Shanlian On Batman Episode 106

 

Thank you for coming back or welcome to another episode of Shanlian On Batman! This week Justin, Kyle, and Tom are together under one roof for a rare “home show”. The fellas sit around and kick it old school episode style talking about some highlights and lowlights from 2017 and what they hope for in 2018. As always discussion of current DC news and much more. We appreciate you guys listening and contributing so much, thank you, and enjoy episode 106 of Shanlian On Batman.

As always make sure that you like our Facebook Page ,Shanlian On Batman Podcast, Follow us on Twitter @ShanlianOnBat, If you want follow us individually on Twitter do so by following @BatmanShanlian, @BatmanBassSlap and @LootingKyle 

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Warners Names New DC Films President

by Andrew Kiess

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With Jon Berg now exited from his role as co-President of Production at DC Films (alongside Geoff Johns) last month, Warner Brothers have been expected to announce a replacement this month.

We have our replacement.

Walter Hamada, who had been an executive at New Line, oversaw successful horror films such as The Conjuring and It, has been named as President of DC Films production. By implication, Geoff Johns is no longer in his co-president role, although, according to reports, he will remain closely involved with Hamada as he oversees all production of films based on characters licensed by DC Comics.

While many may want to jump to conclusions about this announcement, I think it is best to play a game of wait-and-see. This move has been a long time coming, but the problems faced by DC Films have often stemmed from higher up the ladder.

Hamada, however, has already played a role in New Line produced Shazam! and has a strong relationship with Aquaman director James Wan.

The next few months should prove to be more revealing as to what the future of DC Films will look like. Fingers crossed for more good news in the near future.

Source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/dc-movies-find-new-president-it-conjuring-executive-1071435

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The Reconstruction of the Superhero: Doomsday Clock 1 & 2

By Andrew Kiess

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November 22nd, 1992… or maybe it’s the 23rd?

It’s been eight years since Adrian Veidt (A.K.A. Ozymandias, the smartest man on Earth) brought world peace in the guise of a staged alien invader, prompting Dr. Manhattan to leave earth. The ruse is up, and the world is converging on Veidt demanding justice for his lie.

The opening monologue from an unfamiliar Rorschach who is unreliable even in his own journal keeping (he is not entirely sure what day it is), sets the reader off with a bit of unease. This is our world, but it’s not our world. This is the world of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, but it’s no longer that world, either. Things have changed. “God turned his back,” Rorschach laments, “Left paradise to us. Like handing a five-year-old a straight razor.” Rorschach sees the world barreling towards complete destruction, “unless we bring God back down. Kicking and screaming because maybe we don’t deserve it. Maybe the world should burn this time. We shattered the American dream. This is the American nightmare.”

We find our new Rorschach, a young black man named Reggie, playing the role of Rorschach to the best of his abilities, breaking two criminals by the names of Mime and Marionette out of prison. The trio make their way to what appears to an abandoned Owl’s Nest where Adrian Veidt, who is revealed to be suffering from a brain tumor, has concocted his latest plan to save the world: find Dr. Manhattan and bring him home. The only problem? No one is exactly sure where he is.

The first book ends with a glimpse of a small Kanas town: Smallville. A nightmare scene of a young boy losing his parents in a car accident unfolds, being revealed to be the nightmare of a sleeping Clark Kent, lying in his Metropolis apartment with Lois Lane. “I can’t remember the last time you had a nightmare,” Lois says. Clark tells her that he’s never had one.

Life’s Not Black And White Like It Used To Be

Following an electron trail, Ozymandias, Rorschach, Mime, and Marionette find themselves in an unfamiliar city called Gotham. Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are locked in a legal battle over research into a metagene, research that could show why so many metahumans have appeared in the United States. While Lex Luthor is hailed as one of earth’s greatest minds, Bruce Wayne is being subjected to psychological exams while dealing with a Gotham protesting his existence.

This world baffles Veidt, who observes that many of the costumed heroes in this new world fictional characters in his own. Superman? The Question? Could this world be the creation of Dr. Manhattan? The book closes with Veidt interviewing Lex Luthor, and Rorschach going to the Batcave. Veidt finds an intellect greater than his, and Rorschach finds breakfast. But what becomes apparent quickly will have lasting effects on all these characters going forward.

