Come At Me, Bat-Fans

A while back I argued that Supergirl, specifically of the Arrow-verse show, is a better character than Superman. I also believe Green Arrow, specifically of the CW show, is superior to Batman. Here’s my reasoning.
1) Batman fights the mob. Oliver Queen is a member. He gets that organized crime is better than anarchy (although Anarchy is a fun character) or tyrannical supervillains rising to the top.
2) Batman fights the League of Assassins. In some incarnations he trained with them, and he had a love-child with their princess, but he’s broken off ties with them. Oliver Queen was briefly the League’s right-hand man, he married their second-born princess, their firstborn princess inspired him to be a superhero in the first place, his sister’s father was Ra’s al Ghul for a while, and he frequently teams up with them, but he also fights them sometimes. I’d say that second story is more interesting.
3) Batman fights the mob. The Starling City vigilante targets the corrupt businessmen and supervillains who control the mob. Batman is just fighting the symptom; Green Arrow goes for the heart of the problem.
4) Batman is a loner. Yes, he has a HUGE bat-family, but those are all technically sidekicks. Green Arrow began his journey alone, but one of the main points of his show is that he can’t do it alone. He’s spawned two spinoffs by inspiring other people to be superheroes. And I don’t think you can call Black Canary, Mr. Terrific, Arsenal, or the ever-brilliant Felicity Smoak his sidekicks.
5) Bruce Wayne is little more than a billionaire playboy philanthropist. Oliver Queen is a well-developed and interesting character. Yes, Bruce Wayne plays a critical role in keeping Batman from going over the edge, but he’s the mask. Batman is the real person. “Bruce Wayne lives in Batman’s attic”: one of the Lego Batman movie’s hilarious lines, but also an accurate description. Oliver Queen, on the other hand, is more real than his night-life persona.
6) Batman hides from most of the police. Green Arrow, at least recently, openly works with the police (unless they’re shooting at him due to some clever developments in the plot).
As we’ve established on this blog, a vigilante can be Christian-compatible if they work in line with the governing authorities. Batman doesn’t, not really. Green Arrow has learned to, much more than Batman.
I rest my case.

Who’s your favorite superhero and why? Let’s Connect!


The LEGO Batman Movie Review

I’m not sure if I’ve said this on the blog yet, but I like LEGOs. One quick look at my desk says that, as I have a wide array of characters and sets, all in the LEGO form. I even have a little LEGO me.

So, needless to say, I’m a little biased towards The LEGO Batman Movie.

I mean, Batman hasn’t been my favorite superhero; I’ve always been more interested in the villains. Still, this movie managed to do a great job with a character who normally has the personality of gravelly yogurt. (Shout-out to my sister for that description.)

In that regard, I liked how they managed to give Batman a personality. The movie did a good job of showing him to be a bit of a loner and a jerk, and it’s about him opening up to other people.

I don’t feel like there’s a lot to be said about The LEGO Batman Movie. It was a good movie, and I enjoyed it. It did feel like it was tailored more towards Batman fans than LEGO fans, but I was not disappointed.

So, how does it compare to other kids movies, then?

Well, looking at what’s on the plate for the rest of the year, this one looks like it’s the most intriguing, and probably the only one I’ll take time to watch. I mean, the annual competition is Smurfs 3, Cars 3, an adaptation of Captain Underpants, and a little waste of production money called Boss Baby, I think we may be seeing one of the better animated movies of this year.

It’s sad, but I’m calling it. Unless Cars 3, Coco (the second Disney/Pixar movie this year), and LEGO Ninjago (the other LEGO movie this year) turn out well, The LEGO Batman Movie may be the best animated movie of the year.

And, true to form for reviews of new movies…

Other Things I Liked: they maintained the fun-loving side of 2014’s The LEGO Movie; the action, despite being LEGO, is probably the best action I’ve seen in a Batman movie; the movie’s ruthless parody of the Batman franchise. Also, with the LEGO Ninjago movie coming out, does this mean LEGO’s doing their own cinematic universe?

Things I Didn’t Like: I didn’t really care that much for the Joker. Not because of the gay subtext that Noah picked up on, but because he felt a little too obsessive over Batman. In the other movies, he does what he does for other reasons: money, power, freedom, just causing chaos. In this one, pardon my anime-speak, but he’s doing what he does so, “Batman-senpai can notice me.” The parody was a little too strong here—a rare sentence coming out of my mouth.
Also, the “My name’s Richard Grayson, but my friends call me Dick” joke felt out of place and unnecessary. People who’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about; parents, you’ve been warned.


