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Black Adam is Coming December 2021

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson teased the release of his film Black Adam. The teaser is drawn by Jim Lee and BossLogic with the date of December 22, 2021. Lee’s image has the character looking much more like Johnson than his regular comic depiction. The film has been in production, with Johnson attached for years and pre-dated Shazam.

Black Adam is a nemesis of Shazam whose film was a moderate hit for DC Comics and Warner Bros. A sequel is being worked on for that movie.

In the post, Johnson said:

The Man in Black ⚡️
Like most kids growing up, I dreamed about being a superhero. Having cool superpowers, fighting for what’s right and always protecting the people.
It all changed for me, when I was 10yrs old and was first introduced to the greatest superhero of all time – SUPERMAN.
As a kid, Superman was the hero I always wanted to be.
But, a few years into my fantasy, I realized that Superman was the hero, I could never be.
I was too rebellious. Too rambunctious. Too resistant to convention and authority.
Despite my troubles, I was still a good kid with a good heart – I just liked to do things my way.
Now, years later as a man, with the same DNA I had as a kid – my superhero dreams have come true.
I’m honored to join the iconic #DCUniverse and it’s a true pleasure to become, BLACK ADAM.
BLACK ADAM is blessed by magic with the powers equal to SUPERMAN, but the difference is he doesn’t toe the mark or walk the line.
He’s a rebellious, one of a kind superhero, who’ll always do what’s right for the people – but he does it his way.
Truth and justice – the BLACK ADAM way.
This role is unlike any other I’ve ever played in my career and I’m grateful to the bone we’ll all go on this journey together.
BLACK ADAM
12.22.21 ⚡️

It’s an almost given that Shazam and Black Adam will meet in a future film after Johnson’s debut film.

HBO Max Gets Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, DC Superhero High, Doom Patrol, and More

DC logo

HBO Max got a massive amount of information dumped today with reveals of what subscribers can expect.

The digital service is showing some love for fans of DC Comics with multiple shows. DC and HBO have the same parent company.

DC films of the last decade will be available within the first year of launch as well as every Superman and Batman movie from the last 40 years. Joker will debut on the service in 2020 as well.

But, it’s not just about movies, it’s television shows as well.

Greg Berlanti is developing a pair of shows for the service. Strange Adventures will be a DC superhero anthology that features DC characters from across their history. A series that focuses on the world of Green Lantern is also being worked on but details are scarce.

Also announced is a teen comedy, DC Superhero High from Elizabeth Banks. The series concept sounds a bit like the popular young reader comic series DC Super Hero Girls.

Finally, HBO Max will compete a bit with the DC Universe app as Doom Patrol will debut on the platform.

HBO Max will be available for $14.99 launching May 2020. It will be free for those with HBO and AT&T service and those with HBO Now will get HBO Max. Those who subscribe to HBO through a cable provider are currently in the dark.

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series – Limited Edition – Original vs Remastered Footage

The Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Limited Edition box set is now available everywhere!

Here’s a split-screen clip from the series featuring Bruce Wayne & Terry McGinnis fighting a relentless opponent. The clip is split – on the right side is the original footage, and on the left side is the fully-remastered footage that fans will find in the Blu-ray box set.

The extraordinary Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition package features approximately 1,500 minutes of entertainment spread over four Blu-ray™ discs, plus the two bonus discs of enhanced content. In addition to a newly-remastered Blu-ray presentation of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, there are 15 featurettes on the bonus discs, highlighted by two new inside looks at the beloved television series, led by Nostalgic Tomorrow, a gathering of Batman Beyond production talent and cast led by executive producer Bruce Timm and actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle, the voices of Batman and Terry McGinnis, respectively. The bonus discs also spotlight four episodes with audio commentary from Timm and select members of the production team.

