Comic Reviews: B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth An Oldie but Goodie

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

Comic Reviews: B.P.R.D. (The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense)
Hollow Earth and Other Stories

Mike Mignola is perhaps best known for his creation Hellboy published by Dark Horse Comics. One of the spin offs of Hellboy is the B.P.R.D., which features Abe Sapien and others who seek out the strange, paranormal and fantastic all over the world. Personally I like the B.P.R.D. better than Hellboy for reasons of personal taste, which is that I tend to like science fiction more than fantasy or horror so the more it leans towards science fiction the better I like it. The series kicked off in 2002 with Hollow Earth.

Mignola has a very distinctive artistic style that I find suits his stories very well. I was pleased to get to meet Mr. Mignola at the 2013 Emerald City Comic Con this last March and I got a signed book of his artwork.

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories was penciled by Ryan Sook who helped ink it along with Curtis Arnold and it was colored by Dave Stewart. These men did a superlative job of creating the tone of the story. The shadowy, muted colors and odd angles with very little crispness speak to the hidden, otherworldly dimensions that exist within our own and might even be more real than what we know as reality. The artwork hints at things we cannot see clearly without being out of focus. This works well with stories that mix hints and whispers with myths and legends to create a world where nothing is quite what it seems and what we take for granted as normal is a veneer that hides what lies beneath the floors, behind the curtains, always under the surface.

The story, written by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski is one of my favorite B.P.R.D. stories because it introduces Johann. Talk about a wild back story, Johann is just out there, even for the B.P.R.D. and we get to see Elizabeth too and she is brought in. The story starts out with Elizabeth in a monk temple and we are given a backstory that would do H.P. Lovecraft proud. This is the kind of thing I love, where an author makes their own mythology, plays with what has become embedded in the stories of different cultures and makes it new.

I know it’s been out for a while but if you’re looking for a good read, or just want to revisit an oldie but goodie I really think this is one to go to. It’s also a pretty quick read. It’s good to feed your imagination but sometimes hard to find the time to do it. This graphic novel, or these comic books depending upon what you can find, are pretty excellent. K.

Games People Play: 7 Wonders

7 Wonders

7 Wonders

7 Wonders

With the Fourth of July just around the corner I’m continuing with our series on board games. We play quite a few different tabletop games. I’m pretty sure there is a game out there for just about every type of gamer. I like building games. I like games where what you do in the beginning impacts the endgame. I like games where you have to be thinking the whole way through to win and one of the games I like best is 7 Wonders.

I’ve played 7 Wonders with as few as 3 people and as many as 5. I would say that it’s the most fun with more players. The wonder you start with is key in determining your strategy for the game and there is flexibility so that people who like to play more aggressively can choose that route and people who like to build things can go that way and either can win. For the record I like the Temple of Artemis at Rhesus or the Pyramids of Giza.

The game rewards not just a consistent strategy but also how well you choose your actions as a subset of your strategy and how flexible you are without forsaking your strategy altogether. A calculated risk now might pay off later or sink you if someone else sees what you are up to and prepares for it. How close to the wire do you dare to dance? Can you sacrifice one turn of your strategy to counteract a threat without missing out on something that could win you the game? Do you hate draft a card that will give your opponent an exponential bonus or do you grab the card you want that could edge him or her out?

There are three ages in the game and the power of the cards builds for each age. How you start the first age can greatly affect your ability to get the cards you want in the third age. Choose wisely. Although similar to Dominion I find the differences great enough that people I know have definite preferences for one or the other depending upon their preferred style of game play.

The expansion set adds to the fun. I really enjoy it and would probably have to say that 7 Wonders is one of my favorite board games. I like it even better than Dominion, which is also a fun game. K.

Games People Play: Risk Legacy

Risk Legacy by Hasbro

Risk Legacy by Hasbro

Risk Legacy by Hasbro

Well, okay, games I like to play with people. No not those kinds of games, silly. The Fourth of July is coming up and whether you are having a lot of folks over to celebrate or going someplace to be with friends or family, or even just trying to have a quiet night at home with the family, having some board games on hand is never a bad thing. Sometimes, on a Saturday or Sunday we will just call it “Family Game Day” for no other reason than we like to have fun and play games.