Obsessed With Reliving Yesterday

1986 changed things for comic books. The combination of the release of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns shattered many preconceptions on the limits of the medium. Some have lamented these books as being the reason for the dark and gritty obsessed 90s for mainstream superheroes, while others have praised them for being the reason for leaving the campy 60s and 70s behind. They did both, in my opinion.

Since DC Rebirth launched in 2016, a theme of restoration has reverberated throughout the pages of DC Comics. Superman Reborn saw the rectification of timelines for Superman, an act that attracted the attention of Manhattan, according to Mxylplyx and Mr. Oz. A timeline long dead had been restored and was brought in marriage at long last to the timeline that replaced it.

Let’s See If I Understand You Correctly

It is no coincidence that the forgotten book of 1986, Crisis on Infinite Earths, appears to play such an important spot in the Rebirth saga. During this event, the Charlton Comic book characters, bought out from the defunct comic book company by DC, made their first appearance in DC continuity. These Charlton characters were the target of Alan Moore’s deconstructionism. For example, look at the similarities between Captain Atom and Dr. Manhattan, or The Question and Rorschach. These characters were fictional in the Watchmen universe (along with Superman) according to Hollis Mason’s Under the Hood.

Within the narrative, it appears that Manhattan is drawing from what he knows to create a universe. From outside the narrative, writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank are saying that Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach changed the characters of Superman and Batman forever, and now it’s time for these characters to say something back.

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons deconstructed the superhero. In 1986, this needed to happen.  The Superman movie franchise had its best days in the rearview mirror. The Batman TV show was ancient history. Comic continuity had grown stale, and a shakeup was needed.

We are now in a time where superhero media is everywhere, but comics have been suffering. Everyone is consuming cape stories on a surface level, and I believe Geoff Johns is saying with this book that superheroes are in need of reconstruction. Rebirth has been doing that, and Doomsday Clock appears to be the culmination of that effort.

And, for me, it’s working. In looking at Doomsday Clock, it’s undeniable that this is meant to contrast with Moore and Gibbon’s work. Gary Frank does a great job of twisting the imagery of Gibbons while not ripping them off, providing softer edges living in a more shadowed world. Geoff Johns’ writing is terrific, even if his monologues, albeit for story purposes, are not quite as catchy as Moore’s.

These first two issues set up the reconstruction of the Superhero. I am more than excited to see where this goes.

 

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Episode 105 WSG Tim Seeley

 

This week Justin and Tom get to talk with the incredible Tim Seeley. The guys go over Tim’s life and work including his creative childhood and massive run on Grayson. They also talk about leaving Grayson and taking over the duties on Green Lantern. Enjoy episode 105 of Shanlian on Batman!

Make sure that you like our Facebook Page Shanlian On Batman Podcast, Follow us on Twitter at ShanlianOnBat. If you want follow us individually on Twitter make sure that you follow us @BatmanShanlian, @BatmanBassSlap and @LootingKyle!

Star Wars and the Falsehood of Correct Opinions

by Drew Kiess

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Nothing like a Star Wars movie to bring us together, right?

Being a DC Comics fan, I’m in an interesting position to comment on divisive movies. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly just that, but in a fascinating way that I am struggling to find a parallel to. Perhaps J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, ironically, has had a similar reaction to where it is a critical hit and seemingly well liked among casual moviegoers and fans, but incredibly divisive among the more faithful fanbase.

I will get this out of the way now: I did not particularly like The Last Jedi. I found the plot to be clunky and full of holes that would make Mr. Sir proud. It was an incredibly uneven experience with the things that I loved about it clashing with the things that I didn’t. This, however, does not mean that the film was without merit or should, as some zealous fans have suggested, be stricken from the official canon. That is just nonsense.

All students surpass their masters. This is the way things work. This is the theme of Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi and is easily the greatest thing this movie can add to the franchise. We can always move beyond the things that have come in the past and embrace the future, even if that future makes us uneasy.