Collectibles within the stunning packaging include an exclusive chrome Batman Beyond Funko POP, and four beautifully-designed lenticular art cards produced especially for Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition. This ultimate collectors Blu-ray box set will be individually numbered for a Limited Edition release of 50,000.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Batman Beyond premiered on January 10, 1999 to instant ratings and critical success. The series would run for three seasons, covering 52 total episodes and a full-length animated film, Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker. Nominated for nine Emmy Awards, Batman Beyond would ultimately take home two Emmys – including Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2001 – as well as three Annie Awards.

Batman Beyond

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Clip – Wonder Woman Battles Silver Swan

Check out an action-packed clip from Wonder Woman: Bloodlines that features Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson) battling Silver Swan (voiced by Marie Avgeropoulos of The 100 fame) on a rooftop and in mid-air.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies, is available everywhere TODAY (Tuesday, October 22) on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is accompanied by the DC Showcase animated short “Death,” inspired by Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Clip – Silver Swan’s Creation

Check out an all-new clip from Wonder Woman: Bloodlines featuring Marie Avgeropoulos as the voice of Silver Swan, and the creation of the character.

Avgeropoulos currently portrays Octavia Blake in The CW’s popular series The 100, and is slated to star opposite Nicholas Cage in the upcoming Jiu Jitsu, and alongside Cary Elwes, Susan Sarandon, Diane Kruger, Brad Dourif & Nick Offerman in “Butterfly in the Typewriter.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies, is now available on Digital, and arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on Tuesday, October 22, 2019.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Wonder Woman: Bloodlines is accompanied by the DC Showcase animated short “Death,” inspired by Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

Zoë Kravitz Will Play Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, in The Batman

Catwoman

Rumors have swirled as to who will be seen in The Batman, the next iteration of the popular comic character. It has been revealed that Zoë Kravitz will slide into the role of Selina Kyle, Catwoman in the film. She’ll star opposite Robert Pattinson who will don the cape as Bruce Wayne, Batman.

Kyle/Catwoman has morphed into an antiheroine and sometime love interest for Wayne/Batman. A recent storyline had the two about to be married which didn’t go ahead.

Numerous other actors were rumored for the role including Zazie Beetz, Eiza Gonzalez, and Alicia Vikander.

Production on the film is slated to begin filming in late 2019 or early 2020. The Batman is scheduled to be released on June 25, 2021.

Kravitz is the latest in a long line of defining women to take on the role of Catowman. Actresses to take on the character include Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lee Meriweather, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Camren Bicondova and many more. The character has appeared in comics, television, movies, video games, animation, and radio.

Catwoman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and debuted in Batman #1 published in 1940.

Director Matt Reeves tweeted out the below in response to the news:

Around the Tubes

Powers of X #6

It’s a new week and we’re getting prepared for Baltimore Comic Con. Who’s going? Sound off below! While you get the week started, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

CBLDF – The 11 Top Comics in Classrooms (& Free Resources for Each) – This is a pretty great collection of resources.

ComicBook – James Gunn Says WB Offered Him “Basically Whatever” He Wanted – As they should.

Reviews

ICv2 – Cats of the Louvre
Seatle Pi –
Grass
Geek Dad –
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1
Talking Comics –
Powers of X #6
The Guardian –
Rusty Brown
ICv2 –
The Seventh Voyage

Movie Review: Joker

Joker

Send in the clowns…

So honestly I did not know what to expect when I purchased my Joker ticket. I had heard that it was great and earth-shattering. I had also heard it was pretty terrible. So you see why I had to go see it for myself, right?

The first thing that made me nervous was pulling up to the theater and seeing parked police cars. And when you think of why they had to be there, it made the whole experience even more surreal. My safety, as well as other moviegoers, were at risk. Because not everyone going to this movie would be sound of mind. And when you think about the public shootings…well… you can appreciate my growing concern.

