Greetings, pre-apocalyptic pen pals! Today we’re discussing when people will finally get sick of Star Wars, why the Legends of Tomorrow are so spectacularly bad at time travel, and the strangely awkward situation that may ensue when the Deadpool movie gets someone you love into comics.
How did Gods of Egypt get made? Obviously at some point someone thought it was going to be a big huge movie that made a ton of money. I even saw that it was supposed to start a franchise.
How is this possible? This movie is terrible, and it’s always sounded terrible and I can’t even imagine someone pitching it where it would sound like a movie that would ever make money, which you keep saying is the whole point of Hollywood.
So how did this whitewashing pile of crap happen, Mr Postman? Was it the cocaine?
It’s a step-by-step process of decisions that Hollywood makes that may seem reasonable when examined individually, but when you add them all together are completely insane and result in movies like Gods of Egypt. It happens a lot.
Say a Hollywood exec wants to make a huge summer movie, and doesn’t have the rights to superheroes or any name brands. He decides to look at past summer movies that have made money—not if they’re good, just if they’re profitable—on the assumption that if he makes a similar movie, it will also be profitable. This is reasonable.
This particular exec chances upon the 2010 Clash of the Titans, which made nearly $500 million worldwide. The exec wants to make money! Whether people liked Clash of the Titans is completely irrelevant to him. Making films that people like is not his job; making money is. So he decides to make a movie like Clash of the Titans. This is, superficially, also reasonable.
The exec gives a cursory examination as to what is Clash of the Titans is about, and discovers it’s Greek mythology. So he needs to have something pretty much the same, but still a little different—and the obvious solution is to pick another mythology to base his blockbuster around. He’s likely only even tangentially heard of Norse and Egyptian mythology, and since Marvel’s kind of cornered the market on the former with Thor, he chooses Egypt. Besides, Egyptian mythology has lots of weird stuff that will probably look cool in CG. If you were somehow forced to make a mythology-based summer blockbuster, then Egyptian mythology is a probably a solid call, right?
Now, when it comes to casting, he looks for actors with good summer movie track records who are affordable; both Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau fit the bill. He hires them. The fact that the movie is set in ancient Egypt doesn’t even enter his mind as a factor. For him, they are two completely separate issues. He is incapable of thinking conditionally, or that the movie’s setting should ever possibly dictate casting. To him, it’s a summer movie first and foremost; it needs popular, recognizable actors. In his mind, he’s got a hit movie with major stars. That’s all that could possibly matter!
At no point does he, or anyone else in authority of making the film, look at the bigger picture and wonder, hey, maybe hiring white guys to play ancient Egyptians is a bad idea. Nor did anyone wonder if anyone actually wanted to see an Egyptian version of Clash of the Titans in the first place. At no point did anyone stop and really think about what they were making, and suddenly realize “This is a terrible idea.” At no point did they see Coster-Waldau, wearing whatever the hell he’s wearing in the picture up top, and ask themselves, “What on god’s green earth are we doing?!”
Instead they just blithely made the movie, confident that not only that it would be a huge success but it would start an entire franchise. Yes, Hollywood thought Gods of Egypt was going to be a trilogy! This is madness, and Hollywood does this all the time. They spend tons of money on movies that sound awful and are awful, and that you’d have to be completely out of touch with reality to believe would ever work.
Every once in a while, though, they manage to get it right, and that successful movie makes enough money to pay for the next dozen terrible movies they think will be hits but won’t be. And the cycle continues.
House of Lies
Can we discuss Supergirl (the TV series)? I want to love it and for the most part I do—however, when it comes to relationships the show seems to be channeling the very worst aspects of Silver Age Comics. James Olsen wants to be honest to his girlfriend so he has to tell Lucy Kara’s most important secret. I’m sorry, but what?!? Since when do your romantic relationships allow you to betray your friend’s privacy and trust?
My coworkers have told me deeply intimate and personal aspects of their lives and I neither feel that have to run home and immediately inform my partner, nor do I feel that I am hiding anything from her. What the heck is going on here?
This is kind of a sticky wicket, because nine times out of 10 when people on superhero shows refuse to tell each other something, it’s stupid as hell. Oliver’s refusal to tell pretty much anyone he was Green Arrow on Arrow; Barry’s long refusal to tell Iris he’s the Flash even though at least dozen other people knew, some of them villains. Usually these lies are done to “protect” the people in question, even though their ignorance never protects them from villains, and arguably makes it worse.
But I don’t think this particular instance is problematic. James’ assistance of Supergirl was actually negatively affecting his relationship with Lucy Lane. He was missing dates, upsetting Lucy, and was being forced to lie to her. That’s a sucky thing to do to someone you care about. And, because James is a good person, of course he doesn’t want to have to lie to Lucy. Additionally, James is 100% certain that Lucy can keep the secret. He may be wrong, but he has no clue if he is.
Most importantly, he knows that it’s Supergirl’s secret and he can’t tell Lucy without Supergirl’s permission. He wants to tell Lucy, but Supergirl has to give him the okay. He went about this totally the correct way.
Of course, Supergirl also had every right to tell James no, which she did for a good while… until she saw how it was hurting James, and then she changed her mind. Of course, if you saw this week’s episode, it’s all moot now.
For the record, I do hope that your co-workers’ terrifying secrets don’t affect your relationships negatively.
