border or Wonder Woman rounding up Texas ranchers "defending their property." I suppose The Flash could do that while protecting his mid-west hometown, sure, but aside from the vigilantism, superheroes mostly operate within the confines of the law. And in regards to Wonder Woman, if those Texas ranchers threatened to start killing people the way the Bundys did, then yes she would round them up to keep everyone - including the ranchers - safe. Also, Wonder Woman - contrary to the beliefs of Fox News - is not an American.

In conclusion, your entire argument is rendered moot, ignorant and spiteful by your closing line: "It's unfortunate that DC Comics is turning its stable of iconic heroes into political pawns – hell-bent on indoctrinating our kids."

Comics have ALWAYS been political. Superman is a representation of America, one deeply rooted in FDR-style New Deal ideology - same with Captain America. But please, fire up the old Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons and watch "Japoteurs" if you want to see some real super-hero propaganda of it's time, and then come talk to me about "new" politicization of these characters.

That closing line brings me back to my original point, what would you prefer Superman do? What example would you prefer DC Comics have him so young readers? Saving people, or letting them be murdered? That's the distinction here because that's what a young reader sees, not the complexities of the immigration argument.

I've been a Superman fan and enthusiast all my life. In terms of literature, Superman taught me more about the difference between right and wrong, being a decent person and being an American almost more than anything else. So if my 3-year-old running around with his new Superman cape and action figure becomes indoctrinated to be a good person, a good American and to fight the ideas of oppression and hate, then the world will be a better place.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The State of the Comics Industry

San Diego Comic Con 2017 has come and gone. WIth it came a pretty rad “Thor: Ragnarock” trailer, the first footage of “Avengers: Infinity War,” WB continuing their streak of great trailers (“Justice League”), the announcement that the standalone Flash movie would be “Flashpoint” and the first look at so many really cool collectibles that are sure to burn a hole in your wallet. However, there was some news that wasn’t good. In fact, the news is pretty dire and paints a portrait of an entire industry in peril.

Comics have become secondary at shows like San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con and this was certainly the case this year, but along with their third-class status was the harsh reality many of us in the comic book community have - and still have - a hard time accepting: the comics industry is in trouble. Big trouble.

I’m not being facetious, there were two very real alarms that went off during San Diego Comic-Con followed by a third sentiment I’ve been seeing from many creators. The first alarm came during the Diamond panel. The direct market is down 6.3% in 2017, that’s incredibly troubling. The second alarm came in the form of DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, as Lee very bluntly stated the comics industry was on the verge of collapse. This is one of the two major publishers that keep the industry afloat acknowledging the dire situation the comics industry finds itself in.

These two factors alone push the state of the industry into red alert, but comics have been on a steady decline through much of the 2010s. Retail shops close regularly and often with few popping up in their place, some retailers struggle to pay for their weekly shipments and ever since the closing of Hastings, leaving Diamond with a $1.6 million punch in the gut, the sole distributor of comics has little sympathy or patience for retailers who can’t cover their increasingly large weekly shipments.

Who is to blame, exactly? There are absolutely a few fingers to point.

You can point at DC and the lukewarm response to the New 52 and the attempted course correct with DC You. Readers saw fatigue in titles, constantly shifting initiatives and a lack of clear direction. That has since changed with DC Rebirth. Although Rebirth is pretty successful and has restored a great deal of reader faith in DC, it’s been a slow build. To their credit, DC seems to acknowledge this and has used Rebirth as a baseline to tell newer stories that don’t outright ignore history. In addition, I think the smartest thing DC has done in the past 5 years is brand the Multiverse across all medium, but it’s a bit refreshing to finally see them acknowledge there is a problem. Part of the brilliance of branding the Multiverse is they can open up the floodgates for new characters, interpretations of characters and diversify characters, all without doing so at the expense of classic iterations.

You can also point the finger at Marvel. Ever since the rousing success of Civil War in 2006, they’ve doubled down on major crossover events that have become increasingly long and difficult to follow. The sheer amount of tie-ins also increase the cost of trying to follow an event to the fullest and has led to event fatigue. Not to mention that Marvel especially touts their events as “universe changing” and nothing really happens. The most recent “Secret War” was a HUGE opportunity for Marvel to reboot everything and start fresh, but instead the most drastic things to happen were some characters from the Ultimate Universe coming over, some alternate reality time-traveling and general confusion in its wake. Don’t believe me? Explain Old Man Logan or the time-displaced X-Men (namely Cyclops) to someone looking to start reading X-Men. I won’t even begin to pontificate on Hydra Cap, but I will say that both criticisms and support of Secret Empire are equally not without merit.

