Greetings but no salutations, my friends! We have no time for salutations because we have important things to talk about! Why is Michael Bay allowed to turn TMNT into softcore porn? What the hell is happening to Sansa on Game of Thrones? And, most importantly, why do I hate Batman? (Answer: I’m secretly Egghead.)
Someone sharing your name, perhaps an ancestor of yours in our time, graced (or damned, depending on how you look at it) us with details on the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel this past week. We got our first look at Stephen Amell’s Casey Jones and Megan Fox in a schoolgirl outfit, which I can only imagine Michael Bay seeing 100% necessary for the film.
I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the current TMNT cartoon running on Nickelodeon, but it’s pretty great. It has reimagined characters from the 1987 series, an April who adds to the plot and scenes recreated from the original movie. It’s obviously written by people who grew up on the series and clearly love the source material enough to make an excellent adaptation of such a weird concept. Because it’s marketed as a kids show, it also has a lot of toys that come with it, such as action figures, costumes, Lego sets, etc.
My question is, since Nickelodeon currently owns all the rights to the TMNT franchise and stamped its name on the most recent movie, why are they going in two such different directions? The movie wasn’t well received but made money, but toys from the cartoon have to be pulling in cash too, right? Why not take the better formula and adapt it to the big screen? Why does Nickelodeon allow itself to be associated with Michael Bay’s crude jokes about Michelangelo wanting to bang April and gratuitous shots of Megan Fox wearing as little as possible?
Great question. Unfortunately, it has an easy answer: Money. As Transformers has proven repeatedly, Michael Bay-style adaptations of kids properties make money, despite the fact they include leering sexism, beneath-lowbrow humor inappropriate for children, occasionally mild racism, and are totally terrible. As tragic as it is, a Michael Bay-produced TMNT movie is a surer bet to make more money than if Nickelodeon made a motion-picture based on the cartoon, of even made a live-action film with the same sensibility. Sure, it may make money, but the Bay version will almost certainly make money, regardless of whether it’s good, bad, or kid-appropriate. That’s it.
So yes, while you and I and all decent folk may be nauseous that Bay and his puppet-director are putting Megan Fox in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit in TMNT2, Nickelodeon is okay with it because they want money more than the ability to sleep at night.
It’s the same reason why Hasbro keeps letting Bay make Transformers movies, despite the fact that Bay keeps filling these movies, which are ostensibly based on toys, with things that are too wildly inappropriate for Hasbro to make toys out of (e.g., Devastator’s balls). Money. Period.
From one Rob to another,
I’ve been following you since your TR days. Love everything you write! I just wanted to know your thoughts on Age of Ultron and what you think could have been done to make it better. I personally feel that Ultron was a weak villain and there should have been more character building moments like the party scene (but not that weird “Hawkeye has a family” scene...wtf). There definitely should have been more vision too!
Without getting into the Lovecraftian nightmare of internet vitriol that is Black Widow (which is not to say I didn’t also find her problematic, but it seems only a dozen or so people on Earth can discuss the subject without somehow losing their minds, and I think most of them are my coworkers), I enjoyed Age of Ultron but prefer the first Avengers movie.
I think it just tried to cram too much in there — which is almost certainly the Marvel executives fault over Whedon’s — and ended up being too messy. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s introductions were fine, but it made pretty much no sense for them to join up with Ultron; worse, Ultron’s plans seemed to keep shifting in order to fit all the different things the plot needed, whether it be the introduction of the Vision or the final fight scene.
Then, despite the fact the movie was overstuffed, a lot of the scenes seemed incredibly unnecessary. The extended visit with Hawkeye’s family was strange and seemingly unnecessary, all the Avengers’ darkest moment were strange and not nearly powerful as they were obviously supposed to be, and I still have no idea what the hell was going on with Thor’s pool nonsense.
But as I always say, I’m willing to forgive a lot of stupidity as long as I’m being entertained enough, and the dialogue and the banter and the action scenes (especially the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight) were quite entertaining. I enjoyed James Spader’s strange take on Ultron way more than I thought I would. I especially loved the big F.U. to Man of Steel as the Avengers kept rescuing civilians over and over again, although they went overboard with them. I liked them but there were way too many of them. Same as I like cake, but I also don’t want to eat eight cakes in a single sitting.