And I embrace that lesson. I will be the first to admit, while I was fighting the good fight for Man of Steel against the “Not My Superman” crowd, I was planted directly in the middle of the “Not my Star Wars” crowd as a proud member. The year 2005 changed the way I viewed Star Wars with the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith. The Star War was over. It was a thing of the past. The next month, I would read for the first time Batman Year One and watch Batman Begins and my conversion to being a comic book nerd from being a Star Wars nerd was completed. “When I was a child, I thought as a child…”

And so Star Wars was cemented as an element of my childhood. I was fourteen when Revenge of the Sith hit cinemas and Star Wars has always been a relic for me of that time period. I have flippantly referred to Star Wars as the nerd starter pack. I still (kind of) stand by that.

The prospect of bringing them back and even deconstructing these heroes was not and is not an idea that I am entirely game for. I have a deeper understanding of those who dislike Man of Steel for that reason. However, that was my problem with The Force Awakens. I do suspect that is also the problem for some with this film, but it reveals another dark side to fandom:

If someone disagrees with our opinion, we have to explain it away.

The reason I didn’t like The Last Jedi is simple: the negative subjectively outweighed the positive. The reason others liked it is because they had the reverse experience. The common theory that has been thrown around is that those who dislike it are throwing some kind of tantrum because of their fan theories is actually a disservice to the movie you love.

I fully believe that The Last Jedi is a bold movie that makes bold decisions. If those worked for you, great. I would hope that if you are a fan of a controversial movie that you would choose to engage in the conversation rather than categorize dissention and write them off. Engaging with it is the best way to embrace it.

On the flip side, if you hated it, do not conflate those who love it with blind brand loyalists. Any movie worthy of a strong negative reaction must have qualities that are bold enough to warrant appreciation from someone else.

I believe that conversations about movies can and should include discussing different opinions and not become a shouting match. We all have a different road that leads us to these movies and so we all have a different experience with them. Hear from them, and let it inform and even strengthen your own opinion. You might actually learn something along the way. Learn the lessons from the film arguments in the past and make the ones coming up better. Movies shouldn’t be something that rips us apart, but something that brings us together—even if we disagree.

 

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Nightwing Director Shares Brief Update

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After retweeting our official Twitter Page “Nightwing” director Chris McKay gave us a brief update on when to expect some news on the upcoming DC Film. Mr. McKay commented on a question from a fan about the status of the upcoming film, and when we might hear some news about it.

Mr. McKay replied “I would expect to be able to tell you more concrete info on our movies progress around February.”unnamed-9

“Nightwing” is in heavy pre-production, so make sure you stay tuned in during the month February for more information about the upcoming film. “Nightwing”  will be directed by Chris McKay with the script penned by Bill Dubuque and is being produced by Geoff Johns and Deborah Snyder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Episode 104 ft. Mark Hughes

Justin and Kyle sit down with Forbes writer Mark Hughes and have an at length conversation about the aftermath of Justice League, the possible future of the DC Extended Universe and what the next steps for that shared universe could be.

Being a Batman podcast we ask Mark to gives his picks to take up the Mantle of “The Bat” if Ben Affleck does leave the role of Batman after Justice League!

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Op Ed: Leadership at Warner Bros. Must Change

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By

Drew Kiess

The DC Film fan community feels like it is in mourning. Several loyalists are bemoaning the loss of a movie that could have been. Others, while liking the movie, are bemoaning a movie in a franchise they liked get hated on yet again. I am here to add another think-piece as to what I think is going on, and how to right the ship.

What follows is, in many ways, my interpretation of events. I personally believe this is how things have gone down and why a change needs to be made in Warner Bros. leadership if DC Films are to succeed.

Kevin Tsujihara took over as CEO of Warner Bros. early in the life of DC Films (formerly, and popularly, known as the DCEU), only months before the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, still the second-most critical success for DC Films. Man of Steel had a respectable run at the box office despite what was then perceived as a mixed reception (funny what time and perspective will give you).

Just weeks later at San Diego Comic-Con, Snyder announced that Batman would feature in the Man of Steel sequel. While my recollection of the timeline is a bit foggy, somewhere in this period of time Tsujihara began talking about the DC universe. He saw the dollar signs printed all over those $2.99 comic mags and wanted a piece of the pie the distinguished competition was scarfing down. The previous year, Marvel studios made bank with The Avengers and just a month before Man of Steel they made bank again with Iron Man 3. With Nolan’s cash-cow Batman trilogy over, it was time for DC to make a splash, in Tsujihara’s eyes.