Recently we got Risk Legacy, which is a fun twist on the Risk game we used to play in our college days. There is now a science-fiction-y backstory that allows the game to introduce clans, which give the player special abilities and advantages in the game. Choose wisely whom you will play.

Note in Risk Legacy

Note in Risk Legacy

Another fun, and somewhat risky move is that players now write on the board. The winner gets to make permanent changes to the game board. For example, the North American continent in our game is now called Torchwood, not America. Also the winner can chose to make changes that are of tactical advantage to them in following games.

I find that these additions make the game more fun. Now, instead your wins are recorded for all to see. They’ve raised the stakes just a bit in a game that is all about global domination. The clan cards change your strategy too, so the Risk game you know and love from before is now just slightly different and your old, tried and true tactics might not work quite so well anymore.

Game board and box for Risk Legacy

Game board and box for Risk Legacy

I looked and Hasbro, the makers of Risk Legacy are on the Ethispher’s list of most ethical companies for 2013. For me that is no small thing. I want to support ethical companies and I don’t want my money going to unethical companies. Granted there were issues with Hasbro in 2011 and before but they seem to have cleaned up their act. They better have because if I find out they haven’t they’ll be on my list of companies to boycott. We make the world we want to live in with every dollar we spend. Spend wisely, gentle reader. K.

Pacific Rim July 12 2013

Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim

Feast your eyes on this my kaiju and giant mech loving readers:

Normally I try to stay away from the hype surrounding a movie I want to see. The thing about Pacific Rim is that it has been so long since there has been a good Kaiju movie in the theatres that I haven’t been able to stay away from the ad campaign for it.

They’ve told us the names of some of the Jaegers, they’ve shown us some of the weaponry and they’ve teased us with spoilers about how the pilots mentally link with each other and their machines. Even with all of that I can hardly wait to see it.

Legendary Studios is producing it and director Guillermo del Toro is directing it. I know I’ll love it. I saw Pan’s Labyrinth, which was terrible and fantastic and horrific and wonderful all at the same time. And I don’t mean terrible as in a terrible movie, I mean it was a spectacular movie about people doing terrible things.

The special effects for Hellboy II: The Golden Army were excellent too. Although that movie had its flaws I think they had more to do with the constraints of the comic characters than the director.

I must confess that I’ve been hyped about Pacific Rim since I first discovered it was being made. I’ve been following the dribs and drabs of advertising. I know, I know no movie can live up to its hype but giant mechs and kaiju? It’s like someone asked me what kind of movie I’d like to see best and then they started making it.

Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim

Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim

I love the names they’ve given the Jaegers; Gipsy Danger, Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoon. Those names are extra cool with a side of awesome sauce. The same for the different weaponry each one packs. C’mon, Tesla fists? Sting Blade? Nuclear Vortex Turbine? I love the creativity that went into dreaming these things up, and the engineering concepts too.

Rest assured, gentle reader, I will be seeing it opening day and I will be reviewing it. Perhaps this once a movie will live up to its hype. K.

Titan Comics @ SDCC A Preview of Good Things To Come

Titan Comics Logo

I love to go to comic cons. I think it’s fun to see people dress up in their favorite cosplay. I love meeting authors, artists and creators. I love playing games in the gaming rooms. There is so much to enjoy and generally speaking, the other attendees are just as polite and friendly as you could ask for. I will not be able to make the SDCC this year, alas. If I could though I’d make time to swing by Titan comics tables for a signing or two at the very least. Titan Comics is launching on July 13 and will be at the San Diego Comic Con, only the biggest and coolest comic con in the country, with new titles, singings and panel discussions.

There is something special about getting a comic or illustration signed by the artist. Having a chance to say, “hello,” or let someone know you appreciate their talent is not just kind but rewarding and I have never met an artist who didn’t appreciate their fans. If you get the chance to swing by don’t miss it. They have some great comics in the works.