As for ways to improve it, well, I’m not sure how much could be changed that would still hit all the requirements the Marvel execs had for it. Giving Ultron one coherent plan would probably be best. As awesome as the Vision was, maybe it would have been better to let him appear at the end instead of shoving him into the second act. I also wish that the movie had kept Ultron’s daddy complex, just transferred to Tony Stark instead of Hank Pym, as it was always his most interesting aspect.
This answer your question?
Raiders of the Lost AARP
With news of another Indy film, I was thinking about who else could who play Indy. Given that Harrison Ford is getting on and, although he seems game, he must be approaching the limits of a man still capable of performing stunts and look plausible when performing daring do’s on screen. What are your thoughts on having another actor (say Chris Pratt) play a younger Indy and keep Harrison to bookend the film with flashback/narration.
Having Ford do narration would be fine, but also completely unnecessary. If there’s a new Indiana Jones movie with a new Indiana Jones, would the lack of Harrison Ford sitting in a recliner and muttering “Let me tell you about the time when…” be what stops people from buying tickets? I don’t think so. Honestly, given how lackluster Crystal Skull was, now is as good a time as any to break with the original regime and cast someone new (please note I am not advocating a reboot. Just make more adventures. Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t even an origin story anyways).
By the way, I love that you seem like you suspect that Ford might not be able to keep up with the vigorous physical demands at his current age as if we didn’t have two-plus hours of proof that he absolutely doesn’t. God bless him for trying, but watching Indiana Jones move at half-speed during Crystal Skull made me sad. Not as sad Shia the Beef, King of the Monkeys, but pretty sad nonetheless.
Eye On The Balls
Dear Post-apocalyptical postman,
Since you have already seen all the anime that came out during the long-ago summer of 2015, could you clarify one thing for me?? As you know the revival of the very popular Dragon Ball anime will be airing (titled Super this time….) My question is about the setting of the upcoming anime, which is promoted as taking place ‘’right after Buu’’ but both of the recent movies seem to take place slightly after that. In Battle of Gods, everything seems to be maybe 2-5 years after Buu (simple guess here) and we can assume Resurrection of F takes place at least a few more years after that, since we see Beerus, who was going for a looooooong nap at the end of BoG.
My question is , will the anime take place between the end of Z and Battle of Gods or will it be post-Resurrection of F ???
Sorry, but few records of this naked cash-grab/long-awaited Dragonball Z sequel have survived this long into my mysterious apocalypse, but from what I can piece together, I believe Dragonball Super was set immediately after the return of Frieza, so that all the recent, newly canonical Dragonball stories are being released chronologically. This will make it easier to continue to release new Dragonball movies every year in synergy with the new anime series, and thus maximize profits/make the best darn story possible!
Sansa and Sansability
The Sansa storyline in this season of Game Of Thrones is really hard to wrap my mind around.
The political ramifications of Sansa’s reappearance just seems way off; it causes quite a mess for everyone in Westeros as she is still wanted for regicide. No one, beyond Cersei, actually cares about her being brought to justice but the South can’t afford to look weak and Littlefinger never makes moves like this out in the open. Roose Bolton conspired to murder the King of the North to become Warden of the North only to openly defy the Crown? And I don’t think any Frey, Bolton, or Lannister could really trust Sansa as she may have just poisoned King Joffery so bringing her back to Winterfell seems kind of dumb on Roose’s part.
From the TV production side, I understand not wanting do the fake Arya / Jeyne Poole storyline from the books because they wanted to keep Sophie Turner around... BUT couldn’t they have just substituted Jeyne for Alayne Stone (who is really Sansa!)? This would have made for some crazy hi-jinx and seems like a Littlefinger-esque scheme because Sansa could secretly get her revenge with a less watchful eye but kept all the house alliances in tact for the mean time.
When all this went down, I feel like they glossed over the ramifications of a Sansa/Ramsay marriage. I usually enjoy when they go off book but I like it to make some sort of logical sense and keep with the characters they have established. Am I being too critical too early?
Ha! “Critical Too Early” is the name the Native Cyborg Americans gave me. I don’t blame you for having trepidation about this, but I think it works, and here’s why.
