Battle of the Superhero Film Franchises!!! (Part 2-Lists n’ Shit)

(This is a continuation of this post.)

In my ongoing search for the most overall successful superhero franchise, I have already laid out the franchises vying for the title. Now, I will rank them from worst to first in five categories. I promise not to do a Part 3, not only because I already do it way too much, but also because that is lazy as hell.   Oh, and by the way, SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

So, anyways…

CRITICAL RECEPTION 

(This is defined by the average critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a film from the franchise)

(Also, I did not include The Amazing Spider-Man, Man of Steel or Kick-Ass, since I decided that having franchises with only one released movie skewed the rankings.)

  1. The Dark Knight-89%
  2. Hellboy-84%
  3. Spider-Man-82%
  4. Marvel Cinematic Universe -80%
  5. X-Men-69
  6. Superman-58%
  7. Batman-51%
  8. Blade-47%
  9. Fantastic Four-32%
  10. Ghost Rider-22%

So, what have we learned?

Mainly that a) Critics love Christopher Nolan as long as Zack Snyder stays the hell away. B) It’s easy to have one or two bad movies drag your score down (X-Men, Superman and Batman) and c) Nicolas Cage is pretty much persona non grata as a leading man in any movie he so much as glances at.

Unless he dies violently. Then, all’s good.

AUDIENCE RECEPTION

(Ditto, but with the Rotten Tomatoes Audience ratings.)

  1. The Dark Knight-91%
  2. Marvel Cinematic Universe-79%
  3. X-Men-78%
  4. Blade-71%
  5. Hellboy-67%
  6. Spider-Man-67%
  7. Superman-54%
  8. Fantastic Four-53%
  9. Batman-52%
  10. Ghost Rider-43%

So, what have we learned?

A) There is nothing redeemably good about Ghost Rider or Fantastic Four and B) My system is broken if Blade can finish above Soider-Man, but eh, fuck it. We learn from our mistakes, right?

Er, right….

PROFITS PER MOVIE 

(You don’t really need an explanation for this, do you? (I didn’t include profits for The Wolverine, because it’s too soon to say for sure).

  1. Spider-Man-$633,115,506
  2. The Dark Knight-$624, 939, 468
  3. Marvel Cinematic Universe-$544,283,685
  4. Fantastic Four-$389, 627, 482$
  5. Blade-$251, 098, 928
  6. Batman- $228, 226, 886
  7. X-Men-$213, 019, 524
  8. Ghost Rider- $97, 151, 160
  9. Superman-$81,690,123
  10. Hellboy- $54, 353,525

What have we learned?

Mainly that box offices are the place where mediocre movies can shine and where good movies can suck.

Pacific Rim FilmPoster.jpeg

With a profit of just over $30 million, Pacific Rim is proof that the system is broken.

MY OPINION

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Marvel Cinematic Universe
  3. X-Men
  4. Spider-Man
  5. Hellboy
  6. Superman
  7. Blade
  8. Batman
  9. Fantastic Four
  10. Ghost Rider

OVERALL STANDINGS

(These were calculated by adding points for each standing in each category. 1st Place=10 Points, 2nd Place= 9 Points and so on.)

  1. The Dark Knight-39 Points
  2. Marvel Cinematic Universe-31 Points
  3. Spider-Man-28 Points
  4. X-Men-26 Points
  5. Hellboy-22 Points
  6. Blade-20 Points
  7. Superman-15 Points
  8. Batman-14 Points
  9. Fantastic Four-14 Points
  10. Ghost Rider-6 Points

What have we learned?

First of, I’m pretty sure nobody was doubting that the Dark Knight trilogy  would come in first.

Also, that I don’t know how to adjust movie profits for inflation, so maybe don’t take the “Profits” section too, too seriously.

Also, it can’t be stressed how much movies like Batman & Robin and Superman 4 dragged their respective franchises down. Without those two movies, what we’d have is a couple of solid move franchises.

Well, passable at least.

Coming Soon on Please Kill the Messenger: 

1. The confession of a My Chemical Romance fan.

2. A review of one of Guillermo del Toro’s best movies. (No, it’s not Pacific Rim, but I do need to see that.)

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Battle of the Superhero Film Franchises!!! (Part 1-Meet the Franchises!)

Well, I’d say that it’s a pretty great time to be a superhero fan.

During the gathering of nerds and cosplayers known as Comic-Con (A world I desperately want to be a part of) several superhero movies were presented to the ever-voracious nerd public. The films include the second Thor movie (Loved the first one), The Wolverine (Fuck the first one), Captain America: Winter Soldier, the second Amazing Spider-Man movie (Damn, another one?) , X-Men: Days of Future Past, Avengers: Age of Ultron (Oh God, yes!!!), the Superman/Batman movie (Nerdgasm achieved), and Guardians of the Galaxy, which I don’t know shit about except for the fact that there’s a talking raccoon involved. 