Let’s Connect:



The Frustrating Thing about Gay Romances

So this week’s post was going to be about the Lego Batman movie. It’s just as hilarious and heart-tugging as the first Lego movie. From a Christian standpoint, the main problem is the gay subtext.
Last Valentine’s season I wrote a post about gay romances. I determined that fictional gay couples aren’t as sinful as real world ones because the rules of these fictional universes are different. Of course, celebrating this sin through our fiction isn’t great either. I do have some problems with gay romances, and it just so happens I was inspired to write about them on Valentine’s Week.
I have two major frustrations with gay characters in fandoms. One: I’m a big fan of Captain Jack Harkness, flirtatious time agent of Doctor Who & Torchwood; Madame Vastra, man-eating, reptilian Sherlock Holmes of Doctor Who; and Cosima Neirhaus, Minnesotan super-nerd of Orphan Black. They all happen to be gay, which makes me feel like I shouldn’t like them as much on Christian principles. It’s annoying.
My other, bigger frustration: “coming out” counts as character development. And it’s often used as a character’s only development.
I saw another one of those seasonal lists of fandom couples. This one included Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. The girl in the video said something along the lines of “Harley Quinn’s character got better when she ‘evolved’ into a polygamous bisexual.” Yes, dating Poison Ivy is a little better than her abusive relationship with the Joker, but you’re basically saying this strong, independent female who don’t need no man does need a woman. How is that actually better?
See also the Arrow-verse Supergirl show. In Season 1, Kara Danvers’ sister Alex was sort of flirting with pseudo-Lex Luthor. In Season 2, that guy was replaced with Morgan Le Fay and Alex got a girlfriend. And that’s been her entire character arc this season. If a girl was defined almost entirely by their relationship with a boy, fans would see this as a problem. But when it’s girl-on-girl, it’s somehow okay?
There are two explanations. “Girl power” is extending to “lesbian power.” And even more, the fallen human masses want to celebrate LGBTs, because doing any less might be considered “homophobic.” It’s just going to keep happening, and that’s the really frustrating part.

Let’s Connect!

“Something Romantic”

So, a few posts back, I promised “something romantic.” The thing is, I don’t normally indulge in romantic entertainment.

It’s not surprising, really. I typically avoid it as best as I can, mainly because of my experiences with romantic stories. They’re all the same. Guy falls for girl, girl falls for guy, other guy gets in the way, other guy gets taken care of, guy and girl get married. (For perspective, that was a summary of one of my few favorite romances, Much Ado About Nothing.)

So, what do I not really like about romance? Well, the fact that I cited William Shakespeare’s play as one of the best romances, my issue is more against modern romances. Pride & Prejudice? Yes please. Twelfth Night? Not quite my style, but still pretty good.

The Notebook? Not my cup of tea.

Titanic? Doesn’t exactly float my boat.

You see, it dawned on me a while back that as our views on marriage changed over the past several decades, as did our romances. Romantic stories went from Pride & Prejudice’s “This is the tale of a man looking for a wife, someone to love for the rest of his life” to, say, The Notebook’s “This is the quest of a man trying to get into a woman’s pants as often as he can. He eventually marries her, because why not?”

Now, I’m not saying that all romantic movies in the past twenty years don’t end with marriage, and that is their downfall. Twilight ends in marriage, and it still sucks. And one of my favorite “romance” movies of the past twenty years, Safe Haven, doesn’t end in marriage either. So, it’s not a perfect rule.

I guess what I’m getting at is that romantic themes in fiction shouldn’t be about the story; they should be about the characters and how they interact. Which is why I prefer to see romance as a sub-plot rather than a main attraction.

I hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day!


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Geeking Out Over Geeking Out

Book lovers often say, “I envy you because you’re experiencing that book for the first time. I wish I could do that.” That didn’t make sense to me until recently because nostalgia and empathy don’t really compute for me, so neither did “nostalgia +empathy =secondhand nostalgia.”
I knew that reviews and reactions were a big part of the Internet, but they seemed pretty silly. Regular updates on the lives of random strangers (aka vlogging) is one thing, but watching the facial expressions of random strangers as they consume media? Come on. Then I discovered the exceptions. For every dozen boring reactors there are a handful of nerds that I enjoy watching. On YouTube, their comment sections turn into friendly communities.
One of my nerd passions is other nerds and geeks. I nerd out about watching a fellow nerd geek out about things. My brother doesn’t get my interest because he thinks I’m re-watching something I’ve already seen. He doesn’t get that that’s not what I’m paying attention to.
Now I get the concept of watching someone else enjoy a beloved book for the first time. When a reactor says “I ship it” or “I like this guy” or “Oh no, is such and such going to happen?” I smirk knowingly and wait for them to reach a certain point in the show. It’s fun.

