erik lundegaard

Superheroes posts

Friday May 02, 2014

Spider-Man is Here: Obey

Last week, in anticipation of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” I rewatched the second installment of Sam Raimi's “Spider-Man” trilogy (review up soon), and during the opening credits, as they panned in and out of actors' names, this flashed on the screen as a portion of lead actor Tobey Maguire's name:

Spider-Man: Obey

Good thing I'm not a conspiracy theorist.

Reviews of “Amazing 2” are less than amazing—worst ever for the two franchises. Worse than “Spider-Man 3”? I'll believe that when I see it. Which I believe will be tonight. 

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Posted at 05:20 AM on May 02, 2014 in category Superheroes
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Monday April 21, 2014

'Yankees Suck': A Message from Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

With “Amazing Spider-Man 2” on the way, is it time to ask the question that the first “Spider-Man 2” suggests? Namely: Do the Yankees suck?

Here’s the guy who finds Spidey’s outfit in a garbage can and brings it to J.  Jonah Jameson. He winds up selling it for a measly $100:

Yankees fan who finds Spidey's outfit in garbage

And here’s the guy on the elevated train who helps carry Spidey back, in pieta fashion, after his epic battle with Doc Ock. He’s also the one who says, “He’s ... just a kid. No older than my son.”

Mets fan in Spider-Man 2

He’s also the last one to let go of Spidey when Doc Ock returns to finish him off.

Mets fan in Spider-Man 2

So is it better to be a Mets fan than a Yankees fan in the Spider-Man universe? Do the Yankees suck according to Spider-Man? In the series, Yankee fans can always point to this in their favor. But Peter Parker did grow up in Queens, which is where Shea Stadium was and Citi Field is. And he is an underdog. 

One wonders how the rest of the Spider-Man universe divides itself up. Norman Osborne probably had a suite at Yankee Stadium. He probably gladhanded with George Steinbrenner. Kingpin? Yankees, totally. Flash Thompson? Yankees again. J.J.J. should be rooting for the Mets (Daily Bugle/Daily News) but the Yankees sell newspapers, so he's probably going there. Robbie's probably a Mets fan, though, if not an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Maybe he's still loyal to the Dodgers. Quietly, though, the way he's loyal to Spider-Man. 

We'll see how the baseball caps line up, if they line up, in “Amazing Spider-Man 2” in a few weeks. 

UPDATE FROM A COMICS FAN: “Spidey is canonically a Mets fan in the comics. Glad to see that the movie got that right!”

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Posted at 06:52 AM on Apr 21, 2014 in category Superheroes
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Thursday February 20, 2014

Fantastic Four Reboot: The World's Youngest Superheroes

The cast for the Fantastic Four reboot was announced yesterday, and, looking at the picture below, it took me a while to piece together who was who.

Sure, Sue Storm. But initially I thought Jamie Bell, with the ears, was Mr. Fantastic. Maybe because he looks older? And if Kate Mara is Sue Storm and Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm, one of them has to be adopted, n'est-ce pas? Unless Mr. or Mrs. Storm remarried. Or we're all colorblind like Stephen Colbert.

the new fantastic four

Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny.

But my main thought was everyone's main thought: Wow, they're young.

I know. It's Ultimate Fantastic Four, in which our heroes are young.

Even so, they're young. Kate Mara, at 31, is the oldest. She was was born in February 1983. Jamie Bell came three years later, in March 1986. Both Jordan and Miles Teller were born in 1987: Feb 9 and Feb. 20, respectively. Which means Mr. Fantastic is actually the youngest of the Fantastic Four. No gray temples for you, buddy. It also means we have another British actor, Bell, playing a quintessential American superhero, Ben Grimm, aka The Thing. Wotta revoltin' development.

But at least they're all good actors. And it's directed by Josh Trank (b. 1985), who didn't do poorly with “Chronicle.”

Besides, it couldn't be worse than the previous “Fantastic Four” movies, could it? Could it, Fox Studios?

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Posted at 10:26 AM on Feb 20, 2014 in category Superheroes
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Thursday December 05, 2013

What's a Nice Jewish Girl Like You Doing with a Magic Lasso? Gal Gadot Cast as Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel 2004, and an actress best-known in the states for playing Gisele in the three most recent “Fast & Furious” movies, has been cast as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming “Batman vs. Superman” movie—the belated attempt by Warner Bros. and DC Comics to replicate the huge box-office success of “The Avengers” movie.

Better get those bullet-proof bracelets up, bubelah. It didn't take long before fanboys were taking potshots. These are simply comments on IMDb.com. Can't imagine what it's like over at YouTube:

  • a skinny chick with not the hint of muscle tone... good choice
  • i prefer megan fox to be the wonder woman
  • was still hoping Gina Carano might get cast
  • an Amazon Princess shouldn't look like she's starving to death...
  • Crap choice ... and isn't that girl to [sic] skinny?

I believe “skinny” is code for something.

But this may be the best response:

  • The problem is that Zack Snyder is still going to direct it

āmēn.

Gal Gadot

Gal pal, Amazonian princess.

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Posted at 08:59 AM on Dec 05, 2013 in category Superheroes
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Thursday August 15, 2013

Where Alyssa Rosenberg Goes Wrong on Superhero Sexism

The female Avengers

The female Avengers via FanArtExhibit. Missing: Black Widow as a man.

This article by Alyssa Rosenberg, “Legendary Comics Creators Dismiss Sexism Critiques,” in which she confronted comic book creators Michael Kantor, Todd McFarlane, Len Wein and Gerry Conway about sexism in the industry, made the rounds among geeks last week.

Here's McFarlane's response to the charge of sexism within comic books:

As much as we stereotype the women, we do it with the guys. The guys are all good looking, not too many ugly superheroes. They’ve all got their hair gelled back. They have got perfect pecs on them. They have no hair on their chest. I mean, they are Ryan Gosling on steroids. Right? They are all beautiful. So we actually stereotype and do it to both sexes. We just happen to show a little more skin when we get to the ladies.

Here's Rosenberg's written response to that response:

It’s an ancient canard that male heroes are as idealized as women, an idea that ignores their costumes, the difference between a fantasy of power you want to inhabit and sexual ability you want to take advantage of, and the contrast between admiring what someone can do with their body, and what you can do to theirs.

It's a smart-enough response if a bit dismissive of the effect comic books and superheroes have on boys. Plus it's neither a canard nor ancient.

It also ignores the way power tends to be conveyed in our culture. For men, it's still about what you do; for women it's still about how you look. This has been changing during my lifetime, and unfortunately toward greater shallowness for both genders. The 1970s feminist critique of the objectification of women hasn't led to women being less objectified, but it has created more objectification of men in terms of their looks. (The idea that men were never objectified is incorrect. They were objectified by what they did, and how much they earned. That hasn't gone away.)

What's the endgame in the argument? That's what I'm curious about. Is Rosenberg suggesting that better female superheroes will create greater female readership? Or will empower that female readership? As it's done all these years with boys? Except, right, it hasn't empowered shit, has it? There's no correlation between reading fantasies of superhuman powers and being empowered in the real world. Judging from a typical comic convention, you might say it's the opposite. You might even say girls are better off without this particular superpowered fantasy to contend with.

You want empowerment? Here. Figuring out what's missing in a particular medium is, yes, a sign that there's something wrong with that medium. But if the medium is thriving, and has the attention of the marketplace, it's also a glorious opportunity.

Further reading on the subject: a review of the documentary “Women Women! The Untold Story of American Heroines.”

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Posted at 03:26 PM on Aug 15, 2013 in category Superheroes
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