Crossovers and content only scratches the surface of the steady decline of Marvel. The House of Ideas has an insane amount of books that come out every week and they are typically priced at $3.99. This starts to add up after a few books. The other thing about Marvel - and this is going to be more of a controversial hot take but goes with my point about DC - is that their push to diversify their characters did not go quite as planned.

There’s definitely room for more diversity and comics - and it is sorely needed from the characters to the creators - but Marvel’s approach alienated longtime readers and a lot of potential new readers looking to supplement their movie or television intake. Some of these characters have been Marvel’s approach to “Legacy” heroes, but they’ve come at the expense of classic versions of characters, especially at a time when their most recognizable characters are everywhere. WIth no new monthly alternatives that feature classic iterations or branded versions, readers can be turned off. This has left Marvel in a bind, whether you want to admit it or not. Their upcoming “Legacy” initiative was once again another opportunity for Marvel to clean the slate and reboot, but alas, “Legacy” reveals have been met with a resounding groan from retailers and readers.

An argument was made that the success of movies and TV has contributed to the decline of comics, “why read when you can watch?” To be blunt, I think that’s a load of BS. Graphic novel and trade sales spike when movies or TV events happen. Whatever is being adapted usually gets a new edition and a fresh set of eyes. But when those eyes come looking for something new, they’ll be hard-pressed to find it. DC has righted their course with Rebirth, Marvel still hasn’t quite adjusted.

But blaming just the big two - and Diamond - doesn’t cover everything. Image Comics has also become a source of strife for monthlies. Image has always been a great alternative to the big two, and pricing the majority of their trades at $9.99 is a stroke of genius, but because of that Image also can’t outsell a first issue. Image has new a “#1” pretty regularly, but their books don’t catch fire like “The Walking Dead” did. This isn’t to say Image puts out bad books - they don’t, and neither does BOOM! Studios or licensed property farm IDW, but those market shares are relatively small compared to the others.

These factors reverberate down and affect independent and small press creators as well. This day and age, self-publishing or small press is an effective way to publish books. Kickstarters are plentiful - crowd-funding helps produce books with less potential risk, which is huge - and creators can build impressive portfolios. The caveat is that independent comics have to compete with the big publishers for those dollars. Most creators can’t charge less than $5 for a single issue and distribution through Diamond isn’t always cost-effective. Diamond takes a huge percentage off retail price to carry your book and that ultimately hurts the bottom line if your book isn’t picked up by a publisher, or that distribution cost isn’t factor in to a crowdfund or budget.

Additionally, conventions have become a crapshoot. There are a lot of conventions all over the country and the cost for an exhibition booth or an artist’s alley table is often restrictive. Once again, you’re competing with bigger name talent and publishers - not to mention print sellers - and it becomes an exhaustive grind to squeeze dollars out of potential customers just to cover your table cost. Not to mention, a lot of these cons feature celebrities who often get the easy autograph or photo op dollars.

And of course, given the problems retailers have with sales of the big two, they aren’t always willing to carry a small press or independent title, save for consignment or some arrangement. The likelihood of them ordering a book in the depths of the Previews catalog is slim, and making your book stand out in said catalog is also difficult.

Finally, one note to readers, collectors and speculators. Your comics, unless they are critical issues like first appearances or come from before 1980, are likely not worth anything. They aren’t going to be worth anything and keeping the industry afloat by buying up 10 copies of new #1s isn’t helping the industry. The back issue market is and always will be pretty strong, but the likelihood of any modern comics being worth their weight in gold - minus a few exceptions - is very slim.

Where do comics go from here? The problems with the industry are from top to bottom, publisher to retailer to customer. Dan DiDio and Jim Lee were certainly not wrong to acknowledge the collapsing industry and San Diego Comic-Con 2017 proved that it has become more of a pop culture beast than a comic book show. Do comics return to newsstands? Is it time to abandon Diamond’s faulty direct market model? Should the major publishers take a page out of small press Alterna and print monthlies on newsprint to lower costs and prices? Everyone has a potential solution, despite some creators and publishers insisting everything is fine. Everything is most certainly not fine and the comics industry needs a revitalization in order to survive.