Storytime: my brother and I were introduced to Doctor Who by a group of friends. One of them had reached “The Fires of Pompeii,” so that became our first episode. That’s actually a pretty good episode to start with. My brother and I were hooked, so we spent the next two years catching up just in time for the 50th Anniversary special.
Partway through, we introduced our cousin to the show. We showed him a few of our favorite episodes to get him started, and then we decided to show him the one we were on, like our friends had done. So thanks to us, the fifth episode our cousin watched was “Love and Monsters.”
So sometimes the “watch your friends watch things for the first time” thing doesn’t work out like you hoped. And like I said, most reactions are cheap, silly, and dull. But when it works, it works really well.

I’ve never introduced someone to faith in Jesus, but I imagine it would be a similar feeling.

Do you have stories of sharing a fandom or faith with someone? Let’s Connect!


Do Reboots Happen Too Soon?


Okay, an explanation is an order.

I’ve been working my way through the Netflix Original series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

[Enter Lemony Snicket]

Lemony: The word “Original,” here means “exclusive,” namely to the streaming service called Netflix, and is not indicative that the story idea was original. It is in fact, an adaptation of the tale of the Baudelaire children’s life, the regaling of which a solemn duty which I took upon myself many years ago. Three times, no less. There were the books, a Jim Carey movie, and now a Netflix series.

Isaac: Why do you sound like Kronk this time?

[Lemony realizes that Isaac can see him, and exits.]

Huh, weird.

This one struck me as a bit odd. I remember the Jim Carey version coming out within my lifetime, why are they rebooting it? I mean, usually a reboot usually happens after twenty years, especially if they recast it. The only other case I can think of where this happened was with Spider-Man, who is going on…what was it now…a new reboot every four to six years since Sam Rami?

I guess I shouldn’t be too angry. The Spider-Man movies were done to keep the rights and to show that they shifted. Series of Unfortunate Events is a more accurate adaptation of the books.

And in this case, it is a cross-medium transition. Unfortunate Events was a book series, then a movie, then a TV show. Spider-Man’s been rebooted more times than I care to count, across basically every medium. (For crying out loud, he got a musical.)

The point is, they happen too soon, but there is usually a reason. And in the examples I can think of, they are done to correct the mistakes of the past and spread the stories out for people of different tastes.

So, I guess there isn’t much to say on this topic.

Until next week, then.


Let’s Connect:



On YouTubers & Non-fiction Fandom

In my Christian Nerd Advice column about contentment, I mentioned that being a fan of fiction makes it easier to handle fallible real-world humans being fallible humans. Considering I’m terrified of going on social media right now because of what’s going on in the real world, this seems relevant.
Real-world people seem kind of off-brand for us. Although I do think sports count as fandoms, I’m not a sports fan. And I only wrote about Vi Hart that one time because a) she’s a brilliant and entertaining fellow nerd and b) I was running out of ideas at the time and needed to turn something in for my social media class.
I hesitate to write about YouTubers other than Vi Hart, even though there are various examples of fandom communities on YouTube. Tumblr has plenty of evidence for the case that many YouTubers are fandom icons.
Still, some YouTube fan communities I wouldn’t even call fandoms. The fans of the Vlogbrothers are called Nerdfighters, and they’re a community that does stuff together in ways that make them different from other fandoms in some indescribable way.
Similarly, Charlie “issocoollike” McDonnell started a minor Internet phenomenon by being honest about his inconsistent uploading habits and the fears and anxieties behind them. People like him for his honesty. But in an effort to be genuine, he is careful not to give his fans a pet name – you know, like Whovians, Browncoats, or Beardlovers.
Charlie routinely makes videos about science, and he’s firmly rooted in secular, atheistic science. As a result, even if I enjoy watching him explain his thought processes, I ultimately disagree with a lot of his philosophy and advice. It makes me sad more than anything. He’s said that he fears death because he believes his fate will be nothingness. If I’m right, it will actually be much worse, and that’s a shame.
Faith makes being a fan of real people difficult sometimes. Just another reason to prefer fictional characters.
Nevertheless, I think I might start writing blog posts about real-world people more often. No sports. Definitely no politics. But if it’s something I nerd out about, I’d say it counts.

Let’s Connect!