Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Archive for the tag “Batman”

Julie Gives Unpopular Opinion on Suicide Squad

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. AND IT’S SNOWING, IT’S LIKE I’M IN A COMMERCIAL IF TJ’S WAS BASE ENOUGH TO MAKE COMMERCIALS.

By Julie

So I saw the much-hated SUICIDE SQUAD yesterday. (Reel Film Reviews called it “rather aggressively unwatchable,” for instance.) I was skeptical for the following reasons, none of which had to do with reviews:

  1. I’m a die-hard fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker. you-complete-me-joker
  2. And I’ve just never liked Jared Leto. Add to that the unavoidable media frenzy of what a creep he became to stay in character, like sending used condoms to his cast mates, and it was unpromising.
  3. The portrayal of Harley Quinn had me angry before I ever saw the movie.
  4. I’d seen THE KILLING JOKE, (one of three women in the four women in the theater, myself and my friend being half of them, and with good reason), which I’d been looking forward to, and was sorely disappointed.
  5. I’m a Marvel girl at heart, though I adore Batman.
  6. I just can’t Affleck in general, and held a grudge about him being Batman when Bale is so perfect, and I hate Superman. The trickle down of annoyance followed after BATMAN V. SUPERMAN (which I actually liked after seeing it, despite its downfalls), had me not so thrilled for related movies.
  7. I heard Enchantress wasn’t given enough of a role and I really like the idea of that character, but like I find in most DC material, they never fully realizes her potential. (Insert here another time I’ve proclaimed with red face, “AND THAT’S WHY I SHOULD WRITE THIS CHARACTER, GODDAMMIT.”)

HERE’S WHAT I THOUGHT NOW, A BUNCH OF OPINIONS JUST BELCHED OUT AT YOU.

OKAY. So I saw it and (like with BATMAN V. SUPERMAN) was extremely pleased and surprised by the awesome character intro. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller gave these characters all the background they deserved and in a really uniquely villainous, misguided  way that had me hooked. I really loved how varied all their stories were. And like B V. S, I was later annoyed by how much the story fell apart, how half-assed the character development was WHEN IT WAS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEIR STUPID FACES TO DO, and was left saying, “Well, I probably have to see it again? Or something?”

THE VIOLATION OF THE JOKER: Just like happened with the Affleck Batman, I was made to think differently about the character, and I LIKED IT. I’m a goddamn hard sell on my beloved comic characters being CHANGED UNDER MY FRIGGING NOSE. You know, Leto did something amazing–he made me remember that Joker is a goddamn VILLAIN. Heath Ledger was brilliant, unquestionably. But I loved him. I loved him. I understood him a bit (don’t arrest me), and he was intelligent and so sane about his insanity. About his reasons for not having reasons. And Christ, he was funny. And hot in a creep way. (You determine who the creep is here.)

From Leto’s first moment on screen, I was revolted. HE was revolting. His look, the way he spoke about Harley, the way he treated her in that first scene was just maddeningly gross and demoralizing and everything that could ever be wrong in a relationship, if you could even call it that and not slavery. And then. AND THEN. We see his joy and pride in claiming, “I’m not going to kill you, I’m gonna hurt you, real bad,” when he captures her in Arkham, and then she belongs to him. It gave me flashbacks of THE KILLING JOKE, but way, way worse. I went from revolted to a sort of hysterical nausea with violent undertones of terror. And he just goes on and on to abuse her worse and worse, and she loves him for it. And in spite of him being on screen so little, goddamn did he command a presence that left a shadow throughout every scene of the movie. Congratulations, Leto. I despise you and respect you.

And Harley Quinn. I have so many feelings about Harley Quinn in general. She has a cool factor, most certainly, in the comics, in the merchandise…

And because this is my goddamn blog, I get to go on a short tangent. The DC Superhero Girls toys? Great idea. Good step forward to superheroes being just ONE FUCKING AISLE IN A STORE. NOT BOYS’ SUPERHEROES AND GIRLS’ SUPERHEROES. AISLE THREE, FUCKING SUPERHEROES, THAT’S WHAT THE SIGN SHOULD SAY. And then Lego gets involved, and gives Harley THE POWER OF DATING! the-power-of-dating

Great start, DC. Kill me. Not to mention that Harley Quinn is a sorta tough sell to me on a child’s character. Because no.