I’ll be there doing my best to keep it alive.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Marvel's latest paint color is called "Legacy"

Marvel Comics has been having a rough year from a public relations standpoint, specifically, the Hydra-Cap storyline has been really poorly received. I've been one to defend it, but frankly I think it's been stretched out way too long.

In the midst of their recurring PR nightmares, Marvel announced Legacy. It was touted, basically, as Marvel's Rebirth event. All the announcements and all the PR made it seems as though the publisher had learned from some mistakes over the past couple of years, taken a hint from DC Rebirth's success and would finally return to a more classic take on their characters and create a bit more corporate synergy with their bigger markets (i.e. the movies).

Part of the problem with Marvel has been rather simple - their movies are wildly popular (and consistently good) and can drive new readers into stores. Of course, new readers can and should be pointed to classic stories in collected formats, but you also want to grab new, weekly readers - something of an endangered species in the comics industry. But when a reader comes in looking for a story about the characters they see on screen in weekly titles, in many cases that character is definitely not who they get. That can (and is) a turn-off for a lot of readers and can drive potential new customers away from the local shops and to Amazon or Barnes & Noble for readily available and (often cheaper) trades. You throw in weekly price points (which is it's own thread) and costs start to add up, especially for characters you may not be invested in because you didn't see them in the movies.

There are a million threads to comment on in regards to Marvel, but we'll focus on Legacy.

The key quote: “The Marvel Legacy initiative is a celebration of everything that makes Marvel the best in fiction and it’s a signifier of a new era for Marvel Comics,” said Quesada in Marvel's press release. “It’s a loving look at the heart of Marvel as we embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward with all the Marvel characters you know and love starring in the biggest, boldest, best Marvel stories. All of which kicks off with the giant Marvel Legacy special.”

This sounded, for all intents and purposes, like Marvel Rebirth. The long-awaited and much needed actual reboot of the Marvel Universe. Not some "Secret War" that did nothing significant at the end of the day, but a full-fledged reboot akin to post-Crisis or even a softer reboot like Rebirth.

DC Rebirth has been a rousing success. After a period of what I call experimentation that began with the New 52 and culminated in Batman v. Superman, DC went back to their classic sense of wonder - their bread and butter.

With all of this, it seemed as though the long tradition of DC and Marvel mirroring each other would continue.

A big announcement was coming... the breadth of what Marvel: Legacy was going to entail was announced and it hit with a resounding DUD.

They simply revealed some of their Legacy titles, mostly current books, with variant covers that paid homage to iconic covers, many from 10 years ago?


Aside from Falcon becoming Falcon again and Thing and Human Torch starring in a Marvel Two-in-One, this announcement was nothing. Seriously, Marvel has a prime opportunity to directly connect and align their popular movie and TV properties and versions of the characters (DC did it, see Green Arrow and Flash) and bring in new readers with characters they recognize (without the baggage of say, Hydra-Cap) and introduce them to the newer characters of the universe.

Instead - at least from this announcement, and maybe there is more to come - it seems Marvel is going to Marvel and just put a single coat of light paint over wallpaper.

But hey, at least we got all those fancy GIFs for your social media sharing!

I love Marvel, make no mistake. But right now, they are their own worst enemy.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Does "Wonder Woman" restore DC's sense of cinematic wonder?

"Wonder Woman" faced an enormous task: save the DCEU and do justice for the most iconic female superhero ever in her first major motion picture. 

For me personally, the film was tasked with saving my jaded view of the modern DC movies because of criminal mistreatment of Superman and three huge misses. My feelings on “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman” are well-documented, and “Suicide Squad” is mostly a mess, though more watchable that the previous two. 

I've honestly never left a Marvel movie disappointed. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is one of my favorite movies of all-time and I've never wanted anything more than to feel the same way about DC movies (especially Superman). As the hype and positive reviews of "Wonder Woman" started rolling in, I went from cautious optimism to eager anticipation. Could WB finally do right by me?  