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

That said, I got to wondering  about which superhero film franchises have been the most successful, both critically and commercially. So, I decided to rank thirteen franchises from worst to best in FOUR different categories, which are A) critical reception on Rotten Tomatoes, b) audience reception on Rotten Tomatoes, c) my opinion and d) the average commercial success per film of the series.

I define a franchise as being at least two confirmed films (For example, Kick-Ass would be considered a franchise because it has a released film and a confirmed film that has yet to be released. On the other hand, The Incredibles is not a franchise because at this point, any news of a sequel is just idle speculation. )

Well, fuck, I HOPE this is just speculation…

Anyways, let’s meet the franchises!

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Superhero: Spider-Man/Peter Parker

Films: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014 ), The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (2016), The Amazing Spider-Man 4 (2018) Fuck, talk about getting ahead of yourself.

Directed By: Marc Webb

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans , Jamie Foxx , Dane DeHaan , Paul Giamatti , Denis Leary, Chris Zylka

Suggested Tagline: “Anybody want another Spider-Man series humping the still-warm corpse of the Sam Raimi series? No? Well fuck you, here it is anyways.”

BATMAN (BURTON/SCHUMACHER) 

Superhero: Batman/Bruce Wayne

Films: Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997)

Directed By: Tim Burton , Joel Schumacher

Stars: Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough, Kim Basinger,  Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone

Suggested Tagline: “Before there was Christian Bale… There were Bat-Nipples.”

“BAT-NIPPLES!?!?!”

BLADE

Blade movie.jpg

Superhero: Blade/Eric Brooks

Films: Blade (1998), Blade 2 (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004)

Directed By: Stephen Norrington, Guillermo del Toro, David S. Goyer

Stars: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson,  Stephen Dorff , Donal Logue , Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Thomas Kreschmann, Luke Goss, Dominic Purcell, Parker Posey, N’Bushe Wright, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds

Suggested Tagline: I’ve actually never seen any of the Blade movies.

Ow! Stoppit! Are those rocks?! You’re hurting me!


THE DARK KNIGHT
 

Superhero: Batman/Bruce Wayne

Films: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Suggested Tagline: “I’m the goddamn BATMAN, motherfucker!”

“You tell ’em, unhinged sadistic psychopath Batman!”

FANTASTIC FOUR 

Oh boy, here we go…

Superheroes: Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Invisible Woman/Susan Storm, The Thing/Ben Grimm, Human Torch/Johnny Storm

Films: Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer  (2007)

Director: Tim Story

Stars: Ioan Gruffudd,  Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Doug Jones, Laurence Fishburne (Voice Only), Kerry Washington

Suggested Tagline: “Fine, YOU try designing the Thing realistically, assholes!”

GHOST RIDER 

One would think you couldn’t possibly fuck this movie up, but one would be wrong.

Superhero: Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze

Films: Ghost Rider (2007), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

Director: Mark Steven Johnson, Neveldine/Taylor

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Wes Bentley, Johnny Whitworth, Ciaran Hinds, Eva Mendes, Violante Placido, Sam Elliott , Idris Elba

Suggested Tagline: “Yes, The Wicker Man did teach us nothing. So what?”

“Hell yes, this is the guy we want playing evil’s bane.”

HELLBOY

Superhero: Hellboy

Films: Hellboy (2004), Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Stars: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Hurt, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Seth MacFarlane (Voice), Luke Goss, Anna Walton

Suggested Tagline: “What do you mean “Is Dark Horse still around?”‘

KICK-ASS 

Superheroes: Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski, Hit Girl/Mindy MacReady, Big Daddy/Damon MacReady, Colonel Stars and Stripes

Films: Kick-Ass (2008), Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Director: Matthew Vaughn, Jeff Wadlow

Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Jim Carrey

Suggested Tagline: “Ten year olds committing mass murder? Bring that shit on.”

Roman Polanski is shitting himself in fear right about now.

MAN OF STEEL

Superheroes: Superman/Clark Kent, Batman/Bruce Wayne

Films: Man of Steel (2013), Batman Vs. Superman (2015)

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Russell Crowe

Suggested Tagline: “Fine, we’ll add Batman. You fuckers interested yet?”

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE 

Superheroes: Iron Man/Tony Stark, Hulk/Bruce Banner, Thor, Captain America/Steve Rogers, War Machine/James Rhodes, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Ant-Man/Hank Pym, Nick Fury

Films: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015)

Directors: Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Alan Taylor, Joe and Anthony Russo, James Gunn, Edgar Wright

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Terrence Howard, Don Cheadle, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Bridges, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Hugo Weaving, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pierce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Bridge Dale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Frank Grillo, Georges St.Pierre, Benicio del Toro, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau, Ty Burrell, Tim Blake Nelson, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Joshua Dallas, Jamie Alexander, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Stanley Tucci, Cobie Smulders, Zachary Levi, Rene Russo, Emily VanCamp, Anthony Mackie, John C. Reily, Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Natalie Portman, Hayley Atwell,

Suggested Tagline: “We just really, really hate people who work at movie theaters.”

“Fuck you and fuck your post-credits scenes! Some of us need to clean this shithole of a theater!”