I’ve been personally enjoying their homage to golden-age science fiction in their B-Movie comedy It Came!. It’s beautifully realized, whimsical and adroitly written.

They’ve kindly sent around a schedule of their events at the SDCC along with some sneak peaks and how attendees can get some exciting swag. Check it out:

Titan Comics Logo

Titan Comics Logo

Titan Comics, the new venture from publishing giant, Titan, offering the best original creator-owned comics, alongside new and classic graphic novels launches in July 2013 – with new titles released throughout the rest of the year and beyond!

The first wave comprises debut dinosaur spectacular Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by writer/artist Stuart Jennett (Marvel UK); afterlife thriller Numbercruncher, by writer Si Spurrier (X-Men: Legacy, Crossed: Wish You Were Here), artist P.J. Holden (2000AD) and colorist Jordie Bellaire (Captain Marvel, Rocketeer, The Manhattan Projects); B-movie comedy IT CAME! by Dan Boultwood (Hope Falls); high-fantasy comedy Thrud the Barbarian by writer/artist Carl Critchlow (2000AD, Magic: The Gathering), new horror fantasy collection Razorjack by Watchmen colorist John Higgins – plus the completely remastered and relettered library of The First Kingdom by comics legend Jack Katz!

The next wave, beginning in October begins with game-changing post-superheroic statement Death Sentence, by writer Monty Nero and artist Mike Dowling (2000AD, Rex Royd) and classic fantasy epic Marada The She-Wolf by Chris Claremont (The Uncanny X-Men, Fantastic Four) and John Bolton (Man-Bat, Shame: Pursuit, Books of Magic).

Titan Comics kicks everything off at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, showcasing brand-new comics and collections available for the first time exclusively at the show (only at Titan booth #5537) and special events programming.

The new line will be marketed at SDCC with a special 32-page preview, which will be distributed at the Titan booth #5537, within all panels and on signing tables.

Comics legend Jack Katz headlines the panel Titan Comics – Launching at SDCC and Beyond! Katz will be discussing The First Kingdom – a series of epic post-apocalyptic fantasy graphic novels that has been 25 years in the making!

The First Kingdom Vol. 1

The First Kingdom Vol. 1

The panel will give attendees a behind-the-scenes look at new titles, coupled to exclusive announcements about brand-new originated titles by new and world-renowned talent!

All attendees to the panel will receive a special limited edition double-sided poster: an IT CAME! 1950s themed cinema style poster, signed by creator Dan Boultwood, and a fantastic Numbercruncher image by artist P.J. Holden.

A number of new collections will be available for the first time at SDCC, with creator signings to support: Jack Katz will be signing copies of The First Kingdom Vol.1: The Birth of Tundran on Friday at 3:00PM; John Higgins will be signing copies of Razorjack on Friday at 4:00PM; Dave Elliott, Dave Dorman, Alex Horley and Andy Kuhn will be signing copies of Monster Massacre, Sharky and A1 on Friday at 1:30PM; Roman Dirge will be signing copies of Lenore: Purple Nurples on Thursday at 4:30PM.

Other collections available for the first time at SDCC include the Eagle-Award-Winning Barbarian comedy series Thrud the Barbarian, by Carl Critchlow, and Devil May Cry™: The Chronicles of Vergil.

With the hotly anticipated first issue of Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier (X-Men: Legacy, Crossed: Wish You Were Here) and artist P.J. Holden (2000AD) hitting stores on July 17, Titan Comics is offering SDCC attendees a FREE exclusive art card signed by Si Spurrier with every copy of Numbercruncher #1 – only available at Titan booth #5537.

Full schedule of Titan Comics SDCC activity includes:

THURSDAY JULY 18, 2013

Portfolio Review: Titan Comics
Thursday July 18, 10:00AM – 12:30PM, PR B
Steve White, Titan Comics Senior Editor will be holding portfolio reviews on Friday at 10:00AM – 12:30PM, PR B.