My "Batman v. Superman" review

True fact about me: I often wax poetic about Superman, Captain America and Green Arrow - three of my favorite characters in comics and all of literature - but I've been a lifelong fan of Wonder Woman. As a male growing up in the 80s and 90s, I always had plenty of exposure to Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman was the first female superhero I ever knew and I've never viewed her as anything but equal to Superman and Batman. So in one aspect, it's gratifying or me to finally see her on the big screen in her own film, but I also have a daughter who loves Wonder Woman - and when she's a little older I can't wait to share this movie with her (and my two boys, for that matter). 

Wonder Woman's origin is an incredibly complex story to tackle. I say this because there is so much rich mythology behind it and it has been defined and redefined countless times over the years. The basics always remain the same, but interpretations vary. Just in the past three years there have been multiple Wonder Woman origin stories, each with it's own unique spin and style.  

For the film, the character-defining run by George Perez is probably the most influential of them all, and this is without a doubt the first place where the story succeeds.  

I will say on the outset, there ARE a lot of parallels to "Captain America: The First Avenger" and they all work, frankly. The first Cap movie is a film that grows finer and more timeless with age, and "Wonder Woman" will likely be the same. "The First Avenger" also has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, and I won't compare them because when you break them down, despite their parallels, they are two different types of film. 

Okay, I'm not going to get too wordy here, so I'll break the film down in the way I do my reviews. Three categories: The Yay!, The Meh and The Nope. 

The Yay! 

Story: The story works. The plot, for the most part, is tight and focuses on the emotional weight of war, good vs. evil and the genuine desire to do good in the world. Most importantly though, it's a straight-up Wonder Woman story. It's not bogged down by an over-arching storyline, it doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, it just gives you the story of Diana of Themyscira. I think much of this goes to the fact that this is Wonder Woman's first solo film, but also credit to screenwriter Allan Heinberg - a writer who is familiar with Diana. Heinberg wrote Wonder Woman comics in the years before the New 52, specifically following Infinite Crisis, and his run focused heavily on Diana's humanity. 

Gal Gadot: She makes for a great Wonder Woman. What’s interesting is I felt she owned it more in “Batman v. Superman” than she did here. Regardless, Gadot's performance is multi-dimensional and she captures Diana's fierceness, her compassion, her grace and even her naivety. I'm not quite ready to put her in the Christopher Reeve category - the one that says Reeve IS Superman, Chris Evans IS Captain America, and in my book, Tyler Hoechlin IS Superman - but Gadot is without a doubt defining Wonder Woman for a generation. 

Amazons: I love Connie Nielsen. I think she's one of the most underrated actresses of all-time and she absolutely commands the screen as Hippolyta. She feels like the queen. Also, Robin Wright really shines as a true badass. I loved the look and feel of the Amazons and Themyscira. It felt Mediterranean, it felt like a diverse community and I only wish there were more. 

Diana’s humanity: As I mentioned, the film is a fairly by the numbers Wonder Woman story. The film embraces her story and who she is and pushes forward. This is where “Wonder Woman” succeeds where “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman” ultimately failed. The heroes of the DC Universe are often referred to as gods. Yes, they possess that level of power but it's rare that they ever acknowledge that themselves. In "Wonder Woman," we have frankly the perfect portrayal of the DC superhero. Diana doesn't consider herself a god and when held up to Steve Trevor for example, her humanity and altruism fuels her compassion and her will to fight. Contrast that to "Man of Steel" where Superman is anything but inspiring, and Wonder Woman gives us the DCEU's first real look at what DC Comics is all about. 

World War I: Wonder Woman is a product of the Golden Age boom of patriotic heroes that emerged during World War II, but the choice to go with World War I in the film was both unique and fit the story better. It also opens the opportunity to explore World War II in a sequel. But in this particular instance, especially with the emphasis on chemical warfare and the “war to end all wars,” the setting of The Great War was prudent. 

Chris Pine: Chris Pine is great, right? He’s just a charming son of a gun in every role he takes on. It’s no different here as Steve Trevor. 

Said Taghmoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brace Rock: Overlooked in a lot of reviews and analysis, the trio of Said Taghmoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brace Rock as the three soliders who join up with Diana and Trevor add to the overall humanity of the film. They are fleshed out just enough for you to really appreciate them, and they are pivotal to the arc of the film. They really stand out and complement Pine and Gadot quite well.

Ares: When Ares dons his armor and is truly revealed, it was one of my favorite moments of the film. Why? Because the way he formed the armor was awesome and it was pretty faithful to the comic. I actually thought the build-up to Ares’ true reveal was handled well and he was presented as a truly credible villain.  