First of all, Sansa is not considered a suspect in Joffrey’s murder, not really. Once Tyrion was “convicted” in trial by combat last season, Sansa dropped off the radar in an unofficial legal sense. I mean, Cersei has basically ordered every dwarf in Westeros be murdered in mere hopes that Tyrion will be one of them, but hasn’t sent anybody to find Sansa. Yes, she was initially suspected, but her hatred for Tyrion become so all-encompassing that Sansa was forgotten. Out of Cersei’s sight, out of Cersei’s mind.
As for her marriage to Ramsey Bolton, I think it actually makes a lot of sense. The Boltons desperately want to consolidate their hold on the North, and marrying one of the last remaining Starks gives them as much legitimacy as they could possibly hope for (this is also why the Alyne thing doesn’t make as much sense; the Boltons would be much more excited to wed a Stark than some random relative of Littilefinger’s).
As for King’s Landing and the Lannisters, they need the Boltons, because they can’t afford to have the North take arms against them again. Anything that helps the Boltons keep the peace also helps them, and as crazy as Cersei is even she wouldn’t start a war with Winterfell just to get back Sansa who she doesn’t really respect enough to credit her with poisoning Joffrey.
As for your other points: I think the Littlefinger of the show is much less sly than the Littlefinger of the books, and this seemed like a bold move, but one he could make because of the circumstances I mentioned above. As for Sansa being able to operate in the shadows, well, I think being known under her real name will help her operate in that she’ll have a lot more support from the people of Winterfell and the other lords of the North, even despite the Boltons’ watchful eyes, than if she were unknown. And, as I said, I’m not sure the Boltons would have bothered marrying Ramsay to a non-Stark anyways.
Truth and Dare
I have a question concerning Daredevil. He has greatly enhanced senses to the point that especially loud noises can be devastating for him. The Netflix show states that he uses silk bed sheets because cotton sheets feel like sandpaper. So how does Daredevil have sex? He’s always described as kind of a ladies man, but isn’t that label a bit...premature? I can’t imagine that there is any amount of imaginary baseball that would allow him to last more than 10 seconds in the sack.
Luckily, Daredevil’s life is full of such woe, that if he needs to delay orgasm, all he needs to do is think about one of the many, many women whose life he’s ruined and/or have died on his account. Given Daredevil’s heightened senses, it’s probably not a boner-killer, but it certainly helps him last a respectable amount of time.
And if not, who cares? Any woman he sleeps with will almost certainly be brutally murdered in the next few weeks anyways.
The Snark Knight Rises
Rob hates Gotham. Rob hates DKR. Rob hates DKSA.
I really want to know (and this is not meant to be snarky, condescending, nor rhetorical), what Batman does Rob like? ‘Cause that would give some frame of reference on how to understand Rob’s perspective, and why Rob gets the writing-about-Batman job.
Rob does hate The Dark Knight Strikes Back, because it is nonsense. Rob actually likes The Dark Knight Returns and thinks it was brilliant and revolutionary in its times, even if Rob thinks it’s been a massively destructive influence on American comics since then. And Rob actually likes Gotham when it’s good — or, rather, when it’s fun to watch — and only hates it when it’s bad. Rob is pretty wacky that way.
Rob enjoys the campiness of the 1960s Batman TV series, and Rob has enjoyed a lot of Scott Snyder’s recent run in the Batman comics, although Rob thinks its been veering too much towards torture-porn recently. Rob very much enjoyed Grant Morrison’s Batman comics, especially when Bruce Wayne was dead and Dick Grayson was Batman, with Damian Wayne as Robin. Rob thinks that shit was awesome.
Rob actually really enjoys Frank Miller’s deservedly reviled All-Star Batman for a variety of reasons, although Rob fully admits in terms of portraying the character accurately, it is absolutely one of the worst Batman stories ever told.
Anyways, Rob recaps Gotham because Rob is one of very few io9 staff members who is so self-loathing as to make himself sit through multiple episodes of Gotham. ROB ISN’T THE REVIEWER GOTHAM NEEDS, BUT HE’S THE REVIEWER GOTHAM DESERVES. Thanks for your service, Rob!
Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the firstname.lastname@example.org! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!