Panel: Roman Dirge REBUILT
Thursday July 18, 3:00PM – 4:00PM, Room: 28DE
Earlier this year, Lenore creator Roman Dirge was almost killed in a Sunset Boulevard hit-and-run that left him lying in hospital with a shattered leg. After months of painful physical therapy, Roman is back – better, stronger… but not necessarily faster… – and is here to discuss his long road to recovery, his return to the drawing board with Lenore issue #8 and his fourth Titan Lenore collection: Purples Nurples (which will be debuting at the show).

Signing: Lenore – Roman Dirge
Thursday July 18, 4:30PM – 5:30PM, Autograph Alley AA04
Lenore: Purples Nurples – available for the first time at SDCC!
Creator Roman Dirge will be signing copies of his fourth Titan Lenore collection: Purples Nurples on Thursday at 4:30PM – 5:30PM in Autograph Alley AA04.

FRIDAY JULY 19, 2013

Panel: Titan Comics – Launching at SDCC and Beyond!
Friday July 19, 12:00PM – 1:00PM, Room: 32AB
Titan Comics, the new venture from publishing giant, Titan, offering the best original creator-owned comics, alongside new and classic graphic novels, launches this year at SDCC! With all the buzz that’s been generated by first-wave titles like Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier (X-Men Legacy) and The First Kingdom by comics legend Jack Katz, 2013 looks set to be the year of Titan Comics!

Meet the key players behind the new line, go behind-the-scenes of new titles with creators, see exclusive preview art and hear exclusive announcements about brand-new originated titles by new and world-renowned talent!
Guests include: Jack Katz (First Kingdom), John Higgins (Razorjack), Dave Elliott (A1, Monster Massacre, Sharky), Steve White (Titan Comics, Senior Editor) and more!

Razorjack

Razorjack

All attendees to the panel will receive a special limited edition double-sided poster: an IT CAME! 1950s themed cinema style poster, signed by creator Dan Boultwood, and a fantastic Numbercruncher image by artist P.J. Holden. (This limited edition poster is only available to panel attendees).

Sharky

Sharky

Signing: Monster Massacre – Dave Elliott, Dave Dorman, Alex Horley and Andy Kuhn
Friday July 19, 1:30PM – 2:30PM, Autograph Alley AA02
Monster Massacre Vol.1 & Sharky – available for the first time at SDCC!
Creators Dave Elliott, Dave Dorman, Alex Horley and Andy Kuhn will be signing copies of Monster Massacre, Sharky and A1 on Friday at 1:30PM – 2:30PM in Autograph Alley AA02.

Attendees to the signing will receive a FREE limited edition signed art print by Mark A. Nelson with every copy of Monster Massacre purchased. (Limited to 50 – first come, first served)

Signing: The First Kingdom – Jack Katz
Friday July 19, 3:00PM – 5:00PM, Autograph Alley AA07
The First Kingdom Vol.1: The Birth of Tundran – available for the first time at SDCC! Creator Jack Katz will be signing copies of The First Kingdom Vol.1: The Birth of Tundran on Friday at 3:00PM – 5:00PM in Autograph Alley AA07.
Attendees to the signing will receive a FREE limited edition signed art card by Jack Katz with every copy of First Kingdom purchased. (Limited to 100 – first come, first served)

Signing: Razorjack – John Higgins
Friday July 19, 4:00PM-5:00PM, Autograph Alley AA03
Razorjack – available for the first time at SDCC!
Creator John Higgins will be signing copies of Razorjack on Friday at 4:00PM – 5:00PM in Autograph Alley AA03.
Attendees to the signing will receive a FREE limited edition Razorjack patch designed by Sally Hurst & John Higgins with every copy of Razorjack purchased. Plus, get your photo taken with Razorjack herself!

SUNDAY JULY 21, 2013

Portfolio Review: Titan Comics
Sunday July 21, 10:00AM – 12:30PM, PR B
Steve White, Titan Comics, Senior Editor will be holding portfolio reviews on Sunday at 10:00AM – 12:30PM, PR B.

To keep up-to-date with news from Titan Comics at SDCC join us on Facebook or follow @comicstitan on Twitter for regular updates throughout the show.

