Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 2 | “Thinking Man” Superhero Movies

I’m happy to announce Episode #2 of Reappropriate: The Podcast!

In this episode, guest Snoopy Jenkins (@SnoopyJenkins) and I explore the “Thinking Man” superhero movies, and delve into the kinds of themes that appeal to us as adult fans of geek culture. We touch on a number of movies including Man of SteelRobocopThe Matrix Trilogy and (of course) the Nolanverse Batman trilogy. I mention that the topic of this episode was inspired by my recent appearance on Flights, Tights and Movie Nights, a fandom podcast which you can find at the link provided and which is hosted by Bubbawheat (@bubbawheat).

You can view the podcast through YouTube, stream or download just the audio through the player below, or subscribe to Reappropriate: The Podcast through the iTunes Store.

NEXT EPISODE: On episode #3, I invite guest and fellow Asian American blogger Byron Wong (BigWOWO) on to tackle the question: “Should Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders support or oppose affirmative action in college admissions?That podcast will be recording on August 11 at 11pm at this link, so mark your calendars!

As always, we invite viewers to submit questions before or during the podcast recording. You can submit questions through Twitter (@reappropriate) or through Google Hangouts before or during the recording. This episode should be a fun and lively debate, and I strongly encourage you to tune in!

Listen to audio-only version of Episode #2 using the player below:

Thor, Blaptain America, and the Perils of Cowl Rental

The new Thor is a girl.
The new Thor is a girl.

Last week, Marvel blew the lid off the Internet when they announced two major changes to beloved Avengers heroes, both of them clearly a nod to fans demanding increased comic book diversity.

Just over eight days ago, Marvel allowed The View, a day-time talk-show with an overwhelmingly female audience, to break the news that Thor — the Asgardian Thunder God played by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Studios movie franchise — will now be a woman. Although the details of the storyline is unclear, in an upcoming arc, Thor will presumably no longer be able to wield Mjolnir (the hammer that serves as the symbol of his power); instead, a female peer will take up Mjolnir and adopt the name of Thor. Although fan reception was largely positive, many fans were perplexed at the news since — as my friend Will pointed out — Thor is not a title like “Superman” or “Batman”, but the character’s actual name.

Then, just a few days later, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada appeared on Colbert Report to announce a major storyline shift involving the launch of a new title All-New Captain America: long-time sidekick Sam Wilson (aka The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie in the most recent Winter Soldier installment of the Captain America movie franchise) will become the new Captain America, making him a contemporary African American Captain America, and the second African American Captain America in history.

Response to Blaptain America (credit to Will for that name) has been largely mixed, possibly because the timing of the announcement immediately after the announcement over Thor, along with the clear “where’s our pat on the back for our diversity initiative?” tone coming out of Marvel, has led many to conclude it’s all gimmick and publicity stunt. Like Snoopy Jenkins and Will (who podcasted about it over the weekend — go watch!), I have no particular love for superficial diversity that fails to challenge the inherent failings of the superhero genre; last week’s announcements seem like yet another skin-deep comic book diversity initiative that focuses on the appearance of diversity for its own sake.

But beyond that, I have some specific issues with the tactic here. I have specific issues with what I’m dubbing “Cowl Rental”.

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Batfleck Revealed! (or, maybe I was wrong to hate…)

First look at Ben Affleck as Batman in Man of Steel 2. Photo credit: Zack Snyder
First look at Ben Affleck as Batman in Man of Steel 2. Photo credit: Zack Snyder

Just a few hours ago, Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel and its upcoming sequel which will feature cameo appearances by Every DC Superhero You’ve Ever Heard Of) tweeted out this first look at Ben Affleck as Batman. Readers will remember that I had some pretty choice words over at The Nerds of Color in response to early casting news that Gigli was going to be our next Bruce Wayne.

Last August, I wrote:

Upon hearing the news last night, I spent the rest of the evening in a stroke-induced mini-coma. I’ve recovered enough by this morning to move past the incoherent sputtering stage to offer my two cents.

My main concern with Ben freakin‘ Affleck being Batman is that we’re really not too sure which of the Two Faces of Affleck we’ll be getting. On the one hand, we’ve got the Ben Affleck of Argo and The Town, two serious and compelling roles that could easily be described with the words “tour de force” somewhere in the same sentence. In particular, I was blown away by Affleck’s performance in Argo, which single-handedly convinced me that Affleck had at least a teaspoon of talent in there somewhere (possibly tucked away in that over-sized jaw). When armed with a phenomenal script, Affleck is apparently capable of gravitas, which is cause for some optimism.

But then, there’s the Other Face of Ben Affleck. There’s Crappy-Movie-Bonanza-Ben freakin’ Affleck.

Okay, so I take it all back. Kind of.

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NOC: How “The Avengers” is ruining the superhero movie

theavengers001

Originally posted at The Nerds of Color

As of April 2013, The Avengers had grossed more than $600 million dollars in the US, a box office performance that has nearly tripled its (already bloated) production budget. It would be fair to say that if you’re a Hollywood movie producer, The Avengers makes you very, very, very happy. In fact, you’re hoping to make as many Avengers franchises as you possibly can.

Against this backdrop of undeniable success, it seems major Hollywood production companies are hoping to do just that. For the last few months, the Internet has been a-buzz with casting rumours for Man of Steel 2: first with news that Ben Affleck was being tapped to play an aging Batman, and last week with the announcement that virtually unknown actress Gal Gadot (of Fast and Furious franchise fame) was assuming the mantle of Wonder Woman. Although fans have long clamoured for a live-action Justice League adaptation, the fact that all three members of the heralded DC Trinity will be making an appearance in Man of Steel 2 — a movie that we all expected would be just another Superman solo vehicle — is clear indication that WB/DC has drawn inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is looking to fast-track the Justice League movie by rapidly introducing other characters to the silver screen. Fans have since speculated that while Gadot might make a minimal cameo in Man of Steel 2, it’s likely that she will subsequently headline her own Wonder Woman movie that would further stoke the fires for a full Justice League film.

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NOC: Robert Kirkman is the Frank Miller of Zombies

Originally posted at The Nerds of Color

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Robert Kirkman’s ongoing epic The Walking Dead. Image Comics is marking the special occasion by releasing an anniversary edition of issue #1, colored by Dave Stewart. If you haven’t been reading this book — particularly if you are a fan of the AMC TV adaptation — then you should be. The Walking Dead isn’t just a great comic book, it’s a revolutionary comic book; one that fundamentally altered the zombie landscape and helped usher in the zombie Golden Age of today.

In fact, I’d even venture so far as to say that Robert Kirkman is the zombie Frank Miller.

Wait, wait, wait: before your brain explodes from the nerd-rage, hear me out on this one.

This post contains a few spoilers of The Walking Dead comic. Please read on with care.

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