Back to the movie. Harley was portrayed as–well, you’ve seen it. Daddy’s Little Monster, in her booty shorts and uber-high heels and pigtails, which is neither here nor there–she can wear whatever the hell she wants. What gets me is the little girl voice and the pandering to her sexuality from the first frame. She’s a psychiatrist. Why is she talking in this annoying frigging voice, sounding like a teenager trying to sound stupider than she is to get the attention–

Oh. Oh, okay. I get it. It’s an act, to a degree. And there is a scene where she puts it on, clearly, and the rest of the squad sees it a bit, and we get a glimpse of her sadness at who she is. There’s a scene where she psychoanalyzes Deadshot as well, through the rose-tinted glasses of her “love,” and we get a glimpse of the perfectly sane Harley underneath. She’s been reduced to this little girl image by the Joker that seems like it starts with the electro-shock that made her generically crazy, but it’s his subsequent treatment of her that makes it come to fruition. So HARLEY I have no problem with in this movie. I think Robbie did a great job with her. It’s, as usual, DC’s treatment of women (see also: Batgirl, for instance, and yes, Lois Lane who everyone seems to love but me), that ruins Harley Quinn. Granted, comics in general sexualize women, but Harley is sort of the pinnacle of it.

And yeah, there’s a disgustingly vivid misogynistic overtone to–basically everything DC. We could talk all day. I mean, even Batman has his moment with Harley, like a true dirtbag, and I don’t like that one bit. Not at all. But as far as Joker and Harley, we’re supposed to detest their relationship. It’s not supposed to be adorably crazy. It’s not supposed to be remotely healthy, or have a bright side. We’re supposed to be disgusted beyond words, and I like to think that the movie was made with this in mind, not ignorantly. Of course, I could be wrong. Though I’m never wrong, you just have a different version of right.

But ENCHANTRESS. Whoa, Nellie, was she kickass. I loved everything about her–Cara Delavigne was great as June Moone, very likeable even from the few scenes we have of her, not as Enchantress. I mean, I want a whole Enchantress movie. I want the novelization. I want the comic series. I want the toys and the artwork. Superb.

367d433500000578-3702679-magical_incantation_cara_delevingne_transformed_into_her_enchant-m-1_1469174747131

 

But, like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, it started out with amazing potential, had me bought in right away, and then the conflict just crumpled. I don’t believe much of it. I don’t believe the world is in danger and that a guy who can shoot and a woman with a bat can fix it. I don’t believe Harley would make the move “for her friends” that she did at the end when her (hurk) “relationship” with the Joker could be restored instead. And I don’t buy that Deadshot would choose Harley’s life over his child’s future. It starts amazingly, then just sorta falls apart in its complexity, just like Affleck vs. Cavill, which I clearly also need to blog about because I have all the opinions.

 

 

Julie Screeches For Goddamn Antiheroines

TODAY’S BREW: The Blood of Thine Enemy

By Julie

I ranted the other day about antiheroes and the total lack of love for the antiheroine in literature. Here you go: http://t.co/gyBhBbte1Z

WELL, I’M NOT DONE YET.

The constant issue of creating the “strong” female character is mindblowing. Never do you hear the phrase “strong male character.” Yet we have to get out the goddamn test tubes and mustache potions to make a female character that doesn’t radiate LOSER. Then we’re left with these tough broads that can kick anyone’s ass with their pinky finger, have this poorly placed sarcastic mouth, and have been hurt by some man but still considers themselves “one of the guys.”

I find this fucking tiresome. Women trying too hard not to be girly girls. This is weakness in my eyes. Any character that feels forced into a role is weak. I’d take an actually weak female character any day over this. One of the arguably weakest female characters I’ve ever read, and yet she seemed pretty genuine.

Speaking of genuine, we get to the matter at hand; the antiheroine. A female character that doesn’t have the conventional attitude of a heroine. This is a character that to me, is a product of their experiences and environment, is hardened, has flaws that aren’t “cute,” and isn’t beloved by all.

But she’s realistic. She’s interesting. She’s unique and strong in her own way, and has contradictory weaknesses. She doesn’t seek to impress. She’s not the girl you’d usually root for, but she’s got something that you identify with, that you say, “yeah, that could be me if I went through that, too.” But you don’t love her like you’d love your best friend or sister. She’s not that kind of lady.

The antihero is generally uber cool. Wolverine. Tyler Durden. Batman. Lestat. Snape. They’re off-putting, abrasive at times, cold, full of themselves. And we love them.

Now give those characteristics to a female character, and it’s a lot tougher to think of them. Now think of the antiheroine in a book, and it’s even harder.

This pisses me off. As a woman who loves an antihero far more than a typical hero, I’m also more inclined to love an antiheroine, someone who doesn’t fit into the goody-goody box, a helluva lot more. I want a heroine I maybe don’t entirely trust, but when she’s invested in me she’d give her life for mine. One who has a set of values that she won’t back down from, no matter who sees them as wrong. One who’s been hurt, dove into the metaphorical volcano, and come out on the other side with some scars, internal or not.