To keep up-to-date with news on future releases from Titan Comics, visit Titan Comics

B-Movies: 100 Million BC

100 Million BC movie poster

100 Million BC movie poster

100 Million BC movie poster

I watched 100 Million BC, not to be confused with 10 Million BC one Sunday when there was nothing but 700 channels of garbage on the television. Warning, spoilers ahead. This was a sort-of sequel to The Philadelphia Experiment. The ideas were good. A secret group of scientists continue to work on Project Rainbow after the U.S.S. Eldridge was translocated through time, not teleported as they had first suspected. This results in a brilliant scientist, Dr. Frank Reno, played by Michael Gross, stranding his own older brother in the prehistoric past. Hope comes in the form of cave paintings recently discovered by some spelunking archeologists. Dr. Reno decides to go back with a troop of marines to fetch the survivors, hoping his brother is among them.

I was more than a little surprised at how quickly they went through marines when they arrived at their destination in the past. I figured it was going to be a pretty short movie if they kept getting eaten at that rate. It would have been too if they hadn’t let a huge red therapod loose in the city trying to get back to the future.

This did not slow the number of marines getting eaten. It just gave the dinosaur access to more snacks. This term was actually used in the movie to good effect. For a movie that was only given 2 stars it was quite watchable. There wasn’t too much gore, despite people getting eaten and the horror effects were used sparingly and well. If you enjoy budget science fiction 100 Million BC isn’t half bad. K.

Godzilla 2014

Legendary Picture's Godzilla 2014

Legendary Picture's Godzilla 2014

Legendary Picture’s Godzilla 2014

Some of you may know that I am a huge Godzilla fan. I’ve been a Godzilla fan since I was a young child and watched those old (and sometimes awful) 70’s Godzilla movies on the Sunday Monster Matinee on the television with my biological father. This left me with a lifelong love of Godzilla movies, comics, you-name-it.

I am very excited about the forthcoming Godzilla movie in 2014. I’ve been deliberately avoiding the hype because I don’t want to ruin any of the experience by knowing things before they’re all put together on the big screen in movie form.

The last Godzilla movie I saw in a theatre was the Not Godzilla movie with Matthew Brodrick (whom I like as an actor), and that was at a brew-pub theatre. There were a lot of Jurassic Park wise-cracks made during that movie. This one coming in 2014 will be a real Godzilla movie and I’m hoping to get to see it opening night in one of the Cinetopias so I can have a beer and watch Godzilla.

For those of you interested in how things are coming along here is a link to the official Godzilla 2014 movie site. Godzilla is being directed by Gareth Edwards who seems to really get what Godzilla is all about. At least so far as I have seen. K.

RIP Richard Matheson; Legendary Sci-Fi & Horror Writer

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

June 24th 2013 Richard Matheson passed away. He was born in New Jersey on Feb 20th 1926 and his first short story Born of Man and Woman was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1950.

The first work of his that I read was his novella I Am Legend and it was one of the most amazing works of fiction I have ever read. The ending was so unexpected, so original and so masterfully done that I am sorry it wasn’t a full-length novel. Don’t even waste your time with that movie they made. It destroys the story. I like Will Smith but what they did to I Am Legend when they made that movie is a travesty against science fiction and horror. The story Matheson wrote was the single best vampire story I’ve ever read.

There were other stories in that collection of his I bought. Prey stuck with me for weeks after I read it. That man could create a sense of foreboding in words that is outstanding. I dare say he equaled H. P. Lovecraft in his ability to create that ominous weight of horror on a page.

He also wrote What Dreams May Come, which I still haven’t seen but I’ve been told I should. I think I’d like to read it first. For those who enjoy the classics Richard Matheson wrote The Shrinking Man, which became the movie The Incredible Shrinking Man. He also wrote The Twilight Zone movie as well as contributing to the original Twilight Zone series. His work was not limited to the past. As recently as 2011 he wrote Real Steel.