Did I find this movie to be amazing? A masterpiece? No. Joaquin Phoenix did an AMAZING job in portraying arguably the most iconic comic book villain ever. Soooo creepy with those glassy, intense eyes set underneath those dark eyebrows, and he was so painfully skinny. His ribcage was a sight. He clearly lost weight for the role and it showed! Now, there were times when you sympathized with him. Clearly suffering from mental illness, and bullied by an unforgiving world, would certainly mess you up. That is not in question. It is what he does later on that doesn’t quite have you cheering him on. Deep down, you were glad he, I dunno, found himself?

I can’t and won’t pretend to know what if feels like to have one’s mind brimming and seething like a cauldron of negative thoughts. I can’t. And won’t allow myself to sink that low when it would be so easy to reach the bottom as Joker did. He had a mind of eels, a basket of drowned kittens. And all of what I said would have made him laugh. And can we talk about his laugh? Maybe we shouldn’t. I would hate to have nightmares….

He disturbed me. I would flinch and gasp with each outburst, as they increasingly grew more and more violent. The children’s hospital scene made me gasp then laugh then I had to cover my mouth. I wanted to hug him, but then he would have slit my throat… so no. He NEEDED to be institutionalized.

I felt uneasy whenever he had to interact with people but especially the black women in this movie. Example such as his social worker and the effervescent Sophie Dumond played by Zazie Beetz. I didn’t want the love story to blossom. I didn’t want her to even look at him and catch his crazy eye. But every good story needs conflict, right? Especially when you already know the horrible ending… I just wasn’t here for this poor unfortunate black women dealing with the white tears of a clown.

There’s a scene, in particular, that gave me chills. The Joker is standing on the curb and a car drives by with a man wearing a clown mask. They make eye contact. And Joker widens his eyes with the most disturbing smile on his face. I don’t know if I can look at Phoenix in the same way again.

Seeing Robert DeNiro was a treat. I loved him as the late night talk show host role as Murray Franklin. There’s something about the outro song that reminded me of SNL. It’s very jazzy and bluesy. And one of my other personal faves, Frances Conroy as Joker’s mom Penny, was a treat. She has such range as an actress. I’ve seen her as mortician’s widow, the angel of death, and now as the mother of the most insane criminal in the literary world. 

Anyway, I am not going to make this into a thinkpiece. As always, I wanted to share how I felt when seeing this. It was visceral, intense, and a proper origin story to one of my favorite characters. To borrow a phrase from a song:

“Everybody loves a winner so nobody loved me”

I can’t help but feel that is applicable to the sad, twisted, loveless tale of the Joker. He said life was a comedy. But most comedies are tragic. He needed help and no one cared enough to do so. He snapped while still smiling so hard his muscles ached and strained until his eyes watered. Still he smiled. This is not the tale of an underdog. This a tale of a man who laughed last.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Clip – Silver Swan Revealed

Check out an all-new clip from Wonder Woman: Bloodlines featuring Marie Avgeropoulos as the voice of Silver Swan, Wonder Woman’s on-the-ground (and air) adversary in the film.

Avgeropoulos currently portrays Octavia Blake in The CW’s popular series The 100, and is slated to star opposite Nicholas Cage in the upcoming Jiu Jitsu, and alongside Cary Elwes, Susan Sarandon, Diane Kruger, Brad Dourif & Nick Offerman in Butterfly in the Typewriter.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines will be available via Digital starting Saturday, October 5 and on 4k, Blu-ray and DVD starting October 22.

Movie Review: Joker

Joker poster

Joker is a schizophrenic film. I’m loathe to use that term because it’s both a bit too on the nose (because of mental health issues explored in the film) and the term schizophrenia is largely misunderstood. However, it’s the best description (literally “split head”) of what is a gripping and gritty but at the same time somehow both banal, disturbing and irresponsible film.

In that way it is very much like its protagonist and the comics character he is based on. But the film also tries to draw from such a deep well of other films (better films) that it’s really hard to fully recommend to people when they’re probably better off just going back to the original source material.