This kind of character takes balls to write, and once written is often seen as “unlikeable,” therefore not one likely to grace bookshelves. Because even if your girl has fought the devil himself, the Wang-centric world wants to see her still be understanding, compassionate and vulnerable.

I dare to say this isn’t always the fucking case. I want to see the battle wounds.

It seems as though we’ve also been pigeonholed into this idea that for a woman to be relatable she has to be one or several of these things:

  • Awkward
  • Overweight
  • In love with the wrong guy as a personality trait
  • Not as pretty as her friend/sister/other girl
  • Mousy

Screw that. I’m not saying that I don’t identify with any of these traits, but they’re all flaws that are non-intrusive. Male antiheroes can be as toe-stepping as they want to be. Crass language, outright rude, joyless. If you give any of that to a woman she’s just a bitch. Put a beer in the hand of a snarling character and you get two very different images if you picture a man or a woman.

Fuck that, too.

On the other post I did I searched antihero and antiheroine images. I’ll shorten that here but you gotta see this. This is the first antihero image you get:

antiheroes

Antiheroine? Here you go:

antiheroine 0x50

As a woman, I think YES. FINALLY A WOMAN I CAN SEE AS A COOL, SELF-POSSESSED SURVIVOR WITH AN EDGE—

Oh, wait. NO, I DIDN’T.

What the fuck?? Compare those two images. So, in order for a woman to be a viable antiheroine she has to be duller than hell and not feminine? How about women with some brutality to them and unapologetic sexuality? How about THAT. Like this:

o-AMERICAN-HORROR-STORY-COVEN-facebook

And dare I say THIS:

angelina_jolie_maleficent-wide

And a whole lot of this:

1406644178_kill-bill-vol-1-uma-thurman-263939_1400_910

WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF, THAT THESE KINDS OF CHARACTERS AREN’T AS WIDELY SEEN AS THE TYPICAL HEROINE?? Who do we think we’re fooling that readers wouldn’t identify with women that are damaged, unafraid to get dirty, unstable at times, outright cruel at others, but with deep-seeded reasons and rock solid cores that they stick to? Is it easier for the average woman to identify with the romantic heroine whose greatest flaw is that she loves too much? I don’t fucking think so.

This is a call out to every writer out there, no matter what sex you identify with, write a female character that breaks the mold. Make ‘antiheroine’ a word that autocorrect recognizes.

Robert Downey Jr. Would Be the Best Vampire Ever

TODAY’S BREW: A little thing I like to call bottom of the pottom. Nothing good.

Not sure what it is about a superhero movie that really inspires me. Sure, I am inspired by nature, and music, and the kids, blah blah blah, but Iron Man? That’s what I’m talking about.

I am a snob about the superheroes I like. A long-time fan of Batman and Iron Man, I know exactly what it is about these guys that gets my creative juices flowing…they chose to be superheroes. They had it in them, and they knew it. That’s a hero to me. Regular dudes who up the ante, who push themselves past their limits. They may have inherited money, but they use it for the greater good, and to further their ideals. Superman, on the other hand, was born into heroism. This does nothing for me. Superman got lucky. Batman busted his ass on a bitterly cold mountain top to become fantastic. Iron Man built a suit based around his new disability, for crying out loud. Both Batman and Iron Man have their flaws, also, which is what I need for a superhero to be truly believable. Most of all, both of them have occasionally questionable ends to serve the greater good, and that is where my vampire crosses paths with them at the heart.

Where does Superman get off thinking he’s special? He did nothing to deserve it. (Side note: I like Christoper Reeve as much as the next opinionated person, but do not identify with his world renowned identity.)

This all being said, Iron Man was the source of inspiration for my fantastically cool vampire, Nicholas French. Nicholas is one of those guys who is inherently good at things. People like him, he’s smart as a whip, handy, sarcastic to the point of physical pain, and just a touch conceited. I like this in a person. I far prefer a person, not just a man, with a bit of a superiority complex over one who struggles with disliking themselves. Nicholas and RDJ also share a crazy skill level in martial arts. And not for nothing, Nicholas is a stone cold fox just like Robert Downey, Jr. He is Nicholas, there is nobody else to picture. The movie in my mind stars Robert Downey, Jr., who I believe is the highest paid actor in Hollywood. I love RDJ as Nicholas because they both have their darker sides, and it creates a depth that you don’t get just anywhere.

RDJ are you reading this? Could you possibly care less? Probably not.

Post Navigation