SPIDER-MAN 

Superhero: Spider-Man/Peter Parker

Films: Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Rosemary Harris, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson, J.K. Simmons, Bryce Dallas Howard

Suggested Tagline: “Fuck it, let’s throw ALL the villains into one movie. What could possibly go wrong?”

SUPERMAN

Films: Superman (1978), Superman 2 (1980), Superman 3 (1983), Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987), Superman Returns (2006)

Directed By: Richard Donner, Richard Lester, Sidney J. Furie

Stars: Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp, Marlon Brando

Suggested Tagline: “Just try not to stare too much at the codpiece while the theme music is playing.”

X-MEN

Superheroes: No way I’m listing all of these guys. After the MCU? No way.

Films: X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Directed by: Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner (Booo!!!), Gavin Hood, Matthew Vaughn, James Mangold

Stars: Oh, fuck you.

Tune in soon for my rankings. Or to mock me for not being at Comic-Con. Either one.

Musician Biography: 30 Seconds to Mars

There are a few things that are certain in this long, painful life that we lead. Specifically, death, the failure of the Chicago Cubs, shitheads on YouTube (Comment sections or otherwise) and celebrities who enter musical careers only because they once played a musician in a movie.

Ahem.

But it also seems that there’s at least a few exceptions to the aforementioned afflictions. Some people seem to cheat death against all odds including, but not excluding, Christopher Lee (Awesomely) and Fred Phelps (Unfortunately). People get out of paying their taxes all the time. Of course, by people, I mean the good people at heartless companies like General Electric. If you look past the commentators, YouTube has some good stuff on it (SourceFed, Vsauce etc.). The Cubs had that one championship more than one hundred years ago.

This seems as good a time as any to declare Fred Phelps to be an asshole again.

The exception for the last category (That is the actors turned celebrities) is the subject of today’s “Musician Biography”. Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for:

30 SECONDS TO MARS

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Active From: 1998-Present

Genres: Alternative Rock, Neo-Prog, Space Rock, Experimental Rock, Hard Rock, SynthRock, Post-Hardcore (Early)

Legacy: The flourishing of Jared Leto’s musical career and the continuing public indifference to his film career. Also, making teenage girls buy into the misguided belief that the success of this band means prog’s cool again.

Teenage girls are into musicians for the quality of their music, right?

As you may or may not no, Jared Leto is an actor from Louisiana who has appeared in several moderately well-known movies, including Requiem for a Dream (In which he plays a heroin addict and dealer), Fight Club (In which he gets the shit beaten out of him by Edward Norton), American Psycho ( In which he is ax-murdered by Christian Bale) and Alexander (In which he plays Colin Farrell’s gay lover). He started 30 Seconds to Mars as a small family project with his brother, Shannon Leto. In 2001, the brothers recruited Matt Wachter to play bass and keyboards, and Solon Bixler on guitar. Bixler eventually left and was replaced by Croatian-American guitarist Tomo Milicevic.

Because the Leto family is, y’know, rich, they were able to get in the studio and start recording an album in 2001. In July, the band released their first single, “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)”. On August 27, 2002, they released their first, self-titled album, in which Jared played guitar, vocals, bass guitar and synthesizer. The album (Influenced in part by the science fiction novel, Dune) was received warmly by critics, who praised the lyrics, themes and musicianship. Personally, I though the album to be pretty fucking boring. On the plus side, Leto is a great songwriter and musician, but on the other hand, perhaps aside from “Capricorn”, the album is pretty nondescript and doesn’t grip me at all, but eh, what do I know?

Apparently, not too much, as the album zoomed to the top of Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart and hit 107 on the Billboard 200. “Capricorn” ended up peaking at No. 31 on the American Rock Charts while a post-relese single, “Edge of the Earth” hit No. 5 on the UK.

After touring for the album concluded, the band recorded and released another single, “Attack”, which critics and fans (And me!) adored, mainly because it showcased Leto’s amazing vocal talent. It isn’t often that an actor starts a musical career and actually has a passable voice, much less a good one.

Right, Bruce?

The following album, A Beautiful Lie, which was recorded over four years on Leto’s various film sets, was released in August of 2005 and was praised by critics (And me!) except for AllMusic, which surprises me, and Rolling Stone, because well, duh.

When you have to present terrorists in an attractive fashion on your albums to get some attention, then your musical opinion can be taken with a grain of salt, I think.

The album, which abandoned the prog metal of their first album for emotionally charged alternative rock, reached No. 22 on the Modern Rock Charts (And No. 1 in Canada!) and was eventually certified platinum, while a post-album single, “From Yesterday”, hit No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks (Though, to tell you the truth, I kind of hated it).

Having achieved mainstream success, the band embarked on the “Welcome to the Universe” tour, which lasted two years and solidified their rock star statuses. During the worldwide tour, they championed environmentalism (Of course they did) , shot the first ever American rock music video in the People’s Republic of China and had Matt Wachter leave the group to spend more time with his family and, eventually join Angels & Airwaves. He was replaced by Tim Kelleher, who is still with the band, but only as a touring member.