Campy villains: Before we get Ares, we get Dr. Poison and General Ludendorff. I love the inclusion of Dr. Poison because she’s an OG Wonder Woman villain (Sensation Comics #2, 1942) and her role in the overall plot is not forced, nor is it diminished in the end. The same goes for Ludendorff. He’s an ambitious general who refuses to lose the war. These characters are undoubtedly evil, but in a stark departure from previous entries in the DCEU, there was a level of camp to these characters. Specifically, there’s a moment where they both share a maniacal laugh while executing an evil plan and I loved it. It’s also interesting when you take the greater plotline of Ares influence over the war. 

The final battle: I see some criticism placing this in the same category as other superhero final battles, but I generally never really have a problem with them. I certainly didn’t here as Ares’ depiction won me over and there’s so much growth taking place in the final battle for Diana. We learn a lot about her character, the way that love inspires her and the emotional weight of sacrifice.  

DC is about hope and optimism: This is a story about the horrors of war and the power of love. This is the story about the good in humanity as evil triumphs. This is a film that inspires. That is what DC Comics is all about, and that is what has been sorely missing since "Man of Steel." 

A story about powerful women: Maybe this isn't my place to say, but "Wonder Woman" truly is a film that is strongly feminist and I loved every second of it. I've been surrounded by strong, independent women my entire life (I'm also married to one), and I've never viewed women as anything but equal. I loved the depiction of the Amazons and of Wonder Woman's strength and independence and I hope it inspires women and girls to grab a sword and shield and tear down the patriarchy. Seriously, men that complain about this film and it's message are pathetic. 

Snyder’s influences are downplayed: Zack Snyder has a story credit here which makes sense. And while there some fairly obvious influences, this is very much a Patty Jenkins film. While I think Snyder does create some breathtaking visuals and can craft an epic action scene, I am not a fan of his overall directing.  

Humor: There are some charming and genuinely funny moments throughout the film. This is a very welcome change from the much-debated WB/DC mandate of no humor.

"Wonder Woman" stands free of the DCEU: This is perhaps the most important and significant point. "Wonder Woman" can be viewed as a standalone film. There's an obvious connection to the greater universe, but it's done in a way that you really just need to know who Bruce Wayne is (shh, he's Batman). This is a film that will become timeless the way "Captain America: The First Avenger" has. I honestly hope that this is the way WB does DC movies from now on - standalone films that are only loosely connected to the broader universe. 

The Meh 

Ares: There was one aspect of Ares that was a bit lacking, his alter-ego. There was just enough to make the twist memorable, but he could have been a bit more fleshed out in terms of motivation.  

A bad edit: There’s one really bad edit that had me doing a double take. This is me being a nitpicky film student, but I bring it up because in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” there’s an edit that completely takes me out of the movie. The one in "Wonder Woman" is not as bad, but it’s a head scratcher. During Ares reveal, Wonder Woman doesn’t have her sword, it’s on a roof above her. The film cuts to Pine and then back to Wonder Woman/Ares, just as Wonder Woman has apparently jumped down from the roof with the sword, but Ares is still just standing there. It’s a bit of a bizarre cut, but she had to get that sword back. 

Etta Candy – I’m putting Etta in “The Meh” only because I felt like there wasn’t enough with her. She was fun, the actress was fine, and though she did provide some needed comic relief, I just wish she were used a bit more. 

The Nope 

Slow-motion: There’s overuse, and then there’s overkill. Wonder Woman hits overkill territory really early in terms of using slow-motion for action scenes. At one point, I uttered an audible “enough” and we were only about twenty minutes into the movie. After the first fight scene, it’s not as utilized but It’s fair to say it was used way too much, which is a shame because some of the moments are genuinely awesome.

When the end credits began, I was left processing the film. After the three previous DCEU installments and having never been let down by a Marvel movie, I was being hyper-critical. Now more than 24 hours removed, the film has resonated with me and I can definitively say I loved it. It's the best DC movie in modern times, and it's up there with the best superhero movies of all-time.  

Does "Wonder Woman" save the DCEU? Honestly, not really. However, I would argue that the with film being able to stand on it's own and ability to be viewed free of previous DCEU films, it redefines and provides a new blueprint I hope WB embraces.