Let’s start with the good. Joker is trying to present a complex character of someone who has been largely marginalized by society and essentially indicts the system that led to his emergence as a supervillain. I get that, and I really respect it, but I also wish it had just been done better. It’s also hard to feel bad for someone who is at their core a sociopath as we see someone falling down into that rabbit hole through escalating acts of violence. Some of them are warranted but most of them not.

Joaquin Phoenix does a great job here in presenting the multiple different layers of this character. The physicality alone he brings here is astounding and part of what makes this film so visceral and so (intentionally) unpleasant. The film also makes him a great classic unreliable narrator, so you’re left wondering how much of the film is real and how much might be delusional. However, you have to ask yourself, how much sympathy do we really need to give to a psychopath? This film doesn’t offer any good conclusions to that question.

To the extent this film inspires conversations about mental health care and the systemic ways in which we fail people on the margins of society, that is a good thing. To the extent that it inspires us to discuss growing income inequality and the marginalization of the poor and the true class warfare — the 1% beating down the disadvantaged — then those are good conversations.

The problem is that the film will also inspire other conversations that will be far less nuanced and will take all of the wrong messages from this film. These messages will inspire violence, creating more heat than light. That is ultimately this film’s downfall is that it has no sense of responsibility for what it is unleashing into the culture.

WARNING: The following contains very minor SPOILERS. They are not major plot points but includes a single line of dialogue, a discussion of songs used in the film, and how Joker draws from other films. If you’re familiar with those films, knowing their plots may be considered “spoilers” for how this film lays out its plot. However, I maintain none of these will actually spoil your enjoyment of the film. If anything, hopefully, it inspires some critical conversations. BUT if you don’t want to know these, skip to the final 2 paragraphs. Ok, minor “spoilers”:

In this same way, Joker as a character tries to absolve himself of all responsibility for the effects his actions have on society, eg, that he has inspired others to engage in violence. He doesn’t see himself as the leader of any sort of movement, even going so far as to say “I’m not political.” That statement is the Rosetta Stone for understanding why this film is flawed. In its heart of hearts, it probably believes this.

Furthermore, this is likely writer and director Todd Phillips giving himself an out and abrogating any personal responsibility for how others might interpret his film– in essence re-enacting the final act of the film where Joker goes on tv and uses the power of the media to spread his gospel of violence and nihilism.

Joker doesn’t care whether he’s inspiring people in the streets or not. He’s not a savior or a leader. But angry, disaffected people will listen to his message and go out and commit atrocities.

So, no, you don’t get to just say, “This isn’t political.” That is the mantra of privilege because you know that the effects of what you are putting out there into the culture is never going to personally affect you.

This film is political in the same way all the best art is political. Its best pieces and moments indict entire systems and ways of thinking. It exposes the corruption and indifference of a society who turns its back on the people who most need help. So saying it’s not political is both a cop-out and completely negates all the positive you’ve created.

Needless to say, this very specific moment in October of 2019, this film feels wholly irresponsible to put into the cultural zeitgeist. I have never worried about widespread mass shootings happening at screenings of any other film, even given the crowds Star Wars and Avengers were always going to attract. But I really worry about this weekend. Todd Phillips would have been far better to simply crank out another tired Hangover sequel and give us all a few laughs, even if they weren’t politically correct ones.

Which brings us to Phillips saying he stopped making comedy because he’s tired of “woke” culture. Bad news, Todd, there’s plenty of woke takes on dramas and comic book movies as well. Joker deserves all of the woke takes it can get, and I’m especially interested in hearing from black female critics about the treatment of Zazie Beetz‘s character in the film. By the way, Beetz’s performance is astounding, and every bit as good and layered as Phoenix’s, even though she gets 1/15th the screen time and 1/20th of the lines and character development.

The treatments and marginalization of other women of color in this film is also a great topic for discussion. We also see 0 representation and therefore a complete erasure of Latinx and Asian characters of any kind.

And because one good woke take deserves another, much ado has also been made about the inclusion of a song by Gary Glitter in a scene later in the film where Joker is dancing on a stairway, which can be seen in the trailer.