I’m always saddened when an author whose work I enjoy passes. Not only has the world lost a gifted writer and an extraordinary imagination but also I will miss finding new works by him on the bookshelf to enjoy. My heart goes out to the family who will miss him for far more profound and personal reasons than I. Thank you Richard Matheson and RIP. K.

War In Flesh Update and in The Flesh On Amazon

Posting a little late today. I have gotten some good work done on War In Flesh. It comes along slowly but I really like the direction it is taking. Exciting things. It is difficult for me to keep the romance at the forefront of my thought process. I think it will be worth it though. I like the adventure and the science fiction a great deal and that distracts me sometimes from the romance.

I’ve hit a point where the narrative line is telling me what to do next and that’s always a good sign. I’ll be working more on it today. I’ll also get some more science fiction articles written up for M31. I hope you’ve been enjoying them.

And for those who are interested In The Flesh is available in print or for the Kindle at Amazon

My Review of Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Man of Steel

After weeks of feeling ambivalent about it I went ahead and saw Man of Steel. I didn’t have high hopes for it. Normally I’m down for any comic hero movie but I just wasn’t too interested in this one; and not just because no one will ever top Christopher Reeve as Superman. Given that, I will say that Henry Cavill did an excellent job as Clark Kent/Kal-El (Superman).

Normally my reviews are pretty spoiler free but this one will be an exception. There are major spoilers ahead. Do yourself a favor and don’t read this until after you see the movie. Ok?

The movie opens with Laura giving birth to a tiny, cute Kal-El. This was off-putting to me at first. Then they explained it and that made it work and work well. While maybe they didn’t have to show it, it was important to the plot and made sense.

From there on in, almost all the way, the movie is amazing. The scenes of Krypton are gorgeously realized and the technology is spectacular. Everything hangs together internally and it’s masterfully done. In fact it could be one of the best science fiction/fantasy movies outside of Star Trek that I’ve seen in a very long time.

They way they treat Clark Kent on Earth is exceptionally well done too. They build this character up scene by scene as a believable and more importantly, especially for Superman, relatable person. He is someone very much adrift in a world that doesn’t seem ready to accept him just yet, if ever. I’m sure that a lot of people can relate to that feeling and it is a mark of how well done the movie is that they are able to explore that part of human existence in a character as super human as Superman.

I loved the odd jobs he had. I found it quite interesting to see Clark Kent working as a greenhorn on a crab boat, or as a busboy in an out of the way truck stop. A man always searching for who he is, always trying to help but set apart by powers and abilities he doesn’t know where they came from nor asked for is a powerful story and it is mostly well told in Man of Steel.

I was delighted to see Amy Adams cast as Lois Lane. I’m becoming a fan of hers and she did a fabulous job. I loved her as Amelia Earhart in Night At The Museum: Battle for The Smithsonian and as Julie in Julie and Julia. I really liked her as Lois Lane too.

Michael Shannon as General Zod was brilliant casting. He really just looked shiveringly evil for the whole movie. And that was even before he went completely insane. Which, given the brilliant backstory was not entirely his fault. You would think it would be difficult to feel sorry for a xenophobic, xenoracist, genocidal maniac and yet I kind of do. He was made the way he was and really had no choice in the matter and that is really the heart and soul of this movie.

Diane Lane as Martha Kent was fabulous and I have been a long time fan of Kevin Costner. Yes I even watched Waterworld. Yes it was awful but only because the main character wasn’t very sympathetic, many other things were well done about that movie. But that’s another review.

If only the writers had written Superman to be as mentally strong as he is physically superior. If only they hadn’t written Kal-El as intellectually passive, then I would have no quibbles with this movie. I would gladly let slide the plot complications wherein a being that can breathe vacuum has trouble with certain kinds of atmospheres. I would have gladly looked the other way regarding the energy demands laser eyes make on a nervous system and the time differentials between the amount of sunlight a body can absorb in a couple of days as opposed to 33 years. Even though I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly hurt myself, I would have even overlooked the obligatory kissing scene. I would have let it all slide because so much else was done so well.