But wait a minute. What’s missing from the picture here? Hmmm…. Oh, that’s right, the obligatory dispute with an asshole record label? How could I be so foolish?

In August 2008, Virgin Records sued the band for a whopping $30 million lawsuit, claiming that the band failed to deliver the five albums that they were obligated to deliver. However, under California law, nobody can be bound to a contract for over seven years. Virgin, realizing that they hadn’t done their research in their quest to wring every last drop of money out of their bands, dropped the lawsuit and the band re-signed with them, for some inexplicable reason.

Although Jared Leto did make a documentary about the lawsuit, so maybe it was all for the purpose of an elaborate “fuck you.”

Fun fact: at the preview of the above-mentioned documentary, someone may have tried to kill Jared Leto. Could the labels have made their way from bullying and intimidation to murder? If so, then I have some potential targets that I think everyone can agree on.

Yes you, bitch.

On December 8, 2009, 30 Seconds to Mars released their third studio album, This is War. This would prove to be their most successful album yet, hitting No. 18 on the Billboard 200 charts, number 4 on the Rock charts and number 2 on the Alternative charts. In addition to this, three of the singles, “Kings and Queens”, “This Is War” and “Closer to the Edge”  got in the Top 10 pf the Billboard Alternative Charts, with the first two tracks hitting 1st place.

The album received  positive reviews as well. It is my personal favourite album on the 30STM catalogue, if only for the fact that “This is War” is on this album. Anyways, the resulting supporting tour won the Guinness World Record for “Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band”, playing a total of 309 concert shows in just over two years.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Um, pretty much the same place as always. Their latest album, Love Lust, Faith and Dreams, showcases the bands full musical talent/pretentiousness, with elements of symphonic rock edging out a large amount of the hard rock edge. Still, it was both critically and commercially successful, hitting number 6 on the Billboard 200. Personally, I’d rate it as better than the self-titled album by far, but not as good as A Beautiful Lie. It’s just too damn pretentious for me to take completely seriously. Also, it has one of the ugliest album covers known to man.

As a rule, album covers should note make you think of Connect Four.

Movie Review: Man of Steel

When I review movies, I can’t help but be a little swayed by movie critics. Sure, everything I write, I mean or agree with, but in an era where sites like like Rotten Tomatoes can give you a quick, effective overview of whether somebody liked the movie, or whether they hated it, and if their opinion of the film was an aberration or the status quo, gone are the days when you had to watch the movie for yourself to decide, more or less independently, what are quality films.

Also, which 9% of critics and 30% of audiences should probably be separated from the general population.

But occasionally, there comes a movie where I simply cannot agree with the critical consensus. Van Wilder is one such movie (18% from critics). Another is Superhero Movie because goddammit, if it has Leslie Nielsen, it’s good enough for me.

This is about the closest Canada had to Mr. Rogers. We miss ya, Leslie.

The movie I’m reviewing today (If only because I’m feeling burnt out from my stupid baseball articles) is one that has polarized both critics and fans, unusual for superhero movies, which are usually unanimously seen as good or bad, depending on how many shitty emo dance sequences occur.

Hee hee! Look at how his cheeks wobble!

Starring the only superhero that just won’t stay dead even if some may prefer it that way…

File:Deathofsuperman.jpg

Those have got to be the weakest wounds that anyone has died from.

…Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for…

Superman, bearing his traditional red and blue costume, is shown flying towards the viewer, with the city Metropolis below. The film's title, production credits, rating and release date is written underneath.

Directed By: Zack Snyder

Genre: Superhero

Based On: Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Cristopher Meloni, Russell Crowe

Legacy: People starting to realize that producer Cristopher Nolan is probably a pretty joyless guy.

“Bitch, please.”

Quick Plot Summary:

The scene: Planet Krypton, an advanced civilization comprised of genetically engineered humanoids whose jobs are all predestined from the moment they are conceived in vitro, and flying bird things that were totally not stolen from Avatar. The time: The Kryptonian apocalypse, a result of Krypton being bled dry of its natural resources, which resulted in an unstable core. The planet’s military commander, General Zod (Michael Shannon, looking every bit the part) deposes the ruling council via vaporization, while scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe. Not singing, thank God)  and his wife Lara (Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer) launch their newborn son Kal-El, the last natural-born son on Krypton, on a spacecraft to planet Earth, after infusing him with a genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race. What was the point of this? Fuck if I know. Zod murders Jor-El, but his coup is defeated and he is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. However, Krypton blows up shortly afterwards, which makes going to all the trouble  of throwing somebody in jail, where he will be safe, while your own planet explodes seem pretty damn stupid, huh?

“Honestly? We were just in it for the brutality.”

Kal-El’s ship lands in what I’m going to assume is Smallville, Kansas, where he is brought up by Martha (Diane Lane) and Johnathan Kent (Kevin Costner), who christen him Clark Kent. Because Earth’s atmosphere is different from Krypton’s, or something, Clark develops superhuman abilities, including unreal strength, speed, flight, durability, heat vision and (most terrifyingly) X-Ray vision.