My wife hasn’t watched a single superhero movie. No Avengers. No Man of Steel. No Captain America. So when she saw my reaction to her asking if I was taking my kids to see Deadpool, she got confused. I showed her both red-band trailers, and she bought in. We went to see it opening night, and she loved it. (I’m sure her crush on Ryan Reynolds had nothing to do with it)
Here’s the kicker - she’s asking to read my old Deadpool comics.
Do I take this slim opening to kick in the door and introduce her to the larger comic world as a whole, or do I take baby steps so she doesn’t get overwhelmed? I’m leaning toward letting her digest the comics I have and suggesting something before she’s finished, but, honestly, I’ve been out of the comics game for a while, and wouldn’t know where to start. Squirrel Girl, maybe? Thoughts?
I would definitely try to steer her away from Deadpool to start with. I mean, don’t be weird about it—if she demands Deadpool, of course she can read Deadpool—but it’s to everyone’s benefit for you to at least warn her first that “There aren’t a ton of Deadpool comics that match the same levels of comedy, violence, naughtiness and heart as that movie. Also, a lot of Deadpool comics are pretty bad.”
If she still wants Deadpool, I’d go with Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan’s recent run, which is fun and funny and makes Deadpool an actual character as opposed to a homicidal Looney Tune, which he often gets relegated to. I’m sure others will have some more recommendations in the comments, too.
If she trusts your judgment—or tries Deadpool comics and isn’t satisfied—I can’t recommend Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Batgirl and the new Black Canary enough. If she really digs the violence, then she should get DC’s Midnighter, which is being canceled soon because we can’t have nice things.
Dear postman of the post-merger apocalypse:
I’ve been watching DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and largely enjoying it. To be fair, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy absolutely anything that had Wentworth Miller’s Leonard Snart in it. I bring that up because Rip Hunter... oh jeeze, Rip Hunter.
I’m more than a little familiar with DC comics, but the Time Masters are new to me. I can’t help but wonder, are all Time Masters horrible at their jobs? Or is it just Rip?
In the DC Comics, the Time Masters are a small group of freelance time cops who protect the time stream. They haven’t done much other than get Batman back when he was lost in time being a pilgrim and such, so they’re not at all like the group presented in Legends of Tomorrow.
Those Time Masters seem to be a large group of administrators like the Guardians of the Green Lanterns. Now, the Guardians are amazingly terrible at their job at keeping the galaxy safe (really, it’s madness). We don’t know if these Time Masters are as horrible, but we do know that they’re cool with letting Vandal Savage murder/enslave most of the human race, so they’re definitely assholes in that regard. All they’re worried about is protecting the timestream, which, as Rip points out, is kind of useless when most of humanity is dead anyways.
That said, Rip Hunter is a terrible, terrible Time Master. He cares about humanity, which is nice, but I am not a Time Master and even I know you shouldn’t let a group of superpowered weirdos rampage through various points of the 20th century. They nearly gave a mad Soviet scientist Firestorm powers during the Cold War. Captain Cold nearly kept his own sister from being born. And this is all happening ostensibly on Rip’s watch, and they haven’t even come close to stopping Savage yet. There has no been a single trip where they haven’t irrevocably changed something.
Shooting Star Wars
Hello Mr. Postman sir,
We lived through the brutal Star Wars merchandising blitz of 2015 and there’s already a million-viewed Episode VIII “teaser.” We’re also going to have more with the expanded/cinematic universe every year (I presume around Christmas, because toys). I don’t know about you, but that’s too much Star Wars! Do you think there will be some sort of cultural implosion on SW movies, and when?
I don’t think Disney needs to worry about over-saturating the Star Wars market until after Episode IX at the earliest, which will be 2019. Even if Episode VII, Episode IX, Rogue One, and the Han Solo movie all suck, people are going to go to them religiously, at least until the tale of Rey, Finn and Poe gets resolved. And if those four movies aren’t all terrible—which I think is pretty likely—people will happily keep seeing more Star Wars movies afterwards.
Really, Disney is only doing one SW movie a year, which is peanuts compared to what Marvel churns out; and Marvel has plenty of competing superhero movies to deal with, while Star Wars basically owns all of scifi cinema.
Even if people do start to get burnt out, all Disney will have to do is drop the stand-alone movies and concentrate solely on future sequels. And even if the sequels get bad, they’d have to be consistently bad for a very long time before viewers stopped giving them a chance. The prequels sure as hell didn’t stop The Force Awakens from doing all right. Episode X could be Darth Jar Jar, and not only would most people see it, I bet they’d still be willing to watch Episodes XI and XIII before they decided to give up on the franchise.
Comic Crush Saga
Dear Mister Postman, sir.
I have noticed that I have a tendency to develop pervy crushes on random female comic book characters, often obscure ones who only in one issue, or during a particular run; some examples have included Silverclaw (from Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run), Heartiac (from the DC One Million 80-Page Giant), and the Aquawoman of Earth-11 (from Multiversity)
I’m trying to figure out if this is A: weird, and B: problematic or not. What do you say?
It’s certainly unusual, but it’s technically no weirder than falling for a non-obscure comic character. Most people who are going to give your grief about having a pervy crush on a pen-and-ink drawing aren’t going to give you more or less grief depending whether your object of affection is in one comic book panel or one million.
If people who also have pervy crushes on more popular comic book characters do give you grief, to hell with them. There’s no hierarchy here. They’re not better (or less weird) people because they’re Power Girl fans. Now, it might be more frustrating or you, because you’re never going to get a comic detailing the adventures of Earth-11 Aquawoman, but if you don’t have a problem with it, then it’s not actually problematic.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.