In so many ways, the inclusion of Gary Glitter on the soundtrack is incredibly on-brand for the film. It represents either complete ignorance of the fact that Glitter has been a known pedophile for decades, or a complete apathy to that fact.

Perhaps this is an attempt to be knowingly edgy and push people’s buttons in an attempt to troll “cancel culture.” But most likely it is that Phillips is just totally indifferent.

The entire film reeks of a practiced indifference and air of privilege that, ironically, the subject of the film is trying to skewer. Joker falls all over itself in its subtext and talking about how it doesn’t care too much. It, therefore, can’t possibly have the edge and satire it needs to actually say something coherent about an indifferent society that steps over and marginalizes people who have been hurt by the system or forgotten. You literally can’t be both.

The film also begs, borrows and steals from so many other films it becomes tiresome. This is a bad bar band covering hits from the 70s, but instead of singing Journey and Fleetwood Mac, it’s a remake of Scorsese’s King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. Both of those films would fit in many critics’ and organizations’ top 25 list of the greatest films of all time. It’s doubtful Joker will even make it into my top 25 of this year.

You know how most of the Die Hard sequels weren’t actually originally written to be Die Hard? They were just action scripts floating around Hollywood and then someone said, “Take that script for WW3.com, and put John McClane in it. Now it’s Die Hard with a Vengeance.” This movie feels like someone’s script that tried to remake King of Comedy and then someone came along and said: “Let’s make this main character the Joker.”

The other film that gets most name-checked in Joker but has been perhaps the least discussed (the parallels to Scorsese were apparent from the trailers alone, so much so that it’s almost too easy a comparison) is the parallels to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. Joker uses both a scene from the film at a pivotal point in the movie, and also uses its signature song “Smile” as a sort of theme song– so much so that it’s in the trailer.

On the surface, there are some real similarities. Both films are about the marginalization of regular people due to growing inequality. Both films deal with mental health and police brutality as well as crackdowns on organizing/protest movements. The main difference is their endings.

In Modern Times, after 90 minutes of factory work, abuse, a mental breakdown, being arrested, beaten up by the police, losing more jobs, having their dreams taken away from them by the rich and powerful on a couple of different occasions, Chaplain and his gamin girlfriend literally walk into the sunset after saying they can’t give up and never should no matter how many times they’ve been beaten down. They still need to work hard and will eventually come out on top.

Joker conveys the exact opposite message of that, so it feels like such a disservice to such classic a film as Modern Times to so explicitly reference it. It feels more like if Todd Phillips were standing in a movie line talking about Modern Times and Joker, Woody Allen would pull Charlie Chaplin out from behind a sign to say “I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work.” (That’s an Annie Hall reference, folks, since we’re talking 1970’s movies. And yes I’m still talking about Woody Allen even though he’s #cancelled.)

Given the ersatz quality of the filmmaking here, would you rather hear the classics played by the crappy bar band, or just pull out your records and listen to the originals? Don’t go see Joker if you haven’t seen King of Comedy. Or Taxi Driver. Or Modern Times. Your time will be better spent on the originals and classics rather than these pale imitations.

END “SPOILERS”

All of this is to say that Joker is a complicated and often contradictory mess. But it isn’t wholly bad. The tragedy of it all is that there are moments of sheer brilliance. Despite all my problems with it, I hope the film does incredibly well at the box office to send the signal that DC can/should abandon–for now– the pretext of a shared universe and simply churn out character-driven individual films. And sometimes they can be R-rated and gritty and complex.

And sometimes they can be whatever it is they’re doing in that new Birds of Prey trailer, which is everywhere I want to be. And sometimes it can be James Gunn making a Suicide Squad movie. But my hope is that next time they try to swing for the fences like this with something like Joker, they’ll bring someone more talented than Todd Phillips on to make sure we don’t get a self-contradicting warmed-over-King of Comedy remake with the clown prince of crime somehow shoehorned in.

3 out of 5 stars

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