And the ability to make straight men’s sexuality do a complete 180.

After Johnathan reveals his extraterrestrial origins to him, he advises him not to use his powers publicly, fearing that society will reject him. This, despite humanities excellent track record with godlike beings who could crush them with a flick of the wrist.

Andre the Giant: Sent from the distant, doomed land known only as “France” to save us from ourselves.

Fast-Forward several years later, and Clark has matured into a bearded nomad (Henry Cavill) who roams the States…

Wow, you can hardly tell that both this movie and Batman Begins were written by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, huh?

…Taking odd jobs under false names until he infiltrates a U.S. military investigation of a Kryptonian spaceship in the Arctic. Inside the ship, he discovers the preserved consciousness of Jor-El in hologram form. Holo-El reveals Kal-El’s true lineage to him and explains that he was sent to Earth in order to bring hope to mankind. After the revelation, Clark saves Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from harm when she tries to sneak in and is attacked by the ship’s security system. Upon returning to Metropolis, her story of a superhuman saviour is rejected by her editor, Perry white (Laurence Fishburne). So she then traces Clark back to Smallville, intending to write an expose on the guy that was hanging around an alien spacecraft guarded by the U.S. military. Not once did she think that this might not be the best idea.

Though if she is going to release state secrets to the public, I’m sure Julian Assange could use some company.

Meanwhile, Zod and his soldiers, who survived the destruction of Krypton have made their way to Earth and hijack the world’s communication services to demand that Kal-El surrender themselves to him, in order to use him in his sinister plan that I won’t reveal because I have the sinking feeling that this plot summary has gone too long.

Overview:

Wow, where to begin?

To begin with a negative aspect of the film, I would have to go with what feels to me like an overall lack of originality. I know that it’s a waste of breath to complain about originality in movies today, but in this film, it’s clearly obvious that Christopher Nolan “borrowed” story elements from Batman Begins. Specifically, the part where Clark goes on his journey to “find himself” or whatever, which, you will recall, is exactly what Bruce Wayne did in Batman Begins. Nolan may have also borrowed a little bit too much of the tone from his  Dark Knight series. At times, Man of Steel seems incredibly bleak. Now, I’m not one to complain about this, because I like my heroes a little bit on the conflicted side, and hey, I’m growing up in the twenty-first century. Nothing can faze me.

If I survived the Great Twinkie Drought, then I can survive anything.

One of my “Likes” is the cast. Henry Cavill, despite being a relative unknown outside of his TV show, The Tudors, did a great job, in my opinion, of interpreting Superman as he saw fit, much like Christian Bale did as Batman. Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Antje Traue (Zod’s psychopathic right-hand woman) are all excellent while Russell Crowe  and Michael Shannon are complete bad-asses. I liked Amy Adams as Lois Lane as well, I just didn’t feel like she was likable enough.

“It’s not an “S”. It’s a symbol of hope for my people.”

“Well down here, it’s an “S”.”

“Well, fuck, I stand corrected then, you pompous bitch.”

Another gripe I have about the movie is the pacing. Throughout the movie, we are treated to flashbacks of Clark’s past life. I wouldn’t have any problem with this if it wasn’t annoying and completely unnecessary. It just seems out of place, and way to frequent to ignore.

Also, while the wanton destruction was awesome and really fun to watch, even if it got hard to follow (SPOILER ALERT!) right after Zod’s tentacle machine is destroyed (SPOILER END) It can seem overblown and it may also seem that Superman ends more lives then he saves when he and Zod smash through Metropolis. This is a valid point until you realize that a)  He’s still learning how to use his powers effectively in this movie, and b) HOLY CRAP people, do you not realize that this is more or less exactly what would happen if you got two people who are literally Gods on Earth fighting each other?

Somebody. ANYBODY. Please. Make. This. Happen.

Overall:

Despite its excess, poor pacing and clearly borrowed story elements, Man of Steel succeeds thanks to its its cast, soundtrack and action make it an extremely enjoyable viewing experience.

83%

The Scale Of Douchiness- (Quadruple Feature!) Emma Roberts, Amanda Bynes, North Korea and Rolling Stone Magazine

The best part about writing about douchebags is that you never run out of source material. Case in point, for the very first edition of the SoD, I have four subjects! Oh, how I love the shittiness of humanity!

That’s right Kony…Keep those blog hits flowing nicely…

SUBJECT: Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts 2011. 3.jpg

Goddammit Emma, why’d you have to be so adorable? It just makes my job that much harder!

Douche-Crime: Beating up her boyfriend, fellow actor Evan Peters (American Horror Story).

Well shit, that makes sense, I guess.

Douche Points Awarded: 2/2

Severity Douche Points: 1.5/2. It wasn’t close to being a Chris Brown-style beatdown, but there isn’t too much of a gray area when it comes to beating somebody up Either you beat the living shit out of them or you don’t.