As the movie that would eventually be known as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice developed from Man of Steel 2 into, well, Dawn of Justice, the movie was delayed to begin planning for DC’s own slate of interconnected superhero movies. For Snyder, what started as a quest to make a Superman movie, turned into something much bigger. And for those who did not share Snyder’s vision for the Man of Tomorrow, the delay was a sign of bad things to come.

Rumors and bad press dogged DC Films from that day on. Every reshoot was a sign of a trouble, every sneeze on the set was seen as an infection of the soul and potentially the downfall of Western Civilization as we know it. And then when the movie clocked in at three hours long, it was embarrassingly chopped down to size in what I can only assume was a decision made by someone who does not tell stories for a living, putting those who do in an uncomfortable position of having to trim muscle after the fat was all gone.

And then the movie was released and was critically panned, with a better version of the movie sitting quietly on a hard drive, already announced for a Blu Ray release. This failure was followed up by responding only to complaints about tone, forgetting that successful storytelling should take priority, by chopping up Suicide Squad into a manic music video, which was also critically panned.

Geoff Johns and Jon Berg’s newly acquired leadership helps lead the way to what would become DC Film’s biggest success in Wonder Woman. While rumors persisted, studio interference did not play a major role in the production of Wonder Woman, and, lo and behold, Patty Jenkins delivered a fantastic product that was loved by both fans and critics.

But the wrong lessons were learned. Over and over, the wrong lessons were learned by Tsujihara and his team. Batman v Superman was critically panned, but instead of learning to trust their directors to produce the most cohesive product, they repeat their mistake ten-fold with Suicide Squad. And then, news comes out that Tsujihara mandated that Justice League needed to clock in at two hours. Once again, he learned the wrong lessons from his failures, and apparently learned nothing from his success.

Before I continue, I want to reiterate that I actually really enjoyed Justice League. But I do have a sense of loss knowing how badly its released was botched. I do not blame any of the creative forces for whatever failings there are in Justice League. The reality is that Joss Whedon and Geoff Johns had a job, and that was to make the movie Kevin Tsujihara wanted. Tsujihara signed their checks and had something very specific that he wanted.

Leaks, negative press, and studio interference has been a common theme for Warners since Tsujihara took over. Even movies not related to DC Comics have had their share of problems. Remember The Hobbit, Edge of Tomorrow, Jupiter Ascending, Mad Max Fury Road, Pan, The Nice Guys, The Legend of Tarzan, Live by Night, King Arthur, and Blade Runner 2049, just to name a few? All of these movies suffered from production drama, budgetary limitations, studio interference, botched marketing, or under-performing box office results. All of these were under the leadership of Kevin Tsujihara. His mistakes are pervasive and repetitive.

Failure is not the act of making mistakes, but the act of not learning from them. I do not believe that every single Warner Bros. failure rests on Tsujihara’s shoulders, but he is the leader and must take the blame. DC Film’s is in a unique position for a rebirth over the next two years, with only three films on their schedule, two new franchises in Aquaman and Shazam! and Patty Jenkins’ sequel to Wonder Woman. With these franchises being new introductions, history has shown that the directors will be given a longer leash, but after the financial failing that Justice League appears to be headed for, Warners brass may be overzealous to make sure these movies are done “right”, which is never a good sign.

So, the only logical conclusion for the health of both the DC Films brand and for the brand of Warner Bros. as a whole would be for Kevin Tsujihara to be removed from his position as CEO.

The studio needs to return to its identity of filmmaker friendly and leave behind the competition greediness of the last four years of blockbuster productions. Jeff Robinov, who was replaced at Warners in the 2013 that saw Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman, and Toby Emmerich become the leadership group behind Tsujihara, should have, in my opinion, been elevated to CEO at that time. His leadership as President saw one of the most successful periods in studio history, and is rumored to be looking for an exit from his current role with Sony. If I had a vote, it would belong to him.

But, until then, I’m going to see Justice League again. What can I say? I liked it.