The tragedy of outposts left to perish and of survivors searching for other survivors only to find withered death everywhere they searched was worthy of the best science fiction I’ve ever read and spectacularly visualized. The horror and real world ramifications of terraforming an already populated planet were terrifyingly rendered before our eyes on the big screen. I’ve watched far worse movies and counted them enjoyable for glimpses of these kinds of things and this movie delivered them in high definition meticulously rendered CGI.

And yet they threw it all away in the final 20 minutes of the movie. They took what would have been a masterpiece and ruined it. How? By making it clear that Superman is Jethro Clampett in a cape. Physically he’s a perfect specimen, mentally he’s tapioca. I just find the idea of reducing heroes to their muscles as offensive as reducing women to their breasts. Superman should never be a mimbo nor should he be intellectually passive and yet that’s what they did to him.

In the final battle scene, after spending two hours making sure we knew that nothing on Earth could harm a Kryptonian hopped up on our sun’s light, they decided to have General Zod and Superman have a fist fight in the middle of an already decimated Metropolis. Honestly it was so unnecessary, so gratuitous and the outcome such a foregone conclusion that it exceeded my capacity to suspend my disbelief.

In a movie where a man has laser eyes, can fly, can survive without an environmental suit outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, can bend metal with his bare hands and walk through fire; that scene exceeded my capacity to suspend disbelief. In an otherwise grown-up movie this scene was the Kryptonian equivalent to “my daddy can beat up your daddy.” It was pointless and felt forced. They had to do it for the fanboys. It was actually offensive to have this substandard, forced, plot point in a movie that had otherwise been so very good.

I could have forgiven it if they had taken any of several opportunities to show Superman thinking his way out of anything. General Zod offers up several philosophical softballs and Superman whiffs on every one. He doesn’t even try. General Zod mocks Kal-El by saying, “I trained my whole life as a warrior. What have you trained as—A farmer?” Why couldn’t Superman have said something? Some bit of wisdom from his dad? Some salt of the Earth observation—anything? No, he just throws the next punch because apparently that’s all he’s got.

There were others, when Zod talks about how his only reason for existing is to protect Kryptionians. Superman could have said something about how important choice and free will are. That was the whole reason his Kryptonian parents had him and saved him, yet he remains silent; content it seems to answer every thought with physical violence.

Sure he’s a kind and sensitive soul but does he have to be as mentally passive as he is physically aggressive? He was shown reading Plato as a teen but when a Zod minion tells him that they are superior evolutionarily because they have no morals he has no answer. That’s a gimme. Even just a, “You’re wrong,” would have sufficed. Some commentary about how programmed drones don’t require morality, only sentient creatures with free will do and how the flexibility of choice would prove to be better evolutionarily speaking would have been even better. I just am not satisfied by brawn with no brains. In The Hulk they can get away with it because he’s some kind of primal mutational transformation of a normally brilliant guy. Superman does not have that excuse.

Given that Superman could not reason his way out of a wet paper bag (so it’s a good thing he can punch through reinforced concrete), I would have to call the final battle for General Zod, even in an insanity fueled rage fest. Given equal strength and superhuman abilities the battle should go to the one who is the superior tactician and that would have to be General Zod. Of course that is not how it went or the movie would be called General Zod’s Revenge or something like that. But I left the theatre feeling cheated. Not that the movie wasn’t worth the money, just that the last 20 minutes really detracted from the brilliance that had gone before. I also think that if the previous 2 hours hadn’t been quite so good, the battle scene with Zod and Superman wouldn’t have felt so out of place and unnecessary.

Oh and one last thing. A lot of hype has been made about drawing parallels between Superman and Jesus Christ. They’re really reaching on those. Sure, I guess, if you really want to see it you can force it, but there are a lot of other, better, explanations within the story for those few shots.

Overall Man of Steel is still a first rate movie. I almost forgot the trailers. R.I.P.D. looks like it could be good. Pacific Rim, oh yes. I cannot wait to see Pacific Rim, please, oh, please don’t let them screw that one up. But then with Guillermo Del Torro directing, I feel we’re in safe hands for that movie. The Lone Ranger, I know I shouldn’t but I kinda want to see it. K.