Frequency: First-time offender. However, may happen again, considering that they are still together, apparently. The joint statement read that they “are working together to move past it.” 1/2

Circumstances: None revealed yet, but it’s highly suggested that the assault wasn’t justified. 2/2

Overall Douche Rating: 6.5/8 (Definite douchebag)

It’s completely possible that Roberts just lost her cool at Peters, as people in a relationship are likely to do. However, it’s also not out of the question that this may be a recurring, theme. Plenty of young actresses tend to become mentally unstable as they fly through puberty, much like our next douchebag

AMANDA BYNES

Amanda Bynes on the Red Carpet (cropped).jpg

Part of me knew that she would be on my very first edition.

Douche-Crime (This time): Tweeting, after getting her head shaved earlier this year because it was damaged by salon treatments, on her schizophrenic clusterfuck of a Twitter account that “Not having hair makes [her] feel like a cancer  patient.” She later tried to explain herself, claiming that the tweet was meant to be read “Not having hair makes her feel like a  Cancer: Patient.” (As in the astrological sign) In addition to being a bullshit excuse, it bears mentioning that Bynes is an Aries. 2/2

Severity: 1/2. Try to remember that some retard posting idiotic tweets

Frequency: 2/2. Chronic offender. By now, the thing that comes to mind whenever anyone mentions Amanda Bynes  is not her dead-in-the-water acting career, but her crude, offensive, unintentionally hilarious and all-around insane Twitter account. Some other gems of hers include:

“I have no clue [why people say I’m insane]. Every time I’ve heard it, it came from an ugly person’s mouth, so I don’t care.”

“Rihanna you look so ugly tryin to be white.”

Yep, total Uncle Tom, right here.

“I’m 27 and don’t like when press talks to my parents. My parents are almost 70 years old. We are no longer on speaking terms. I would rather them be homeless than live off of my money.”

“I only have hot friends. They have my back until I die.”

“Everything is connected and connection is everything.”

“I want Drake to murder my vagina.”

I’ll post ugly pics of @Drake every time I see one! Not hard ;) ”

“Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.”

“Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!”

Hey @Barack Obama… I don’t drink. Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don’t hit and run. The end.” 

“I have no clue [why people say I’m insane]. Every time I’ve heard it, it came from an ugly person’s mouth, so I don’t care.”

To “American Pie” star Jason Biggs: “You’re so ugly I won’t talk to you.”

Adam Sandler-ish? Maybe. Ugly? Fuck no.

And my personal favourite:

Chrissy Teigen, you’re not a pretty model compared to me,I signed to Ford models at age 13. I don’t looks up to you beauty wise. I’m far prettier than you! I’m offended that you’re saying I have a mental illness when I show no sign of it. But thankfully not one man that wants me wants you and you are an old ugly model compared to me!”

For those who don’t know, this is Chrissy Teigen.

“Look! Look at this ugly piece of shit!”

And this is Amanda Bynes:

“I’m very aroused.”

Circumstances: 2/2. Let’s see…. No one but her accesses her Twitter account, which means that she intentionally posted it.

ODR: 7/8 (Major Douchebag)

Sure, she’s just a has-been celebrity and who gives a shit, but that doesn’t make her any less douchey or her comment any more douchey and ignorant.

I try to be nice to our next douchebag, but they’ve finally crossed the line. Presenting…

ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE

Douche-Crime: Previously just a magazine with terrible music coverage and a socially liberal political slant (And yet, they back Obama), Rolling Stone decided to run a story about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber. This would have been okay if they didn’t depict him as some sort of indie pop star. 2/2

Severity: 2/2. Truth be told, I do think the story needed to be run. From that I’ve heard on the Philip DeFranco Show, it’s a pretty informative, well written article.

But for God’s sake, did they have to run this picture? It’s bad enough that some freaky teenage girls are starting to turn him into a teen idol.

#FreeJahar: When Conspiracy Theorists and One Direction Fans Collide

I can’t think of a joke here, this is fucking horrifying.

Couldn’t they have picked a different cover? Something that’s edgy, but not overly offensive? How about a photo of a rescue mission, or of the EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY HE MURDERED.

Henry Rollins did a spoken word piece on how death and violence are being “sexed-up” by the media. (Army ads, video games) I’m not here to tell everyone to not play Call of Duty, because it’s fun as hell, but they’re still glorifying violence any way you spin it. That magazine cover doesn’t make Tsarnaev look like the terrorist that he is, but a cute, tortured artist. That is not good. Those idiot teenagers I mentioned will not look at that cover and think “How could a regular, American kid be so horribly twisted.” They’re more likely to think “I hope he escapes custody, I wanna bang him.”

Frequency: 0.5/2. One-time thing, but they haven’t been good enough to apologize.

Circumstance: 1/2. It WAS their fault  that the cover was run, but I get what they’re trying to say with it: “How could such a sweet, peaceful American kid turn out to be such a monster?” They probably could’ve picked a better picture to convey that image, though.

ODR: 5.5/8 (Douchebag)

I think the story needed to be told, but I think Rolling Stone had the chance to present their message better and blew it badly. I just hope the “Free Jahar” people grow the fuck up before they do something horrible.

And, speaking of fucked up cults nobody likes… Our forth douchebag of the day!!!

NORTH KOREA

Douche-Crime: Transporting missiles across the Panama Canal and trying to riot when Panamanian authorities boarded the ship. Missiles are bad, m’kay? 2/2

Severity: 0.5/2. Sure, missiles aren’t always a laughing matter, but they are in the hands of a country that think that a twenty-something fat man is the reincarnation of the sun go or whatever the fuck they’re telling them now.

Frequency: 2/2. Kim Jong-Un is always trying to test his might against the powers that be, even though it really is hard to be intimidated by someone who looks Chaz Bono with allergies.

Circumstances: I dunno, Kim’s just an asshole. 2/2

ODR: 6.5/8 (Definite douchebags)

Cheers!

@ The All-Star Break! (American League)

So, what have we learned during the All-Star Break?

  1. The Home Run Derby is still tons of fun.
  2. Yoennis Cespedes rules.
  3. Wherever there is a ballplayer living in the United States who speaks poor English and needs a translator, lowlife rednecks will call him out for “ruining Americas pastime”.

Seen Here: America’s pastime.

4. Prince Fielder is capable of hitting triples. However, in doing so, the resulting tremors usually result in the complete destruction of a small Asian country. Nice knowing you, Singapore.

God forbid he slide.

5. Mariano Rivera is awesome and his last All-Star Game was quite heartwarming. However, if he pulls an un-retirement (Andy Petitte style) let’s all agree not to do that again, okay?

However, the All-Star Break is also a fantastic moment to take stock of the season do far. It’s not the halfway point that everyone keeps calling it for some reason, but who’s got time to calculate half of 162?

“Fuck math! From now on, dealing crack is the life for me!”

So, here are the current standings and my predictions for the major award winners and division/league/World Series champions.

AL EAST

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1.  Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. New York Yankees
  5. Boston Red Sox

Current Standings:

  1. Boston Red Sox (58-39)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (53-43)
  4. New York Yankees (51-44)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49)

Well, this division is stacked.

Biggest Surprise: That would be the Red Sox who, in the wake of the tragic Boston Bombings, have been exceptionally good even after injuries to Clay Bucholz and Joel Hanrahan, putting together a great (Likeable!) team. While it’s kinda tough to determine what exactly made this team click, I’m pretty sure it was getting Alfredo Aceves to fuck right on off to AAA that relaxed the mood.

And to think it took the Canadian national team to kick his ass before…

Biggest Disappointment: Well fuck, I don’t really need to say it, do I?

Alright, fine. The biggest disappointments are my beloved Toronto Blue Jays. As it turns out, assembling a whole shitload of talent and throwing them onto a baseball field isn’t always the way to go.

On the positive side, we didn’t take the Marlins logo along with Emilio Bonifacio.

MVP: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

I will probably get brutalized for not picking Chris Davis (Or not, considering how much people read my blog) and for picking a Red Sox when I am a Certifies Red Sox Nation Hater, but goddammit, I LIKE Dustin Pedroia! A .316 Batting Average and excellent fielding don’t hurt, either.

Cy Young: Clay Bucholz, Red Sox

Even with his recent DL stint, Bucholz was leaps and bounds over any other AL East pitcher in the first half.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

After a (Very) unimpressive cup of coffee in 2012, Iglesias got himself a starting job this year, with both Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew on the DL, and has run with it so far, hitting .367 in 180 At-Bats while playing excellent defense.

My All-Star Break Prediction:

  1. Boston Red Sox (98-64)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (95-67, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (93-69, Wild Card)
  4. New York Yankees (81-81)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (79-83)

AL CENTRAL

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Kansas City Royals
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Minnesota Twins

Current Standings:

  1. Detroit Tigers (52-42)
  2. Cleveland Indians (51-44)
  3. Kansas City Royals (43-49)
  4. Minnesota Twins (39-53)
  5. Chicago White Sox (37-55)

Biggest Surprise: Cleveland Indians

The Indians have beat the odds by proving that you can stay over .500 despite having an aged, 250 pound Jason Giambi on your team.

Biggest Disappointment:

Fuck, I dunno. The White Sox, I guess? Truth be told, I just really wanna get to the AL West.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Well duh.

Cy Young: Max Scherzer

I don’t take too much stock in wins and losses, mainly because they’re bullshit, but thirteen straight wins is nothing to thumb your nose at.

Rookie of the Year: David Lough

Who? David Lough? Really? Fuck it, okay, let’s roll with it.

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
  2. Cleveland Indians (87-75)
  3. Kansas City Royals (69-93)
  4. Minnesota Twins (69-93)
  5. Chicago White Sox (61-101)

Lessons Learned: 1. The Detroit Tigers don’t have to do too much to win this division and 2. The White Sox suck pretty bad.

AL WEST

My Pre-Season Predictions:

  1. Los Angeles Angels
  2. Oakland Athletics
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Houston Astros

Current Standings:

  1. Oakland Athletics (56-39)
  2. Texas Rangers (54-41, Wild Card)
  3. Los Angeles Angels (44-49)
  4. Seattle Mariners (43-52)
  5. Houston Astros (33-61)

Biggest Surprise: N/A

There haven’t been many positive surprises in this division. The A’s and Rangers have been as good as expected, and the Mariners and Astros have both been bad and terrible, respectively.

Biggest Dissapointment: Los Angeles Angels

It just wasn’t a very good offseason to spend big, huh?

MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

He probably should have won MVP last year, but Superfish (A nickname that I really want to have catch on) hasn’t ;et his lack of a trophy slow him down. He may be the best all-around player in the game at the age of 22.

Cy Young: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners

His fellow countryman Yu Darvish gets most of the credit (And he is really, really good) so it’s easy to forget that Iwakuma has been just as or almost as good in his Big League Career. It was almost a tie, but I went with Iwakuma for the reason that he has played more games than Darvish.

Rookie of the Year: Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

With all due respect to Nick Franklin… I think the AL West might have blown their prospect wad last year with Trout and Cespedes.

Damn you, Superfish, you ruin everything!!!

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Oakland Athletics (99-63)
  2. Texas Rangers (91-71)
  3. Seattle Mariners (77-85)
  4. Los Angeles Angels (73-89)
  5. Houston Astros (53-109)

Yeah, I’m feeling the A’s. The Angels, not so much.

AL AWARDS

Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Red Sox

I hate this motherfucker. He openly stabbed the Jays in the back and half-assed it in 2012 after not getting his dream job that year instead of when his contract was up. Not that he did a great job managing the team anyways, but still.

That said, raise your hand if you thought the Sox would be a great team this year.

No you didn’t, you fucking liar.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, Tigers

I may reconsider if Clay Bucholz stays excellent when he comes back from his injury.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Mike Trout may have deserved it last year, but this year, it’s all Miggy.

Tune back in soon for the National League and my playoff picks.

The Scale of Douchiness-Inaugural Edition

So, on Monday, I decided to jump on the Game of Thrones  bandwagon. Like many others, I’m sure, it has come to my attention, three episodes in,  that many of the characters on this show are insufferable douchebags.

And there simply aren’t enough midgets in this show to keep them in check.

So, it got me thinking, what if I took a little break from my ongoing “Baseball people who suck” series did a blog post where I compared the characters’ varying degrees of douchyness and came out with the show’s overall “Douchyness Standing”. I then decided against it, considering that it is four in the fucking morning, and I don’t want to commit too much time to this, as I have several columns that I may be way behind schedule on completing, like the aforementioned baseball series, a mid-season MLB prediction, another musician biography, and a couple movie reviews. Oh, the tense, never-relaxing life of a sixteen year old on vacation.

“Why have I been forsaken with this endless, endless free time??!!”

So, I decided to add another feature to my ever-growing cornucopia of knowledge. I call it “The Scale of Douchiness”. In it, I take a character, be it real or fictional, and evaluate their “Douchiness Quotient” (Patent Pending) on a scale of 1 to 8. The criteria is as follows:

– Severity of douche-crime(s). (Douche-Crime is defined as pretty much any action deemed unacceptable by reasonable people). It can range from obvious but minor douche-crimes (Popping collars, spray tans, getting smashed) to blatant and major douche-crimes (Murdering villagers, enjoying the “music” of Avril Lavigne, walking your child on a leash).

– Frequency of douche-crimes. Is it a one-time thing (Drunk-driving) or is it a serial incident (BrokenCyde)?

Here. Now you can hate them with me.

-Circumstances of douche-crime. Did the situation call for a douche-crime (self-defense killing)? Was it done for survival reasons or to benefit his/her family (Say, poor guy selling pot to get his daughters a better shot at education)?

So, anyway, here’s a sample one:

SUBJECT: KENNY S. ROLLINS

This is who came up when I searched my actual name. For the record, I’m a sixteen year old boy. But whatever, we’ll roll with it.

Douche-Crime: Dropping acid at the mall and cross checking old ladies and toddlers into shop windows before running through a playground fountain and declaring that “he is the lizard queen.”

Picture this, except with a brown teenager running through, drop-kicking anything that moves and screaming mostly incorrect Jimi Hendrix lyrics.

Douche Points Awarded: 2/2

Severity Douche Points Awarded: 1.5/2. Would’ve been a one if not for all the children (And adults) who were in need of counselling afterwords.

Frequency: 1/2. He is unlikely to repeat the crime, considering that he now mainly speaks in tongues and lines from Soul Plane, for some reason.

Circumstances: 1.5/2. Would have been 2 had it not been for the fact that the entire purpose of being a teenager is to act like an idiot.

Right, Joffrey?

Overall Douche Rating: 6/8.

Pretty ingenious right? I sure think so.

Anyways, stay tuned for more posts. Also, no Game of Thrones spoilers or I swear to God, I will to unspeakable things to you.